Bricksit means bricksit
March 5, 2018 7:18 AM   Subscribe

In this week's episode of You Couldn't Make It Up, (previously), after easily solving the Brexit Irish border issue, Theresa/Bob/Thomas borrows more Labour policies and delivers a speech/routine in front of a "carefully" designed backdrop. This time, a somewhat unrealistic and badly timed wall. Or chimney. Will she leave or wander or be forever trapped? (title)
posted by Wordshore (98 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
At this point I do envy the people living in the non-Brexit universe, where employment, wages, healthcare, international relations and the environment are presumably still on the political agenda. I suppose it's a nice break to have the housing shortage back in the news for a bit. But I can't watch reruns of Have I Got News For You anymore, because the reminder of 'normal times' leaves me thoroughly cheesed off.

That wall picture makes it look like she's been trapped in spam.
posted by pipeski at 7:32 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


I quite liked Ian Jacks article the other day on the reasons we ended up in this whole mess. But like all things Brexit it's a bit depressing... even more depressing / horrifying was William Davies in the LRB who has the reason as 'Tories think the terrible pains that Brexit will inflict will make Britain better... somehow'

(Can you tell I was halfheartedly planning a Brexit post but found all too depressing to make the effort?)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:39 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Can you tell I was halfheartedly planning a Brexit post but found all too depressing to make the effort?

I keep going through that as well, and it becomes an endless and wearying cycle of "Ha! That's batshit crazy ... oh fuck I live here. Ha! That's batshit crazy ... oh fuck I live here. Ha! Th..."

In the end (like this one) think an open-ended, UK Political existential scream post/thread every now and then may work okay. Unlike this weeks fully aligned customs union replacement proposal ("Ha! That's ... oh fuck I live here").
posted by Wordshore at 7:46 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


In other, related news, I'm still in shock at how terrible the new, insanely parochial, 'quintessentially British' 10p designs are.... When I first heard about the the A-Z idea I was 'Oh is Q going to be 'queuing' ?! ha ha... oh my god, it is'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:47 AM on March 5 [20 favorites]




Oh god, I hadn't seen those coins. They just serve to reinforce something I was pondering the other day (when I noticed a product from Finland with a bulldog logo on it): why do we think that half of these things are British? Half of them are things that are common all over the world.
posted by pipeski at 7:54 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


how terrible the new, insanely parochial, 'quintessentially British' 10p designs are

Holy shit - I'd not seen these - they are fucking awful. Oak Tree? English Breakfast?

World Wide Web
Tea
Angel of the North
Fish and Chips?

We're going to be seeing people on Twitter spelling things out like FARTPANTS for years to come aren't we?
posted by jontyjago at 7:58 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


Half of them are things that are common all over the world.

I was chatting with a keen birdwatching relative the other day about robins and the fact that they migrate to and from Europe... you can see where I'm going here, can't you?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:08 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


In other, related news, I'm still in shock at how terrible the new, insanely parochial, 'quintessentially British' 10p designs are.... When I first heard about the the A-Z idea I was 'Oh is Q going to be 'queuing' ?! ha ha... oh my god, it is'

What the actual fuck
posted by brilliantmistake at 8:08 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


all of a sudden our Jean-Paul Gaultier coins seem particularly awesome
posted by fraula at 8:14 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


I did not know about these coins.
They look like smarties lids.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:15 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


You're laughing now, but just you wait until those coins get their own block of Unicode code points.
posted by flabdablet at 8:16 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Huh, ok.. they're kinda dumb. BUT! there is an app that you can use to register which ones you've got and they have different levels of availability.

The royal mint has turned currency into Pokemon.
I am suddenly in favour of this ridiculous development!

"The rarity index gives an indication of how many of each Quintessentially British A to Z Uncirculated coins have been struck and is informed by in depth research into expected demand for individual letters. The rarity index is based on a scale of 1-100 with the most rare coins being scored 1. We will regularly update the rarity index so that you have the most up to date information available."

The downside is that you can just buy the whole set, which I dislike. If you're going the panini sticker route to currency they should only have allowed buying packs of 10 random ones so you have to trade.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:20 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


Villages? Villages?? They had to come up with 26 things that are distinctly British, and they picked Villages??? So in other countries they just have towns, and the next settlement down on the scale is a house? (ok, so maybe in a few places that's true)
posted by pipeski at 8:33 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


One of the lesser injustices and/or palpable ironies of Brexit is the E coin. In a sane world, it’d stand for Europe, and our justifiably proud place in it, having been instrumental in building its order of peace and prosperity. However, we can’t have that because 52% of the country felt a burning itch to tell Jacques and Fritz where they can stick their kilometres and (fictitious) straight-banana regulations, so instead it’s replaced by the heart-attack-on-a-plate full-English breakfast, a monument to slow-acting self-harm dressed up in the garb of national pride.
posted by acb at 8:35 AM on March 5 [24 favorites]


Huh, I'd heard about the coins, but hadn't seen the list. Loch Ness and Mackintosh are Scotland's entries. I suppose King Arthur's arguably Welsh. Nothing from Northern Ireland, predictably. And I'd have preferred this portrait of Bond.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:37 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


E + F + I = straight to N
posted by Wordshore at 8:37 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Another possible reason why the hard Bricksitters want to leave before 2020...

FEBRUARY 21, 2017: “European Union finance ministers agreed on Tuesday to close loopholes multinational corporations use to skip taxation on dividends, part of a drive to stop them from parking profits where they pay the least tax.

The new rules, due to go into effect in 2020, should help the EU recoup revenues from companies that cut their tax bills by declaring profits in countries with low or no taxation.”
posted by Auz at 8:41 AM on March 5 [10 favorites]


I note E for Full English is in there, but the Full Irish and the Full Scottish are absent. Not to mention the Ulster Fry.

(Cricket ain't Scottish either, is it?)
posted by Leon at 9:11 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


(Cricket ain't Scottish either, is it?)

Scotland are pretty good at the longer one day form of cricket. They've been in three World Cup finals so far, and are looking good for qualifying for the next one.
posted by Wordshore at 9:19 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Fair enough. My point, really, is that finding 26 things that are "quintessentially British" and not regional (Loch Ness?) is quite hard. It smacks of a project derived from politics, rather than an actual good idea. Regional coins would have been much easier, and probably more interesting.
posted by Leon at 9:24 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


To me, the Q for queuing one is the most annoying as there is often a xenophobic subtext (more explicit if someone mentions it in e.g. a Wetherspoon). "The British queue because we are civilised. People from European countries do not queue because..." and we're off yet again.

Maybe Xenophobia would have been a better choice for X than the rather desperate "X marks the spot".
posted by Wordshore at 10:00 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


Related: Irish Politics Since The Crash (Catalyst)
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


e.g. a Wetherspoon

That's certainly more British than "World Wide Web". The 10p project is really crying out for an alternative letter interpretation. Thankfully, self-lacerating satire is something we're really good at.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:21 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


RE: coins. I was landing at Heathrow the other day and they've put up a series of posters advertising modern Britain (science, heritage etc etc). I'm sure they are just a fairly standard Heathrow advertising effort. But in the context of Brexit they seemed rather...pathetic. Parochial, backward looking and highlighting what we will lose from Brexit.

I somehow feel Brexit is the national equivalent of a fifty year old man buying a superbike and promptly crashing it.
posted by Erberus at 10:26 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


How is World Wide Web not British? I mean, Berners-Lee was working at CERN when he proposed it, but that doesn't rule it out.

Though, given the current political straits, perhaps a more appropriate British W would be Wankers.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:38 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


The 10p project is really crying out for an alternative letter interpretation.

A - Austerity
B - Bedroom Tax
C - Carillion...
posted by pipeski at 10:55 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


It smacks of a project derived from politics, rather than an actual good idea.

Wait, are we still talking about the coins, or are we back on Brexit?
posted by nickmark at 10:58 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


It smacks of a project derived from politics, rather than an actual good idea.

Wait, are we still talking about the coins, or are we back on Brexit?
posted by Wordshore at 11:01 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


I need some to explain the 'Ice Cream Cone' coin to me like I'm a toddler please.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:08 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


52% of the country

It wasn’t 52% of the country, it was 52% of the people registered to vote who could be bothered to do so on that one day. I mean, whatever, the people have spoken and all that shit, but people who didn’t vote are still a part of the country.
posted by Grangousier at 11:18 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


It's still a very rum do when formerly loathed rightwingers like John Major come out with appealing pull-quotes like “It is as necessary to speak truth to the people as it is to speak truth to power.”, as reported in Nick Cohen's The irresponsible know-nothing right that treats everything as a joke.
posted by scruss at 11:18 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Another possible reason why the hard Bricksitters want to leave before 2020...

FEBRUARY 21, 2017: “European Union finance ministers agreed on Tuesday to close loopholes multinational corporations use to skip taxation on dividends, part of a drive to stop them from parking profits where they pay the least tax.

The new rules, due to go into effect in 2020, should help the EU recoup revenues from companies that cut their tax bills by declaring profits in countries with low or no taxation.”


I’ve a,ways thought the Tory philosophy behind Brexit was that they’ve spent a little too much time in the Gulf and quite liked the idea of an immense tax haven where citizenship is highly conditional and they get to be treated with the amount of respect and deference they’ve been raised to believe they deserve. It’s the same basic philosophy of undoing the 20th century we have over here, complete with the unspoken assumption they’re just waiting for automation to get good enough that they let everyone else die of neglect and not suffer to much from it.
posted by The Whelk at 11:20 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


The Tory philosphy behind Brexit is that they are utterly horrible and unceasingly stupid.
posted by dng at 11:33 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


I see she's up against the wall before the revolution comes, to beat the rush.
posted by ckape at 11:41 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Villages? Villages?? They had to come up with 26 things that are distinctly British, and they picked Villages???

I know, right?
posted by rory at 12:05 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


I need some to explain the 'Ice Cream Cone' coin to me like I'm a toddler please.

The English believe they invented it, when really their major innovation was really just sticking a flake in one (also, Thatcher apparently contributed to the development of soft-serve).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:09 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Villages? Villages?? They had to come up with 26 things that are distinctly British, and they picked Villages???

I'll forgive it if it's not villages in general but The Village in particular.
posted by dng at 12:13 PM on March 5 [9 favorites]


I need some to explain the 'Ice Cream Cone' coin to me like I'm a toddler please.

Well, ice cream is a dessert of frozen cream and sugar first developed either in the Mughal Empire or Yuan Dynasty; the recipe was eventually adopted and adapted into what we know today - like so many other foods - by the Italians, popularized in Europe by Catherine de' Medici's reign as Queen of France. Of course, the ice cream cone is a more recent invention, being developed during the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri by a Syrian from the zalabia.

The coin itself depicts an ice cream cone with one other addition - a chocolate (chocolate, of course, was developed by the Precolumbian Mesoamericans, the word comes from Classical Nahuatl word chocolātl). This particular chocolate appears to be a "Flake", which is produced by a division of the Mondelez corporation, headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:16 PM on March 5 [44 favorites]


I need some to explain the 'Ice Cream Cone' coin to me like I'm a toddler please.

The English believe they invented it, when really their major innovation was really just sticking a flake in one (also, Thatcher apparently contributed to the development of soft-serve).


Thank you. I was just arguing with someone on a Discord server about this. Their claim was that it makes sense because the British/English had "iconic" beach holidays in Victorian times* and ice cream somehow represents that tradition, despite the fact that none of these things appear to be unique or quintessentially British. I guess they also think they invented beaches? I feel that somehow this whole thing explains why Brexit happened in the first place.

*I lived and worked at the Jersey shore and I'm pretty sure that Americans in the Victorian era also enjoyed ice cream while on beach holiday but nobody is claiming ice cream is quintessentially American (are they?)
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:20 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


No Theresa May speech is complete without countless references to previous Theresa May speeches to the extent where, even if you and the Prime Minister are in the same room, you cannot be 100 per cent certain you are not watching some sort of cassetteboy style Youtube mashup of Theresa May speeches.
posted by rory at 12:27 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]




I spent a slight amount of effort drafting a post on the coins yesterday, but at some point, I got to X, assumed that there was a part of the country where I'd never been with an iconic "X" that marks some treasure spot or something, but no, it's just, utter crap. So I gave up. On everything, really.
posted by ambrosen at 1:06 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]


he 10p project is really crying out for an alternative letter interpretation.

K- Kebab
P- Piss-up
V- Vomiting on the pavement
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:08 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


I think the "X Marks the Spot" coin is in reference to Britain's long history of state-sponsored maritime piracy.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:10 PM on March 5 [17 favorites]


They should've gone with xenophobia.

Or xylophone.
posted by ckape at 1:47 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Patrick Moore playing a xylophone would have covered both bases.
posted by Wordshore at 1:52 PM on March 5 [8 favorites]


H - Houses of Parliment

Maybe the P should be for Profreaders.
posted by dng at 2:54 PM on March 5 [8 favorites]


They had to come up with 26 things that are distinctly British, and they picked Villages???
The British are apparently becoming Texans, appropriating generic things as their own.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:56 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


The most famous part of the building is the Clock Tower which houses, Big Ben. Victoria Tower, the southern tower, is 102m high and was the largest and tallest tower in the world. On top is 15m flagpole which fly’s the Union flag when parliament is ‘sitting’.

I don't know what you mean, dng.
posted by ambrosen at 3:16 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


I'm disappointed V for Village doesn't even have a single penny-farthing in it.
posted by ckape at 3:32 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


My apologies for the American derail. If they're going to have B for Bond, there are some other media institutions that should have been included... D for Doctor Who (or T for Tardis), M for Monty Python, S for Sherlock Holmes, H for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (or D for Don't Panic). And if the Beatles or Bowie can't dislodge Bond from B, Z could be Ziggy Stardust and the Fab 4 could be on the Zebra Crossing, moving it to A for Abbey Road. Yes, I'm overthinking a can of Heinz Beanz.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:33 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


It's a strange comfort to occasionally take a break from the horrible, terrifying American politics threads and read how idiotic and awful things are elsewhere. We can all join hands on the deck of the sinking ship and watch civilization drown together! Ugh.

*those coins aren't just insulting and ignorant, they're an ugly design mess as well!

I better get out of this thread before #2 sends a rover after me.
posted by SystematicAbuse at 3:56 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


The coins are bizarre. I have to do a visit next week to a school to monitor its promotion of "British values". Maybe I can use the coins as some sort of starting point.
posted by paduasoy at 4:26 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Frankly, paduasoy, your job sounds more bizzare than the coins…

(Actually I'm weeping because I'm well aware the same sort of petty nationalism has been unofficial government policy in my country for at least the last 20-odd years. Conservatives, hey?)
posted by Pinback at 4:36 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


oneswellfoop: W for Robbie Williams.
posted by Leon at 5:31 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I have to do a visit next week to a school to monitor its promotion of "British values"

?? Without getting yourself into trouble, can you say any more about your job, any interesting stuff that's happened during it?
posted by Wordshore at 5:32 PM on March 5


It just seems like every decision is being made during that last half hour of a committee meeting where everyone's gotten bored and is enthusiastically agreeing with whatever the most recent idea was because they're desperate to get to the pub.
posted by lucidium at 5:35 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


I assume paduasoy is an Ofsted inspector?. British values is part of SMSC. It's not exactly the Pledge of Allegiance.
posted by Leon at 5:39 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


It surely says something about how psychologically exhausted we're all feeling that only 25% of the comments in this Brexit/UK politics thread are about either.

621 days down, 388 to go.
posted by rory at 2:26 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]




It surely says something about how psychologically exhausted we're all feeling that only 25% of the comments in this Brexit/UK politics thread are about either.
It's the total sensation of powerlessness. There is no Westminster opposition to this decision to drive the country off a cliff while drunk on delusions of Empire. The voices of reason keep saying reasonable things about everything from the economy to the Good Friday agreement, and they are shouted down.

The good ship UK is full steam ahead towards an iceberg, and people are telling the captain to change course, but they won't. We will sink, and all I have left is the dull resignation that I have no lifeboat and I will drown.
posted by Vortisaur at 2:52 AM on March 6 [6 favorites]


I'm starting to half seriously ponder if I can get transferred to another branch of the company in Europe.
posted by MattWPBS at 4:05 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


I suspect that when talks inevitably founder or run out of time (either for EU membership in general, or for the transition period), the UK government will either (a) beg to stay in the EU for a bit longer while they sort things out, or (b) just crash out altogether, chaotically. I have no faith in any significant agreement being reached, because you can't have an agreement where one side can't come to agreement with itself.

The EU side of the table has been consistent about its offer pretty much from Day 1, and since the start has had nothing much to gain by helping the UK government out by way of a bespoke deal. And bit by painful bit the UK government come around to this, with much gnashing of teeth. But as we get closer to something final, the Tory party will increasingly fall prey to its own inability to reconcile its self-image as the party of common sense and business (ha) with its intention to wreck large parts of the economy. The right wing are circling like vultures, but like vultures don't have much of a plan beyond feeding on the corpse of their own party.

When you look at the backgrounds of the people in charge of Brexit, you find a bunch of ex-opinion writers for right-wing tabloids, an ex-GP, a couple of ex-military types, and so on, most of whom have lost their jobs on one or more occasions because of incompetence, lying, or corruption, and not one of whom has any substantive experience in anything that might just help them to actually do the job they've set themselves.

But when the inevitable happens, it's naturally going to be all the fault of the totalitarian EU super-state, because we're too far along the narrative to turn back. And I suppose people will buy into that.

Being optimistic about a large chunk of older voters dying off over the next decade or two might seem morbid, but it's one of the few rays of hope left for a lot of people.
posted by pipeski at 4:27 AM on March 6 [11 favorites]


since the start [the EU] has had nothing much to gain by helping the UK government out by way of a bespoke deal.

That said, I have little doubt that if the UK had come to it with a wishlist of parochial yet sensible opt outs from the single market (fisheries, farming, railway open access, etc), the EU would have played a little hardball and then come round to a Switzerland-y deal. Still stupid and pointless and a waste of goodwill with very little in it for them, but sometimes you pick up the trash your antisocial neighbour drops outside their house because if you don't, it'll be in your garden next. And sometimes they're so incorrigible, you just make sure there's a big fence between you and them.
posted by ambrosen at 4:42 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


But when the inevitable happens, it's naturally going to be all the fault of the totalitarian EU super-state

And us, of course, the traitors who didn't believe in fairies and refused to clap. Consequently when Tinkerbell inevitably dies, it'll be all our fault.
posted by Grangousier at 5:15 AM on March 6 [10 favorites]


Well, ice cream is a dessert of frozen cream and sugar first developed either in the Mughal Empire or Yuan Dynasty...

I love this response mostly because the ice cream example goes to the heart of what is so repugnant about nationalism. Some of the best things we all enjoy are because of the contributions of all these far-flung cultures in ways that are surprising to most people when they learn about it.

It is good to be proud of your culture, your language, your country and have its contribution to this worldwide culture recognized and appreciated. The danger is when you start believing that your role is primary, more important and all others are inferior and milder.

I detest the right-wing brexiters but I also detest the left-wing nationalists like Corbyn's Labour. I am an open-all-the-borders person, anyways. Borders are to keep poor people from moving around and only serve to create these artificial divides among people.
posted by vacapinta at 5:31 AM on March 6 [10 favorites]


The Flake does seem to be a British invention. Maybe there wasn't enough space on the coin for "Ice cream, specifically with a Flake in it"?

I keep waiting for the day when the huge negatives of Brexit will become apparent to the general populous and the current shower can no longer keep kicking the can down the road. But they're going to limp on until next March, aren't they?
posted by grahamparks at 5:53 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]




My probing of British Values is unpaid, which makes it even more odd possibly. I'm a school governor. One of the other govs is keen on BV and has asked me to do this monitoring with her. I have no idea what we'll be doing apart from apparently looking at the wall displays. Happy to report back on whether I have drowned in a sea of tolerance, queuing and Flakes.
posted by paduasoy at 6:28 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]


The Flake does seem to be a British invention. Maybe there wasn't enough space on the coin for "Ice cream, specifically with a Flake in it"?

If they meant the version with a Flake, then they could have gone with N for Ninety-nine, but that would have meant losing the NHS, and having to come up with something else for I.
posted by scorbet at 6:32 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Instead, we've gone for the 350m and are losing the NHS...

"I" could be Ing-ger-lund.
posted by rory at 6:49 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


The coins should have included V for Virgin, S for Serco, G for Group4, C for Capita.
Because we don't really have a middle government anymore. It's all been outsourced.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:27 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


Oh heck, Boris is on the tele in this pub now. But on mute and not subtitled. Is the poster child for the dangers of using cleaning products in an unventilated area saying something about Brexit/the EU?
posted by Wordshore at 8:20 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Q&A: Could US-Canada border solve Irish dilemma? Theresa May has said the government is looking at arrangements between the US and Canada as a possible solution to the Irish border issue. How close is the comparison?

Brexit Secretary David Davis has also visited the border, specifically the crossing between Detroit and Windsor, which carries a lot of freight traffic between Ford car factories. He spoke enthusiastically to the Exiting the EU Committee about the trusted trader scheme which operates on that border. "I looked at the crossing times: 54 seconds. I looked at the mechanisms: easy, cheap, 15 years old," he said.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Sorry, Ireland. If it's a Canada-US setup, you can count on that border being significantly more than 54 seconds. Even 54 seconds by the time you pull up to the man in the booth would be Ludicrous Speed. I've done five minutes, and I've done five hours, and you never, ever know.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:10 AM on March 6 [9 favorites]


Well, you can't have Brexit and a soft border, any more than you can have a circle with perfectly right-angled corners. So the game now is to sell the Irish hard border as somehow ineffably less hard than the dreaded hard border deemed to be unacceptable. Airbrushed portrayals of the US-Canadian border are one part of the claim; they'll further be softened by promises of vague technological breakthroughs that will make this border at once impermeable and almost invisible. (Expect claims about smart app-based workflows, AI that magically eliminates bureaucracy, perhaps even drones or blockchain if they're desperate.) When the magic pixie dust turns out to be illusory, expectations will fall back on the hard border, which the punters will by now have been softened up to accept as not quite as bad as the worst-case scenario the Project Fear Remoaners have been warning about, despite being factually indistinguishable from it.
posted by acb at 10:29 AM on March 6 [7 favorites]


Oh. Boris was on the tele because of the latest ex-spy who has fallen ill. Apparently if it's proven to be Russia's fault, then the UK government will take "robust" measures such as, erm, not sending officials to the World Cup in Russia.

Well, I bet Putin is breathing a sigh of relief, as Boris may have sent our mighty fleet of aircraft carrier (singular) that has no planes. (p.s. anyone got any waterproof tape?)
posted by Wordshore at 10:35 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


...vague technological breakthroughs that will make this border at once impermeable and almost invisible.

We along the Can-US border get these promises, too, and they're all smoke and mirrors. All they involve are some new pre-clearance schemes, which means only that you fill out whatever forms back at the warehouse rather than at the border itself. The total time spent getting you and your stuff over is not actually reduced, and only ever grows.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:55 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Hah haha. Anyone Irish who falls for that should look up the story of Peter Watts and the US-Canadian border. And that's the sort of thing they do to well-off white professionals, so you can imagine the sort of shit that goes down if you are less privileged.
posted by tavella at 11:18 AM on March 6


It's UK2! in British racist green!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:29 AM on March 8


In news entirely unrelated to Brexit, which after all was nothing but a nuanced take on trade regulations, two men have been arrested after a black university student complained that a group of people subjected her to racist abuse in her hall of residence.

Optimistically, this white man says it feels like the kind of thing that wouldn't have happened when I was at Uni in the 90s. Possibly that's true, but can we blame it on the Brexit referendum? Yes, it turns out:

In the footage, a group of men can be heard chanting [racist chant 1], [racist chant 2] and “sign the Brexit papers”.

It makes me so sad and angry and exhausted.
posted by ambrosen at 6:18 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


There was a BBC Panorama program just yesterday in which the question was "Who Should We Let In?" after Brexit of course. This clip from it is worth watching. Everyone wants immigrants gone, it seems, but not any specific immigrants
posted by vacapinta at 6:40 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


You've stumped me.
I'm stumped for words.
posted by flabdablet at 8:03 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


I'm stumped for words.

This is what is so fucking exhausting. Their arguments / beliefs do not stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny or reality, they simply smile sheepishly and you know that in a month's time when the next Vox Pop piece hits the streets of whatever town that was filmed in they would give exactly the same answers, followed by the same "what do you want me to do about it?!" shrug.

But the video also brings up another "popular" misconception - the idea that immigration is not controlled (and by extension only Brexit will allow us to control immigration). The fact is the government has options and chooses not to use them. The UK Government chooses not to use a EU directive allowing a member state to repatriate EU Nationals after 3 months if they are not working (and hasn't explained why). We don't have rigorous exit checks at the borders which would allow us to monitor overstays.

Also, try being married to a non-EU national and live in the UK and tell me it's not fucking controlled.
posted by jontyjago at 8:16 AM on March 8 [7 favorites]


and hasn't explained why

Conservative governments always and everywhere trade on their putative ability to rein in various forms of potentially disruptive social change, and the more they can do to whip up fears about such change being rampant and out of control, the more votes they get. Failing to do anything at all about actual control of any such change is therefore in their direct interests.

So there's no upside for them in explaining why they're not using this EU directive. Those capable of paying sufficient attention to know that such a directive exists are not going to be convinced by their explanation anyway, and keeping their stumped-for-words base onside requires that all comment about this issue comes from the shrill, nagging, lying, alarmist, latte-sipping elitist nanny-state Left.
posted by flabdablet at 8:35 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


I had an eye-opening Twitter exchange over the past couple of days about what the DExEU Brexit forecasts mean, which was finally resolved when Faisal Islam tweeted screenshots of the original document. I've blogged the full details of the exchange, but the upshot of it was that I was trying to convince them that the DExEU figures indicated percentage point changes, while they believed that they indicated percentage changes, "Ie -5% means you get 95% of the growth that you would have had."

The released documents show that DExEU did mean percentage point changes. To quote my blog post:

So the impact will indeed be much bigger than my Twitter counterpart was thinking. From that image [“16. Preliminary results from HMG modelling”], we can see that DExEU have projected 15-year growth of 25% without Brexit. This translates to 1.4% p.a., well below the long-term average, and on the weaker end of recent years—itself a disturbing prospect. The Brexit impact assessments are then applied to these 15-year figures in percentage point terms, so that an FTA gives us 15-year growth of 20%, and WTO 17%. The former gives an annual growth rate of around 1.2%, the latter around 1.0%. Neither is trivial. (And we should remember that these figures assumed a favourable post-Brexit trade deal with the U.S., which is hardly a given.)

If DExEU had meant actual percentages and not percentage point changes, then FTA would have implied 23.75% growth rather than the actual 20%, and WTO would have implied 23% growth rather than the actual 17%. I don’t know the politics of my Twitter correspondent (his timeline doesn’t suggest much either way), but if there are Leavers operating under a similar misconception of what those DExEU figures mean, it’s no wonder that some have concluded that leaving with No Deal would have little economic impact.


All a bit disturbing, really. Failure by some reporters to distinguish between percentage changes and percentage point changes has meant that we're talking at cross-purposes even about what those -2%, -5%, -8% figures mean.

They mean that on our current Brexit course the UK will sacrifice one fifth of the growth we were forecast to see over the next fifteen years, and if we leave with no deal will sacrifice almost a third of it.
posted by rory at 2:52 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


Just had lunch with a friend who works for a FTSE 100 multinational. They have employees who move around all over the world; he was working in Mexico last year and is in Spain this year. But the company centralised most of the employment contracts for international employees in the UK and paid in pounds.

He told me that over the last three months, they have moved all the employment contracts to Switzerland and adopted the euro and Swiss franc as the basic currencies for the company. It's costing them a lot, and creating problems for some employees, but they decided it was necessary to do it now, in case a hard Brexit became reality.

A year ago, there was a lot of talk about how UK-based companies needed to have certainty about the transition period and the future regulatory environment by now, or else they would have to trigger contingency plans. I haven't heard much from the press lately about that, but I'm beginning to suspect that a lot of companies may already be quietly making the final decision to abandon a chunk of their UK presence.
posted by fuzz at 10:25 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Count me in as someone who has tried to compile a Brexit post now and then, and just gotten too depressed. At least the Americans still have a chance to reconstruct their country after Trumpism, but how will the UK ever get back to civilization when Brexit has crashed everything and the Brexiteers are still blaming everyone else for the damage done? It will take more than a generation, I fear.
posted by mumimor at 6:31 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


@EL4JC: The historical pattern of response to May's speeches on Brexit go like this:

• May gives vague speech.
• Tory Remainers welcome speech.
• Tory Brexiters welcome speech.
• EU says speech unrealistic.
• Speech falls apart.
• Next speech billed as "The definitive speech".
posted by Wordshore at 4:58 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Sadly, and I mean that I'm actually sad about this, it's not as if a Jeremy Corbyn fan account is in a good position to mock Theresa May's Brexit policies, no matter how pathetic and ridiculous they might be.
posted by ambrosen at 6:20 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Normandy advert to seduce UK firms after Brexit banned TfL deems ads on tubes and buses calling for businesses to relocate too sensitive

Bloody hell... wait until the effects really start to bite and I bet we'll see a lot more 'too sensitive' ads
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:25 AM on March 12


It will take more than a generation, I fear.

Indeed, the assumption that it will happen could be somewhat optimistic.

Britain has, for the past 500 years, wielded outsized influence. It ascended from being a damp island on the periphery of Northern Europe to being a world-spanning empire largely through a series of happy accidents shrewdly capitalised on: fortuitous weather conditions helping see off the Spanish Armada, colonising large parts of North America and profiting off the slave trade, and then bootstrapping off that into conquering India and chunks of Africa, making sure to hold key coaling stations on the world's oceans as to be able to project power globally. The Empire ended between the start of WW2 and the Suez Crisis, but Britain retained an outsized influence, partly coasting on its fumes. English was the global language, a cut-glass British accent could still command prestige, we were the Athens to America's Rome, and so on. London's central location and institutional inertia kept it as a global financial trading centre (and opaque tax laws written to protect the gentry from their inferiors helped), the oil princes of the Emirates wanted Englishmen (preferably Etonians and Harrovians, in the same lineage that ran the Empire) to run their airlines and funds and every murderous ex-Soviet kleptocrat wanted to be an English dzentelmen, pin-stripe suit and long black umbrella and all.

What the UK had after the Suez crisis was mostly inertia and marketing: the brand of Britishness, in all its aspects, from P.G. Wodehouse novels to The Stone Roses. Some of its values included a sort of level-headed pragmatism and sense of fair play (also, pragmatically, not codified but defined with workable ambiguity). Others were borrowed wholesale from abroad, like chicken tikka masala and Mod scooters. And now that angry reactionaries have seized the helm of the ship of state and slammed the doors shut in a crusade to bring back public hangings and pre-decimal currency, much of that has gone down the toilet. The myriad varieties of anglophiles across the world are waking up disillusioned. Even if Brexit is rolled back and the goons and gerontocrats who govern the Conservative party driven from power, the damage is done; the momentum on which Britain has coasted for the past half-century has been broken.

I suspect that future historians might write about the British golden half-millennium having been bookended by the two Elizabethan eras. London will still be there, in the sense that Rome or Athens are still there, but embodying not power and influence but faded grandeur and small-stakes corruption.
posted by acb at 9:00 AM on March 12 [10 favorites]


Don't know whether this is of interest, but Political Betting have put up a map of the swings during the general election last year. The map is tiny, but zoomable.
posted by Grangousier at 10:18 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


General Election last year... four more fecking years of these barely sentient demon-possessed suet puddings to do damage while Russians run amok, lifelong residents are denied urgent cancer treatment because they don’t have the right Papiere, bitte and the Kensington and Chelsea council continues to sit there with its thumb up its ass.
posted by tel3path at 3:23 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


This should probably go somewhere else, but I think of it as another thread in the foetid rag that is Britain in 2018: Rapid rise in mortality in England and Wales in early 2018 – an investigation is needed
In the first seven weeks of 2018, over 10,000 (12.4%) more people died in England and Wales than was usual for the time of year. No official explanation from government health officials for this sharp rise in mortality has been forthcoming.
posted by Grangousier at 5:01 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]




One of the replies to that tweet - that they don't know how anything works, and it's amazing they manage to dress and feed themselves.

It really is, and that is only just barely an exaggeration. I'm sure they could be intelligent if they wanted to, but they choose to be functionally moronic.
posted by tel3path at 8:15 AM on March 16


(There's another "the state of the UK" post up on the blue just now. It was going to be about the closely-related topics of dubious political deaths and Arsenal being crap at football - and how nice the Google translate voice speaks English swear words - but as the mods have changed the post address to 'sundry-UK-things' because the title otherwise broke it, guess other UK things things can be discussed there.)
posted by Wordshore at 10:19 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]


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