Ahhh. There we are.
It’s been a bit unnerving this week. If you ignore the more radical wings of the Tory party, the majority of the news stories around Brexit have been overwhelmingly positive. A real effort to try to find cross-party consensus from the Labour and Conservative leaders, Theresa May acting responsibly, laws being passed to safeguard against a no-deal Brexit…
It was almost as though everyone decided, at one minute to midnight, to act like grown-ups. Maybe, just maybe, this wouldn’t be a disaster.
However, with five seconds to go, one man has decided non – let’s try to ruin everything.
Emmanuel Macron, ladies and gentlemen.
Merci fucking beaucoup.
Wait, What? I Thought You Said He Was A Leading Light In Politics, A New Centrist Messiah In A–
Just… shut up.
Theresa May appeared before an emergency summit of the European Council yesterday, the day after she met with the French and German leaders, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, to try and pre-empt any issues at the Council meeting. It was meant to go smoothly.
May was asking for an extension to Article 50.
- She asked for a short extension to the 30th of June in order to give her time to pass a withdrawal agreement;
- But she probably knew that the EU would almost certainly refuse this and grant her an extension to the end of the year instead – Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission, wrote to the 27 member states’ leaders to say that this was the best course of action;
- She also assumed, as per Tusk’s letter, that the extension would be flexible – if she could organise Brexit before then, the UK would leave when they could.
While the politics of her having to ask for a doomed-to-fail short extension solely to placate her moronic ERG party members back home was ridiculous, Tusk gave us a lifeline. We could leave when/if we found a plan, but were also hypothetically given the breathing space to try to find an alternative if we wanted to.
The planned extension to the end of the year would grant the UK enough time to hold a General Election, a second referendum, or at least enough time to try and figure out a rational way out of the Brexit impasse. If we found a way out, we would leave.
The plan was a tiny, shining nugget of common sense in the sifting pan of murky bollocks that is this whole Brexit fiasco.
All we needed was for the 27 EU member states to agree to it. Rumours were plentiful that the majority did. Theresa May pitched her plan to the other leaders and, by contrast to last time she appeared before them, they were supposedly quite impressed by her. The general consensus was that most member states weren’t exactly happy about an extension, let alone a long one, but realised how necessary it was.
We were so close.
Emmanuel Macron, the French President, refused to agree to a long extension.
He insisted that the deadline be May’s requested 30th of June, which is not enough time to achieve anything productive in the UK assuming that no deal is passed through government. As all 27 leaders needed to unanimously decide on the extension, his refusal to budge was a death knell to the concept of a long extension to the end of the year.
In the end, his stubborn refusal to allow a long extension resulted in a ‘fudge’ – a final offer from the EU of an extension to the 31st of October, with a review on proceedings in June.
May, bound by law, accepted it.
Us at BTL HQ.
WHY?! WHY ON EARTH WOULD HE DO THAT?!
Look at what’s happening in France. Riots in the streets, les gilets-jaunes waging war against Macron and his policies, and his approval rating absolutely bombing. Macron wants to stamp his authority as a legitimate leader, and being firm with the old frenemies across the Channel could be seen as a means of doing so.
However, all he has done is make the delay utterly pointless.
The delay isn’t long enough to hold a second referendum, despite momentum increasing in favour of one, and nor is it short enough to put some time-pressure on the fatuous, imbecilic dickhead-department of the ERG to fall in line. If they did, they might help to ensure an orderly Brexit as opposed to the economic catastrophe that would be no-deal.
Throughout this whole ordeal, the EU has acted rationally, calmly and diplomatically – noticeably at odds with May’s consistent inability to demonstrate anything close to leadership. This was the first evening where they failed, although to watch Donald Tusk at the press conference after the announcement was to see a deeply disappointed man.
Throughout everything, Tusk has continuously been a friend to the UK, trying as hard as he can to give us the space we need to fix our own mess and defending us at every turn.
Sadly, his hand was forced by Macron’s show of “strength.”
Oh For God’s Sake. What The Hell Happens Now?
We have found a new road down which to kick the proverbial can. The nightmare continues, and we do not even have enough time to explore all the options we can. The only good news is that this was not specifically said to be the final extension – if (when) we get to October with nothing new, we can most likely extend again.
In the interim, however, May will talk to the Commons tomorrow and will face an immediate rebellion from a huge number of her own backbenchers. She will have to fight tooth and nail to remain in place as Prime Minister, but will probably be ousted before long. This will open the way for a hard Brexiteer to come in and make matters far, far worse.
Talks will continue between her cabinet and Labour, but there are no signs of any kind of agreement being made.
Elections will almost certainly be held for the European Parliament in June. It will take a massive, concerted effort by the UK electorate to prevent hard-right, Brexiteer parties from making massive gains in these elections. If elected, they will be incredibly disruptive to the EU and could result in sanctions being posed upon the UK… which will lead to further anger from Leavers.
Nothing concrete will likely be achieved by October, and we will have another emergency summit two weeks before the deadline of the 29th to ask for another extension.
On a day where the densest body of mass in the universe was photographed for the first time, politicians from all sides did their very best to embody that unimaginable denseness as an homage. After all the optimism this week, we’re finally back to square one: uncertainty, fear, economic decline and a total erosion of belief in our political system.
Ahhh. It’s good to be back.
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