What happens next?
As far as I can make out, we’re now in a two-week limbo period of delay until 12 April. Both the government and Parliament are in deepening disarray.
As far as I can see, the state of affairs is that the British people voted to leave the EU, but government and parliament don’t want to. The political class is fully wedded to the EU, and has been for decades. But the British people have become increasingly disenchanted with it. In fact, people everywhere in Europe have been becoming disenchanted with it.
So the dilemma facing our politicians is: do they do what they want to do, and stay in the EU? Or do they do what the people want, and leave as requested?
If they do the former, they’re liable to find themselves voted out of their parliamentary seats by an angry electorate at the next election (which could be just round the corner).
If they do the latter, they may not want to carry on being MPs anyway, in a changed political environment.
Either way, the political careers of many of them will be over.
I continue to believe that most of them think they know better than the British people what’s good for them, and so will make sure that Brexit doesn’t happen on 12 April.
And then it’ll be People versus Parliament. And I think that the People will be angry that the Parliament has not done what the People wanted.
James Delingpole, reporting from a pro-Brexit rally:
What I can tell you is this: the people who voted for Brexit aren’t going to go away and they haven’t changed their mind. On the contrary, I believe people’s appetite for Brexit is stronger than it has ever been.
One of the things that pleasantly surprised me at today’s Brexit rally outside the Houses of Parliament in London was the number of people I’d met who had originally voted Remain but were now ardent Brexiteers.
Some had originally bought into the Project Fear myths of the Establishment-driven Remain campaign; others had simply gone along with Remain thinking that a rift with the EU would be too disruptive. Now they’d just had enough of the European Union and wanted out.
It’s not too surprising that he should come across such voices at a pro-Brexit rally. But how are most Britons going to react to to the government failing to do what Britons asked it to do? I think that, regardless of whether they’re Remainers of Leavers, all Britons should be disturbed when their vote is ignored. And they will probably not be inclined, if a second referendum is called, to reverse the vote to Leave. They’re much more likely to double down and vote even more strongly to Leave. Because it will have become not so much a matter of whether Britain leaves or remains in the EU, but instead the far more serious matter of whether Parliament does the will of the People or not.
Of course, it could well be that once we get to April 12, a further delay will be announced, and another one after that, and so on indefinitely. After all, that seems to have been Theresa May’s plan all along: Do it all as slowly as possible. Deliver Brexit, but deliver it so slowly that it never actually happens.
But in that event the British people will start to get angrier and angrier and angrier.
So that’s what I expect will happen. Nothing will happen, because the government never planned to do anything about Brexit. And the British people will start slowly getting angry that nothing is being done. And they’re already quite angry after nearly 3 years of nothing being done.