Well in case you haven't heard, there's been some grumbling of shocked defeat across the pond in the United Kingdom, where globaloneyist sore losers are trying to pull rabbits out of their increasingly threadbare hats to try to get Great Britain to remain in the European (dis)Union. In Britain they started off calling these "remainers", which quickly became "remoaners," doubtless because the moaning chorus has been led by M. Jean-Claude Juncker (apparently no relation - other than common shared concepts and attitudes - to the Prussian landowners of yesteryear). Juncker, of course, has about as much warmth and charm as a black mamba and has been moaning ever since the results of the BREXIT referendum. His latest opus of tyranny was to urge European leaders not to allow BREXIT-like referenda in their various countries, because, as he put it in between hisses, if they should do so, everyone would vote to leave the EU, leaving poor M. Juncker to slither back to whatever technocratic paradise that hatched him. Life is so very difficult, and it is so hard to be an unimaginative bureaucratic tyrant these days... moan moan moan.
You may recall that just a few weeks ago, a British court handed down a "defeat" for the BREXITers, ruling that the referendum was non-binding, and that Parliament itself would have to formally vote to invoke article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. Of course, there were discussions and debates about something called the "crown prerogative" and whether or not Mrs. May could invoke it and bypass Parliament, but this discussion, like the British constitution itself, remains obscure, located somewhere between the perukes in the Old Bailey and afternoon tea, and accessible only to the mandarins of the Inner Temple with post-graduate degrees in Advanced Jurisprudential Obscurontology(See Charles Dickens, Bleak House).
It seems, however, that Prime Minister May has other ideas about moving things along, and may have pulled a fast one on the remoaners, according to various versions of this story that many readers of this website in the United Kingdom sent me:
The story is simple enough: May called the bluff of the remoaners:
In a landslide victory for Brexiteers a Government amendment binding MPs to respect the prime minister's Brexit timetable in return for a greater role in the negotiations passed by 461 votes to 89.
The history defining paragraph states that parliament "calls on the Government to invoke Article 50 by 31 March 2017" - effectively ending any Remoaner plot to indefinity delay divorce talks with Brussels.
It also basically makes the current Supreme Court proceedings over whether or not Mrs May can trigger Article 50 without parliament's consent redundant, because MPs are now signed up to starting the process anyway.
Government insiders were tonight hailing the passing of the motion as a huge success, with senior Brexiteers saying Labour and rebel europhiles "had their bluff called" and chose to respect the will of the people.
As the article also notes, all of this was achieved by a "compromise" that the May Government would have to inform members of Parliament of its negotiating strategy.
But then we have a bit - well, not so much a bit, but an entire opera - of a waffle in these statements by Robin Walker, Minister for Exiting the European Union:
Just before the decision was taken Robin Walker, the Minister for Exiting the European Union, urged MPs to back the amendment, which he said would make sure Government was "scrutinished" over its Brexit approach without "binding its hands" in negotiations with Brussels.
He told the House: "The Government is getting on with the job of delivering on the mandate delivered by the British people. We are taking our time to get the details right. We are moving on from 40 years of EU membership doing this properly and effectively is a complex challenge with a wide range of outcomes. (Emphasis added)
Now I have no doubt that the May Government is serious about moving forward with the BREXIT, and I have no doubt that Mr. Walker simply committed one of those mistakes we all make when we are under pressure and speaking more or less ex tempore in a public venue, when he said "we are moving on from 40 years of EU membership..." &c. But the fact of the matter is, Britain became a member of the Common Market; the EU itself, in its current monstrous bureaucratic form, wasn't fobbed off on Europe until the Maastricht amd Lisbon treaties(1993 and 2007 respectively). It was the Heath Government which first tried to bring Britain into the European Economic Community in the early 197os and eventually succeeded in 1973. But this entry was a far cry from the arrangements that obtained under Maastricht and Lisbon. Under the new "arrangements", power shifted to the un-elected bureaucrats of Brussels, black mambas like M. Juncker, and away from the national legislatures themselves.
So what's my high octane speculation for the next strategy the Europhiles and "remoaners" might pursue to delay and weaken BREXIT? Watch for Brussels and Berlin to press even more strongly for a common European military, and for a British role in it, as a way to keep the upstarts in London under their scaley thumbs. The key here is how Britain will respond to such pressures, and I fully expect that it will (for the moment) continue its relationship with NATO, while trying to dodge the idea of a common "European military" for the simple reason that this would mean, ultimately, that the real center of command would remain in you-all-know-what-country's hands. But there is an outside chance that Britain might also attempt to revive the broader defense arrangements implicit in the Commonwealth in their own right, and quasi-independently of NATO. That would be a huge (and dramatic) undertaking, but Britain also has long experience in playing the soft power culture card. If that happens, watch for bi-lateral meetings on "security matters and issues" between Great Britain and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and of course, the USA, dressed up behind the usual rhetoric about international order, "special relationships," and so on. And while all that's going on, Britain will continue its presence and participation in China's Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Time, in other words, will tell.
See you on the flip side...