MRS Maybe had another fruitless day out in Brussels. She came, she saw, she failed to conquer the usual fine-sounding platitudes, and then she left empty-handed while declaring that real progress had been made. She was not invited to the EU dinner, so maybe she packed Brexit sandwiches made from old meat paste found at the back of the cupboard.
I’ve been swearing off the B-Plan Diet lately, as it has the dreary consequence of making one feel empty and bloated at the same time. But today I’ve risked another mouthful.
All that emerged from yesterday was the suggestion that the transition period could be extended by a year to keep the Irish border open.
The Brexit-bonkers newspapers are flapping their arms about this, along with the Brexit bonkers Tory MPs (to avoid accusations of stereotyping, Brexit-bonkers Labour MPs are available, but are fewer in red-faced number).
The now marginally less Brexit-bonkers Daily Mail goes for: “Another year in Brexit limbo” while the Sun chunters about: “Brextra time”. I reckon my ex-colleague Georgie Greig, newly installed in the editor’s office at the Mail, is on to something there: but never mind another year, Brexit threatens to be an unending limbo, an endless nowhere land, a dry desert where over-hyped hopes go to die.
The Sun reckons the possibility of staying “under the control of the EU” for another year “runs the risk of infuriating hardline Brexiteers within the Conservative Party”. Oh, do come off it! Those hardline Brexiteers are permanently infuriated; they wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning without being infuriated; they wouldn’t expend such energy bashing the top of their boiled eggs without being infuriated.
Indeed, one of the big problems all the way along has been that the whole debate/row/scuffle has been driven by an infuriated minority.
Still, let’s remember those wise words of Dr Liam Fox, who said on the BBC Today programme on July 20, 2017 that a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU should be the “easiest in human history”. Way to go there, Liam; any more predictions up your sleeve?
The other night on the BBC news, 10 voters from Swansea – five remain voters and five leave voters – were invited for a catch-up. It was a slight piece, but one thing struck me. One of the leavers said that Brexit had to go ahead because “more than half the country had voted for it”.
The leavers did win, no point denying that: but the margin was 1,269,501votes and that doesn’t constitute half of the country by a long way. In Yorkshire, often seen as a leave stronghold, the leave majority was 422,639 – decisive for sure, but still not massive.
Although some on the left dislike the EU, seeing it as a bosses’ club and so forth, the tenor of the Brexit debate has been set by Brexit-bonkers Tories with their wet-dream fantasies about the outcome, along with their internal slanging matches. A matter of great importance for the country is being dictated to by the internal politics of a bitterly divided political party whose membership is dwindling by the day.
Brextra time will probably be the least of it.