Beat me to it! Given the anger of the Tory government this might not be a farce.Bercow sabotages the third meaningful vote:
Next stop: Brexit 29th March!
The quest for Brexit has killed Britain
By Nick Cohen
March 18 at 7:19 PM
Nick Cohen, a British author, journalist and political commentator, is a columnist for the Observer.
Brexit Britain has reached populism’s inevitable terminus. The government is collapsing as Conservative ministers vote against their own administration with impunity. The equally chaotic opposition cannot oppose. No one can say whether my country will crash out of the European Union provoking an economic and social crisis. Honest commentators don’t make predictions anymore, but stare at the wreckage with slack-jawed disbelief.
“We have no idea where we are going,” Sam Gyimah, from Theresa May’s ruling Conservative government, said last week (although I use the word “ruling” advisedly). “There is no strategy; there is no plan.”
The British crisis is deeper than the United States’ because at its heart lies a failure of truth-telling. We have no equivalent of the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives; no power center or coherent voice that can expose the populist politicians whose combination of cynicism and magical thinking led us to this pass.
The Brexit that the electorate narrowly voted for on June 23, 2016, could be achieved in two ways. Britain might choose a complete break with the European Union. It would necessitate rebuilding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland that would threaten the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, one of the greatest political achievements of my lifetime. It would rip Britain out of the E.U.’s single market, the destination of 44 percent of our exports, and out of 46 years of agreements that allow the frictionless movement of goods, services and people. It would destroy Britain’s Customs Union with the E.U., along with free-trade agreements with 56 other countries. It could still be done, but by God, it would hurt.
Alternatively, we could stay in the Single Market and Customs Union, accept E.U. laws we had no say in making, and leave in name only. A course that would raise the pertinent question: Why bother?
Like populist movements across the West, the Leave campaign refused to make a tough call. Instead, it promised that wrenching change could be achieved without pain. Unlike the nationalists of the 20th century, who fetishized sacrifice, their successors are the authentic representatives of a baby-boomer generation that wants to have it all. Boris Johnson, an upper-class politician who could make President Trump seem a model of integrity, and his fellow supporters of Brexit promised that the task of securing a fresh trade deal with the E.U. would be “one of the easiest in human history.” As it has turned out, the tension of reconciling the populist propaganda of the referendum campaign with protecting the economy has caused a nervous breakdown in politics, and the real negotiations haven’t even begun yet. Meanwhile, British exceptionalists, like their American counterparts, insisted that other countries would bow before us. We were repeatedly assured that the E.U. needed us more than we needed them, a brag that grows more absurd by the day.
But it has been the referendum’s aftermath that has killed Britain. May had supported Britain staying in the E.U., but she never took apart the fantasies of the Leave campaign or made the hard choice explicit. The opposition Labour Party is under the control of Jeremy Corbyn and his far-left faction, which is closer to the communist than the social democratic tradition. Uniquely, among European center-left and post-Marxist leaders, Corbyn has been anti-E.U. all his career. In another instance of British exceptionalism, he believes against all evidence that Britain can go it alone and build socialism in one country. Naturally, he and his supporters have shown no inclination to argue the pro-European case either.
As a result, millions believe that Brexit is failing not because it was a doomed project but because an evil elite is subverting the people’s will.
The complicity of our political leaders has emboldened the worst type of nationalist. Right-wing ultras have twice stopped May’s tentative attempt to begin a deal with the E.U. by protecting the Irish peace settlement. They cannot stand compromise, however modest. Although individual journalists, activists and politicians have tried their best, most of the 17.4 million who voted for Brexit in 2016 have never seen the men who so casually offered them false promises held to account.
It is anyone’s guess what will happen next. There’s talk this week that perhaps May’s withdrawal agreement will pass Parliament on the third or fourth attempt, but parliamentary procedure might prevent her trying again. No one knows. Parliament said on Thursday it is now prepared to ask the E.U. to extend the deadline for Britain’s departure beyond March 29. The E.U. is under no obligation to agree. Even if it does, what would be the point? There is no consensus on what we should do next. Britain is deadlocked, and the catastrophic possibility of the country crashing out of the E.U. without a deal should not be underestimated.
I have no wish to diminish the seriousness of the criticisms against Trump or suggest that he is fit to govern a great country. But Trump will be gone by 2020 or, if the Democrats mess up, by 2024. Brexit gives every indication that it will paralyze Britain for a generation.
As a student of British history, you will be aware that Enoch Powell was an MBE, a classical professor by the time he was 25, a philologist, poet, author and was fluent in French, German and Italian and another 7 languages. He served in WWII and reached the rank of brigadier, the youngest to attain that rank in the Army at that time. He was a patriot and gentleman of conviction who believed truth must be told however unpalatible. The truth as he saw it in the infamous speech enraged the establishment and did indeed contain racial and fiery rhetoric that was at best extremely ill-judged. But as a prophet on the numbers of mass migration he massively underestimated the numbers. At the time of the speech, amongst the public, he remained the most popular politician in the country and the dockers marched in London in support of him. He was a man of his time and he paid for that speech as he was destined to be PM.As a student of British history during my uni days, I'm perturbed.
Interesting that Heath threatened to resign and call an election if he didn't get his way. Heath is in many ways is the cause of our current troubles.As a student of British history, you will be aware that Enoch Powell was an MBE, a classical professor by the time he was 25, a philologist, poet, author and was fluent in French, German and Italian and another 7 languages. He served in WWII and reached the rank of brigadier, the youngest to attain that rank in the Army at that time. He was a patriot and gentleman of conviction who believed truth must be told however unpalatible. The truth as he saw it in the infamous speech enraged the establishment and did indeed contain racial and fiery rhetoric that was at best extremely ill-judged. But as a prophet on the numbers of mass migration he massively underestimated the numbers. At the time of the speech, amongst the public, he remained the most popular politician in the country and the dockers marched in London in support of him. He was a man of his time and he paid for that speech as he was destined to be PM.
A man and politician of such stature and controversy does not deserve to be erased from history, no matter how enticing that is in these more enlightened times. And with particular reference to this topic, his inclusion is quite apt, quoted The Telegraph's orbituary.:
The cause celebre for Powell during those years was Britain's entry to the European Economic Community. His first act of rebellion as a backbencher in 1950 had been to refuse to support the Schuman Plan that set up the original community. Now, because of the erosion of Parliament's sovereign rights that membership would entail, Powell was even more bitterly opposed. A faction in the party led by him came within eight votes of defeating the European Communities Bill on Second Reading. The Whips made it clear Heath would resign and call an election on the question if defeated, and this brought to heel just enough waverers.
Heath's U-turn in 1972, when the neo-Powellite "Selsdon Man" vision of Toryism was wrecked by state intervention, was the last straw for Powell. Once the February 1974 election was called - on what Powell declared to be a bogus issue, "Who governs Britain?" - he wrote to the chairman of his constituency to say that he could not stand in the Conservative interest. More to the point, he advised the country to vote for Labour as the only party likely to take Britain out of the EEC. His words probably lost Heath the election.
Powell relentlessly pressed home his opposition to Heath during the campaign, criticising his reversals of principle during the preceding four years. At a rally in Shipley, three days before the election, when a member of the audience yelled "Judas!" at Powell, he retorted: "Judas was paid! Judas was paid! I am making a sacrifice!"
Powell had planned a retirement devoted to textual study of the Greek New Testament and the works of Shakespeare - which he believed were written by committee. But before the October 1974 election he was invited to stand as Official Ulster Unionist candidate in South Down. He did, and won.
He spent the rest of his parliamentary career sitting for this Ulster seat and visiting his constituency once a fortnight. His strategic experience was invaluable to the Unionists, and helped to force the Callaghan Government to increase Ulster's seats at Westminster from 12 to 17.....
Though in his later years Powell gave an impression of being a haunted, solitary figure, he was a kind, humorous and sensitive man, happy in his family life and devoutly religious. He enjoyed travelling and reading with a new verve, and sought more and more the company of younger people.
In retirement he eventually completed his version of the Greek New Testament, and it was published in 1994 to acclaim not unmixed with controversy. Powell was also an expert on - among other things - church architecture and monumental brasses in particular. Wherever he went to speak or visit he would try to ensure he made time to look at some of the local churches.
In interviews he often gave a glimpse of the emotional side of his character, a feature best viewed in his four volumes of poetry, which are deeply Housmanesque in style. He published two volumes before the war and two more in 1951, the second of which, The Wedding Gift, included 32 lyrics about the desolation he felt at being rejected by a woman - the "B" of the dedication - while a rival was favoured. The experience was crucial to his character, and one that, afterwards, ran too deep for expression.
Powell lived somewhat eccentrically, keeping no office at the Commons and working in its library. But when he spoke in the Commons, members listened. His private address and telephone number were in all the reference works, a brave act. He was helpful to those who sought not to waste his time. Once asked if he was happy, he replied: "Unhappiness, like grey hairs, is part of life. I am as happy as the human condition allows."
Until he began to be debilitated by Parkinson's disease after he turned 80, he travelled around London on the Underground, a familiar sight in his dark coat and homburg hat on the District line between Westminster and Sloane Square, near which he lived.
It is undeniable that his promise was not fulfilled: but by the very nature of his talents and principles it is hard to see how, without the compromise to which he was so averse, it possibly could have been. Despite his long retirement, he was widely admired as a giant of modern politics and modern thought up to the time of his death.
He was appointed MBE in 1943, and sworn of the Privy Council in 1960.
This is a 100% relevant to now: