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Death by Brexit

4 11 22
15.11.2018

Why did the turkeys rush toward Christmas? Because they were following a headless chicken. No British prime minister since Anthony Eden’s nerves gave way after the Suez Crisis has shown the decapitated directional sense that Theresa May has shown as she staggers around the barnyard of Brexit. And no Cabinet since Suez has wobbled its wattles and puffed its feathers so self-destructively as May’s Cabinet, as it staggers after her toward a brutal stunning in the House of Commons, and thence into the electoral abattoir.

Wednesday was just another day on Animal Farm. On Tuesday, May had announced that she had secured a draft deal for Brexit from the European Union, and called an emergency Cabinet meeting for the following afternoon. Within minutes, members of her Cabinet were whispering against the plan, and a critical mass of Conservative Brexiteers were criticizing it loudly and massively. Even well-disposed observers were noting that the gaps in some areas of the “deal” were so wide that you could drive an EU-compliant bus through them.

Members of the Cabinet were shown the draft of the deal one by one in a secure room, as if the terms of Brexit were the code for a nuclear football or the 10 Downing Street Netflix account. Meanwhile, the British media described the deal in detail sufficient to explain why May and her advisers were being so furtive.

The deal is not a deal to settle future relations between Britain and the EU. It is the outline of a deal for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union in March 2019, and a sketch of what might happen in the 21-month transition period that follows. And it is an unworkable and unethical disgrace.

The withdrawal deal would oblige Britain to sign up to 27 pages of “level playing field” commitments to the EU in return for no tariffs on goods. These commitments include staying in “dynamic alignment” with EU law on state aid,........

© The Weekly Standard