Brexit is the mess of all messes, with no clear route out

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Wednesday 16 January 2019 17:19 GMT
MPs reject Theresa May's Brexit deal in overwhelming 432-202 majority

Whatever the outcome of the political machinations of the next few weeks, the nation has got itself into a catch-22 situation where it just can’t win.

Let us start with the not unreasonable hypothesis that Brexit was as much a protest about austerity, as it was about immigration levels. With rising wages, flourishing local communities and economies and a well-ordered welfare system, it is doubtful that Brexit would have received nearly as much support. Brexit was a vote of no confidence in the political classes and their ability to listen to the nation’s woes.

Now look at the impact of the main scenarios on this situation. Another referendum will leave most of the 52 per cent Leavers feeling short-changed and even more cynical about British politicians.

In the short term, a no-deal Brexit will leave the 48 per cent Remainers very unhappy. As time goes on, the economic consequences will feed through, exacerbating the economic fallout from austerity. This is also likely to disaffect a large chunk of the 52 per cent of Leavers who will now feel that not only are their circumstances worse, but they have been lied to and betrayed, by the Brexit cheerleaders.

The third possibility is some sort of soft Brexit, Norway-style deal. For Remainers, this certainly is a poor relation of proper EU membership. For many Leavers, it certainly isn’t what they understood Brexit to be. Worse, does anyone think that the likes of Rees-Mogg and Farage will shut up? No, as they have for the last thirty years, they will agitate and disrupt; a cancer on the body politic, undermining and distracting political discourse for years to come. One of the few things probably that Remainers and Leavers would agree on is that they are sick of Brexit and yet it could rumble on for decades.

There are deep divisions in Britain, based on wealth, education, class, race and geographical location. Many of these have been caused by the impact of globalisation. Brexit has been a catalyst and helped bring peoples’ concerns to the fore. Unfortunately, instead of uniting the nation in a common cause to mitigate the worst effects and tackle issues like the appalling tax evasion of the multinationals, Brexit has divided the nation, destroyed still further our belief in politicians and wrecked any realistic chance of concerted action. The global corporations and the mega-rich are thus laughing all the way to the banks they already own.

This is not just a Laurel and Hardy “another fine mess”, but the mess of all messes. Help, we are in serious trouble.

Malcolm Harris

Austerity kills

So 17,000 sick and disabled people have died whilst waiting for their benefit claims to be assessed since 2013.

Meanwhile life expectancy for both men and women is down and infant mortality is up, I read. Which just goes to prove that austerity is working, doesn’t it?

Pat Moore

Deaf children deserve quality education

The drastic drop in school funding is a sobering reminder of just how swingeing recent cuts to education have been.

Austerity has hit classrooms across the country, and the UK’s 50,000 deaf children are one of the groups being hit hardest. Their support is being cut back. Their specialist teachers are being laid off. And unsurprisingly, their grades at school have started to get worse.

When confronted with these consequences, the Department for Education repeats the same tired claims of record investment in special educational needs and disabilities education.

The facts on the ground, however, speak for themselves. This year alone, a third of local authorities have tried to cut their deaf education budgets by an average of 10 per cent.

So when will the promise of a “world class education for every child” actually get the money it needs?

Ian Noon, head of policy and research at the National Deaf Children’s Society
London EC2

A lack of respect

The best indication of our collective loss of trust in our political masters was the sight of the pregnant MP in a wheelchair being wheeled through the lobby to vote because she could not trust the opposition to honour any pairing agreement. If that level of lack of trust exists between the Members of Parliament is it any surprise that a significant proportion of the population do not believe anything they say or trust anything they do.

Donald Stewart

A battle plan for Labour

As far as the general public are concerned they have no confidence in the government’s ability to get a Brexit agreement through parliament. This will not change whichever way the MPs vote in the confidence motion.

An election is the only way to try and restore faith in parliament.

An election though would leave Labour in a quandary as to what to put in its manifesto. While its base has both Leave and Remain supporters its only option would be to support a second referendum.

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If Labour form the next government and the second referendum supports remain, the new government should then promise the electorate that they would do all they could to reform the EU from within.

That way there is just a chance that they could re-unite the country.

Dave Thomas

What about the will of parliament?

The consequence of Tuesday’s vote is that unless parliament is allowed to exert its constitutional authority, or the views of the people are sought in a second referendum, the UK will crash out with a no-deal Brexit, which of course the Brexiteers will be more than happy about.

It’s worrying and depressing is that no-one seems to notice that these despots are determined to thwart parliament and any other democratic process, whilst loudly proclaiming that they are “respecting the will of the people”. Where else do you hear such language except from the mouths of dictators the world over?

Andrew McLauchlin

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