democratically-elected joint Presidents of the EU have written to Theresa May with assurances that are apparently meant to help her convince parliament to vote for the recently negotiated deal.
The letter in full is here.
Parliament has the “meaningful vote” this evening around 19.00 UK time. It’s not looking likely that the deal will be ratified, but in these febrile times, who knows?
The great thing about the letter, if one chooses to read it carefully, is that it clearly signals to the UK that the EU has not, nor has any intention of in the future, negotiating in good faith.
That’s quite a bold statement, why am I so sure?
Theresa May’s biggest problem (of which she has many) is that she relies on the Northern Ireland party, the DUP, to have any chance of winning the vote.
The DUP’s prime concern is that Northern Ireland remains a part of the UK and not be become a vassal state of the Republic of Ireland and the EU.
In fact that should also be the prime concern of any resident of Britain who enjoys only having Islamic terrorism to contend with these days.
So, if you were the EU president and you wanted to give that assurance to Theresa May to pass on to the DUP, all it would take would be an extra clause in the agreement giving the UK the unilateral ability to exit the so-called “backstop”. What, maybe 2 sentences with no more that 40 words in total?
That it’s not offered in that letter and, instead, there are vague and nebulous statements about “best endeavours” signals they aren’t interested in compromising.
This is the paragraph that tells you they aren’t budging;
The European Council also said that, if the backstop were nevertheless to be triggered, it would only apply temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement that ensures that a hard border is avoided, and that the European Union, in such a case, would use its best endeavours to negotiate and conclude expeditiously a subsequent agreement that would replace the backstop, and would expect the same of the United Kingdom, so that the backstop would only be in place for as long as strictly necessary.
In other words, “you’ve had our best offer, take it or leave it”.
Whatever happens, democracy in the UK will never be the same after this evening.
It’s anyone’s guess what comes next; riots on the street, quiet resignation of rule by elites or perhaps even the recognition that MPs are voted in to office to do as they are told?
Regardless, unless parliament can agree on a new bill to alter the current withdrawal bill or the Cabinet triggers a constitutional crisis by extending Article 50, the UK leaves the EU at 11pm, March 29th.
Deal or no deal.