And there it is.
Yesterday, MPs passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (or WAB, a WABsolutely brilliant acronym built for satirists). This is the same Bill that Theresa May failed to pass three times through the House.
This time, there was never any doubt. Johnson’s swinging majority bismarcked Brexit into British law. As Jozzle Bonkz himself said last night, we have now, “Crossed the Brexit finish line.”
We are now less than ten days away from leaving the European Union.
For this to make sense, we need a refresher on the legislative system in Parliament. In the words of Blue Peter presenters past, present and future, “Here’s one I made earlier”:
You might have heard that the Bill had already been passed, and you’d be right – it had passed the first, second and third stages of reading in the House of Commons. Then, the House of Lords stepped in to scrutinise.
And it was more controversial than you might have thought. And should be more widely reported.
But that’s another story about the media for you, for another day.
Johnson’s version of the WAB has been accused by its detractors of being a worse deal than May’s – and unnecessarily cruel, too. The House of Lords, using its capacity as a scrutiniser of law, sought to make five changes to the WAB.
The most notable suggestions were:
- Give EU citizens who live in the UK automatic right to stay, rather than having to apply to the Home Office;
- Not allowing UK politicians to disregard judgements made by the EU Court of Justice, which is currently more powerful than our Supreme Court, after Brexit;
- And the Dub(step) Amendment, which sought to allow unaccompanied refugee children to live in the UK if they have a relative here so they can be reunited with their family.
It all sounds rather reasonable, doesn’t it?
Don’t stick two fingers up at the EU, our future trading partner. Don’t tell EU citizens who have lived, worked and contributed here for decades that they need to apply to remain a citizen. Allow children who are terrified and alone to be reunited with those who can care for them.
I mean, it sounds fair enough? What arguments could there be agains–
Oh no. Here comes the Johnson, flapping in the wind.
Johnson has total control over every last one of his MPs, and over his majority. And how do you think he ordered his troops to deploy?
Every amendment from the House of Lords was defeated in the House of Commons.
No introspection. No collaboration. No remorse.
Now all that remains is for Royal Assent – a mere formality. Unless the Megxit Saga has finally done it for Lizzo and she declares herself Empress and invades the Faroe Islands.
Yesterday’s vote sets the tone for the Johnson Premiership – my way or the highway, chaps!
For all of the rhetoric about “Bringing the country together” or “healing the division,” not one inch has been given to any sort of dissent. Criticism, valid or not, is to be thought, and not heard.
And even then, Dominic Cummings might pick up the thoughts with his ridiculous, Mars Attacks, telekinetic forehead and sack you anyway.
It looks as though this is the way things are going to continue. Johnson at the helm, naysayers be damned.
Whatever you make of Bonkey Jong, though, he’s got a direction. We are, finally, marching on. Not just endless, repeated faffing about.
And, by refusing to acknowledge the opinions of anyone other than Dominict Cummingberbatches, he has also done what we all thought he might: placed the success of Brexit, and indeed his own Premiership, firmly onto himself.
If he cocks it up, he will try to pass the buck. I think, in that instance, he won’t find too many takers.
EU Give Love a Bad Name
I was in Bulgaria recently. Sofia, specifically. It’s a city with a frankly ridiculous amount of history, having seemed to have been passed around from empire to empire until the record stopped with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
And so, when given its independence, what did Bulgaria then do?
Its absolute damndest to join the EU, that’s what.
Now, some of you might joke that this is a kind of imperial Stockholm Syndrome. “They don’t have an identity without some big daddy ruling over them, hahaha, poor sods, so they joined the dogmatic EU empire because they bloody love it,” said a Mr N. Farage, The Dog and Duck, Kent (unconfirmed).
But it’s not that at all.
Bulgaria is clearly a post-Communist state. Huge, stark buildings still pepper the city centre, with only the Red Star removed to hide its past. But it’s an EU state, too – with imported beers, aprés-ski bars, and European department stores in abundance.
Tourism is on the rise, its economy is on the rise… Bulgaria, in general, is on the rise.
It’s clear what EU membership means for this country. And that’s why it was all the more profound to be somewhere like that for the last time as a citizen of an EU member-state.
Leaving Bulgaria felt very much like my own physical manifestation of leaving the EU.
Many G&Ts were drunk on the plane.
Brexit Day. 31st of January. Will Big Ben Bong?
No. Probably not. Nor bloody should it.
But, as of that moment, we are no longer an EU member state! Praise be to Jeebus / Oh God why (delete as appropriate).
Then begins the fun part – the transition period. Can Johnson really negotiate a full trade and relationship deal with the EU in just 11 months? We’ll soon see. If progress has stalled by the summer, there might be a few leathery squeaks from the Tory benches in the Commons.
But one thing’s for sure, squirm as they might, if it goes tits-up, they’ve only got one man to blame.
And if he’s going to take the fall, he’s going to pull the whole damn stage down with him.