Brexit Decision Tree
October 22, 2017 12:57 PM   Subscribe

Brexit: deals and no deals from Flip Chart Fairy Tales, the post has a picture of 3 yes/no questions and a description of the various consequences that may follow for the UK and the EU. Sometimes I need a picture and words that describe it.
posted by kingless (34 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
That was both succinct and enlightening. I do not understand why the U.K. government is dragging its feet in the negotiations. It does not seem rational.
posted by bouvin at 1:42 PM on October 22, 2017

Apparently, the term for those who (like Johnson, Fox, &c.) are clamouring for a “no deal” Brexit is “wing growers”, in that they have faith that, on our way down from the cliff, we'll sprout a pair of wings and soar away to glory.
posted by acb at 1:51 PM on October 22, 2017 [8 favorites]

Who said anything about Brexit was rational?

I mean, I could personally imagine a rational Brexit process: It would involve recognising that unpicking 40 years of overlapping international treaties was probably a big deal that might take a decade or so & would therefore be approached with the requisite seriousness.

Instead, we appear to have a bunch of loons with PPE’s from Oxford who appear to believe that the UK still has an empire that is just begging to get on with servicing our every need the moment we’ve dumped the EU behind the woodshed. Meanwhile the Tory party is staring down the barrel of electoral self-imolation if they fail to follow through with "Hard-Brexit" (doesn’t that sound tough? Who wouldn’t prefer a Hard Brexit to a mealy-mouthed Soft Brexit, eh?) and is gradually realising that they’re going to have to chose between the party & the country. Sadly I suspect the maority or them (unlike the LibDems, the poor deluded fools) will choose personal power & party over country every time & so we’re all going to have the suffer the consequences.

Even the more intelligent Leave leaders are screaming about how the whole thing is a clusterf*ck of epic proportions. Meanwhile our political leaders appear determined to walk us blindfolded off the cliff because they’re too chicken to challenge their own voters.

posted by pharm at 1:52 PM on October 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

From beginning to end the pro-Brexit movement has been idiots led by liars.
posted by jaduncan at 2:10 PM on October 22, 2017 [6 favorites]

And voted for by...?
posted by chavenet at 2:14 PM on October 22, 2017

The thing is, politically, there's no way back from the cliff.

Yes, Article 50 could be withdrawn, if Britain stares into the abyss and implores the EU that it didn't mean it. Though the crucial detail is that all 26 EU nations would have to unanimously assent to such a withdrawal. And the EU's too busy preparing for a future without the UK, already discussing plans to restructure itself, and not keen on going back.

Or, in other words, Britain was the boorish, abusive drunk who recently stormed out, slamming the door and shouting xenophobic epithets about “garlic-eating foreign bastards”. The rest of the EU's finishing sweeping up the broken glass and getting started on rearranging the furniture (with one fewer seat, the space can be used more effectively), when Britain shows up at the door, a bunch of service-station flowers in its hand, begging to be let back in. Are all 26 remaining members going to unanimously agree to open the door? The best Britain could hope for is that they offer to let them back in, under very onerous conditions: the usual requirements that Britain has opted out of just by throwing its weight around (adopting the Euro and joining Schengen) would be mandated, and they'd probably throw in driving on the right and a pint of beer being 500ml, just to be sure that we really are remorseful.

So withdrawing A50 is not a possibility, even if Britain did an about-face. Any deal would be far worse for the UK than the present day; the best possibility would be membership-in-all-but-name as before, only with no say in EU rules; literally being a powerless vassal state to a bunch of continental bureaucrats from very different cultural and political traditions, paying for the privilege of being told what to do because the alternative is Juche-with-British-characteristics. Anything better for the UK would immediately cause other member states to start demanding their own concessions: Poland or Hungary might want to bring back the death penalty, Denmark to expel all Muslims, and so on, and besides which, everyone would be sure they're paying too much for too little, and they have the bargaining power to bring the whole thing to a halt if this is not rectified. So the EU can't reward Britain for its intransigence, even slightly. This has to hurt.

So Juche-with-British-Characteristics, and the Arduous March, it is. Those famous British jams we're exporting to the world will be made of nettles and weeds. And the penalties for hoarding nettles which belong to the national jam harvest will be as severe as those for eating the Queen's swans.
posted by acb at 2:17 PM on October 22, 2017 [17 favorites]

Based on the Observer's figures this morning there isn't even a lot of appetite for having another referendum on any deal that might get that through the rest of the political process. It also looks evenly split if we were to have another go at the first one.
posted by biffa at 2:35 PM on October 22, 2017

acb, splendid and accurate splenetics about the UK being such gigantic arseholes, but Croatia feels a little bit neglected when you say all 26 remaining members.
posted by ambrosen at 2:55 PM on October 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

> the U.K. government [...] does not seem rational.

posted by lucidium at 3:21 PM on October 22, 2017

And voted for by...?
posted by chavenet at 3:14 PM on October 22 [+] [!]

Anti-immigration voters, perhaps partly stirred up by Russia.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:32 PM on October 22, 2017

Does Britain have trade deals with anyone post Brexit? For example, trade with Canada is currently regulated by an EU-Canada treaty, which would not apply to Britain post Brexit, would it?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:50 PM on October 22, 2017

While Russia undoubtedly benefits from the UK leaving the EU and both diminishing in stature, I'm not sure their influence was necessary here. The UK has had Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Mail feeding xenophobic venom into its civil discourse for decades, and Latin-spouting gentleman charlatan Boris Johnson has been filing editorials with lies and distortions about oppressive EU banana directives since Putin was a recently unemployed KGB man watching the USSR's institutions disintegrate around him. With this, the Russians could have gotten away with just sitting back and making sure that they have plenty of whatever the Russian equivalent of popcorn is.
posted by acb at 3:56 PM on October 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

We're OK without any FTAs, assuming we can get into WTO. There is one WTO member which doesn't have any bilateral trade agreements: Mauritania. Every single other WTO member is party to Free Trade Agreements on top of their WTO membership. Which do cover trade in services (which of course is the UK's main export).

My most optimistic projection is that we'll be able to join the EEA if we come sufficiently to our senses to make a program for it to happen. And I think if we went for a withdrawal of Article 50, then the EU council would stand behind that, if only for the sake of Ireland, whose government is perfectly aware of how much their country stands to lose if trade barriers fall down across the Irish Sea and the randomly split fields in the north east of the island.

In terms of whether there was Russian interference: I'd say that there's definitely work that was done on this front. From talking to Russian friends at varying levels of acceptance of the (Russian) MSM, there's definitely an agenda which involves making it clear that Western European governments are as corrupt and deceitful as Russia's, and we're all dupes.

However, Leave.EU has made it clear that any Twitter campaign bots were native Bristolian, despite lacking the strong accent and antipathy to micromanagement from the polling booth that the big city down the river from me's known for. Which shows how little they fear the Electoral Commission, because they're talking about at least a 6 figure sum which hasn't come up in their campaign submissions before. And remember, they were limited to £700k in spending.
posted by ambrosen at 4:16 PM on October 22, 2017 [2 favorites]

Another question: if all direct flights between the UK and EU are stopped due to lack of treaties, will that just affect flights to/from EU countries, or others? Could we end up seeing BA rerouting flights that used to go to EU destinations to airports in Switzerland/Norway/Turkey/Serbia/Morocco/&c. with spare capacity, and European airlines laying on flights to connect those to EU destinations? If that seems likely to happen, perhaps it would make sense for BA and other British airlines to make deals with small non-EU airports now, paying them to expand their terminals in return for guaranteed slots.

The other option would be for Eurostar to add an extra stop at Charles De Gaulle airport to some of their Paris services (or Schiphol, for the upcoming Amsterdam services), becoming effectively a very long and very expensive airport shuttle train for people wishing to fly between London and the EU. That's assuming that Brexit doesn't shut down Eurostar, (or, indeed, the political climate doesn't deteriorate to the point where the PM of the day deploys that railcar-mounted tunnel demolition nuke kept near Dover.)
posted by acb at 5:17 PM on October 22, 2017

> "Does Britain have trade deals with anyone post Brexit?"


We are so screwed.
posted by kyrademon at 5:28 PM on October 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

I suspect most of the UK's* air services agreements are ones that have been negotiated by the EU. The transatlantic routes definitely are under EU wide agreements. I imagine most countries would grandfather in existing routes, but I can imagine Trump getting pretty unpleasant, for example.

As for routing via a 3rd country, Norway's definitely out, as Norwegian is Gatwick's 2nd largest operator, mostly under a Norwegian Air Operations Certificate. (Not sure about their transatlantic flights).

*and those of Crown Dependencies, which was highlighted by the last fatal crash of a commercial flight originating in the UK, marketed as being Manx, but actually from Barcelona.
posted by ambrosen at 5:36 PM on October 22, 2017

"Does Britain have trade deals with anyone post Brexit? For example, trade with Canada is currently regulated by an EU-Canada treaty, which would not apply to Britain post Brexit, would it?"

No, although if Trump is still in office by the time the UK manages to Brexit, he will at least offer a rapid negotiation of a deal with the UK, which I assume is why May is sucking up to him so hard. (Whereas Obama was pretty up-front that, special relationship or no, the US would need to make negotiating with the EU its priority as it is a vastly larger trading partner.) Now, whether Trump and his merry band of imbeciles and wildly understaffed departments and agencies could actually negotiate a new trade treaty is a totally open question. They're busy own-goaling on NAFTA, so ...

There may be a few countries willing to negotiate with the UK pre-Brexit for a post-Brexit treaty, largely because they either don't care if they piss the EU off or actively desire to do so, and feel for whatever reason that getting advantageous terms with the UK is worth trashing their relationships with the rest of Europe. (And Trump's America is probably one of the few countries willing to do that that isn't a dictatorship or actively seeking to destabilize European military alliances -- and while I think the Tories in general can go screw, I don't think the party as a whole has an appetite for undermining NATO -- and Trump's America is not a super-stable country to be making agreements with and I feel like any dumbfuck trade treaties he makes that fuck over US companies operating in the EU so he can suck up to Britain and fuck over the elitist continentals, chances are good the Senate rejects them.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:41 PM on October 22, 2017

But you can have blue passports again!
posted by GallonOfAlan at 10:54 PM on October 22, 2017

But you can have blue passports again!

Actually, Irish passports are the current trend. Very chic.
posted by The River Ivel at 3:06 AM on October 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

This whole thing is so inefficient, a waste of time, emotion and energy!

Maybe I can console myself with the fact that the racist leave voters and their fellow travelers will have to get used to our immigration coming from the Commonwealth (majority brown skinned people) rather than Europe (majority white skinned people). Assuming there is more to the economy than operating a tax haven and exporting nettle jam, we are going to be experiencing a skills shortage for the next 30 years or more. We are going to continue to be dependent on immigration.
posted by asok at 4:49 AM on October 23, 2017

And voted for by...?

Idiots, if that wasn't clear.
posted by jaduncan at 6:14 AM on October 23, 2017

The thing is, politically, there's no way back from the cliff ... the crucial detail is that all 26 EU nations would have to unanimously assent to such a withdrawal. And the EU's too busy preparing for a future without the UK, already discussing plans to restructure itself, and not keen on going back.

That's one way of looking at it. Another is that the supranational bureaucracy of the EU might be preparing itself, but the EU27 countries themselves would respond quite differently if there were a sudden about-face by the UK, as Macron's comments about leaving the door open indicated. The governments of those countries have different perspectives on the realities of domestic politics than the EU bureaucracy, and most would have their own domestic reasons for preferring the status quo to a cliff-edge Brexit. At the very least, it spares them from having to decide how to deal with their resident UK citizens and their own citizens stranded in the UK. In most cases there will be economic incentives for preferring the status quo, such as substantial local industries that will suffer if the UK goes over the cliff. None of those industries will be as significant to their economies as the loss of all EU trade will be to the UK, but they would still matter to them domestically. The UK's nearest neighbours have even stronger domestic incentives to prefer the status quo, and presumably would lobby the rest of the EU27 to let the UK stay. Attaining unanimous assent might not be as hard as it sounds.

And if assent isn't unanimous... the realpolitik of the situation would be such that it's hard to imagine how Britain would not remain in the EU if we withdrew our Article 50 notification. Even if a few of the EU27 objected, how would they press their case? "We insist on kicking the UK out, even though they've changed their mind, and even though it will do damage to millions of EU citizens, just to prove a point"? Every EU country has an interest in maintaining some flexibility in the EU system, just in case they ever need to draw on it.

If anyone in the EU27 wants to punish the UK for narrowly voting the wrong way, they're too late: we punished ourselves first by doing it and derailing eight years of post-2008 economic recovery. That's also the answer, surely, to anyone banging on about "accepting the result of the referendum". Here's your referendum result: the pound is fucked, we've lost a year's worth of foreign investment, we're losing some of our EU and financial headquarters whatever happens, 3 million UK residents will never trust us again, nearly 2 million people in NI are wondering if the Troubles will kick off again, and Britain has lost a significant amount of its global influence. Your Leave vote has given you all of that, even if it hasn't given you what you thought you were voting for - and what could be more democratic than not getting what you thought you were voting for?

We've spent the best part of two years on this horrendous exercise, which is surely sufficient monopolisation of national politics by a single cause supported by 37% of the UK electorate. And if half of us who actually live in the UK feel that way, how much more must the rest of Europe be keen to draw a line under the whole business and move on? Most of them learnt their lessons about demanding reparations a century ago.
posted by rory at 6:17 AM on October 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

Also the UK is a (rightly) net contributor to the EU so there's that factor in letting the UK remain.
posted by 92_elements at 6:52 AM on October 23, 2017

One thing that drives me nuts is the obsession with the size of the ‘divorce bill’. Because a few billion pounds more or less is going to pale into insignificance if we sabotage our geopolitical and economic future.

Googling suggest the net cost of Brexit might be €40bn, which at £1=€1 is about 5% of annual UK government spending; i.e. a bit more than we spend on transport, but less than we spend on defence. It’s a lot, but it’s not worth blowing up our future over. Spread the cost over a few years and its sounds even less impressive.

But because ‘trying to negotiate a big number into a smaller number’ is an issue so simple that even eurosceptic MPs can understand it — and so simple it can fit into a Daily Mail headline — people keep pretending that it’s one of the most important issues we have to decide, rather than one of the least important.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 9:25 AM on October 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

A side-effect of all this fiasco, especially but not only in the third sector, is that almost nothing else is being done in parliament or decided by government. And one of the few bits of non-Brexit stuff being done is the disastrous Universal Credit. The rest of it is just sclerotic drift. Nobody can plan, nobody can budget because nobody knows what will happen after March 2019. Even if we could do a magic reset to get rid of this, we'll be living with the consequences of just the last six months for years. When I think about how bad it could be post March 2019, I'm genuinely scared.
posted by YoungStencil at 2:14 PM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Over the cliff we go. Theresa May tells Parliament that a deal has to be in place before any transition period, which in effect means it needs to be done by next March.

I give her about 1-2 weeks as PM. Fingers crossed.
posted by rory at 11:03 PM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

This, by Maria Farrell of Crooked Timber, is brilliant:

By reducing the British state’s relationship with the three million EU citizens who live here to a single cost-benefit analysis (calculated with striking actuarial incompetence), the UK has made the mistake so many employers make when they put the bean-counters in charge. They have failed to account for the value of good will. ... Many immigrants who had felt loyalty, affection and feelings of grateful belonging are now emotionally working to rule.

I'm a Commonwealth immigrant of British ancestry who's been a dual UK citizen for a decade: on paper, the "right" sort of immigrant that the UKIP brigade might deign to allow here. But my sympathies are with fellow immigrants of all stripes, all races, EU and non-EU, recent arrivals or long ago, naturalised citizens or with Indefinite Leave to Remain or stuck in visa hell: nearly 9 million of the 66 million people in the UK, one in eight of the people wandering its streets, and that's not counting their first-generation British offspring. You don't gain support for your Brexit project by telling any of us we're "one of the good ones". That's how you lose it.
posted by rory at 5:05 AM on October 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

This, by Maria Farrell of Crooked Timber, is brilliant

Not quite redundant (who can always be brilliant?) but I do read carefully everything she writes there. My first metafilter post was just to point to Learning by Doing, still one of my favorites by her.
posted by kingless at 7:03 AM on October 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I give her about 1-2 weeks as PM. Fingers crossed.
posted by rory at 7:03 AM on October 24

It was two weeks on Monday, but the way things are going this may turn out to have been only a few days out. It's weeks like these that I wish we had a sidebarred UK politics thread.
posted by rory at 4:56 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is anyone thinking of doing a post on the Priti Patel affair? Fascinatingly significant, if only because it looks like May is incapable of sacking someone who's positively begging to be sacked. Every day brings the revelation of a new transgression. Yet there they all are, still in place. I think John Allege has put it best.
posted by Grangousier at 5:40 AM on November 8, 2017

Actually, I think I might just post that to the front page and see what happens. It's a good enough starting point.

(I spelled his name right, by the way, but my Mac "corrected" it.)
posted by Grangousier at 5:53 AM on November 8, 2017

Ten key European agencies the UK will need to replace as part of Brexit in order to have a degree of self-sufficiency. I'm guessing some agreements could be reached on an agency by agency basis but I also suspect there is little currently being done by No. 10 to pursue replacement or agreements on ongoing collaboration.
posted by phigmov at 4:58 PM on November 18, 2017

phigmov, this is the current Brexit thread, FWIW.
posted by ambrosen at 5:21 PM on November 18, 2017

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