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Given any other time, the EU "concession" would immediately have been dismissed as meaningless and worthless, but now it fulfils the valuable function of giving those who want it, an opportunity to get off their high horses and vote for May's deal. Undoubtedly, many more may now do so, although most would be hard pressed to explain what has suddenly made her deal acceptable.
The Irish backstop has also fulfilled another valuable function. There are a million and one reasons why many don't like May's deal, it falls far short of the benefits of full membership and still leaves the UK scrabbling around for some kind of secure advantageous trading relationship in the future. But by focussing their ire on the Irish backstop, Brexiteers also made a one issue solution to their concerns possible.
For the EU, the last minute concession fulfils a tradition of kicking difficult decisions into the long grass, into a hypothetical future which may or may not come to pass. Certainly, by that stage the situation will be very different: The UK will be a third country desperately seeking to cling onto its current membership privileges. Also, the current DUP/Conservative government may no longer be in power and the UK ask might have changed. Who cares what the DUP think if they no longer hold the balance of power?
Overall I still expect this deal to be defeated in the House of Commons, albeit by a much closer margin. MP's will be under no illusion that this is the EU's final offer. It's this deal, no deal, or no Brexit. Ironically it might ultimately be defeated by a few Remainers who see the chances of no Brexit improving by the day. But the EU has done its work. These negotiations are over.
Until the parameters change and they start again...
Index of Frank's Diaries
What matters in politics are the optics. I wrote my comment above before I had seen the Attorney General's advice to the effect that the latest deal adds no more legal certainty that the UK will not be "trapped" in a relationship it currently doesn't want - but will probably beg for later.
So my earlier expectation that the deal would be defeated but that the vote could be quite close is now modified to an expectation of quite a wide margin of defeat - even if much closer than before.
Rest assured, that if the deal is accepted I will read the documents before pronouncing on them in diary form. I do not expect to have to do so.
Index of Frank's Diaries
Briefly this morning I saw the headlines in The Guardian and on DW ... also the statement by Juncker. So it was a PR camouflage and the pressure cooker tactic of Mrs. May. This will fail. Two years of illusion and misinterpretation of UK powers and the entity confronted, going the by name of the EU.
Now @JunckerEU @MichelBarnier briefing @Europarl_EN #Brexit Steering Group on agreement with @theresa_may. @guyverhofstadt @ElmarBrok_MEP @gualtierieurope @danutahuebner @ph_lamberts @GabiZimmerMEP pic.twitter.com/PdNcEmEjgj— Margaritis Schinas (@MargSchinas) March 11, 2019
Now @JunckerEU @MichelBarnier briefing @Europarl_EN #Brexit Steering Group on agreement with @theresa_may. @guyverhofstadt @ElmarBrok_MEP @gualtierieurope @danutahuebner @ph_lamberts @GabiZimmerMEP pic.twitter.com/PdNcEmEjgj
links from Junker's tweet (above) to 11 March 2019 documents, transmitted.
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