OPINION: We cannot reduce 17.4 million leave votes to the issue of one word about the Irish border backstop

win_20190127_120036 The PM has returned with nothing, and the Remain machine is working at full throttle to tell Britain it is something. MPs using this as their climbdown ladder will rue the day they did so.


I’d like if I may to open today’s proceedings with one very simple observation that seems to have been lost in the midst of Britain’s current bout of Backstopophobic obsessive compulsive disorder: none of the 17.4 million people who voted Leave in June 2016 did so to ensure a backstop, start a backstop, stop a backfire, get a guaranteed temporary backstop, back a stopgap, mind the stopgap, bridge that gap with Cadbury’s snack or receive a Get Out of Backstop Free Card.

On that basis alone – and one brief look at the summary paragraphs in the “concession” unveiled to a fanfare of flat trumpets – I went to bed last night pretty certain that Theresa May’s joint unilaterally virtual not-in-the-agreement Agreement stood not a snowball in Hell’s chance of appeasing Tory Brexiteers…..and thus evoking a positive meaningless vote this evening.

There were two reasons for this:

  1. It is not a renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement. May’s Circus of Dance has not managed to get a single word changed since she was foolish enough to sign it off last November.
  2. The Room 101 ‘No it’s a New Development really look, I’ll show you the hologram’ has one word that kills it: viz, it doesn’t remove backstop risk, it reduces it.

I woke up earlier, had a poke around for a bit online, and was disturbed to note that neither the above two points nor the opening para of this post are being taken into account during the early exchanges.

Rather than dismiss the new wording as so much puffery, the DUP has said “We have doubts, but let’s wait to hear what Geoffrey Cox has to say”. This is serious stuff in DUPland. And very worrying for genuine Brexiteers.

I also note that 10 minutes ago David Davis tweeted thus:


If that doesn’t worry you enough, DD has also said en passant this morning that if Geoffrey Cox gives it the thumbs up, Theresa May’s new concession that is no concession as such might be enough to make him “minded to support the deal”.

If I can offer a hostage to fortune here, it is my fairly obvious opinion that the Prime Minister would not be allowing Attorney General Cox to walk the streets unaccompanied if he hadn’t already said to her in private, “Looks good to me”. So when he bowls into the Commons later this morning and yells “LEGAL!!” some ERG Tories are going to support The New Old Deal.  Jacob Fleece-Mob has already said, “There are signs here that we have moved forward”.

Already on the TV news media, anyone likely to now not vote for the May Capitulation is being demonised by varietal talking heads as Jacobins, zealots, lunatics and (a new one this) wreckers.


At this stage, I propose only to flag up a few salient consequences of this Brave New Bathyscaphe into which I appear to have stumbled, possibly as a result of some unfortunate mix-up in the Mind-Time-Reality warp factor coordinates that rule us all.

  • If Geoffrey Cox says he’s now happy that Britain’s future trade, economic and political democracy has been ensured by the insertion of the word “reduced”, then he is either a liar, an idiot, a wombat, a politician or all four of those unspeakable things.
  • If the May-Robbins Betrayal passes, the Conservative Party will be massacred at the next General Election everywhere north of Bushey.
  • If it fails (and I still think it will) but Labour pushes for (and gets) an extension to Article 50, this will be pointless anyway, because Brussels – based on last night’s ticking off from Monsieur Le Professeur Juncker – will simply say, “Why?”

I do detect a cross between a steamroller and a bandwagon heading in our direction. But I still can’t believe it can drag 326 deadbeats over the Red Line.