Brexit keeps oscillating between tragedy and farce, with farce mostly winning


Last night the BBC had a good summary of the dramatic events of yesterday: where things stand with Brexit; the outlook for the future; and the reactions from the EU in Brussels, the DUP in Northern Ireland, and the SNP in Scotland.


At present, it looks like Theresa May is going to try for a vote tomorrow, the very last day before the clock runs out on the EU’s ultimatum, though with typical May vagueness it is not clear whether the vote will be on her twice-defeated plan or a stripped down version, though the speaker seems to have ruled out the former. If nothing is passed by tomorrow, the EU seems to be working on the reasonable assumption that no alternative deal will be passed by parliament by the April 12 deadline, which means that there will either be a no-deal Brexit or a request by the UK for a much longer delay or even revoking Article 50 and returning to the status quo ante, each of which will cause huge turmoil.

I had been curious about how May got tagged with the ‘Maybot’ label that is in wide currency and learned that it was coined by columnist John Crace over two years ago when he noticed that May was incredibly vague and unspecific in her answers to questions, mindlessly repeating phrases like “Brexit means Brexit” and “No deal is better than a bad deal” whenever she was questioned on any specifics about what she was planning to do. I must say that she does seem robotic in the dogged way that she pursues what looks like dead ends.

A great example of what a farce this whole thing has become is seen in this clip of Jacob Rees-Mogg, the perfect poster child for upper class twit, repeatedly switching his position on how he will vote.

With all the confusion and uncertainty, one thing has emerged that is perfectly clear and pretty much everyone agrees on and that is that Boris Johnson is a crass, unprincipled, careerist. This former mayor of London and foreign secretary jumped on the Brexit bandwagon when it looked like that might enable him to succeed David Cameron as prime minister, only to have May get the job. Then he spent the last couple of years as a Brexit hardliner working against May’s plans, only to say he would support it just minutes after when she said that she would resign if it passed, sensing that this provided another opening for him to take the job. It is hard to see him gaining a majority in the party since he has infuriated so many with his naked opportunism, not to mention his buffoonish personality. But nothing can be ruled out these days.

One topic that keeps coming up is if and when the UK leaves the EU, whether Scotland will declare independence and rejoin the EU on its own. It seems like that the same land border problem in Ireland that has stymied the Brexit negotiations will now appear between Scotland and England as well. Why is that not seen as a serious problem? Is it purely an emotional rather than a practical issue, because a Scotland-England border does not carry the violent history of the Irish border and that the Scots and the English do not share the same level of commonality as those on either side of the Irish divide and thus would be more comfortable with a hard separation?

Comments

  1. Jazzlet says

    The English-Scottish border certainly does have a violent history, but it’s a few centuries rather than a scant two decades back. Time makes a lot of difference, although not enough difference that there are not plenty of Scots that do want independance. Also the Scottish-English border at 154km (96m) is a lot shorter than the Eire-Northern Ireland border at 499km (310m) much of it through rugged hill country rather than proportionally more lowland farming country. But the main problem is the tie up with the Good Friday Agreement.

  2. Dunc says

    A border between Scotland and England would be physically much more manageable -- it’s about half the length of the Irish border, it’s in the middle of nowhere, and it only has (IIRC) 3 crossings. You pretty much only cross it if you’re going somewhere. The Irish border, on the other hand, runs right through the middle of communities, and people cross it to buy a pint of milk.

    Also, I think a lot of people just haven’t thought that far yet. No point worrying about what a hypothetical Scots border might look like at some point in the future when we have no idea what’s happening with Brexit tomorrow…

  3. consciousness razor says

    It’s starting to seem like that whole united kingdom thing just hasn’t worked out. It wasn’t such a good idea after all. Every day, it’s all about the clusterfuck of internal division within the UK, while a UK/EU divide is hard to decipher at best. From that point of view at least, Scottish independence amounts to a clear recognition of some definite problems and a coherent way to address them, nothing like the Brexit lunacy that everybody takes for granted now.

    Whatever ends up happening, I’m sure it will be completely unintelligible. After a few months, some fearless explorers may venture back to the island, to see what remains…. Maybe there’s still some reason to hope that it won’t look like somebody organized a large-scale LARPing session loosely based on Lord of the Flies.

  4. Holms says

    Farce might be winning now, but tragedy will overtake in leaps and bounds when the no deal exit hits.

  5. sonofrojblake says

    Boris the buffoon is an act. He is a very bright boy indeed. And don’t write him off as a possible PM yet. Stranger things have happened

  6. xohjoh2n says

    A border between Scotland and England would be physically much more manageable

    That’s what Hadrian (a man after Trump’s own heart) thought.