The government, and I use that term loosely, has belatedly realised that people whose sole reason for getting up in the morning is to insist that the EU is the Antichrist are never going to agree to anything. So the Brexiters are furious again, he wrote as though that was somehow surprising or novel. Fury is the base state for Brexcrementalists, so much so that this week they’ve managed to work themselves up into an apoplexy of rage because they’re worried that they might not get the Theresa May Brexit deal that they’d already decided that they didn’t want.
The immediate cause of the outrage is because Theresa May is asking Jeremy Corbyn if he can agree to a customs union which isn’t the customs union, but not the customs union which is Jeremy’s not the customs union, and then agree not to call it a customs union. What a time to be alive.
The session in the Commons was suspended today because of a water leak. That’s what happens when you tell all the Polish plumbers that they’re not welcome any more. Even the building is unfit for purpose. Just as well there’s nothing important happening … Oh.
Talks between Jeremy and Theresa are continuing, but no one really expects much to come out of them. Neither leader is trusted by their own party, never mind anyone else. Jeremy Corbyn is coming under increasing pressure to ensure that any deal which is struck is put to the electorate in a confirmatory referendum. His own shadow foreign secretary was reduced to making a direct appeal to Labour MPs above Jeremy’s head. However Jezza apparently believes that the Labour conference resolution for a referendum only applies in the event of a bad Tory Brexit deal, not a bad Labour Brexit deal that he manages to get Theresa May to agree to.
However the biggest obstacle to reaching a deal between the two party leaders is that compromise is something which Theresa May expects other people to do. Following her meeting with Nicola Sturgeon yesterday, the First Minister remarked that she was still unclear on what compromises the Prime Minister was prepared to make. Suspicions are growing that the offer to meet with Jeremy Corbyn is merely yet another attempt to reduce the possible choices to Theresa May’s deal or no-deal. So really, we’re all screwed.
The Commons is aware of this, and has decided that Theresa May is as trustworthy as a five year old with a tin of chocolate biscuits. It has narrowly passed a private member’s bill, the so-called Cooper-Letwin bill, which would impose a legal obligation on the Prime Minister to seek a long extension to Article 50 if she can’t get a deal through the Commons. The effect of this bill is to prevent a no-deal Brexit. The long extension would require the UK taking part in the EU elections, something Theresa May is determined to avoid.
Now you might think that the Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™, who we were told were going to vote as a bloc in order to protect Scotland’s interests, would be in favour of any measure that would prevent a no-deal Brexit. Yet every single Scottish Tory voted along with the government against the bill. Every single one of them put the interests of the Conservative party before the interests of Scotland. They don’t want a long extension because it would split their party and bring about an early General Election which would see most of them lose their seats. They would prefer to risk a no-deal Brexit rather than risk the unity of the Conservatives, the unity of a party that already has more splits in it than the Spice Girls. The Scottish Conservatives can’t even defend the interests of Scotland within this supposed union. They are failures even on their own terms.
The timetable for this bill is extremely tight. It’s a last ditch measure which is only necessary because Theresa May has spent the last three years running down the clock and negotiating with her own Brextremist backbenchers. It’s important that this bill comes into legal effect by next week, before the Prime Minister is due to meet with EU heads of state in Brussels on Wednesday. Following its success in the Commons, the bill has now gone to the Lords.
A small group of Conservatives in the Lords are now trying to talk the bill out in order to ensure it runs out of time. They’re led by Michael Forsyth, the failure’s failure who was so overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate in 1997 when he led the Scottish Conservatives. Michael spent the EU referendum stomping about the TV debating shows demanding an exit from the EU because it’s terribly unfair it was that our laws are made by unelected placepersons that we can’t vote out of office. Michael doesn’t do irony.
Michael suffered an absolute and utter defeat at the hands of the voters of Scotland, a defeat so all-encompassing that Michael didn’t just lose his own seat, he lost every single seat his party had held. Rejections do not come more absolute in a democracy. If he had failed so comprehensively in any other profession, he would have been struck off and banned from working in the field again. Yet here he is all these years later, influencing our laws and trying to ensure that a no-deal Brexit happens even though a substantial majority of voters in Scotland voted to reject Brexit. All by himself, Michael Forsyth is a demonstration that the British political system is unfit for purpose.
Michael thinks that the Irish border issue isn’t an issue at all, and it’s all been made up by the BBC and people who don’t want Brexit to happen. He doesn’t care about the effects a no-deal Brexit would have on ordinary Scottish people. He doesn’t need to worry about job losses. He’s got a job for life as an unelected placeperson that we can’t vote out of office, and a back up career as a body double for Dracula. He railed in the Lords today about how suspending the House’s usual standing orders to make time for this bill would lead to tyranny. But tyranny is already here in the shape of an unelected Michael Forsyth doing his damnedness to impose a no-deal Brexit on a country which rejected Brexit, and which rejected him.
Tyranny is already here in the form of a Prime Minister who doesn’t listen to anyone, whose sole strategy is to run down the clock in order to force MPs to change their minds on a deal which they have repeatedly rejected while she denies that the electorate might have changed theirs. Tyranny is already here in the shape of an EU referendum in which the winning campaign lied and cheated in order to get their narrow victory and a government which rejects that the result was unsafe. Tyranny is already here in a Scotland which voted against independence on the basis of promises and commitments made by the British state, promises and commitments that the British state has traduced and broken. Tyranny is already here in the form of a British Prime Minister whose party was rejected by voters in Scotland yet who insists that Scotland must seek her permission before it is even allowed to ask itself a question about its own future.
The only way to protect us all from tyranny is for the people to have their say, for a UK wide vote on any Brexit deal that two discredited party leaders might manage to cobble together, and for a vote in Scotland on whether we want to remain a part of this dysfunction which imposes the tyranny of the rejects upon us.
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