It seems that Theresa May is running into concerted opposition:
Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement with the European Union, based on her Chequers proposals, has been unveiled, to nigh-universal condemnation.
She may be forced to step down as party leader and Prime Minister:
A vote of no confidence, therefore, appears to be in the offing, with it seeming certain that enough letters have been sent to to the chairman of the 1922 committee, which represents Tory MPs who are not government ministers (backbenchers), to reach the 15 per cent threshold required to trigger a leadership challenge under Conservative Party rules.
Even if the Prime Minister survives a confidence vote, it seems certain her deal will not survive a parliamentary vote, with the left-wing opposition, the DUP, and a large number of her own MPs now determined to vote against it come what may.
I suppose the way I see all this is that there is a growing mismatch between the aspirations of the British people and the aspirations of the British political class.
The British people want Britain to be a self-governing nation. They have always wanted this. When they voted to join the European Economic Community in 1975, they did not vote to hand over the governance of Britain to Brussels. And the same applies to every other European nation: they all want to govern themselves. They want to govern themselves in exactly the same way that Americans in the USA wanted, circa 1776, to govern themselves, and not be governed by Britain. It is in the nature of all peoples everywhere to want to govern themselves.
But the British political class is not the British people. The British political class is the governing class. It is the “Deep State.” So as far as they are concerned, Britain is already “self-governing”: they are self-governing themselves. For them, the pressing question of the past half century or so has been: In the aftermath of the demise of the British Empire, do we strengthen our position as the governing class by keeping Britain as a small separate nation state, or by joining in the larger emerging European superstate? And their answer to this question was to opt to join the EU.
And in part (and this is just my guess) this was because the British political class was, up until 1945 or thereabouts, was an imperial political class. For back then the British Empire still existed. And so they were accustomed to think in global imperial terms. Once the Empire was dissolved, they ceased to be major players in world politics. And so the EU looked to them to be a new empire they could join, and thereby recover their lost global influence.
And exactly the same reasoning was followed in Europe. For the French and the Dutch and the Germans (and also the Italians and Spanish and Portuguese) had also just lost their empires, and thereby lost their global status and influence. What better way to regain that lost clout than to all band together in a new European empire that could equal the USA and Russia and China? And this is why there is now a European political class made up of one time imperial leaders desperately trying to regain the status they used to enjoy. If you’re Angela Merkel or Immanuel Macron or Theresa May, you really really really want to meet Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping as equals, not as minions or vassals (which is what they currently are).
But the peoples of Britain and France and Germany, and every other European nation, do not share these aspirations of their governing classes. Instead they just want to put bread and butter on their tables, and govern themselves to the best of their ability.
So the emergent political division across the whole of Europe is between the governed and their governors, the people and the state. Because the aspirations of the governed are increasingly wholly at odds with the aspirations of their governments, all over Europe.
I really don’t know what the result of Brexit will be, but I’m quite sure that the British political class, acting in concert with the European political class (of which they are all members) will prevent Britain from leaving the EU. And that’s what Theresa May’s latest proposal would succeed in doing.
But I don’t think that whether Britain does or does not stay in the EU in the short term (i.e. now) is going to matter in the long run, given the mounting centrifugal forces now tearing the whole of Europe apart. For if Britain doesn’t leave, then Italy will. And if not Italy, then Hungary. For as I see it, the desire for the peoples of Europe to govern themselves is sooner or later going to overwhelm the desire of the European political class to govern each other. Short of some other development, the people of Europe are going to win. And when they have won, they’ll probably dismantle Brussels as the European imperial capital, and restore something like the loose-knit European Economic Community.
But that’s just my guess.