Friday, 5 April 2019
None of the interminable discussions, negotiations, debates or demonstrations was ever going to result in a ‘deal’ acceptable to both sides because each side wants polar opposite outcomes. And make no mistake, there are only two sides here; for all their bluster those seeking to agree a way of getting the Withdrawal Agreement passed are (whatever they may say, or even believe) signing off on a way to remain under the thumb of the unaccountable burghers of Brussels. Those who wish to leave have always known that anything less than a complete exit is not Brexit.
The indicative votes, the amendments the extraordinary refusal of Parliament to recognise that a compromise is never going to happen when every ballot is pretty much split down the middle are all evidence that what we voted on were the only two possible outcomes. Any form of customs union, single market membership and in particular any arrangement which allows a foreign court to have supremacy of British law is far worse than either extreme.
We know that if we stay in our voice is but one against, currently, 27. But pretending to leave – as all compromises will necessarily be – will silence us forever. One argument for remain has been about how our standing in the world would diminish outside, but Leavers don’t point out vociferously enough that the entire purpose of the EU is to diminish individual national influence. The half-arsed, half-out capitulation that May was handed by Merkel extinguishes that influence altogether. Out, we genuinely would have a bigger voice than in.
On trade, the future is a veiled, cloudy affair and we may well make enormous leaps on the outside which would be impossible restrained by the EU. Inside we could expect at least a form of moribund consistency. Surely we are better than that; much better. Some of our fellows would argue that we are all Europeans now, but equal numbers would most vehemently reject that notion with a rousing chorus of Rule Britannia. The two sentiments are profoundly irreconcilable.
Currently the House of Lords is also pretending to be grown up and maybe their cumulative years has injected a slight check on the unseemly haste with which they were initially tempted to rush through the wrecking bill cooked up by Letwin and Cooper. But make no mistake, although they have stopped to draw breath, pass it they will, come Monday. And where will that put us? Oh yes, back in the hands of the EU – quell surprise.
It is little wonder then that supporters of independence now judge Parliament to be, to all intents and purposes, illegitimate. They want to pretend to honour democracy by ignoring a democratic vote and framing a new offer, but the second referendum they propose will only contain two options: Leave in name only and accept second-class citizenship as EU slaves, or stay and help to shape the laws that will ultimately enslave everybody equally; suffer alone or recruit others to our misery.
There were only two options on the ballot
Even the most Remain of Remainers must be able to see that it would be a Hobson’s choice and our flaccid Parliamentary members are too weak or too venal to walk away from this trap of their own making. The only true choice for Britain has to be between remaining in the EU or leaving the EU. If only such an in/out referendum were possible. If only the British people could somehow indicate to us which they would prefer. Come on, chaps, Parliament is listening...