Today is the the 29th of March. It was our original Brexit deadline. It would have marked the start of the festival of Brexit, if only bloody Theresa and the Remoaners hadn’t got in the way of those true bastions of democracy – the angry, red-faced men of the ERG.
At the start of the week, today appeared to be a notable day for no reason other than symbolism – an echo of a time where Parliament was violently butting heads over how to proceed with Brexit, a zombie Prime Minister who shuffled endlessly towards the next brain to devour, and public baying for blood at the doors of Westminster.
Good to see things have moved on since then, eh?
Unfortunately, today has actually become rather more significant for an actual, definable reason. Even though the official Brexit deadline has long since moved to either the 22nd of May or the 12th of April, depending on which bonkers tarot cards you read from, a form of ultimatum has been laid down.
Today marks the day where May’s deal is either finally, at long last, chucked into the vat of molten steel like the T-1000 in Terminator 2, or, somehow, remains alive and kicking despite being chopped in half, like the T-800 at the end of The Terminator.
Let me explain.
What Happened Yesterday? I Thought It Was Meant To Be A Quiet Day…
So did I, friend. So did I.
After John Bercow’s reiteration on Wednesday that he would not allow Theresa May to bring her vote back to the house without “substantial changes,” it seemed as though May might struggle to find a way to put it back to the Commons.
Which is a bit embarrassing, considering that she promised to resign if it passed a vote. Should you be interested, I have covered how ridiculously fucking stupid that whole particular situation is in a very angry blog that I wrote yesterday.
However, what I hadn’t considered is just how absolutely stark-raving mad our government has become. More fool me, considering that recent events have been Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ come to life in the form of political discourse, but honestly, I’m not sure anyone saw this coming.
Early in the afternoon, there was an announcement that MPs would be called to sit in the House of Commons on Friday. This usually doesn’t happen except for passing certain types of bills, because MPs are, first and foremost, representatives of their constituencies. Fridays are often when these MPs take the time to meet with and listen to the people that elected them so they can better represent them. So, when they are told that they can’t go back to their constituencies (bearing in mind that these range from Cardiff to Cornwall to Fort William to Belfast), there is usually a good reason.
Instead, there were just murmurings of something being conjured up in No. 10. A collective sigh echoed throughout Parliament. What kind of rabbit would May pull out of the hat this time?
As it turns out, a mangled one with myxomatosis, one eye missing and no bottom half.
I’m going to try to make this as understandable as possible, so bear with me.
- In order to get past Bercow’s ruling, May dismantled the Withdrawal Agreement – i.e. May’s negotiated deal with the EU, and what was resoundingly defeated in the last two Meaningful Votes.
- The Withdrawal Agreement is actually the wider name given to two sides of the agreement – one of which is the actual Withdrawal Agreement itself, which is a declaration of protection of citizens’ rights, the “divorce bill” and, crucially, the dreaded backstop. Tacked onto that is the Political Declaration, which sets out the future relationship of the UK with the EU.
- May is only holding a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, not the Political Declaration. Because she is now holding a vote on only HALF of the Meaningful Vote, Bercow allowed it.
Are you still following? Because frankly, if you still are, you deserve a gold star for commitment to understanding complete fucking nonsense.
This is what MPs are voting on today – half of May’s Brexit deal.
But… This Makes Absolutely No Sense.
Right. It doesn’t.
At first glance, it is clearly a blatant move to try and force through the gallant sacrifice that she announced on Wednesday and step down on her own terms after her deal is passed. Otherwise, she would have to suffer the ignominy of being axed by her own subordinates.
“Et tu, BoJo?”
Anyway, in about as clear an indication as to how low our government has sunk, how utterly devoid of ideas it is and how many soggy, crumbling barrel bottoms it has scraped to get to this point, this “at-first-glance” view is about as positive as it gets for the Maybot.
Let’s have a quick run-down of how futile today’s exercise is.
- ONE!: Because it is all just a case of throwing the toys out of the pram. MPs voted in favour of continuing the Indicative Votes plan on Monday by a majority of 336, taking power away from the Prime Minister. It is one last chance at taking back control despite a new, better form of governance already being trialled.
- TWO!: The DUP have refused to support May’s deal because the backstop isn’t dealt with and Northern Ireland will remain unequivocally screwed by the whole thing. By dismembering it, she hasn’t changed anything. Labour MPs will not support it either. It has next to no chance of passing if it doesn’t get the support of the ERG.
- THREE!: Unfortunately, while certain ERG members (Boris, Jacob Rees-Mogg) have said that they will now back her deal to further their own leadership bids (yes, the public have already noticed), a majority of die-hard ERG members still refuse, meaning there is no majority. Mark Francois, a shorter, fatter, even more godawful Nigel Farage, even said he wouldn’t vote for it if they put a shotgun in his mouth.
Which, in a way, I sort of admire. I’m not sure why.
- FOUR!: Because even if she won the vote tomorrow, she would move our no-deal date back to May 22nd but would have absolutely zero plans in place as to what our future agreement with the EU would be. There would have to be another vote further down the line, before May 22nd, to ratify the Political Declaration, which is universally agreed to be legally fundamental to the whole Withdrawal Agreement as a whole. This vote isn’t guaranteed, meaning that it would be, to quote the shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer, a “Blind Brexit” – a vote on the immediate, while taking the guarantees away from the future.
- FIVE!: Because there is absolutely no way that the EU would allow this to happen. To take what they finalised with May after months of hard negotiations, rip it apart, wipe our collective arses with it, then hand it back to them, simply wouldn’t fly. A punitive response would be very likely.
So… What’s The Point?
What’s the point of anything anymore?
I’m so tired.
The arguments as to why this is even happening in the first place are absolutely insane.
- It’s the original Brexit day, so maybe the ERG will collectively panic that Brexit might not happen and back the deal.
- May took one for the team and said that she would resign if it passed, so we owe it to her to try to see if we can get some form of consensus over absolute fucking garbage so that she can commit political hara-kiri and die honourably.
- Parliament hasn’t found a consensus yet, so let’s all choose the one thing that absolutely everyone hates. That’s a consensus, right?
None of these reasons will give us anything close to a positive majority. It’s all a waste of everyone’s time.
Nothing will come of today, other than it being remembered as the final fart of a gaseous corpse where leadership used to be. The fact that it’s happening in the first place is nothing short of a joke, and to see how far we have fallen is to demonstrate how much of a laughing stock we are.
Roll on Monday, where we might have some real, honest politicians debating in the public interest again.
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