Thursday, August 02, 2018

No-deal Brexit by Accident?

Jeremy Hunt says we are heading for a no-deal Brexit by accident. He could be right...

If you can believe that:

  • the Brexiteers accidentally failed to come up with a plan either while they were calling for Brexit, or even during the referendum campaign, 
  • and the cabinet accidentally omitted to agree what kind of Brexit they wanted, 
  • and accidentally told the media and each other completely opposite things, accidentally changing their story day by day, until
  • Theresa May accidentally triggered Article 50, 
  • so that the government accidentally had no idea what they were going to negotiate for (beyond Brexit means Brexit, and possibly what colour it would be - red white and blue, I think it was going to be), 
  • and then the government accidentally broke their promise to fully (or even slightly) involve the devolved administrations, 
  • and accidentally insulted their Eurpoean negotiating partners, 
  • and accidentally wanted to have their cake and eat it, 
  • and accidentally gave Theresa some red crayons that she used to draw lots of red lines,
  • and then she accidentally wasted months by calling a General Election - accidentally losing her majority, and forming an accidental and accident-prone virtual coalition with the DUP,
  • who had accidentally received a huge, dodgy donation during the referendum campaign that they accidentally spent in London (where none of their voters live), in a plan accidentally hatched by another pro-brexit campaign group that had accidentally hit their legal spending limit for the campaign and wanted a way of spending more, 
  • and then Brexit Secretary Dave Davis accidentally agreed to solve the "easy" bits first: citizens' rights, agreement on financial obligations to the EU, and the Irish border (and peace agreement),
  • and accidentally wasted months arguing about the easiest two of those (note - the Irish border and the NI peace agreement is actually quite difficult if you want a hard Brexit),
  • and then accidentally agreed an ambiguous backstop on the Irish border that is bound to be rejected by either their DUP coalition partners or half the Cabinet - or (depending on how you interpret the ambiguous backstop) that is in conflict with many of Theresa's red lines, 
  • and then the Cabinet accidentally agreed an approach at Chequers that is unacceptable to both the EU and some of the Cabinet members themselves (who promptly and accidentally resigned), 
  • and then the government accidentally agreed amendments in parliament that would wreck what remained of the tattered Chequers Agreement,
  • and then Theresa accidentally appointed Dominic Raab to replace Dave Davis as Brexit Secretary,
  • and then realised he was so unfit to do the job that she accidentally had to take over the negotiations herself, 
  • and then the government accidentally decided to send Parliament home a week early,
  • and accidentally wandered round Europe asking individual governments to agree with Theresa's contradictory red lines instead of the EU position,
  • and accidentally told everyone that the British people would say no-deal was Europe's fault, even though the government is still insisting on either using technology that doesn't exist or creating a process that won't work (and that Parliament has pretty much ruled out),
  • and accidentally let Jeremy Hunt tell everyone that we might not get a deal with Europe - by accident! 
If you believe all that, then, yes - a no-deal Brexit might look like an accident.

Unfortunately, some of the Cabinet, and some of the furthest of the far-right back benchers seem to want a no-deal Brexit. And I don't think it's an accident at all. Perhaps they want us to accidentally eat chlorinated chicken, and beef pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones, and accidentally give up our food safety standards and employment protections, so we can sacrifice our country's sovereignty on a ruinous trade deal with the USA?