And, as Cabinet Office minister Michael “Oiky” Gove effectively admitted yesterday, those who are being betrayed are all the people who believed in the Brexit Kool-Aid, and drank it in without question. They realised they’d been had the moment that Gove reported back on his meeting with European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič.
What had happened to cause the betrayal? Simples. The clauses in the Polecat Enabling Act, otherwise called the Internal Markets Bill, which enabled the Tories to break international law at will, and which their MPs had once again backed in a Commons vote only hours before, were to be dropped. Gove had caved in. And it got worse.
As the Evening Standard noted, “The Government has also pledged not to introduce any similar provisions in the Taxation Bill which [was] due to come before MPs in the House of Commons [yesterday]”. Worse still, the EU will have customs officials in Northern Ireland, which Gove and his pals had said would not happen. He had caved in big time.
So after Gove told “Delighted to announce agreement in principle on all issues in the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. Thank you to [Maroš Šefčovič] and his team for their constructive and pragmatic approach. I will be updating Parliament tomorrow”, the blowback was not slow in arriving, and from an entirely predictable source.
Yes, Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage was up and ranting, enjoying the advantage of never having to take responsibility for any of it. “When [Michael Gove] says there is a pragmatic agreement on Northern Ireland, and the EU are happy, then you know we are being walked all over”. But he, too, has a credibility problem.
Like his having pulled hundreds of his Parliamentary candidates out of last December’s General Election race and telling voters in those constituencies to back the Tories instead. Still, one notable armchair Brexiteer backed Farage: “Exactly, Nigel. You immediately think, what has closet remainer Gove capitulated on. Well, we'll see what the detail says”.
Yes, Gove, the most ardent of Brexiteers, was now a closet remainer! And there was more. “I see that what's in our laws is decided for us personally by Michael Gove, to dictation from a bloke called Sefcovic. I'm guessing this is the control our Parliament has taken back?” from one disgruntled Tweeter. And more still in the same vein.
“What the hell are we doing? All of our so-called leaders running over to Brussels with their begging bowls. Our politicians are so weak and subservient”. Not even Gove and his pals could keep the con going any longer. Now the army of Brexiteer fundamentalists they radicalised has begun to turn on them. This is not going to end well.
There’s one big problem denying reality. Sooner or later you have to welcome it back.
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