Yesterday, I referred to the version of Catch 22 in which the Prime Minister has managed to trap herself: she needs to persuade the EU27 that she’s mad enough to pursue a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, whilst not being quite so mad that it’s pointless trying to negotiate with her. Just a very small box of frogs, then. As Yossarian neatly put it, “That’s some catch, that Catch-22”.
Meanwhile, in what looks like a determined attempt to convince the EU27 that she is incapable of negotiating in good faith, she is now demanding that Tory MPs vote for an amendment which would scrap part of the agreement that she herself has made with the EU, in the apparent belief that, if she only loses it by a very small majority, the EU will change its mind and reopen the Withdrawal Agreement for further negotiation. Not only is she effectively asking the House of Commons to approve a different deal to the one she has agreed, but she is demanding that if the House of Commons only narrowly refuses to, then the EU will be obliged to accede to her request. Oh, and for good measure, the request is for the now infamous backstop to be replaced by an alternative which is completely undefined because neither she nor the proposers of the amendment have the faintest idea what they’re actually asking for.
Once again, it’s a display of Anglo-British not-nationalism-at-all at its very worst, with the underlying assumption that the rest of Europe must come up with a magic solution which meets the UK’s demands, and putting the responsibility to define how it’s done on someone else. Everything these not-nationalists-at-all say seems driven by that not-nationalist-at-all exceptionalism which assumes that the rest of the world is there to do as they say. Thus, the problem caused by the border which the Anglo-British drew across Ireland, and the Good Friday agreement which they signed guaranteeing that that border became almost invisible – these are all someone else’s problems, not theirs.
If Ireland doesn’t like the situation, well, then the Irish should know their place – or even, in line with the crass question posed by John Humphrys, they should follow the UK out of the EU and re-join the UK. Because joining the most successful union in the history (or not!) of humanity is the best route forward for an independent state. Obviously. This belief in the superiority of all things British, and the idea that smaller and weaker nations should bow down before the UK’s power, might be a throwback to another age but it is a major part of the driving force behind Brexit. And only its adherents can seriously argue that it isn’t nationalistic.
Those independentistas who believe that being cast adrift in a UK dominated by this mindset offers any sort of opportunity for Wales are almost as delusional as the Prime Minister.