The red white and blue unicorn tattoo

Writing in his memoirs the French wartime leader Charles De Gaulle said about la perfide Albion and his distrust of the British establishment which led to his refusal to permit the UK to join the EEC in the early 1960s,

Pour l’Angleterre … il n’y a pas d’alliance qui tienne, ni de traité qui vaille, ni la vérité qui compte.
For England … there is no alliance which holds, nor treaty which has worth, nor truth which counts.

We’re now witnessing De Gaulle’s words come true. Today in the Commons Theresa May argued for a change to her deal which the EU has already said, repeatedly, that it’s not going to accept. She’s arguing for the renegotiation of a deal that she herself said that wasn’t up for renegotiation that was the only deal on the table. But that doesn’t matter to this government. All that matters is that she can get the Conservative party, or at least most of it, to agree with itself, and the only party in Northern Ireland whose wishes need to be respected or taken into account is the DUP.

After Theresa’s deal went down to a historic and humiliating defeat, she could have reached out. She could have erased her red lines and sought some form of compromise. She could have tried to build a cross-party consensus. But she did none of those things. Instead she’s trying to placate her own right wing and playing Brexit chlorinated chicken, running down the clock in the hope that MPs will back her deal because time has run out. It is spectacularly cynical and grossly contemptuous of what passes for democracy in the UK.

Now the Prime Minister has announced that she’s backing the so-called Brady amendment. Because this vague hope of a renegotiated deal is her new deal that’s the only deal. This amendment would replace the Irish border backstop with some nebulous “alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border.” The EU has already said that this is unacceptable, but Theresa is only interested in whether it’s acceptable to her own hard line Brexists and the DUP. Reality for this government is merely a serving suggestion.

The SNP tabled an amendment of its own. When SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford got up in the Commons to speak about it he warned of possible food shortages and price rises in the event of a no deal Brexit. A voice from the DUP called out that Scots could just go to the chippy. Because you know, much loved and respected partner in a family of nations and all that. Not that Theresa May was listening. She had already scuttled out of the chamber. The amendment called for Article 50 to be extended and Scotland’s remain vote to be respected. It demanded that the House should recognise that the UK is a “partnership of equals” and no nation should be dragged out of the EU against its will. It didn’t pass. It was defeated on the back of the votes of Tory MPs from elsewhere in the UK. Labour abstained. What a surprise. There’s that partnership of equals for you. Are you feeling the respect?

Most attention was focussed on the other amendments. The Cooper amendment, the Grieve amendment, the Reeves amendment, the Spelman amendment, and the Brady amendment. The Cooper amendment was put forward by former Labour front bencher Yvette Cooper and would extend article 50 to the end of this year if Theresa May is unable to secure a deal by the end of February. Labour agreed to back it officially, and so did some remainer Tories. However the amendment didn’t achieve sufficient support and was voted down by 321 votes to 298. 14 Labour MPs voted with the Tories.

The Grieve amendment would have allowed MPs to take control of parliamentary business out of the hands of the government and allowed votes on alternatives to either Theresa’s no-go deal or the no-deal. The amendment was also defeated, this time by 321 to 301. Seems the Tories aren’t that keen on the sovereignty of parliament after all. The Reeves amendment sought to ensure that Article 50 was extended if there was no deal. It was also defeated. Even now, even with the stakes so high, some Labour MPs were prepared to vote with the Tories or to abstain.

The Spelman amendment simply stated that the UK should not leave the EU without a deal. It has no legal force, it would not tie Theresa May’s hands in any way. It would not force her to take no deal off the table. It narrowly passed by 318 votes to 310, but it’s cold comfort. It won’t make any difference to a Prime Minister who is so cavalier in the way she ignores binding votes. A non-binding one won’t even register with her.

The Brady amendment is a key part of what the Conservatives like to call The Malthouse Compromise, which sounds like a cheap airport thriller, only it won’t fly and is unlikely to come to a satisfactory ending. It’s called a compromise because it involves the Tory party compromising with itself, but not with anyone else. That’s a bit like the British government unilaterally deciding to undermine the devolution settlement and calling it a compromise. Oh wait. That’s not a simile.

Before the Brady amendment had even come to a vote, it was reported that an EU official had informed the press that a response was being readied stating that the EU will not reopen negotiations on the withdrawal agreement. The Guardian was reporting that Jean Claude Juncker had told Theresa May the same during a phone call on Tuesday afternoon. It was being reported that the EU prez had said that there was no point in Theresa May coming back to Brussels if she got the Brady amendment to pass. After her phone call Theresa traipsed off to the Commons to plead for the Brady amendment and claim that she’d been listening. Not long after she got back to Number 10, the news was reporting that the French President Emmanuel Macron had also stated that the withdrawal deal was not open to renegotiation.

Despite its proposal already being ruled out by the EU, the Brady amendment narrowly passed by just 317 to 301. Within a few minutes there was an official statement from Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, saying that the Irish backstop was not going to be renegotiated.

On a recent episode of what I like to call the Poor Life Decisions Show, otherwise known as Tattoo Fixers, there was a guy who had got “Will you marry me Michelle?” tattooed across his chest. Then he showed off his tattoo to his beloved in a grand gesture of proposal only to find that she said no. Which must have been doubly painful. What the Brady amendment has done for Theresa May is the equivalent of getting “Will you renegotiate with me EU?” tattooed across the UK’s collective chest even though the EU has already said no.

Tattoo guy said he was gutted when his now ex-fiancee said no. “I genuinely had not considered the possibility that she might turn me down,” he said. Theresa doesn’t have that excuse. She’s already been turned down, but she seems to think that if she goes ahead with the tattoo anyway, the EU will reconsider since it’s clear that getting the tattoo is the will of the British Parliament, or at least the will of the Tories and the DUP. That’s the level of idiocy we’re dealing with here. She’s branding the UK as the eejit of Europe, where poor life decisions are official policy and we are all permanently scarred.

Supporters of Brexit insist that the UK survived WW2, so it can survive Brexit. Which is grand, except for the fact that the closest most of them have ever got to WW2 is playing Call of Duty on PlayStation 4. The British Parliament is now mired in delusion and lost in a dreamlike fantasy that makes a video game seem like hard headed realism. The government is unmoored from reality. The closest that the UK is going to get to the promises of the Brexists would be to get a unicorn tattooed on Jacob Rees Mogg’s backside.

So there we have it. The choice facing the UK is now Theresa May’s deal without the Irish backstop, which the EU already, repeatedly, said that it will not accept and will not renegotiate. Which means she’ll have to come back to the Commons next month with the same deal that was so resoundingly rejected a couple of weeks ago. Or it’s crashing out with no deal. The chances of a second EU referendum all but evaporated tonight. All we have left is the red white and blue unicorn tattoo and a wilful refusal to respect Johnny Foreigner. No wonder De Gaulle vetoed UK membership of the EEC.

Scotland has another choice. It’s time we took it.


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45 comments on “The red white and blue unicorn tattoo

  1. Robert Harrison says:

    English still as predictable as ever I knew they’d vote down the snp amendment since this morning I hate being right these days

  2. Waltz says:

    It seems that no matter what the SNP amendments is, they will vote it down. Can’t be seen to be sympathetic to anything Scottish.

  3. markrussell20085017 says:

    “It’s time we took it.”

    A little late, but yes…. GAFMO

    (get a fucking move on)

  4. selkie says:

    There’s Unicorns, and there’s Unicorns….

  5. […] Wee Ginger Dug The red white and blue unicorn tattoo Writing in his memoirs the French wartime leader Charles De Gaulle said about la […]

  6. Andy Anderson says:

    They are dilussional.

    The BBC is not reporting fact. It is soft on the government. Paul you know more than they are reporting. We are being lied to by omission

  7. graemedbruce says:

    What amazes me when you see the comments on Twitter and HYS is the number of idiots out there who think no deal and WTO tarrifs is going to be some kind of economic nirvana. These clowns are in for one helluva shock.

  8. Macart says:

    I’m no fan of that house, but what can you say? They’ve brought it to a level of farce you wouldn’t have thought possible. Embarrassing, cringe inducing and shameful. A heady mixture of arrogance, ignorance, lack of self awareness, idiocy and naked self interest.

    They pay lip service to unity, respect and coming together. They don’t know the meaning of the terms. So far as yer Westminster political class are concerned? Those concepts aren’t points of pride, or honour, or necessity. They’re moveable and expedient feasts. Your average party gonk from the mother of parliaments made a profession out of undermining trust and unity over the decades. They’ve spent years dividing and sub dividing demographics. Years of alienating, disenfranchising, othering, manipulating and generally misleading for their own selfish ends. What we’re seeing right now in parliament and wider society? THIS is the pay off.

    This is an object lesson in how you don’t treat populations.

    I think it’s about that time too. We can be so much better than this.

  9. Millsy says:

    Where the f*ck is Guy Fawkes when he is most needed ?

    Yes , I know he failed – but I for one would let the chap have another go !

  10. Clive Scott says:

    Was heartened by Ian Blackford’s contribution to the “debates” today. Despite the constant barracking and the rapidly thinning attendance he stood up for Scotland and indyref2. Disappointing that Caroline Lucas of the Greens chose not to vote with the SNP and Plaid. I wonder if this is a precursor to the Greens continuing to refuse to back the Holyrood budget and so precipitate an early Holyrood election. The 100% Labour abstention was further confirmation of their irrelevance to Scottish interests.

    My hope now is for the EU to hold firm on the existing “deal” forcing a “no deal” and utterly catastrophic Brexit come 29th March with huge dislocation precipitating the collapse of Westminster and another hung parliament but with SNP as deal makers/breakers with S30 as the price.

    • weegingerdug says:

      The Scottish Greens are an entirely different party from the Green Party of England and Wales which Caroline Lucas represents.

    • Illy says:

      “My hope now is for the EU to hold firm on the existing “deal” forcing a “no deal” and utterly catastrophic Brexit come 29th March with huge dislocation precipitating the collapse of Westminster and another hung parliament but with SNP as deal makers/breakers with S30 as the price.”

      Why would the SNP still be represented at Westminster after the next general election? Next vote we get they stand on a platform of “Independence, independence and nothing but independence”, win, and then we don’t need to worry so much.

    • msdidi says:

      Copied from Wings Over Scotland

      Thepnr says:
      29 January, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      Of the 39 that supported the SNP amendment, 33 were SNP, 4 Plaid Cymru, 1 Green and 1 Labour.

      The Labour MP that supported it was Paul Farrelly from Newcastle Under Lyme.

      So your list is every single Scottish MP bar the 33 SNP MP’s

      The Green was Caroline Lucas

  11. “Theresa’s deal is altogether, it’s altogether, yes altogether
    It’s completely fecked as altogether as it was fecked before”

    Just don’t let her appear in the altogether. Please.

  12. Douglas says:

    Nailed it Paul,

    The delusion is so strong in the rUK. It will not lift even if the supermarket shelves empty and donkey carts make a comeback. The sense of entitlement is huge.

    Clearly the resolutions in Westminster did not go far enough. I suggest:

    ‘This house believes that the world owes us a living and unquestioning obedience. We shall accept tribute from our vassal states (which will be waved through without customs checks)… etc’

    The madness of unilaterally demanding something that you have been told is impossible.

    Ah but the EU will suffer from a No Deal Brexit… aye right

    This is the logic of an idiot who thinks that driving his hatchback at high speed into a brick wall will teach it a lesson not to be there.

    • robert harrison says:

      That’s always been that way with england there nation is falling apart around them but there’s nothing to worry about ffs let’s just leave them to there suicide as trying to stop them obviously don’t work.

  13. It takes Paul’s special gift to summarise in words the madness that unfolded at WM today, and the equally idiotic reportage of a series of amendments which were doomed to failure, even if passed by the ‘English’ Parliament.
    No backstop, no deal.
    Scottish Labour, the Red Tories, abstained, because they are not there to represent their Scottish constituents.
    They’re in it for the cash, and therefore are mere stooges of the British ‘National’ Socialist Party, the ‘Brazis’ who are as anti Scotland as their Blue and Yellow BritNat comrades.

    All day the broadcasters churned out utter nonsense about the prospect of success for amendment after pointless insane amendment, in the full knowledge that the EU has already declared in no uncertain and repeated terms that there is no ‘wriggle room’, that the backstop remains, or there is No Deal.

    Corbyn’s lot are merely inmates in the same asylum.

    They want a UK GE, and when they win, they will negotiate some form of Customs Union, a trade deal, protect workers rights, but no Freedom of Movement, no European Court of Justice and no £350 million a week to the EU.

    They are as Mad a Hatter May.

    I’m simplifying their package here, but we are talking about simpletons after all.

    Corbyn knows that EU is unmoving on the four red lines.
    He hates the EU.

    If there is no FoM, no ECJ, there cannot be a Trade or Customs Deal.
    No cherry picking.End of story.

    So 590 idiots played out this Danse Macabre today in the full knowledge that it was a meaningless pointless exercise.

    We are heading for No Deal.

    Sorry, England and Wales are heading for No Deal.

    Scotland and hopefully the North of Ireland (formall ‘Northern Ireland’) have other plans.

    The DUP had their ‘let them eat cake’ moment as the Leader of the SNP described the medicine and food shortage which are now inevitable.
    We Scots can just go down the chippy apparently.

    I have no doubt that this is the Tipping Point.

    WE cannot wait around until May 2021.

    • Illy says:

      “They want a UK GE, and when they win, they will negotiate some form of Customs Union, a trade deal, protect workers rights, but no Freedom of Movement, no European Court of Justice and no £350 million a week to the EU.”

      Corbyn doesn’t want another general election before April 1st. He’s not stupid – he doesn’t want Labour to be in power when brexit destroys the country. He wants to ride in afterwards on a white horse.

      • You may be correct on the timing, Illy, but that’s what’s on offer from Corbyn.
        A magical red line busting Trade and Customs deal, without FoM, or ECJ jurisdiction.
        A Mad March Hare to May’s Mad Hatter.
        The arrogance of the English parliament knows no bounds.

      • chicmac says:

        On a donkey surely, with supporters laying palm leaves before him, as long as they are not, huch spit! Europeans.

        The second coming of a JC?

        As for Scotland, Joanna Cherry anyone?

      • Andy Anderson says:

        I think the whole day of farce was managed and a strategy put in place beforehand to get the result required. I now more than ever think a No Deal is the plan.

        As for those that talk of taking No Deal off the table I ask how? If you do not vote for the negotiated deal then what is the outcome? They have rejected the alternatives of delayed A50, another referendum so a no deal or ‘the deal’ it is.

        Now the master plan is to show May as hero and the EU mad and unbending.

  14. […] via The red white and blue unicorn tattoo […]

  15. John McLeod says:

    There is an important moral aspect to all this, nicely summed up in the De Gaulle story quoted by Paul at the start of his piece. The actions of Theresa May and the Tory yesterday further erode the trustworthiness of the UK as a partner in any type of enterprise. This is serious. There is a heavy burden of moral responsibility associated with the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. I have written about a Scottish perspective on this at: https://www.thenational.scot/news/17314784.its-time-for-open-and-honest-discussion-about-why-the-backstop-is-needed/

  16. givinggoose says:

    If you see yourself as undisputed master of the world, as Westminster does, then the result in Westminster is entirely understandable.

    There is a majority view embedded within English society that genuinely sees itself as the master race, superior to all others.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or be afraid.

  17. Macart says:

    So yeah, yesterday was all about theatre and more can kicking. Oh, and Ms May reneged on her own withdrawal agreement. It was also farcical and embarrassing. The end result? Another fortnight to cut a new, nu, noo-er plan with the EU, that they couldn’t do over a two year period.

    No. I’d be fairly sceptical too.

    Reaction from the EU so far? Well, naturally less than impressed.

    https://archive.is/LbIfy
    https://archive.is/mJwEw

    https://www.euronews.com/2019/01/29/watch-live-uk-parliament-votes-on-brexit-amendments

    And yes, the SNP amendment – ‘the government to seek an extension to Article 50, rule out a no deal Brexit and not take the people of Scotland out of the EU against their will.’ -was rejected out of hand.

    WHEN we get the opportunity? I think Scotland’s electorate should thank the folk behind what was Better Together appropriately.

    On the SNP and Mr Blackford’s speech in general? Whatever folk might think of the SNP, they are the third party of the UK, (by numbers), in the HoC. They are the largest party representing Scotland’s interests on the Scottish benches. They are the second largest party of the UK by membership and they represent the only other signatory of the treaty which creates the entity known as the UK. You’d think that whilst you may not agree with that party. Might not want to hear what they have to say. Might not even like or respect the individuals. It’s pretty much your ‘day job’ to listen to their POV and concerns. Apparently not.

    That the party leadership of both the government and official opposition walked out because they couldn’t be arsed listening to Mr Blackford’s speech is beyond arrogant and ignorant. It’s condescending, patronising, dismissive and insulting. Not just to our representation, but to those who put them there to act as our voice. This is a house that supposedly prides itself on archaic tradition and propriety, by the by. A place where you get told off for clapping or using inappropriate language such as ‘liar’. But, y’know, it’s apparently okay to act like an arrogant twat towards those you deem lesser mortals.

    Still, one listens very carefully and the other is supposedly about kinder more honest politics. Uh huh!

    Mibbies me, but I’m not seeing the whole ‘lead with us’, ‘family of nations’, ‘respect agenda’ thing happening …. at all.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      If a No Deal does happen our MP’s should walk out in disgust. We cannot change anything and are not listened too. We should do the same as the Catholic MP’s in Northern Ireland and boycott the place.

      • Macart says:

        They’ll do what they were always going to do Jack. Dot the ‘i’ and cross the ‘t’ on all procedure and legal process.

        Nerve shredding and frustrating stuff to watch right enough.

    • deelsdugs says:

      Nut, not at all Sam. They’re arrogant, disrespectful, deceitful, evil, think they can do what they want, when they want, trample on human rights, life, agreements, treaties…it’s an endless cycle of their own pomposity and greed.
      At least we have our chippy’s…

  18. mogabee says:

    The world is currently watching all this unfolding shitshow with horreur, incredulity and no little touch of humour.

    Meanwhile, we here in Scotland have a getoutclause hard fought for and just waiting for the moment to lay our cards out.

    Personally I feel it’s close and my nerves are jangling!!!

  19. welshsion says:

    This from the Guardian, only that Paul is more eloquent and has more relevance to other parts of this Disunited Kingdumb that Englandshire.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/30/brexit-political-class-politicians

  20. Robert Graham says:

    I remember reading a comment from an Indian Politician ,he said you cant trust the British to keep any agreement ,they know it , we know it so why do they have to keep proving it .

    This i believe is the stance of the negotiators from the EU they simply dont trust the English tory party to keep their end of anything agreed thats why the difficulty has arisen a total lack of trust .

    Waken up proud Scots how many times do you need to be let down by this English dominated parliament before it finally dawns on you , they cant be trusted ever .

  21. Glendon Franklin says:

    I am in despair. Scotland should be preparing for UDI and making arrangements to accept political refugees from England.

  22. deelsdugs says:

    Anyone know the DUP eejit who made ‘the chippy’ comment? I’ve not been catching up the past few days, had to have a breather from it all…

  23. Interpolar says:

    My wife wasn’t content with the pay rise I got at the end of next year. This gives me a huge mandate to go back to my employer and demand more.

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