There’s no question Theresa “The Gypsum Lady” May has made a mess of Brexit negotiations. She allowed a terrible deal to be negotiated by a staff that never wanted to leave the European Union in the first place.
It has been my contention that she did this on purpose, in effect, working for Brussels, the British bureaucracy and aristocracy whose goal is to undermine the will of the people.
With the latest bit of drama it has become clear that both she and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn not only have come to terms with a deal-less Brexit but that their opposition within both parties can now only make things as difficult as possible as we wend our way towards March 29th.
Yvette Cooper’s amendment to gum up the works on a no-deal Brexit by putting stipulations on spending preparations was, in the mind of The Duran’s Alexander Mercouris, a cheap bit of political grandstanding to undermine Corbyn.
The same is going on within the Tories as leaks and statements by members of The Gypsum Lady’s cabinet keep giving markets and the EU hope that a no-deal Brexit can still be avoided.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, obviously speaking for the British establishment, is again trying to scare people into accepting May’s deal because a hard Brexit is not an option… for them.
In an interview with BBC's flagship radio show, the ‘Today programme,' on 11 January, Hunt said, "If this deal is rejected, ultimately what we may end up with is not a different type of Brexit but Brexit paralysis, and Brexit paralysis ultimately could lead to no Brexit."
It would only lead to Brexit paralysis because Remainers like Hunt would force that option versus a no-deal Brexit. But the reality is that talk like this may be the only weapon these people have left.
Because it is looking increasingly likely, much to my shock, actually, that May has misread the political calculus here and doesn’t have the votes to get her terrible deal past not only the ten members of the Democratic Union Party (DUP) but also her own Conservative ‘remainers.’
That speaks to how unutterably awful this deal is.
No amount of backroom arm-twisting has been able to limp this thing across the finish line. But people like Hunt continue on undeterred to do the bidding of the EU and the people who stand behind the politicians.
Moreover, all the dog-whistling about a second referendum has fallen flat as well. The British people do not want a second referendum and, again, as Mercouris points out, would spark a political division within the U.K. so deep it would likely end with a constitutional crisis.
So, what Hunt is doing is trying to frame the discussion as either May’s deal or No Brexit to avoid the very constitutional crisis every option other than a hard, no-deal Brexit would create.
Confused yet? Don’t be. Because the situation is really quite simple, despite the political hand-wringing.
For two years we’ve seen the EU leadership play their tried and true, but now tired, game of what former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis calls their “Swedish National Anthem” act.
Instead of engaging the Brits (and previously the Greeks) in honest negotiations and debate of points pro and con to work a solution, they simply sit back, let you speak and react to your proposal as if you’d just sung the Swedish National Anthem.
And then go on as if you aren’t even there anymore.
The media then presents their talking points, truly irrelevant to the real issues underneath, as if these immense barriers which will cause untold horror and death. This continues until the clock runs out and the other side caves due to political weakness.
It is this kind of non-negotiating tactic that has bamboozled financial markets and political analysts for years. Because it looks, on the surface, unbeatable. But, it’s really just an elaborate bluff which eventually they miscalculate the pot odds of and get called when they have nothing.
It looks like Brexit negotiations are finally at that moment where the EU are forced to reveal their cards and show that those pair of Aces they’ve been presenting are really nothing.
The European Union cannot even countenance the discussion of anyone actually leaving it. To do so invites weakness in the minds of the leadership. It invites the next country to sit down at the table and look over at Merkel, Macron and Juncker and see a wounded fish rather than a unkillable whale.
This is what has the British establishment in a blind panic. They really did think they had this all under control. It has been two and a half years of non-stop fear-mongering over the possibility of change that has brought us to this point.
As opposed to working diligently to prepare the ground for the worst-case scenario they are being pulled kicking and screaming like a child denied a cookie out into the cold, harsh reality that the current relationship between the U.K. and the EU is intolerable.
I say this all the time, power doesn’t make you smart. It gives you the ability to appear smart by using power like a cudgel. Power, in fact, makes you lazy and stupid. It’s a drug that eventually corrupts your worldview so thoroughly you can’t see reality for what it is.
People like Juncker, Merkel and Macron have never had to work hard to win political battles. They’ve always been handed a stacked deck and an endless supply of chips to bludgeon Europe with.
The media works for them, the political machinery behind them supports them, the international institutions guide them. It’s all easy. So, when they are faced with a real challenge, with a person (Salvini in Italy? Orban in Hungary?) or a people who simply assert their sovereignty and say, “No,” one more time they don’t know what to do.
They pushed all-in on scuttling Brexit through the Gypsum Lady’s either complicity or incompetence (at this point is pointless to argue one over the other) and they very likely could get busted.
This holds immense ramifications for financial markets as a hard Brexit won’t be terrible from a flow of goods and services perspective because the customs and ports have been preparing for this, though you’d never hear this on the BBC. Rather, a hard Brexit will put at risk the ability to clear financial transactions and contracts written with the understanding of an eternal relationship between the EU and the City of London.
It will hurt German industry and the interconnected web of supply chain futures that coordinate them. So, there will be dislocation, but it won’t be the people who suffer but the bankers and their political frontmen.
This is where the rubber meets this road. They had two and a half years to work this out and refused to do so, blithely believing in their own power to force a conclusion that no one but them and the banks wanted, maintaining their status quo.
Now they are faced with their worst nightmare and they have no one to blame but themselves.
Because, waiting in the wings is the growing ‘populist’ alliance to unseat the EU-firsters in European Parliament led by Salvini, Orban and Marine Le Pen in France.
Hard Brexit, plus the Yellow Vests uniting across borders and EU parliamentary elections which bring a Euroskeptic to power spells complete doom for the EU and those who have shepherded it to this point.