Is the Commons defeat a sophisticated Machiavellian two-part strategy or a case of the Keystone Cops?
It is difficult to fathom whether the unprecedented defeat in the Commons is part of a Machiavellian two-part plan or an unseemly ‘scuttling of the good ship Brexit.’
Prima facie, the front bench team have had over two years to consult and negotiate a transition deal that, although imperfect, suits more MPs than it offends. I assume that covert consultations took place across the political spectrum, firstly to judge the extent of the opposition and secondly to test the mettle of the EU negotiators.
Stubborn but no idiot!
As such, May’s ‘hitting a brick wall’, when this was widely predicted by all the commentators, looks pretty foolish.
The PM may be stubborn but she is not an idiot. Therefore, it leads me to believe that she needed to filibuster time, so that the Article 50 deadline at the end of March looms large, real and imminent.
Her task is to convince the EU ‘hard nuts’ that she needed a majority in the Commons and the deal, as proposed, would not carry the necessary votes. However, they probably didn’t believe her. So in order to ramp up the drama and tension, she needed to suffer an ignominious defeat to prove that the deal in its present incarnation was undeliverable. The outcome would be that concessions need to be wrought from the EU to avoid the default no deal Brexit or a second Referendum.
The Europeans appear unconcerned about a second Referendum, since a favourable vote could reverse Brexit and make the present problems go away. Nevertheless, they are unpredictable processes and a crude means of solving political problems, as evidenced by those that have taken place in Ireland, France and Denmark, etc.
There is no question that if we had uncertainty before, we certainly have it now. One glaring example is that investment decisions must be put on hold pending some sort of definitive resolution.
Residential Property Market to suffer
This creates ructions in segments of the Residential Property Market, as it struggles for liquidity. It is already deleteriously affected by Stamp Duty, Non Dom Tax changes and the possibility of rising interest/mortgage rates.
As if these are not enough of a problem for the UK economy, we have the Venezuelan-flavoured disaster of Mr. Corbyn and his Marxist cronies coming up in the fast lane, with radical, socialist policies that will cause a rapid exit of wealth creators from this country.
No matter how painful Brexit appears at the moment, a Corbyn in pole position will leave a trail of devastation that could take decades to repair.
Sadly, this is a perfect storm for the UK. Unless a breakthrough occurs, we could be on the downward slope to decline.
It is to the nation’s disadvantage that power has drifted from the government to the Commons, the latter being a cauldron of boiling, disparate interests, some of which are diametrically opposed.
Europe has always been a highly divisive matter. Politicians of such stature as Enoch Powell, Margaret Thatcher and even Winston Churchill have all come undone on the issue, hence their healthy scepticism for the European experiment.
Churchill’s prescient opinions of our Continental neighbours should be scribbled on the benches of the Commons Chamber, for our ‘leaders’ to see as they stumble in. “We have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe but not of it. We are linked but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed. If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea.” Quite.