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?