Boris’s Surprise: But Is It Good?

First let me re-state the position of this Blog. I am a Remainer and the only satisfactory outcome for me is the recall of Article 50 and the closing down of this whole Brexit adventure.

I said at the beginning that Brexit may turn out to be an undeliverable concept. By the end of tomorrow we shall know whether I may still be right, or whether, against all the odds, Boris gets his deal through the Commons, at least in its first stage, that is approval of the latest Withdrawal Agreement. He has, as predicted proved much more flexible than his hard nosed followers expected and , to get his deal, he has abandoned many previously non-negotiable positions. He has abandoned also the obdurate and awful DUP and for that he gets a Gold Star. Indeed if he does get the deal through he will have shown himself to have political gravitas behind a clown mask that his detractors, like me, mocked.

On the other hand it may be parliament will tomorrow reject the deal, but fail to agree on what to do next. This Blog is now almost more concerned about our country becoming ungovernable, because of constitutional dysfunction, than it is about Brexit. Indeed it is already the case that the UK Union is probably damaged beyond repair. Northern Ireland is en route to unite with the the Republic of Ireland and Scotland is closer than it has ever been to voting Yes to independence. Whatever Brexit deal is agreed if any, will only make matters worse, because it has been revealed as a Union in which the Home Nations can be dominated against their will by English nationalism of a kind they find unacceptable. Moreover there are years of uncertainty about what, if any, trade deals can be struck with the rest of the world.

The only thing which can give us the time and space to restore a working constitution, modernise our institutions of governance, heal divisions and fire up the languishing economy, is to recall Article 50. Eventually we will realise we have a choice between being under the economic thumb of the United States, or China, or the EU. We can prosper if we apply ourselves and reshape our economic model to drive wealth creation rather than asset inflation, under any of the three. But only under the EU do we share in the running of the entire project as a major veto power. With the others, we take or leave it. That is why membership of the EU is by far the best of all deals. And the only one in which we can hold the UK Union together, as it is the only one which provides for the Home Nations a backstop guarantee against the ideological excesses of nationalist England.

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