Emil’s Week in Review
And thus another week has come and gone, and we are no closer to a Brexit resolution. With 37 days to go until D-Day, the question is still, as it has been since May’s draft deal got resoundingly rejected in the commons, whether or not she can secure binding changes to the Irish backstop. The phrase ‘Irish backstop’ has been overplayed about as much as Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u, next’, which is fitting, given that both are about breakups. But ‘thank u, next’ is catchier, and sung by Ariana Grande, not the greying husk of Cinderella’s evil stepmother.
If May cannot secure a new deal by February 27, Parliament will take over the Brexit process. Which is a bit like delegating your own divorce to 650 quarrelling alcoholic uncles and chain-smoking aunts. Hopefully it won’t come to that – Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has been toiling away in Brussels on a legally binding change. Though Eurocrats have underplayed the negotiations, Cox is reportedly confident of a breakthrough, in the form of a codicil. Many expect it to have to look like a unilateral exit with a time limit, whatever that means, in order to get anywhere in Westminster. If everything goes to plan, optimists claim, we could see a milestone vote next week. Even if many MPs will be against anything with a Brussels stamp on it, there’s a school of thought that asserts passing a meaningful vote on Brexit could be the only way to stop the Boles-Cooper amendment to take no deal off the table.
As ever with Brexit, there are a few known knowns, more known unknowns and a hell of a lot of unknown unknowns.
But Corbyn’s only gone and done it! The labour leader had a cracking week in politics. First polls reveal half the country thinks he’s antisemitic, then seven of his MPs announced their resignation from the Labour Party, and thus the Independent Group was born. Whilst I think their choice of name was uninspired at best, and probably the result of The Avengers being copyrighted, its not a bad bunch of apples. Chief among them is Chuka Umunna, the man to beat in the 2015 Labour leadership campaign, until he resigned on the grounds of stage fright. He’s young, charismatic and well liked among Labour Blairites, and has a reputation for playing the long game well.
Whatever they are planning, it’s causing spontaneous combustion in Corbynites. Young Labour responded by Tweeting: ‘Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, we’ll keep the red flag flying here’. Calls are being made for social media boycotts of the seven – now eight! – turncoats. In short, it’s a laugh riot. On a serious note, the Independent Group will probably not win any elections, but it might be a safe haven for MPs torn between party and principle.