It’s March now which means it’s almost Article 50 time! Let’s have a quick review of the main recent events until now.
David Davis seems to have started the “managing expectations” phase. Competent managers do this all the way through a project, but Davis and May spent quite a few months saying everything would be great and are now having to row back. This is better than leaving it until later, but still suggests they’re a bit out of their depth.
We’ve recently had admissions from the government that low skilled immigration will still be needed, that immigration won’t change dramatically, and that parliament was sovereign all along. Add in the definite dismissal of the £350m a week to the NHS and we have an exhaustive list of the major arguments for brexit, and each one has been nullified. We are left with all of the risks and none of the benefits. We are still doing it anyway because we had a referendum on common sense and decided to reject it.
Davis has also said we must be prepared for the possibility that we leave the EU with no deal. The “we buy their cars, they need us more than them, of course we’ll get a great deal” brexit rhetoric which you may remember from only a few months ago is conspicuously absent. The reader should note here that around half of our international trade is with the EU; to place barriers between us and the EU would be serious mismanagement.
On EU citizens in the UK: When it was announced that there were more EU citizens in the UK and fewer vice versa than previously thought, brexiteers were jubilant because this gives us the upper hand, supposedly. So far the government is making few friends by holding firm on refusing to provide these people with any assurances, while the Lords have today intervened on the issue and given the government their first defeat. Back in real life, the idea that we’re going to kick out 5 million people overnight is patently ludicrous. The economic impact would be devastating so it’s a non-starter before we even get to the ethical issues. Theresa May is not exactly picking her battles wisely with this one – another reason to be concerned she’s out of her depth.
Meanwhile in Ukip land…
Farage yesterday had a tantrum that he hasn’t had a knighthood and blamed Douglas Carswell, who promptly took to Twitter to troll him. This isn’t the first time Farage has had a public spat with Carswell and there’s a delicious irony in the fact that the only person who seems capable of winding up Farage is his only MP. In reality, the plan for Farage to get a knighthood was for Carswell to lean on the Tories until it happened, and the Farage camp thinks that Carswell didn’t do all he could to make it happen, probably because he a) didn’t want to expend any of his political capital on getting Nigel Farage a knighthood and b) thought it was kind of a stupid plan anyway.
Arron Banks, main Ukip funder, has floated the idea of standing against Carswell in the next election as part of a new party. This should be completely hilarious and I’m definitely looking forward to the Newkip defeat.
So in conclusion… things are going better than expected.