The question arises as to how to categorise the MPs who are determined to try to block a “no deal” Brexit.
Strictly speaking, of course, it is not a “no deal” Brexit at all, because both the UK and the EU are bound by the deal of the World Trade Organisation treaty terms, and in any event, both the UK and the EU are committed to the notion that all sorts of things, such as the free passage of aircraft, are agreed even if there is no comprehensive withdrawal agreement.
But moving on from that terminological inexactitude (we will live with it for the moment):
We don’t mean “mad” quite in the mental health sense. We mean just really, really stupid.
The car analogy has been made before. Telling the EU that under no circumstances will the UK leave the EU without a withdrawal deal is not dissimilar to walking into a second-hand Mercedes dealer and saying “I will not leave this forecourt without having bought one of your cars”. In those circumstances, the price of a second-hand Mercedes (and the EU is very much second-hand goods) goes up quite a bit. Or, put another way, committing that there will never be a “no deal” is tantamount to putting oneself over a barrel and asking the Germans to give one a very thorough spanking.
Pretty much all of the MPs who are now cutting up rough were elected on the promise of themselves and/or their parties at the last election to deliver Brexit. And there was a resounding vote by practically everyone apart from the lunatics in Parliament to do just that.
Everybody knew, of course, that the EU were unlikely to play nice. And so there was always the prospect that delivering on that promised would mean rejecting some crap deal that the EU put on the table. As the mantra then was, “No deal is better than a bad deal”.
So trying to prevent no deal is bad. It dishonours the democratic process of the Brexit referendum. It dishonours the mandate of the last general election. And it dishonours the parliamentary vote to deliver Brexit.
Dangerous to Know?
Notwithstanding the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, it is not unlikely that there will be a general election at some relatively adjacent point. It is possible that there will be a general election before 31st October, but that is a bit unlikely given that neither of the major political parties want a general election now. But sooner or later, there will be another general election.
What is the prognosis for Tory MPs who try to prevent a “no deal” Brexit? We don’t ask the question about Labour MPs. Well not much, anyway. They are in opposition and so, awkward as that is, it is kind of their job to be stroppy, and to try to bugger up the business of government as much as they can. But Tory MPs are quite different thing. Outside London and Scotland, the overwhelming majority of Tory MPs were elected by constituencies, and even more so, the Tory parties within those constituencies, who want Brexit to happen. Now that the constituencies are large, nor the Tory parties within those constituencies in particular, are likely to be that happy about their elected representative in Parliament doing the exact opposite of what they want, and doing huge damage to their party into the bargain. So there are bound to be quite a few casualties, as local Tory parties reject the reselection of MPs who now try to frustrate the Brexit process. And there will be collateral damage. It is not just those MPs, but their fellow travellers, who are likely to be the subject of this reaction.
So which is it?
When Caroline Lamb described Lord Byron as mad, bad and dangerous to know, it wasn’t just one of these characteristics that she was ascribing to our famous poet. It was all of them.
Likewise, any Tory MPs who do join the conspiracy to try to prevent Brexit are in line for the same treatment. They are mad, bad, AND dangerous to know.