“And while MPs deserve credit for trying, there is unlikely to be a majority in the country for a deal cobbled together over a weekend on the basis of MPs’ third or fourth choices that could decide the next 100 years of our history.”
– Gordon Brown on the state of Brexit after the government plan’s third defeat.
Today in the Brexit saga,
“Kent is going full steam ahead with its contingency plans to prevent gridlock on its roads in the event of congestion in Dover or Calais.
Concrete barriers have already been erected on the main port artery in Kent, with a section of the London-bound M20 between junction 8 and junction 9 now operating as a 50mph contraflow for normal traffic. Work on signage will be completed over the weekend.
The coastbound section will be closed off to all but lorry traffic from next week to allow Highways England to carry out a dry run to cope with possible chaos after 11pm on 29 March.”
“Manston airport near Ramsgate is in the final stages of preparation for use as a lorry park for up to 6,000 heavy goods vehicles in the event of gridlock.
Councillors will also hear from adult social care and health officers who have plans to minimise the risk of disruption to admissions of patients to hospitals, residential care homes and the supply of fuel, medication, cleaning and sanitation products.
Schools have also been issued with Brexit guidelines warning them to think twice before closing down in the event that staff cannot make it through the gridlock.”
From UK’s emergency plans for no-deal Brexit begin to be put into action in The Guardian.
Michael Hirsh writes elsewhere today that
“Britain’s humiliation has been a powerful lesson for even the most virulent populists and nationalists within the EU, rendering the idea of full exit all but unthinkable, a new political third rail.”
That may be wishful thinking, for also today, across the channel and just up the road, comes news that Far-right Forum for Democracy wins most seats in Dutch provincial elections.
From Liquid assets, Julia Bell recalls an unromantic trip to a tax haven in the Times Literary Supplement:
“There are about 4,400 islands in British and Irish waters, but this number includes only those that are over half an acre in size and are islands at all states of the tide. Of that number 210 are inhabited, and 850 are in the Republic of Ireland. If you include the islands that are only visible at low tide, the figure rises by another 6,000 or so. Jersey forms part of an archipelago, including Guernsey, that is closer to France than Britain, protected from the full force of the English Channel and the Atlantic by the Cherbourg peninsula to the east and Brittany to the south. They are ostensibly a Crown Dependency, which means that the British Sovereign is responsible for their security and safety, and their governance is a throwback to William the Conqueror and the formation of the Duchy of Normandy. Jersey is a Bailiwick. The term emerges from the Old French word for bailiff – bailie – and it refers to an area of land over which a bailiff has jurisdiction. The Bailiff of Jersey is chosen by the Crown, which means that Jersey has a strange insider/outsider status in its relationship to Britain. Jersey’s laws are supervised by the UK, but it is also classed as an independent state, which means that it is possible to run business there that has no tax relationship to the mainland.”
All this time I’ve taken it on faith that the United Kingdom’s “Europe” debate has primarily been an internal Tory affair, to which the ruling party has held the rest of the country hostage. But yesterday the wider parliament, acting as the collective decision-making body for the country and comprising all the parties, failed to muster even the minimal political dexterity to stave off crashing out of the EU without an agreement.
It looks as if the entire political class is unable to govern. It looks like a shambles.
Let’s just call it “gold custody services.”
“Therefore there has to be an argument, doesn’t there, that says instead of Dublin telling this country (The United Kingdom) that we have to stay in the single market etc within the customs union, why doesn’t Dublin, why doesn’t the Republic of Ireland leave the EU and throw in their lot with this country?”
– BBC Today program anchor John Humphrys suggesting that the best solution to the Brexit impasse might be for Ireland to join the UK and quit the EU.