Thursday, 17 October 2019

The English Nationalist 'Deal' with the EU

The not yet ratified Brexit deal is a statement between the lines that only some are noticing. It is English nationalist from a right wing Conservative point of view.

It does seem that a number of Labour MPs will support it, despite the fact that changes to the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration means that Britain (and it is Britain) will be able to move from European Union product and service standards, and labour market standards. It gives every potential for a race to the bottom. It does this because it isolates Northern Ireland and frees up Great Britain for a free market economic liberal future. It means that Scotland's social contract will also be ripped up, however much devolution offers limited protection.

The consent issue was solved by moving to a simple majority vote in Northern Ireland's Assembly (after four years) for what is not a backstop but a frontstop. The calculation is that demographically, and given the view of business, a simple vote will always keep Northern Ireland aligned to the EU. But it does, as the Democratic Unionist Party says, drive a coach and horses through the identified communities consent and veto dissent mechanism currently in place in the Good Friday Agreement.

This EU withdrawal talks that Northern Ireland is in the British customs territory, but puts it in Ireland's in practical terms (that is, the EU) and the customs checks happen at the ports (the Irish Sea). The DUP have been dumped and it's goodbye to their supply votes for the Tories.

Andrew Bridgen is typical of the English Nationalist Tory, because for all his noises over the guidance of the DUP, the prize of a free market competitive Free Trade Agreement distance from the EU is too great to lose. The ERG group will likely vote individually based on their view of the UK Union or the English prize.

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) is starting to say that we would be better off in the European Union. Quite so. That keeps Northern Ireland in the UK, has an open border south, and allows the communities to move slowly one way or the other or not at all.

Let's be clear too, that Scotland won't have this, creating a competitive free for all, and Wales will have a real sense that it is being overwhelmed again by the English dog. This yet to be ratified deal is the one that breaks apart the British Union.

But the future dilemma is becoming clearer. This always was the Tories' last stand. Had the yet to be ratified deal not happened, the extension would have finished the Tories. The deal, if it happens, will probably save most (but not all) of the party - its remain dissenters will now have to shave off.

The alternative is increasingly looking like revoke. It seems to me we need a political revolution in how parties are supported and rapidly.

Some Labour MPs will deliver a reward to the Tories at the next General Election if this deal succeeds on Saturday in the House of Commons. But if it doesn't succeed, we go to a General Election knowing that the Tories must be defeated and that Labour, frankly, aren't and haven't been up to it for so very long. Labour itself is under incredible strain and policy confusion, and this deal going through (after which the European Parliament will ratify) could well shake Labour to pieces. Corbyn now is pretty much finished, from a number of different angles of ineffectiveness, not least damaged Lousie Ellman MP going independent - indicating the ongoing chronic problem with the Labour leadership.

My support for the Liberal Democrats today is stronger not weaker. If we leave then it is good to hear that the EU door will be open to the UK in future, and just maybe the needed political revolution will be a return of the social Liberal side to political power with others to get us back inside a multinational confederation that was always based on peace and economic sharing, with political institutions to match.

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