Party Games

A parliamentary vote on the UK-EU trade deal is imminent. If it gets voted down, the UK leaves without a deal.

In the real world, a vote means a firm choice. You either want one thing or the other. And if you have no particular desire for either, you go with the lesser of the two evils.

Politicians get their jobs on this basis and are sent to Parliament to follow suit on our behalf. Abstention is the last refuge of the cop-out cabal, and we can expect to see a few charlatans disappearing down that crack this time out. But there are greater crooks on the block – those who are going to vote in order to make a ‘statement’.

Sensing that the deal will go through anyway, these shysters are hoping to salvage some political capital by feathering an alternative nest if the UK chugabug hits a few bumps in the road. They will therefore vote against – and for No Deal – in order to reserve some personal not-me-Guv certification for when the deal is passed.

That’s some serious, cynical manoeuvring.

But this is not the student common room where protagonists have the luxury of making gestures in an artificial context of make-believe. For all the blather about ‘legitimate political statements’, only decisive actions garner legitimacy. If politicians want to make moral statements for the chosen few, they can set up an Only Fans.

MPs will shortly be heading to the division lobby to choose between leaving with the agreed deal or with no deal at all.

For all those who claim that they are not prepared to ‘own‘ any negative future outcomes of Brexit, they really need to get back to reality. Once the big decisions are made, we all own them. That’s how democracy works.

Voters do not have the luxury of magicking up a third, alternative meaning of their vote, nor may they re-imagine the options of the poll. The Leave/Remain gig is long gone. This is now about how Leave looks, full stop. Most of these incorrigible berks are still sobbing over spilt milk, but make no mistake, this is all now about them and how their image will project to future electorates.

What a shame they were not willing to ‘own’ the Remain argument prior to the 2016 vote. The only reason that both parts of the current binary are unwelcome for them now is because limp, half-arsed politicking lost the first battle through its own inaction and ineptitude.

They were posturing then, and they are posturing now. At the end of all this, politicians who should be taking the strain are focusing solely on image management.

And for once, Keir Starmer has got it right because he has embraced realpolitik. The DUP are also on point and will vote against it because they wanted No Deal, which is at least a consistent position.

Just imagine if there were now an unexpected hard-core Tory Eurosceptic rebellion. We would end up with the SNP and Liberal Democrats sealing the hardest of all Brexits.

I wonder who they would expect to ‘own’ that one?

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