Tuesday, 8 January 2019

If May Wants To Destroy The Tories, Let Her!

The Tory pantomime continues.  We all know, and so does the EU, that May will not crash the UK out of the EU, unless it were to happen by accident and miscalculation on her part.  She feels the need to continue to put forward that empty threat, because there is nothing left in her basket of negotiating tools.  The reality today, as it has always been, is No Deal, or No Brexit, and whilst a tiny minority might favour a No Deal, they would not have to take responsibility for, no government would push that through, and there is no majority for it in parliament.  May's problem is that no matter how much she may want to present the options as being her bad deal or no deal, no one believes that, and she is herself forced, at times to accept that the other option is No Brexit.  May, and her ministers have to keep banging on about parliament having to vote for May's deal, because the only option is No Deal, but quite rightly, no one believes that to be true.  So, in desperation May has to go through the farce of suggesting they are preparing for a No Deal Brexit.

No one believes it, or should believe it.  The only way it would happen would be by error, as May runs down the clock, and ends up in a position where there is no time to make other arrangements to stop it.  That is unlikely.  Way before then, the financial markets would have told May to scrap Brexit, and so on.  May's whole fiasco of a negotiating stance depends upon MP's thinking that there may be some potential for her actually doing what she says, and allowing a No Deal to happen.  Labour MP's should say, here and now, we don't believe you, because a No Deal Brexit would cause such a catastrophe that you will be responsible for, that it will destroy the Tory Party forever.  They should tell May, if, however, you want to destroy the Tory Party, by going through with a No Deal Brexit, go ahead, we will be here to pick up the pieces.

Let's be clear about the catastrophe that No Deal implies, and what it implies under different conditions.  With a No Deal Brexit, all of the existing treaties, certifications, licences and other agreements that the UK has with not just the EU, but with dozens of other countries that the UK has such arrangements with through the EU, lapse overnight.  As a result, all of the trade and other activities that the UK is enabled to undertake under the auspices of those arrangements, also ceases.  That is why there would be chaos as far as aircraft safety certification, medicines certification, nuclear material certification and so on, which would mean that all of that activity would stop, as far as the UK is concerned.  Overnight, also all of the terms that the UK deals with the EU, and with 70 other countries with which the EU has trade agreements with, would cease, so that Britain would, overnight, have to fill in pages of documentation for its goods being shipped to the EU, and other countries with which the EU has those trade deals.  It would also mean that Britain would face, in some cases, severe tariffs on its exports to the EU.  The impact of that can be seen with what has happened with US Soybean exports to China, which have gone to zero, as China imposed tariffs in response to Trump's trade war.

Anyone who doubts that this would cause a catastrophe only has to look at the farcical behaviour of the government in the last few weeks and months.  First we found that it was news to Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab that the UK was rather dependent upon cross channel traffic for its trade!  In response to the potential for the Channel, and the areas around Folkestone and Dover becoming log-jammed with lorries, the government announced that they had started to negotiate for ferries to bring in emergency supplies, as the NHS and other  vital services would face running out of medicines etc.  Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that the government has spent £5 million on buying fridges to store medicines, to cope with having to build up stockpiles, to prevent them running out.

Then we find that the muppet, Chris Grayling, as Minister of Transport, has responsibility for organising this.  Why would no one have confidence that Grayling, who has overseen total chaos on the railways, even during normal times, could organise such emergency transport?  Sure, enough, we find that Graling is to hand over tens of millions of pounds to a firm that no one has heard of other than its creditors, who are chasing it through the courts; we find the firm has no boats to undertake the work, and apparently no prospect of obtaining the boats to do the work; then we find that the harbour at Ramsgate is not even adequate to take the non-existent boats, were they to suddenly materialise, so that has meant that it has to be dredged, which will not be completed until after Brexit Day, and in any case, the infrastructure around Ramsgate is inadequate to deal with the scale of traffic anyway.  Then we find that the government has acquired an old airfleed to act as a huge lorry park, for vehicles unable to cross the channel.  It war-gamed its ability to handle the traffic, and although the government paid out £550 each to lorry owners, to participate, it could only get 89 of the 150 lorries it required for the exercise.  But, given that 12,000 lorries a day hit Dover, an exercise involving just 89, on just one day, in calm conditions, as opposed to the chaos that would be happening after Brexit, is hardly of any use anyway.

Even in times of calm, this Tory government has caused chaos on the railways; it has caused chaos on the roads, which physically deteriorate by the day; it has caused chaos in the NHS, which daily falls further and further behind its targets, and with 100,000 vacancies unfilled, partly due to EU workers in the NHS, giving up on Brexit Britain; it has caused chaos in the housing market, as house prices go to ever more ridiculous levels that prevent millions from buying a home, whilst requiring billions of pounds to be paid to landlords in Housing benefit subsidies, and where the number of homeless grows incessantly, and the number sleeping and dying on the streets rises along with it.

This is a chaotic and ineffective government that appears to sleepwalk into one disaster after another, and is sending the country into chaos and disaster along with it.  The very idea that this government could somehow deal with the chaos and catastrophe that would ensue from a No Deal Brexit is laughable.  That might suggest that Labour MP's, and other opponents of May's Deal might then feel obliged to back her bad deal so as to avoid that catastrophe.  That is exactly what May is counting on, as she runs down the clock.  MP's should not fall for it.

If May was stupid enough to allow March 29th to come and go, seeing Britain plunge over the Brexit cliff, what then?  Firstly, long before that happens, the Pound would have crashed, businesses would have packed their bags and moved to the EU, and so on.  May would be under immense pressure to call Brexit off, before it happened.  But, suppose that for whatever reason, May simply skipped away through the wheat fields, until she found there was no ground beneath her feet, and the country went into free fall over the cliff?  What then?

The assumption is that the EU would sign up some emergency protocols to allow emergency relief to be provided to Britain.  Maybe, but even if they did, it would only mitigate the chaos and catastrophe unfolding within Britain.  Within days, the full horror of such a Brexit would be unveiled, the pressure that May would feel would become unbearable.  It might be possible for such a government to stubbornly carry on, amidst the chaos.  But that chaos and catastrophe would intensify rather than subside.  It would see increasing social unrest on the streets, requiring the troops to be rolled out to keep order, and a government that already display Bonapartist tendencies of a Prime Minister that disregards parliament, and promotes herself as a "strong and stable" leader, would become even more Bonapartist in nature.  All those fascist Brexit bullies that have been bolstered by Brexit, in their racist attacks, and xenophobia, and who now openly harass MP's, though fortunately, so far, with no repeat of the murder of Jo Cox, would step up their activities, blaming foreigners for the disaster which they themselves have helped bring about.

But, the likelihood is that, even within days, there would be sufficient Tory MP's that would join with Labour in voting down the government.  Some of them would do so in the hope of joining with centrist Labour MP's to form a National Government, or even some new centre party, whose aim would be to restore order.  Within days, the Tory government would be out, talks with EU officials and politicians, which are no doubt going on, even as I write, would then enable this new National Government/parliamentary alliance, to suspend the Brexit process, despite the fact that by then, Brexit Day would have been and gone.  They would come up with the usual kind of EU bureaucratic fudge that in the past has seen the clock stopped on negotiations, to prevent the time running out, except this time it would mean actually turning the hands of the clock backwards.

It would mean that Brexit was dead, the condition undoubtedly being that Britain would have to give up its current concessions, would have to join the Eurozone and Schengen, etc.  But, it would mean that the Tory Party was destroyed.  For many on the social-democratic wing of the Tory Party that is probably a reality they have already acclimatised themselves to.  Some have already said that they would leave if a Boko or Mogg became leader.  They are way out of step with the Tory party rank and file, which has become ever more reactionary, as the Tory Party has itself become ever more diminished in size, and ever more irrelevant.  It would leave the Tory Party to merge with UKIP, the now nationalistic SDP, and all those fringe elements of the EDL etc. now taking over UKIP, Leave means Leave and so on.

The social-democratic wing of the Tories could certainly link up with the rump of the Liberals, given new lease of life by the Labour leaderships failure to provide any principled leadership and opposition to Brexit.  And, under those conditions, the Blair-right/soft left MP's might see a door way open up to them, which until now, they must have despaired of ever seeing again.  Whether that happens, which would again consign Labour to the wilderness for years, depends upon Corbyn, and the Labour leadership.  If, even at this late stage, they were to stand on a principled socialist internationalist position of opposing Brexit, they could provide the locus around the future is shaped.

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