Let us suppose that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is adopted, will Theresa May remain as Prime Minister to manage the next stage in the process of non-withdrawal? If so we are totally screwed. At every stage so far she has made terrible mistakes or caved in to EU demands despite clear, advance warnings of EU negotiating tactics – for instance from Yanis Varoufakis, ex-finance minister of Greece: see his book, ‘Adults in the Room‘ or his numerous media interviews since the Referendum (and see Germany calling the shots).
First, she triggered Article 50 with no ‘backstop’ plan in the event that a deal could not be agreed on fair terms; she had no intention of developing a plan because a ‘no deal’ outcome would be unthinkable and therefore time and money spent would be wasted. Some think triggering Article 50 was done merely to have something to tell her party conference.
Second, she agreed to a staged process whereby nothing would be discussed until three arbitrary terms were agreed that locked in advantages to the EU: divorce money, Irish border concessions and the rights of EU citizens in the UK prior to exit, which were not even reciprocated. The tactic of gaining a set of irreversible steps towards its goals (such as Ever Closer Union) has been used by the EU since its beginning; they are experts at this.
To make matters worse May called for a vote of confidence in her leadership from electors and lost her Parliamentary majority because of an appalling campaign which simply tried to promote her brilliant leadership. It is a record of breath-taking incompetence.
May now claims that No Deal will not get past Parliament and no other deal will be agreed by the EU, so the choice is between her deal and not leaving. That would negate the first “People’s Vote” in June 2016 – game, set and match then? Now apparently, a bad deal is better than no deal. She seems only to have been concerned about EU immigration, as though it was all that Leavers had really voted on – more likely it was the most readily identifiable and quantifiable issue, but just one issue of concern among many.
Macron has been explicit, France will demand continued access to British fishing waters at present levels or it won’t agree to end the Irish backstop. Spain and The Netherlands won’t accept less than the French of course and Spain will exploit the Gibraltar issue to the maximum. It is clear what will happen with this completely Non-ferrous Lady in charge; she will surrender us all, yet again. So much for the Daily Telegraph’s headline in July 2016, “The Tory Party may have found another iron lady in Theresa May”. It found a jelly baby instead.
“There never did, there never will, and there never can, exist a Parliament, or any description of government, or any generation of men, in any country, possessed of the right or the power of binding and controlling posterity to the “end of time,” or of commanding for ever how the world shall be governed, or who shall govern it; and therefore all such clauses, acts or declarations by which the makers of them attempt to do what they have neither the right nor the power to do, nor the power to execute, are in themselves null and void. Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the age and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.”
Tom Paine, ‘The Rights of Man’
Our only hope if this deal is agreed is that the Permanent Court of International Justice would overturn the Agreement by invoking the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. But how long would that take?