by Frank Schnittger
Thu Feb 14th, 2019 at 01:50:19 PM EST
I have been engaged in other projects recently and have not kept quite up to speed with the latest Brexit happenings and so perhaps you guys can help me out: Has anything of any real significance happened recently? The main points I have gleaned for a cursory perusal of news sites are that:
1. The EU has lost patience with UK
Donald Tusk wasn't having a senior moment. His wondering "what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely" wasn't a temperamental outburst. It signaled the EU had reached the end of the road in its attempts to accommodate UK demands.
2. Theresa May is running down the clock
Having been rebuffed by the House of Commons, the EU, the Irish government, the DUP and her own hard liners, Theresa May has decided the only way forward is to run down the clock and see if the imminence of a hard no deal Brexit will concentrate minds and force acceptance of her deal as the only alternative available.
3. Jeremy Corbyn has decided to get in on the game
Smarting from poor opinion poll ratings and unease among his own supporters, Corbyn has decided to engage with Theresa May so that he can say "well at least we tried" if the whole thing ends up being an almighty clusterfuck. For Theresa May talks with Labour can help run down the clock and light a fire under hard core Brexiteers and the DUP that she might, just, go down another road entirely if they don't come on board with her deal.
4. But what, precisely, is the substantive difference between Corbyn and May?
May has signaled a willingness to address Labour demands for increased worker and environmental protections, and for help for deprived ares. The one area of difference is Labour's demand for ongoing membership of "A" customs Union with the EU. Labour seems to think that the EU will agree to providing the benefits of a customs union while acceding to the UK "having a say" in future trade deals. But how is this different from the status quo? I am not aware of the UK having objected to any trade deals in the past, and all EU trade deals beyond the EU's current negotiating mandate require unanimous agreement of its members...
More to the point, the whole row over "the Backstop" is about the possibility of the UK "being trapped" in a customs union indefinitely, when this is precisely what Labour seems to want. If May could agree with Corbyn on this and present a jointly agreed proposal on these lines to the EU, the EU might have little cause to object - especially when Corbyn's support would guarantee a Commons majority for the resultant agreement.
Corbyn - always seen as a genuine if closet Brexiteer - would achieve his objective of a softer Brexit, protect some jobs in the short term, and be seen as the saviour of the UK for preventing a no deal Brexit. May will have delivered on her "mandate". The EU will have achieved "frictionless" trade with the UK, a solution to the vexed Irish border question, and still managed to carve off a huge slice of London's financial services industry for its ongoing members.
The 48% who voted against Brexit may be less than happy at such an outcome, but no one seems to regard them as a threat to the future stability of the UK - unlike hard core Brexiteers who might precipitate civil unrest if they don't get their way. I wonder...
They say turkeys don't vote for Christmas, but it seems the UK will have voted for the Turkey option even as Brexiteers hyped the risk of Turkey joining the EU in their anti-EU propaganda...
Am I missing something here?