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Thought experiment… July 30, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Good piece here on The Brexit Blog which suggests:

Imagine that, the WA completed, the UK had been all geared up to ratify it and it was the EU-27 that had fallen into disarray and could not do so because of internal divisions. And so it was they who were seeking renegotiation of something that the UK regarded as having been agreed. It’s not very difficult to see that the UK, and Brexiters in particular, would be outraged. And, no doubt, would be saying that, in that case, let the EU-27 accept the consequences of no-deal if that’s what they want.

In that context, too, imagine if it were the EU-27 who were saying that the thing they wanted changed (the financial settlement, say) could be resolved if the UK accepted the one solution that the 27 had agreed on (that the settlement be recalculated according to an unspecified formula, say). What, then, would the Brexiters’ response be? Again, it’s not hard to guess. But this is exactly the logic of what Brexiters argue when they say that the Brady Amendment (i.e. to remove the backstop in favour of alternative arrangements) should be accepted by the EU as it is the only thing that the British Parliament has voted in a majority for.

There’s a broader point on the piece which is hugely important to understanding the situation we now find ourselves in and which has been reiterated on this site too. That is that in 2016 the form of Brexit was not a ‘no-deal’ one. And that ‘It’s inconceivable that a no-deal platform would have won in 2016, and it is a mark of how cowed many mainstream politicians have become that they would even countenance it as being the ‘will of the people’.’

That said I think it fair to say that there was no end of deceit in that position that no-deal was unthinkable. That was, I’d suspect, precisely what many pro-Brexit proponents, or leading proponents, sought.

It is that which shows us how far matters have tilted to the extreme. Few would argue the WA was an optimal document – however it is the least worst option short of the politically (I’d argue) unattainable goal of Remain, at least given the current configuration of forces and the path that has led us to here. And sensible words too that even were a Remain achieved it would in no way ‘fix’ the situation or be a solution as such – that the fractures that Brexit has opened wider in the British polity are there to stay. I’ve no time for May but what she negotiated offered at least a hint of a way forward. With May gone what is left?

And the piece notes that that path leaves the UK in a position where Brexit will, as it were, use up all the political oxygen available. How can it be otherwise when it is so central to economic and other areas?

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