Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Have the ERG Loons Really Taken Over The Asylum?


I planned to retire from anything other than gardening following the 2016 Brexit vote, but since the lunatics of the ERG really do seem to have taken over the asylum, it looks as if I will have to drag my aching carcass back into the line. Restarting this blog is the first step on that sorry progress, in case you were wondering.

Let's look at where we can go from here. Yesterday, seventy-five Tories, mainly from the ERG, voted with Labour to derail our country's withdrawal agreement with the EU. Ostensibly, they claimed that this would lead to a no-deal Brexit, but today a motion will go before the House of Commons to rule that out. If the no-dealers get a hundred votes they will be very lucky indeed.

A motion cannot override legislation, so the next step will probably be to delay Brexit by legislation. The EU has said that the UK can have such an extension provided it does not go beyond the end of May. If we want a longer period then we have to show cause why it should be granted; so a general election or second referendum would be needed as an inducement.

Rationally, what this means is that the Withdrawal Agreement can be brought back in the hope that eventually a measure of sanity will prevail in Tory ranks, but I have my doubts about that; or rather, I suspect that more than a few ERG wallahs are actually closet Federasts.

I am old enough to remember when Tory MPs banged the drum for capital punishment and promised that if there was ever a vote on the matter, they would restore the rope. After the 1983 elections, such a bill went before the Commons and was defeated easily. Most of the Tories had just been mouthing off to keep their voters happy but when push came to shove they rejected the death penalty.

So they have form at those games and in the case of  Sarah Wollaston MP is one to keep in mind. She was a committed Brexiteer until about five minutes before the referendum and then she jumped ship to the other side. Finally, she abandoned the Tories completely and went over to the newly formed Independent Group. An extreme case, perhaps, but I wonder how many other Tories are quieter versions of her?

Extending the period for our withdrawal to May gives plenty of time for the loonies to be brought face to face with the reality of the situation that they have caused. If more of them can be brought onside then those Labour MPs who represent Leave constituencies and who want to keep their seats can be expected to vote with the government. However, they will not use up their political capital doing that unless they think that the agreement will pass with their help. 

It isn't over yet by a long stretch, but everything hinges on enough Tory MPs leaving the lunatic asylum and going to the Commons to vote for an end to this torture.


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