What's worse is that they can't bail us out foreverby Jonathan Lis / March 22, 2019 / Leave a comment
On Thursday night in a Brussels conference chamber, something happened that was so breathtaking it will define the history of post-war Britain. It was such an indictment of the state of our nation that it almost literally cannot be believed. A group of foreign powers intervened to save the British people from their own prime minister.
The short story is this. Theresa May has for several months pursued a straightforward policy of blackmail with her Brexit plan: either MPs vote for her deal, which they have resolved by historic margins, twice, not to be in the national interest, or else they enable the historic devastation of no deal at all. The EU, which has been determined to help May despite all the patience and goodwill she has exhausted, played along and mirrored her framing. Any Article 50 extension would be conditional on MPs approving the deal, they said. Emmanuel Macron informed journalists on Thursday afternoon that Britain would be heading into no-deal “for sure” unless parliament finally submitted to its prime minister.
While Leavers celebrated, Remainers felt something approaching shellshock. Not only had the EU apparently let us down at the last moment, but no-deal suddenly seemed a terrifying reality. Many (myself included) hastily abandoned any hopes of a referendum, and began calling instead for a direct revocation of Article 50.
But then something extraordinary happened. The British prime minister addressed her fellow leaders in private, and all pretence finally melted away. It was no longer a game or bluff or negotiating tactic. For the first time they could see she was deadly serious. The leader of the United Kingdom—the person entrusted to keep us safe and build our prosperity—had not only resigned herself to a no-deal cliff-edge, but was now actively driving her country off it. And so the EU did the only thing it reasonably could, and wrested the wheel from her.
Instead of a conditional extension to 22nd May as per the original plan in Brussels, the EU added an unconditional extension to 12th April. They chose this latter date because it is the deadline for notifying our participation in May’s European elections. If MPs do not approve the deal, and do not…