If MPs cannot find a way out, the public will have to do it for themby Jonathan Lis / March 13, 2019 / Leave a comment
Against the advice of all our friends, three years ago Britain willingly injected an unknown toxin into its bloodstream. Each day it inflicts demonstrable damage. The promised benefits never came and almost nobody pretends they ever will. Our friends who tried to reason with us are close to giving up. The government admits that in 16 days our country could collapse. As we take our last gasp, the political class refuses to even touch the antidote sitting directly in front of it. This is not madness. This is self-destruction.
The government agreed its Brexit withdrawal deal in November. That deal exposed and combusted the pathetic delusions of a buccaneering free-trade Britain standing alone in the world, unencumbered by anyone else’s rules, interests or sovereignty. The reality hurt and as such would not be tolerated. The government panicked and delayed the vote until January. The deal was trounced. The government then disappeared for two months to pretend to renegotiate that deal, despite its negotiating partners insisting that could not happen. Nothing changed. Last night the deal was trounced again. With a losing margin of 149 votes, it was the greatest defeat for any government since 1924—other than the defeat of the same deal in January, by 230 votes, which was the greatest defeat in parliamentary history. After this second humiliation, Theresa May responded not by resigning or accepting responsibility of any kind, but by reaffirming her confidence in the deal parliament had just rejected.
What we are witnessing is the meltdown of a political order that has governed this country for 150 years, and with it any flicker of dignity, duty or respect from the people entrusted to lead us. Governments have inflicted disasters on the British people and the rest of the world before now, but rarely have so many incompetents been so paralysed by cowardice with so many lives at stake.
The European Union has been gripped and horrified by our rolling disaster for three years but has bent over backwards to help us. It pretended not to notice the insults, lies and chronic bad faith. It respectfully looked away as the government was eviscerated by its own backbenchers. It returned to the negotiating table again and again to try to reconcile British fantasies with a glimmer of reality. And this week it delivered its final offer.
The revised addenda to…