According to TS Eliot, April is the cruellest month. In 2019 January, February and March are going to run it pretty close. The outcome is as unpredictable as Trump’s mental processes. Unlike the pundittieri I’ve got neither crystal balls nor a God-given ability to predict the future. Fortunately, also unlike them, I’m not driven by a hard instinct and can admit errors. So let me make a few guesses.
The pundits themselves, their house journal The Guardian and their think-tanks in Treasury and the Bank will go into a euro-enthusiastic frenzy, predicting immediate disaster if we Leave, or a dragged-out version of it if we accept Theresa May’s application for colonial status. They’ll hold out the prospect of eternal bliss, prosperity and rallying the world against Trump, Putin and even Kim Jong Un if we stay.
Theresa will beg for a pretty (but unbankable) promise from the EU not to be too beastly and, if she can get it, permission for small dogs to enter the EU without a photographic passport taken by a French photographer. Her task now is to persuade enough Brexiteers that hers is the best deal any human being could possibly get while claiming that the UK may eventually be released from the tagged probation if we behave nicely. She hopes that this will get enough people to vote for her Brexit Postponement Bill.
The Labour Party will continue to fall apart. Corbyn will claim that cochons will fly under a Labour government. Meanwhile the bulk of his party will shuffle off to the soft option of a People’s Vote which will both allow them to creep back into Europe and ensure that Corbyn won’t be able to implement any of his radical plans.
The rampant Remainers will continue their collusion with Brussels. The Tony Blair Foundation will provide winter clothing for more parliamentary flag-wavers. The master propagandists, Campbell and Adonis, will promote a Remainer People’s Vote while prophesying doom, disaster and bubonic plague if we crash, crawl, eject or stagger out.
As for the great British public, they won’t revolt like the gilets jaunes. Stoicism is the British rebellion, not riots. Yet they are becoming fed up and alienated as they realise that their political leaders are not only incapable of delivering what the people voted for, but totally incompetent – having done little except blame the people for their vote while allowing clever EU bastards to humiliate them.
In short, it’s totally unpredictable but certain to be a mess. However, I can say what should happen.
If Theresa’s sell out doesn’t get through Parliament, there can’t be another referendum because there’s nothing to vote on. Remainers will generate a frenzy of fear about a no-deal departure, though that can come only if the Government gives up. So the Government must resume negotiations with new proposals.
The EU has constantly claimed that they want positive proposals from Britain. Make them. Make them stronger. Demand an extension of the two years to negotiate them. The EU will bluster and try to refuse it on the grounds that they’ve made their best offer. They haven’t. The Government can’t get it through Parliament. So it lapses.
The EU have already indicated that they’ll allow an extension to conduct a referendum. That’s impossible until we have a deal Parliament can accept. Which puts the ball back in their court. If they won’t offer one, they damage themselves when their economy is already doing badly. In the face of the world trend to freer trade and facing failure with the euro, they won’t dare to humiliate us.
Fudges end every argument in the EU. If they can’t manage one now, the responsibility for a no-deal departure is theirs. Forcing it will rally the British public to it and the necessary concomitant measures to support industry and expand the economy. It’s certainly better than limping into humiliation because the Government has no guts and Remainers have reduced a proud nation to gibbering with fear at the prospect of quitting a leaking hulk to join a prospering world.
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