Sunday, 7 October 2018
A deal changes everything.
Anybody who watched Channel 4 News on Friday night couldn't have failed to notice the belated recognition by the Irish Government that, while a hard Brexit would be a disaster for us, it would be a catastrophe for them. And that, if they played too hard ball, the British Government was not bluffing about that outcome.
The British |Government, on the other hand, will happily sell out an obscure North Western Province over whether you need an identity document to travel from Larne to Stranraer, not least because you currently need such an identity document to fly from Glasgow to Manchester without anybody being noticeably outraged.
So there is going to be a deal. And that will completely change the game.
Because, once there is a deal, it will be the only deal in town. Unless there is somehow cobbled together a Parliamentary majority for a "People's Vote" it will be Mrs May's deal or a disastrous hard Brexit.
But let us be blunt, there is simply no way a majority for a second referendum could be constructed. It would have to start with the whole of the Labour ranks to vote to withdraw the article 50 notification to enable this "People's Vote" to take place. Anybody, anybody, think McDonnell and Corbyn would be up for that? Me neither, So you don't even have to start on ruling out the DUP joining it's ranks. Never mind the SNP, worried about the precedent set about a "Leave" vote in a different context.
Once there is a deal, it is the only deal in town.
So let us also consider where that leaves our three major Parties in Parliament in turn faced with this "deal or no deal".
Firstly, the Tories. There are "no deal" Tories but they are pretty small in number. They don't include anybody still in the Government. But they equally don't include Boris either, who wants not no a no deal but a different deal. The opportunity for which, if it was ever on offer, would, after Mrs May brings home her deal, and, hypothetically, has seen it voted down, would depend on, either, being willing to withdraw the article 50 to allow more time for negotiation or resigning ourselves to crashing out and then trying to negotiate a way back in. Let's see how many are in that camp. Although to be fair they would potentially include the DUP.
Secondly, Labour. McDonnell and Corbyn clearly share Trotsky's strategy of welcoming the fall of France to the Nazis as being likely, through the misery resulting, to usher in "socialism" by popular insurrection. It's a view, but not a view shared by the overwhelming majority of the PLP who get what a no deal Brexit would mean for working people. Now, some will remain fanatical in their pursuit of overturning the June 2016 vote but, by the time of any Commons division in December the majority will appreciate that this is never happening and that, by that point, virtually any deal is better than no deal. And vote accordingly.
And then finally the SNP. A chaotic Brexit would undoubtedly serve their cause. But not if they had trooped in to vote for it alongside Jacob Rees-Mogg.
So a deal, any deal, will almost certainly pass the Commons.
Well, first, Mrs May will be seen to have extricated the Nation from a mess of our own making. And, no matter how unfairly, reap her reward. I might be wrong but if the Tories are not ten points ahead in the week after a deal passes the Commons I'd be genuinely surprised.
Second, Magic Grandad, on that same spread, will shortly have to appreciate the Unions having had enough of his ineffective sanctimony . And that it might be better if he returned to his previous occupations of digging his allotment while hating Jews.
Third. The justification for a second independence referendum before 2021 will be gone.
So, a deal changes everything. Assuming, of course, that there is a deal.