It was only three days ago when I wrote my first Brexitwatch and unsurprisingly lots has happened since. But before I go into the more serious stuff, I couldn’t help laughing at the story of the French Europe minister who, aptly in my view, name her cat Brexit because: “It wakes me up meowing like crazy every morning because it wants to go out, but as soon as I open the door, it just sits there undecided and then looks angry when I put it outside.” The joke was at British expense, an allusion to Britain’s inability to decide when and how it wants to leave the European Union (although, disappointingly, I later learned the story was made up).
The biggest news is Mrs May has asked the EU for a short extension to the March 29th Leave date, in order to make one more attempt in getting a deal through. Whether this is granted remains to be seen. The latest headline, no doubt shortly to be superseded is: “Brexit: Draft plans propose UK to get delay to 22 May” … “The UK could be offered a Brexit delay to 22 May on the condition MPs approve the PM’s deal next week, a draft European Council document says”. I would be surprised if MP’s will approve any deal the PM presents as any changes from the previous deals is likely to be cosmetic. I and many fellow leavers would be disappointed as it is NOT one voted for at the EU Referendum and would be a sell out. As for Mrs May her frustration at MPs including own Party colleagues has been quite vocal and at her sense of failure of not achieving the honorable compromise she felt was needed and eminently doable.
While I hope the UK will leave, if not on the 29th March soon after, with or without a deal, for reasons argued in my earlier articles, to do with not just the Irish backstop issue but our being beholden to the EU and not being able to influence decisions, I can’t see this happening without something momentous happening because of the anti no-deal sentiment that, to be fair, is not just confined to out of touch MPs but resonates with many. I suspect many besides Mrs May are frustrated too that we are where we are, little further on to when we voted to leave nearly three years ago. What was recently put on the table was a disappointment to remainers and leavers alike. The dearth of leadership when it comes to plotting life post Brexit is palpable and it reminds me why I am a Trump supporter, who I have little doubt if his advice been taken would have led to a more desirable outcome to the one being pushed. One silver lining though is she like most does not wish to prolong the in/out outcome / agony any more than than the three months asked for.
I was struck earlier today that two staunch Christian friends who post irregularly on Facebook were supporting a petition to revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU, which at the time of writing had 1,251,554 signatures and such was the demand on the server by those wanting to sign it had crashed! Knowing the views of these folk, I was not surprised, but I was saddened. This is in contrast with a 300,000 signed petition demanding PM leave EU and scrap the deal. I didn’t expect to be saying this but for the sake of democracy and harmony, I wonder if a second referendum is an option should Mrs May’s attempt next week at getting MPs to agree a deal is rejected, although it is hard to imagine a form of words which will lead to straightforward, acceptable by most, immediately to be mandated outcome insofar if the proposition is rejected we leave with no further ado, although it occurred to me if the people were to decide it could be on the lines of the first petition. What I am pretty certain of is that a third Brexitwatch article will follow quite shortly to cover more twists in the tale, some of which are unpredictable.
Update 22/03/19: according to a document just released “the European Council agrees to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week. If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until 12 April 2019 and expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward before this date for consideration by the European Council“. I hope not, yet fear MPs may vote to accept a bad deal in order to comply with these terms. If they do throw out the deal and then come to debate the revoke Article 50 petition, they may be like the poker player who fails to call his opponents bluff (which this is) and actually agree, after which it is back to square one. I suspect that the EUs game plan has always been with the end game in sight, to keep the UK tied into the EU. It is one reason why the question of the Irish backstop has become such a big deal. While disappointed the political elite and their followers have been taken in by this ploy, my hope remains that MPs will continue to reject what are fundamentally bad deals they have been asked to vote on and still accept at least in principle “the peoples’ vote”, and there is no reason to think it will be any different this time round, and we will be out on the 12th April. While some see no deal as a disaster, I see, notwithstanding some pain, it can be a big step to liberation and a kick in the teeth to the devil. Whether we take that step is another question. God has always allowed humankind to exercise its free will and yet still be merciful and in control. And as a final thought (and this really has to be my final one in this article) the aforementioned petition now stands at having over three million signatures. The least this demonstrates is that whatever I think, many good people are understandable concerned over what is happening, and while recognising more may think differently, the nation is divided.