May’s Last-Minute Concessions To The Tory Rebels
PM Theresa May has left the door open for some adjustments on the Brexit. “Backstop,” the transitional period. She hopes to win over Tory rebel backbenchers as the vote on the EU withdrawal bill approaches. It is perhaps the last gasp from a Prime Minister on the brink, as no option in this Brexit quagmire has an overall popular majority support.
As it stands, it doesn’t seem like May will receive the necessary number of votes in the House of Commons to get her deal passed. Even the Tory Chief Whip has admitted this. The “deal,” which is by most accounts the worst deal ever, is supremely unpopular amongst hard Leavers in the Torys, and Remainers in Labour, but it doesn’t seem that the Prime Minister has a plan B. The only other options would be to negotiate with the EU for a better deal, have another general election, or leave the EU with no deal. Considering all of this, a delay on the vote is being considered, as May scrambles to decide what to do next.
Personally, I’m stumped. It’s one of those paradoxical situations where none of the options currently on the table seem plausible.
No More Brexit Debate
Last week I reported that there would be a debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on the state of Brexit, but it seems like that is no longer the case. Neither ITV nor the BBC could find it in their interest to host it. For me, it was pointless without some key Brexiteer figures in the first place. Otherwise, it was set to become a Labour Party electoral message.
Corbyn Says He Has A Better Plan
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has put forward an alternative plan for Brexit and has encouraged the Commons to back him instead. His plan involves negotiating for a better deal with the EU, but also leaving the option open for a second referendum on membership. Pretty solid politicking if you ask me, as it seems to appease both Labour Leavers and Remainers, though I still maintain that a second referendum is political suicide, regardless of my own feelings on the matter.
The Brexiteer’s Case Against No Deal
I was of the opinion in all this mess that the best of the unspeakably bad options we have in front of us would be to leave the EU without a deal, trading under WTO rules until we could negotiate a free trade arrangement. I was also under the impression that this would be the default view of any free-market Brexiteer, but I was wrong. Christopher Snowdon wrote a thought-provoking blog post about why it might be better to just accept May’s deal, thereby accepting that we’ve lost.
He claims that it’s not obvious that customs arrangements in a No Deal situation would be much better than if we were still part of the customs union – notwithstanding the Irish border issue, and potential hold-ups at Calais, many tariffs on foreign goods may end up being higher. Brexiteers clamoring for a No Deal are guilty of wishful thinking. In fact, the doomsday scenario that Remainers predicted would be much more likely under a No Deal.
“The European Commission and the British establishment have won. The Brexiteers have been outmaneuvered. We have lost and it is not worth wrecking the economy and opening the door to socialism to make a point. The only realistic choice now is between remaining in the EU and accepting May’s deal. No deal is a no go.”
What he’s referring to with “opening the door to socialism,” is that one of the albeit few benefits of EU rules are limitations on how much state intervention there is in the economy. In the increasingly likely scenario of a Corbyn government, a No Deal would free him up to turn the UK into a veritable Venezuela.
You can read more from James Smith on Think Liberty here.