The media are replete with references to deals in the context of Brexit. Given that there is just over a week to go before our lawmakers gather for one of the most significant and fateful votes to be held in parliament since the vote in May 1940 which brought about the fall of Neville Chamberlain and his replacement by Winston Churchill, I thought that I would glance back at a few other occasions which triggered the frequent use of the word deal.
So – A brief look at previous deal skirmishes before we then turn our attention to the formidable array of deals available to our anxious lawmakers as they strive to identify that option which gives them the best opportunity to hang onto their cushy political numbers.
A couple of starters – deals that made the headlines in the good old days. Both originated with members of The Roosevelt family
“We demand that big business give the people a square deal”
Quote from the Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt.
A robust clarion call, strong in sentiment but vague in content.
The general idea of idea of fair play is there, but my idea of a square deal may not square with your idea of a square deal – if you see what I mean.
“ I pledge you , I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.”
Franklin Roosevelt accepting the democratic presidential nomination in July 1932
Election result on November 8, 1932:-
Electoral votes secured by FDR – 472
Electoral votes secured by Herbert Hoover – 59 votes
Well done FDR
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
From FDRs first inaugural address in 1933.
It was noted at the time that FDR had campaigned against Hoover in the presidential election by saying as little as possible about what he might do if elected.
Would he get away with studied evasiveness today? – probably not.
Both Roosevelts promised deals, Teddy with his square deal and FD with his new deal.
Which offer would go down best in the current climate – you tell me.
Of deals and dealers.
The notion of deals came quite late to the Brexit debate.
In the beginning the key words and phrases were:-
“Control of our borders”
“Government by Westminster rather than by Brussels”
“Trade with who we like when we like.”
“ An end to the tyranny of the EU bureaucracy”
You get the picture.
Then – and rather late in the Brexit day – the emphasis changed to making the best of a bad job via dogged negotiation and steadily eroding lines in the sand as the interminably protracted debate went on and on — and on.
And so it came to pass that the word deal began to feature more and more in the various arguments. We had an avalanche of references to the Chequers deal, otherwise known as The May deal and, in due course, we heard references to the need for a better deal from Mr Corbyn, we heard whispered references to the appalling possibility of a no deal exit, some troublemakers referred to the May deal as a bad deal, some other troublemakers referred to the May deal as a pie in the sky deal and some even more troublesome participants referred to is as being a for the birds deal.
HF is not really clear about the meaning of the final description and we found the whole climate of acrimony entertaining rather than informative.
This blog – Holdenforth – maintained its consistent position of asserting that the UK has had a deal with The EU for several decades, and moreover a deal arrived at after patient discussions with full and active participation by UK politicians and Officials.
What’s all this nonsense about Brexit?
“Tory remainers should keep quiet … For now. “
Headline above the Matthew Parris column in The Times. December 1
I am indebted to Mr Parris for doing a lot of the leg work for this Blog. His core theme was to consider the tactics to be employed by Tory MPS as the fateful date -December 11 – approaches.
In a column of 1100 words he uses the word deal on 10 occasions- this from a normally thoughtful and perceptive writer. To be fair to Mr Parris he raises most but by no means all of the main issues.
I would sum up his column by saying that he was and is too concerned to assuage the delicate sensitivities of Tory MPs and too little with raising his voice to attack the guilty people who got the UK in this appalling mess in the first place.
My dear Mr Parris – why not climb down off the fence and state unambiguously what you know to be the case – that the Chequers deal is a recipe for disaster and that the simple and obvious policy is to abandon Brexit as quickly as possible.
Holdenforth has consistently sought to pass the responsibility to jettison Brexit back to where it belongs – The House of Commons.
We would welcome an outcome of a general Election which would be a referendum on Brexit in all but name and in addition would put the issue back where it belongs – to the spineless parliamentarians.
Sadly Mr Corbyn is still sleeping on the job and thus what should be a simple job for a newly elected Government committed to kill off Brexit and to remain in the EU may well be referred back to the voters for them to do the job.
We could well have 12 months or more of an open season for mendacity, and the same period for those who create wealth to reflect on their uncertain prospects in an uncertain world.
Excerpts from the Mail on Sunday on December 2:- an issue bursting with good deals
“Why Mrs May must tell MPs:- Support my deal or I quit”
Headline above the column of Dan Hodges
There are some who will ponder if the latter half of the headline is a threat or a promise.
“ Theresa May last night warned the country she had nine days to save Brexit – as her allies fumed at the betrayal by a Government minister who quit over her deal with Brussels”
Glen Owen Political Editor
You can’t accuse Mrs May of modesty in the face of an assertion like this. Worrying echoes of her strong and stable phase.
“MOS calls on readers to tell their MPs: Save us from Brexit chaos”
Harry Cole – Deputy Political Editor
Holdenforth has listened to this call and we will beg our MP – Mr Nick Thomas-Simmonds – to save us from Brexit chaos. However our remedy may not be what Mr Cole has in mind. Instead we will implore the House of Commons to deposit Brexit in the dust bin of history and simply arrange for the UK to maintain its membership of the European Union.
“ Send them this letter …. to persuade them to make the right decision in the national interest”
The MOS also goes the full ten miles by printing the letter to be sent to wavering or merely reticent MPs.
A key sentence reads “I understand that you, like many who voted either leave or remain in the 2016 referendum have reservations about the deal the PM has negotiated.”
All the reader has to do is to sign it and send it off. Job done.
HF will indeed be in touch with Mr Thomas – Symonds – but as noted – only to entreat him to vote to remain in the EU.
“They (the UK voters) can see what so many in politics cannot grasp, that Theresa May’s deal is far better than any practical actually existing alternative.
Taken from the MOS leader – a splendid example of pure drivel.
For a far more sensible alternative – see the previous paragraph.
From a proud Brexiteer and top businessman a passionate cry – “This deal’s far from perfect but”
Lord Wolfson -CEO of Next
At one point in his heart felt article Lord Wolfson notes that:- “As things stand, the UK has only 3 choices:- to crash out of the EU, to crash back into it or to accept Mrs May’s deal.”
The second listed choice is nonsense and for accuracy it should read – to remain in the EU.
“Sorrell on brink of notching up second big deal since departure from WPP”
Headline above a piece by William Turvill.
Whoops – not sure how this one crept in. Possibly HF, like millions of others, is suffering from a touch of the Brexits.
I have no doubt that all the Sunday papers will today be bursting with deal references but HF, like Mrs May, is mindful of a looming deadline with regards to deals and dealers.
“They ( the British people) should know that we are approaching an awful milestone in our history…”
WS Churchill on the Munich settlement. House of Commons. 1938, excoriating the Chamberlain settlement with Hitler.
I have put his words into a future tense to highlight the urgency and imminence of the December 11 parliamentary judgement on the various options said to be available.
The comparison with the Munich settlement should not be pressed too hard. Chamberlain did his best to avert a conflict with the most ruthless tyrant of the past millennium.
Brexit, by contrast, might be said to represent the last spent dregs of a movement committed to a return to all the worst features of the Nation State, the posturing of a handful of nonentities as they drenched the UK in mendacity to promote their absurd aims.
It is the view of HF that Brexit is the most lamentable case of wounds inflicted by a rump of the those in government upon those that they govern in modern times.
HF remains confident that that the common sense of the British electorate will prevail and that by whatever means, the voters will opt to remain in the European Union.
An optimistic note on which to end.
The house in which I have lived these past 50 years is located a mile or so from the house occupied by Roy Jenkins prior to his departure to Oxford. Possibly the Jenkins residence and its most famous resident are transmitting an appeal from the next world to those below to stay true to his beloved European project. Who knows?