Tuesday 21 May 2019
Pervading the headlines today is a sense the Remainers are getting very anxious indeed. Six weeks ago, everything was going their way. The exit date had been an extended and Labour were on course to demand a second referendum.
However, Jeremy Corbyn did not go on to push hard for a “confirmatory ballot” in the party’s negotiations with the government that have since fizzled out. The Labour leader Remains as on the fence as ever – constructive ambiguity they call it (see tweet below). Meanwhile, the natural gravity of Article 50 still applies, if something isn’t done by October it’s No Deal. That something could of course be another extension, but even the most fanatical Remainers will recognise this nonsense cannot go on and on.
Jeremy Corbyn unable to tell #Marr, despite being asked 6 times, if he wants to leave the EU (or if it doesn’t want to), or if he supports a second referendum (or doesn’t).
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) May 19, 2019
Yesterday’s BB reported on Theresa May’s chief staff spewing hysterical warnings about the break up of the Union, part of an increasing trend. Today, Philip Hammond takes his turn.
“Let me remind them – the 2016 Leave campaign was clear that we would leave with a deal,” the chancellor will say in a speech at the pro-EU CBI.
“So to advocate for No Deal is to hijack the result of the referendum, and in doing so, knowingly to inflict damage on our economy and living standards, because all the preparation in the world will not avoid the consequences of No Deal.”
The logic here is demented. Built into the argument for leaving the EU in 2016 – three years ago now – was the expectation of a follow-up trade deal on sovereign terms. This sub-structure did not bear any load however, it was pre-ordained by Article 50, which designates negotiations towards a replacement trading arrangement.
Britain originally entered the Common Market in order to boost trade. There was underlying merit to be revisited with a rational mindset once the UK started making its way out of the failing project.
It was the government that turned its back on the trade deal pledge made at the referendum by negotiating an arrangement no-one wanted, except the EU. As Chancellor, Mr Hammond played no small part in the betrayal.
Given that the deal is not Brexit, and the EU has said time and again it’s non-negotiable, the only democratic option left is to leave the EU without terms. Bizarre that such a breathtakingly redundant argument could merit a press release, let alone a speech.
But Hammond’s desperate intervention is not the only sign of Remainer anxiety. Reports in today’s Mirror from Number 10 that a second referendum will be put to MPs as part of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill may provoke the opposite reaction. “It’s one of the options. It’s viable… Every man and his dog is going to be hitching his wagon to this,” says a Downing Street insider. However, Laura Kuennsberg was rather more realistic in her update on the Today programme this morning. According to the BBC’s political editor, a fudge is in the offing. It has to be.
The option of a second referendum only attracted to 280 votes in the unashamedly pro-Remain House of Commons at the last round of indicative votes in early April. The majority just isn’t there. Even if it was, a ballot designed to split the Leave vote with three options – May’s deal and No Deal vs Remain – would never see the light day. In any other binary contest, the stronger leave option would prevail. To save face, Remain MPs are consequently destined to make a compromise for their dream is dead.
But that’s not necessarily good news. The government’s favourite spokesperson, extremely dull Health secretary Matt Hancock has publicly offered a vote on another referendum as part of the WAB. If Downing Street can mould an enticing compromise as part of its “bold” package of measures to attract votes from disparate groups of MP, it is possible the withdrawal legislation could get over the line.
Don’t bet on it though, a second referendum, much like leaving the EU, doesn’t lend itself well to compromise: either you’re in or you’re out, you have one or you don’t.
The third example of Remainer frustration is yesterday’s vile attack on Nigel Farage, when the Brexit Party leader was hit with a milkshake by a Remain thug. Some commentators have disgracefully declared the incident funny (see below), although for some reason it wouldn’t be if it happened to Anna Soubry. The attacker has been charged. Westmonster have the story.
The odious Tom Peck says the milkshake hit on Nigel Farage was funny. Watch him squirm as he's asked if he'd find it similarly hilarious if the same thing happened to Anna Soubry.
What an oik. pic.twitter.com/urH4QZraDT
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) May 21, 2019
The establishment’s mocking attitude is indicative of the rampant prejudice against independence. Leave.EU has launched a campaign (see tweet of the day) asking supporters to fill the Electoral Commission’s inbox with complaints for their gross negligence in not investigating extremely well funded pro-Remain outfits like Led By Donkeys and going after the Brexit Party as if they are the nerve centre of an international crime ring. Make your voice heard.
What happened to Nigel also brings into focus the very dangerous consequences of falsely portraying the Right and the independence movement as a whole as aggressive, nasty and violent, which by deduction brands rivals as squeaky clean in their intentions and methods, an even more egregious distortion of the truth. Witness the below Facebook post by the youth wing of German’s Social Democrats, it reads: knock nationalists ice cold.
Flood their inbox and get their phone ringing off the hook with complaints about this disgrace of a regulator! ?
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) May 20, 2019