WOULD MPs not save much time and agony by telling Mrs May to go on a long holiday atop a Welsh mountain with Philip, and getting Barnier to occupy her place in the Commons? She is clearly now just his emissary. She is in effect a tape recording in a bomb-proof casing, repeating ‘There will only be Brexit through my WA, not otherwise’, which is Barnier’s diamond-tipped drill whirring away at the minds of MPs, and increasingly successfully. Thankfully we still have enough MPs with strong enough hearts and clear enough minds to keep on resisting this pincer movement, designed at least a year ago. This is to force the UK into no Brexit via the WA long delay under EU rule, or else to suffocate Brexit by Remainer obstruction in Parliament as we are now seeing. May’s tape is oblivious to any path other than Barnier’s. She has done her very best to wall off exit by a no deal, the natural conclusion of this grotesque repetition of forcing the WA, exactly the same, for a fourth time on the zombified MPs.
Historians are already asking why May got the UK into this trap. Andrew Roberts puts it down to May having a Remainer Commons and an impossible task. He does not mention her own Remainer commitments. She was bamboozled by Barnier and just gave and gave and gave all the UK cards for free to the EU, basically surrendering our bargaining position. Why she did this, he does not guess. Roberts accuses Barnier of weaponising the Irish border question to maximise the EU bargaining stance, and does not discuss the suggestion made by some that she in fact developed this to further her Remain agenda and fend off a real Brexit of a free trade Canada-plus type. Roberts also points to Remainer civil servants as needing to be demoted in favour of honest neutral officials.
Roberts accuses May of reckless gambling in her ‘negotiations’ with the EU, risking all on the EU being nice to the UK if we gave all the UK bargaining cards for nothing and agreeing to their timetable, and her gamble failed. His analysis that May is a bookie in a bishop’s clothing is not deep enough somehow: why did she behave like that and give away all UK leverage, and throw away offers of a Canada-plus deal which we now know were made by Tusk? He concludes with this very important point about May’s clear option for a real Brexit under law passed by Parliament:
‘When it finally became unavoidably clear that the Remain-supporting Parliament, led by its Speaker, was intent on subverting the clearly-expressed will of the people, Mrs May should have called another vote of confidence in her Government like the one she won on January 16. After facing down her Remainer rebels and winning, she could then, as is her constitutional right, have asked the Queen to prorogue Parliament until April 1. By the time Parliament reconvened, Brexit would have happened, most probably using a series of sensible bilateral deals to preserve a trading status quo that benefits everyone.’
But to most observers she remained a cleverly disguised Remainer who wanted to prevent a genuine cutting of the umbilical cord, and did not want to confront ‘her rebels’ as they were in fact her proxy militia.
Crispin Blunt MP gives his reading of May’s disastrous handling of the UK’s case since coming to power. For him it was May’s catastrophic snap election defeat that traumatised her and removed all confidence. As he put it: ‘By early 2017, the UK appeared to have recovered from its shock of the Leave result and was getting its negotiating ducks in a row. Clear objectives, clear roles. Cue the 2017 general election. The loss of Mrs May’s parliamentary majority was accompanied by a loss of confidence in herself, her closest political colleagues and, shorn of her closest aides, direction and authority progressively collapsed. Instead of standing firm in the negotiations that followed, she was driven hither and thither by the EU commission team. The disastrous result was the Withdrawal Agreement, which I will not be supporting.’ Blunt regards the WA as a shameful, abject capitulation unique in British peacetime.
Peter Gardner’s thesis in TCW, now replicated by David Blake in Briefings for Brexit, is that May was converted ideologically to being a hardline EU apparatchik, and her Florence speech revealed this. After that she gave away all the UK bargaining chips and got nothing back, as if she were now at work for the EU not the UK. Her obsessive secrecy is observed by all commentators, and her unhealthy dependence on Olly Robbins, himself a Eurofanatical civil servant, helped conceal her ‘turn’. Gardner, who was the first to do this work on the WA in relation to the next phase of the Lisbon Treaty pathway, and Blake both argue for May being totally committed to the EU project and her apparent incompetence masks this. Blake adduces an informant who says that Merkel was instrumental in turning May against any genuine Brexit, an added factor. Both point to Robbins’s confession that the Irish backstop was intended as a ‘bridge’ for two years hence over which the UK would cross back into the EU, on far worse terms than now. The WA aligns us towards full fiscal union in a few years. This thesis supplies motivation, fits the last two years’ timeline, and explains May’s behaviour very plausibly: a dedicated ideologue, desperate to win for the EU and the greater good.
She has now used her Chief Whip – again note the clever distancing of herself directly – as her mouthpiece to say she should have been honest at the outset in aiming for not-Brexit covered up as if the real thing. She now is signalling that she wants a ‘customs union’, staying firmly in the EU and not leaving, as way of solving the crisis, which she created along with Barnier – who should now be in the Commons instead of her. The outrageous coup of the ‘moderates’ to bounce the UK into killing off Brexit by remaining in the customs union has just failed, despite the gerontocratic efforts of Ken Clarke and Sir Oliver Letwin, backward-looking technocratic managers.
This leaves PM May devoid of excuses for not doing as Andrew Roberts recommends, proroguing Parliament and letting time take its course, taking us out of the EU according to UK and EU law, thus neutralising Bercow in his successful efforts to become the new executive in UK. The PM merely asks the Queen for this. Professor John Finnis has also published this advice in the Telegraph in order that the UK overcomes a rogue Parliament with a rogue Speaker currently attempting a constitutional coup.
Soon we will know the true interpretation of Theresa May and her motives: is she someone of sincere intent, but very incompetent, to deliver a Brexit – or is she a convert to ideological technocratic EU managerialism, disdainful of British democratic sovereign governance, happy to do anything to stop Brexit? Her Brino has failed and is now exposed as a con-trick. She can now deliver Brexit by way of a WTO plan if she simply prorogues a rebellious and hostile Parliament. If she scuppers this then she is outed as a clever and mendacious Remainer, indulging her Remainer rebels to help her in stopping Brexit. The litmus test as to who she really is is now happening. I go with the Gardner/Blake interpretation, but hope I am wrong. The issue in fact is bigger than trade, it is the survival of British constitutional Parliamentary democracy.
But what a surprise, Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill has written a ‘leaked’ letter, in form to ‘ministers’ but really straight to the press, Daily Remainer Mail, Express etc, warning of the utter catastrophe of a no deal Brexit. Yesterday it was the Chief Whip, today it’s Sir Mark being deployed; the Remainer Gestapo is now at full stretch. Sir Mark’s ‘warnings’ have all been dealt with by the great economic commentators notably Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Roger Bootle, Alex Brummer, Sir Mervyn King, John Redwood and BfB. This is now desperate stuff, Project Fear on steroids. Is it orchestrated by May as an excuse to kill Brexit? That is how it seems to the public, who just don’t believe it any longer. They know that the costs of a no deal Brexit will be amply covered by the £39billion saved by avoiding the WA. More Remainer Horsemen of the Apocalypse will be sent out day by day from now on. Who will follow the Chief Whip and the head of the civil service: a religious figure, perhaps, an academic? The test now is who Theresa really is behind all her proxy Remainer rebel militias. Is she in fact Barnier’s stooge trying to kill off Brexit?
Editor’s note: Since this post was written Mrs May, ignoring her Cabinet’s signals for No- Deal, has turned to Labour’s far left leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for ‘help’.