So we have a deal! Whether it’s a good deal remains to be seen, though personally I maintain the best deal we could hope for is the one we already have, and anything else will be a poor second-best in comparison. However, we don’t actually have a deal yet, for Parliament needs to vote on it, and the Tories allies – the DUP – aren’t happy with how Northern Ireland is being handled in all this. Equally, there are several former Tory MPs (including some Boris kicked out of the party) who may not back the deal, and Labour are widely expected to be against it.
I get the mood among Brexiteers, which is to ‘get it done’, but in the race to ‘get it done’, does anyone truly understand what we’re doing and what we’re getting? The door will be open to the deregulation of rules around employment law, consumer goods and environmental protection. Consider an American-style employment law that heavily favours the employer, making you sack-able at any time. Imagine quality control on goods dropping because companies no longer have to adhere to rules around safety and security. Ponder environmental rules that leave businesses free to put profit ahead of air and water quality. It’s not an absolute given that the Tories would suddenly implement such moves, but I cannot imagine Boris doing anything that is in the wider public interest; he will look after himself and his cronies, and that will be it.
If he loses the vote, Boris will be a lame duck. He will have to ask for an extension to the negotiating process, despite his insistence that he’d rather ‘die in a ditch’ than do so. He is in danger of becoming the first sitting Prime Minister to lose their seat in an election. Even if the Tories won the next election, losing his seat would make holding on to the Premiership virtually untenable for Boris.
Even if the deal is approved, there would still be huge pressure on Boris and the Tories to actually deliver the numerous bold promises made about schools, policing (we keep the ‘20,000 new police officers, which in reality is simply replacing the 20,000 the Tories cut from the force) and jobs. With a bad deal, which is what this is shaping up to be, none of that will be possible, for we will be crippled as a country. I cling to the hope that we can, as a nation, have a final say on all this – it’s whether there is a party brave enough to give us that opportunity.