May’s Deal is Dead, but She Isn’t, and Banning Scented Candles

UK News Roundup 18/01/2019

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May loses Meaningful Vote but survives to live yet another day.

Tuesday night, the Parliamentary vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s bill from the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union finally occurred – the deal was roundly rejected by a majority of well over 200 MPs. May (and everyone else in the country) knew this was on the cards, and immediately gave a statement to the Commons declaring that she will be listening to members of all parties and come up with some compromise to get a majority in the House. Barring that, the United Kingdom will leave the EU without a deal.

Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s immediate response was to call a vote of No Confidence in the government, declaring that Theresa May was leading a “zombie government.” The vote was held the following day – the PM survived by a majority of 19, more or less split down the middle of the house. The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) elected to honor its supply and confidence agreement, swinging the decision in May’s favor. It seems the only worst thing in the Brexiteer Rebels’ eyes than a May government is a Corbyn government.

Where then does this leave this “Brexit crisis”? As it stands, UK law states that the country will leave the EU on the 29th March of this year. Whether parliament has agreed to a deal with the EU regarding its future relationship or not, this will occur, and the country will revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules regarding trade. The UK will no longer be in the customs union and the single market, nor subject to EU laws.

Some of those stipulations will stay, and Britain will share customs rules, if the government can agree to a deal with the EU, and providing parliament agrees to the deal. May’s withdrawal bill that was rejected on Tuesday was unpopular on all sides, despite going back to Brussels to get reassurances on the so-called “Backstop” transitional measure. The EU has said there are no more concessions to be made and are not considering accepting a reopening of negotiations.

What’s been ruled out from this week’s proceedings is a general election, for now, meaning any decision made by Parliament will have to be behind the leadership of Theresa May. Sub-optimal, since she seems to please but a minority even within her own party, but the only option in that sense.

The Remainer Labour crowd will be pushing for an extension of Article 50, delaying Brexit for up to one year, whilst a deal can be established. They then hope to build enough support for a “People’s Vote,” their name for a second referendum on EU membership. That is, spin aside, merely a push to remain in the EU permanently, reversing the decision of the first referendum in 2016.

May has all but ruled this out, and has gone on a parliament tour, visiting MPs on all sides to attempt to find some give, somewhere. Where she will manage to achieve is not at all clear. One speculation is that she will suggest “a”customs union, which may please Labourites, but not Tory Brexiteers. 29th January is the date the “Plan B” needs to be put for the Commons.

Oh good, more nanny state stuff.

 

Anyone who was hoping that a no deal Brexit would finally allow Britain to become the free state it was meant to be may have to curb their enthusiasm, as both major parties have been guilty of fingering the intervention trigger.

I was beginning to be impressed with Michael Gove after his rousing speech against Corbyn’s leadership challenge on Wednesday. He has true leadership quality. That may also be his biggest problem. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (they seem to be just making up ministerial positions for the heck of it) has unveiled ambitious plans to tackle, of all things, air pollution.

Nothing is beyond the remit of the government’s climate plans, as indoor greenhouse emissions will be regulated as well as large factories. There will be regulation regarding fireplaces, and the possible ban of scented candles. There has been some speculation that the gases in scented candles may be linked to lung cancer in the long term.

Labour are no better, who have seemed to have succumbed to the panic over the drop in retail sales this year by proposing taxes on online retailers. This is little more than protectionism and benefits certain big businesses ahead of others. The move to online shopping is an entirely rational and reasonable economic decision made by consumers, and any intervention against it will represent losses for consumers. People simply prefer to shop online – there’s nothing more sinister to this trend than that.

Guys, the reason why the UK population chose to leave the EU was to be rid of unnecessary government overreach. We’re not doing this so we can finally tell everyone in the country what to consume or not to consume. Just leave people alone.

You can read more from James Smith on Think Liberty here.

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