So tonight Parliament is having another attempt at reaching a consensus on Brexit. But whatever the outcome, the government is showing little sign that any alternatives would be acceptable.
The loudest advocates for Brexit, a collection of neo-liberals and far-right activists, seem unlikely to settle for anything other than complete withdrawal from the EU without any deal at all. They’ve been helped enormously by the winner-takes-all approach that the government has pursued since the referendum. This has left no room for compromise, while seeming to strengthen those who claim to know the “will of the people”.
But the fact remains, there was never a plan for Brexit…
- PM announces plan for a Brexit referendum to satisfy warring factions in Conservative party, but has no plan for Brexit.
- Advocates for Brexit, known as Brexiteers, have no plan either.
- British public vote narrowly for Brexit (52% to 48%) in the absence of any plan.
- PM resigns, and new PM takes over.
- New PM claims to know what Brexit means… that “Brexit means Brexit”; but offers no actual plan.
- Parliament then sets a legal date for Brexit, but there is still no plan.
- PM seeks to consolidate her position through a general election, but again offers no actual plan for Brexit, and loses majority.
- PM stays in power with the help of DUP, but there is still no plan.
- Views of Parliament ignored. Views of 48% of British public ignored.
- Two years pass negotiating the PM’s plan, based on “Brexit means Brexit”. Two Brexit secretaries resign, numerous ministers also resign.
- Brexiteers say PM’s plan is worse than staying in EU.
- Remainers say PM’s plan is worse than staying in EU.
- Plan is then voted down twice by parliament. PM says her plan is only option, and continues to ignore parliament.
- EU Council President says there will be a “special place in hell for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan”.
- PM asks EU to postpone legal date for Brexit.
- But plans put in place in case Brexit happens without a plan.
- Six million people sign petition to cancel Brexit. One million people march through London calling for a People’s Vote.
- In the absence of an agreed plan, parliament takes control of Brexit process for a day.
- PM offers to resign if Brexiteers support her plan.
- Some Brexiteers, who want to become PM, offer to back PM’s plan. But DUP don’t back the plan.
- Every alternative Brexit plan is then voted down by parliament, as well as a plan to cancel Brexit.
- PM’s plan is then voted down for a third time.
- Parliament to try again, the story continues…
Of course, I can’t sign off with a simple “The End”.
But if left to me.. well, I signed the petition to revoke Article 50.