No ideal solution for Brexit insanity

Editorial | Mary Ma 7 Dec 2018

The British created an impossible chess puzzle for themselves the moment they voted to exit the European Union more than two years ago.

Critics of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal were correct to point out her proposal was far from ideal.

But they have no moral authority to criticize her because they should have known right after the Brexit referendum vote that whatever agreement reached would be imperfect.

Brexiters said the document was flawed. They may be right because it contains elements the remainers want. Likewise, the remainers were upset because it tries to satisfy the leave cause. So, May could only hammer a deal that reaches neither wholely here, or entirely there in the end.

However, for those in the middle ground, it's acceptable since, while meeting the fundamental demands of hard Brexiters to break away from the EU - albeit not as swiftly as some such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg would like - it also addresses the basic wish of remainers who fear a no deal scenario would mean job losses and economic recession.

The problem facing May is she doesn't have enough allies in the middle road, so it's imperative for her to increase that support to rescue the proposed deal, which is now questionable.

Just as the country is largely equally divided over the issue, so are the MPs.

Yet, May's critics are in hot seats too. Rees-Mogg, the Tory MP heading the Brexiters' European Research Group, has been unsuccessful in plotting a coup attempt against May.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour opposition leader, has been long on rhetoric, but short on substance. Both are doing their best to tear May apart via the excuse of a bad agreement.

Corbyn asserted he would have gotten Britain a better Brexit deal than the one May has given them to vote on next Tuesday. That's a bold claim that may sound sweet to the ear, but more than likely is nothing but false bravado.

It seems Corbyn has already plunged himself into an election mode that calls for much talk and little action.

Sadly, it's not an election but a negotiation of high-power politics. Can you imagine Corbyn sitting in Brussels negotiating with the EU top brass after the latter had been too eager to show their disdain for him in the past?

Rees-Mogg would like to have May replaced by a hard Brexiter. Nonetheless, he missed the magic 48 - the minimum number of letters of no confidence that Tory MPs must send to the party's 1922 Committee chairman to trigger a leadership review.

His failed attempt was revealing. If the deal was that bad, why couldn't he marshal enough opposition within the party to challenge May? The answer is not sophisticated: they don't have a better alternative in sight - or within reach.

Hence, comes the stalemate, in which neither May,

Rees-Mogg nor Corbyn can claim to have the majority. When the MPs vote on the proposed Brexit deal next week, will they set the Brits up for another shock? It's more likely than not.

Sometimes, politics can be incredibly insane.

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