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British People Explain The Big Brexit Vote For Americans

Amid all this apparent carnage remember this: Nothing 👏 has 👏 changed 👏.

Posted on January 14, 2019, at 2:14 p.m. ET

[BuzzFeed News also has a super-charged and very British Brexit vote explainer if that's more your speed.]

British MPs are set to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's notorious Brexit deal on Tuesday, which as you may recall was approved by the European Union a million years ago, i.e., back in November.

The hourslong voting process is expected to begin around 2 p.m. ET and won't end until after 5 p.m. ET. You can stream the action on the House of Commons website.

Tolga Akmen / AFP / Getty Images

What happens next? Well, it's a slightly messy situation.

Alex Wickham / Alex Spence / BuzzFeed

What we can say with some certainty is that the deal is not expected to pass the House of Commons.

Scenes in 10 Downing Street as Theresa May stuns nation and wins meaningful vote...

Why? Well, that would be in large part due to the large number of Members of Parliament — MPs — in May's own party who've suggested they won't vote for it, never mind those in the opposition. Many of these MPs are opposed to the deal because of the "backstop" — the contingency customs plan to avoid any return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

These divisions led to May's government losing a record-breaking three votes in 63 minutes last month, and also being found in contempt of parliament.

This created a lot of exciting headlines about "constitutional crisis," which were then repeated in January, when the speaker of the house, an MP called John Bercow, apparently UPENDED PROTOCOL by allowing an amendment put forward by MPs who are anti-Brexit to be voted on. In short:

"Constitutional crisis" is such a stupid term for "modest dispute about rules".

And we give you all this detail to hammer home one very important point: Amid all this apparent carnage, nothing has changed .

The reality is, the vote will be held. If it passes as is — which it almost certainly won't — we can settle down to more years of arguing because no one seems to think it's a good deal. (Some MPs do think it's the best we could hope for, which is what passes for "support" these days.) But at least this endless, Kafkaesque nightmare of a process will be over.

If it doesn't pass, a whole world of glorious and indeed slightly less glorious possibilities opens up before us, ranging from a general election, to a second referendum, to a series of votes that will show us what kind of deal parliament might support. (The slight problem with all this? The EU might not see things the same way.)

How will that all shake out? Well, already there are at least seven different factions of MPs, all of whom have different visions for the future of Britain, gearing up to put in place various plots and counterplots the minute the deal falls down.

Those plans involve everything from running the clock down, to taking power away from the government using amendments, to, in the opposition's case, not really having a plan at all and watching all this chaos unfold.

One thing we can be sure of: We won't be short of opinions in this debate. From former leaders who think we should call the whole thing off...

...to hardliners who keep telling us the process is really simple and we should cut our losses and leave without a deal.

Speaking to LBC, Boris Johnson says he is not sure that Ralf Speth, the CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, knows more about car manufacturing than he does.

A number of Brexiteers are set to signal their displeasure with the deal in the coming hours through their preferred weapon of choice: The resignation letter posted on Twitter. The only slight problem is that most people won't have heard of them in the first place.

This is a big 48 hours for Google https://t.co/lKVUsah4nI

Meanwhile, May is on a publicity drive, which includes speaking in factories...

Theresa May seems to be making a speech in front of a load of mugs

...to loudly receiving new "assurances" about the backstop, in letter form, from the EU (which appear to have reassured precisely no one).

May to @PaulBrandITV: "You say we haven't achieved anything. We have achieved this exchange of letters..."

Meanwhile ~clumsy~ ministers are leaving their documents on public display, ~accidentally~ bringing home the terrible potential effects of not doing things May's way, and crashing out of the EU with no deal.

new version of Imagine sounds rubbish https://t.co/S5yG3mJDun

MPs are beginning to lose their minds. Here are Winston Churchill's grandson's thoughts on the matter, for example.

Who is in charge of the clattering train? The axles creak,and the couplings strain. For the pace is hot and the points are near, And Sleep hath deadened the Drivers ear; And signals flash through the night in vain WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THE CLATTERING TRAIN #wearegoingtofindout

Journalists, likewise, are exhausted.

Overheard in the Lobby, as a military band marches down Whitehall. “Hopefully this is it. This is the fucking coup."

And it's best not to even ask what the general public makes of all this.

Masterful understatement from May as she winds up her speech in Stoke - "I think the British people are ready for us to move on".

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