Brexit bites
May 25, 2018 5:24 AM   Subscribe

 
Man, it's hard to see another country as deep in the weeds on an existential national issue as the US is. I hold out hope that common sense will prevail there.

I don't hold out that same hope for us.
posted by sutt at 5:42 AM on May 25 [13 favorites]


I moved to the UK for work a few months ago and at first I found the 'why would you move here from America' questions charming. They are less charming / more distressing now. It's like the whole country Wile E. Coyote'd off the cliff and is now just waiting for the gravity to catch up.
posted by durandal at 5:44 AM on May 25 [42 favorites]


If the construction isn't obvious: the first paragraph has quotes from Brexiters of different stripes, linking mainly to their critics; the second paragraph quotes are from remainers and onlookers. If you read one link out of all of them, read the last one, by Sir Ivan Rogers, the senior civil servant Theresa May fired when he told her what she didn't want to hear, which was not to trigger Article 50 before we were ready. His speech a couple of days ago got a lot of attention.

Here's a news article from the last 24 hours that I should have included: I have the impression that the UK thinks everything has to change on the EU’s side so that everything can stay the same for the UK. (Informed analysis.)

TL/DR: we're doomed, #stopbrexit, #peoplesvote
posted by rory at 5:55 AM on May 25 [27 favorites]


If you leave Europe without a deal in March 2019, you lose access to these regulators. The consequences are sci-fi level bad. They are basically just not conscionable. No government with even a bat-squeak of responsibility would allow such a thing to pass

Fuuuck.
posted by Artw at 5:57 AM on May 25 [13 favorites]


Welcome to the madhouse, durandal.

(Been here close to five years. I'm taking my Life in the UK Test next month.)
posted by kyrademon at 5:58 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


Thanks, rory.
I've felt we needed a new brexit thread for a while, but got too depressed trying to compile one. Now I'll read all those links over the weekend, with a drink now and then to soften the pain.
posted by mumimor at 5:59 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


I moved to the UK for work a few months ago and at first I found the 'why would you move here from America' questions charming.

This is a deep-seated part of the British psyche, although it's possible Brexit may have deepened it. I still remember standing on line at an ATM talking to a friend in 2001-02 when a woman whirled around and said "Are you American? Why would you move to this shit little island?"
posted by Automocar at 6:07 AM on May 25 [7 favorites]


I definitely wouldn't move from here to America though, so YMMV.

On topic, I am hoping we somehow manage to get a second referendum on the subject whilst not being particularly confident of a different outcome. Much of the country is still inexplicably prone to nationalism.
posted by walrus at 6:16 AM on May 25 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I don’t trust the British public not to vote for suicide a second time. It was a moment where all the masks were taken off and we were revealed to be not just racist but profoundly stupid along with it, and all notions that we had national characteristics better than that were ripped away.
posted by Artw at 6:20 AM on May 25 [40 favorites]


It seems the only concrete plans the UK gov is making is to turn part of the M20 motorway into a temporary truck park. So they're admitting that EU trade is going to be a shambles.

I'm really hoping the rumours of an autumn election are true, but the major parties are both pro-brexit.
posted by scruss at 6:20 AM on May 25


It was a moment where all the masks were taken off and we were revealed to be not just racist but profoundly stupid along with it, and all notions that we had national characteristics better than that were ripped away.

**Looks around at U.S.** yeah I'm right there with ya, buddy.
posted by emjaybee at 6:23 AM on May 25 [53 favorites]


Oh, I live here. I get it in stereo.
posted by Artw at 6:28 AM on May 25 [14 favorites]


The text "I'm beginning to think I may have voted the wrong way" for the interview of the guy who actually cried with sadness when the results of the referendum came out in favour of Leave seems disingenous. Brexit basically screwed his life and his business.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 6:36 AM on May 25 [4 favorites]


Brexit basically screwed his life and his business.

Kinda like poorer Americans voting Republican.
posted by terrapin at 6:40 AM on May 25 [8 favorites]


urbanwhaleshark, the text was from one of Twitter reactions to his interview quoted on that linked page. Most of the quotes in the first paragraph are linked to articles dramatically at odds with them, but containing them. I was trying to capture the cognitive dissonance that many on the pro-Brexit side seem to be experiencing.

Meanwhile, I occasionally re-read my blog posts from June 2016, pre- and post-referendum, and still agree with every bloody word of them. 48% of us, living as Cassandra.
posted by rory at 6:44 AM on May 25 [11 favorites]


Kinda like poorer Americans voting Republican.

Well, no, because this guy (runs a successful business) voted to Remain. That's why I had an issue with the link text. I won't derail this any further tho. (thanks for the links, Rory).
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 6:51 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


My friends from back home who had built a life in the UK have all moved back to Italy after the Brexit vote. They didn't want to put their children (all UK born!) through being forced out.

It's such a stupid situation. Self-inflicted idiocy. The world is a shitty shitty place these days.
posted by lydhre at 6:52 AM on May 25 [11 favorites]


Artw: It was a moment where all the masks were taken off and we were revealed to be not just racist but profoundly stupid along with it, and all notions that we had national characteristics better than that were ripped away.

The Harry Potter books show a Britain (well, the magical population, anyway) that has a big enough faction to embrace fascism to take the whole country over the edge. Reading that thread of the stories made me sad to think that the country I had visited and loved could be believed capable of such a thing, and by one of their own.

Yes, there are novels that propose the same thing happening here in the U.S. (Roth's "Plot Against America" and others), but I just thought that Britain should look back on its thousand-year history and.... I don't know, not be stupid or something.

*sigh* We're all so much better than this.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:15 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


The last link is really good, thanks for that. I don't agree with everything in there, obviously, but I've always had a sense that the UK was kind of a pain while they were in the EU, so it was good to see how exactly that worked. The referendum, unfortunately, was going to cause a problem either way: if enough people voted Remain, the UK's carefully negotiated special treatment because questionable, because clearly the people voted for the EU so why hasn't the UK adopted the four freedoms?

I'd enjoy the schadenfreude if I didn't have the sense that this was an attempt to set up a white ethno-state, which does make me worry but at least the progressive and inclusive and diverse EU are going to basically crush it, as a warning to other ethno-states.
posted by Merus at 7:20 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


Oh there’s lots of other fascist movements with leaving the EU as one of their goals all going on with varying degrees of success in various EU countries - they just had a big win in Italy and strong showings in France and Germany. The UK is where they really won big though.
posted by Artw at 7:25 AM on May 25 [5 favorites]


If you're going to read one link, read Sir Ivan Roger's We are now at a point where reality starts to bite on all sides. speech. It's long but utterly irrefutable, and pulls no punches: tl;dr there are still people in denial about what's happening, but sovereignty is not what the Brexiters think it is, what they think it is, is impossible, a customs union is the only possible solution for many reasons - not the preferable solution, but the only one that's actually possible. There are three trading blocs in the world, EU, US and China, and the UK has to be part of one of them, which means adopting the regulatory framework of that bloc, which means (as has happened with Norway and Switzerland) basically handing over sovereignty on regulatory matters. It obviously can't be China, America will fuck us over - we have to stay in Europe, even if we abdicate the major area of influence we have in controlling it.

He also mocks, surprisingly openly for a diplomat, those who say the EU27 is at fault for not giving the UK what it wants; those who complain that it's not fair we're being thrown out of Galileo when they are the same people who tried very hard to get it strangled at birth (he was told to do the strangling - "I failed."), and those who consistently mis-state how much the EU had given the UK by way of exemptions and opt-outs during membership.

But yes, it's a clusterfuck, every bit as bad as predicted. Inward investment has basically stopped, because who knows what's going to happen, household income is down around a thousand quid a year, and so far - so far! - it's cost us around £40bn, before it actually happens. And we don't know what it's going to be - except it can be only one thing, but that's impossible to admit.
posted by Devonian at 7:34 AM on May 25 [32 favorites]


Wait. Is it actually possible to stop Brexit at this point?
posted by schadenfrau at 7:37 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


My husband’s dream of moving to Scotland is started to sound a lot like older activists talking about “when the revolution comes” to be honest
posted by The Whelk at 7:40 AM on May 25 [4 favorites]


Obviously there's a lot of racism and bigotry behind many Brexiteers support, but as I understand it the EU won't tolerate socialism, it's a neoliberal construction that has capitalism basically enshrined in its institutions, so leaving is a must if you want to make a better state. I don't fully understand the position, but it's what I understand of left-wing support for Brexit.
I'm not there, and I don't have the time to learn all the legal details, but that's what I've heard and why I'm no longer willing to call people who support Brexit fools right out of the gate.
All the arguments about losing the regulations that protect people only matter if you're assuming that a separated Britain can't replicate the regulations that matter themselves. Obviously I don't think the Tories would, but I don't expect them to do anything of use anyhow.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 7:49 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


So it occurs to me that Brexit is something of a grand version of what is termed "right to work" (by its proponents; "right to beg" by the rest of us) here in the States; to wit, the free rider problem.

Just like "right to work" would like to exempt the individual worker from having to pay dues to that entity (the union) that got him his favorable job, Brexit would like all the nice bits of the Union - less customs crap, free (ish) borders, coordinated/streamlined markets - without the responsibilities.

Another analogy, of course, is most of the Red States in the US. In the large, they take more from the federal government than they put in, but they still enjoy disproportionate sway in the politics of the nation.
posted by notsnot at 7:49 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


Is it actually possible to stop Brexit at this point?

Yes. Messily and expensively, but hugely less so than going through with it. The EU could throw us out anyway, but wouldn't.

The autumn election would happen if May presents the House of Commons with a Brexit plan that upsets too many factions, which seems highly likely. What that election would look like is anyone's guess, and could easily deliver a result that made government or Brexit negotiations practically impossible.

In other words, if you think it's bad now..
posted by Devonian at 7:50 AM on May 25 [9 favorites]


It would be nice if my fellow Americans would maybe stop putting in America-focused comments. Please let a UK thread be about the UK.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:53 AM on May 25 [72 favorites]


as I understand it the EU won't tolerate socialism

The EU has seen plenty of governments of the left. Have a look at Ian Dunt's Everything you need to know about Lexit in five minutes.

The idea that the EU prevents things such as nationalising railways is belied by the fact that the UK government is, right now, while we're in the EU, resuming control of one of our railways (the East Coast Line, which has been in and out of government ownership in recent years).

If Lexiteers get their way, and we get a Brexit Britain with Jeremy Corbyn as PM, all they'll have left to redistribute will be ashes.
posted by rory at 8:00 AM on May 25 [16 favorites]


Oh good, a Brexit thread (sobs quietly)

Has anyone posted this wonderful spoof of Dominic Cummings’s "Brexit, you're doing it wrong you stupid, stupid idiots, how could anyone have ever predicted that?" blog post by Robert Shrimsley in the FT?
posted by pharm at 8:00 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


as I understand it the EU won't tolerate socialism

Is that what people think they are getting?
posted by Artw at 8:03 AM on May 25 [10 favorites]


Wait. Is it actually possible to stop Brexit at this point?

Technically? Sure.

In this political reality? With the leadership of both main political parties committed to Brexit? Only if the polls start moving very convincingly against & it becomes transparently obvious to every politician that if they don't start walking it back they're going to be on the hook for the consequences. Right now, the UK body politic is still split on the issue, so that isn't going to happen.
posted by pharm at 8:03 AM on May 25 [5 favorites]


That link is for FT subscribers only, even in a private browsing window, Pharm. :(

I remain convinced, as I was in my comment in the last Brexit thread, that there are strong, strong parallels between UK-in-the-EU and Quebec-in-Canada. Separating from the EU is going to be good for vultures who have the capital to buy distressed British assets during the post-Brexit implosion, but not for anyone who lives here in the UK - and especially not outside London.
posted by Fraxas at 8:05 AM on May 25 [6 favorites]


but as I understand it the EU won't tolerate socialism, it's a neoliberal construction
Utterly incorrect. You have been deeply misinformed.

The EU is a legal framework, modifiable by its members, with a set of goals, policies, laws, and regulations. EU members have socialist, liberal, conservative, and other weird governments.

Membership simply means observing the treaties, agreements, and regulations. This is not a problem, as each member has a say in what those things are.

The major issue with the EU is that, with 28 members, change is hard. Diplomacy, gentle persuasion, politics, and time are needed to make anything happen. It also has a democracy deficit. Because it encompasses 500 million people, 28 sovereign governments, and at least seven layers of bureaucracy, it's hard for small voices to be heard.

None of these things make it undemocratic, or neoliberal, or bad.

The EU is a mature tree in the Forest of Nations. It's not quite the shape we hoped, some branches are a bit rotten, it can't change fast, and there are a lot of things living in it that are a bit smelly. But it bears healthy fruit every year, and if we cut it down it will take 50 years before we have another tree. That one might be a species we don't like at all.
posted by Combat Wombat at 8:08 AM on May 25 [106 favorites]


That link is for FT subscribers only, even in a private browsing window, Pharm. :(

Darn. I think you should be able to read it just by signing up to the FT here (which gets you access to the wonderful ftalphaville for free if nothing else.)

Unless they've fouled up & forgotten that I'm not subscribed /again/.
posted by pharm at 8:14 AM on May 25


I understand it the EU won't tolerate socialism, it's a neoliberal construction that has capitalism basically enshrined in its institutions, so leaving is a must if you want to make a better state.

You have a poor understanding.
posted by PMdixon at 8:15 AM on May 25 [21 favorites]


as I understand it the EU won't tolerate socialism

The EU is whatever it's member states decide it is. Not only in Britain, but in much of Europe, local politicians have pretended that they are helpless victims of the huge and scary EU bureaucracy when they didn't/don't want to take responsibility for their own actions and decisions.
There is no huge and scary EU bureaucracy, and the national politicians are the people who have most of a say about EU regulations, over the commission and the parliament. For most member states, including the UK, EU does a better job of protecting workers and consumers than their national government. And if you want to enforce better protections locally, you can.
posted by mumimor at 8:15 AM on May 25 [23 favorites]


I moved to the UK for work a few months ago and at first I found the 'why would you move here from America' questions charming.

I've been here over ten years, and I still get those. My stock answer:

"This is a nation of sixty million introverted pessimists who like to complain about everything and drink a lot. I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE."
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:28 AM on May 25 [52 favorites]


It's always nice to have your qualities appreciated.
posted by pharm at 8:31 AM on May 25 [6 favorites]


Chrysostom: It would be nice if my fellow Americans would maybe stop putting in America-focused comments. Please let a UK thread be about the UK.

My apologies! I was merely offering sympathy because we're all in the grips of idiots now.


Seeing that GDPR prep all seemed to come down in the final week, I am curious: has anyone seen signs that businesses or their local council is making any specific plans for when this actually comes to pass? Or is everyone in denial? Or hoping for a miracle?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:38 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


Way back when the result came through, I was thinking, "how the hell are they going to deal with the Irish border issue?" Oh wait, the same way the Tories deal with quite a few things: fuck it all up. Deary me, the stupidity of messing about with something as sensitive and potentially dangerous as the Irish border. The staggering stupidity. At this point in time, above all the other, very sizeable considerations, it's the Irish border one that has me worried the most.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 8:39 AM on May 25 [7 favorites]


Obviously there's a lot of racism and bigotry behind many Brexiteers support, but as I understand it the EU won't tolerate socialism, it's a neoliberal construction that has capitalism basically enshrined in its institutions, so leaving is a must if you want to make a better state.

This is nonsense, as people above have pointed out, but there is a kernel of truth here. The Commission in particular is run by people that it could be reasonable to call "neoliberals". However, that's not necessarily the criticism that you might expect.

The EU is a trading bloc, and internally, through the ESM / Schengen it enshrines "no free movement of goods without free movement of people", which undercuts many of the traditional arguments against free trade. (Externally of course these criticisms still hold true, but it's notable that the EU has been leading a new generation of FTAs that include provisions supporting workers rights, environmental protections, etc - see Ch13 of the FTA with South Korea - and before signing any form of trade agreement the EU performs what's known as a Sustainable Impact Assessment to consider the positive and negative impacts on the society and environment of the third country they are negotiating with, which informs the eventual agreement. The policy on immigration from Africa is of course a fucking travesty, but leaving the EU isn't going to open any borders that are currently closed - quite the opposite.)

Most of the EU regulations that businesses complain about are there to protect labour and consumers. That's not socialism, but it's pretty firmly social democratic. See the thread next door on the GDPR, which has tech companies and marketers upset that they can't steal our data. Or see REACH, which despite valid concerns about a potential increase in animal testing, is a good faith attempt to quantify the harms present in (currently unregulated) consumer products that are effectively being tested on humans right now. Compare the Seveso Directives on Occupational Safety & Health to the meagre protections afforded by OSHA in the US. Or the European Working Time Directive to, well, any comparable legislation. Even the much-maligned Common Agricultural Policy has been incredibly good for land-stewardship policies and biodiversity, in addition to unfairly enriching French farmers (and British farmers. British farmers receive, on average, about 50% of their income from CAP, and they voted overwhelmingly for Brexit. Cry me a fucking river, cunts.)

The EU is far from perfect: look at what happened to Greece (although this wasn't fear of socialism. It was a panicked reaction caused in large by the mistake of monetary union without fiscal union, plus Germany acting in its narrow self-interest).

However, the EU has pushed progressive, worker-focused legislation across an entire continent - a continent that workers can freely travel around. It has also prevented a Europe-wide conflict from erupting for the duration of its existence.

"Lexit" is bollocks.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:43 AM on May 25 [57 favorites]


I'm interested in the arguments that the EU does tolerate nationalisation. I know they do have some labour protections but I also hear that they strike down collective action and enshrine the market as solutions for all kinds of issues.
Arguments that all socialists need to do is change the entire nature of the EU through, what process, getting elected in multiple countries simultaneously? aren't particularly convincing to me. As people have said, it's huge and would need decades even if I believed in reformism.
I'm not a supporter of electoral socialism. The question for me is not whether the EU could theoretically be changed if we all just vote a little harder. The question is whether the EU as it stands would hinder attempts to enshrine socialism in a single member state as it stands.
The austerity it enforced on Greece gets brought up an awful lot to question the EU's progressive credentials, as does the horrible way it continues to treat refugees now.
Also, I'm not aware that the EU ever has tolerated a socialist government. Market 'socialism' or whatever you want to call Scandinavian governments does not qualify.
I just did a little more research, and found this and this. Interestingly, especially the first link, there appears to be debate around whether fighting from within is viable. They do however, confirm my suspicions that my comrades are pro-exit. That said, it redoubles the need to build anti-racist movements. I don't expect to convince you though.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 8:51 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


If the EU is against nationalised public utilities, can someone please explain why so many British railway companies and privatised utilities are owned by, er, the publicly-owned transport companies and utilities of various European countries?
posted by winterhill at 8:59 AM on May 25 [8 favorites]


I'm interested in the arguments that the EU does tolerate nationalisation.

Nationalists fucking hate it, that we’ve seen. Not for socialist reasons, quite the opposite.
posted by Artw at 9:02 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


The question is whether the EU as it stands would hinder attempts to enshrine socialism in a single member state as it stands.

You seem to be labouring under the startling mis-apprehension that the UK is a fundamentally leftwing country, and one that the EU is somehow forcing to continually elect hard-right demagogues.

In fact, you seem to be arguing from a position of complete ignorance about both the EU, the UK, the relationship between them, and the likely consequences to that relationship from Brexit.

Since those are the subject of this thread, it might be better to continue researching and come back with further contributions once you've finished.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:03 AM on May 25 [34 favorites]


(gah, misread, disregard)
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on May 25


If anyone's actually interested in Lexit, there is a Lexit Network with some interesting articles, e.g. The EU cannot be democratised – here's why:
Other relevant articles of the TFEU[ Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union] include:
  • Article 81, which prohibits any government intervention in the economy ‘which may affect trade between Member States’;
  • Article 121, which gives the European Council and European Commission – both unelected bodies – the right to ‘formulate … the broad guidelines of the economic policies of the Member States and of the Union’;
  • Article 126, which regulates the disciplinary measures to be adopted in case of excessive deficit;
  • Article 151, which states that the EU’s labour and social policy shall take account of the need to ‘maintain the competitiveness of the Union economy’; and
  • Article 107, which prohibits state aid to strategic national industries.
The treaties essentially embedded neoliberalism into the very fabric of the European Union, effectively outlawing the ‘Keynesian’ polices that had been commonplace in the previous decades. They prevent currency devaluation and direct central bank purchases of government debt (for those countries that adopted the euro.) They prevent demand-management policies, or the strategic use of public procurement, and they place tight curbs on generous welfare provisions and the creation of employment via public spending. They have laid the basis for a wholesale re-engineering of European economies and societies.

The legal implications of these treaties – which are often overshadowed by social and economic considerations – cannot be overestimated. That is because, even though France and the Netherlands famously voted against a joint European constitution in 2005, ‘ultimately the treaties do establish a constitutional order for the EU’. Yet it is a very peculiar constitutional order, due to its supranational (and therefore intrinsically non-democratic) nature. Unlike national constitutions, it cannot be democratically amended by citizens: it can only be amended unanimously in the context of a new international agreement – which, in practical terms, means that it is not amendable. The only thing individual states can do is repudiate the whole structure.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:08 AM on May 25 [5 favorites]


Much as I’d dearly love to see Brexit stopped, David Allen Green made a convincing case that there’s not enough time for a second referendum, absent some sort of extension which the EU27 aren’t going to be keen on. I’m also worried that reality hasn’t sunk in enough for most Leave voters; the politically engaged ones have maybe only just started to realise what a shitshow it’s turning out to be.
posted by doop at 9:15 AM on May 25


(Maybe turning a GE into a de facto referendum? I guess it kind of depends how effectively they manage the can-kicking between now and October - the better you postpone the difficult stuff, the less likely there will be the sort of crisis that could precipitate a genuine change of direction)
posted by doop at 9:18 AM on May 25


Man, it's hard to see another country as deep in the weeds on an existential national issue as the US is. I hold out hope that common sense will prevail there.

The Anglosphere has been running things for over a century. This is what the fall of empire looks like.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:35 AM on May 25 [13 favorites]


all socialists need to do is change the entire nature of the EU through, what process, getting elected in multiple countries simultaneously?

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be stopping the fascists.
posted by eustatic at 9:36 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


The treaties essentially embedded neoliberalism into the very fabric of the European Union, effectively outlawing the ‘Keynesian’ polices that had been commonplace in the previous decades. They prevent currency devaluation and direct central bank purchases of government debt (for those countries that adopted the euro.) They prevent demand-management policies, or the strategic use of public procurement, and they place tight curbs on generous welfare provisions and the creation of employment via public spending. They have laid the basis for a wholesale re-engineering of European economies and societies.
Sorry but no. It's true that those countries that adapted the Euro are bound to the Euro monetary politics, but no-one was forced to join the Euro, and one of the problems of the crisis was that countries were let into the Euro in spite of having no ability or intention to follow the rules.
For all of the rest of the points, I wonder (rhetorically) if you have been to Europe, because all of these things happen on a regular basis within the EU framework*. The problem right now in most European countries is not that the EU prevents a movement towards socialism, but that people have elected neo-liberal and conservative governments, even prototype-fascist governments.

*for instance, Sweden is not allowed to subsidize Volvo. But they are allowed to write an EU competition for a huge government contract that will be very hard to win for any other car company. This is an imagined example, but stuff like it happens literally every day. It's even totally legal to prioritize "cultural heritage" and define that yourself. If your government are not using those tools, it's because they don't want to, and that has nothing to do with the EU.
posted by mumimor at 9:36 AM on May 25 [10 favorites]


The "neoliberalism" of the EU is actually a prohibition on individual member states rigging the market to the advantage of their local industry / constituents at the expense of the rest of the EU. Any potential state aid has to be run across the Commission's Directorate-General for Competition according to somewhat stringent criteria - but that does not preclude state-owned utilities, public transport, or say banking bailouts of the sort the UK did a few years ago. It just means that before giving 5 billion to Mr X, the government has to prove it's in the public interest and either doesn't distort competition in the common market or provides enough benefits to make the distortion worth it.

If anything, it acts as a check on rampant privatisation of public services - all compensation of such either fulfills Altmark criteria, or get ready for a lovely long battle with DG Comp. It also precludes a lot of lobbying and sweetheart deals - it's much harder to buy your way into a lucrative government contract because there are procedures to be followed. State aid notification procedures for individual decisions (i.e. outside approved frameworks like Regulation 1370/2007 for public transport) can easily take two years or more.

There's a reason most European opposition to the EU is rabidly right-wing.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 9:40 AM on May 25 [33 favorites]


I favourited TheophileEscargot's post, because I think that's a strong and fair criticism of the EU from the left. Of course, it's still insane to imagine that the UK will turn socialist after crashing out of the EU - just because it's cold and windy on the roof doesn't mean that you'll feel better by stepping off the parapet.

Fundamentally, the EU is aiming for "ever closer" union. That means that economies need to be fairly integrated together, and so member states agree on rules to ensure that they are competing fairly. That's why they're not allowed to bail out their own industries (although of course there are ways around - e.g. Export Credit Guarantees are just subsidies in disguise).

This is further complicated by the single currency, which was a huge mistake. As the link points out, without fiscal union, there's no independent authority to mediate between the richer countries who want to pull the value in one direction, and the poorer countries who want to pull it in the other and devalue.

However, if you think it's impossible to have a successful social democracy within the EU, take a look at Denmark some time:
  • World's highest minimum wage
  • World's highest standard of workers' rights
  • Second lowest relative poverty rate in OECD
  • Union membership >2/3rds of all employees
  • High rates of progressive taxation (Top tax bracket is 57% of income)
  • Amazingly strong welfare state with unemployment benefits up to 90% of wages
  • One of the freest and most competitive economies in the EU.
Moving towards Denmark's "Flexicurity" model (the "golden triangle" of flexibility, security and labour market policy) is the EU's stated goal, Europe-wide.

As this pertains to Lexit:

Firstly, I'm not convinced that Brexit is going to move the UK any closer to Denmark, to put it mildly.

Secondly, I think that the example of Denmark pretty convincingly gives the lie to the idea that you can't have [approximately the closest that the world has probably ever been to actual, functional socialism] within the EU, which pretty thoroughly undercuts the requirement that we leave the EU before everyone gets a pony.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:44 AM on May 25 [23 favorites]


(I have never once been asked why I moved from the U.S. to the UK. But then, I live in Scotland, so.)
posted by kyrademon at 9:54 AM on May 25 [4 favorites]


A lot of the "The EU won't let us do X so we must leave" stuff is bollocks. Not only does it take just a few minutes to find other EU states doing X already (as in Denmark above, or the laughable case of the blue passports), but leaving the EU while remaining (as we must) in its regulatory sphere can only increase the things we have to do and over which we have no say. As a member, we have as much influence as anyone in setting the rules; as a third country, we will have none.

Virtually the only EU policy area where leaving makes sense is agricultural policy, which is a turd in the custard that has resisted getting fished out for far too long, and you can guarantee that if we do end up with trade deals with the US the chances of us deturdifying our own custard will be minimal anyway.

(Kyrademon - I've been asked why I moved to Scotland quite a lot, but then I'm English...)
posted by Devonian at 9:57 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


I don't understand the difference between "Lexit" and "heightening the contradictions" tbh given that the current UK govt is far to the right of the Western European median.
posted by PMdixon at 10:00 AM on May 25 [7 favorites]


What most people criticising the people forget is that the government asked for a vote without giving any information about what the vote was actually about.

I like to think that I keep up with current affairs and that I am reasonably intelligent, but I didn't see any evidence presented by either view and had to base my vote purely on personal experiences.

I would support a second chance for the people, especially now that a lot of the HIDDEN information has come to light and that many of the consequences - either way- have been aired.
posted by Burn_IT at 10:01 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


especially now that a lot of the HIDDEN information has come to light and that many of the consequences - either way- have been aired.

What information do you see as having come to light that was not available before the referendum?
posted by PMdixon at 10:06 AM on May 25 [9 favorites]


About a third of the way down the “reality starts to bite” link, something in the back of my head sat up and said “this is how war starts”. I really hope I am wrong; I don’t want to find out what WWIII is shaped like.
posted by egypturnash at 10:08 AM on May 25 [3 favorites]


Pretty much all the effects of it..
posted by Burn_IT at 10:11 AM on May 25


The EU is explicitly designed to stop European wars. Anything that harms the EU increases the chance of war. Anti-EU populist and nationalist movements are most definitely interested in increased bellicosity.
posted by Devonian at 10:19 AM on May 25 [20 favorites]


There were plenty of warnings about all the dire effects of brexit. So much so that Farage and his ilk starting calling it project fear in an attempt to deflect and undermine. Regardless, it was enough of a constant feature of the conversation before the vote that both sides were having to at least acknowledge and mention it.
posted by Dysk at 10:26 AM on May 25 [20 favorites]


The fact that half the country didn't want to listen doesn't mean that information about the effects of brexit was "hidden".
posted by Dysk at 10:27 AM on May 25 [27 favorites]


The fact that half the country didn't want to listen doesn't mean that information about the effects of brexit was "hidden".
I agree, but it's more about the people, not least Cameron, who actually knew how catastrophic brexit would be and had the authority to tell people, but didn't.
posted by mumimor at 10:45 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


I think it's fair to say that the Remain camp was complacent and did a poor job of articulating the overwhelming advantages to staying within the EU.

I think it's even fairer to say that the Leave camp argued from a combination of stupidity, bad faith and outright lies, that mostly went unchallenged.

I think it's fairest of all to say that decades of propaganda from an overwhelmingly Eurosceptic rightwing press meant that the UK wasn't exactly fertile ground for a well-informed exercise in democracy regarding an act of existential importance.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:49 AM on May 25 [29 favorites]


My comrades are pro-exit. That said, it redoubles the need to build anti-racist movements.

The idea that Brexit is anything but a massive step backwards for anti-racism in the UK is demonstrable bollocks. We now have almost two years of evidence of what a confidence boost it's been for all the overt and covert racists this country has to offer, and how demoralising it is for people of non-British background who live here, whether recent immigrants, long-term immigrants, or descendants of immigrants.

Whether or not it makes nationalisation more possible, I will bitterly oppose it right up to 29 March 2019 and, if we don't rescind Article 50 in time, until my dying breath, because of the incipient white nationalism it has unleashed.
posted by rory at 10:51 AM on May 25 [39 favorites]


Right. Which is why there is the need to redouble efforts. I certainly have at no point implied it was good for anti-racism efforts. No-one suggested it wasn't a massive step backwards for anti-racism.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 10:55 AM on May 25 [1 favorite]


I agree, but it's more about the people, not least Cameron, who actually knew how catastrophic brexit would be and had the authority to tell people, but didn't.

"Project Fear"? "We've had enough of experts"? People were telling us, but their authority was being ridiculed.

But the official campaign was ridiculously rushed in light of the constitutional importance of the vote. Scotland's indyref dragged on for a year, and was utterly draining for everyone living here, but at the end of it we were about as informed as anyone could reasonably hope voters to be. That's what Britain needed, and didn't get. That's why Cameron still wins my personal Worst PM Since Chamberlain award, despite Theresa May's valiant efforts to pip him at the post.
posted by rory at 11:00 AM on May 25 [8 favorites]


No-one suggested it wasn't a massive step backwards for anti-racism.

No-one in this thread, no (and I didn't mean to imply you had—my apologies).

Unfortunately, though, not no-one altogether.
posted by rory at 11:10 AM on May 25 [2 favorites]


I'd enjoy the schadenfreude if I didn't have the sense that this was an attempt to set up a white ethno-state,


I don't think it was entirely an attempt to set up a white ethno-state. I think, originally, it was an attempt on the part of a number of clever-types in the City to turn the UK into a giant tax-haven and money-laundering operation while still having access to EU markets. I think the white ethno-state part was an accidental consequence of the sorts of language used by Leave campaigners, and now the Tory party has decided just to roll with it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:24 AM on May 25 [8 favorites]


The recent coverage of Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech made it very clear that toxic racism was co-opting opposition to the European project really from the outset. There was and is absolutely nothing accidental about it, and the people in the seaside towns who went around the day after the referendum telling any foreigner to leave now, why the fuck are you still here?, may have been fodder for the criminal capitalists, but there's no doubting what they want.
posted by Devonian at 11:36 AM on May 25 [15 favorites]


I think the white ethno-state part was an accidental consequence of the sorts of language used by Leave campaigners, and now the Tory party has decided just to roll with it.

From the other side of the Atlantic it looks like just the opposite: the plutocrats had already largely succeeded in turning the City into a tax and regulatory haven - but relied on the support of the white ethno-state crowd to maintain the domestic part of that status quo. Cameron chose to have a referendum to throw a sop to the 'kippers, because he was a typical Oxford idiot who didn't understand that he'd achieved the PMship by lucky timing instead of skill he threw an explosive sop, and here we are.
posted by PMdixon at 12:19 PM on May 25 [7 favorites]


My understanding is that Cameron had just “won” the IndyRef in Scotland and considered the Brexit Referendum a perfect opportunity to put the Tory party’s longstanding internal disagreement to bed once and for all. It seems to have never occurred to him that he could lose the vote, still less the consequences that would result.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:41 PM on May 25 [8 favorites]


As an anarchist, this has been facinating to watch (and yes, empathise with the casual destruction of so many lives). You truly cannot compel another person or country to act reasonably. It is like mediating a divorce where one party has accepted it is over and just wants to sadly figure out who is keeping the bits and bobs and the other side is raging emotionally over everything, bringing up the girlfriend from before you even got married, fighting step forward - including the divorce they asked for. Y’all gonna need some deep therapy when this is over because these scars are going to run deep. What a huge change in the UK in less than two decades, from “cool brittanica” to brexit.
posted by saucysault at 12:53 PM on May 25 [4 favorites]


It might be a fascinating divorce from the outside, but my parents are the UK and the EU. I've ended up in the custody of the UK and I'm in the awkward teenager phase where everything it does is wrong, I'm absolutely certain I know 100% better how to do things, but I don't really have that broad support network inside or outside the household to get through the bitterness and anger.

And it looks as though I might get better support from the other parent, but I have to make the break and start over, and I have to make the decision quickly. Meanwhile England's forcing me to sign up to stay another year here (screw you, English tenancy law and letting agents), paying it far too much for housing, and making it difficult to get good jobs, which pay 25%-50% anywhere else in the EU.

I'd rather be settling, late enough in life as it is, into my career and life here, but I really think that the next 20 years will be better for me, and for what I can do for the world, if I can screw up my courage to start again in Ireland (where I do, thankfully, have family). I don't know. I really don't know if this place is going to get better.

After all, if I leave the UK, I won't be the know-it-all teenager who knows for sure that every member of the government's thick*. I'll have to learn humility.

*I've been thinking, and I guess Philip Hammond's probably pretty smart (definitely smarter than his predecessor), and oddly enough, I also think Jeremy Hunt, for all his repulsive entitlement, actually does know NHS England better than I do.
posted by ambrosen at 2:22 PM on May 25 [6 favorites]


The white-hot anger I have at the Tories who as part of their IndyRef "No" campaign used "if you vote yes you'll be out of the EU" as a reason not to vote for independence will not cool down any time soon.

There isn't a great groundswell for a second IndyRef yet - people are, I think, sick of referendums at the moment. As well, the problems of Brexit have been slowly creeping up on us, rather than smacking us in the face. But I feel certain that there will come a point when the people of Scotland realise how badly they have been shafted by the English, and then things will get interesting.

This is not to deny that Northern Ireland has been shafted hardest by this, by a large margin. While I don't think that the Troubles restarting is going to be a consequence of Brexit, I do think that you can see the generational split among the Tories - Tories of an age to have been present at the Brighton Bombing are the ones who have come out and said what a bad idea Brexit is. People have very short memories.
posted by Vortisaur at 2:28 PM on May 25 [9 favorites]


One of the fallouts of Brexit is that previously deeply unpalatable Tories are now seemingly quite sensible. I never thought I'd see Michael Heseltine as someone I could find common ground with on Europe. Only on Europe, but still.

From reading Sir Ivan Rodger's links what's so frustrating is that the net effect of 1.5 years of properly thinking about what relationship we want from Europe was a push for actual reform. If we'd put that effort in before, we could have actually done proper politics across multiple sectors, and found a nuanced compromise. That injection of fresh thinking seems genuinely valuable but for some reason we couldn't see the value without burning it all down first.

I wish this bunch of politicians were more talented. This is a hugely complex problem and the current guard aren't up to it. And its going to hurt a lot of people for a long time.
posted by eyeofthetiger at 3:15 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]


I guess I'd have to ask what the tricky problem is for any reasonable politician who was suddenly in charge. I think it wouldn't be that hard to rescind the Article 50 notice, and that is the only reasonable option now. A pro-Brexit canny politician could've got a consensus together to ask for, uh, something before putting the notification. It's too late now, though.
posted by ambrosen at 4:03 PM on May 25


Vortisaur: Tories of an age to have been present at the Brighton Bombing are the ones who have come out and said what a bad idea Brexit is

Indeed. From the "You're deluded if you think ..." link which leads to a blog post by Dominic Cummings:
The Government has also aided and abetted bullshit invented by Irish nationalists and Remain campaigners that the Belfast Agreement prevents reasonable customs checks on trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Read the agreement. It does no such thing. [ed note: Yikes!!]
Cummings was 13 years old at the time of the Brighton Bombing.
posted by mhum at 5:40 PM on May 25


I wish this bunch of politicians were more talented. This is a hugely complex problem and the current guard aren't up to it.

You don’t need any special knowledge to see this, beyond what’s published in the papers; but since I have secret insider information:

I used to work alongside a bluff no-nonsense type, who had worked very closely with David Davis about a decade previously (my colleague was then managing one of the largest employers in Davis’ constituency and the business was quite sensitive to shifts in government policy). His matter-of-fact description of Davis? “Absolutely thick as pigshit”.

Got to admit, not the most reassuring thing I’ve ever heard.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:46 PM on May 25 [7 favorites]


kyrademon~

What are the chances of Scotland getting another vote and sticking with EU? Considering moving to live with Aunts and cousins, not sure what's going on.
wish someone would make a cartoon of all this, cause I'm really really trying to understand the situation

Lord Buckethead, where at thou???
posted by markbrendanawitzmissesus at 9:13 PM on May 25


markbrendanawitzmissesus, here's a recent piece on the prospects of Scottish independence in this landscape (which many take issue with in the comments, but it's worth a look).
posted by rory at 11:26 PM on May 25


recent piece on the prospects of Scottish independence in this landscape

Nah, if you look at actual polls and not unionist think pieces support for independence has been pretty much constant at just below 50% for ages. The growth commission report has just been published. I expect things to really start heating up again in the coming months. Would not surprise me at all if a call for a vote is announced in the Autumn (which May will bounce back with 'now is not the time' - then things will really get interesting)

Interesting poll I saw the other day: if Scotland when independent 12% of England would consider moving up there. That would double Scotland's population! (I'm one of the 12... I'll be moving up there sooner if I can get things sorted)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:13 AM on May 26


"the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
posted by jnnnnn at 12:56 AM on May 26


“Absolutely thick as pigshit”.

Yes, this is being corroborated by different, independent sources. Also fun is the dawning realisation that Boris Johnson isn't a gifted Machiavellian disguising himself as a oafish buffoon. He's a oafish buffoon whose been given far too much benefit of the doubt, probably because he's posh.
posted by eyeofthetiger at 4:39 AM on May 26 [8 favorites]


The average voter is not particularly well-informed and it's not in the interests of either the media or the government to change that. A conversation with the average voter who has some level of class consciousness makes apparent the immediate need for real democracy.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 6:25 AM on May 26


There’s no perfect correlation between Yes and Remain - there were plenty of Yes/Leave voters, some of whom would be no in Indyref2 if Indy is associated with the EU. That seems to be why the polls for Indy haven’t shifted - the No/Remain voters who would now be Yes are being cancelled out. It will take substantial Leaver regret to tip the balance, I expect, which may well need things to get very much worse for all of us first.
posted by rory at 6:59 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]


"I think, originally, it was an attempt on the part of a number of clever-types in the City to turn the UK into a giant tax-haven and money-laundering operation while still having access to EU markets."

I mean, wasn't this already the case? From my perspective on this side of the Atlantic, it seems like the special status in the EU was precisely aligned with the City's interests -- which I think has been disastrous for the UK in that it allowed a monster to grow such that it came to set, with almost no dissent, the economic policies of the UK (austerity, etc). The global finance industry is parasitic and its growing to be the largest sector of the UK economy is perverse.

Everything I've seen is that on the whole the City will take a huge hit as a result of Brexit.

Yet, as mentioned, the City's natural political affinity is with the Tories and I suppose Cameron is exemplary of the delusional nature of this marriage of right-wing nationalism and global finance. They thought they had the rubes under control.

Where I've recognized my unambiguous ignorance is that, because of this, I firmly believed immediately after the referendum that the money interests would step in and put a stop to this mess, purely out self-interest. I'm flabbergasted that this hasn't happened.

But, if you'll pardon a UScentric aside, I've been astonished at the exact same sort of thing with the GOP apparently in thrall to Trumpism, even though much of it is anathema to big business. I think there's something about nationalism and proto-fascism that I don't understand -- that it captures the imaginations of even (or especially) the most profoundly self-interested even as it is contrary to those interests. It's frightening.

"I think it wouldn't be that hard to rescind the Article 50 notice, and that is the only reasonable option now."

I thought there was absolutely no mechanism to rescind Article 50 once the official notice was given. Is that not the case? Or is what's possible an agreement with the EU to immediately revert to the status quo with only a technical momentary Brexit? But, in that regard, my understanding is that there's no allowable process by which this could happen -- returning to the EU would necessarily be just like any country first joining. At least, that's what I understood. I really thought that pulling the Article 50 lever was utterly irrevocable.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:00 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]


The man who wrote Article 50 has said that it’s revocable, various EU leaders have indicated that the process can be stopped (through revocation), and the realpolitik of the situation would suggest that everyone would be very happy to grab the chance to put an end to the madness. Sure, people would be annoyed to have had their time wasted, but that’s as nothing compared with what lies ahead if we go through with it, deal or no deal.
posted by rory at 7:15 AM on May 26 [12 favorites]


Everything I've seen is that on the whole the City will take a huge hit as a result of Brexit.

It’s obvious to me that when Brexit happens, the UK economy is going straight off a cliff.

I’m from the North of England and Scotland, and have no love at all for Thatcher’s destruction of our manufacturing industries and our stupidly imbalanced economy. My career was derailed by the financial crisis of 2007 and I have no love for our bailed-out bankers. Nevertheless, that’s the economy right now and the reality we live in.

Brexit will not rebalance the UK economy, it will destroy it.

London is the largest financial centre in Europe, and competes with NYC for the title of largest in the world. The UK has a ~$100 billion trade surplus in financial services, more than the surpluses of the US, Switzerland, Luxemberg and Singapore (the next four largest surpluses) combined - about 40% of that surplus is withh the EU. The UK is home to the largest insurance market in Europe, and lots of other crucial “largest” financial functions: 37% of the EUs financial assets are managed in London, more than anywhere else, 37% of the world’s foreign exchange takes place in the UK (in large part thanks to trade in euros, which the UK is responsible for within the EU), etc etc. Financial services account for between 5 and 15% of the UK’s economic output (and a similar contribution to tax revenues), depending on who you ask and when you ask them.

All of the above depends on the EU - euro trading and euro clearing take place in London and are massive money spinners. Those aren’t going to stay there after Brexit, for obvious reasons. Frictionless trade in financial services will no longer exist - that’s going to have a massive impacts on UK financial institutions. And all of the international institutions that have made London their home aren’t going to stick around when they no longer have access to the single market.

The thing is though, if and when this collapses, it’s not going to be just the financial services sector that suffers, nor just London. About 80% of the UK economy is services, and much of that is downstream from the financial services sector. The uncontrolled collapse of the financial services sector is going to take out the rest of the economy, and the country isn’t going to make ends meet on North Sea oil revenues and Dyson vacuum cleaners alone.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:27 AM on May 26 [23 favorites]


I have the impression that the UK thinks everything has to change on the EU’s side so that everything can stay the same for the UK.

Heavy fog on Channel, Continent isolated
posted by flabdablet at 8:44 AM on May 26 [9 favorites]


I'm no longer willing to call people who support Brexit fools right out of the gate.

That's reasonable. After all, some of them might be charlatans.
posted by flabdablet at 8:54 AM on May 26 [8 favorites]


Worth noting that the effort I expended in chasing down facts and figures for that last comment, along with my very superficial analysis, was almost certainly more effort than the UK govt put into their “research briefing” Brexit and Financial Services [pdf], which consists almost entirely of copy-pasted quotations from various people and includes the following gems in its summary:

Along with most other industrial and commercial sectors the more considered reaction of the industry to any question is “it all depends”. [...]

In a sector with different interests and priorities and with a wide range of possible outcomes, the possible permutations of outcomes is very high.


In conclusion, Brexit is a land of contrasts.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:03 AM on May 26 [4 favorites]


I firmly believed immediately after the referendum that the money interests would step in and put a stop to this mess, purely out self-interest.

One of the most important things I’ve read recently in trying to understand the counter-intuitive nature of contemporary UK and US politics is Alex Harrowell’s The theory of the eccentric billionaire, and why politicians got so awful.
Rather than needing to make credible commitments to a significant fraction of the directorate, political entrepreneurs can now concentrate on finding themselves a couple of big individual donors who share their special interests or particular obsessions – eccentric billionaires, in a word. It is easier to suck up to one man’s ego than it is to please a conference centre full of subtly different economic interests, and the best way to do so will often be to flatter his eccentricities.
It’s a 30 second read and very insightful. Worth the click.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:11 AM on May 26 [15 favorites]


One reason I've thought that maybe there hasn't been more pushback from the City on Brexit is that financial services are pretty far at one end of the mobility scale. They may not *want* to move, but if push comes to shove, all you really have to do is lease some offices somewhere else. It's trickier for manufacturing, basically impossible for agriculture and tourism.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:10 PM on May 26 [1 favorite]


Also, imagine the real estate economy when the bankers leave their offices and homes in London. I suspect that the people I know who have left already were mainly getting out while their houses are still worth obscene amounts of money for which they can buy literal palaces everywhere else.
posted by mumimor at 12:25 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]


Just to underline the absolute insanity of all this: even if not a single voter changes their mind, the demographics indicate that Remain will be in the majority towards the end of next year.
posted by Devonian at 4:54 PM on May 26 [7 favorites]


In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything, a bleak report on the growing poverty and inequality in Britain, in the New York Times.
posted by mumimor at 2:54 AM on May 28 [2 favorites]


One small (not so small) detail of the Brexitshambles is its impact on UK involvement in the €10bn Galileo project, from which the UK is set to be excluded by virtue of becoming a third country. The UK government has said that if the EU doesn't let us use their satellites then we want our money back—12% of the cost—and will develop a satellite system of our own, so there. (For 12% of the cost of Galileo? They could call it Poundlandsat.)

But this Twitter thread from someone with inside knowledge points out that the UK can't launch its own sat nav system even if it builds one because it doesn't have its own spectrum filing. Apart from the implications for UK drivers who have come to rely on sat nav, this means that all the unicorn-flavoured technological "solutions" for the Irish border will come to nought—even more abruptly than they already would have for being ruinously expensive pie in the sky.
posted by rory at 3:17 AM on May 28 [4 favorites]


The whole "we'll launch our own satnav system" thing was so laughable - as the twitter thread said, for spectrum reasons, but also for many others - that I didn't even bother to mock it. It's just one of the hundreds of magic solutions that Team Brexit pull out of their arses when presented with something awful, and given there are Zeppelin-sized lies such as "The Ireland/NI border issue will be easy to fix, once the EU gets realistic and pragmatic" still being flown... frankly, who has the energy. It doesn't matter. Nobody cares what Hammond thinks about Galileo. He could have said we'll train baboons in balloons to replace Galileo and the Brexiteers would stamp the problem 'fixed'.
posted by Devonian at 10:02 AM on May 28 [5 favorites]


Slightly pedanticly, I'd have to draw the line between having inside knowledge and having public, if specialised, knowledge. As Devonian points out, the limited availability of RF spectrum is public knowledge, and therefore, anyone who uncritically reported that plan instead of saying it wasn't possible bears some responsibility for failing to stop this shitshow.
posted by ambrosen at 10:57 AM on May 28


Yeah, I should have just said knowledge, full stop. Knowing stuff: it's so 2015.
posted by rory at 11:33 AM on May 28


Strictly speaking, it's not impossible to do our own satellite navigation system, but it would be very expensive to build and operate, take a very long time to plan and negotiate, and would serve no perceptible purpose that couldn't be achieved by better methods. Which is why I said laughable, if we're being slightly pedantic this evening :)
posted by Devonian at 11:59 AM on May 28 [2 favorites]


Oh, while I'm fuming with the stupidity of it all (Toby voice: when am I not?):

Last week: SNP published detailed exploration of post-independence Scottish economy. Scots Tories say this is a distraction and waste pf time, and SNP should concentrate on delivering a good Brexit for Scotland.

Today: First Minister @ScotGovFM: Useful exchange with EU Chief Brexit negotiator @MichelBarnier @EU_Commission. FM @NicolaSturgeon “we are committed to continuing our collaboration, friendship and partnership with the EU.” Scots Tories: SNP should stop wasting time on this sort of thing, as Scotland has no negotiating role in Brexit.
posted by Devonian at 1:30 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


If I was the SNP, I’d be in Madrid (and any other member state with separatist movements) explaining to the odious PP that the UK leaving the EU is a special case, and lobbying them to support an independent Scotland’s immediate re-entry.

I’d also simultaneously be lobbying Europe to encourage the workaround whereby the UK rescinds A50 and, instead, England and Wales simply declare independence from the rest of the country, leaving Scotland and NI within the EU, as per their clear democratic preferences.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:48 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


Brexit: UK may get poorer access than Israel to EU science scheme
A draft copy of the so-called Horizon Europe document, seen by the Guardian, suggests that the UK is set to be offered less generous access than countries with associate status in the current programme, known as Horizon 2020, including Israel, Turkey, Albania and Ukraine.

Those states, along with countries in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – will be “associated to all programme parts” of the new research and science framework, of which details are to be published on 7 June, according to the leaked document.
This is a bigger blow to the UK than most brexiteers probably realize. The British investment in EU science has been huge and beneficial, and I've written before here on the blue that they will be missed. But I totally get the EU point of view. In this context, you never get a free ride, there is just too much competition.
posted by mumimor at 7:14 AM on May 30 [2 favorites]


There has been movement on the Irish border issue. Not progress, but movement. From the New Statesman...

David Davis has a new plan to solve the problem of the Irish border – if you use a very generous definition of the words “solve” and “plan”.

According to the Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn, the new scheme is as follows: a bespoke arrangement for Northern Ireland in which it has joint EU/UK status and a 10-mile “buffer zone” along the border, where traders frequently crossing between the North and the Republic do not have to go through checks.

There is some good news in that Davis has apparently realised that technological solutions will not fix the border issue. The bad news is that he has moved on from offering solutions better left to science fiction writers to solutions more commonly found in fantasy novels.

There are a lot of problems to unpick here...


Following a discussion of these problems - ie, it would be illegal, it wouldn't solve anything, it would create enormous ambiguity, it doesn't even follow the UK Government's own commitments - the article does end on a high note.

Still, you have to hand it to Davis, who has managed to come up with a solution to the border problem that unites the DUP, Sinn Féin, the Irish government and the European Union in opposition.
posted by Devonian at 8:48 AM on June 1 [4 favorites]


And with a 310-mile border, the total buffer area of ~3000 square miles would be over half that of Northern Ireland itself.

We'd better just get on with microchipping every human, pet, and farm animal on Earth, and putting RFID tags in every manufactured good anywhere, to lay the groundwork for the infallible technological solution we need.

Or not. Here's Ian Dunt:

There is a new idea for the so-called max-fac model, where technology will be thrown at the problem to make it go away. The new idea for the model is to kill it. Davis was "persuaded to abandon a technology-based solution to keep the Irish border open". This is branded "a major revision of the 'maximum facilitation' option". It's like a doctor leaving an operating theatre where someone has died and informing relatives that there has been a 'major revision' to their loved one.
posted by rory at 10:11 AM on June 1




Well, the cat's in the can of worms today over that S Times story that there's been no preparation for a hard Brexit because it's too horrible to contemplate. Faisal Islam is running with the story that the Gov has been gagging businesses with NDA briefings that if there is hard Brexit, we won't actually run custom checks at borders. We have no NI border policy - none. And we're leaving in , what, ten months?

It could be worse. Can't see how, mind.
posted by Devonian at 4:57 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Brexit Nightmare: 17-Mile Traffic Jams at the Dover Border

The Sunday Times article that's doing the round on twitter

Saw Sajid Javid (The Home Sec) on the news talking about lowering restrictions on immigration for Doctors and students... there was a look of real panic in his eyes.

Friend on twitter was saying that their local slaughterhouse was struggling to find staff - all the Europeans have gone home and none of the locals want to work there.

Fun times ahead.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:46 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


There is more than a little panic in the air. The vote in the Commons to overturn the Lords' amendments - including customs union - is due on the 14th, and it's really not clear that May will have the votes. Brexiteers are asking the chief whip to deselect any MPs who don't do as they're told, but that would be a very dangerous game to play.

So, no wonder the Sunday Times report has been leaked (itself quite a feat, as it was apparently kept in a locked safe and only shown to a few ministers), as I think there's a sense that the beast could be derailed. Meanwhile the Europeans are saying they don't expect anything to happen at the June meeting, which given we have no proposals to negotiate seems a fair bet, leaving October as the absolute last chance to fix, well, everything.
posted by Devonian at 8:41 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


So, to the fury of some Brexit supporters, Mrs. May has suggested that Britain could stay in a customs union with the European Union beyond 2020, if technological solutions to the Irish border problems have not been found by then


A technological solution to a social problem.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:26 AM on June 3


The vote in the Commons to overturn the Lords' amendments - including customs union - is due on the 14th, and it's really not clear that May will have the votes.

Labour is set to whip against staying in the single market, it seems.
posted by vacapinta at 12:10 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]




Labour is set to whip against staying in the single market

For fuck's sake...
posted by Dysk at 10:08 PM on June 4 [7 favorites]


I'm curious about the strategy of cramming all the amendments into one session. Do the Tory whips think that's the best way to win by maximising pressure & minimising debate? Or do they think they're going to lose, and want to get all the negative publicity out of the way at once, rather than watch defeat after defeat over many days?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:11 AM on June 5


Corbyn appears to actually believe the nonsense about Britain being able to strike advantageous free trade deals by being outside the single market. He's just another useless Brexit fantasist in more avuncular packaging.
posted by Flitcraft at 7:52 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


They are ramming them through at once so they can't be proper draw out debate over them with all the bad PR that would entail
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:38 AM on June 5


During Corbyn-mania his, generally remain voting supporters, basically overlooked the fact the Bennite hard core of the left wing of the Labour party, where Corbyn comes from, has always been very anti-Europe.

When I'm feeling really depressed I think he might even believe the 'Brexit for jobs'/lexit nonsense and that it's not just being an attempt to maneuver around the Tories.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:46 AM on June 5 [3 favorites]


in awe of the size of this clusterfuck. absolute unit.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 10:35 AM on June 5 [4 favorites]


[Corbyn]'s just another useless Brexit fantasist

The really sad thing is that because he's avuncular rather than scheming, we're forced to conclude that he's even more dimwitted than Daniel Hannan, the ignoramus d'ignoramuses of the “infinite free trade” Brexiteers.
posted by ambrosen at 10:48 AM on June 5 [1 favorite]




Idiots.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on June 5 [5 favorites]


Actually looks like Labour may be adding an amendment. It requires "full access to the internal market of the EU, underpinned by shared institutions and regulations etc." Really, that only means one thing: the EU single market.

Leaving the single market is madness, whether its from the Right and their dreams of a low-regulation paradise or the Left who are willing to throw workers and small businesses under the bus in order to orchestrate some vast social experiment. I mean, really, try remedying the gross inequality with some Scandinavian-style social democracy first. If and when that is still too constraining because Brits are super special and will do equality better than anyone else because of their Blitz spirit, only then talk about leaving the EU.

It is all still nationalism.
posted by vacapinta at 12:00 PM on June 5 [7 favorites]


I really want to comment eloquently on this because my pain is so deep, but it's over a year ago that I lost the last of my evens. Corbyn is an idiot as well as the rest of them.
posted by mumimor at 12:29 PM on June 5 [4 favorites]


The EU has issued a warning (pdf) to all businesses ("economic operators") to consider rules of origin when dealing with UK suppliers. Bluntly, this means stop using UK suppliers now or your goods may not qualify for export. It is an economic bomb. The Dutch government has already made this warning explicit to its businesses - to be careful of dealing with this new "third country"

Faisal Islam summarizes it here.
posted by vacapinta at 2:10 PM on June 5 [7 favorites]


Robert Peston:
Theresa May is arguably the most cautious and methodical politician of this generation or perhaps any generation. So it more than beggars belief that today she announced she would be rolling the dice in the biggest parliamentary gamble I can recall being taken by any PM of modern times, by announcing that next Tuesday she will ask MPs to vote a staggering 15 times...

And today the odds of her winning look slim...

One MP said to me that there is a growing view in the Tory Party that the government is “almost resigned to losing the customs union vote”. I got some sense of that when one of May’s most important ministerial allies made only the feeblest of attempts to persuade me that the government “has the numbers” to enforce its Brexit will.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:28 PM on June 5


I've done pretty well this year with my new year's resolution of not listening to the Today programme, to avoid raising my blood pressure by hearing John Humphries and Nick Robinson pander to Brexiters, but made the mistake this morning of switching it on. Sure enough, some government figure or other was talking about how terrible it is that the EU forced the UK to negotiate in this linear fashion, rather than being able to discuss trade in parallel with everything else, and all I could think about was David Davis's "row of the summer" over the timetable which lasted all of a day. At every point, the Brexiters want some magical negotiation process where everything goes perfectly for them and their irreconcilable aims are all met, rather than accepting that the reality of the situation is nothing like that.

Brexit is essential if the UK is to free itself from market rule.

This was a disturbing link to read, as I spotted a familiar name among the co-authors, of one of my masters supervisors from years ago, someone I respect; it turns out he's a Lexiter. Reading his past articles on Brexit, from before and after the referendum, I see much of the Corbyn agenda, and some points that seem reasonable—if you discount so much else about the imperatives behind and implementation of Brexit.

The timing of the referendum, one year into a five-year fixed parliamentary term, meant that the Tories were always going to control the Brexit process, and four years is plenty of time to fuck everything up. Coming after a decade of UKIP politics (and let's not forget the Tories' past form in this) also meant that it was going to be a proxy referendum on immigration for too many voters. Discounting that aspect beforehand with the suggestion that Labour would get a chance to shape immigration policy after Brexit seems shortsighted (to be kind) in hindsight, and it's highly disappointing to see no mention at all of immigration and EU citizen concerns in that most recent article.

Whatever golden age of independent market regulation one might imagine that Brexit will make possible, there's no way to get there without passing through a hellscape of disrupted trade, disrupted lives and ugly racist politics, as we're already finding in our extended journey through its First Circle. Millions of people's lives are in turmoil over this, and they won't thank Lexiters for securing the chance to renationalise the bloody railways at the end of it.

I find it extremely difficult, too, to see Brexit as "a necessary step in building a national growth model that benefits a majority of citizens through democratic decision" when securing it was only possible by distorting democracy. Carole Cadwalladr's reporting has shown that the referendum broke British democracy badly, and that the entire basis for the events of the past two years is (I would argue) illegitimate. The people who broke it have no interest whatsoever in building a citizen-led welfare state.

My deepest disappointment, though, is that I get no sense of acknowledgement of the importance of European solidarity in these Lexit articles. Okay, the EU isn't perfect—what actual real-world system of government is? But the EU isn't just a bunch of buildings in Brussels, and it isn't just a trade arrangement between 28 governments, it's people, hundreds of milions of people, gradually over fifty years aligning their interests more closely and increasing their stake in each other's success, and every step of the way making it less likely that we would fuck everything up on the scale that our ancestors did a few generations ago.

Where's the solidarity? Where's the sense that, if the EU is too neoliberal for your liking, you work with comrades from across Europe to reshape it, you don't retreat to Fortress Britain and say I'm all right, Jack? Or "will be all right once we can scavenge some food from these lorries stuck in a twenty-mile tailback at Dover, Jack".

It's the same Union Jack hot-air balloon floating off to a golden horizon, with no room in the basket for anyone except UK citizens, and paying no attention to what's actually happening on the ground.
posted by rory at 3:16 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]




some government figure or other was talking about how terrible...

Aha, it was Iain Duncan Smith. Figures. (After six months of avoiding Today I didn't recognise his voice.)
posted by rory at 6:22 AM on June 6


Well, Jezza seems determined to shaft the Customs Union amendment vote, although if ever a week was going to be a long time in politics, the run-up to that day is going to qualify.

But I note with approval that cakeism is now a word.
posted by Devonian at 6:29 AM on June 6


In Morrissey news: Fuck Morrissey
posted by Artw at 11:18 AM on June 6


In Morrissey news: Fuck Morrissey

What's new about that?
posted by Dysk at 11:36 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


In fairness if I just set a reminder to post that every six months instead of just doing it whenever Morrissey made the news doing something racist the effect would be much the same.
posted by Artw at 11:59 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


From rory's How to Win the Brexit Civil War link:

"We have to show, in a principled fashion, why the EU enhances our capacity to govern ourselves, how we can manage free movement, that we need not be afraid that Brussels will undermine our democracy or stop us improving our way of life, that there is no such thing as 'our' oligarchs, and that fleeing into their arms in any EU crisis only leaves the fat for the fire. And we need to sum this up in a clear positive story."

It seems to me that the possibility for success following this advice is close to zero. Much of what Barnett wrote preceding this makes it clear: Brexiters are overwhelmingly driven by fears concerning immigration and sovereignty (that is, the sort of fears that drive ethnic nationalism) and it is the very nature of these kinds of fears that they aren't amenable to a reasoned, nuanced response.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:28 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Tonight's question is whether May is going to call Davis' bluff over resigning on a 'time-limited but with no specified end date' backstop customs/border/ECJ continuing agreement. Rumours flying thick and fast that DD will resign tomorrow, that May has backed down and won't be publishing the backstop, so... yeah, the long week begins at a cracking pace.
posted by Devonian at 2:28 PM on June 6


'We're going to have a time limited backstop... The time? Oh we're keeping that a secret' ... when politics enters the realm of the surreal.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:11 AM on June 7


Farewell Paul Dacre 'Dacre has now decided to step down before his 70th birthday the effects of Brexit really kick in'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:17 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that the possibility for success following this advice is close to zero.

I agree that the odds aren't good when it comes to shifting Brexiters' attitudes, not least because there's so little time left to shift them in such a fundamental way. The focus should instead be on the large minority who failed to vote in 2016 because they didn't see its importance. They will now, and these are people who are less likely to have the hardened nationalist views that drove many Leave voters to the polls.

We should talk about how pooling sovereignty is a way of magnifying our influence on things that affect us, and how becoming a rule taker (whether it's in the EEA/EFTA or as a no-deal Britain forced to abide by EU rules if it wants to sell anything to its neighbours) is a loss of sovereignty, not a gain.

We should talk about the impact of the EU27 citizen exodus on the NHS, as a way of highlighting the role immigration plays in maintaining the lifestyle that Britons have come to expect, and about the positive features of immigration in general (I thought that the Windrush scandal might spark that debate, but that moment already seems to have passed).

We should talk about the importance of freedom of movement to UK citizens: the 1.3 million living elsewhere in Europe, and the millions more who use it to travel back and forth for work. They aren't all middle-class examples: the stories of the challenges facing hauliers have been having an effect.

We should talk about the travesty of "sovereignty" playing out in a parliament being railroaded by a minority government, and the breaches of electoral rules in the referendum that were so serious that they've prompted the ICO's largest ever investigation.

Plenty of people are talking about all of this, and it's making some impact. The polls are shifting to Remain more and more every week. The question is whether they can shift fast enough to make a difference, and whether May and Corbyn will press on regardless. On that score, I'm not so optimistic.
posted by rory at 2:27 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


The polls are shifting to Remain more and more every week. The question is whether they can shift fast enough to make a difference

I weep at Labour's inability to take this and ram it into Brexit's scabrous heart. The combination of the actual facts of Brexit as revealed and the demographic changes in the UK make it as certain as certain can be that a second referendum some time next year will overturn the first. Labour could say that in a heartbeat. It could say other truths, that a substantial amount of the Leave vote wasn't about the customs union or the economics of trade - they wanted to throw the foreigners out, at any cost. Forget about the morality of that, it's immensely and by definition self destructive, and a responsible political party would say so.

Labour could do all that, and be entirely in accordance with its socialist ethos. It won't. (The SNP can and does.)

My best hope is that May's Brexit strategy falls apart because she cannot negotiate in good faith with the EU, so it will be unable to agree to what she ends up offering. The magical limited/unlimited backstop, for example, is incompatible with the December agreement on the Irish border - so after six months (out of fifteen available) all that's happened is that we've reneged on the thing we agreed to to progress negotiations.

What is the EU going to do with that? It can't agree, because how could it.

What happens when talks collapse? There has to be a vote of no confidence - there will be no confidence. There will be an election, and another referendum, and because by then the country realises that leaving is far worse than staying, that will be that.

. A chap can dream.
posted by Devonian at 9:00 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


But, hullo, what's this?

Brexit referendum on final deal possible, Foreign Office minister says
Sir Alan Duncan is a minister of state at Boris Johnson's Foreign office.


Basically saying it's thinkable that a referendum on the final deal could ask voters to decide between it and reversing the original referendum.

So plus one to those who thought Boris could be the buckling point, but as this apparently happened in Berlin and we all know that what we tell the EU doesn't matter, who knows...
posted by Devonian at 9:48 AM on June 7


Imagine Trump doing Brexit,” Johnson said. “He’d go in bloody hard… There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere. It’s a very, very good thought.”

From a speech the actual UK Foreign Secretary made yesterday. (All from the same Buzzfeed piece)

Also – bullshit, but unpleasant totalitarian bullshit – “It’s the 21st century,” Johnson continued. “You know, when I was Mayor of London… I could tell where you all were just when you swiped your oyster card over a tube terminal, a tube gizmo. The idea that we can’t track movement of goods, it’s just nonsense.”

Callous fuckwittery: He said the debate about solutions to the Northern Irish border had been blown completely out of proportion.

“It’s so small and there are so few firms that actually use that border regularly, it’s just beyond belief that we’re allowing the tail to wag the dog in this way. We’re allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly.”


Still, at least he respects the Civil Service, right? Oh: Johnson disagreed with a claim by the head of HMRC that “max fac” would cost the UK economy up to £20 billion, by adding additional border checks for businesses. “No we don’t think that’s realistic at all. It’s out by a factor of 10 or 20,” he said.

Anyway, he's doing this sincerely for the good of the country, at the very least? “You’ve got to face the fact there may now be a meltdown. OK? I don’t want anybody to panic during the meltdown. No panic. Pro bono publico, no bloody panic. It’s going to be all right in the end.”

What an absolute useless bleached thunderperineum.
posted by ambrosen at 1:28 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


What an absolute useless bleached thunderperineum.

A very, very small glint of a silver lining to this omnicatastrophofuck is that the rest of us get to enjoy British cursing, which is easily the best in the English language.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:44 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


That Boris talk is proper bonkers all the way through. You could pluck almost any sentence out of it and produce an article of detailed critique, quoting sources, on how bonkers it is. Fuck knows how much damage he's been doing on the diplomatic circuit.

The reason we're good at cursing is that we need to be.
posted by Devonian at 4:29 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Johnson dismisses concerns over customs disruption as "pure millennium bug stuff".

I swear that the Millennium Bug has become this century's equivalent of the story of King Canute, with people drawing entirely the wrong lessons from it. The disaster scenarios didn't happen because IT departments and managers spent years preparing for it to make sure they didn't.

Where's our No Deal preparation? The eminent domain purchases in Kent for giant lorry parks? The massive recruitment into the civil service to replace the shared EU resources we're about to lose? The government IT departments and managers spending years preparing for it?

Who needs Y2K to stop planes flying when you can do it through political incompetence?
posted by rory at 10:59 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


That full Alan Duncan quote about a second referendum is:
As for the second myth, a second referendum is not going to happen either. If it did, it would be significantly more politically divisive than the first referendum, and it would create lasting political distrust.It would, I suppose, be possible to ask the people in a referendum if they liked the exit deal or not, but that would mean the choice would be between the exit deal on offer or no deal at all. It would not in reality offer people the option of reversing the original decision to leave the EU.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:55 AM on June 8


I'm against a second referendum in that I think referendums are a mistake and I do not believe the public are any better informed now. The government, I think, should do its job in doing whats best for the country and put a stop to this madness.

I actually know a Tory voter. Don't respect him much but we are acquainted. Why does he vote Tory? "I think Brexit is madness but I'm a Tory so I'll take a Tory Brexit over a Labour Brexit."
What about Lib Dems/Greens etc? They're against Brexit. "Yeah but they stand no chance of winning. My vote would be wasted." So, yeah, democracy.

YouGov poll. June 8, 2018

Which of the following do you think would make the best Prime Minister?
Theresa May – 37%
Jeremy Corbyn – 24%
Don’t know – 37%
posted by vacapinta at 4:12 AM on June 8 [1 favorite]


The only raspberry there's so many votes for don't know is that there isn't an option for a chocolate teapot.
posted by Dysk at 4:21 AM on June 8


Raspberry? Reason. Fuck's sake swipe keyboard. Also note to self, don't mefi when you've just woken up.
posted by Dysk at 6:21 AM on June 8




Keep calm – the Top Guns of Brexit have got our backs Marina Hyde, brilliant as ever.

And here's the Maybot in full +++ repeat PR quote, no deviation! +++ repeat PR quote no deviation! +++ mode, proving that Boris is unsackable.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:07 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Looks like the Sunday Times has a big trove of emails between Arron Banks pals and the Russians, which do not match his public statements about having virtually no contact there.

And to think that in the 1970s, everyone was paranoid about left-wing parties being manipulated by the Russians...
posted by Devonian at 12:15 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]




By the way, my favourite bit of the Marina Hyde piece:
Incidentally, when I was writing this newspaper’s Diary column – some time in the early cretaceous period – I solicited reminiscences of Davis’s time in the SAS (territorial). A couple of his former brothers-in-arms got in touch with memories of TA 21-SAS (V). I had two favourite anecdotes. The first was when Davis was required to coordinate an ambush, and opted to position his men on either side of the road so that – had the exercise been real – the soldiers would have opened fire on each other. The Sun Tzu of DExEU, there. The second story saw Davis charged with managing an “escape and evasion” mission. “It was supposed to last five days,” recalled one of his men. “But he accidentally led us through a choke point – a kind of bottleneck where trackers always wait – and got us captured inside 36 hours. So we were put in a truck, blindfolded, driven around, and dropped at night on an undisclosed remote hill to start all over again.” I mean … the jokes are too easy, aren’t they?
Yep.
posted by Grangousier at 3:13 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Stross on the revenge of Remain.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:18 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not sure about cstross's arguments - the Sunday Times running the Arron Banks story was a spoiler against the Observer co-ordinated by Banks himself, after Cadwalladr phoned him on the Friday for comment. I don't think that's a sign that the newspaper's gone soft on Brexit. And the rumour now is that an extra stash of fudge has been found to prevent a Commons rebellion over the Customs Union issue - one that further confuses, rather than defines, what policy might be, just like quantum indeterminate backstop of last week. And May has slapped Cuddly Ken down over his 'give her more freedom by voting in the amendments' line - always a bit cheeky, that one.

Yes, the bad news just keeps on coming for Brexiteers (and the rest of us), but the fever hasn't broken yet. Yesterday, I thought this week might see that happen; today, I'm not so hopeful.

It's tiring, living through this shit. But then I imagine the heads of all the bastards on spikes outside the Tower of London, and I cheer up again.
posted by Devonian at 10:37 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


Boris's would undoubtedly keep talking.
posted by flabdablet at 12:39 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Good lord, Cadwalladr's live-tweet thread about Arron Banks's appearance on Farage's phone-in show has this stunning half-admission:
Nigel: was there Russian collusion in the Brexit campaign?
Arron: maybe at a low level.
Interesting answer.
The possibility of Banks facing questions in Parliament just became a lot likelier.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:44 PM on June 11




And we're off to a good start in the 48 Hour Party People Brexit Bellyache May June Spectacular - Dr Philip Lee, a justice minister i've never heard of, has resigned from the government over Brexit.

"I believe that the evidence now shows that the #Brexit policy our Government is currently pursuing on the basis of the 2016 referendum is detrimental to the people we are elected to serve."
posted by Devonian at 2:03 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


the #Brexit policy our Government is currently pursuing on the basis of the 2016 referendum is detrimental to the people we are elected to serve

NO SHIT, SHERLOCK
posted by flabdablet at 2:46 AM on June 12 [4 favorites]


flabdalet, to be fair, the UK government and opposition have been extremely mentally constipated for nigh on 2 years now, so when Sherlock does shit, it's going to be epic. Sad news is, we'll have crapped out our economy with it and we'll need to go diving after it like it was a morphine suppository.

(I realise this is common knowledge, and that my metaphor is utter nonsense, but I just really wanted to compare the intellectual squalor of our government to the total destructive squalor of Trainspotting)
posted by ambrosen at 6:29 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]


Dad's Army Stamps are Real and Not a Viral Brexit Joke

Someone on twitter pointed out that after a failed campaign for a Brexit stamp this looks like top trolling by the Royal Mail
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:06 AM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Which set of Tory MPs will be furious with Theresa May come Monday?:
The main takeaway from the confusion surrounding today's meaningful vote amendment is that no-one knows what it means. Although the government technically successfully defeated the Lords amendment calling for a meaningful vote on the final deal, confusion reigns over who is the winner: the Remainers or the Brexiteers.

The would-be Tory Remain rebels are convinced that they were assured by the Prime Minister herslef that by voting with the government they would be awarded with a concession that would give them some form of binding vote on the next steps were Parliament to reject the government's Brexit deal.

However, as soon as the Tory Remain rebels started to cry victory, the Brexiteers began to question what the government had just given up. They were quickly assured by senior government figures that little more than further discussions had been promised. Both sides are convinced that they have come out victorious – but only one side can be correct.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:54 AM on June 13




Bit more info via the Guardian.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:05 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Looks like the SNP is now going to play hardball after the devolution amendment was rushed through last night. Definitely think they'll be a new independence referendum in the next few years now.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:54 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


"Oh wow" - Owen Jones' Twitter
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:32 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Oh wow indeed. Middle stump, bails in orbit, trudge back to the dressing room...
posted by Devonian at 12:04 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


However...

Labour MPs Laura Smith, Ged Killen, Ellie Reeves, Tonia Antoniazzi and Anna McMorrin have resigned from their frontbench roles ahead of voting on House of Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill per Sky
posted by Devonian at 12:13 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Theresa May's sheer palpable pain in that clip from PMQs urbanwhaleshark just posted is such an abject lesson in having the courage to quit something which everyone thinks ought to be great if it's not actually great for you (or for 70+ million other people). She hates being Prime Minister under these circumstances.

I obviously hate everything about her premiership, too.
posted by ambrosen at 1:24 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]




My admiration for James O'Brien continues unabated.

Oh, this is the 'Nazi Gollum' that twitter was talking about... yeah, you have to listen to this.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:51 AM on June 14


Yup, those are the people who voted to strip me and others in my position of our rights, our homes, and our lives. And it's on the basis of those votes that parliament - Labour as well as the Tories - are pressing ahead with it all.

Somewhere between the trifecta of nazi gollum, a tired, haggard Theresa May, and Boris Johnson stumbling over his words, that is how Britain appears to much of the rest of the world at the moment.
posted by Dysk at 1:46 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


One interesting - ahem - footnote to the SNP walkout is that Murray Foote now supports Scottish independence. You've probably not heard of him but this was the newspaper editor who was behind the 'Vow' that helped sway the vote last time. It's basically the equivalent of Rupert Murdoch joining the Labour Party.

NB 5000 new people have joined the SNP. Since yesterday.

Interesting times.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:09 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Yep - if the SNP reckon it's time to get a bit more fire in the belly, I think that's a good thing. You couldn't hope for a stronger and more unequivocally demonstration of the contempt Westminster holds Scotland in than the events of yesterday.

Also, if there's a borderless solution for Ireland - and the UK has committed to one - then the same will work for an indy Scotland in the EU. The existence and prosperity of the Republic of Ireland is strong proof that an independent Scotland is both possible and desirable.
posted by Devonian at 7:46 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


The existence and prosperity of the Republic of Ireland is strong proof that an independent Scotland is both possible and desirable.

Not sure the RoI is a particularly good model in a number of ways - it's very much a low tax, low welfare, limited public healthcare sort of situation. I mean, it's proof that it's possible, but not that it's necessarily desirable (though I do think it's possible to do better with a different political outlook and set of priorities, I just don't think RoI is proof of that, given the shortcomings).
posted by Dysk at 8:32 AM on June 14


No, I don't think it's desirable either - the Scandi models are more interesting - but half the battle is persuading people that the perfectly possible is indeed possible. One of the many reasons I'm agin Brexit is that it isn't possible to have any of the models proposed by the Brexiteers (inasmuch as they did), and you can't point to working examples in the spaces they wanted to inhabit.
posted by Devonian at 11:39 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


New Yorker on the week in Brexit.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:25 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


There's a new radio 4 serial called First World Problems about a near future civil war in the UK after a post-Brexit economic collapse. Half way through the first episode and it's absolutely terrifying in how plausible it seems.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:39 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Brexit Nightmare: 17-Mile Traffic Jams at the Dover Border

That's oddly specific, isn't it?
Not 15 or 20 miles, not 16 or 18, no the traffic jams will measure precisely 17 miles, I tell'ya.

Or does this have to do with conversion of UK distances into US miles?
posted by sour cream at 1:18 PM on June 19


Good lord, that's 5,440 rods!
posted by Chrysostom at 1:38 PM on June 19


Possibly worth updating this to point out that the Lords have reinserted the amendment that was thrown out after the Prime Minister made assurances to Tory rebels that she immediately reneged on. The amendment would promise Parliament a meaningful vote on the terms of leaving the EU, as opposed to the entirely meaningless one the Prime Minister and the brexiteers would prefer.

The Commons vote is tomorrow. Last time they were openly negotiating with the rebels during the debate. God knows what happens next.

When you do slapstick this slowly it's not funny at all, is it?
posted by Grangousier at 5:18 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


.       .       .       t       i       m       i       n       g
posted by flabdablet at 7:17 PM on June 19




New Statesman is doubtful that the rebels have the numbers:
Accounting for the nine or so Labour MPs who will likely either vote with the government or abstain tomorrow, Grieve will need around 14 Conservative MPs to defy the whip if his amendment is to pass.

Here is where it gets tricky: beyond himself, Anna Soubry, Ken Clarke, Sarah Wollaston and a couple of others, such as the recently resigned Philip Lee, Grieve cannot count on anywhere near that many of his colleagues as a matter of course. Nor can the bill be amended by the usual suspects alone.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:55 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


That's true, I just thought it was a good idea to keep a record of the... what's the technical word for recent history? The Stupidity, that's it. Early 16th century: The Reformation; Late 18th century: The Age of Enlightenment (or The Terror, if you're French); 19th century: The Industrial Revolution; early 21st century: The Grand Stupidity.

Anyway, yes, keeping track of The Stupidity in British History.

It continues to amaze me how long they're able to prolong this refusal to accept any aspect of reality whatsoever.
posted by Grangousier at 4:11 AM on June 20


The numbers in the Commons are obviously closer than some would like -


Labour sources claim Tories refusing to “nod thru” ill MPs this afternoon.

Conventionally, ill MPs can turn up and stay in car/ambulance in courtyard and be deemed to hv voted. 2 Lab MPs coming from hospital, one on morphine, source claimed.

Not today (unless deal done etc)

posted by Devonian at 4:55 AM on June 20


I feel I should say, I've gone and consulted with comrades, and they confirm that the EU is inherently anti-worker, and while there are many negative externalities to leaving the EU which must be addressed, leaving the EU is integral to real progress in the class struggle.
It really doesn't matter that the current British system is less interested in concessions to workers than the EU is. It matters what will allow the true emancipation of working people from wage-slavery.
I guess I'm arguing that Lexit is real, if widely misunderstood, and necessary. This really does jar with a lot of my beliefs. I tend to love anything that compromises nationalism. I love the idea of many countries working together for a better future and have in the past basically hoped that the EU would extend to everyone and make for a better world. I now see that as an incredibly liberal, if not neoliberal, solution to the world's problems. I think that despite the better safety conditions, etc, that the EU enforces, it's a counter-revolutionary institution that will maintiain the ascendancy of capital.
I've seen many arguments that Brexit will damage Britain's position in global capitalism. Anyone who's read my post history shouldn't be surprised, but ffs who gives a bloody damn. Your position in global capitalism is not something I care about. It could damage worker's situations, but only if you let the bourgoisie maintain power, and they'll damage your situation no matter the circumstances. It needn't, if Britain lets go of the bourgeoisie's hegemony and establishes a worker's state.
To take a quote from that link
"The problem with boxing clever like this is that it may have sent coded signals to the millions of traditional Labour voters backing Leave, but it didn’t offer them a clear political lead. If Corbyn had come out linking rejection of the EU and opposition to austerity he could have consolidated the broader coalition that emerged in his election as Labour leader last September."
I'm no Corbynite. He doesn't go nearly far enough and fails to properly centre class struggle within politics. As I said above, we need to work hard to not let reactionaries keep their racist arguments at the fore. Yet I cannot advocate for the EU. I cannot support a counterrevolutionary organistion. Those of you that love the EU, and think it a champion of the left, are blatantly ignoring the arguments made by the left when the EU was established/spread.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 5:08 AM on June 20


The revolution will be internationalist or it will not be revolutionary at all.

I've yet to see anyone point to any actual manner in which the EU is anti-worker. I can point to several ways in which it has been a major factor in protecting or creating rights for workers in the UK, however: freedom of movement, a whole host of consumer protections, energy efficiency standards, working time directive, etc, etc. What rights has it cost workers?
posted by Dysk at 5:33 AM on June 20 [12 favorites]


Ask not what rights it has cost workers, but instead if it is a counter-revolutionary org.
To concede some minor rights to workers instead of their true right to a fair share of the wealth generated by ownership of the means of production is to dissemble and appropriate the fair earnings of workers to capitalists.
I'm surprised to see you arguing of favour of capital's right to the vast bulk of the profits of ownership of the means of production, Dysk.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 6:44 AM on June 20


and if that's not the case, instead of questioning why bourgeois interests have maintained control of the electoral political process (big fucking whoop eh) I'd love to hear how the EU is going to establish a worker's state.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 6:57 AM on June 20


Still hazy on what part of having less money, less rights and having the NHS and crumble under them is good for workers. Are you possibly mistaken and talking to tankies instead?
posted by Artw at 7:03 AM on June 20 [7 favorites]


You're putting the cart before the horse. Let's get control out of the hands of the bourgeoisie first, and then if and when we're banging up against the currently theoretical limits of leftist politics within the EU, it'll be trivial to drum up support to leave. Currently, even starting from your position, you're arguing that jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire will somehow mean less burning because frying pans are fundamentally for cooking.
posted by Dysk at 7:11 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Or in other words, you're trading real, tangible benefits for purely hypothetical ones that rely on a context we simply do not currently find ourselves in.
posted by Dysk at 7:12 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


[Couple deleted. AnhydrousLove you are coming on real strong lately across the whole site, and I need you to dial down the personal stuff ("you personally are doing bad action x") and just generally cool down some.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:36 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


We won't get a worker's state, we'll get fascism.

Far too many of my pessimistic visions of future America from 18-24 months ago have been confirmed, so I desperately hope that the same isn't true of my current vision of future Britain: the one where May's government gets its way in parliament, and cripples it; where the government's negotiations fail utterly; and where Britain crashes out of the EU with nothing to save us.

The DUP will never trigger an early election, and there aren't enough Tory rebels who would be willing to. Corbyn will never get a chance to be prime minister. In 18 months there won't be a Labour Party worth fighting over. Diehard Leave voters will be looking for someone to blame for the misery that awaits us in April 2019, and will choose the same people they chose in 2016: immigrants and experts. Read Umberto Eco's much-cited article from 1995 and you don't just see Trump, you see today's Britain:

Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism.

You don't fight fascism by backing a policy favoured by xenophobes, racists, and authoritarians.

Personally, I'll be fighting it by marching in London on Saturday, alongside Liberals, some Tories, and a whole lot of lifelong Labour supporters.
posted by rory at 7:57 AM on June 20 [8 favorites]


Yeah, we're still at no lefty criticism of the EU existing that can't be levelled twice as hard at the British government. Which leaves us abandoning a lesser evil in favour of a greater one. Because the lesser evil is still evil? Great, but you need to show that the alternative - the one we actually have, are actually going to be handing all the power to - is demonstrably better, not ten times worse. That it could be better than it is, I don't disagree with, but as long as the EU is dragging the UK to the left of where it otherwise would be - which it assuredly is - let's keep the EU. If and when it outlives its usefulness to us, I'll be happy to see the back of it. We are nowhere near that position, and there's no argument for it that isn't vile accelerationism or hinging on am extremely unlikely sequence of political events (which, again, let's see if we roll the sequence of double sixes first rather than going all in on it before any dice have been cast).
posted by Dysk at 8:14 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


We won't get a worker's state, we'll get fascism.

Exactly. Anyone trying to sell you a red/brown alliance is just selling you the brown.
posted by Artw at 8:23 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


I guess the fact that accelerationists from Australia come in to tell us we should welcome the destruction of our country tells us an awful lot about the causes of Brexit, really.
posted by ambrosen at 9:20 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


To clarify, as ever, I mean all people ordinarily resident in the UK when I say "our country".
posted by ambrosen at 9:22 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


yeah, a bit back I met a guy, lefty(ish), who had voted Leave because he wanted to shake things up, was basically an accelerationist. Said guy had worked all his life for the state and had retired early on a comfortable pension. It was at an occasion where social etiquette kinda demanded I didn't' tell him exactly what I thought of that idea (hint: I consider it unwise). Regret now not just going for it, tbh.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:08 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


An MP was wheeled through the voting lobbies, high on morphine and carrying a sick bucket, the moment Brexit lost the dignity it never had

Happened to watch this video of a Mhairi Black the other week... obv it's big on Scottish Independence but there's a real eye-opening bit on the - frankly insane for the 21C - archaic customs of Parliament, esp voting. Why on earth we can't have electronic voting now, god only knows...? perhaps they really do want to keep it as some sort of private club they very occasionally deign to let ordinary people in to.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:16 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


early 21st century: The Grand Stupidity

I'd like to put in a vote for The Enstupidment
posted by flabdablet at 6:19 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


I'm not that convinced that Brexit is really driving Britain into fascism. At the election the UKIP share of the vote fell to 1.8% from 12.6% at the previous. The BNP have lost their last councillor. There was a 3-month spike in hate crime but it doesn't seem to have persisted.

Meanwhile in the rEU, there are authoritarian governments in Hungary and Poland, there's
an extreme right-wing government in Austria, extremist parties are part of the governing coalition in Finland and Italy, and the far right AFD party is the opposition in Germany.

Hostility to a perception of too-open borders and overbearing EU institutions is not at all limited to the UK. It's a Europe-wide problem that really needs Europe-wide solutions, for instance Yanis Varoufakis' DiEM25 manifesto.

Complaining about the UK's unique "stupidity" misses the point that dissatisfaction with the EU exists across the EU. Mostly that dissatisfaction is feeding the rise of right-wing populist parties. There are a few exceptions: Greece and Spain where it's fed the rise of left-wing populist parties, and the UK where the two biggest mainstream parties are committed to leaving the EU altogether. But while the symptoms are different the causes are the same.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:08 PM on June 20


Hostility to a perception of too-open borders and overbearing EU institutions is not at all limited to the UK.

It's one thing to be hostile to EU border policies when the Dublin agreement's left your country responsible for hundreds of thousands of refugees coming across your sea borders and EU institutions have left your government without the money it needs to run your civil society and people are living out their final years in desperate poverty because of that.

It's another to have decided to hold the EU to account for the fact that your domestic government is utterly unable to keep your country prosperous despite its strong institutions and historic wealth and high quality legacy infrastructure.

So yes, the UK should be doing better. It should have politicians who are at least vaguely honest and on top of their brief (not the case for most of the current cabinet), and this is not the case. The UK might not be taken over by the far right now, but its resilience is hugely weakened.
posted by ambrosen at 12:16 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I'm not that convinced that Brexit is really driving Britain into fascism. At the election the UKIP share of the vote fell to 1.8% from 12.6% at the previous. The BNP have lost their last councillor. There was a 3-month spike in hate crime but it doesn't seem to have persisted.

The UKIP share of the vote fell because the UKIP agenda has now been absorbed by one of our two major parties. The BNP essentially fell apart years ago, due in large part to financial incompetence, but white supremacist movements are still flourishing. The Brexit bump in hate crime had lasting effects—there was a peak in July 2016, but the overall number reamined higher than before the referendum. It’s true that charging rates have fallen but reporting rates have remained much higher than in previous years, and there are many reasons why a person who commits a hate crime might not be charged that have nothing to do with whether the event actually took place, so I don’t think taking charging data over reporting data makes sense. My personal chances of running into a white supremacist rally on my way to work certainly seem to have increased since 2016–there have been two, so far, that I have had to figure out how to avoid to get to work.

I agree with you completely that the forces behind Brexit are not a uniquely British problem. Europe is generally under seige from similar movements. It’s no coincidence that far right movements and parties in Europe are also deeply hostile to the EU; there has been a general rise in anti-human-rights, anti-immigrant and anti-institutional-decision-making feeling across Europe and anti-EU sentiment captures all those threads. I do think, unfortunately, that the UK constitution has left us uniquely vulnerable to populist takeover—it would not have been possible, in Germany, for a referendum to be held in quite that way—but this is different from saying populism itself is a UK-only thing.
posted by Aravis76 at 12:22 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Aravis76 has preempted my reply about the BNP and UKIP—it was clear years ago that BNP supporters had fallen in behind UKIP, and the Tories have now coopted most of the UKIP vote.

The most recent hate crime statistics available for England and Wales, from October 2017, show that it has been steadily increasing for five years and is now at double the levels of 2012. If there's been any levelling off, and I can't see it in those figures, it would be because the bigots of Britain feel that they're about to get what they want: a Brexit that sees foreigners kept out and kicked out.

In any case, the possibility of a fascist turn doesn't depend on majority support—Trump has never had a popular majority. All it needs is sufficient support from below for those in charge to justify it.

I'm not saying it's inevitable. But if we crash out—and the chances of that seem to be increasing every day—Britain will suffer an economic shock an estimated four times worse than in 2008, and drastic immediate effects on everyday life, while at the same time losing much of its capacity to recover. The credit crunch gave us the 2011 riots. I can't see how a Brexit crunch won't give us worse.

The only consolation is that younger voters (under 50 and especially under 25) seem so strongly opposed to Brexit that there's a large potential pool of vigorous opponents. But if we're all left disoriented and scrambling from a post-crash shock, that's going to weaken our capacity to organise and fight back. There was a strong trend of older voters backing Trump in 2016, too, and that doesn't seem to have slowed down his younger supporters.

The best time to stop this possible future, in the time remaining to us before 29 March 2019, is right now.
posted by rory at 1:52 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


There was a 3-month spike in hate crime but it doesn't seem to have persisted.

An opinion piece at ConservativeHome by a member of a centre-right think tank is hardly going to offer the most unbiased take on post-2010 hate crime statistics. Especially not one that ends with "only the truly biased can now claim that Brexit was driven by an outpouring of chauvinism and white supremacism".

The author claims that "several incidents that were reported as examples of extreme hate crime – including the death of a Polish man in Harlow – turned out to be nothing to do with Brexit or xenophobia." This report on the trial of the accused suggests to me that xenophobia was very likely a factor, and to suggest that anti-Polish violence in August 2016 had nothing to do with Brexit seems misguided, if not disingenuous. Fifteen-year-old boys making fun of people's English is xenophobic behaviour, let alone punching them for it.
posted by rory at 2:46 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


Since I was looking at ConservativeHome anyway, here's a breathtaking article advocating "preparing for what’s best called a No Deal deal now – to kick in from next March, rather than the spring of 2020". They're getting themselves psychologically prepared (if not actually, y'know, prepared) for something that was supposedly unthinkable a year ago. Read the comments thread there to see the Brexiter strategy of Remainer-blaming in full flight. It's an intriguing thread, though, because you can also see in it plenty of Conservative panic.

Some commenters there still cling to the idea that this is all a masterly game of double-bluff: "Those of us who 'bang on' about no deal do not necessarily want no deal; we just want a good deal, which can only be obtained if we threaten no deal."

We'll end up with no deal because they're speeding down the motorway playing chicken with an oncoming brick wall labelled 29 March 2019. The EU doesn't have to cower before such "threats": it's resigning itself to our departure and preparing for the worst, which will hurt our neighbours (except, unfortunately, our closest neighbour) far less than it hurts us.
posted by rory at 3:24 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


Everyone here in the Netherlands, including an accountant we spoke to today who said matter-of-factly "We can handle your taxes for all Europe. Not UK of course, because they are leaving." has pretty much moved on and is making necessary preparations.

We left the UK not just because of the growing right-wing but because the Left, who we thought might be our allies, all seem to be ok with the racism and xenophobia or just outright dismissing it. My wife, a brilliant highly-literate woman with an exceptional command of English, has nevertheless a slight accent. We were in the UK ten years but only in the last couple years did she actually experience xenophobic incidents. A few years ago we thought we might spend the rest of our life there. But the climate and the fact that it was clear even the Left would not stick up for us, made it all suddenly terrifying. She just said one day "We need to leave." and we started packing up our life.
posted by vacapinta at 4:21 AM on June 21 [14 favorites]


Sticking with anecdote, I will add further that the building we moved into is newly refurbished and so all 5 of us tenants moved in at the same time. Of the 5, three of us are Brexit refugees. One is a Brit professional who relocated here, the other is a Dutch national, a professional who was living in London and told us that the open secret is that EU professionals are not being hired because businesses don't know what their legal status will be and so are reluctant to invest in them. So he and others like him are leaving.

When we went to open an account at ING, the only other people in there were a group of British businessmen. They were all small business owners and there to register their businesses in Europe and establish branches.

The Netherlands, as always, is ready to exploit this opportunity. They have been extremely welcoming. There are even friendly people acting as a Brexit information point to answer any questions and help you get settled.
posted by vacapinta at 5:18 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Au revoir, Airbus.
posted by rory at 1:15 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Hateful front page from the Mail today. Even more than usual. (Link is to an Ian Dunt tweet, not the DM itself.)

Even if Brexit were canned tomorrow, it would take Britain years to recover from this.
posted by rory at 1:39 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Brexit: Airbus starts to 'press button on crisis actions' over fears of 'no deal' EU withdrawal

The Airbus intervention is a pretty significant development - 100 000 jobs at risk! And that's just one company

More detail from Faisal Islam on twitter

I saw an Airbus spokesman being interview by the BBC - who were doing the usual devil's advocate / 'scare stories' bit - and the spokesman was visibly horrified, talked of complete sectors of industry going, that the whole of business and industry are saying that the UK is knackered if we leave the single market (never mind no deal)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:38 AM on June 22


I was slightly surprised and relieved to hear the BBC's tone change from blasé to actually saying Airbus would pull out, between the 7:00 and the 7:30 news bulletins on 6 Music.

Too little, too late, of course. But still
posted by ambrosen at 3:49 AM on June 22


I liked the frankly barking pro-Brexit MP the BBC dragged on in 'fairness' - 'Airbus should be lobbying Europe for a good deal!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:45 AM on June 22




The bizarre May curtsy which you might even think was a bit much if you saw it in a puppet show.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:21 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]




Proud to have been part of it! Great crowd, lots of amusing signs. Speeches well received. No counter-demo trouble, despite rumours there might be.
posted by rory at 9:36 AM on June 23 [5 favorites]




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