Beyond the optimism of " There will Adequate Food Supplies"
July 25, 2018 9:05 AM   Subscribe

The most likely historical legacy of a no-deal Brexit will be the final refutation of the common British misconception that the UK is still a global superpower, possibly accompanied by Scottish secession and re-entry to the EU, Irish reunification in some sort of federal system, re-acquisition of Gibraltar by Spain, and the disintegration of the Conservative (and possibly Labour) parties at the next general election. I just hope I'm still alive at the end of it.
Charlie Stross (cstross) weighs up "That Sinking Feeling" in relation to Brexit.
posted by rongorongo (227 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hehehe... "swivel eyed imperialist revenants."

Love ya, Charlie.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:14 AM on July 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


I read this and quailed a little: it's pretty much what I feared, and what I hoped my UK friends could avoid.

If things had been laid out this starkly beforehand, could it have swayed enough of the voters? Or is the whole thing now believed to have been so rigged that the outcome was preordained?
posted by wenestvedt at 9:36 AM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


England becomes America's 51st state.
posted by Groundhog Week at 9:38 AM on July 25, 2018


I just sent this article to a Welsh friend living in London who responded with "I haven't read this yet but yes, we could run out of food, this is true" and I just... I don't pray, but... good lord. What can you even say?
posted by Automocar at 9:42 AM on July 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


If things had been laid out this starkly beforehand, could it have swayed enough of the voters?

It was laid out plainly and starkly and, then as now, it was dismissed as "project fear" and "talking down brexit" with a heaping of implications that a lack of faith in rah-rah Britain was an undermining lack of patriotism.
posted by Dysk at 9:42 AM on July 25, 2018 [45 favorites]


Project fear 2.0
posted by StephenB at 9:45 AM on July 25, 2018


Wow. This is fucking sobering.
posted by greermahoney at 9:48 AM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


My, that was a cheery read...
posted by jim in austin at 9:50 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


If it's anything like the US election interference, it was simply the puff of breeze that toppled over what was already a teetering mass of racism and ultranationalism. Putin isn't summoning these divisive issues out of nowhere and he definitely didn't found them decades ago. He's just taking advantage of political illnesses that have been left to fester.
posted by Punkey at 9:50 AM on July 25, 2018 [49 favorites]


It seems so incredible to me that the UK, which within my adult memory was a Good Place to which people of my general type wished we could move, should seemingly have destroyed itself because of a set of perverse incentives to cater to racists. Something that almost no one really wants and that is obviously going to be a massive disaster is happening and no one can stop it.

The whole situation in the rich world is so incredible to me right now. We're all destroying ourselves completely needlessly - our problems are if not actually soluble at least capable of being stabilized and yet we're all plunging off a cliff almost capriciously.

As far as the UK goes: do you worry about a V for Vendetta situation where it's basically fascists/Tories/army running the whole show by violence because the shortages and panics let them take over? I mean, if I were the Tories, I'd be sad to, like, crash the country but I'd be planning to rule over whatever was left by force of arms.

It's like we've brought about a Doris Lessing-Four-Gated-City situation out of a sort of longing for apocalypse, it seems almost frivolous.
posted by Frowner at 9:53 AM on July 25, 2018 [35 favorites]


It's almost as if he reads brexit threads
posted by adamvasco at 9:53 AM on July 25, 2018 [17 favorites]


will in due course try and stockpile enough food for a couple of weeks.

This just struck me as so odd. If you genuinely believe there will be food insecurity, you stockpile for several months at least! Two weeks... I mean, unless you literally live entirely via food delivery services, I would expect that you'd have two weeks at least on your kitchen shelves. I could go a month easily, probably two, just from my freezer and shelves, and I live in a very tiny apartment.
posted by tavella at 9:53 AM on July 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


England becomes America's 51st state.

Counter-proposal: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland become Canada's 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th provinces. Canadian armed forces are deployed to Gilbratar. Trump dissolves NATO, leaving Europe unprotected from Canadian imperial ambitions.
posted by allegedly at 9:54 AM on July 25, 2018 [66 favorites]


Thanks for posting this, rongorongo - I found I was just too late to mention it in the Brexit thread that closed today, which is all to the good, as it definitely merited more than just my "Here's a terrifying prognosis!" framing. Though I stand by my assessment.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:55 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


England becomes America's 51st state.

Well, no. The Trump White House has rejected that.

The fact that the UK is leaving the EU, combined with the fact that the UK will no longer be a reliable connection with the United States means the trans-Atlantic alliance that has dominated European politics since the end of WWII is over:

We are experiencing a new era. The trans-Atlantic relationship can no longer be taken for granted. But it would be foolish of us to give it up of our own accord.
posted by JamesBay at 9:58 AM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Counter-proposal: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland become Canada's 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th provinces.

Fuck that. Canada does not need England. We're a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society.
posted by JamesBay at 9:58 AM on July 25, 2018 [18 favorites]


I lurv SFMaster Stross but jeepers, look at that last big hurricane crisis, not to discount the huge problems, did any significant group actually have deaths due to starvation? We as a world civilization can do survival food, in this case it certainly could be "well here's a thousand trucks ready to ship, we are feeding you but punishing your government and economy" but food riots are unlikely.
posted by sammyo at 10:01 AM on July 25, 2018


Fuck that. Canada does not need England. We're a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society.

We will bring the light of civilization to the natives in our new overseas colonies. I'm sure England will understand.
posted by allegedly at 10:02 AM on July 25, 2018 [51 favorites]


So is the EU saying they won't trade at all with the UK unless the UK keeps up EU rules? Or just that they won't trade on favorable terms?
posted by corb at 10:03 AM on July 25, 2018


...possibly accompanied by Scottish secession and re-entry to the EU, Irish reunification in some sort of federal system, re-acquisition of Gibraltar by Spain, and the disintegration of the Conservative (and possibly Labour) parties at the next general election.

We should be so lucky.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:04 AM on July 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


So is the EU saying they won't trade at all with the UK unless the UK keeps up EU rules? Or just that they won't trade on favorable terms?

To some degree, yes. If the UK says "I know your rules say no rusty nails embedded in pastries, but we want to trade with you nevertheless", the EU is going to say no to them.

A fair proportion of these trade rules are about safety standards. Others are more about stuff like tariffs and paperwork, and that's where some negotiations and deals can be made. But fundamentally, you can't force someone to buy your stuff.
posted by Zarkonnen at 10:08 AM on July 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


a POTUS whose understanding of economics is approximately as deep as that of Louis XVI,

Generous!
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:09 AM on July 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


I'm not in the UK but have been pretty closely following the Brexit news out of sickened fascination and, yes, there is definite fear of fascism as a result of a catastrophic no deal Brexit (or even just as an outgrowth of the deeply dishonest and angry and blame-the-foreigners-and-the-liberal-elite culture of the Brexiteers/Tories/right-wing tabloid press).

Early warning signs include an op-ed praising the strength of leaders like Putin and Duterte and a tweet from a British Member of the European Parliament advocating for people who are overly loyal to the European Union to be tried for treason.

Chris Grey, who I think is one of the best Brexit commentators, writes that:
[T]he big danger emerging... is that Brexit, and especially the form in which Theresa May’s government have pursued it, is almost certain to bring humiliation to Britain – either through being forced to back down on what Brexiters promised in the face of reality or through the kind of catastrophe than no deal will unleash. Either way, the political fallout will not, to put it mildly, be pretty since, as pointed out in that previous post, history and psychology tell us that the consequences of humiliation are almost always rage and violence.
Very scary times.
posted by overglow at 10:11 AM on July 25, 2018 [18 favorites]


This turns my family's visit to the UK in August from a "Surprise! Turns out those Magic cards were worth something!" lark to a serious Last Chance To See event.

Of course, turns out our Air BnB is a block away from where the woman bystander who died from Russian neurotoxin was living, so we've been dipping our toes in the post-apocalyptic waters with our frequent "Don't touch any trash in Salisbury" reminders to our eight year old.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:19 AM on July 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


Yeah, knowing some people there, I was sort of keeping Scotland high on a list of places I could flee to. Guess that's off the table.

I've been thinking a lot about Ronald Wright's A Scientific Romance lately. (And Good News From Outer Space on the US side, a novel that has pointed to our moment since it was published in 1989.)
posted by octobersurprise at 10:22 AM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


So is the EU saying they won't trade at all with the UK unless the UK keeps up EU rules? Or just that they won't trade on favorable terms?

I think it's more like if there is no deal there will be such chaos as the EU and the UK try to sort out the border policies that no trade will flow or it will be incredibly expensive and time consuming to move goods. The entire UK trade system right now depends on basically frictionless trade between Ireland, France and the rest of the EU. Moving goods and people should be no different than say moving goods between say California and Nevada in the US. Almost no checks, no taxes, or anything. All that was built up over the last 30 years of integration, and won't be unwound instantly when the UK leaves.

That of course has been the nut that the Brexit supporters have never cracked. Yes it would be good to leave, but you need to basically re-orient you're economy to do so to deal with the new border friction. Rules on import/export need to be established, custom agents hired and trained, flight sharing rules established, etc. Yes it may be better once you're out, but it's really really going to really, really suck for quite a while during the transition.

This doesn't even get to the fact that companies currently in the UK will just leave unless the UK is their primary market. They just won't want to deal with the border chaos for a small number of sales.
posted by jmauro at 10:24 AM on July 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


Something I haven't seen addressed vis a vis Brexit and UK economic risks is that London real estate prices are somewhat notoriously being driven up by investors, many foreign, buying real estate not for use but as an investment. What are the international ramifications of all the wealth tied up in those investments suddenly vanishing when London real estate crashes?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:24 AM on July 25, 2018 [16 favorites]


So is the EU saying they won't trade at all with the UK unless the UK keeps up EU rules? Or just that they won't trade on favorable terms?

The immediate danger with an unceremonious crash-out is that, even if everyone wants a sane agreement, the chaos alone would disrupt supply chains for a while, and the knock-on effects of that would be... unpredictable. Without some sort of agreement there might not even be UK-EU aviation running after March.
posted by BungaDunga at 10:25 AM on July 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


I could go a month easily, probably two, just from my freezer and shelves, and I live in a very tiny apartment.

I couldn't, but I don't eat that many shelf-stable staples like rice or beans. A lot of people don't. (They either eat out more, or, like me, eat a lot of fresh foods.)

If I was stocking up for a food shortage I'd buy more shelf-stable foods, but it would an investment and I'd only do it if I thought the threat was real, and if I had the money at the time. (Luckily a lot of these things aren't expensive but it'd still require some outlay to stock up a few months' worth..)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:27 AM on July 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


Project fear 2.0

I have no polite words for you, StephenB. (Despite the fact that I don't think cstross's assessment is 100% right in the details.)
posted by ambrosen at 10:27 AM on July 25, 2018 [14 favorites]


The UK should be afraid of a no-deal Brexit. A no-deal brexit is insane. It wasn't what people voted for. They were told Britain was going to get a better deal, or at least a deal they could live with plus some "sovereignty" or whatever. A deal like that is not what cstross is talking about. He's talking about the fairly likely event of burning the UKEU trading relationship to the ground because there's nobody in government able or willing to wrest the steering wheel into a sane direction for any period of time. It's an international game of chicken, except the only people playing are in the same car and they're heading towards a brick wall.
posted by BungaDunga at 10:34 AM on July 25, 2018 [24 favorites]


For whatever it's worth, from my perch here in leafy N1, I don't think cstross is being terribly apocalyptic. Nothing in this account feels all that exaggerated to me, except maybe, mmmaybe we'll get by without much in the way of large-scale rioting. (It'll depend on the weather, I suppose.) But at any rate, yes: we're stockpiling staples and medicines.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:34 AM on July 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


What are the international ramifications of all the wealth tied up in those investments suddenly vanishing when London real estate crashes?

And being that much of that wealth is from the same global oligarch class that was pro-Brexit, how will that effect everything? The London economy will collapse, but if real estate prices collapse as well, then at least something good is coming out of it.
posted by weed donkey at 10:37 AM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]



I lurv SFMaster Stross but jeepers, look at that last big hurricane crisis, not to discount the huge problems, did any significant group actually have deaths due to starvation? We as a world civilization can do survival food, in this case it certainly could be "well here's a thousand trucks ready to ship, we are feeding you but punishing your government and economy" but food riots are unlikely.


We are unlikely to ever get a full accounting of the death toll and granular causes of death in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, due to racist obstruction by the current administration and the rush to cremate the dead for sanitation reasons, but I think you could safely say that lack of food was significant, behind other causes like infection, food/fecal-borne disease, lack of electricity for hospitals/health care/food refrigeration/etc, water, etc.
posted by toodleydoodley at 10:47 AM on July 25, 2018 [48 favorites]


The UK should be afraid of a no-deal Brexit. A no-deal brexit is insane. It wasn't what people voted for. They were told Britain was going to get a better deal, or at least a deal they could live with plus some "sovereignty" or whatever.

The pro-Brexit side was proposing things that were never in the cards. They assumed they could just roll the EU and get exactly the type of deal they wanted, all of the benefits and none of the costs. Once the EU told them that some things like the 4-freedoms are not negotiable and are not a la carte, Ireland and Spain getting veto from the EU side based on border issues, etc the whole thing went off the rails. Anyone with any sense could of told you that was going to happen and that once Article 50 was invoked a "no deal" deal was the most likely result.

The UK has no leverage in this negotiation, the EU has it all, since the UK needs the EU more than the EU needs the UK. Yea, they'd like to keep them, but they can deal with them leaving and the more punishment they put on them the better to discourage others from trying later. None of the positions of the UK government have ever recognized that fact so it's all been delusional.
posted by jmauro at 10:48 AM on July 25, 2018 [28 favorites]


Canada does not need England. We're a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society.

We've got friends and family in the UK. Many in Canada do. I suspect we're going to be sponsoring immigrants, "special" migrants perhaps even refugees in large numbers.

This process is going worse than I'd feared. It seems to be entirely happening in about the worst ways possible. Every time I think "they can't be seriously about to do that" the UK leadership has done something worse: the Irish border, customs, standards unions, etc..

Canada may not need the UK, but the people of Brittan may need Canada (and her sister commonwealth nations) very soon.
posted by bonehead at 10:57 AM on July 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


My wife has applied to travel to England for two months to work on a research project; if it gets approved she would be there between September and November of this year. Honest question; is there any reason to fear that the shit might hit the fan before then? All of these medium-to-worst case scenarios seem to mark March 2019 as Day Zero.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:04 AM on July 25, 2018


Charlie Stross is one of several people on my Twitter feed I've been watching for the past 6+ months with a sinking feeling - because I fear they're absolutely right in their predictions.

Another is James Patrick (@j_amesp), a former London Met Police officer turned whistleblower turned investigative journalist. He's written a a couple of books about the Brexit referendum, Russian interference and links with the Trump campaign, the most recent of which is Alternative War (Amazon link).

He's spent the last year screaming about this and being generally ignored, with mainstream media (curiously enough, excepting the BBC) only picking up on things in the past (lots of credit to Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalladr) and another all-women group at The Observer for their dogged determination to reveal the truth).

At this point I'm left trying to figure out how to tell my parents that they need to be planning to be out of the UK entirely around the Brexit date, and to take my sister, her 3-year old and her soon-to-be-born child with them - and plan to be gone for at least 6 weeks. They're lucky in that they have that option. I hope I can persuade them to take it.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:05 AM on July 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


The UK should be afraid of a no-deal Brexit

My experience is that everyone who has any understanding of how largish organisations actually work is absolutely terrified.

There is also a plurality of people (guessing here, but I think accurately) who think that, while a no deal Brexit is terrifying, the mere fact of its disastrousness means that it won't happen.

There are some people who vastly misunderestimate the complexity of the process that means we can get a Dr Oetker frozen pizza to their plate every Friday night in front of the TV, and they're like "well, if we need things from foreigners, what about Australia or Japan or Canada?". They're being pandered to by a 4th group:

The propagandists: the government, who either can't reverse the ferret or are disaster capitalists/disaster capitalist-adjacent; the opposition, who either still think the EU is a cartel of iron and coal producers or can't work out how to undermine their leader; the corrupt "self-made men", also disaster capitalists; and finally, the media, who have traded honesty for controlling the narrative for 30+ years, and couldn't stop now even if they wanted to, which they don't.

So that's my feeling of where we are. I do know that no one who I know that spoke up for it at the team is still speaking up for it.

The UK is fucked. Parts of the UK may choose to unfuck themselves soon, but England is destined to replace Lithuania as the most surprising place that used to be geopolitically important.
posted by ambrosen at 11:06 AM on July 25, 2018 [29 favorites]


To be clear, by "excepting the BBC" above, I mean that they're ignoring it entirely, bringing the journalistic reputation of one of the most respected news organizations in the the world into disrepute. Strange that has happened after the Conservative government installed a lot of "experienced business people" into the Corporation over the last few years, and how several senior journalists and editors in the political news division are ardent Brexiters.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:08 AM on July 25, 2018 [14 favorites]


Optimism sure ain't what it used to be.
posted by tommasz at 11:16 AM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Irish reunification in some sort of federal system

Nope. Fully automated luxury space reunification or bust. Unionists have burned any goodwill that remained and frankly even moderate nationalists are no longer willing to put up with their nonsense anymore. They've had infinite chances to behave and build a shared society post GFA and choose to squander them at every turn. As soon as the demographics permit I want Irish language signs everywhere, Riverdance lessons is schools and the Angelous mandatory viewing in North Antrim TV.
posted by Damienmce at 11:22 AM on July 25, 2018 [22 favorites]


the mere fact of its disastrousness means that it won't happen.

Yes. A Donald Trump presidency was similarly so manifestly, obviously godawful it would never be allowed to happen. Yet here we are.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:25 AM on July 25, 2018 [40 favorites]


If you're feeling pissed off with the government for completely bollocksing up our lives, it's worth doing a Twitter search for "adequate food". Because when you get that tiniest pang of "are we the baddies?" doubt, you need to know that you're on the side with the sense of humour.
posted by ambrosen at 11:26 AM on July 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


Canada may not need the UK, but the people of Brittan may need Canada (and her sister commonwealth nations) very soon.

Some colonies might be more open to the return of the Britisher than others where more blood was shed getting them out in the first place.
posted by infini at 11:26 AM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Re fears of fascism.

Yes. I think sensible people are at least somewhat nervous. If I look at Boris Johnson's behaviour since the referendum, he looks exactly like someone preparing a "stabbed in the back" narrative, in which Britain leaves with no-deal and totters on the brink of collapse; the "Remoaners" are blamed for sabotaging Brexit and Johnson is swept to power and creates a low-wage, low-tax, high-inequality economy for his own profit and amusement. I don't think there's really any other way to explain his behaviour. I'm not sure he particularly desires authoritarianism in theory, but he will implement it when the opportunity comes.

There are others on the right who I think probably have similar ideas. But the useful thing about Johnson is that he is so entirely self-serving and amoral, and with his eye fixed so firmly upon his own advancement, that you never have to wonder whether there is some complex psychological or even moral motive. With Johnson self interest is the only motivation.
posted by howfar at 11:34 AM on July 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


So is the EU saying they won't trade at all with the UK unless the UK keeps up EU rules? Or just that they won't trade on favorable terms?

Is this because that one Brexit dude who was supposed to be planning all the stuff was like, hanging out in his office not planning the stuff
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:40 AM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


By far the most of those much maligned EU rules benefit workers and consumers. The EU is cracking down on Google big time right now with anti-trust laws. I can't see how there would be any populist advantage for the EU in letting the UK out of those rules. If anything they are scaling up their stance on protecting ordinary citizens against corporations right now, to demonstrate their usefulness.
posted by mumimor at 11:45 AM on July 25, 2018 [13 favorites]


howfar, I think it's possible that Boris Johnson has finally burned his last bridge. Possibly he's lying low, but it does also seem possible to me that everyone who could help him with anything absolutely hates him by now.
posted by ambrosen at 11:46 AM on July 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


a POTUS whose understanding of economics is approximately as deep as that of Louis XVI,

adamgreenfield: "Generous!"

Seriously, this is unfair to Louis XVI, who wanted the people to like him and would have preferred to be left alone to pursue his locksmithing hobbies.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:49 AM on July 25, 2018 [12 favorites]


I follow a few trade geeks and economists, some of whom have become brexit followers, or at least comment on the most egregious news bytes, and this article by cstross reads rationally to me. I did note however that the Chief Economist at the Bank of Finland was scoffing at the stockpiling news asking why do this in peacetime. Perhaps I should push this article towards him ;p
posted by infini at 11:52 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Possibly he's lying low, but it does also seem possible to me that everyone who could help him with anything absolutely hates him by now.

I think his abject cowardice on the runway vote, after all his bluster and posturing, really fucked him moving forward. Or so I hope.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


i just want to point out that earlier this year (2018) is was a national news item and some (spectacularly stoopid) peope were calling 999 (uk 911) because some KFC ran out of chicken due to a small logistics snafu.

Food shortages and even the hint of rationing is going to cause riots for sure.
posted by Faintdreams at 11:57 AM on July 25, 2018 [15 favorites]


Project fear 2.0

Considering that Brexit has already turned out to be magnitudes of order worse than the warnings, this "fake news" hot take looks really fucking foolish.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:59 AM on July 25, 2018 [23 favorites]


Canadian armed forces are deployed to Gilbratar.

You mean you want us to tie up our single solitary Atlantic submarine (bought secondhand from the UK!) doing this? Is that sub even currently operational?
posted by heatherlogan at 12:02 PM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also don't know why no one is mentioning bank runs and capital controls.
If you're a boat of Russian money or just day to day corporate treasury you might have your money sitting in a bank account somewhere is the stable for hundreds-of-years-with-authority-predating-Parliament-itself-and-where-even-the-Queens-has-to-ask-permission-to-enter City of London, never to be confused with boring old London.
With all this Brexit furore a prudent risk manager would be shifting this money out of the UK to Europe proper as we speak, not just Europe proper but proper European HQ'ed banks which could mess with UK bank balance sheets.
Not sure if people still realise how scary things got during the Northern Rock run with the Bank of England demanding hourly updates on ATM withdrawals.
Capital controls can 'never happen' until they do.
posted by Damienmce at 12:07 PM on July 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


I think it's possible that Boris Johnson has finally burned his last bridge.

I agree that the chances of avoiding Case Nightmare Blond are good, but I think his openly self-serving scheming may be a good barometer for how the less obviously sociopathic monsters in the Tory party are thinking too.
posted by howfar at 12:07 PM on July 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


Something that almost no one really wants and that is obviously going to be a massive disaster is happening and no one can stop it.

I don't think any of this is true. There are a large number of rah-rah nationalists who absolutely want brexit. They might not like the consequences, but they want brexit damn it.

And it's also untrue that nobody can stop it. The government and parliament can. Nobody is willing to stop it.
posted by Dysk at 12:08 PM on July 25, 2018 [22 favorites]


Actually no, it's not all wrong. You're dead right that it'll be a disaster.
posted by Dysk at 12:08 PM on July 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


it turns out that even if you all agree that the White Walkers are coming, if you can't all agree on a solution or at least an action to take, nothing gets done and one morning you wake up frozen to death while the rest of the world looks on in befuddlement
posted by BungaDunga at 12:10 PM on July 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


And I can't even bring myself to think about the Brexit logistics fallout already being seen as the UK undergoes a historic heatwave that *will* have knock on effects for winter food supplies.

Fruits and vegetables are rotting in the fields right now, because the seasonal pickers (who were EU citizens) either wont come or were here and have left because Britain has made it clear that everyone except the white racists are merely tolerated. The heatwave caused some early ripening which exacerbated the situation.

Farmers of larger livestick are having to use their winter feed now, because the heatwave is turning it mouldy/or turning it into straw... Which means they won't be able to sustain livestock levels come winter.

The summer holidays just started and .. did I mention a phenonemal heatwave is happening?

All the tinderbox ingredients that contributed to the 2011 riots (which were horrendous).. are *worse* now.. its just a case of what is going to spark the shitshow this time?

It is beyond scary. I would say terrifying but at this point I am more just staring at everything in dumb shock.

Logictics failures the likes of which we cant even dream of will happen if a hard Brexit happens.

Pubs running out of ways to carbonate drinks (which happened during the World cup) is going to look like a quaint freaking picnic of a snafu...
posted by Faintdreams at 12:12 PM on July 25, 2018 [14 favorites]


What’s a White Walker?
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:14 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Not sure if people still realise how scary things got during the Northern Rock run

And also how much of an amazing job Gordon Brown did in mitigating the effects of the crash globally. And then how much David Cameron and George Osborne did to make sure we lost out in this country.
posted by ambrosen at 12:15 PM on July 25, 2018 [11 favorites]


Oddly, if I were going to try to stop it, it would look very like where we are right now. The mythology of Brexit has it that it's The Will of the People (which is bollocks, of course - it's the preference of a bare plurality of people who bothered to vote on that particular day, which isn't the same thing), so if one were to change anything, one would need to have to change that. Any statements would be dismissed as Project Fear, so the thing has to be taken as close to the wire as possible, so that enough people can see that what actually happens is The Road. Then apply for an extension to Article 50 to allow a second referendum, which is carefully three-way (Remain; Deal; No Deal), which the current figures suggest would be won in the first round by Remain.

I don't think that's what they're doing - I think they're doing what they always do, guided by the Tory muses Incompetence, Venality and Vanity - but I do think it's the only way to do it.

I also don't think it's going to work. But that's by the bye.
posted by Grangousier at 12:18 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Counter-counter-proposal: England declares independence from the UK and continues on its merry way towards a buccaneering future on the global trading seas, just like Singapore but worse, while the rest of the UK (now renamed the Atlantic Archipelago) revokes Article 50, remains a member of the EU, and becomes a properly federal nation.
posted by adrianhon at 12:18 PM on July 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


What’s a White Walker?

A member of the Rambler's Association, m'lud.
posted by Grangousier at 12:19 PM on July 25, 2018 [25 favorites]


With all this Brexit furore a prudent risk manager would be shifting this money out of the UK to Europe proper as we speak,

plus, it seems the UK is pushing the money out in earnest.

Flow of Russian cash into London property slows following government pressure and stricter money laundering rules Political uncertainty means wealthy Russians are opting to rent rather than buy

Russia's Megafon to Delist From London, Offers Buyout
Megafon, controlled by the USM Group of Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov, is the latest Russian company to delist from London, following similar moves by Cherkizovo , Russia's biggest meat producer, gold producer Nord Gold and real estate developer PIK .


Offshore owners of British property to be forced to reveal names
Hiding identity to be punished with up to five years’ jail in money-laundering crackdown
posted by infini at 12:20 PM on July 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


how much of an amazing job Gordon Brown did in mitigating the effects of the crash globally.

Concur. In my wildest dreams, he and John Major form a centrist unity Government to kick Brexit into the long grass and rein in their parties wilder elements.
posted by Damienmce at 12:20 PM on July 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


I've looked up Cromwell’s “In the name of God, go!” speech like 3 or 4 times in these threads.

You mean you want us to tie up our single solitary Atlantic submarine (bought secondhand from the UK!)

Canada’s underwater navy is a boat? A little on-brand, eh?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:24 PM on July 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


"...and yea, through a miracle of faith, the members of the Cabinet were indeed adequate food for the people of Great Britain. Amen and amen."

- The Book of Brexit, 2163
posted by duffell at 12:39 PM on July 25, 2018 [13 favorites]


This sounds a lot like descriptions of the great depression. Much chance of a deflationary spiral?
posted by bq at 12:52 PM on July 25, 2018


Canada’s underwater navy is a boat?

When it's not on fire.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 12:59 PM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yes. A Donald Trump presidency was similarly so manifestly, obviously godawful it would never be allowed to happen. Yet here we are.

I am really starting to think that there is a significant fractional of the voting population, that if given two options on a ballot, simply refuses to believe that one of them might be a disaster, because surely nothing truly bad can happen, it's just politics.
posted by jcreigh at 1:19 PM on July 25, 2018 [16 favorites]


There's a not-insubstantial fraction of the populace who, not realizing how much worse things have been in the past, will look around and decide, "This sucks! Burn it all down! That'll make way for the change that can fix things!"

These people are almost entirely of two groups:
1) Rich, white, overprivileged jerks who believe that the leopards are physically incapable of eating their faces, and
2) Poor and desperate people who have been ground down so long they no longer have the capacity to compare the differences between "bad future" and "omg disaster future," and will vote for "fuck those rich assholes."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:41 PM on July 25, 2018 [26 favorites]


Like I've said before- with a no-deal Brexit, it won't be long before the UK looks like Britain in 450AD: total collapse of the economy, no one to plaster a wall or fix the roads or the plumbing, coastal settlements becoming increasingly vulnerable to Belgian piracy, and you won't find a single Roman legionnaire anywhere between Bournemouth and Carlisle.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:56 PM on July 25, 2018 [24 favorites]


Poor and desperate people who have been ground down so long they no longer have the capacity to compare the differences between "bad future" and "omg disaster future," and will vote for "fuck those rich assholes."

Isn't the problem that they mainly vote for "fuck anyone who is foreign or non-white"?
posted by howfar at 2:04 PM on July 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


tavella: If you genuinely believe there will be food insecurity, you stockpile for several months at least!

You do that if you've got space to store the food. I live in a city centre apartment on the top floor, no garden, precious little storage space.

You do that if you've got the means to cook the food. I'm reliant on gas and electricity which may go out in due course if Brexit goes bad.

...

My best bet is to hang on and hope that the government collapses and some sort of emergency solution is jerry-rigged after a few days of chaos. Or, alternatively, to not be in the UK when disaster strikes. Who knows? There are still months to go, and maybe the horse will learn to sing ...
posted by cstross at 2:06 PM on July 25, 2018 [18 favorites]


Maybe if all 60 million of us go on holiday abroad in March everything will be okay.
posted by dng at 2:14 PM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


I mean, there are easier ways to adopt the metric system.
posted by flyingfox at 2:17 PM on July 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


You mean you want us to tie up our single solitary Atlantic submarine (bought secondhand from the UK!)

Not to worry, next April we will have a fire sale going on two very shiny new supercarriers and four Trident ballistic missile boats, along with all the trimmings. We'll even throw in a bunch of state of the art nuclear-powered hunter-killers as escorts! Yours for a just steady supply of spam shipments and powdered milk.
posted by cstross at 2:22 PM on July 25, 2018 [19 favorites]


Whatever happens, we can be sure that none of it will be the fault of Boris, Rees-Mogg, Farage or any others in the Brexit gang. It'll all be the fault of "them", the wreckers, buggering up a perfectly good plan, and the bastards will deny any responsibility.

If this government was a person, they'd be on medication for self-harming, and probably suicide watch.

My hope is that when this all goes spectacularly down the pan it takes the Tories with it for a nice long time.
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 2:30 PM on July 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


My best bet is to hang on and hope that the government collapses

Yeah, but even Labour (under Corbyn and Momentum) seems to believe that a hard Brexit is a worthwhile thing.
posted by JamesBay at 2:31 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I will ever understand Labour's behaviour since the referendum.
posted by dng at 2:34 PM on July 25, 2018 [15 favorites]


Who knew George RR Martin was an optimist?
posted by evilDoug at 2:43 PM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Not to worry, next April we will have a fire sale going on two very shiny new supercarriers and four Trident ballistic missile boats…

Not a chance they're scraping Trident. If you walked into a nuclear missile showroom you would buy Trident - it's lovely, it's elegant, it's beautiful. It is quite simply the best. And Britain should have the best. In the world of the nuclear missile it is the Saville Row suit, the Rolls Royce Corniche, the Château Lafitte 1945.
posted by Omon Ra at 2:52 PM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure I will ever understand Labour's behaviour since the referendum.

Binary thinking in a multifaceted world.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:04 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


You do that if you've got space to store the food. I live in a city centre apartment on the top floor, no garden, precious little storage space.

I live in an under 400 sq ft apartment in downtown San Jose which came with storage space of 3 half size kitchen cabinets and a 3x3 closet. I still have easily a month's food just in my standard pantry. If I actually thought food insecurity was an issue, I'd buy a couple more 20 pound bags of rice and 5 pound bags of legumes and put them in a tupperware bin under the coats in the closet. You'd be surprised at how compact a month's food is for a person if you go basic. Even if you want food you don't have to cook, you can easily fit a month's canned food in a bin that can be tucked just about anywhere.

You do that if you've got the means to cook the food. I'm reliant on gas and electricity which may go out in due course if Brexit goes bad.

Well, honestly... if gas and electricity go out entirely in the city for weeks (as opposed to being unreliable or rationed), then you aren't talking about food insecurity, you are talking about civilizational collapse, which means that you'll have more pressing issues than food. If nothing else, water supplies are likely to fail, and it *is* difficult to store enough water for months.

Not that I think everyone needs to do this! Just that "a couple of weeks" seemed like such an oddly restricted number unless you had a surefire exit plan if things went on for more than a week.
posted by tavella at 3:08 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think it's a general sense of optimism that the food supply (at least) will be un-fuckulated within a week or two. Whether that optimism is well placed or not, I don't know.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 3:19 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


without leadership as credible as, say, George W. Bush
posted by doctornemo at 3:37 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Er sorry I don't mean to speak out of turn here chaps but

WHERE is the RAGE

Seriously. Election spending laws exist in this country so that neither side can buy victory. You've probably seen the internal email from Steve Baker MP saying “It is open to the Vote Leave family to create separate legal entities, each of which could spend £700,000: Vote Leave will be able to spend as much money as is necessary to win the referendum.”

And they did exactly that, and the Electoral Commission concluded that they broke the law. (That's without even referring to the Russians, or Cambridge Analytica, or Facebook.)

So WHY is any politician still treating the referendum as "the will of the people?"

As others have pointed out, in a "conventional" election for a Parliament or Council seat, the Electoral Commission's verdict would mean that the result would be declared null and void, and the election would be rerun. But because this was an advisory fucking referendum, those safeguards weren't in place.

So where is the rage that a rump of racists and rich bastards are now holding the country's fate, all our fates, hostage over a corrupt, compromised, meaningless result? fucking where. is. the rage.

Seriously. EVERYONE, from ardent Remainers to lukewarm EEC types to head-in-the-sand "oh I don't watch the news"ers to even Leavers who voted thinking we would stay in the Single fucking Market had better get fucking angry about this because the alternative is at least ten years lost to imposed hypernationalist poverty presided over by a grinning Nigel Farage.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:39 PM on July 25, 2018 [50 favorites]


I think it's a general sense of optimism that the food supply (at least) will be un-fuckulated within a week or two.

Unless some sort of "soft Brexit" is worked out, the UK economy is fucked. Every supply chain is based on just-in-time deliveries. Even if you had basic food stockpiled (potatoes and milk powder, anyone?), manufacturers in the UK also need to plan for a massive logistical logjam. Many (especially smaller SMEs) don't have the space or the resources or the cashflow to stockpile parts, for example.

Stockpiling is just not how an economy in the 21st Century works.

The problem with a customs union is that the ultras in the Conservative Party are opposed to it. It's impossible for this government to do any sort of negotiations towards Brexit.

Just 247 days left.
posted by JamesBay at 3:44 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Official Monster Raving Loony party is waiting for their call to power.
posted by delfin at 3:46 PM on July 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Not a chance they're scraping Trident. If you walked into a nuclear missile showroom you would buy Trident - it's lovely, it's elegant, it's beautiful. It is quite simply the best. And Britain should have the best. In the world of the nuclear missile it is the Saville Row suit, the Rolls Royce Corniche, the Château Lafitte 1945.

Britain used to be a place that could produce this sublime piece of satire. Now it produces brexit. What happened?
posted by deadwax at 3:46 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Private Eye is still excellent.
posted by JamesBay at 3:51 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Britain used to be a place that could produce this sublime piece of satire. Now it produces brexit. What happened?

deadwax, it's interesting you should ask that.

The writers of the excellent Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister (broadcast 1980-1984) reunited in 2010 to write a play with the same characters and setting. You'd think it would be great, right?

It's awful.

It's hackneyed, outdated, sexist. About half the jokes land, but the other half are humourless and mean-spirited, delivered in the voice of smug toffs relentlessly punching down. Sir Humphrey has a speech denying that climate change exists, full of bad statistics and hastily-Googled talking points, which could have been written by Breitbart. The writers also have Humphrey refer to the Russians as "the Soviets" throughout, despite being corrected on this early in the play. The deployment of faulty, outdated terminology as a heavy-handed form of point-scoring is very un-Humphrey-- but absolutely in line with a couple of wrinkly white male British writers openly resenting a world that has moved on since their heyday.

So that's what happened. The satirists of yesteryear aged into today's cranks nostalgic for a world where you could make prostitutes, foreigners and illegal immigrants the butt of snide schoolboy jokes without anyone inconveniently complaining.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:16 PM on July 25, 2018 [24 favorites]


Antony Jay, one of the writers of the original Yes, Minister / Prime Minister series was a conservative and Eurosceptic. I think he participated in the 2013 reboot mentioned above, although he died 3 years later at the age of 86.


Paul Eddington in died in 1998 (apparently he suffered from cancer during Yes, Prime Minister, which is why his scenes were always filmed with him sitting down in the Cabinet room) and Nigel Hawthorne died in 2001.
posted by JamesBay at 4:31 PM on July 25, 2018


Malcom Tucker is still available .....
posted by mbo at 4:56 PM on July 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


In Adam Curtis' The Trap Jay explains quite explicitly that Yes, [Prime] Minister was designed to undermine the civil service and represent it as a group of individuals only concerned with their own interest. The performances are superb, but it's Hayekian propaganda.
posted by Grangousier at 5:02 PM on July 25, 2018 [28 favorites]


adamgreenfield:

White Walkers are something like zombie magicians (possibly also kind of like evil elves) from the Game of Thrones series.

The series is set on a world with long super seasons, and Winter Is Coming. And winter isn't just cold, that's when the White Walkers show up.

The people in the series have been fighting with each other instead of storing food, and sometimes I just want to reach into the books and shake them.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 6:00 PM on July 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Trident missiles you guys just make sure to keep BBC Radio 4 broadcasting okay
posted by XMLicious at 6:49 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


possibly accompanied by Scottish secession and re-entry to the EU, Irish reunification in some sort of federal system,


Did someone say The Union Of Craic?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:45 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Well, I happened to be rereading the Fall Revolution books this week, and for some reason it's just occurred to me that my one Brexit voting mate is also the only Englishman I know who owns a shitload of firearms.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:46 PM on July 25, 2018


there's nobody in government able or willing to wrest the steering wheel into a sane direction for any period of time

The UK Govt have painted themselves into a corner. Look at the facts:

1) They want to exit the single market & the customs union.

2) Ireland & Spain will veto a deal with the UK if brexit means hard borders in Ireland & Gibraltar.

3) UK Govt will not accept an outcome that results in a border between the UK & NI or Gibraltar.

Conclusion: 2) & 3) make 1) unachievable. The only sane direction left is to stop. A brexit deal is unachievable. They need to have the cojones to admit this, instead of all the frantic handwaving, blame-shifting and posturing.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:50 PM on July 25, 2018 [12 favorites]


If any of you wanna come live with me in Portland, OR you can slum it in my basement. I've already got one Brit moved over here.
posted by gucci mane at 8:55 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


The only sane direction left is to stop. A brexit deal is unachievable.

Good news, that once the UK triggered Article 50, it's not clear that it can be stopped anymore. It's Brexit or bust at this point, it's only a matter on how ugly the outcome is going to be for all involved.
posted by jmauro at 10:23 PM on July 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


We're a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society.

That's what I thought before trying to live in small town Nova Scotia. I met more than one UK "cultural refugee" / raving racist there.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:24 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have an American (Jewish) friend who moved to England for a job. I go back and forth on whether or not I should be more or less worried for her there or for us here and which location is better or worse.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:58 PM on July 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


The optimist in me is really looking forward to settling down in my retirement, on a comfortable pension, thirty or so years from now, then cracking open a few mighty tomes of really well written historical narrative that explain what in the flying fuck happened to the global body politic in my twenties and thirties.

They'll be masterfully written by a new generation of gifted historians who aren't mired in twentieth century politics and they'll concisely illuminate the economic, social and environmental trends that led to this dark hour.

It will be absolutely fascinating to see it all in retrospect, to have those 'ah, of course' moments and to see it all from a position of knowing how it all ended up turning out, with the main players all long dead, the arguments consigned to the dustbin of history and the perspective of a saner, more just and co-operative world that is undoing the damage of the early 21st century.

The pessimist in me thinks there might not be 'retirement' or 'pensions', or even 'books'. And I might not learn how it all turns out, because I might not be here.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:48 PM on July 25, 2018 [20 favorites]


Good news, that once the UK triggered Article 50, it's not clear that it can be stopped anymore.

Article 50 can be stopped. There's no formal process, but any member state that got difficult about it would be quietly told not to be a dick. In terms of Gibraltar and Northern Ireland, Spain might be fractious, but I suspect there's not a huge amount of support for them causing the levels of harm to the EU that forcing Brexit to go ahead would cause. And it's not like Gibraltar is Spain's number one border priority.

With Northern Ireland, I'd say that the Irish government is massively committed to peace over playing any political advantage.

And it's not like the EU would be doing the UK a favour: the damage to the EU from Brexit would be miniscule compared to its cost to the UK, but there's still no advantage whatsoever in Brexit happening. And the loss of soft power for the UK is punishment enough to act as a deterrent for literally everyone else.

Unambiguously, the best path for everyone is for the UK to withdraw the Article 50 notice.
posted by ambrosen at 12:06 AM on July 26, 2018 [12 favorites]


I like Jason Michael's "Brexit and the End of the World" article - he talks about how the opening of so much apocalyptic fiction starts with a few cosy scenes of normality where everybody is ignoring the strong signs of warning being broadcast from some TV in the background. In narrative terms seems a little bit like we are at that stage now.
posted by rongorongo at 12:14 AM on July 26, 2018 [6 favorites]


I plan to share this article with every American friend who asks me what is going on in Britain. The whole thing sounds unreal and apocalyptic but the conclusions are inescapable.

About the only thing that was left out was that freedom of movement ends. This of course affects any young British person who was hoping to work or live in Europe but, equally it tears existing families apart. You are British, your wife is Polish and you were planning on bringing over your mother-in-law to take care of her? That may be difficult. Equally difficult to take your family to Europe. You are a French couple who moved here 20 years ago and have British kids? Unclear if you can stay in the country.

And not to mention that ever since Jo Cox, any politician who tries to be too daring in their opposition might rightly fear for their life.

Brexit is already happening and this holds true even if Article 50 is revoked tomorrow. EU citizens and Brits are leaving the country and won't be back. Businesses are making plans that they are unlikely to unwind. UK suppliers are getting snubbed in favour of EU ones. And there is a general ill-will in Europe against Britain's attitude.

The view on the Continent, where I am, is pretty well summed up by Joris Luyendijk who was asked to give a Dutch perspective on the BBC. He minces no words about Britain's 'delusional grandstanding.' And it is worth hearing that clip to hear the interviewer stunned by the directness and Joris' use of 'you people' to refer to the British, a phrase usually aimed in the other direction.
posted by vacapinta at 1:13 AM on July 26, 2018 [21 favorites]


Article 50 can be stopped. There's no formal process, but any member state that got difficult about it would be quietly told not to be a dick.

The last 27 people who posted in this thread have to club together and send me a box of chocolates. This relies on all 27 taking part, no holdouts.

There's no formal process, but if anyone's difficult about it I will quietly tell them not to be a dick.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:15 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


You are British, your wife is Polish and you were planning on bringing over your mother-in-law to take care of her? That may be difficult. Equally difficult to take your family to Europe. You are a French couple who moved here 20 years ago and have British kids? Unclear if you can stay in the country.

You've missed the bit where if you aren't earning well above the average income, not even your wife can join you, nevermind the in laws.


The last 27 people who posted in this thread have to club together and send me a box of chocolates. This relies on all 27 taking part, no holdouts.

There's no formal process, but if anyone's difficult about it I will quietly tell them not to be a dick.


Difference is that neither you nor a box of chocolates are our major trading partners. We are not collectively harmed by you going without chocolate. Your analogy is deeply flawed to the point of being misleading rather than illuminating.
posted by Dysk at 1:36 AM on July 26, 2018 [21 favorites]


Here's an interesting thread about the terms Britain and the EU will use to trade with the rest of the world once Britain leaves the EU.
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:09 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Difference is that neither you nor a box of chocolates are our major trading partners

Ah yes, "they'll give us what we want regardless of the rules because they want our trade". I think I've heard that before somewhere.

Article 50 explicitly says "If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49." [49 is the normal joining process]

If Briton's allowed to cancel article 50 scot free, there's nothing to stop the populist governments in Italy, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Austria or wherever's next from invoking their own Article 50s whenever they feel a need to keep their supporters happy. That risks destabilizing the whole EU. Article 50 was written to be irrevocable for a reason. It's not in the wider interests of the EU to turn it into the hokey-cokey.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:21 AM on July 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


Thank you Nancy Lebovitz. I kept googling things like "'White Walkers' British political slang" and coming up with nothing useful. I thought it must be, like, the latest wrinkle on "gammon" or something.

What really sears me in all of this is how utterly David Cameron has absconded from accountability. Mrs May is little more than the ashy revenant/chalk outline Cartoonist Rowson depicts her as. JRM is an involuted Baroque horror from out the depths of nightmare. Boris is a leaky-gasbag, methane-based lifeform from the midbands of Jupiter's atmosphere. Michael Gove owns the most punchable face in the history of same. But Pigfucker Dave kicked this all off! Where's the justice? Wherever is the justice?

I was on Ed Miliband's podcast a few weeks back and I couldn't help but think to myself that things could have been so very, very different. Ed seems like he's a million times more comfortable in his own skin now, and I wouldn't wish the premiership on anyone. But, y'know, history could have kinked differently a few nodal points back, and we'd be in a less risibly harrowing place now. Thanks Dave and fuck you.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:27 AM on July 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


Article 50 explicitly says "If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49." [49 is the normal joining process]

You are confusing notification of withdrawal (Article 50) with actual withdrawal. I agree that the EU needs to agree to a revocation of Article 50 and one cannot take that as given, but it is certainly not unlikely. The EU will take heavy damage from the UK leaving the EU - nobody disputes that. It will not be as damaged by it as the UK but the EU would rather find a solution that retains the integrity of the EU, it is not some blind punitive entity.
posted by vacapinta at 2:33 AM on July 26, 2018 [8 favorites]


If Britain's allowed to cancel article 50 scot free

No one in their right mind would think that the UK's spectacular act of self sabotage amounts to them getting off without consequences.
posted by ambrosen at 2:35 AM on July 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


And yet there are those still pointing their flashlights at the escape hatch, and the way toward it remains clear. If I live to be a thousand years old, I'll never understand why some would choose destruction over repair, unless it be to feather their own accounts. Looking at you Jacob.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:37 AM on July 26, 2018


Is Brexit the UK's Helsinki Summit?
posted by infini at 2:49 AM on July 26, 2018


The view on the Continent, where I am, is pretty well summed up by Joris Luyendijk who was asked to give a Dutch perspective on the BBC. He minces no words about Britain's 'delusional grandstanding.' And it is worth hearing that clip to hear the interviewer stunned by the directness and Joris' use of 'you people' to refer to the British, a phrase usually aimed in the other direction.

That is a brutal and refreshingly bullshit-free clip. Thanks for posting.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:15 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Ah yes, "they'll give us what we want regardless of the rules because they want our trade". I think I've heard that before somewhere.

No, the old "they would massively prefer the status quo, and are unlikely to continue the recent UK tradition of shooting themselves and everyone around them in the feet, though they'd want to scrap a lot of UK special treatment". It's not the same thing, and it's hard to see how you've arrived a point of confusing them. Getting Britain to stay in the EU is not "a trade deal".
posted by Dysk at 3:15 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Article 50 was written to be irrevocable

Not according to one of the authors it wasn't!
posted by Dysk at 3:16 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


If Briton's allowed to cancel article 50 scot free

Who said anything about Scot free? A lot of special privileges and exemptions would go by the wayside at least, as well as influence within the EU. It won't be an attractive proposition for anyone to emulate.
posted by Dysk at 3:22 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


All this talk of a “Scot free” return makes me imagine the EU will insist on Scottish independence as part of the price.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:51 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


The EU will definitely, definitely not intervene in the decision of a constituent nation of an EU member of whether to become independent.
posted by ambrosen at 4:19 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


All this talk of a “Scot free” return makes me imagine the EU will insist on Scottish independence as part of the price.

That’d be nice, but not while Spain is trying to suppress the Catalan independence movement.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:20 AM on July 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


The EU has said all along that they will pretend none of this ever happened once the UK has got its silly tantrum out of its system, and the French minister for Europe was on Radio 4 reiterating that this very morning.
posted by Buck Alec at 4:42 AM on July 26, 2018 [9 favorites]


Nathalie Loiseau, France's Europe Minister, just told the BBC's Today programme that it isn't too late for Britain to remain in the EU on its current terms.
Asked if staying in was still an option for the UK, Nathalie Loiseau told the programme:

"We have always said, always, that the door would remain open and that we were not the ones who wanted to diverge from the United Kingdom. It was the British people who decided to leave the European Union."

And when asked if that meant the UK would be able to stay in, “on the same terms”, she replied:

"Sure, of course. [Like] every single member state of the European Union, we have one conviction, which is that the best possible status is being a member, the most profitable status."
We can stop this. There'd be sardonic comments from other European leaders, sure, but a little ribbing now is better than a decade or two in the wilderness.

And Dysk already covered this, but:

TheophileEscargot: The last 27 people who posted in this thread have to club together and send me a box of chocolates. This relies on all 27 taking part, no holdouts.

You and those 27 people have been "clubbing together" as a chocolate-trading collective for 40 years. Yeah, sometimes you annoy them by going "no walnuts, no raisins" and trying to rules-lawyer a bit. But you generally send them good stuff, and you all visit each other regularly, share recipes and help each other out when needed.

Even though they found you a bit annoying, they were saddened when you sent them that email saying next Easter would be your last. If you now say "sorry, didn't mean that, I'm still in", some of them will sigh and tut but they'll be fine with it.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:43 AM on July 26, 2018 [17 favorites]


Also, if I was Nicola Sturgeon, I would be across the Irish Sea trying to build support for a union of Ireland and Scotland.

Sounds completely insane, but think about it. Ireland gets the six additional counties it would like, and a good reason to give their constitution a much-needed overhaul. Northern Ireland unionists get the reassurance of entering into a United Ireland knowing that their closest friend, Scotland, has their back. Scotland gets to unshackle itself from the loonies south of the border, while remaining in the EU thanks to Ireland's existing membership. And England gets to wall itself in and wither and die like it seems to want to without this pesky Irish border thing making it complicated. Everybody wins.
posted by Buck Alec at 4:53 AM on July 26, 2018


It'll all be fine. Russia will annexe us bail us out.
posted by popcassady at 4:55 AM on July 26, 2018


Northern Ireland unionists get the reassurance of entering into a United Ireland knowing that their closest friend, Scotland, has their back.

I'm speechless. Are you sure you've understood what a northern Irish unionist is? Entering a united Ireland is everything they stand against. Utterly anathema.
posted by Dysk at 5:03 AM on July 26, 2018 [9 favorites]


I was born and raised in Unionist North Belfast, so yes, I'm fairly familiar with their thinking.

Right after the referendum, every post office in Northern Ireland ran out of Irish passport application forms. Most of those people, if asked, would say they would rather remain part of the UK. But their principles don't extend as far as not taking up their right to Irish citizenship when it's advantageous to do so.

Yes, there are still old die-hard Unionists, and they make a lot of noise. But when it comes down to it, the kinship they feel is really with Scotland much more than England, so having them make up about half of the population of this new federal nation would reassure them.

Everybody else just wants the best life they can have, like all people everywhere. This would have been absolutely unthinkable a generation ago, when I would sit in my bedroom in Belfast listening to Dublin radio talk shows debating whether divorce should be legalised, and wondering how a place just down the road can seem like another planet. But a lot has changed since then, in Ireland, in Northern Ireland, and the rest of the UK. The parameters just aren't the same any more. Many reasonable, pragmatic small-u unionists, especially younger ones who have grown up post-Good Friday Agreement, see a UK in terminal decline and an Ireland getting its act together, and wonder if it would really be so bad.
posted by Buck Alec at 5:17 AM on July 26, 2018 [16 favorites]


There is an idea -espoused by Stuart Campbell's Wings Over Scotland - that says why not have required the international border between Scotland and England? That way - no need for a border on the island of Ireland - and no need for one in the sea between NI and the rest of Great Britain. The Scot/England border also has many fewer crossing points and is much shorter. Not even necessary for Scotland to be an independent country at the point of implementation. Not remotely likely to happen IMHO - but an interesting take on the Irish border problem.
posted by rongorongo at 5:20 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


It was a Scottish king that first thought of the whole uniting with England thing, afraid they can't be trusted.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:51 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


While we're discussing how we could redraw the borders across these isles in order to ensure that 7 million people don't get Brexit-fucked, we could actually be agreeing amongst ourselves that we'll all unequivocally state every time that we're asked that withdrawing the Article 50 notice is the only solution for 70 million (or arguably 500 million) people. That seems a lot better to me.

Especially if we're going to be talking about England withering and dying and Dublin getting its act together or Ireland fixing its constitution. It's all a bit callous and high handed, and the kind of thing that leads to Brexit referendums and partitioning Ireland in the first place.
posted by ambrosen at 5:54 AM on July 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


It's all fairly moot while the DUP are propping up the government. However many sensible small u unionists with an affinity for Scotland might exist, they're sure as anything not in the DUP.
posted by Dysk at 5:56 AM on July 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Couldn't agree more, Ambrosen. It's not like most of England deserves this fate either - even Leavers didn't vote for this. It's best by far if it all just goes away. But if it doesn't, maybe we can pick up the pieces of the broken mess and try and put them together a bit better.
posted by Buck Alec at 6:18 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


What actions can we take? Everyone around here seems to just be pretending it's not real, even though the majority I know are informed and angry, IDS still swans around the local Summer fair glad handing while he carries on pushing propaganda.
posted by lucidium at 6:35 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Also chiming in to agree with Ambrosen and Buck Alec - please remember that there are lots of people all over England who are desperately unhappy about the way things are going and do not want any of this.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:45 AM on July 26, 2018 [8 favorites]


There are also lots of people all over England (and Wales!) who aren't desperately unhappy about all this because it means they get to kick me and the Poles out. Enough to force that through, and enough to force it on the other territories of the UK where the same is not true. Some anger and bitterness is understandable. Some degree of "fuck yourself up if you want to, but don't shoot us too" is understandable. England and Wales have a lot to answer for.
posted by Dysk at 6:56 AM on July 26, 2018 [8 favorites]


@ElenCaldecott:

I have eaten the plums
that were in the icebox
that you were probably stockpiling
next to the insulin
for Brexit.

Forgive me
I did not know it would be
Battle Royale
When I voted for the bus
that one time.
posted by Wordshore at 9:04 AM on July 26, 2018 [22 favorites]


Of course the top reply to it is someone finding a way to put all the blame on "remoaners" rather than brexit and the brexiteer brigade. Says it all.
posted by Dysk at 9:10 AM on July 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


adamgreenfield: Boris is a leaky-gasbag, methane-based lifeform from the midbands of Jupiter's atmosphere.

Boris was predicted by the late, great Iain M. Banks in "Excession"; he is the Affront.
posted by cstross at 9:44 AM on July 26, 2018 [12 favorites]


> Boris was predicted by the late, great Iain M. Banks in "Excession"; he is the Affront.

On a bit of a Banks nostalgia kick, aren't we? (I wonder how much darker his writing would be today if he was around to see the opposite of techno-utopianism that we are implementing.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:56 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


So in the last couple of days
1 A Times columnist praises authoritarians
2 An MEP wants the law of treason to apply to at least some Remainers
3 Another MEP writes sabre rattling stuff in the Sun
Some thoughts...

posted by JamesBay at 9:56 AM on July 26, 2018


I wonder how much darker his writing would be today if he was around to see the opposite of techno-utopianism that we are implementing.

I suspect it might have been more utopian, if anything. The first few Culture novels were written under Thatcher, and I think there are good reasons to argue that they are, in part, a response to the gloom Banks felt about that era. It feels to me like a lot of early Iain (M) Banks stuff is a response to the dominant culture around him. He really had a gift for tying the absurdly high concept to things that are more nuanced and real, including the political climate around him. I think that talent is why I find even the novels containing his most abstruse conceits engaging to read.
posted by howfar at 10:25 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


What actions can we take? --lucidium

This is the important question. I would welcome the thoughts of others here.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:27 AM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


What actions can we take?

At the risk of repeating myself:
  • Campaign to withdraw the Article 50 notification.
  • Campaign to withdraw the Article 50 notification.
  • Campaign to withdraw the Article 50 notification.
  • Campaign to withdraw the Article 50 notification.
  • Campaign to withdraw the Article 50 notification.
posted by ambrosen at 10:39 AM on July 26, 2018 [10 favorites]


We've got friends and family in the UK. Many in Canada do. I suspect we're going to be sponsoring immigrants

A return of the Kinsmen's (now Kin Canada) “Milk for Britain” campaign?
posted by scruss at 11:09 AM on July 26, 2018


What actions can we take? --lucidium
Here in Scotland, I think there are a sizeable majority who think in terms of a lifeboat option of independence. We - and I guess that also means the Scottish government - probably look at that in the same spirit that one would look at any lifeboat on a ship the looks bound for disaster: a degree of hope but also serious doubts that it might not work, might not work in time and that if it does work - we will look to see our nearest neighbour and biggest trading partner foundering as we make our own way on stormy seas. Nobody is going to want to jump until a point when it looks like there is no other option - but we can mentally prepare for that possibility. We will jump if we have to, I suspect - or try to. Polls put support for remaining in the EU at above 70%. Support for independence is currently maybe 50/50- much less of a cert. One of those figures is probably going to change.

In terms of personal preparation: I guess not being in the UK next Spring - either temporarily or permanently - would make sense if it were achievable. Not likely for most. So would getting any savings out of GBP or British companies...maybe. There are some limited stockpiling options - and trying to reach out to the (many) vulnerable people: EU citizens, people with medical conditions, etc

But prior to all that - agree about campaigning on A50 withdrawal as the best option. Perhaps something which could persuade parliament to be recalled to try to take a vote on backing out? Would have to be something involving action by many.
posted by rongorongo at 11:25 AM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Pro-EU citizens and leaders on the continent would score a pretty nice victory for their cause if they allow the Article 50 notification to be withdrawn on the face-saving grounds that it was the result of a Putinated rat-fucked referendum.
posted by ocschwar at 12:37 PM on July 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Again, there is no realistic likelihood of an Article 50 withdrawal being refused.
posted by ambrosen at 12:48 PM on July 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


Must have missed this thread yesterday, although this topic has been going round and round for the past two years and I find myself running out of things to say on Brexit.

But I think something that's been neglected a bit in the whole debate so far is freedom of movement for UK citizens. I don't mean the people who are already in the EU now - although they're important. I don't mean the people who have the means to get an Irish passport, or the ones with the wherewithal and education and 'in demand skills' to get enough points to up sticks to NZ or Canada. I mean the ordinary Brits, people who don't have an escape hatch.

Freedom of movement for people is the most important of the EU's four freedoms. The freedom to be able to choose to emigrate is fundamental. If you don't have the freedom to say "bollocks to Britain, I want to go and live under another system, in another culture" then you aren't free at all. A country whose citizens can't leave is just a large prison.
posted by winterhill at 1:02 PM on July 26, 2018 [15 favorites]


Boris was predicted by the late, great Iain M. Banks in "Excession"; he is the Affront.

That comparison is offensive to Fivetide and the fine upstanding officers of the Diplomatic Force. The Affront would be far more competent at negotiating a Brexit than Boris and his fellow imbeciles.
posted by N-stoff at 1:29 PM on July 26, 2018


First, I'd like to recommend a good book about the history of the European Union: A Passage to Europe by Luuk Van Middelaar, a Dutch academic who was also an aide to Herman Van Rompuy.

The point he makes is that in constrast to the Leaver paranoia about an elaborate long-term conspiracy to create a superstate, the EU is actually an evolved organisation. Over the years different groups within it have ended up taking and giving power largely as a side-effect of problem solving within it. Its current form is a result of that evolution, not a coherent plan. In particular, the member states jealously guard their existing powers, such as approving new members, and appointing the European Commission. They don't surrender powers to pure-EU bodied lightly, and generally only when it's absolutely necessary to solve a problem.

When the member states have to act unanimously, it's always a long and difficult job to get them to agree. That's why when new states join the EU, it takes so many years to agree it.

Because of its structure, where the member states have the power to decide who's a member, there just isn't any EU officer or body that can cancel Brexit on the timescales and terms you think. Even if the French Minister for Europe wants it, she can't corral the other 26 members. There isn't any power in the EU that can compel the member states to do things they don't want to.

What we should be doing is arguing for a soft Brexit, but since the fundamentalists took over the Remain campaign, half of the campaigners have talked themselves into believing the impossible dream of reentering on "the old terms", and the other half are promoting the impossible because they think it's a useful stepping stone to something realistic like a long Article 49 re-joining process.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:18 PM on July 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Once more: it's people in the UK who are stopping us from withdrawing the Article 50 notification.
posted by ambrosen at 11:50 PM on July 26, 2018 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure how you can be a "moderate remainer". If you don't want to literally stay in the EU entirely, you're not a remainer at all - you're a moderate Leaver. You might have been a remainer during the referendum, but if what you want now is EEA or customs union membership, not full on EU member status, you're not one anymore. Any kind of leaving the EU is leaving.
posted by Dysk at 1:11 AM on July 27, 2018 [12 favorites]


It's like claiming to be a moderate teetotaller because you drink a little bit. No, that's a moderate drinker.
posted by Dysk at 2:23 AM on July 27, 2018


The thing is, there's no such thing as "a Remainer": there's a small group of people, more or less coherent (though not as much as it might appear), dedicated to getting the UK to leave the EU for a number of ideological or fantastical reasons, and there's everybody else, some of whom find the "Leavers" ideas attractive (who might, because of that, be referred to as Leavers, why not) and some who don't who are so varied that it makes no sense to refer to it as an identity.

I've come to the conclusion that by voting most people are participating in a narrative rather than making decisions as such. That's kind of fine - we're narrative-based beings much more than we're rational beings. Anyway, it was true of all elections I remember - 1979, 1983, 1987, 1997 and the referendum. Where there isn't a clear story for people to participate in, there tends to be a muted result and lower turnout - 1992, 2010, 2015. If we want to change people's minds, we need to change the stories they tell themselves about how the country is and how it needs to change. That's what the shock campaigns managed, largely through deceit and mendacity: there isn't a single real argument that makes any sense at all for the people of this country to leave the EU (though there are a large number of criticisms that could be made of the EU, many of them as strong as they're valid, but that isn't the same thing).

How we do that, I don't know, but one thing that needs to be done is to reframe the identities, and the first thing that needs to go is this wholly artificial notion of "The Remainer".
posted by Grangousier at 2:52 AM on July 27, 2018


Nope I am a remainer, which is what a europhile or someone dedicated to the EU is called in the context of this current conflict. This is not new. I have t always been an EU citizen, and I have always been staunchly in favour of the EU and the broader European project, and against British exceptionalism.

That there is a new conflict with new terminology does not make the "remainer" a new invention. There has always been a large group of people firmly in favour of ever greater union, and firmly annoyed with pounds, pints, and miles.
posted by Dysk at 3:09 AM on July 27, 2018


But more broadly, a remainer is just somebody who is not a Leaver. Somebody who is not in favour of a destructive change to the status quo. The remainer exists because of the referendum (though they have existed before, they needed no label). The leaver is what needs to go. Get rid of that and remainer ceases to make sense. As long as they exist, remainer is a natural, necessary, and unavoidable negation.
posted by Dysk at 3:11 AM on July 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


One thing you can say for ‘Remain’: it’s a political position with a well-defined end-point. Which is more than you can say for ‘Leave’.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 3:35 AM on July 27, 2018 [5 favorites]




What we should be doing is arguing for a soft Brexit, but since the fundamentalists took over the Remain campaign

Sure, an opinion piece written by a guy whose bio says he's "a PR professional who campaigned for Remain" is a totally unbiased view.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:54 AM on July 27, 2018


Fuck unbiased.
posted by Grangousier at 5:02 AM on July 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Sorry, what I meant is that he obviously believes his way is always the right way, and that the so-called "fundamentalists" are crazy. It's like how centrists in the US are constantly wagging their fingers over leftist "fundamentalists" on college campuses who don't want bigoted fuckheads spewing hate speech for being the real fascists.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:11 AM on July 27, 2018


Right.

I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about.
posted by Grangousier at 5:16 AM on July 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


I’m confused by the link TheophileEscargot posted. The author says:

The House of Lords is making remarkable progress on customs union membership and a powerful case is being made for an association agreement that allows us to retain single market membership and freedom of movement.

If that’s really happening, are the doomsday scenarios wrong? Or is the author overly optimistic? And wasn’t a huge piece of Brexit driven by the desire to end freedom of movement, and it’s certain requirement for belonging to the Single Market (producing the political incoherence that seems to be paralyzing the UK government)?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:46 AM on July 27, 2018


Brexit Endgame: second stage (which is unlikely to end with no deal) https://mainlymacro.blogspot.com/2018/07/brexit-endgame-second-stage-which-is.html … Where I offer reassurance and comfort about No Deal. - @sjwrenlewis

A phrase used in multiple Government statements, which sounded like non-denial denials from a "Welcome to Night Vale"-style dystopia.

I needed the reminder that this was arguably deliberate, for negotiation reasons. Basically everyone has an incentive to talk up No Deal. The fact that No Deal is even a possibility is quite enraging enough on its own.
posted by sourcejedi at 6:02 AM on July 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about.

Maybe? But it certainly looks like Harman's calling for appeasement to Leave is the exact kind of thing that a PR guy willing to toss his left flank to the wolves would write than any sort of principled stand against a corrupt, dictator-manipulated campaign demonizing most of Europe. That the link is in the context of a bunch of Euroskepticism trying to reframe the history of said campaign as logical and definitely not bigoted or compromised despite all the evidence to the contrary kind of cements it.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:06 AM on July 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


From the outside, the Wren-Lewis post does bring up some plausible points about everyone's interests. (May not wanting to go down in history as the person who crashed the UK, the fact that every faction is trying to get political capital out of it so brinksmanship is inevitable, etc).

We now know better, but it seems our representative democracy is paralyzed by a vote for a fantasy.

Truer words were never wrote. This has actually clarified for me something I've been trying to understand - the way so much of politics in the past couple of years has seemed to be based on wishful thinking about things that cannot possibly come to be.

What's happening in a variety of places is that the actual options on the table are terrifying, inconceivable or intolerable to most people (some kind of roughly socialist change to fix inequality and help us cope with global warming; technocracy led by the Musks and Thiels of the world with no freedom but probably a fix for warming; feudalist capitalism where everyone but the very rich is totally precarious and immiserated and/or dead with no fix for warming).

And as a result, everyone has been retreating into a fantasy world - Brexit will solve our problems! The EU is the most dangerous enemy of the left! Trump won't touch Medicare! Immigrants are the reason that wages and employment are stagnating! Hillary is the hawk, not Trump! None of these things is remotely born out by facts, but all allow us to dodge, for a couple of years, the increasingly difficult and frightening choices ahead.

I think that the fantasy period may be coming to an end, partly because something has to be done about Brexit, partly because all the promises and factionalist rhetoric aren't changing the underlying conditions and partly because certain things are just too big and real to ignore.

Now I suppose we're going to go into some kind of race against time to see whether it's socialism or barbarism.
posted by Frowner at 6:29 AM on July 27, 2018 [10 favorites]


I think Wren-Lewis is very optimistic about the underlying competence of this government, and the extent to which a lot of brexiteers in parliament are willing to shoot themselves in the nose to spite their face. Or, er, to spite europhiles/internationalists/foreigners.


If that’s really happening, are the doomsday scenarios wrong?

No, the doomsday scenarios are what happens in the case of no deal. That Lords are preparing to find a way to stay in the EEA doesn't make what would happen in the event if no deal any less disastrous. Staying in the EEA would be awesome, but at this point I'll only believe it when I see it. Like, if it's realistically achievable with regard to internal UK politics, why not just call the whole thing off? It's functionally not very different. But it's obviously utterly unacceptable to a significant portion of tories, and against everything both major parties have chained themselves to with regard to "the will of the people".
posted by Dysk at 6:49 AM on July 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


It seems disingenuous to claim that Remain voters are a heterogeneous bunch who are now fractiously squabbling and denying reality. In fact it is the group arbitrarily defined by voting “leave” who are the ship of fools. “Remain in the EU” is a clear and cohesive stance. “Leave” comprises everything from so-called soft Brexit to absolue crash out no deal Brexit. If all types of leave had been on the ballot, Remain would have handily won. Also anyone who thinks that leave could win a second referendum is denying the demographic reality that some years have passed during which many old leave voters have died and many young would-have-been remain voters have turned 18, can now vote, and are rightfully angry at the predicament their elders have left them.
posted by tractorfeed at 6:59 AM on July 27, 2018 [17 favorites]


This is what no-deal Brexit actually looks like
posted by Grangousier at 4:24 AM on July 27 [4 favorites +] [!]

I'm going to send this to my brexiteer relatives. They have now realized how stupid they were, but they have idiot friends they can forward it to.
posted by mumimor at 7:57 AM on July 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


Does this agreement on EU citizens living and working here still hold, regardless of no deal?

Because if it doesn't, and all the 1 million or so (non-Irish) EU nationals that live and work here suddenly become illegal immigrants overnight when we exit under no deal - and are therefore unable to legally work, rent, etc, with their employers potentially facing jail and/or unlimited fines if they continue to employ them - it's going to be an absolutely horrific atrocity.

(And even if it is covered under a no deal exit, it'll be basically exactly the same abysmal shit, but spread out over slightly longer).
posted by dng at 8:43 AM on July 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Would have been better if the original referendum was join Eea or Remain. Farage at al would have called fowl but at least there would be options afterwards.

I just can't see another referendum happening this side of March.

Also what options would be on the ballot paper?

This poll shows a very split public
posted by 92_elements at 9:49 AM on July 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Former UK Representation to the EU negotiator Steve Bullock, writing in his article the Independent, As a British EU Negotiator, I Can Tell You That Brexit Is Going To Be Far Worse Than Anyone Could Have Guessed: "What is most frustrating, and deeply worrying, about these continuous “we didn’t realise that” moments is that the Government has plenty of excellent sector-specific experts in Whitehall, and the United Kingdom Representation to the European Union (UKRep), which represents the UK in negotiations that take place in the EU. I simply don’t believe that they are not doing their job and reporting these issues to ministers and their offices. [...] The incredible level of technical complexity appears to have been ignored by the Prime Minister and government ministers, so we can look forward to further weeks of startling discoveries of self-defeating implications of the Government’s own Brexit strategy."
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:01 AM on July 27, 2018 [10 favorites]


Does this agreement on EU citizens living and working here still hold, regardless of no deal?

Not necessarily. All it is at present is a bunch of "we intend to..." noise. Nothing has been implemented. No laws have been passed. If neither of those things happen before No Deal, then you'd better have applied for permanent residency under the old (read: currently existing) system. Assuming you're eligible (I'm not, despite having lived here 13 years)
posted by Dysk at 10:03 AM on July 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


Good (or, you know, grimly satisfying) news: Labour Brexiteer Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, has had a vote of no confidence against her by Vauxhall Labour.

It's long overdue. Vauxhall (in south-central London) voted about 80% Remain and is a diverse, multi-ethnic place with a large number of immigrants. Hoey loves Brexit with absolute blind devotion, and did an infamous photo-op during the referendum campaign sipping champagne on a boat with Nigel Farage.

The vote of no confidence, together with a censure and a request for the Labour Party to remove the whip (that is, expel her) passed 42-0. She did not attend the meeting (she's visiting Zimbabwe right now), but she sent a written statement which was read out; no one else spoke in her defense.

She's probably safe-ish for this Parliament, but the likelihood of her being deselected at the next General Election has increased. (Vauxhall is a safe Labour seat; the only way to get rid of Hoey is to get the party to deselect her.)

Another ardent Labour Brexiteer, Frank Field, is reportedly facing the same treatment from his constituency in Birkenhead.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:02 PM on July 27, 2018 [5 favorites]


Grangousier This is what no-deal Brexit actually looks like

This is a great but terrifying article that answered a number of questions I had, such as 'surely the UK can just let in EU food without inspections/tariffs, thus avoiding running out of food?' [spoiler: it's harder than that].
posted by Pink Frost at 11:26 PM on July 27, 2018


Speaking as someone who is in Frank Field's constituency, it's nothing like as diverse or multi-ethnic as Vauxhall, and it went Leave -- just -- but deselection, retirement, or death is the only way Frank Field will lose his seat. It is one of the safest Labour seats in the country. Austerity has heaped total horror on so many of his already-vulnerable constituents, and regardless of Leave's slim victory here, for Frank to vote to prop up this brutal government is unforgivable. It makes a mockery of his reputation as an anti-poverty campaigner, which is really his sole virtue as an MP.
posted by skybluepink at 1:11 AM on July 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


The latest YouGov poll on the second referendum shows a five percent swing towards it over the last month, giving it a 42 to 40 percent lead. This isn't a blip, it's been building steadily.

Since there is no form of agreement which can fulfil the Government's red-line promises and the EU's long-stated position, the negotiations are going to just go rancid. And it's not as if there's any good news about Brexit waiting in the wings.

Interesting.
posted by Devonian at 4:28 AM on July 28, 2018


skybluepink, as someone in Hoey's constituency I am glad to have a perspective from Field's.

Looks like his constituency party just gave him the finger too though. (No confidence vote; request for withdrawal of the whip; request for deselection)
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:26 PM on July 28, 2018


Farmers in drought summit amid fears of food supply crisis
What the National Farmers Union describes as “tinderbox conditions” have severely reduced grass growth and depleted yields for many crops, leading to concerns that there will be a shortage of feed for livestock and dairy farmers later in the year. Concerns about the fragility of the UK’s food chain come at a sensitive time after the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, admitted last week that the government was taking steps to ensure that there were “adequate” supplies for Britain in the event of a no-deal departure from the European Union. The revelation led to speculation that the UK might be forced to start stockpiling food.

But the heatwave has acted as a “timely reminder” that the UK cannot take its food production for granted, according to NFU president Minette Batters, who warns of “the crippling impact of the dry, hot weather on farms across the country”.
In some ways this all reminds me of the "endless summer" of 1914. Stupid politicians making stupid choices for stupid reasons while the heat is overwhelming. We'll have to hope it isn't that bad.
posted by mumimor at 1:42 PM on July 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


> Campaign to withdraw the Article 50 notification.

I agree that Article 50 must be withdrawn, but directly - just like that? I don't see this working. The Executive isn't going to unilaterally do anything so brazen; MPs would have to vote for it - and the 2016 referendum has effectively neutered representative democracy. MPs are not doing their job of working for the best interests of their constituents. Whether it's idiocy or fear of the electorate or fear of the whips: there's been a short circuit and they're not doing it.

Surely the answer is really: campaign for a second referendum / People's Vote / Final Say, then throw everything at campaigning for Remain.
posted by Quagkapi at 4:47 PM on July 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


....the day after Cox’s murder, Massingham wrote: “Once we turn everything back on we’ll start to see results based on the new segments.” At 7.46pm, he confirmed: “Ads come back online @10pm tonight.”
Carole Cadwalla was the only journalist at Nix’s first appearance in February. His second was packed with international press and live-streamed to thousands of people across the world. The 27 March hearing with Christopher Wylie, one week after he broke open Cambridge Analytica’s massive abuse of Facebook data, in the Observer and New York Times, was watched by the biggest audience that parliament has ever had. Plucky little panel’ that found the truth about fake news, Facebook and Brexit
Meanwhile more than 1.4m additional young people could vote in new Brexit referendum
Pro-EU MPs have questioned whether this demographic shift could 'tip the scales' in a fresh poll.
#Resist
posted by adamvasco at 5:04 PM on July 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook), bestselling author of £1/day recipes and expert in food, poverty, and food banks, has written a scathing tweetstorm (Thread Reader) about the mainstream UK media's irresponsibly sensationalistic coverage about food stockpiling and how it will actually affect the poorest segments of British society.

He's positively incandescent with rage, e.g. "It is a typical ploy of Government - especially this one - to leak a hint of impending apocalypse & cause mass hysteria. This allows them to then do what they like, because, phew, at least we aren't eating our cats! Price rises? Phew. Chlorinated chicken? Fine! You fools. There is a term for this and I am do furious I can't remember what it is, so I'll just call it absolutebollocksfuckerylies. Snappy."
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:39 PM on July 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


The first term that comes to mind is Shock Doctrine.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:41 PM on July 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


I know 5 voters who voted Leave not to do with FOM.
2 were for extra funding for NHS
1 believes the EU policy towards Africa is indefensible (particular regarding food)
1 was because they were worried about TTIP.
1 was to encourage Scotish independence.

None of them seem happy with the way the negotiations have gone. Not sure which way they would vote now.

May never should have enacted article 50 without having a plan in place. Maybe even after the general election of 2017?

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the backstop plan for Northern Ireland. Anyone got a link to discussing if it's actually feasible?
posted by 92_elements at 3:24 AM on July 29, 2018


I understand Jack Munroe uses singular they/them, not he (or she), having come out as non-binary in 2015. Thanks for the link!
posted by sourcejedi at 4:18 AM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Her" is also used by Jack's publisher of the 2018 book. The talk page suggests Wiki isn't *sure* about "they", but considered using "they" in their article was the sensible default. Either way, using "he" does not match Jack's public preferences AFAIK.
posted by sourcejedi at 4:35 AM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


A related aside, from Twitter today: Did you know that the French proposed a complete union with the U.K., with the Queen as Head of State, not once but /twice/ within the twentieth century? (And when rebuffed in the second instance, suggested joining the Commonwealth instead.)

Because I certainly didn’t!

Talk about paths not taken...
posted by pharm at 6:05 AM on July 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm still trying to wrap my head around the backstop plan for Northern Ireland. Anyone got a link to discussing if it's actually feasible?
Firstly you have to assume that there is a plan.

From November last year
...the woman charged with planning for Britain’s post-Brexit borders, Karen Wheeler, was asked an apparently soft question: “Obviously, we have the situation of Northern Ireland and the land border there; we have 300 crossing points where people and goods can freely move. From your point of view, in your team’s planning, what are the specific challenges associated with planning for these changes between the UK and southern Ireland?”
Her reply was breathtaking: “I am not really able to say. That area is not within the scope that we in the border planning group have been working on. The arrangements on Ireland are still subject to negotiations and ministerial discussion, so that has not come within our scope at this stage.”
posted by adamvasco at 6:08 AM on July 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Thanks Adamvasco, rather worrying but she probably had no choice to go "yes it's impossible to resolve"

I also meant the EU idea of allowing part of the UK (NI) to be in the customs union and part not be (the rest). How could that work?
posted by 92_elements at 9:39 AM on July 29, 2018


I also meant the EU idea of allowing part of the UK (NI) to be in the customs union and part not be (the rest). How could that work?

A customs border in the Irish Sea. Which is not an entirely terrible option, unless you're the DUP and you see it as the first step towards reunifying Ireland. If the DUP weren't currently in coalition with the Tories that's probably what the plan would be.

It is weird to have an internal customs border, and who knows what Constitutional ramifications it would have. But if you have to pick a place to put the border, it's clearly the least-bad place. Though I must say I love the idea of putting the border between Scotland and England.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:27 PM on July 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Great piece by the ever-reliable Chris Grey: The ultimate Brexit counterfactual.
posted by rory at 5:40 AM on August 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yaxley-Lennon's out on the streets again. The Secret Barrister explains.
posted by Grangousier at 6:11 AM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


I don't know if it turned up previously, but recently Danny Dorling has been out and about promoting his latest book Peak Inequality (New Statesman tie-in piece, there), and I've been listening to his accompanying talks at the RSA and the LSE.

(Spoilers - Good news: he thinks inequality has peaked; Bad news: it will take a long time to come down and things will be hairy for a bit.)

As someone who grew up during the 70s, it's a shock to realise quite how unequal we've become - I was 14 in 1978, which was, apparently, peak equality in the UK.
posted by Grangousier at 4:00 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Preparing for Brexit on a small Scottish island.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:35 PM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


Preparing for Brexit on a small Scottish island.

That is a fascinating thread. Apart from the prepping, there is also a sounder explanation for Brexit than I've ever heard: the EU is cracking down on tax-evasion, and the people who funded the Brexit campaign and told all the lies are major tax-evaders. If this is true, it all makes more sense.
About the prepping: it's a joke in my family that if bad times come we'll all move to the family farm and survive here. My doctor will happily provide prepper-grade medicine supplies because he's from the same area and "we" stick together. BUT, there are issues. We have solar, and a battery to go with it. But our panels are on the main grid, because if they weren't the electricity company would refuse to deliver to us during winter. So even on a sunny day, if there is a power outage, we get it. I guess I could build a local grid with my neighbor who has wind, but it isn't a quick fix.
This year, I was planning to finally get that vegetable garden up and running, last year it was too wet. Well, this year it is too dry, since May we've had almost no water. Everything I planted in April has died. When I was a kid we had our own well. But after a draught nearly as bad as this one, my grandparents shifted to municipal water -- they tired of bringing water for all the livestock from the village. Fifty years before that, the people would have had to butcher the animals since there wasn't a municipal well. Thinking of these last two years I've truly realized how tough it must have been back when people lived off the land. I'm learning to preserve whatever grows. But it means that one year you may have only beans and another only onions. Last year I had plenty apples, now it is plums. And figs. You can't plan.
It goes on and on but the main point is, you can't just revert to a pre-WWII lifestyle within a year. It takes ages to build up a relative security, and it isn't that attractive anyway.
The same for the whole of the UK: you can't build up food self-sufficiency in a year. If a country depends on imports for food security, they can't just stop trading from one day to the next. And see upthread for why you can't just get the food from the US or somewhere else.
posted by mumimor at 11:20 PM on August 1, 2018 [7 favorites]


News I didn't read or understand in 2016, because I am not a multinational tax-evader: European commission to resurrect overarching corporate tax proposals
posted by mumimor at 11:30 PM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


@susie_dent:

A reminder that a 'mumpsimus' (1500s) is someone who sticks obstinately to their beliefs, in spite of clear evidence that they are wrong.
posted by Wordshore at 5:19 AM on August 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


Writing from across the pond here (Washington DC)--hoping someone can recommend a good non-garbage website with non-garbage views that provides regular Brexit news updates. Either a primary news source or an aggregator would do.
posted by duffell at 5:24 AM on August 3, 2018


...granted, right-wing tabloids do occasionally provide an interesting window via their increasingly desperate bluster, e.g. "Paris WARNED: Bad Brexit deal means beloved [Marks & Spencer] sandwiches are off the menu" from the Express. (Boy, that'll show 'em!)
posted by duffell at 5:29 AM on August 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


duffell; I think this might assist. Analysing Brexit as it develops. - The Brexit Blog - Chris Grey.
Following the outcome of the Referendum – which I had not expected – I realised that we were going to be in for years in which Brexit would dominate political as well as economic, social and cultural life and I wanted to have some voice, however small, in that. So after returning from summer holiday I launched this blog in September 2016. Since then, I have gradually turned myself into an expert – up to a point – in Brexit. Only up to a point, because I don’t have that much time to spend on it and because, anyway, it is a topic so complex that no one person can really be expert in it.
Chris Grey is a Professor of Organization Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, and was previously a Professor at Cambridge University and Warwick University. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS). Originally studied Economics and Politics at Manchester University, where he gained a PhD on the regulation of financial services.
posted by adamvasco at 6:12 AM on August 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'd also recommend David Allen Green on his blog and also on Twitter. A lawyer who specialises (in his own words) in complete messes, he was a Eurosceptic (worked for arch-Eurosceptic Bill Cash back in the day), didn't really pay any attention to the referendum and has been notating the developing clusterfuck ever since. Appears on this episode of the Remainiacs podcast. As the name suggests they're partial to one side, however reality suggest that the other side is completely fucking insane, so the bias really isn't a problem.

Green wrong predicted that they wouldn't declare Article 50. However, since his prediction was based on the fact that no one would be that stupid, it's forgiveable that he had to learn the hard way that they are. I think he's recalibrated his expectations since then.
posted by Grangousier at 6:38 AM on August 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


I am shocked to discover no one is calling the Cabinet's "have our cake and eat it too" proposal the "Chequered Plan."
posted by duffell at 8:47 AM on August 3, 2018


Hadley Freeman's Weekend column:
Can’t speak Flemish? Hate Nutella? There’ll be no room for you in remainiac Britain
In 2016, leave won and its die-hard supporters, the Brexiters, immediately took this to mean that the people had not just spoken but specifically said, “Please give us the most extreme, most self-defeating, most ideological Brexit possible, even though it means breaking almost all the promises you made during the campaign, such as more money for schools and hospitals, staying in the single market and customs union, and a deal being totally easy to pull off. We don’t care about the quality of our lives – just give us hard Brexit!” So, to equal things up, it seems fair that if remain were to win a second vote, then its most devoted faction – the remainiacs – should insist on a “hard remain”. Come with me, my friends, to a Britain that is not just in Europe, but is Europe. Welcome to hard remain.
posted by mumimor at 6:37 AM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


It's kinda telling that even Freeman in that clearly satirical piece stops short of saying miles will be abolished in favour of kilometres, pounds and stone in favour of kilograms, feet and inches in favour of centimetres (no, you're not five foot ten, you're 178cm), pints, quarts and gallons in favour of litres and millilitres, UK plugs in favour of European ones, and and cars are to drive on the right side of the road. Oh and while we're at it, if we could find some way to regulate drugs being sold by the gram rather than the fraction of an ounce, that'd be awesome too, but might be more difficult.

If you're going to do this, go all the way.
posted by Dysk at 7:09 AM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]




The stupid...
posted by mumimor at 2:20 AM on August 5, 2018


Liam Fox says ""We have set out the basis in which a deal can happen but if the EU decides that the theological obsession of the unelected is to take priority over the economic wellbeing of the people of Europe then it's a bureaucrats' Brexit - not a people's Brexit - then there is only going to be one outcome."
They're going No Deal deliberately because, well, I don't know why to be honest. Can you take a short position on an entire country?
posted by fullerine at 2:24 AM on August 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


Sterling is probably a decent proxy.
posted by Dysk at 2:50 AM on August 5, 2018


I already replaced stones and feet with kilograms and cms for height because it is a wildly better system.
it was a surprisingly simple switch to make mentally and now I'm now all that sure what a stone is or why.
(Like, 14 pounds? is that right. and a pound is some ounces.. 16? crazy!)

The only thing that we even still do in pints really is beer.
Half litre? Fine. I know milk kind of is, but it's just sold in weird volumes of millilitres anyway pretty much everyone's measure of milk is "A bottle of"

We should do all of these things. Cars should drive on the right. It would make cars a lot cheaper. Better still let's maybe get rid of cars as far as possible because they are a dumb waste of energy. (Obviously, you sometimes need cars, but you really could get rid of 90% of them and be better off for it)

The plugs though...
I live in a community of houseboats, most of which were imported from continental Europe (Mostly the Netherlands, but also France and) so me and most of my neighbours have random bits of European wiring here and there. There is really no comparison. British plugs should stay and maybe Europe can have them too?

Everything else from Europe is better. Metric system, Schengen area, everything... but the plugs....
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:07 AM on August 5, 2018


*Addendum

I might swap the plugs for widespread adoption of Hegelslag as a breakast food.
Maybe.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:09 AM on August 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


When were your houseboats imported? Because the newer-style three-pin euro plugs are pretty ace. Unlike UK ones, they also aren't lethal caltrops when unplugged, or unnecessarily bulky.
posted by Dysk at 4:11 AM on August 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


Oooh.
I am always interested in new plug standards (genuinely true)
Are they on this list? I don't see them.

All the the euro plug links I'm finding are all 2 pin.
I think all the non UK sockets we've got are the 2 pin euro plug.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:24 AM on August 5, 2018


There are three or four slightly different three pin european plugs on that list, yeah. Type K is my personal preference, though mounted the other way up (with the single earth pin at the top, so a dropped paperclip is whatever can't lie across the live and neutral, shorting them). I see a lot of type E and what look like type F but with a third pin (on the plug, not on the socket like type E) as well, and they are also grand.
posted by Dysk at 3:45 AM on August 6, 2018 [1 favorite]






An 18th-century French viscount

Vicomte, surely.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:36 AM on August 6, 2018


Raphael Behr writes:
Or maybe we just haven’t hit the bottom yet. Maybe British politics just has to ride out a few more cycles of mania and denial. It resembles an addict’s compulsion to keep going, to repeat the degrading pattern again and again, because carrying on feels easier than stopping; because to stop would mean a brutal audit of harm already done, relationships ruined, money squandered, poison already ingested. It is a painful reckoning, but not one that can be postponed for ever.
posted by rongorongo at 12:15 PM on August 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


No-deal Brexit poses serious risk to public safety, say police leaders
Well yes, that is obvious. We knew that in advance, as well as every single other bit of catastrophic foresight this summer has brought. The strange thing is why the UK government and the opposition both kept quiet about it. I know the brexiteers and the tabloids would have called them fear mongers, and did call them fear mongers for much less candid warnings. But isn't it the British tradition to show some courage when your country is under attack? To speak out against liars and frauds?
I'm going out to scream into the void.

In the Raphael Behr comment quoted above, he mentions that the Continental Europeans seem disengaged. I don't know that is the right description. What is the German word for watching in helpless terror while your life-long friend is driving his 18-wheel truck full speed towards the white cliffs of Dover with no brakes?
posted by mumimor at 12:37 PM on August 6, 2018


I don't know, but I can't help but feel overcome every day by an ever growing anxiety and despair. And I also can't help feel that that is part of the plan, an infliction of psychic terror on all of us to get us to comply or cower or cry.

In the same vein as Trump's Mirror, for all their cries of "project fear" at the remain side, it was and is and will continually be part of the leave strategy (alongside project hate and project fuck you).
posted by dng at 12:44 PM on August 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


The one thing I think we all agree on is the need for a powerful anti-racist, pro-refugee movement in response to the fascism that has resurged.

Islamophobia is at the forefront of their propaganda and Muslim people across the world need to know they're welcome and supported in our societies.

There's a rally today against Boris Johnson
6pm, Uxbridge & S. Ruislip Conservatives, 36 Harefield Road, UB8 1PH

But I urge everyone more generally to become involved with these movements. It may not seem directly linked to economic concerns about the effects of exiting, but this sort of organising can form the basis for effective actions which can ensure positive outcomes for all.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:40 PM on August 8, 2018 [4 favorites]


Something to ponder: the Labour Party Conference is coming up around 23 September.

In light of this, it might be worth keeping an eye on groups most likely to be able to alter the Labour agenda. Groups such as Remain Labour, Labour Movement For Europe and Left Against Brexit, as well as Our Future Our Choice (not a Labour group, but they're specifically a youth group, and the Corbyn vote at the last GE was, in large part, the youth vote).

Support, donate, volunteer, retweet, share, amplify.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:59 PM on August 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


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