Happy Brexmas to all, and to Britain good night.
December 21, 2017 5:47 AM   Subscribe

"The only thing the government will find between Norway and Canada is the wreck of the Titanic." As the UK hunkers down for what could be its penultimate Christmas in the EU, the real price of Brexit begins to emerge, and it's uncannily close to that infamous figure of £350m a week—before the UK has left. While preparing to enter the most difficult stage of negotiations, Theresa May has reaffirmed her commitment to prior, fundamentally irreconcilable positions (and sacked a key ally). Despite what was touted by the press as a successful conclusion to Phase One, analysts argue that the UK is about to discover that you can’t always get what you want—unless you want a transition deal not a day longer than two years, in which case, here, have 21 months.

A vote last week to maintain Parliament's say over the final Brexit deal has led to death threats for Tory Remainer MPs. But ordinary people are also the target of Leaver hostility. The government's belated guarantees for EU citizens are too little, too late for many: nurses and doctors are leaving, and an exodus of foreign workers is leaving employers in the lurch. Many EU citizens feel stuck in limbo, and applying for British citizenship is no panacea. Spare a thought, too, for the British bureaucrats in Brussels.

The Phase One fudging of the Irish border issue is also set to come undone, as game theory suggests that Brexit will see the re-emergence of a harder border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Another troublesome Rock also looms. Meanwhile, the Tories have helped the DUP avoid scrutiny over a £435,000 donation it received during the referendum campaign, which was partly spent on newspaper advertising not even aimed at Northern Ireland. Other questions about the legitimacy of the referendum process persist: Did Vote Leave commit a crime over its funding? And who are Veterans for Britain?

As the UK faces a loss of influence on the scale of the 1970s, Theresa May now looks set to court yet more authoritarians in a search for allies. Can Brexit be stopped? Nick Clegg thinks so.

Previously.
posted by rory (117 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, and here's a cheery thought (from a longer Twitter thread): "A Brexit which is seen to be much worse for the UK than it is for the EU actually makes Brexit more likely, because it means the EU cares less if the UK goes and because it incentivises Brexit headbangers to keep making as much aggro as possible to get across the finish line."
posted by rory at 6:18 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


That was an interesting read from the Canadian perspective, especially with regards to the most favoured nation status. Thanks for posting.
posted by sardonyx at 6:32 AM on December 21, 2017


A Brexit which is seen to be much worse for the UK than it is for the EU actually makes Brexit more likely

At this stage, “more likely” would be adding a few nines to the end of the decimal probability. Brexit is all but locked in, and would take active intervention and an abundance of good will on both sides to avert. So, the EU's choice is between making the likelihood of the UK leaving 0.9999 rather than merely 0.99, versus letting the dissatisfied in other European countries deciding they want a sweet deal like the UK's.
posted by acb at 6:51 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Nick Clegg thinks so.

Come on, nobody's cared what Nick Clegg thinks since 2010.
posted by Dysk at 7:13 AM on December 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


I don't see how May keeps the DUP after it becomes clear that Northern Ireland can't work out in the way she's promised.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:23 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Brexit is all but locked in

My new year's resolution is not to resign myself to that fate, but to resist it. We're at a point where the only realistic Brexit choices are Norway, Canada or the cliff, but where "none of this reality had filtered through to Theresa May", per the first link. If a Canada deal and the death of services exports proves unpalatable, and May does end up trying to sell us Norway, she'll be trying to sell de facto EU membership minus any influence, and that's eminently opposable on the same "take back control" basis that Leave used last year. It's going to need a ramping up of grassroots anti-Brexit activism to help the wavering middle realise this, though, and I'd rather help with that than wait for the axe to fall.

Come on, nobody's cared what Nick Clegg thinks since 2010.

Apart from a lot of people who can determine whether we actually leave or not.
posted by rory at 7:25 AM on December 21, 2017 [13 favorites]


It's like the Tories have painted themselves into a corner, and then decided that the solution is to pour the rest of the paint over their heads.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:25 AM on December 21, 2017 [29 favorites]


As is customary, occasionally May made accurate statements to the gathered MPs.

Fantastic snark.
posted by great_radio at 7:33 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


(Re "I'd rather help with that than wait for the axe to fall", I should make it clear that I'm talking to myself here, trying to steel my own resolve and shake off this 2017 mood of despair... basically, I feel that anyone speaking out in public against this almighty mess is helping.)
posted by rory at 7:38 AM on December 21, 2017


Apart from a lot of people who can determine whether we actually leave or not.

No no, that's people who agree with Nick. Everyone agrees with Nick. He is just completely irrelevant.
posted by Dysk at 7:38 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I find the talk of a Canada-like deal interesting, seeing as how it almost didn't happen. Talks had broken down, with Canada pretty much asking 'If you can't do a deal with Canada, who *can* you do a deal with'. With the immeasurably more complex situation of Brexit, talk of a Canada-like deal as though it's on the menu board at McDonalds is fundamentally misguided.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:43 AM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


I wonder whether more people would oppose Brexit had Clegg and Blair not decided to make remaining in the EU their personal brand. Were I more cynical, I'd wonder if they're getting kickbacks from Robert Mercer and/or Vladimir Putin for becoming the unacceptable face of Remain.
posted by acb at 7:45 AM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Not to mention Cameron and Osborne.
posted by rory at 7:46 AM on December 21, 2017


George Osborne during the referendum campaign, too. Every time he opened his mouth to argue for Remain he coined another few thousand Brexiteers.
posted by Dysk at 7:47 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


rory: Norway, Canada or the cliff

This would make for a very demoralizing t-shirt or bumper sticker.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:10 AM on December 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


I'd think their labor shortage could be fixed easily enough since those refugees coming from Syria, etc. would be happy enough to be sent past Europe to Britain. Voila labor problem solved!
posted by jeffburdges at 8:26 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Exiting the EU Committee has just published 39 "Sectoral Reports" (not 57, or 58, or eleventy-three), selectively redacted for your reading pleasure.

Looking at my own sector of Higher Education, the key page of the relevant report is p. 12, "Sector views: This information was provided by the Government to the Committee, but the Committee has decided not to publish this section". The rest compiles 2015/16 stats on EU staff and students in HE, and HE funding. Page 9 notes that the "latest figures on education exports (2014), show that EU HE students contribute £2.6 billion per year to the UK economy"—a mere 7.43 Brexit-bus-weeks per year. (In other words, they bring in about 25% of the actual net cost to the UK of our annual EU membership.)
posted by rory at 8:27 AM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


Norway, Canada or the cliff

How about "Norway, Canada or something in between" with a picture of an iceberg and the sinking Titanic with Union Jack below.
posted by sour cream at 8:28 AM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


It's really weird, watching one nation after another choose to destroy itself purely out of spite.
posted by aramaic at 8:31 AM on December 21, 2017 [34 favorites]


I greatly fear the reaction these authoritarian Leave bigots are going to have when Brexit finally happens and not only does it not magically solve all their problems but (in all probability) actually makes their lives appreciably worse.

> It's really weird, watching one nation after another choose to destroy itself purely out of spite.

Speaking as a Canadian I can only hope this madness does not spread here from the U.S. or U.K.. I would imagine powerful, malevolent forces are already gearing up behind the scenes for our next federal election in 2019.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:35 AM on December 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


As the man said...'It's gonna be a shit show'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:38 AM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Retail is handily easy to understand how hilarious the prep is.

It's based on puff pieces from Paypal and Savills estate agents. Great.
posted by MattWPBS at 8:44 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I greatly fear the reaction these authoritarian Leave bigots are going to have when Brexit finally happens and not only does it not magically solve all their problems but (in all probability) actually makes their lives appreciably worse.

What's to fear? They'll blame the EU.
So nothing much will change in that respect.
posted by sour cream at 8:51 AM on December 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


It's really weird, watching one nation after another choose to destroy itself purely out of spite.

I feel slightly ageist about this, but as far as I can see it's not nations that are destroying themselves, it's tantruming Boomers that are destroying their nations around them. Both Trump and Brexit had outsize Boomer support and vastly less support from under-30s. The consequences of both will be felt in exactly the opposite way.

I don't understand enough of the boomer mindset to know why this is, but a slightly counter-intuitive combination of taking "things will always get better for us no matter how hard we try to fuck up" and "things were better back when we were young" is analysis enough to satisfy me.
posted by bonaldi at 8:59 AM on December 21, 2017 [27 favorites]


"Retail is a large and very diverse sector" - it's essentially "Libya is a land of contrasts" only it's real and not funny because it's a disaster happening to my home.

rory - I'm with you on this. I hope that enough moderate leavers come to realise that we will have a choice between economic disaster or "nothing changes except we no longer get to vote on it." At that point we might be able to say there is a third choice: don't leave. I'm ready to fight for it, but I'm not hopeful. As the tweet linked above and other commentators have noted, the clock is ticking and the EU is achieving at each stage its goal of minimising the damage to its members, so it has little incentive to let us back out now.
posted by YoungStencil at 9:04 AM on December 21, 2017 [8 favorites]


"Retail is a large and very diverse sector"

Civil service reports on Brexit are criticised for padding and plagiarism
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:13 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Brexit is all but locked in, and would take active intervention and an abundance of good will on both sides to avert

I remain convinced that the UK's humiliation is so obvious and abject that the EU has no need to teach us a lesson if our government changes its mind. And ignoring the sunk costs, cancelling Brexit will always be a net positive for each side until the A50 notification runs out.

So Brexit is really easy to stop.

And the biggest obstacle to stopping it is the consensus view of the general public that it can't be stupid.

So I feel pretty vehement when I say: STOP TALKING DOWN the cancellation of BREXIT!!
posted by ambrosen at 9:30 AM on December 21, 2017 [11 favorites]


Becker's book on the denial of death helped me understand the Boomer instinct. It's a pursuit of immortality, a death project. Their world was the best of all possible worlds, so screw the rest of us, we're going back to the imaginary Boomer childhood where they're young and will never die.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:51 AM on December 21, 2017 [9 favorites]


Pretty sure those 'impact assessments' were written by someone on work experience
posted by KateViolet at 9:53 AM on December 21, 2017


"With the immeasurably more complex situation of Brexit, talk of a Canada-like deal as though it's on the menu board at McDonalds is fundamentally misguided."

Well, obviously that's why we're going for "Canada Plus Plus Plus"!

This is definitely a concept that bears a relation to reality and refers to a real thing. Mm-hmm. MM-HM, SURE DOES, YEP.

Specifically it's a "Red White and Blue Brexit in the National Interest" multiplied by "Jobs-First Brexit That Works For The Whole Country" to the power of (Hard Brexit minus Soft Brexit), divided by (Canada plus "Plus-Plus", where "Plus" is equal to the remainder of Norway over Switzerland) and and
posted by Drexen at 10:01 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I was being facetious. What it actually means is:

“What we want is a bespoke outcome: We’ll probably start with the best of Canada, the best of Japan and the best of South Korea and then add to that the bits that are missing, which is services, [...] Canada plus plus plus would be one way of putting it.”

Which is obviously much more meaningful and sensible.
posted by Drexen at 10:05 AM on December 21, 2017


So I feel pretty vehement when I say: STOP TALKING DOWN the cancellation of BREXIT!!

I'm against cancelling Brexit.

At least, I think the people of the EU should have a say in this, too. That would be the democratic thing to do, no?

Personally, I don't want any EU members who blame all their problems on the EU, who ridicule European politicians every day in their hate press and who want to have not only their cake but ours too.

Right now, the UK is governed by a rabid, right-wing, toxic, hateful press. Quite obviously, they swayed the outcome of the referendum and are still responsible for majority opinion in most parts of the country. Get rid of that cancer and we can talk about you becoming members in good standing again.

(Needless to say, none of the above applies to any members of this list - if it were just you guys, you'd be more than welcome to stay, of course.)
posted by sour cream at 10:05 AM on December 21, 2017 [11 favorites]


It's like the Tories have painted themselves into a corner, and then decided that the solution is to pour the rest of the paint over their heads.

and the paint is actually gasoline.

The Aristocrats!
posted by srboisvert at 10:06 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


sour cream: How about "Norway, Canada or something in between" with a picture of an iceberg and the sinking Titanic with Union Jack below.

Or, to Canadianize it a little more: "Not necessarily a Canada-like trade deal, but a Canada-like trade deal if necessary."

Context.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:49 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's really weird, watching one nation after another choose to destroy itself purely out of spite.
posted by aramaic at 8:31 on December 21 [6 favorites +] [!]


I guess this was also the feeling of the 1930s. To me it's even more disturbing that people believe "destroy yourself out of spite" is a viable strategy given the history of the 20th century.
posted by Erberus at 10:59 AM on December 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


People always think they'll be better off after they stick it to whoever it is they hate. And even if they aren't, well, at least they took Those People down.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:45 AM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


If anyone wants to pay my airfare, this American will glad fly over, stand in front of the assembled Parliament and yell at them: "It was a goddam non-binding vote you fucking morons! Grow a pair!"

It likely won't work, but seems more rational than Brexit.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 11:45 AM on December 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


Personally, I don't want any EU members who blame all their problems on the EU, who ridicule European politicians every day in their hate press and who want to have not only their cake but ours too.

Good luck throwing out half of the Netherlands, a third of Denmark, and sizable contingents of many other member states then.
posted by Dysk at 11:54 AM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


I‘m just one EU person, but pretty much everyone I know would be somewhat relieved to hear Brexit‘s been cancelled. This is no fun for the rest of the EU either. And I think we‘re mostly empathizing with the Brits on account of their terrible government. Nobody‘s, like, jeering „don‘t let the door hit you“ at this point anymore. It‘s all just really depressing.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:08 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Needless to say, none of the above applies to any members of this list - if it were just you guys, you'd be more than welcome to stay, of course.

Just like the Brexiteers, you saying the UK should be forced to leave is you putting your feelings above millions of people's livelihoods. As you've never revealed your nationality or your country of residence in these threads, it's hard to know what value to put on your emotions. I think I lean towards believing that you're not from Ireland, and as that's the only EU country where there are reasonable emotional grounds for wanting a bulwark against Britain, so to be quite honest, you're just being vindictive.

If the UK's membership were harmful to the EU's interests, then there would be grounds for arguing whether or not the UK is bound by its Article 50 notification. But I'd say that the UK has quite a lot to offer to the EU, especially as it's so complementary to the 5 other large countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain & Poland). I think that most of Brussels agrees with that assessment, too.
posted by ambrosen at 12:13 PM on December 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


Or, to Canadianize it a little more: "Not necessarily a Canada-like trade deal, but a Canada-like trade deal if necessary."

As Canadian as possible, under the circumstances.
posted by acb at 12:17 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Norway, Canada or the cliff

How about "Norway, Canada or something in between" with a picture of an iceberg and the sinking Titanic with Union Jack below.


I think Rory is speaking of the perennial UK-favourite cliff, Cliff Richard.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:59 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


To me it's even more disturbing that people believe "destroy yourself out of spite" is a viable strategy given the history of the 20th century.

WWI has finally slipped into history - it's left the public consciousness.

If it hadn't, we wouldn't be such utter morons.
posted by Leon at 1:04 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


I really want Brexit to be reversed, but I have a feeling that powerful organizations within the EU are beginning to see it as an advantage, and that is changing the position in Bruxelles. Big corporations are already moving manufacturing out of Britain, and banks are beginning to move as well. For the receiving countries, this is a huge windfall. It's so sad
posted by mumimor at 1:08 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think Rory is speaking of the perennial UK-favourite cliff, Cliff Richard.

"Look out! Cliff!"

For the receiving countries, this is a huge windfall.

If Brexit is stopped at this point, they'll still get much of that windfall, and get to keep a chastened (large, still relatively rich) partner as well.
posted by rory at 1:15 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


If Brexit is stopped at this point, they'll still get much of that windfall, and get to keep a chastened (large, still relatively rich) partner as well.

rory, I agree, but there are big indicators that others don't.
posted by mumimor at 1:30 PM on December 21, 2017


> What's to fear? They'll blame the EU.

What I fear is that they'll blame anyone within fist's reach who looks or sounds different from "real" English people.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:38 PM on December 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


My experience is that looking and sounding exactly like a "real" English person only protects you until they realise you haven't got the passport to match.
posted by Dysk at 2:10 PM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Nobody‘s, like, jeering „don‘t let the door hit you“ at this point anymore. It‘s all just really depressing.

Have you met Sour Cream?
posted by MattWPBS at 2:11 PM on December 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Britannia rules the whey: Gove demands cheesy patriotism

I ate emmental today.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:58 PM on December 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think Rory is speaking of the perennial UK-favourite cliff, Cliff Richard.

Cliff Richard is Cockney rhyming slang for Brexit.
posted by srboisvert at 6:03 PM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


We've ample interviews, studies, etc. showing why they vote destruction: They've witnessed life getting worse, they know we're all being abused/robbed by power structures, and they know the non-destruction side sucks too. As bonaldi's observed, these Boomers only previously experienced life improving without worrying about who makes decisions, and they certainly never saw any need to learn any political theory, and they live in first-past-the-post two-ish party systems, so they "vote for the other guy".

In reality, you win ideological fights in first-past-the-post two-ish party systems by defeating bad candidates in the primaries, but the Boomers never understood that.. And Brexit is a yes-no anyways so the "primary" was electing so many anti-EU politicians in the first place.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:28 AM on December 22, 2017


It's not quite that simple here, I don't think. For an awful lot of Brexiteers life hasn't started getting worse. It has for their kids, maybe, but their kids were all voting against brexit. I think it really is about a perceived loss of stature in the world combined with a patently idiotic rah-rah engerland nationalism. It's all what you in Danish would call symbolpolitik - it's about emotions, how people feel about their and their country's place in the world, no actual politics or engagement with actually existing reality.

I mean, it's all been a success right? After all, they announced blue passports today.
posted by Dysk at 12:35 AM on December 22, 2017 [9 favorites]


I mean, it's all been a success right? After all, they announced blue passports today.

Yup. "The humiliation of having a pink European Union passport will now soon be over and the United Kingdom nationals can once again feel pride and self-confidence in their own nationality when travelling, just as the Swiss and Americans can do. National identity matters and there is no better way of demonstrating this today than by bringing back this much-loved national symbol when travelling overseas.”

Brexiter Christmas
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:07 AM on December 22, 2017


Yep, nothing says unique national identity like a passport the same colour as those issued by over 70 other countries.
posted by Dysk at 1:19 AM on December 22, 2017 [7 favorites]


Also, fuck national identity.
posted by Dysk at 1:20 AM on December 22, 2017 [7 favorites]


It's a long list, but all of the spurious, nonsensical, absurd and downright incorrect bullshit reasons we've heard justifying Brexit, the Blue Passport one is the one that makes me want to head up into space and scream "Fuuuuuck Yooooou" until my lungs explode.
posted by jontyjago at 1:26 AM on December 22, 2017 [9 favorites]


So frustrating this morning hearing some government stuffed shirt on the Today programme banging on about this, and the Today programme itself not even mentioning what should have been the lead Brexit story of the day, which was the public release of those pathetic, wholly inadequate sector "reports".

a pink European Union passport

Burgundy is pink now?

I hadn't realised just how long the UK has had burgundy passports; they were introduced in 1988, almost thirty years ago. How emblematic of this whole farrago: UK society and the UK economy ripped apart for the sake of aging voters' nostalgia for things from a generation ago. Let's bring back flares and paisley while we're at it.

(As it happens, I already have a blue passport to go with my burgundy one. Frankly, I'd rather it was blue-green. But for something I glance at a few times a year, I really don't care.)

There is such a simple line of attack open to anti-Brexiters now, given what's happened in the intervening 18 months and what we've learned about it all...

If you could make one policy change that would require very little change in everyday practice, but which would improve our economy by £10bn a year, boost the pound, attract new investment, secure workers' rights, improve our international standing, keep authoritarians and interfering rich foreigners in check, help protect the environment, help millions in the UK who are worried about their futures, improve opportunities for young people, and free up our resources to deal better with poverty, low productivity and funding the NHS, would you? Yes? Then #StopBrexit.
posted by rory at 1:33 AM on December 22, 2017 [10 favorites]


Just like the Brexiteers, you saying the UK should be forced to leave is you putting your feelings above millions of people's livelihoods.

"Forced to leave" is a bit strange in this context, after all it's the UK that is pushing forward with all this madness.
Also, please keep in mind that in the last GE, more than 80% of the population voted for parties that are pro-Brexit. Given that Brexit is clearly the most important political issue of our times in the UK, it is not too far-fetched to say that 80% of the British population are in favor of Brexit, or at least do not care enough to vote against it. Yes, I know, recent polls say otherwise; maybe people should learn that votes have consequences.

The EU is deeply unpopular in the UK. This is a result of 40 years of brainwashing by right-wing newspapers. Still, the EU bent over backwards to give the UK all sorts of special conditions, just to have them on board. And here we are with 80% of the UK population saying either "Let's get out, the EU is the devil." or "Meh, I don't really care, let's vote for one of the parties who want out."

So rather than forcing them to leave, I think it's more a matter of not forcing them to stay.

In addition, I think it looks like the result will be the UK staying in in all but name, meaning they'll be factually in the EU, but without any voting rights. Given the extent to which election results in the UK are influenced by propapanda and lies spread through right-wing newspapers, that's not such a bad result. That's certainly preferable to having lunatics like Farage, who are hellbent on destroying the EU, as your representatives in the EU.
posted by sour cream at 1:38 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also, fuck national identity.

I dunno. National identity apparently matters a lot to many people.
I hope that the EU learns this lesson and returns the symbolic that doesn't really matter to the nation states. Meaning, they should leave passport designs to the member states instead of using burgundy for all.
Or maybe make it optional, so that those who feel European can go for the burgundy ones and everyone else can go for their country's national design.
posted by sour cream at 1:46 AM on December 22, 2017


The EU is deeply unpopular in the UK. This is a result of 40 years of brainwashing by right-wing newspapers.

Also: The EU is deeply popular in the UK. This is a result of 40 years of enjoying and appreciating its benefits.

But it isn't popular and unpopular with the same people.

I think it's more a matter of not forcing them to stay.

Good. Thank you for conceding this. Those of us who want to stop Brexit will try to shift the "wanting to stay" end of it, and then we can all move on, jointly, in the EU, together.

As I've said here before, if the countries of Europe can move on from knocking ten bells out of each other in two world wars, they can deal with a sheepish Britain returning to the fold. The EU is at this very moment having to deal with far-right politicians sharing power in Austria, threats to the rule of law in Poland, and the potential break-up of Spain - are you seriously suggesting that they can't cope with an obnoxious gasbag who hardly ever turns up to the European Parliament anyway?
posted by rory at 1:48 AM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


"Forced to leave" is a bit strange in this context, after all it's the UK that is pushing forward with all this madness.

The context under discussion was Britain deciding not to through with it, as you will know. In that case, not allowing a halt of the process would absolutely be forcing a leave.

Also, please keep in mind that in the last GE, more than 80% of the population voted for parties that are pro-Brexit.

This argument is facetious bollocks that utterly fails to acknowledge that there were no viable or mainstream parties that weren't pro-brexit on those terms (in England at least). Close to half of all candidates returned for both major parties are anti-brexit to varying degrees.

In addition, I think it looks like the result will be the UK staying in in all but name, meaning they'll be factually in the EU, but without any voting rights.

You're one hell of an optimist. With May in charge unable to keep an ascendant Brexiteer wing even slightly on check, we're heading for that cliff edge. I know consensus in the rest of Europe is that nobody would be that stupid. Believe me, both the tories and a good chunk of Britain absolutely are that stupid.

I dunno. National identity apparently matters a lot to many people.

And those people are putting meaningless symbolism above people's actual lives and livelihoods. Fuck. That. Noise.
posted by Dysk at 2:04 AM on December 22, 2017 [13 favorites]


You're one hell of an optimist. With May in charge unable to keep an ascendant Brexiteer wing even slightly on check, we're heading for that cliff edge. I know consensus in the rest of Europe is that nobody would be that stupid. Believe me, both the tories and a good chunk of Britain absolutely are that stupid.

That's absolutely it. Sure, everyone is behaving as if the cliff has been avoided, because everyone wanted to be able to forget about it until January 2nd (or 3rd in Scotland), but the Phase One agreement is a fudge and the worst is still to come. There's no way May can sell Norway to hardline Brexiters: they know it's EU-in-name-only. Which leaves Canada and the cliff—or, in practice, both. Actual trade negotiations won't start until 30 March 2019, they won't be able to agree a formal trade deal in the 21-month transition period, and after 29 March 2019 there's no backsies for staying in the EU, which means we fall off the cliff on 1 January 2021. Hard borders in Ireland, collapse of the UK service industry, the lot. The EU might give us some sort of dispensation over flights, out of pity, but they can't agree everything out of pity.
posted by rory at 2:18 AM on December 22, 2017 [7 favorites]


And those people are putting meaningless symbolism above people's actual lives and livelihoods. Fuck. That. Noise.

If it's meaningless symbolism, why not let them have it?
Also, by giving them whatever color passport they want, they will NOT be able to put that above people's actual lives and livelihoods anymore, because it won't be necessary to leave the EU anymore just to get your favorite color passport.
posted by sour cream at 2:28 AM on December 22, 2017


But the thing is, it isn't really about the passports. It's about nationalism. If it wasn't the passports, it'd be something else. Because fundamentally, the problem is national identity, and the fact that that's important to people. And as this whole debacle has shown, you give them an inch...
posted by Dysk at 2:33 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Like, that people will put this kind of bullshit symbolism above people's lives and livelihoods is a symptom not the cause. That people are willing to do that makes them awful people. There's a demonstrated disregard for the things that actually matter. That disregard continues to exist if you give in on meaningless details. It achieves nothing but strengthening and emboldening that problematic attitude that is nationalism.
posted by Dysk at 2:36 AM on December 22, 2017 [6 favorites]


Like, that people will put this kind of bullshit symbolism above people's lives and livelihoods is a symptom not the cause. That people are willing to do that makes them awful people.

People want to identify with a group that they belong to. This takes place on various levels. It can be the local soccer team, or on a higher level, the national soccer team. Yes, this is more important to many people than their livelihoods, at least to a certain extent. That does not make them awful people - it's just a fact of life that we need to accept and deal with.
Identification with Europe is weak. There is no European soccer team that people can root for. The burgundy passports were probably also an attempt to create greater identification with Europe. As such, it has failed, because the backlash is obviously greater than the benefit.

In a way, it's like taking away national flags. Imagine the backlash that would create, if only the EU flag were the "official" flag of all member states. The thing with the passports is essentially the same thing, just on a much smaller scale.

To some extent, the attachment that many people feel to their currency is also based on the same feelings, and not on any rational consderations, such as not wanting to give up national fiscal policy to the EU.
posted by sour cream at 2:47 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


The referendum we should have had (self-tweet-link, in lieu of being able to post an image).
posted by rory at 2:54 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


My UK passport expires in 2025. I wonder what my options will be then? Scottish Blue? EuroPassport Red? Nuclear winter White?
posted by vacapinta at 2:57 AM on December 22, 2017


I can't find reference to it but I'm sure I read somewhere that Canada's trade deal with the EU forbids any other country from getting a better deal? If the Tories (or Labour considering Corbyn's waffling stance) want a Canada++ deal for the UK then those extra benefits are automatically given to Canada.
posted by PenDevil at 3:01 AM on December 22, 2017


Yes, this is more important to many people than their livelihoods, at least to a certain extent. That does not make them awful people - it's just a fact of life that we need to accept and deal with.

No, the bit that makes them awful people is when they're willing to fuck up other people's lives for it. They want to put some meaningless bollocks above their own welfare, whatever. They start with the xenophobic and racist bollocks for it - and make no mistake that is the primary driver of brexit - and they absolutely are awful people.
posted by Dysk at 3:03 AM on December 22, 2017 [7 favorites]


Imagine the backlash that would create, if only the EU flag were the "official" flag of all member States.

That backlash would also be based in something utterly meaningless. I imagine the backlash would indeed be huge, because nationalism is a big and growing problem. You cannot create an in group without also creating an out group. Nationalism can never be benign, can never not be malign.
posted by Dysk at 3:05 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Gawd. Harry and Meghan dominate, while Murdoch's The Sun claims victory and "Return of the Great British passport".

Today's UK newspaper front pages
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:07 AM on December 22, 2017


I can't find reference to it but I'm sure I read somewhere that Canada's trade deal with the EU forbids any other country from getting a better deal? If the Tories (or Labour considering Corbyn's waffling stance) want a Canada++ deal for the UK then those extra benefits are automatically given to Canada.

It's the WTO status of "most-favoured nation"see here:

CETA contains a “most favoured nation” or “MFN” clause, which provides that (subject to some limited exemptions), if the EU grants better treatment to another country, such as the UK, it will then grant equivalent treatment to Canada.

If you add anything to Canada to make a new UK deal, Canada becomes Canada plus whatever you've added. Brexiters will no doubt then demand (Canada Plus Plus Plus) Plus Plus Plus.
posted by rory at 3:10 AM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


If you add anything to Canada to make a new UK deal, Canada becomes Canada plus whatever you've added. Brexiters will no doubt then demand (Canada Plus Plus Plus) Plus Plus Plus.

It'll just keep ratcheting up, at which point you might as well cancel brexit and invite Canada to join the EU.
posted by Dysk at 3:13 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


The problem with using the name of the country as shorthand for their trade deal is that it lulls Leavers into thinking that we'll be either "just like Canada" (and hey, what's not to like?) or "even better than Canada" (maple syrup, plus plus plus!). In reality, we'll be "Canada minus NAFTA minus enormous natural resources".

We should really be talking about CETA, not "Canada", and EFTA, not "Norway". Using tedious acronyms would also help remind people that you can't live some carefree life free from "bureaucracy" and "regulation" outside the EU. The Swiss are outside the EU, and they're a byword for bureaucracy.
posted by rory at 3:19 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Aye, the most favoured nation set up is what is going to fuck us three ways from Sunday. It stops the EU giving us special treatment, as the Brexit supporters suggest will happen because prosecco and cars. It stops us just ignoring the border with Ireland under WTO rules, as we'd then have to treat everyone the same.

Still, blue passports, right?
posted by MattWPBS at 3:24 AM on December 22, 2017 [4 favorites]


And the thing about the passports is that the British could have had a blue passport all along if they really wanted. The Croatians insisted on keeping the colour of their passport and they succeeded . In the EU, if it is important enough to you, and you are willing to put your foot down over an issue, and do a bit of horse trading on some other issue - anything is possible. Brussels is a city of exceptions.
posted by foleypt at 4:36 AM on December 22, 2017 [6 favorites]


And the bloody things will be imported, too.
posted by Devonian at 5:40 AM on December 22, 2017


I can't find reference to it but I'm sure I read somewhere that Canada's trade deal with the EU forbids any other country from getting a better deal? If the Tories (or Labour considering Corbyn's waffling stance) want a Canada++ deal for the UK then those extra benefits are automatically given to Canada.

Yes, exactly.
And this is precisely why Canada+++ is not on the menu.
In fact, right after Davis made this utterly uninformed and ridiculous suggestion, Barnier set him straight by explaining just that. I'm not sure if Davis and the rest of the UK government understood that point, although it is pretty straightforward and there is even an English acronym for it: MFN - most favored nation. If the EU gives the UK a deal including services, then they have to give the same deal to the Canada, South Korea, Japan and who knows else. This is simply not in the cards and suggesting that the UK can have Canada+++ is delusional.

So, if the UK wants to save their financial services industry, then what's left is the Norway option: same obligations as a EU member without any of the (voting) rights. This would also solve the problem with the Irish border and it looks like this is where you guys are heading.

Of course, there's also the nuclear option: the cliff edge. It seems that this is used as a threat by the UK government, but the EU has determined long ago that it has zero threat potential, because it would be devastating for the UK but just a bump in the road for the EU (contrary to all that "they need us more than we need them" noise that you STILL hear in the UK). So right now, Norway is the best bet.
posted by sour cream at 5:59 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


It'll just keep ratcheting up, at which point you might as well cancel brexit and invite Canada to join the EU.

Yes, please! I would kill a man for some of that EU freedom of movement, eh?
posted by rodlymight at 6:50 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


it looks like this is where you guys are heading.

Mate, it really doesn't. We're heading for WTO rules.
posted by Dysk at 6:51 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


CETA is a much bigger deal than Most Favoured Nation, sour cream. I'll grant that you understand trade agreements better than David Davis, but that's faint praise indeed.
posted by ambrosen at 7:09 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, about those WTO rules, that's a common misunderstanding.
First of all, you already have WTO rules, i.e. WTO rules govern UK-EU relations now and in the future, regardless of whether there's a trade agreement with the EU or not.
Secondly, WTO rules are one of the main reasons why there cannot be a Canada + Financial Services deal.
And lastly and perhaps most importantly, trading under the WTO option only is a real headache to implement. In fact so much so, that some people think that the complexity of the WTO option is what will push the UK to sign at the dotted line presented to them by the EU.

Not to mention the fact that the WTO regime does not include financial services, which means that large parts of the City of London will be dismantled and relocated to Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin...
posted by sour cream at 7:44 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


might as well cancel brexit and invite Canada to join the EU

The alternative would be to admit the UK as a territory of Canada. I don't think it's quite got what it takes to be a province, though. You'd get blue passports, but have to swap sides of the road, measure road distances in km and pretend that you understand French now and again.
posted by scruss at 7:53 AM on December 22, 2017


Not to mention the fact that the WTO regime does not include financial services, which means that large parts of the City of London will be dismantled and relocated to Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin...

Yes. That is what will happen (and indeed has already started happening). This will be a no-deal brexit. "But that's preposterously bad!" Yes, yes it is. None of this is sensible. It will be a shit show, as the man in the helmet said. The fact that it's so obviously a terrible idea will not stop the rabid xenophobe wing of the Tory party (or indeed Labour). Fundamentally, your objections are just that it's such a bad idea that it'll never happen. You're right about it being a bad idea. To do anything less would require the Rule Brittania contingent to compromise, to lose face, to bend to the continent. That won't happen. The disastrous outcome will.
posted by Dysk at 8:02 AM on December 22, 2017 [5 favorites]


Fundamentally, your objections are just that it's such a bad idea that it'll never happen.

Well, not just that, but there are vested interests that stand so much to lose and have so much money on their hands that they will try to find a way to pressure the UK to accept a deal with the EU.

Also, you say that the big Brexodus has already started. But is that really so? So far it looks more like contingency plans put into place by a couple of banks. This can be understood to mean that they are betting that there will be a deal including financial services, and the contingency plans are just to hedge that bet. But I suppose we will have more clarity on that in three months or so.
posted by sour cream at 8:29 AM on December 22, 2017


For some reason, the blue passport has reignited my (never far below the surface) smouldering anger at the whole fucking mess.

1 get: a blue passport

I lose: the right to travel and live freely within the world's biggest and most diverse economic community. Access to its market. A measure of influence as a citizen to its laws, and protection from some aspects of rapacious capitalism. Membership of one of the most successful liberal democracies in the history of the world.

The country gets: blue passports and the ability to make trade deals

The country loses: access to some of the best trade deals in existence. Protection against radical governments fuelled by an undemocratic process. Access to a huge pool of talented workers. The peaceful solution to our own major terrorism problem. Influence. Friends. The patience and respect of others. 750 international deals and agreements covering every aspect of international life, which go away overnight if no deal is reached to keep them en masse. Even with a two-year transition period, that's one deal a day to be re-agreed, when one a year would be good going.

I agree Norway is the only logical conclusion to Brexit, but I don't agree that logic has any place in this grotesque farrage. The only real logical solution is to ditch Brexit, and ditch it as soon as humanly possible, and work at regaining some of the lost ground of the past two years.

And the people in charge are STILL in total denial. David Davis STILL doesn't understand how the EU works or the first basics of international dealing. the wingnuts are still wingnuts, and May has the leadership of a testicle in a mole wrench.

SO. ANGRY.
posted by Devonian at 8:38 AM on December 22, 2017 [22 favorites]


Some banks have already started moving sizable portions of their staff. There may indeed be vested interests, but those vested interests are not in charge, wingnut Tories are. If the money had the influence you seem to be positing, none of this would be happening in the first place. We certainly wouldn't have reached this point.

It's a disaster brexit, almost certainly, or no brexit at all. May seems just capable (and insane) enough to hang on long enough to exclude the possibility of the latter.
posted by Dysk at 8:43 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


The alternative would be to admit the UK as a territory of Canada

A US state is more likely, ideologically. We've already almost dismantled the NHS and look set to legalise antibiotics in meat and such, we'd just need to bring back the death penalty (something polls show that >50% of Brexit voters support) and we're as good as harmonised.
posted by acb at 10:29 AM on December 22, 2017


Brexit will usher in a dark chapter for new British authors, warns publisher

Just happened to have seen this... I wonder how many other business sectors are going to get screwed over by brexit in similar ways.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:41 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]




Currency in £/s/d is probably a strong possibility once the pound craters and needs to be replaced with a new currency pegged to the price of the nettles we make jam for export from or something.
posted by acb at 10:53 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


I believe pig's ears rather than nettles was the bold new industrial direction to expand trade, as suggested by a current member of the Cabinet.
posted by biffa at 11:02 AM on December 22, 2017


The jokes write themselves, don't they?
posted by Dysk at 11:12 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


ConservativeHome quoted the Financial Times recently:
The UK’s biggest international banks are set to move fewer than 4,600 jobs from London in preparation for Brexit — just 6 per cent of their total workforce in the financial centre — according to Financial Times research. The FT analysis contrasts with consultants’ original claims that tens of thousands of jobs could move from London after Brexit…Some bankers say the lower estimates emerged as they thought through how many jobs and operations would need to move to the EU if the UK loses access to the bloc’s single market
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:34 AM on December 22, 2017


Six percent is substantial, especially at this early stage. Also the idea that those numbers "in preparation" contradict predictions for what might happen "after brexit" is pretty indicative of how the discourse around all this has been.
posted by Dysk at 11:44 AM on December 22, 2017 [4 favorites]


And lastly and perhaps most importantly, trading under the WTO option only is a real headache to implement. In fact so much so, that some people think that the complexity of the WTO option is what will push the UK to sign at the dotted line presented to them by the EU.

Sorry, excuse me if I scream in panic mode rather than depending on the assumption that that "the powers that be will stop us doing anything stupid". I mean, it's not like we've done anything else blindingly stupid recently, like wasting huge amounts of a time limited negotiation period to just do exactly what we said we wouldn't.

The last thing we can depend on at the moment is the ability of British politicians to admit the truth when it might be unpopular with their electorate.
posted by MattWPBS at 1:19 PM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Brexit: What does Britain losing its EU "passporting" rights mean for banks and how will it affect the economy? (The Independent)
It also warned the UK exchequer could lose £5bn of tax revenues a year. Such a hole would need to be plugged either by higher taxes or lower spending or more borrowing.

The truth is that it is very hard to estimate the cost with any precision because it depends on the behavioural response of a diverse range of financial firms and also how the long-term growth rate of the overall sector is impacted.

Yet there is no doubting the importance of the overall financial services sector for the UK economy.

It accounts for around 7 per cent of total UK economic output and supports around 1 million jobs. Finance is also a critical UK exporter and a major recipient of foreign direct investment.

Anything that damages this sector (and losing the EU financial services passport will unquestionably damage it) can be reasonably expected to have serious negative effects on the overall UK economy.
How much was it there would be for the NHS after Brexit?
posted by mumimor at 10:38 PM on December 22, 2017


A gauche le passeport Britannique à partir de 2019 après le #Brexit, à droite un album de Queen... La personne, chargée des passeports, ne s'est pas foulée pour chercher la couleur

[roughly: On the left, the blue passport. On the right a Queen album (Greatest Hits II). Whoever was in charge of choosing the colour for passports didn't exactly pull out all the stops.] – same shade of blue, same colour text, big coat of arms in the middle, etc.

It seems that what actually happened was that someone left a passport in their car for over 2 weeks, and it simply came back out looking like a Best of Queen compilation.
posted by ambrosen at 5:40 AM on December 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


So the blue passport actually has a real unicorn on it - that's perfect!

But what's with all the French words? That seems very unpatriotic to me. I mean, I don't want to think badly of it, but isn't that what they speak in France and (gasp) Belgium?
posted by sour cream at 7:25 AM on December 24, 2017


Could you quit being snide, sour cream? The future of the UK matters to some people here.
posted by ambrosen at 11:30 AM on December 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


Well, I say Scotland is preparing itself to be a proud, independent nation with a very strong sense of how to be a well-ordered state.

Why? Because the new banknotes have otters on them. Otters, moreover, with psychedelic curves that light up under UV.

These are the best bank notes of any nation, and thus unarguably usher in a new, brave and above all ottery future for the peoples of North Britain.
posted by Devonian at 8:56 AM on December 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


My brother has been sending me videos of otters from his bike ride to work in Dublin. I've never seen an otter in Bath. Clearly this is a sign that I should move to the proud independent nation where he is.
posted by ambrosen at 11:42 AM on December 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


nobody's cared what Nick Clegg thinks since 2010

Seems somebody does...

The best part of that is how much it'll piss off Farage and his supporters.

To think that in early 2016 the pro-Leave press were claiming that the Queen supported Brexit, and now they're complaining about the "pro-Remain establishment".
posted by rory at 5:23 AM on December 26, 2017


I reckon it's precisely because even his coalition partners could get away with having stopped giving a shit what Nick Clegg thought as far back as 2010 that they're giving him a meaningless empty gesture now.
posted by Dysk at 11:13 PM on December 27, 2017


So, is it standard to put all leaders of the major parties on the honours list?
posted by Chrysostom at 2:28 PM on December 28, 2017


Its not automatic but since the parties nominate people then they tend to pick the great and good within their own organisations. With the Lib Dems its a limited pool with a public profile and they tend to do it to get career politicians to stay around. Having said that blink and miss him non-entities like Tim Farron seem unlikely to get made up any time soon.
posted by biffa at 10:00 AM on December 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


Disgraced former minister Liam Fox continues to astound.
Ministers Cannot Name A Single Country That Asked UK For A Post-Brexit Trade Deal
posted by adamvasco at 8:46 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Excellent explanation of how the UK has painted itself into a corner and what its 4 options are.

By Tony Blair. Interesting insight: Holding the referendum was like having a GE in which the only question is "Do you like the government?" Of course, the answer was No. It had to be. It is only when they have something to compare the present situation (government) to that many people will hold their nose and vote for the incumbents. The problem was that this frame of reference was entirely missing, so that people just voted for "change".

That's probably why referendums are generally a very bad idea.
posted by sour cream at 5:12 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


I noticed the Scum were outraged today that there's going to be official Game of Thrones postage stamps but nothing celebrating Brexit... we're def beyond satire now.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:24 AM on January 4


I'd think the the Brexit vote counts as negative "leverage" so if the U.K. stays the "reform" Tony Blair asks for in (1) should resend Britain's current special deals.

It's unimportant if the U.K.joins the Euro or opens their boarders, given their an island anyways, but the U.K. violates EUCJ ruling routinely so it'd help to give the EUCJ stronger enforcement powers there, and doing so could set a precedent for dealing with human right abuses in say the Orban or Rajoy governments in Hungary or Spain. It'd rock if the stay concessions tightened the financial regulations to which London City gets subjected.

Anyways, a pivot to stay should come with real concessions that actually matter, not just symbols. Importantly, both the "concessions" I just named actually represent huge wins for British citizens, due to improving the courts or delaying/averting financial crises.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:06 AM on January 4


the U.K. violates EUCJ ruling routinely

I don't know of any it's not complied with. I guess the Surinder Singh ruling was one that xenophobic little Englander Theresa Maythe government didn't want heard, but it's complied with the ruling fully, and documented how to comply like you see in the link. And I guess that rulings on gender equality for old-age concessionary bus passes and for car insurance were EUCJ rulings, but implemented quickly and efficiently, as far as I can see.

I mean, maybe you're conflating a political environment that's pointlessly and viciously hostile to the EU with the bureaucracy that enforces compliance with regulations, but a lot of British bureaucracy is still working to very high standards, despite a lack of money.
posted by ambrosen at 1:59 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


There's the prisoners getting to vote issue for example:
"The UK government is reportedly to scrap its blanket ban on prisoners being allowed to vote, 12 years after the European court of human rights ruled that it was unlawful.

Britain has ignored a series of judgments by European courts since 2005, maintaining that it is a matter for parliament to decide."

That was just the one I could think of off the top of my head.
posted by Dysk at 2:10 AM on January 5


Though yes, that's the ECHR I suppose, not the ECJ. The principle, of Britain ignoring European court rulings stands, however, even if there is a particular court they haven't defied.
posted by Dysk at 2:13 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


The plummeting Conservative membership makes the party ripe for entryism: "A party with just 70,000 dues-payers is ripe for entryism. Should some of the 2.4m people who voted Liberal Democrat or the 594,068 who voted Ukip (or the 16.1m who backed Remain and the 17.4m who backed Leave) sign up, they could shape the Tories' future. "

Remainers! Rise up and hold your noses.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:12 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


> Remainers! Rise up and hold your noses.

Or remainers could join the other crew and kick them into not being all weaksaucy.

But then again, you can join two parties.
posted by farlukar at 9:16 AM on January 6


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