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- The margin of loss is looking like 300-400. Is it possible to bounce back from such a defeat via a market-fright and token changes?
- British business may howl about being thrown out of the backstop. But who listens to them...? Not likely
to make Tory pragmatists vote for it.
But anyway, if I was in charge (ruuuunnn...), that would be the kind of thing I'd push for. Hard Brexit for GB and a somewhat softer Brexit for NI. If things remain stable in NI, this could be an economic boon for NI. Because they'd be in the UK and with one foot in the CUSM, all kinds of businesses would want to move there. God knows they need it. GB on the other hand would suffer economically, politically. And maybe they need that too.
Schengen is toast!
Her only option would be to try and delay the vote while she negotiates the sort of deal I suggest in the diary - without losing a vote by such a margin first - which would undermine her credibility and legitimacy.
It also raises the question of what possible alternative to no deal there could be, and who could negotiate it. Even if they decide to hold a second referendum, what options could be on the ballot paper? Hardly an option voted down by a 300-400 majority of the Commons.
This is looking more and more like no deal, even though almost no one wants it. The UK is losing the capacity to act. If there is a leadership challenge and election it could be months before there is a new Prime Minister is elected and a new government is formed.
For the moment the EU can only watch and wonder as there is a collective melt-down in Westminster. No one will be able to do anything and all sorts of wild and wonderful proposals will fill the media and political vacuum.
At the end of it all, the status quo will start to look a lot more attractive to all concerned, but how can a continuance of that even be achieved? We are in for some truly fantastical times, to quote the bold BOJO, the ghost of Churchill in waiting.
Index of Frank's Diaries
Sounds inevitable. And yet it seemed inevitable after the election. I think at this point we have to assume that May can't be shamed out of the office.
The other possibility is a very public and very dramatic conveniently timed terrorist attack - rather like the spate of attacks we saw just before the election, which inexplicably ended as soon as the election was over, almost as if they'd been intended to herd voters towards the so-called safe option.
But of course that's just crazy talk, because the British Establishment would never collaborate with the violent despotic regimes it sells arms to, especially not to keep out someone who has promised to end that trade.
I'm not expecting 300-400 against. I think most Tories - in the interests of putting party above country, and also because it will dissuade the whips from revealing the dirt they have on them - will vote for the deal, possibly further persuaded by a knighthood or perhaps a peerage, as a reward for outstanding patriotism under pressure.
So the actual majority will be less than 100, and could be at the low end of that.
My guess is the ERG will make its no-confidence move then. It all gets a bit messy at that point, but Labour will be frantically trying to push through a no-confidence and/or a second referendum vote - which may well win, and which the EU are likely to respect.
I don't think the ERG can force No Deal without massive public protests. Things are getting to the point where even the British public may be considering moving beyond mass tutting and satirical Twitter posts.
It's like preventing a car crash by disabling the airbag.
A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
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