- There are less than two weeks to go until Britain leaves the EU without a deal unless something else is formally agreed by Parliament and 27 other countries.
- On 15th January 432 MPs rejected the deal agreed by Theresa May and only 202 voted for it. A massive majority of MPs think that Theresa May’s deal is bad for the country.
- On 12th March the same deal was voted on again in the light of some additional assurances and statements agreed with the EU. It was again rejected, this time by 391 votes to 241. Despite the threat of No Deal most MPs still thought that Britain would be worse off if this deal was accepted.
- The EU have said that they will not change or improve this deal unless something radical changes in the situation in the UK. That effectively means a General Election.
- Theresa May has said that she will not call a General Election and that she will resign before the next one. The Conservative Party therefore needs to conduct a divisive leadership contest before any General Election can take place. Unless she changes her mind.
- Theresa May has the option to put her deal to the British people and ask for their opinion in a Second Referendum. She has made it clear that she doesn’t want to do so. She has never said that No Deal, her Deal and No Brexit will all be on a single transferrable vote ballot paper. If she changes her mind it is entirely possible she will try to organise a two option No Deal or Her Deal plebiscite.
- Theresa May’s current plan is to put the deal back to Parliament a third time as close as she can to the wire in the hope that a majority will vote for it rather than crash out without a deal
- If she succeeds in this plan there will indeed be no time to organise a Parliamentary vote in the UK that delays Brexit for long enough for either a People’s Vote or a General Election to be held. Both require the EU and its 27 member nations to agree a lengthy extension of Brexit
- There is still no clarity on what the main opposition party will do to stop her presenting the nation with a choice between two very poor options. We don’t know what motions they will table this week. We don’t know whether or when they will table a motion for a People’s Vote. We don’t even know which way the leader of the Labour Party would vote if there was a People’s Vote.
- The option to simply revoke article 50 and remain in the EU with the country’s current advantageous terms remains in the hands of Parliament. The two biggest parties have no intention of using it.
- Preparations for crashing out of the EU on 29th of March are weak and incomplete and awareness amongst business and private citizens of what it will mean are even weaker.
- Despite all the chaos and confusion and all the damage to the country opinion polls still show that around 45% of voters want to leave the EU. They also show a significant majority now wants to remain.
- The nation is therefore about to watch its MPs sign up to a deal that only 202 of them think is good for the country or about to crash out – a situation that around 50 MPs think is good for the country and less than 30% of the nation supports.
- The nation is also about to watch its main opposition party dither its way past the date when it could propose a Second Referendum and to run out of time for this to be agreed by both Parliament and the EU even if they win the vote.
- We were promised that if we voted for Theresa May we would get “strong and stable” government.
- We were promised that if we voted for Jeremy Corbyn we would get principled leadership.
In these circumstances it is important to ask the obvious question. Is this really the best we can do?
The nation is now united on only one thing. Almost everyone agrees we are in a mess.
Does anyone think we have the leadership that we need in order to find the way out of it?
In case you were wondering the political parties that are represented in Westminster that have consistently explained what a shambles Brexit would be and who have campaigned for a People’s Vote are:
The SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the SDLP
I suggest folk draw their own conclusions about who deserves their vote from now on.
Oh and whilst we’ve been discussing all this the Artic Ice Cap has reached the lowest ever extent, the UK winter peak temperature records have been broken by 2 degrees, the Carbon Dioxide levels have nudged over 410 ppm for the first time, and storms, droughts, heat waves and hurricanes have all increased in frequency. Children are on strike because of the climate change emergency whilst adults are squabbling about how to limit a cock up of our own making. We are entitled to ask who are the real adults in the room.