Perfidious Albion and the ERG
Today the EU will decide whether to allow TM an extension to Article 50 -again! All the signs are that they will refuse an extension to June 30th, proposed by the PM but will offer a longer extension to end of December with the option to go anytime if we can organise agreement in the Commons before that.
Why would they do that? Well, Donald Tusk points out in a letter yesterday, how unsettling it is for all the countries of the EU to have this uncertainty. He reminds us that this whole pile of nonsense is taking up an inordinate amount of time, not just for us but also for the rest of the EU. Extending to end of December gives everyone a bit of breathing space. EU elections can take place and hopefully he says, Britain will have sorted itself out. There is also always the possibility that given a long extension to Article 50, the ERG and DUP will jump into line and vote for Mays withdrawal agreement, scared that it’s the beginning of the end for Brexit otherwise.
Tusk is also reported to have said to Macron that he should avoid humiliating Britain.
We seem to be doing that perfectly well ourselves! Yesterday we were introduced to a new Brexit character “Perfidious Albion” by Mark Francois. Twitter responded to this with delight and Perfidious Albion was trending for a while, and variously introduced as one of Jacob Rees Moggs children, the defence of the dark arts teacher for the new term at Hogwarts, a football team and an album by Motörhead. If Perfidious Albion was a Rock band they’d be bloody disappointed in their backing group.
Perfidious Albion is actually a derogatory description of Britain’s political dealings with the rest of the World from the 18th Century and specifically applies to England or Britain acting treacherously.
Add to this the sight of Francois quoting Tennyson’s Ulysses and standing behind a podium with a picture of Thatcher on it and you have to wonder how Tusk thinks Macron has any power to further humiliate the British Government any more that we have already done.
Talks between the Labour Party and Tories have sort of stopped? Im not really sure. Its like they all got fed up of the conversation and started playing candy crush or ordering pizza or deciding what they’ll watch on Netflix later.
Meanwhile in Scotland, Alison Thewlis and Drew Hendry get on with the day job of holding the Government to account for welfare cuts. Alison pointed out that Child Benefit is at its lowest level in the 40 years since it was introduced and Drew raised the impact of UC on councils like the Highland Council. A cost which all our council tax payers have to meet.
Richard Leonard was complaining about buses but doesn’t appear to know there’s an SG consultation on transport happening right now. I invited him to the meeting in Lairg to share his experiences of using public transport – think he’ll come?
Kirstein Hair (Tory’s) is complaining about broadband speeds -again, despite it being a reserved matter to Westminster and so underfunded by them that the SG is having to step in to add a massive amount of extra funding.
Ian Murray (Labour Edinburgh) stood in the commons yesterday and said “a democracy ceases to be a democracy if it can’t change its mind” then spent the rest of the day explaining why that statement doesn’t apply to Scotland. Not Scotland, Scotland hasn’t changed its mind, Scotland doesn’t count, I didn’t mean Scotland …….