IS THE CENTRE FIGHTING BACK IN THE UK AND U.S ?
Over the last year it has often felt that the hard right is leading the UK and USA over the cliff. President Trump’s boorish behaviour was excused by his supporters. In this country the narrow vote to leave the EU was being used by hard line Brexiteers as a licence to cut us adrift from our European friends to set up a low tax/low standard economy linked to a trade deal with Mr Trump.
Well the House of Commons and voters in Alabama have given notice that there are limits to what we’ll take. The victory for a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal and the defeat of the awful Republican candidate, Roy Moore, in the Alabama senate contest should cheer all who occupy the centre ground in politics.
These victories will not be significant on their own, but they must encourage MPs who want the British people to think again about our membership of the EU to be bolder in the face of people like Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. In America the Democrats must raise their game to inflict bad mid term results on the Republicans who will then be so spooked that they will deny Trump renomination in 2020.
These two events may be false dawns. Taking Alabama first, Roy Moore has been described as the worst Republican candidate ever fielded. With serious allegations about his sexual behaviour unresolved Moore was disowned by most of the Republican Party, apart from Trump who knows what its like to face claims of improper conduct with women. The Democrats won’t face many easy targets like Moore. That said it was their first Senate victory in Alabama in 25 years.
Now to the victory by Tory rebels which ensures parliament will have a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal. You could call it taking back control of parliament’s sovereignty, a concept that will be familiar to Brexiteers. It opens the possibility that when the poor terms of Brexit are finally exposed, MPs will have a chance to say no. But much needs to happen before Remain parliamentarians would feel bold enough to reverse Brexit rather than just ask the government to renegotiate the terms of leaving.
The British people need to have a change of mind. They took the decision nearly two years ago at a dreadful time for the EU. They can now see the huge complications involved in leaving and what’s it all for. Mrs May is now signed up to a bill of forty billion, a role for the European Court of Justice over EU nationals, respect for new EU laws during the transition phase and full alignment with the single market and customs union unless we can work out a border agreement with the Irish.
If the public change their mind, the ranks of Tory rebels will grow and Jeremy Corbyn will seize the chance to change his party’s stance even though he’ll always remain a Eurosceptic.
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