Brexit – Happy All Fool’s May

So it’s Monday again, and that means Brexit Votes. It’s also April 1st, notoriously called April Fool’s Day. In this note, we update thoughts on what happened recently, including a significant speech from a controversial German politician. In not heeding the lessons of history, We’re all in danger of becoming fools.

Indicative Votes 2.0

As we discussed here, Parliament has secured another day for itself to debate motions designed to create a path towards Brexit. While most poke (foolish) fun at these fools errands, we instead applaud Parliament for trying to retain its own duty and sense of purpose. We’ve applauded and lauded this throughout, and can see no downside in today’s motions. Instead we see a fatigued Parliament trying to do its best for a fatigue-sickened electorate.

But the motions chosen by Speaker Bercow will look predominantly “remain-ish” and as such, he’s made a terrible error. But first the motions;

Anyone who’s followed the debacle will find those self explanatory – save G which is simply “no deal means Revoke” in another form.

They each have a far better chance of “winning” (in a non-binding way) but now whips will be applied, by Labour and SNP, to try to embarrass PM May into an election, the “wins” will look like political posturing while the Government has tied her cabinet ministers hands (aka – they are not allowed to vote).

People’s vote for fools

The “confirmatory vote” (E) – which seems to us to be a polite (ie inoffensive to all those easily offended Leaver-Tories) was of suggesting giving the electorate a second referendum, looks set to win after losing by 28 the last time. In requiring any withdrawal agreement (WA) to be ratified by a people’s vote, it obviously opens the can of worms that should in our opinion lead to a second referendum on Brexit full stop. We see today’s vote as a (non-binding, but very embarrassing) next step to #Ref2, alongside petitions and the obvious EU requirement when April 12th looms large and another extension is likely sought.

The birth of the AfB?

The most startling sight has surely to be that of a senior German politician arguing that Brexit is a disaster for EU, a disaster for Germany, and above all, a grave sign that Brussels is not fit for purpose, in contriving to enjoy the UKs struggle to come to terms with its democratically honest decision to leave.

Those unfamiliar with the AfD party in Germany should read here. If unfamiliar with its controversial (joint)- leader Alice Weidel, read here. For the controversy bits, start here and here.

We in no way support her politics. Nor do we criticize her personal life.

To do either would be to deny the very free speech and democracy we strive for.

Instead, we take the words spoken, albeit translated here from German, and consider their meaning and their accuracy, without the “voice” that presented them.

Some will chafe at this – demanding that anyone they disagree with, or dislike, be unable to speak or listened to. They should be ashamed.

What struck us in reading the speech was that it seems to us to “nail it” – and we suspect many will feel the same.

We’re reminded of a similar speech by Nigel Farage in the EU Parliament, which propelled him to stardom in many eyes. So to see his subsequent career offers caution regarding this speech by Frau Weidel. That said, we’re wondering if this is the birth instead, of an alternative Brexit (AfB) and in doing so, giving birth to an alternative Europe.

Waterloo

In a recent post we discussed how Brexit, with its 100 weeks reminded us of the 100 days of Napoleon Bonaparte’s return in June 1815. In the piece we tried to explain how Brussels and the Eurocrats were, like Bony 2004 years prior, we’re not the real problem for Europe – indeed, without them, Europe would struggle to remain peaceful and united. But as in the 19th century, a strong, visionary German would come along and put Europe on a fresh path, perhaps a better one.

Happy Birthday Otto

That German was Otto Von Bismarck, who’s birthday is today – April 1st 1815 – the year Napoleon was defeated.

He too saw France as the “problem” for Europe, and in defeating them in the Franco-Prussian war, ” he skillfully used balance of power diplomacy to maintain Germany’s position in a Europe which, despite many disputes and war scares, remained at peace. For historian Eric Hobsbawm, it was Bismarck who “remained undisputed world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess for almost twenty years after 1871, [and] devoted himself exclusively, and successfully, to maintaining peace between the powers. However, his annexation of Alsace-Lorraine gave new fuel to French nationalism and promoted Germanophobia in France. This helped set the stage for the First World War.

All that said, and ending the (history) lesson for today, Hobsbawm later came to realize the fact that Europe’s true challenge wasn’t France or Napoleon – it was globalization, which was to change the dynamics of geo-politics while creating new fissures for the Global to fall into in 1914. Bismarck too saw these, but was unable to stop the inevitable and His Emperor took the World down that terrible path.

Birth of an alternative Europe – AfE?

As we discussed before, we are agnostic on Brexit – we see merit in both outcomes, and reasons for both groups to be passionate about their dislikes, be they Brussels bureaucrats or loss of free movement.

Instead we’ve moved onto the future, leaving the fools stuck in April to ponder their anger. We see the greater threats as continued globalization alongside evermore powerful technology and worry that those still fighting the First World War will be late for their fate in a newly globalized technologically intrusive World.

One gets a sense that some German politicians see this as well, but instead of focusing on the challenges, prefer to target the old enemy, France, with EU ambitions and righting the mistakes of their various Napoleons.

Either way, “Old Europe” is finished – and in its place we see the birth of a new, alternative Europe, which the UK and Germany will surely shape,

As Groucho Marx once said, I’d never join a club that would have me as a member.

Though bringing it up to date, instead perhaps he’d prefer not to remain a member of a club that can’t reform itself when every member is clearly disgusted with its functioning.

We don’t have to outrun the bear, we just have to outrun the EU.

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