I suppose the following meme says half of it.
What we are currently witnessing, from a perverse point of view, is entertaining! The Boris’ “I would rather be dead in the ditch” than ask for a further extension should his “deal” not happen deal, along with a £100 million advertising campaign pushing the 31st October leave message, is not NOW going to happen and instead the can has been again kicked further down the road and a new leave date has been agreed – 31st January. It is tempting to shut up and go with the flow, but the stakes are high and there appears no way, humanly speaking, out of this mess. While Boris has been successsful getting the withdrawal agreement, which for all intents and purposes is Theresa May Mark 3 without the Irish backstop, past the second reading stage, he couldn’t get Parliament to agree an extremely tight time table to get the Bill through all its stages and get agreement on any amendment made, to meet Thursday’s Leave deadline.
While that deal met the approval of the ultra-Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative party and a number of my “Leave” friends, who have been sold the Boris line of let’s get Brexit done and are fed up with repeated delays, I am glad there has been a delay although it adds to the uncertainty we are experiencing. That is not to say I believe those who voted for more time in scrutiny and the “Letwin” amendment to ask the EU for an extension acted particularly honourably, but then neither has Boris. His calling for a General Election is understandable because this is indeed a Zombie Parliament, and he feels based on polling data and the mood he senses in the country, he will win it. Yet he has acted disingenuously and while he may be a little better than Nicola, Jo and Jeremy (who I see as betraying the electorate) in his approach to Brexit, he has not only misled the electorate but has put party above country by wanting to be seen as the good guy while pushing forward an unsatisfactory treaty people didn’t vote for and doing so at high speed for political gain. As for why I believe that is the case, check out: “If you only read one thing about Boris Johnson’s deal, make it this” and “Nigel Farage Talk of the Week #5 – Death of Brexit?“. Even if only half the points made are correct, it brings us back to the old adage: “no deal is better than a bad deal”.
There are a several scenarios as to what may happen and which is the one to be played out is anyone’s guess. One is that with the extended timetable the Bill will be eventually passed and enacted and we leave the EU before 31st January, based on the awful treaty described in the above hit piece. Then, given Boris call for a General Election does not command the two third’s majority under the ill-conceived Fixed Term Parliament Act, simply because it doesn’t suit Labour to enter into an election they are likely to lose, he could introduce legislation to overturn that Act, and if successful he could call an election. The big question is what are his chances of getting an overall majority, especially if the Conservative manifesto includes Boris’ deal and the popular / popularist Brexit Party do not accept this, and it will split the “Leave” vote. At the moment there appears little likelihood of a pragmatic approach between the Conservatives and the Brexit Party so they don’t contest each other at the ballot box. The other scenario, popular with Remainers, is another Referendum. My understand is the choice being suggested is the Boris’ deal with minor tweaks or Remain – which really is Hobson choice and one many, including me, would not participate in.
I have even less doubt now, given it is unlikely a satisfactory deal can be agreed, that we should leave this bad oganisation without a deal. Even so, all stops have been put in place to stop that happening and at a human level the chances of leaving with no deal seems nigh impossible. Back to my earlier meme, I could sit back and enjoy the show, witness human nature at its best but more often at its worse, and be kept in suspense because we don’t know the outcome or what act of God may transpire, taking a view whatever will be will be and we just have to accept it. But because of the damage being caused and the cost and uncertainty we are seeing I can’t “enjoy”. I should add though that while I hope we can be free from undesirable EU control, many good people see things differently to me. Talking of acts of God, this is the time for me, not just to watch (and warn) but to earnestly pray, noting there is no clear way forward on the matter, and we can’t trust Boris to deliver. What is happening is dividing the nation and crippling it. I have no doubt the “show” being played out is part of a greater unseen spiritual battle. And I must focus on the first part of my “gospel preaching community activist” mantra.
Update: just to confirm how fast things move, only a few hours after posting this I find the Commons have voted for a December 12th General Election (see here). My concerns remain. I agree with Melanie Phillips: “The nightmarish election dilemma“. The big question, given likely Boris intransigence concerning “his deal” is can he strike up a non agression pact with the Brexit Party?