Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
When asked whether the decision to leave the EU was "right" or "wrong", polls generally showed a 0-5% majority of voters approving of the decision right up to the General election in June 2017. However since then an increasing majority (0->5%) have said the decision was "wrong".  

It is quite something to get voters to agree that a decision taken by the nation is wrong. If the question is worded differently, e.g. if voters are asked to vote on the agreed terms of leaving many more might vote to stay, as doing so doesn't involve admitting the original decision was wrong. It might just require an acceptance that the Tories haven't done a very good job of negotiating advantageous terms for leaving.

If you wanted to be really Machiavellian, you could argue the British Establishment has done an absolutely awful job of negotiating advantageous terms of leaving in order to facilitate such an outcome. However the national humiliation involved in staying now would probably be enough to kick the Tories out of the two party governmental system in the UK, with the Lib Dems taking their place.

So it is absolutely required of the Tory leader to prevent such an outcome, whatever the damage to the UK as a whole. However I doubt Theresa May could survive a failure to negotiate and agree any kind of deal, so she personally doesn't have an awful lot to lose any more.

If she loses a Commons vote on the outcome of the negotiations she has four options:

  1. Attempt to negotiate a better deal. Time is running out, and she risks March 31st. approaching without any deal.

  2. May steps down or is forced to resign and is replaced by a Brexiteer who may attempt a renegotiation but probably ultimately proceeds with a no-deal Brexit if the EU doesn't bow to their demands.

  3. May announces a second referendum to vote on the terms of exit, with rejection resulting in an attempt to withdraw the A50 notification.

  4. May calls a general election on the terms of the deal campaigning on the basis that they be accepted. If she loses the general election it will be up to whoever wins to negotiate better terms or abandon the whole exercise and attempt to withdraw the A50 notification.


Please note my view (not really officially confirmed, to my knowledge) that accepting an A50 withdrawal requires unanimity on the Council, which is not a given. The UK might have to give humiliating undertakings  not to invoke A50 again for many years. Although a British government cannot bind a future one, an international Treaty can.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 4th, 2018 at 11:02:22 PM EST
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