Between the Lines was profoundly saddened by the horrific attacks in Sri Lanka over the Easter weekend. In times like these it can be hard to find humour, but find it we must.
Our thoughts are with all those affected.
So, who got sunburnt?
Spending Easter day as I did, on a beach in Dorset, was to be reminded of some of the very best things about Britain:
- Families playing together;
- A passion for fish and chips;
- Superb dogs;
- A wanton disregard for suncream;
- And a mutual hatred of seagulls.
It was a gorgeous day by the seaside and, as I lay on my incredibly sandy beach towel and watched the world go by, it felt like the Britain as depicted in postcards, BBC documentaries from the 1970s or even poetry.
For a few, short hours, everything was alright with the world, or at least with Britain.
And then I remembered that our MPs’ holidays were about to finish and the next stage of Brexit “discussions” are due to begin today.
As a natural response to the encroaching stress, I ate an entire Lindt bunny in less than four minutes.
Arrrrgggghhhh. Right, Let’s Get Into It. Has Anything Happened Over Easter?
Not really. The major news outlets are reporting plans being put in place by members of the Conservative Party to hold an ‘indicative’ vote of no confidence in Theresa May (“Welcome back, Tezza, hope you had a nice walking holiday, now piss off”) but realistically this is only news because of a lack of anything else.
While the implications are supposedly huge, the reality is that May has no obligation to resign until December – she survived an official vote of no confidence in December 2018 and legally cannot be forced out until 12 months have passed. Given what we know about her determination to hold on to power, it’s probably more likely than not that even if she lost this vote of no confidence she would simply shrug it off.
I highly doubt that May is forced out before the European elections – the fact of the matter is that most of the potential suitors for the top dog position would rather pour gravel into their own socks and run a marathon than take it right now. With Brexit unresolved, the premiership isn’t so much a poisoned chalice as it is a Wetherspoons toilet full of anthrax with a Novichok-dipped turd floating in it.
With polls showing that votes are haemorrhaging out to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which is consistently polling at above 20%, the Conservatives know that the public opinion on them being able to deliver Brexit is at an all-time low. What is far more likely to force May out is an absolute trouncing at the polls for the European elections, which seems a foregone conclusion.
The embarrassment for her party might be enough to force her to quit… but I still wouldn’t bet on it. I also desperately hope that she doesn’t quit either – despite her vast shortcomings in the run-up to March 29th, she has appeared far more open to consensus-building since then. She is, after all, the one with the most experience, who is right in the thick of it, and who understands the realities of the situation.
The Brexiteer unicorn-hunters may have their rifles prepped, they may have donned their camouflaged gilets and they may have left a space on the wall between the stag’s head and the bear’s, but if they actually go out into the wilderness they sure as hell won’t come back with a trophy.
Johnson, Raab, Gove, any of the hard-Brexit candidates for the leadership: they are all committed to reopening the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. The EU have said categorically that this will not happen. If, and it’s sadly not half as big an if as it should be, one of these morons gets into power on a wave of bolshy confidence that we’ll give those EUrocrats what for, they will quickly realise that they will fail miserably.
We will be back at square one, with even more damage done to our relationship with the EU, and will be far, far closer to a disastrous no-deal Brexit.
My God. So What Will Actually Happen Now?
Well, the cross-party talks between Tory and Labour will continue today, though reports are coming in from both sides that they are “pessimistic” that any good will come from them. It seems as though the Tories are refusing to budge on certain issues around the customs union, which makes the whole endeavour as pointless as a tea towel made of treacle.
If a deal cannot be found, Labour’s current strategy will be to campaign in favour of a second referendum. This could end up, at long last, being passed through Parliament later in the summer, though is unlikely to happen for quite some time and will be a fraught process, to say the least.
What we’ll see over the next few weeks is the campaigning around the European elections. Ahead of the vote in May, we’ll see a concerted effort from parties to preach their cause – the Brexit Party is currently polling high, but Change UK, The Independent Group’s new beige moniker, will launch its campaign in Bristol today. Supposedly some of their candidates are “household names” – if true, that could see their stock rise dramatically, as support from respected former Parliamentarians or political figures could drive public opinion to new heights.
Additionally, given how many Leave-voters are polling as willing to abandon the two main parties over their handling of Brexit, the same could happen for Remain-voters – Change UK has said it will openly campaign as a pro-Remain party, which could inspire support in a political landscape where faith is a rare commodity.
Or, alternatively, the entire thing becomes one-sided, with mostly Leave-supporting MEPs elected. If this is the case, they will kick up a huge stink in the EU and try to block it from working effectively. This would cause the EU’s patience with the UK wear extremely thin.
We’re back, folks. Hope you enjoyed your breaks, because it’s all downhill from here.
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