state of play update redux

So this is kind of a big deal: John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has invoked rules dating back to the 1600s and said that Parliament may not consider the same bill twice in a session. Which means that Theresa May’s apparent strategy of just bringing back her EU deal over and over until it passes has been kneecapped for good. Ten out of ten for the colorful Speaker (or should that be colourful?) making sure everyone plays by the rules, but this makes things very complicated very quickly.

May’s deal, heretofore known as the last best offer from the EU, is deader than fucking fried chicken. It would have to be modified “substantially” to be allowed back before the house, but it’s plainly not going to tilt any more toward Britain than it already does. The only substantial concessions that could be made are toward the EU and back in the direction of a more Norway-like arrangement, with a customs union and free movement and no say in matters, and that will drive the hard Brexiteers insane. But it’s also in the direction of what Labour claims to have been kicking around, and looks like the outline of something that could conceivably pass if the choice is between that or a hard Brexit.

Because we are 11 days out. On March 29, Britain crashes out of the EU, and on present form, that looks like happening. Parliament said they don’t want it, but that was an advisory vote, and there would have to be another bill to cancel Brexit outright because it’s not at all clear that the EU can or will countenance another extension at this point with no idea what it would be used for. So right now, the options before us seem to be down to these, in ascending order from least to most probable IMHO:


1) Parliament revokes Article 50 and cancels Brexit, to start over at a later date.

2) Parliament slams through the soft-Brexit bill with mostly Labour support and a rump faction of Tories, which almost certainly means that Theresa May will have to quit and call elections immediately thereafter.

3) The EU offers an extension based on renegotiation around something like 2) above, with an indeterminate timeframe that is probably long enough that Britain is obligated to hold MEP elections in May.

4) Nothing happens, everyone runs around like decapitated chickens but can’t get something together in time, and on March 29, Britain is cast out of the EU and all hell breaks loose.


Based on the world in the last three years, I’m betting heavily on #4.

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