Shenanigans served with a dollop of utter humiliation on top

Britain may never be the same again after Brexit, explains Toby Neal.

Theresa May takes a walk
Theresa May takes a walk

Is it too late to do something? Just hours to go and surely there’s still a card to play, to have it declared unworkable, illegal, immoral, impractical, anti-democratic, perhaps even offside...

It doesn’t really matter which. Somebody has to act to SAVE THE PEOPLE. Hordes of senior judges are waiting by their phones ready for the call.

No, come on. It’s happening. Well, I think it is, probably, unless...

How did we get here? Remainers might say it’s because we started in the wrong place. But let’s remind ourselves of some key events in the Brexit timeline.

We Don’t Really Mean It: In one of the biggest cons in Parliamentary history, in early 2017 MPs with fingers firmly crossed behind their backs voted overwhelmingly in favour of invoking Article 50, which when formally triggered set up a two-year countdown to Brexit, which would happen at 11pm on March 29, 2019.

Theresa Takes A Walk in Snowdonia: When Prime Minister Theresa May saw opinion polls giving her a double digit lead, she positively swooned. Why, she thought, I can call a general election and increase my majority in Parliament. That’ll make things a lot easier, won’t it? What she didn’t count on was the polls’ double digit margin of error.

Shenanigans: As the Brexit countdown approached doomsday, MPs increasingly started to go mad. In all conscience, they could not let it happen. And as Theresa’s big gamble had misfired and she actually lost her small overall majority in the June 2017 general election, they were in a powerful position to stop it happening. And they did.

Try, Try, Try Again: Theresa May reached a Brexit deal with the EU. Trouble was, she didn’t have the Parliamentary numbers. Humiliation followed humiliation. After a Commons defeat by a margin of 230 votes set a new record in January 2019, things improved, but only relatively speaking, in that two other defeats were not by record margins. Article 50, already extended to April 12, was extended again until October 31.

The Hinge of Fate: In every great battle comes a critical point where the action of a brilliant general can win the day. Failing any brilliance, luck will do. In hindsight, we can see that the middle part of 2019 brought a great opportunity for Remain MPs to greatly delay or even stop Brexit altogether. Theresa May faced immovable obstacles across her path in all directions. Confidence among the Grieve and Soubry faction was riding high. John Bercow was the Speaker. This was the moment.

And they blew it: Amid the chaos, confusion, and swirling political gunsmoke, Jeremy Corbyn narrowed his eyes and surveyed the scene. But coherent orders came there none. Which is hardly surprising because you’ll never win a battle when you’re trying to be on both sides at once.

So it wasn’t that the general was not brilliant. It wasn’t that the general was not lucky. The problem was that there wasn’t a general at all – no figure to energise and unite the Remain cause with a clear vision, just a lot of enthusiastic foot soldiers.

It Simply Can’t Get Worse… Can It?: Yes, enter Boris. Boris had an idea. It was to achieve Brexit do or die, dead in a ditch, or whatever. Why this was so unsettling for those who denounced Johnson as an untrustworthy scoundrel who was not to be believed was, ironically, because they believed he meant what he said (although in fact Brexit was delayed yet again). The new Prime Minister’s counter-intuitive response to being stuck in a hole was to dig further, effectively sacking Tory MPs who weren’t on board and turning a minority government into even more of a minority government. Go on, I dare you, force a general election then, he said.

Ooo, er… His political opponents had had it easy when all they had to be was against. Now they had to decide what they were for. It turned out they couldn’t actually agree on anything much, which was not a good look.

Election. December 2019: A voting public heartily fed up with the whole business did not fancy having more of the same.

End of.

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