The sight of twenty two naked buttocks superglued to the glass screen which protects the Chamber from the Public Gallery will stick with me for a very long time. They were climate change protestors, and of course I decry their action. Yet the point they were making had some resonance with me.The sight of twenty two naked buttocks superglued to the glass screen which protects the Chamber from the Public Gallery will stick with me for a very long time. They were climate change protestors, and of course I decry their action. Yet the point they were making had some resonance with me.
Day after weary day we debate, wrestle, plot over Brexit. We ego-trip over our detailed knowledge of the Withdrawal Agreement; our super-clever control of obscure Parliamentary procedures; over the precise meaning and import of Clause 23 sub-section 4, and whether or not the Lisbon Treaty supercedes it. But where has it all got us? Absolutely nowhere at all, after three years of wrangling.
The fact of the matter is, and always has been, that four competing pressure groups are trying to get this thing sorted out and they are at loggerheads. The people voted to leave. The Government broadly agrees with them. Parliament seems not to, but cannot decide what else it wants. And the EU are determined to make the whole thing as difficult as they possibly can. The chances of reaching a sensible settlement amongst those interests was pretty much nil from the start.
It seems to me that we are now faced with a direct binary choice. Either Parliament agrees to the Withdrawal Agreement (and at 286 votes, more people voted for that than for any of the other options available either this week or last); or if they do not do so, by definition we do not have a Withdrawal Agreement, which means that we will leave a week on Friday without one. So I hope that some mechanism can now be found for one final heave for the Withdrawal Agreement, failing which we must climb out of the cess pit, and leave the EU with our heads held high having tried to sort out a pre-nup with them, and having failed.
Most of the details have been agreed anyhow, and could be taken forward on a bilateral basis- airlines, medicines, nuclear fuels etc. etc. are all agreed. Do we really need a super-deal to fix them in place? I suspect not.
What we must now do is simply get out of the EU, either with the WA, or with No Deal, and then sort ourselves out thereafter.
If nothing else, that would give us all clarity and certainty, and allow us to start focusing on something other than Brexit- like the Climate Change Crisis of which the naked buttocks did rather a good job of reminding us.