Blog

15 march 2019, “order, order…”

Excuse starting with the f-word. Order, order, apparently, is what they were chanting from the bayern munich terraces as liverpool beat them to join 3 other english (not uk) teams in the quarter finals of the champion's league, global football's top competition, the first time this has happened in a decade, when my own manchester united went on to win it spectacularly against the very same bayern, the winning goal coming from today's manager, ole gunnar solskjaer. It was a truism for years in british politics that nobody outside obsessive westminster-watchers really cared about europe, which all changed in 2016, since when it has become the issue that ever more blots out absolutely everything else, no more so than this week, with every day bringing a new vote with blanket coverage. Funnily enough, this has brought more understanding of europe to many brits, and more understanding of many things britain to many europeans, hence the odd celebrity of the cerebral speaker in germany. At this point, of course, I do have to have a stab at what it all means, notwithstanding it will be out of date in 24 hours. The main impact of the week seems to be after taking a look at the road ahead, parliament decided it needed more road. Despite the vote to the contrary, no-deal is not impossible, but less likely. Until it changes, the choice is still may's deal or no deal or something else and there's still no solidifying around what something else may be or how it will coalesce. The other big point is that party discipline, the rock of the british political system, is in tatters. Though there are 101 examples, surely a cabinet minister, the brexit secretary no less, moving a motion on behalf of the government and then himself voting against it shows up where we are. Jargon-alert, kyle-wilson is not yet, cliché-alert, off the table. Dr sarah wollaston, the now-independent mp asked the right question: can parliament think of any other circumstance in which a consent form would be valid if it were signed 1,000 days before without the signatories knowing the exact procedure they were giving their consent to ? At some point very soon there needs to a renewal, and we can only hope it is of parliament and of the government and not outside it.