A not entirely accurate map

We’ve a piece in The Guardian telling us that we can in fact stop Brexit if we’d like to. This is a statement of the bleedin’ obvious of course, sure we can stop it. Parliament votes to stop it and it’s stopped. There would be a certain embarrassment at going to Brussels to point out that it was all a bad idea, a little national mindburp but sure, it could be done.

That’s not the question at all, it’s whether we want to do it:

But for remainers to give up on the campaign to stop Brexit would be wrong on principle, and practically ineffective.

A key lesson from my time as a negotiator for the UK in the EU is that it is essential to be calm, at full strength, and there up until the very last moment of the process. The final stages are when events happen at an artificially accelerated rate, and realities can change in an instant. Slinking out early, or switching focus to the next issue, opens you up to missing a game-changing opportunity. While time may be tight, a week is now an eternity in British politics.

On principle, we should oppose what we know to be harmful. We know that Brexit will harm our families, friends, neighbours, fellow citizens, and the country and its standing in the world. To acquiesce quietly to this would be wrong while there is some chance of success.

The odds are against stopping Brexit. They always have been, but it can still happen. The main obstacles are political, not legal. For example, were the Labour party leadership to significantly alter its position, the odds could shift considerably in favour of remaining.

This is all entirely correct but it’s also all entirely irrelevant. The question is whether we want to go or stay. I’m firmly in the go camp. Go under any circumstances. I regard the very existence of the European Union as a bad idea and our own membership of it as worse. I also recognise that I’m an extremist on the issue and that few go quite as far as I do. Yet I still insist that it’s not how the not leaving is achieved that matter even to Remainers, it’s the whether.

At which point two little notes. The first being well, who wants to be part of an organisation that doesn’t have reasonable negotiations? One where final and actual things are done at 4 am when they’re days past their own deadlines? That’s not the way to run an entire continent, is it? Something more measured and thought through might be a good idea.

The other is that this is one of the people who used to do the UK’s negotiating in the EU for us. A hopeless and insistent pro-EU bod that is. No wonder we’ve always ended up with the very ordured end of the stick given that we’re represented by a believer in the project. What we’d much prefer, in any negotiation, is someone who doesn’t like the basic idea and thus will extract maximal concessions to allow themselves to be persuaded.

Oh, and one little lovely extra. Note the basic mindset here. That expressed democratic will is something to be managed away in favour of the EU project rather than being something respected and to be acted upon. Which is of course why we should be leaving whatever the methods that could be used to make us stay.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Remainers have a religious commitment to the EU that overrides everything. We have seen it recently in the “Trump tariffs are evil but the EU tariff barrier is great” furore. I have some friends who are vehement Remainers but who visit Catalonia regularly and see nothing wrong in the way the EU has handled the referendum affair or Puigdemont. “But Catalonia does not want to leave the EU” is what they bleat, ignoring the reality that the EU wants to overturn or just ignore the referendum result. You cannot have a rational debate with a Remainer.

  2. It’s arguable (I don’t agree but it can be argued) that leaving the EU will make us poorer, or to be accurate (and accepting the worst case guesses projections of Project Fear 2) marginally less wealthier than we might otherwise have become. But not everything in life is about money. Choosing to have children makes us financially worse off, but people still have children. Conversely campaigners against arms sales are very reluctant to desist when it’s pointed out to them that some people would lose their jobs if all UK armament production ceased.

    It’s revealing that EU supporters seem incapable of producing a positive case for Remain – they just insist that we might become a little lighter in the pocketbook after we leave. To which the only proper response is ‘meh’.

    • No, not everything is about money, but such things that are about money should be measured in terms of the amounts of it. Taking a loss to have kids is not a sacrifice, it is a choice, which assumes one has the resources to be able to waive some earnings to make that choice. Parents mostly are doing what they want and understand the cost.

  3. The essence of the EU is to have foreigners wreak upon Britain the damage that Britain’s Parliament might or might not wreak on itself, as an admission payment for access to Europe’s customers. But people voted to end that, and their agents should treat them as more than herd animals.

    No negotiations at all. No more payments for anything. Forcibly evict the Eurocrats from their office buildings, maybe give them a charitable week to sell their homes. Start printing visas so as to not issue them to Eastern European “economic migrants.” Enact en masse all EU directives as British laws, but each set to auto-repeal in 90 days unless sustained by a two-thirds majority in the British Parliament.

    It is amazing how those enamored by central control even like it when the control is done by foreigners.

    (Now, the really treacherous among the Britons should look to the US, where a successful campaign to “repeal Obama-care” was morphed before our eyes into winning politicians chanting the undefinable “Repeal and Replace,” and now certain of them saying “Shore up Obama-care” by increasing the unauthorized payments. One tax has been repealed, but with an effective date only after we re-elect their pastey white asses, if the next Congress doesn’t double-cross us the way the current one did.)

  4. Given the concessions the EU would insist on (or at least push for) in order to have all the other members agree to let UK stay (as per the rule book) I’d say stopping it is much more likely to be worse than forging ahead at this point