For the ages

I’ve been on the planet for a few decades now, so inevitably I’ve lived through some pretty momentous historical developments, some of which I’ve noticed at the time, like the end of Apartheid, or the collapse of the Soviet Union, and many more, no doubt, that have passed me by, and will only become evident later.

Anyway, everyone is saying that the looming constitutional crisis over Brexit is going to be an upheaval of similarly epochal significance, so I figured that I should try to make a record of it, by blogging every day until the all-important parliamentary vote, currently set for next Tuesday.

Theresa May seems to be sticking to her plan to rally a majority behind her patched-together deal by convincing Remainers that the alternative is a hard Brexit, while simultaneously telling Leavers that in opposing her they risk ending up with no Brexit at all. To be fair to her, it’s difficult to see what else she could do in the circumstances, and the first part of the equation could have worked out, since even the most committed Europhiles might have blinked when confronted with the threat of a no-deal disaster, as long as the fall-back position was May’s proposal, which is unpleasant, but not catastrophic. However the hard-core Brexiteers seem determined to wreck any arrangement that conflicts with their reactionary fantasies, which means that anything even vaguely in touch with reality will fail to win them over. Since any attempt at compromise seems doomed, Remainers have the motivation they need to gamble on paralysing the process and forcing a second referendum. Crucially, Jeremy Corbyn seems to be coming round to the idea of a repeat vote, as the proposition that Labour could negotiate a better deal collides with the determination of the EU to give no more ground.

Five days have been set aside for the debate, though it’s difficult to see why, since the parliamentary arithmetic seems unlikely to change. The really interesting developments won’t happen until the vote is lost anyhow. Watch this space.

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