In ordinary circumstances, UK officials and diplos would be talking frankly with oppos in Brussels and EU27 capitals about all of the potential outcomes to prepare the ground for a pro-UK response whatever happens. 1/
Of course, they'd promote government lines first and foremost, but it is their job to have conversations about what may happen in different scenarios, particularly when it is unclear that UKGov's lines have the backing of Parliament. 2/
This includes explaining the UK system, and that UKGov is reliant on Parliament not just for agreement, but also, if the motion on the Withdrawal Agreement is amended, for instructions. 3/
In normal circumstances, they would therefore explain the other possible outcomes from the UK side - extensions to A50, Elections, a #PeoplesVote, withdrawal of Art50 - informally, with the provisor that they are not current Gov policy & are not the most likely final position 4/
Why? So that oppos are forewarned, and can have internal conversations about the different outcomes now rather than in haste, and so that when they do, they view it from the UK's point of view. 5/
In short, they'd do this to ensure that whatever happens at home, there is more chance of a pro-UK reaction, be it agreeing to an extension, or accepting an A50 revocation, or anything else. 6/
Unfortunately, due to UKGov being more concerned with what tomorrow's headlines say and what their own crackpot MPs think that with a good, or at least not terrible, outcome for the UK, UK Diplos are not allowed to deviate from the absurd scripts they're given about unicorns. 7/
Intelligent, experienced people are expected to parrot mutually contradictory positions that they know will never fly, and admit no possibility other than an outcome that they themselves must surely know is not going to happen. 8/
I hope that, in the darkest corners of corridors, meeting rooms, and cafes, they are actually having these conversations, but, TBF, many will not due to the pressure placed on them by UKGov and loyalty to their profession. 9/
But we must assume they are not, and so it is an excellent thing, and in my view very much in the UK's interests, that others that can get access to EU27 decision makers do what UK diplos would be doing in times that still maintained an element of sanity. 10/10
p.s., @DavidHenigUK , as usual, put it much more succinctly than me.
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