As this is written, the Cabinet is locked in a fearsome confrontation (okay, some would say discussion...) with the PM over Brexit. Nothing new, you might say, everything about Brexit has been confrontational (or much discussed) - which is broadly true. However, the 500 page draft agreement with the EU is obviously taking time to be pored over (why does it need 500 pages to tell the EU where to go, I wonder ?) and Mrs May will, by now, be pretty agitated over who will support her deal or not.
We, the great unwashed of this country, haven't a clue as to the real content of this mammoth 500 page blockbuster but the popularly voiced feeling is that it's going to screw us all - Leavers and Remainers alike. By a mixture of supposition, speculation and trend watching the broad belief is that this document will either tie the entire UK into a prolonged customs union with the EU that has no defined end-point OR it will cut Northern Ireland out of the UK by keeping them in the customs union for an ill-defined period. Neither are acceptable to anyone except the EU.
The very fact that the Cabinet cannot agree on this strongly suggests that parliament will sling it out of the nearest window also, and we must not forget the multi-lateral agreement required by all 27 other member states of the EU to approve this - and that's not a foregone conclusion given that states like Poland, Greece, Hungary and Romania are already rather brassed off with EU bureaucracy and may, just may, vote against this. With likely Cabinet rejection, almost certain Parliamentary rejection and pretty inevitable rejection by the disaffected states of the EU, Mrs May's rigid and blinkered view of a solution to Brexit will not just shatter on the rocks but will create political tsunami's.
But let's be generous in our viewpoints. Just suppose that this agreement got passed all the approval posts. First, that would signify a complete abandonment of the original Brexit referendum result to leave the EU, for this agreement would, one way or the other, tie the UK to the EU in semi-perpetuity and with no positional advantages and no influence whilst costing us a lot of unnecessary roubles. It would deny us any ability to make trade deals elsewhere and would create an industrial/financial sector crisis of confidence - 'Are we in, out, partly in, partly out and for how long ?' This would suit nobody, whichever way they voted in the Referendum. Political confidence would demand an election and an immediate change of leadership in the Conservative Party. Chaos would be unleashed and we would, by default, likely create an electoral scenario where the Labour Party would win. The chaos would then spiral out of control as nobody really would wish a Corbyn led government, but neither would they wish for a May led government. A vacuum would be created and the EU would watch the UK slide into some level of political anarchy ! The second, more objective outcome of an acceptance of the draft agreement would be a continuation of things as they are now - membership of the customs union, single market and ECJ jurisdiction over our legislative affairs. There may be some short-term comfort for business in this but they shouldn't be allowed to overlook the fact that our ability to get benefits out of the EU to subsidise areas like farming, research, cultural development, etc, etc, would be almost non-existent. We would be a vassal state with next to no privileges.
We should not invoke fear but we should demand a clear opportunity to review and vote upon such an agreement. This would not be, by any measure, a second referendum on leaving or remaining - that is already legally bound up - but it would be a referendum on whether the British people wished to be governed in this way, as defined by the 500 page monster. Bristling Brock rejects the very notion of vassalage to the EU, that is the road to nowhere and ignominy. If we were to reject this document at a national level then we should embrace 'No Deal' and pack our bags and just go. No divorce deal, no money, no acceptance of ECJ or Strasbourg's parliamentary supremacy, no trade restrictions, no uninhibited freedom of movement, no preparedness on any level to bow to the will of another national entity - the EU (the word sovereign entity just doesn't fit here). We are Britain, Great Britain at that, and we are a United Kingdom. We are proud and dignified and we have the skill and ambition to leave Europe and forge a new way ahead. Nobody in our present government has uttered a single word of enthusiasm for Britain leaving the EU - and that is the most shameful aspect of our governance. Brexit by bureaucratic process rather than by positive engagement will be the downfall of democracy in this country - and we, the electorate, should never let that happen....