Morning briefing: No deal backfiring - people want People's Vote - losing control
There’s no pleasing the Brexit extremists. You’d have thought Theresa May would have learned that by now, but the ongoing “no deal” furore has shown that even when she bends over backwards to indulge their most destructive Brexit fantasies she can’t get it right.
Hardline Brexiters have been calling for months for the government to publish detailed plans showing how we would cope without a deal. Now within weeks of getting the Cabinet to grant them their wish, the Brexit extremists are wobbling, as Hugo Dixon wrote for InFacts yesterday.
It turns out that stories of stockpiling food and medicine, running short of insulin, drafting in the army to help move basic supplies, banks lending billions to keep businesses afloat and turning Kent into a lorry park do not sit well with the public. What was intended by the Brexiters as a macho display towards the EU to strengthen our negotiating position is now threatening to kill off their “no deal” dreams entirely.
And whose fault is it? The Brexiters want to blame it all on the prime minister, rather than face up to the reality of what no deal actually means. One Cabinet Brexiter told the Telegraph May’s “kamikaze approach” is Number 10 “deliberately trying to make no-deal look bad”, in a bid to get her car-crash Chequers deal to look more palatable.
Tory Brexiter Steve Baker, who recently resigned over Chequers, wants reports showing impact of no-deal on EU countries to be published so as to strengthen the UK’s negotiating hand. If he thinks that will increase the “credibility and feasibility” of leaving with no deal in the eyes of the public, then he’s deluded.
Nevertheless the government is rowing back on the no-deal rhetoric. Around 70 reports on no-deal preparations which were to be published every week throughout the summer will now be released over a shorter time span, according to Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times – presumably to ensure they get little media coverage. The government has also asked companies involved in no-deal planning to sign non-disclosure agreements to stop “alarming details leaking out”.
It is, of course, good to plan for all eventualities. But that’s precisely what the Brexiters haven’t done - not during the referendum, not when they forced May to trigger Article 50 without a plan, nor as they ramp up calls for no-deal Brexit now. Their only plan, it seems, is to try to hide the facts from the public until it is too late.
HAVE YOU SIGNED THE PETITION FOR A PEOPLE'S VOTE?
Tweet of the day
The people want a People’s Vote
The public want a vote on the final Brexit deal, as trust in the government’s Brexit plan haemorrhages, according to a new poll for Sky. Only 10% think the government is doing a good job negotiating Brexit versus 78% who think it’s doing a bad job.
56% think there should be a public vote between the deal the government suggests, leaving with no deal or staying in the EU - when you strip out don’t knows. Given such a choice 54% would choose to stay in the EU, 31% would leave with no deal and 15% would take the government deal - again after stripping out those who don’t know or wouldn’t vote. Were a referendum to take place asking for second preferences, in the final round remaining in the EU would have a clear lead over no deal Brexit by 59% to 41%.
Losing control of our laws
Britain has privately conceded that EU judges will be the legal arbiter of any Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, according to the Times. As such they could rule on disputes over money, the rights of European citizens living here and the Irish border “backstop”. The dispute resolution mechanism described by the paper - with a joint committee, arbitration and the option to refer disputes ultimately to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) - looks similar to the one proposed by Theresa May in her White Paper in relation to EU rules we would follow in a future trade deal. An unnamed government source insisted to the Times that the ECJ would not have the final say. They would say that, wouldn’t they?
Video of the day
Here's the 10th edition of the FFS Awards, shining a spotlight on people at the heart of this Brexit omnishambles.
What is Johnson talking to Bannon about?
Following Buzzfeed’s scoop last week about Boris Johnson talking to Steve Bannon, Reuters now has the former Trump aide on the record saying he has been in direct contact with Johnson as well as Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg. He described the former foreign secretary as “his own guy” and said he’d “texted a lot” with him and spoken by phone during his trip to London this month. The hard-right ideologue is launching a Brussels-based political organisation to undermine and ultimately paralyse the EU. Gove’s spokesperson told Reuters he’d once briefly encountered Bannon. Neither Johnson nor Rees-Mogg commented.
‘Fake news’ report must be heeded ahead of People’s Vote
The UK is facing a “democratic crisis” with voters subjected to “relentless targeting of hyper-partisan views”, according to a report published over the weekend from the DCMS committee’s fake news inquiry. The report recommends social media companies facing tougher regulation or a new tax, and proposes measures to combat election interference. You can read the whole thing here.
We’re due an overhaul of our democratic process for the digital age. If there is a People’s Vote at the end of the Brexit talks, we will need rapid action to make sure the abuses of the 2016 referendum cannot be repeated.
Tweet of the day 2
Remember when Jacob Rees-Mogg said we'd feel the benefits of Brexit in 50 years? Well here's an even more facepalm-inducing soundbite from pro-Brexit businessman Digby Jones.
More Brexit news…
Quote of the day
“Anyone who claims [Brexit] will be easy is being as cavalier with people’s future as those who deny the belching of fossil fuels into the atmosphere is warming the planet.”
Amber Rudd, in the Sunday Times, compares Brexiters to climate change deniers. And some, like Nigel Lawson, actually are.
Top Brexit comment
Today, Monday 30 July
|-||Parliament in recess|
|19:00||The Left Against Brexit event in Nottingham|
Tomorrow, Tuesday 31 July
|-||Parliament in recess|
|09:30||ONS: UK Balance of Payments: The Pink Book 2018|
|19:00||The Left Against Brexit event in Birmingham|
|19:00||The Left Against Brexit event in North London|