A Historic Vote in Parliament

And so, tomorrow UK time, Parliament will vote on May’s Withdrawal Agreement, which isn’t. It’s an amazing document, given that its existence is premised on the authority of a passed referendum that asked,  “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

That is very clear and unambiguous, remarkably so, in fact. And so were the results, 51.9% of the electorate (in the largest UK turnout ever) said: “Leave”.

But the British swamp (pretty much the same players as the American swamp, but with a British accent) disagreed with the people. Loudly, coarsely, contemptuously, and disgracefully they disagree. It hasn’t been edifying watching as they attempted to spin, lie and otherwise weasel out of what the sovereign people said. This attempt is the keystone of May’s Prime Ministership, to undermine the will of the people. It’s a hell of a mess, perhaps worse than what Trump is fighting, not least because the people have few allies in Parliament, the Civil Service, or the City (that square mile, mentioned in Magna Charta) that has had pretensions to know better than anybody what is good for the UK, ever since.

If the domestic enemies of the people were not enough, then there is the EU. They are already on a bumpy ride to oblivion and fighting a rearguard action to preserve what is increasingly seen as das Vierte Reich, the fourth incarnation of the German Empire.

What May’s agreement does not do is withdraw from the EU, in fact, what it does is even worse than staying in, it removes any influence Britain has in the EU (not much) and strips Britain of voting rights in the organization. It is literally worse than staying in the status quo. It was evidently dictated to May by second level officials of the EU, not surprisingly, German allies of Merkel’s.

The other option is, of course, a clear exit on WTO terms, and then as is proper, to negotiate trade deals with all and sundry. Rumor has it that the US has one waiting that is very favorable to the UK, and it is likely that the Commonwealth does as well.

Would there be disruption? Perhaps, but its hard to see why. Trade is in everybody’s interest. Germany is still a metal-bashing economy, what they do best is make cars. The UK is comparable, maybe superior, as a twenty-first century economy to the US, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and an end to the EU asset stripping of manufacturing to relocate in Eastern Europe would enhance employment for regular people, as we’ve seen here in the last two years.

Greg Hands, the MP for Chelsea and Fulham, and a former Minister of State at the Department of International Trade wrote this for Conservative Home a few days ago.

[…]But most Brussels commentators maintain that Brexit details are determined by their respective number twos: Martin Selmayr (Chief of Staff to Juncker since 2014, and – controversially – General Secretary of the European Commission since March 2018) and Sabine Weyand, deputy to Barnier.

Both happen to be German. Indeed, Die Welt, the leading German daily, early on in the negotiations did a feature titled‘The top German players in the Brexit poker game’, with a certain pride, on their central role in the coming talks.

Selmayr and Weyand – the well-connected German officials, behind the scenes […]

In September 2017, Selmayr was reported to have blasted Brexit as “stupid”.  “He is a theologian who regards the British as heretics,” was how a former British ambassador to Brussels described him to The Times.

It is Selmayr who stands accused of having leaked the details of two dinners between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Although he denies this. The accounts claimed May “begged for help” and described May as appearing “anxious”, “tormented”, “despondent and discouraged,” and cruelly described how our Prime Minister appeared to be having sleepless nights.

Juncker – or more likely Selmayr – vetoed greater transparency in the Brexit talks and specifically recommendations from the EU’s official watchdog that Weyand’s role be more scrutinised and her meetings published.

What they now say about the Brexit Agreement: and why that should warn us, British MPs, in advance of next week’s vote

Since the Withdrawal Agreement was finalised in November, Selmayr and Weyand have left most of the public words to their bosses Juncker and Barnier, but behind the scenes various reports have emerged of what these two officials think. And these officials are the ones who know the detail best. Both have been clear that the Agreement is overwhelmingly favourable to the European Union.

There are credible reports that the British armed forces have already been assigned roles in the so-called EU army, often said under German officers, and that intelligence functions will be extended. This last is important, the premier intelligence operation in the world is Five Eyes: Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Britain is, always has been, a key player in this. This agreement will end this, and possibly NATO as well.

So that is what this vote tomorrow is all about. Perhaps the most important vote in the entire Anglosphere since the British decided (without public approval) to join the EEC, the predecessor of the EU.

We’ll see if Parliament has the guts to legislate for the (not very) United Kingdom, or is content to throw away a thousand years of history for the satisfaction of surrendering British sovereignty to German bureaucrats.

A proper British Prime Minister would simply tell the EU to sod off.

The date today could just as well be 10 May 1940.

Maiden (Speeches) and Gods in Action

Kemi Badenoch. Remember that name. If the Brit Tories have any sense at all this girl has a pretty much unlimited future. There’s a tradition in Parliament that your first speech (your maiden speech) tells everybody much about who you are and what you believe. Most are rather insipid. Not this one. Another thing I have noticed is that in Britain, which is still much more class conscious than we are, when somebody comes up from the lower orders, or is an immigrant, or a woman, or something, in politics, in the universities, and even in business, they are almost invariably Conservatives. Must be something about the “Content of their character”.

Of course, I’m a bit prejudiced, I quite like people who quote Burke, and consider Churchill and Thatcher as heroes. And being a Brexiteer surely doesn’t hurt.

“Kemi Badenoch. May the tribe increase!”


“Tranquillity Base here, the Eagle has landed.”

And so it had, on 20 July 1969, the lunar module from Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two men in history to walk on a celestial object other than the earth. Some half a billion people watched the (very poor) television broadcast live from the spacecraft, as the whole world stopped, and gazed in awe. How quickly we become jaundiced, taking things for granted, but here was something to equate with Drake’s circumnavigation of the world.

But here with the words, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”, we thrust confidently into the future.

One of the things I’ll remember on my deathbed. When I was in college, four of us rented an aircraft and flew down over spring break to watch (from the beach) the mission that launched at night. It was simply indescribable, as if several suns had risen while a whole chorus of Thors played the anvil chorus. Simply the most awesome thing I have ever seen.

Time to do something similar, I think.

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