dc:creator=kettlemartin   40

If Corbyn gets his hands dirty he can avert a hard Brexit | Martin Kettle | Opinion | The Guardian
May's position is neither substantial nor sustainable. It is disjointed and delicate. It bears repeating, after Tuesday’s volte-face, that it was May herself, not the EU, who created the all-UK backstop that she is now seeking to unpick. But the deeper truth, which she must have known when she originally agreed to it in 2017, is that the backstop was an attempt to reconcile three promises that are almost impossible to fit together in one consistent policy.

The first of these is May’s promise to leave the customs union, which she made because she knows that the Thatcherite right of her party, including some of the most fanatical long-term advocates of Brexit, attaches immense importance – though it was barely mentioned in 2016 – to an autonomous trade policy. The second is her promise to Ireland, which in law and by treaty she is duty bound to make, that a new trade regime would not cause the creation of a hard border of any kind. And the third is the promise she made to the DUP after the 2017 election that she would not permit customs and regulatory divergence between Britain and Northern Ireland.
UK  Brexit  politics  CorbynJeremy  LabourParty  customsUnion  singleMarket  backstop  MayTheresa  amendments  BradyGraham  ERG  DUP  dctagged  dc:creator=KettleMartin 
january 2019 by petej
Theresa May is now a lame duck – too weak to take back control of her party | Martin Kettle | Opinion | The Guardian
More profoundly – much more profoundly – this vote was a wake-up call about the terminal sterility of a certain kind of Conservative vision. It’s a kind of Conservatism that is a confluence of two different traditions, and the Tory party is too respectful to both of them. On the one hand, there is a white establishment tradition, largely English rather than British in mentality, that has not come to terms with the loss of empire, dislikes foreigners, and which somehow equates Brexit with the restoration of British superiority and power. On the other, there are Thatcher’s children, often self-made, self-confident, petit bourgeois, anti-foreigner and anti-state, flirting with Ukip, beguiled by the Great in Great Britain and irreconcilable to any European engagement.

May’s critics are genuinely hopeless at politics. They can cause a lot of trouble. But they cannot, will not, take responsibility for practical action in government. They appear to believe that there is a Commons majority for their faith-based, crash-out, free-at-last, ourselves-alone Brexit if only they can install a true believer and bring the DUP back onside. The vote confirmed that is not true. The naivety is breathtaking. Such a Tory leader would lose any Brexit bill or confidence vote. Luckily for the Tory party, most MPs proved today they are not so foolish.

In the end, it’s the recklessness over Ireland, an instinct that lies deep in the DNA of part of the Tory party, that is the most frightening piece of foolishness. These fanatics, playing footsie with a DUP clique that puts sectarianism above the wider needs of a Northern Ireland that voted remain, are the direct political descendants, though with half the talent, of people such as Lord Randolph Churchill in the 1890s, FE Smith in the 1910s and Enoch Powell in the 1970s. All of them tried to play the Orange card. All of them did so with awful results for Ireland and Britain alike. As Talleyrand said of the Bourbons, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing – and they proved it again this week.
UK  politics  ToryParty  leadership  MayTheresa  TheRight  Brexit  authority  dctagged  dc:creator=KettleMartin  conservatism  nationalism  xenophobia  Thatcherism  neoliberalism  delusion  Ireland 
december 2018 by petej
Hard, soft or no Brexit, Britain must begin to heal its wounds | Martin Kettle | Opinion | The Guardian
Those who believe that the importance of our place in the EU makes a second referendum vital cannot avoid asking themselves whether the wider outcome and consequences are worth the risk. On balance, in my view, they are. But I cannot help worrying at the same time that a Britain in which the liberal left feels outraged about Brexit may be literally a less dangerous place for us all to live in while we try to rebuild our relationship with each other and with Europe, than a Britain in which it is the nationalist right who feel betrayed.
UK  EU  Brexit  MayTheresa  politics  polarisation  ClarkeKenneth  liberalism  nationalism  danger  referendum  dctagged  dc:creator=KettleMartin  division 
november 2018 by petej

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