The light at the end of the "tunnel" is a Eurostar
November 14, 2018 10:15 AM   Subscribe

At the time of writing, Theresa May's cabinet is meeting to discuss a draft Brexit deal between the UK and EU, that has emerged from the "tunnel" of secret negotiations. Will it be acceptable to her cabinet, or will there be resignations? Will it pass parliament, or will it fall afoul of, well, pretty much everyone? (DUP; Scottish Tories angry over fisheries; Moderate remainer Tories; Labour; frothing crazy ERG Tories; LibDems)

Here are some of the consequences so far [twitter; good follow on Brexit-related stuff]. Here are some of the likely consequences of no-deal.
Corbyn says the deal could leave us in "an indefinite halfway house without any real say". But what does Corbyn really think of the EU? [twitter]
Ultimately, maybe @mutablejoe is right:
brexit is like a sitcom where at the start of the episode the main character tells a casual lie about being able to skydive to impress someone and now they're at the end of the episode in a plane about to jump
posted by chappell, ambrose (567 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
 
This analysis from the Financial Times (!) letters section from 2017 is still germane. TAEK BARK KONTRAWL!
posted by lalochezia at 10:19 AM on November 14 [18 favorites]


Brexit is that sitcom, but they told a casual lie about being able to fly and now they're about to jump out of a plane without a parachute.
posted by Grangousier at 10:21 AM on November 14 [32 favorites]


also there is no plane you're just loosely strapped to the back of nigel farage who's been launched by a putin controlled catapult.
posted by lalochezia at 10:23 AM on November 14 [27 favorites]


Farage doesn't have the best safety record within a plane either, though
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:24 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


Don't even suggest the possibility that I might be strapped to Niggle Farrago's back. I just ate. At Wetherspoon's, so it's touch and go already.
posted by Grangousier at 10:25 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


Theresa is drinking at the proverbial last chance saloon, and here's her tankard.
posted by Wordshore at 10:37 AM on November 14 [15 favorites]


NYRB: How Brexit Broke Up Britain, Fintan O’Toole
There is stark and overwhelming evidence that the English people who voted for Brexit do not, on the whole, care about the United Kingdom and in particular do not care about that part of it called Northern Ireland. When asked in the recent “Future of England” survey whether “the unravelling of the peace process in Northern Ireland” is a “price worth paying” for Brexit that allows them to “take back control,” fully 83 percent of Leave voters and 73 percent of Conservative voters in England agree that it is. This is not, surely, mere mindless cruelty; it expresses a deep belief that Northern Ireland is not “us,” that what happens “over there” is not “our” responsibility. Equally, in the Channel 4 survey, asked how they would feel if “Brexit leads to Northern Ireland leaving the United Kingdom and joining the Republic of Ireland,” 61 percent of Leave voters said they would be “not very concerned” or “not at all concerned.”

This may be startling but it is also a pretty clear message.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:43 AM on November 14 [56 favorites]


The liveblogs (first two links in post, unpaywalled) have some chatter about May possibly facing an ERG-orchestrated vote of no-confidence tomorrow. There was some discussion in the last-but-one Brexit thread about the 1922 Committee and how these votes work within the Tory party.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:48 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


NYT Live: The meeting has gone well past the expected three hours that were originally scheduled, and it was unclear why it had gone on so long or when it would wrap up.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:48 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


73 percent of the Conservative and Unionist Party, you say.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:50 AM on November 14 [19 favorites]


The meeting has gone well past the expected three hours that were originally scheduled, and it was unclear why it had gone on so long or when it would wrap up.

Waiting for Brexot?
posted by BungaDunga at 10:50 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


I don't see how May can get this deal through Parliament... Labour is opposed, the DUP is opposed, the hardline Brexiteers are opposed, the Scottish Tories are opposed. All of that matters, not just for the raw number count of votes, but for the sense of momentum and the willingness of MPs on the fence to vote yes.
posted by overglow at 10:53 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


Brexit is that sitcom, but they told a casual lie about being able to fly and now they're about to jump out of a plane without a parachute.

The surprise twist is that it's actually submarine and when they open the door to "jump" it floods. Also the entire population of the UK is in the submarine.
posted by srboisvert at 10:55 AM on November 14 [26 favorites]


The thing to finally unite the Tory party seems to be a hatred of the deal May has brought back. The parliamentary arithmetic just doesn’t add up.

At this point if she came out and announced a snap election it wouldn’t surprise me, especially if those no-confidence letters have started piling up.
posted by brilliantmistake at 10:59 AM on November 14


Eponysterical, there.
posted by Grangousier at 11:00 AM on November 14 [8 favorites]


it was unclear why it had gone on so long or when it would wrap up.

Metaphors present themselves on silver platters sometimes.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:01 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]




Theresa has just done her short speech outside No. 10. Blah blah blah cabinet has agreed the deal yadda yadda yadda will swing by parliament tomorrow but am off to put my feet up and watch the tele this evening toodle pip. It was annoying to watch on the BBC as the sound was out of synch from the picture, plus a protestor at the end of Downing Street was yelling throughout.

Onto tomorrow, then.
posted by Wordshore at 11:25 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


May, just now:
"This is a decision that will come under intense scrutiny, but the decision was to build a future for our country or to go back to square one and fail on the promise of the referendum."
Agreed, that was the choice, but "go back to square one and fail on the promise of the referendum" was the correct answer, since the promise of the referendum was fundamentally dishonest and impossible to deliver in the first place.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:31 AM on November 14 [32 favorites]


Earlier Laura Kuenssberg was tweeting that their might be a no confidence vote essentially by accident as feelings are running so high. Utterly farcical, Carry On Brexit.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:35 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


There was someone very loud and very angry screaming and bawling throughout the speech.
posted by winterhill at 11:36 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


The highest-rated comment on The Guardian article on this sorry mess sums it up brilliantly.
So this whole exercise in “taking back control” has resulted in a complex document written by a small number of people in secret, that the British people have had absolutely no input in shaping, that will almost certainly be unsatisfactory for everyone on all sides, and is too long for any real scrutiny to happen in the time available. Not that it could really be modified anyway. Marvellous. I feel so empowered by this moment.
posted by vac2003 at 11:38 AM on November 14 [72 favorites]


ahaha. Crispin Blunt of the ERG just now:

"When we've left, the United Kingdom is going to be in an immensely powerful position - the EU need our trade and money."

THE GERMAN CAR MANUFACTURERS ARE STILL COMING TO SAVE US, EVERYBODY!
posted by Catseye at 11:38 AM on November 14 [7 favorites]


Here's one chaotic, plausible, relatively optimistic way this could play out (at least he predicted the first step right!)
posted by overglow at 11:42 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


May: “When you strip away the detail the choice before us is clear. This deal [...] or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all.”

Interesting.
posted by Catseye at 11:53 AM on November 14 [16 favorites]


I don't see how May can get this deal through Parliament...

The Guardian ran the numbers the other day... it's still, in theory, possible but it would be very very tight
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:56 AM on November 14


My homegrown metaphor for Brexit is that it's like the game of chicken in Rebel Without a Cause, only there's only one car (which is Britain), and as most of the people in the car are screaming to hit the brakes, May is insisting ever more loudly that there will be a huge pile of cash at the cliff base to land on.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:59 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


I have downloaded the 585 page draft agreement, and am now word and phrase searching on the critical issues of the day.

{Update} so far, searches on the important words 'cake', 'tea' and 'cricket' return no hits(!)
posted by Wordshore at 12:03 PM on November 14 [20 favorites]




Search for ‘sunlit uplands’...
posted by Catseye at 12:08 PM on November 14 [5 favorites]


Is this a case of the British seeing how it feels to be divided into multiple countries by a British government?
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:14 PM on November 14 [62 favorites]


For anyone who isn't up for reading the full draft agreement right now, here's the much shorter (7 page) Outline Of The Political Declaration Setting Out The Framework For The Future Relationship Between The European Union And The United Kingdom
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:14 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


Catseye: "Search for ‘sunlit uplands’..."

I'd be looking for clever acrostics, hidden messages, read the first letter of every line, things like that.

B
o
r
i
s
i
s
a
w
a
n
k
e
r
posted by chavenet at 12:17 PM on November 14 [18 favorites]


Michel Barnier is live briefing now . European Commission technical briefing for journalists is tomorrow morning so expect best analysis after that.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:17 PM on November 14




chappell, ambrose: "For anyone who isn't up for reading the full draft agreement right now, here's the much shorter (7 page) Outline Of The Political Declaration Setting Out The Framework For The Future Relationship Between The European Union And The United Kingdom"

That's basically "we're still in the EU" with no mention at all of how it'll be paid for.
posted by chavenet at 12:19 PM on November 14


In local racist news, some British Movement* stickers have popped up on lamp posts around here, which is a little disconcerting, but it mostly now seems to be a blog for posting angry facebook memes and reader submitted photos, including an artisanal burnt sausage swastika on some kind of flatbread that someone was very proud of.

*lol, it's a huge BM
posted by lucidium at 12:20 PM on November 14


That's basically "we're still in the EU" with no mention at all of how it'll be paid for.
Is it? The (very short, two bullet-point) section on Mobility seems to suggest an end to free movement other than "temporary stays" for "defined business purposes".
posted by winterhill at 12:23 PM on November 14


Is this a case of the British seeing how it feels to be divided into multiple countries by a British government?

More like a British government failing to notice the different countries we’re already divided into, and potentially managing to wreck itself on the shores of the Irish border as a result.
posted by Catseye at 12:24 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


And to think, all this will one day be a very dramatic sequence of scenes in an Oscar-winning movie about Vladimir Putin.
posted by Construction Concern at 12:30 PM on November 14 [23 favorites]




Article 14(4) looks like it may be the one that will have the Brexiteers really foaming at the snouts.
posted by Wordshore at 12:34 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]




Oh. So the transition period may be extended to the 31st December 2099.

I ... might actually be okay with that.
posted by Wordshore at 12:42 PM on November 14 [9 favorites]


Article 14(4) looks like it may be the one that will have the Brexiteers really foaming at the snouts.

The inclusion of state aid in that paragraph should make this deal unacceptable to Lexiteers. Many Corbynites have been claiming that freedom from EU state aid rules are a positive of Brexit for the left, so with that taken away, there's no reason for them to support the deal. Unless ending freedom of movement turns out to have been the real motivation all along...
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:50 PM on November 14 [8 favorites]


[silent screaming]
posted by Happy Dave at 12:53 PM on November 14 [6 favorites]




NPR just had some Conservative MP on and he was strongly pushing the “no agreement? No problem!” line. According to him, leaving without an agreement will be the best thing evar. Nothing changes, no one suffers, no problems. Northern Ireland? There’s already a border there and not much trade goes on up there, anyway.

It was a very self-assured bit of hand-waviness.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:00 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: It was a very self-assured bit of hand-waviness.

Sorry, but I had to.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:04 PM on November 14 [20 favorites]


The Atlantic: Britain Is A Quite Small Group of People Are Rushing to Seal a Brexit Deal Few Support
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:07 PM on November 14 [6 favorites]


it expresses a deep belief that Northern Ireland is not “us,” that what happens “over there” is not “our” responsibility.

People in Great Britain don’t give a shit about us? You don’t say...
posted by billiebee at 1:24 PM on November 14 [15 favorites]


Thanks for this chappell, ambrose. To me, Brexit at this point seems far more disastrous than Trump, because there is no obvious way out. My stepfather, he of "me, I wasn't ever a Brexiteer, never mind every word I said in 2016", called me just now and I let it go on the answerer. I bet he wants to complain to me because all his friends and his wife are still idiots, but why should I listen to his whining?
posted by mumimor at 1:35 PM on November 14 [7 favorites]


>An Irishman explains Brexit <
Yes Kathy, they are indeed :)
posted by twidget at 1:38 PM on November 14


So the transition period may be extended to the 31st December 2099.

Impressive work to see the US's endless overseas military conflicts and raise with endless domestic/intracontinental political conflicts about a Brexit that is definitely coming but somehow always 18 months in the future.
posted by Copronymus at 1:40 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


A bit more from Fintan O'Toole:
Historians will not believe sheer ignorance of Brexit supporters.
posted by adamvasco at 1:49 PM on November 14 [12 favorites]


Impressive work to see the US's endless overseas military conflicts and raise with endless domestic/intracontinental political conflicts about a Brexit that is definitely coming but somehow always 18 months in the future.

We have always been at war with Eastasia in pursuit of a strong deal and a great Brexit for the British people.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:55 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


To me, Brexit at this point seems far more disastrous than Trump, because there is no obvious way out.

I agree with you, mumimor, and I'm just bone tired at every single thought of it. But it was nice to see Guy Verhofstadt saying
While I hope one day the UK will return, in the meantime this agreement will make a #Brexit possible, while maintaining a close relationship between the EU and UK, a protection of citizens rights and the avoidance of a hard Irish border.
I really hope it's soon.
posted by ambrosen at 1:57 PM on November 14 [7 favorites]


When people used to ask me why I was in favour of Scottish independence, I used to have several carefully thought out answers and a half dozen thousand word blog posts to show them.

Tellingly, a lot fewer people ask me these days. And for the few that do, I just turn and point to the south.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:58 PM on November 14 [34 favorites]


From the article linked by adamvasco above:
Village idiot
And then there’s pig ignorance – the genuine hallmarked, unadulterated, slack-jawed, open-mouthed, village idiot variety in which the people who are in charge of the British state don’t know stuff that anyone off Gogglebox could tell them. The Brexiteer MP Nadine Dorries admitted in effect that she didn’t know what a customs union is. Her comrade Andrew Bridgen said last month: “As an English person, I do have the right to go over to Ireland and I believe that I can ask for a passport. Can’t I?”
Karen Bradley, the actual secretary of state for Northern Ireland, said:“I freely admit that when I started this job, I didn’t understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues that there are in Northern Ireland. I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice versa.”
And last week the actual Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab: “I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.”
The rest is still worth reading.
posted by mumimor at 2:01 PM on November 14 [28 favorites]


> if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.

Wow. I know that, and I'm a nobody across the Atlantic ocean. And this guy is the Brexit secretary.

...

I'm sorry, it looks like you guys are fucked.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:06 PM on November 14 [19 favorites]


Is Kurt Russell available, seems like Snake Plissken should be skydiving into post-apocalyptic Costswolds to save the UK from May.
posted by sammyo at 2:07 PM on November 14 [7 favorites]


Is this a case of the British seeing how it feels to be divided into multiple countries by a British government?

Very amusing!

Let's hear the Germans-are-Nazis routine next.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:11 PM on November 14 [8 favorites]


I don’t know. As someone living in one of those countries it’s hard not to take some pleasure in the irony. All the talk about the “Irish border issue” - who fucking put it there?! Like someone laying a bear trap and then walking into it and complaining about the carelessness of people leaving bear traps lying around.
posted by billiebee at 2:20 PM on November 14 [32 favorites]


The title to this post reminded me that, in the 90s, Ford used to sell the Aerostar and Windstar minivans in the US. So, now I have a firmly cemented image in my mind of the Queen getting run over by a minivan.

Seems rather apropos, if you ask me.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 2:22 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


to save the UK from May.

Our current alternatives to May are:

- Tory hard-Brexiteer idealists, who have divorced themselves from reality enough that they truly believe a no-deal Brexit will be totally fine;

- Tory hard-Brexiteer disaster capitalists, who know it will be a shitshow and want it all the more for that;

- Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, whose stance on Brexit has never really advanced beyond ¯\_(ツ)_/¯;

- some kind of Lib/Lab/SNP coalition, at a really really outside chance?

- Larry the No. 10 cat.
posted by Catseye at 2:23 PM on November 14 [11 favorites]


Good to see other people are searching the 585 page document with no satisfactory result.
posted by Wordshore at 2:32 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


The cat sounds good.
posted by lucidium at 2:54 PM on November 14 [23 favorites]


Steve Woolfe, independent MEP for North West England - who, you may recall, abandoned his bid for UKIP leadership and quit the party, after being hospitalised for three days following a heated disagreement with a colleague - is not impressed that Esther McVey was denied a cabinet vote on the proposed deal. He weighs in thusly:

Alex Wickham @alexwickham
Esther McVey involved in a "massive row" after twice demanding the cabinet get a vote on the decision.

She was "shouted down" by the cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill and chief whip Julian Smith
Steven Woolfe MEP @Steven_Woolfe
Who the fuck is mark sedwell. In Manchester language DO ONEb
posted by chappell, ambrose at 3:07 PM on November 14


> Our current alternatives to May are:

ALL POWER TO PLAID CYMRU

wait unless they're awful. are they awful?

maybe the cat really is the best option.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:13 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


My Mancuian is a bit rusty, am I right in thinking that DO ONEb means "do one" with an extraneous "b" added by way of typo? Where "do one" translates loosely as "begone" or "get thee hence"?
posted by GeckoDundee at 3:23 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


The past two and a half years of elections and national politics in the US and the UK have taught me one thing:
The cavalry ain't coming.
I am stockpiling rice and pulses and spices, and level-headed people I tell this to nod their heads and say "Yeah, it doesn't even seem kooky any more. That's probably wise."

Democracies can fail. I wish I could save them, and help the people who will really be hurt by all this. I'm writing to my MP and demanding a halt to this horrible act of self-destructive nonsense, but really the only people I can prepare for this are my immediate family. We're likely to be stuck on Rainy Fascist Island all through the Spring of 2019 and who knows if we'll see improvement by Summer?

I just have to prepare for the worst.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:34 PM on November 14 [14 favorites]


Esther McVey involved in a "massive row" after twice demanding the cabinet get a vote on the decision.

“Come on then, fuckers!” roars drunken Theresa May at Brexit cabinet meeting (fake)
posted by BungaDunga at 3:40 PM on November 14


> We're likely to be stuck on Rainy Fascist Island all through the Spring of 2019 and who knows if we'll see improvement by Summer?

Calling it "Rainy Fascist Island" is just pointless doom and gloom. Be a grown-up, refer to the place by its real name.

Airstrip One.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:42 PM on November 14 [11 favorites]


The cavalry ain't coming.

Most times I mention Brexit to someone (here in the US) and talk about no-deal Brexit, they'll say something like "well, of course "they" would not let that happen, since it would be bad for everyone" and I attempt to explain that the a no-deal is the default and they severely overestimate the competence of "they".

I don't think they believe me though, because the consequences are so absurd, "surely" "something" would be done.

My newest metaphor is: you know how WWI was bad for everyone but it happened anyway? Like that.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:48 PM on November 14 [38 favorites]


Airstrip

Greater Scarfolk
posted by dng at 3:48 PM on November 14 [15 favorites]


[dual national from former colonial outpost, grew up in Ireland (apparently knows more about Northern Ireland than most of the Tories, which for fucksake!!!), third culture kid, brief uk political career, currently stuck on this fucking island, screaming forever]
posted by halcyonday at 3:56 PM on November 14 [5 favorites]


I’m afraid this just exposes exactly how hopeless, pointless, mendacious and duplicitous the political classes actually are.

Britain needs a political revolution, that actually serves the British people. Pray God we might get one, but from where? is the question.
posted by Middlemarch at 4:07 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]




Airstrip One

Uh, this isn't us being colonised by Oceania. With the greatest of respect, the US's forces of chaos are far too parochial to do much more than throw the odd $10 million or so into a corrupt fund or workshop their covert advertising with us.

Only Eurasia has the resources to throw actual manpower behind the destruction of the UK.
posted by ambrosen at 4:16 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Pray God we might get one, but from where? is the question.

UK (and everyone) will get one (if it hasn't happened already) when climate change hits. but it won't be the one you want.
posted by lalochezia at 4:21 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


I don’t know. As someone living in one of those countries it’s hard not to take some pleasure in the irony. All the talk about the “Irish border issue” - who fucking put it there?! Like someone laying a bear trap and then walking into it and complaining about the carelessness of people leaving bear traps lying around.

This is a derail and one that I feel strongly about, so this’ll be my last comment before I let it drop. It’s not like I don’t get anti-British sentiment (I’ve lived abroad for the best part of a decade and I’ve seen plenty of the legacy of the British Empire) and given where I was born and brought up I’m not exactly gung-ho for any UK government of the past several centuries, either. But treating everyone in the UK (or Britain, if we’re doing that - I mean, sure, let’s hold the Scots collectively responsible for the Troubles) as if they’re getting what’s coming to them and all this is deserved and somehow righting historical wrongs is bullshit.

If anyone started celebrating bad stuff happening - today - to regular Germans because of Nazism, or Israelis because of Palestine, or the French because of Algeria, or Americans because of, I dunno, Chile, they’d be told to knock it off. You can play this game with a whole lot of countries and it’s not suddenly fine because it’s the British, lol.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:48 PM on November 14 [29 favorites]


Something I haven't seen discussed much yet (amazingly) is what Brexit knock-on effects are going to be for the rest of the world. Like, as it stands now the 5th largest economy in the world, containing one of the two central hubs of global finance, is scheduled to go into utter chaos overnight, in less than 4 months. If this draft resolution doesn't get passed is there even enough time for any other kind of arrangement to be worked out? Is this going to turn into a financial meltdown like 2008?
posted by 3urypteris at 6:42 PM on November 14 [8 favorites]


It's completely bananas that there are now TWO major world powers for which I (of all people!) am now DEMONSTRABLY more capable and intelligent than all of their political leadership combined.

...so I guess I'm saying Kneel Before Zod?

Everyone is so screwed. This kind of idiocy is going to wash over the planet, rippling from one country to the next. Brazil already caught the plague, who'll be next?
posted by aramaic at 7:04 PM on November 14 [16 favorites]


I hate to admit I’d watch Escape From London.
posted by valkane at 7:07 PM on November 14 [6 favorites]


But treating everyone in the UK (or Britain, if we’re doing that - I mean, sure, let’s hold the Scots collectively responsible for the Troubles) as if they’re getting what’s coming to them and all this is deserved and somehow righting historical wrongs is bullshit.

I'll also let it drop from here, but today's British (and DUP) Parliament of cretins and publicly expressed English Conservative voter attitudes are not "historical wrongs". It seems reasonable to object to broad-brushing the whole country, but a better comparison would be people celebrating bad stuff happening to Americans because of electing Trump.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 7:17 PM on November 14 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: DEMONSTRABLY more capable and intelligent than all of their political leadership combined.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:56 PM on November 14 [14 favorites]


@NicolaSturgeon:
Not long off call with PM. She tried to tell me Scotland’s ‘distinctive’ interests had been protected. I pointed out that there isn’t a single mention of Scotland in the agreement, that it disregards our interests, and puts Scotland at a serious competitive disadvantage.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:17 PM on November 14 [30 favorites]


Uh, this isn't us being colonised by Oceania. With the greatest of respect, the US's forces of chaos are far too parochial to do much more than throw the odd $10 million or so into a corrupt fund or workshop their covert advertising with us.

One of the touted advantages of Brexit by swivel-eyed brexiteers is that we will be free to negotiate a trade deal with the US. TTIP was seen as not going far enough to hand guaranteed money making to the multinationals. And given we're going to lose access to all our existing trade deals*, the UK will be desperate, which is never a good starting point, especially if Trump is still in office. So lowering of food standards to allow american big Ag sellers in (the much mentioned chlorinated chicken) and more of the NHS being replaced by private US-owned medical services would be a bare minimum starter, along with whatever other demands the last lobbyist to talk to Trump wants.

[* Assuming the divorce deal is agreed and finalised, a far from certain prospect given how tight the timetable is and parliamentary opposition, the UK stays in the EU for 21 months in all-but-name to negotiate new trading arrangements with the EU and everybody else, a laughably short period - Canada took 7 years for a much simpler EU deal and even then came very close to being blocked at the last minute by the Walloons. Without an agreement we just crash out of *all* current deals currently applied as members of the EU in March 2019 and we revert to just WTO status with everyone, *if we're lucky* and other WTO members don't extract too many concessions on quotas etc to allow it]

I've been in shocked disbelief that this is actually happening since the day after the referendum, and the steady stream of ministers (and Opposition leader) who couldn't find their arse with both hands, a map, a sherpa and a neon flashing sign hasn't helped. My wife is french, and I've been living in genuine fear that it all collapses and my wife's legal right to remain even as a long term 'permanent' resident goes up in a puff of xenophobic brexiteer smoke. And of course with free movement gone, there goes my escape route to the continent with it. What would we do with the kids (dual nationals) - one each? It's horrifying and terrifying and I just have to stop trying to think about the looming ever closer scarily possible consequences because otherwise I'd just be sitting in a corner, gently rocking myself while [silent screaming].

What truly boggles my mind though is the really high % of brexit voters that still think this is a good idea - that it's worth doing, no matter the consequences. I can understand not believing the Tories about apocalypse now if we voted leave, but this misplaced confidence that everything will be fine and who cares about Northern Ireland really, and it's all the EU's fault for punishing us is just, well, actually, you can Do One, dad. Thanks for fucking nothing.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:55 PM on November 14 [40 favorites]


> I hate to admit I’d watch Escape From London.

Snake Plissken fancies a weekend getaway to Brighton but must fight delays, cancellations, and an evil band of criminals led by the sinister Chris Grayling
posted by doop at 11:30 PM on November 14 [10 favorites]


So far I haven't been able to download the draft agreement, I just get a Planned Maintenance message from the official link. Does anyone have a working url?

Also so far I haven't seen any summaries from anyone who seems to have read all of it, just skim-readers. At 600ish pages it will probably take a day or so for someone who knows their stuff to read it and report.

I think the big question is really what happens to free movement / immigration during the backstop period (eternity?). If the UK were somehow to get restrictions on free movement while remaining in the single market that would be the supreme Cakism which would justify anything else on rule-taking and trade deals. If as seems more likely free movement remains intact, it's a much tougher sell to Brexiters.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:51 AM on November 15


ummmmmmm. @DominicRaab: Today, I have resigned as Brexit Secretary. I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU. Here is my letter to the PM explaining my reasons, and my enduring respect for her.
posted by zachlipton at 12:58 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


I'm so tired.
posted by jonnyploy at 1:01 AM on November 15 [5 favorites]


Raab is resigning over a deal his Ministry negotiated while he was Minister.

If pics were enabled again right here is where italian_chef_kiss.gif would go.
posted by PenDevil at 1:03 AM on November 15 [26 favorites]


To that end:

@IanDunt: Dominic Raab just resigned over a deal he negotiated. What next? Will he launch a protest against his own decision to resign?

@andrewhunterm: Raab resigns, presumably to spend more time with a children’s atlas

Reading his letter, it strikes me as a rather strange time to suddenly realize that certain manifesto promises can't be fulfilled, but this is the same man who only last week realized that the English Channel is a big deal for trade, so I guess he's coming around to everything a little late?
posted by zachlipton at 1:08 AM on November 15 [26 favorites]


Well that was a strong and stable deal.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:08 AM on November 15


The average intelligence of both the Tory front and back benches has just gone up.
posted by daveje at 1:09 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


It's hard to pinpoint a single worst part of this, because everything about Brexit is such a mess.

But one of the very worst parts of the whole situation is the fact that the people involved, instead of thinking about the citizens of the country they're ostensibly running, are spending most of their time manoeuvring around, trying to get their sharp elbows into prime position to take power.

It has, of course, always been thus. Politicians have always been self-centred, venal, sociopathic gits. But doing it at such a time as this seems particularly reprehensible.

Oh, and it's my birthday. Happy days.
posted by winterhill at 1:14 AM on November 15 [19 favorites]


Labour aren't faring much better on the giving a shit about Northern Ireland front, with Corbyn's objection to the proposed plan being that it doesn't work for all of Britain. How it affects the Irish doesn't seem to even be worth of a mention.
posted by Dysk at 1:15 AM on November 15 [3 favorites]


Wondering what the current odds are at Ladbrokes for Elton John to be UK Prime Minister by the end of the week.
posted by Wordshore at 1:16 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


We're looking at either a vote of confidence (which May will absolutely lose, given how badly this deal has gone down with the DUP), or a snap election (which is likely to hit a hung parliament right now).

This is where we finally tear off the plaster and have to look at the gangrenous wound underneath.

The deal is off the table. Hancock is now publicly implying that No Deal means people will die due to lack of medicine.

The cavalry ain't coming, but we may be able to limit the damage caused by all this disaster capitalism.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:23 AM on November 15


I almost think a snap election would be the worst possible outcome. There's only two parties with sensible brexit policies, one of them has never been meaningful in parliamentary politics outside of Brighton, and the other still has *checks watch* most of a decade out in the cold after propping up the tories and selling out practically everyone who voted for them (a decision they broadly defend to this day).
posted by Dysk at 1:26 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


I do wonder how much self-delusion these ministers must have to continually frame their resignations as principled stands against unacceptable government policy rather than the craven game of political hot potato they actually are. They must surely know everyone can see it’s a bunch of moronic, mendacious fools fighting over who gets left holding the bag, right?

Or do they really believe their own bullshit?
posted by Happy Dave at 1:26 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Wondering what the current odds are at Ladbrokes for Elton John to be UK Prime Minister by the end of the week.
All the hits...

I'm Still Standing (Unlike Most of the Cabinet)
Don't Let The Sun Have A Go At Me
Rocket (Not Launching a British Galileo Satellite) Man
posted by winterhill at 1:30 AM on November 15 [12 favorites]


I think they genuinely believe it. In the same way that they have convinced themselves there exists a better deal which they have been mendaciously prevented from getting, even when they can’t suggest what it was and even when they were Brexit secretary.

Happy birthday, *winterhill*, may your day at least go better than the government’s.
posted by Catseye at 1:31 AM on November 15 [7 favorites]


Or do they really believe their own bullshit?

Raab is a coward hoping The Sun and The Express will run cover for him in the inevitable 'May Sells Us Out to the EU!'. headlines, despite the fact that negotiating this deal was his job.
posted by PenDevil at 1:33 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


So far I haven't been able to download the draft agreement, I just get a Planned Maintenance message from the official link. Does anyone have a working url?

Downloading via that URL works for me now. Otherwise, you can grab a copy via the Internet Archive's snapshot.
posted by ltl at 1:39 AM on November 15


Thanks! So the download link is working now and I've had a quick look from a non-lawyers perspective.

It does look like the EU are being pretty strong in insisting current EU residents are allowed to remain in the UK and vice versa, closing any obvious loopholes:
Persons falling under points (a) and (b) of Article 3(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC whose residence was facilitated by the host State in accordance with its national legislation before the end of the transition period in accordance with Article 3(2) of that Directive shall retain their right of residence in the host State in accordance with this Part, provided that they continue to reside in the host State thereafter.
...
Continuity of residence for the purposes of Articles 9 and 10 shall not be affected by absences as referred to in Article 15(2).
...
Within the scope of this Part, and without prejudice to any special provisions contained therein, any discrimination on grounds of nationality within the meaning of the first subparagraph of Article 18 TFEU shall be prohibited in the host State and the State of work in respect of the persons referred to in Article 10 of this Agreement.
...
The host State may not impose any limitations or conditions for obtaining, retaining or losing residence rights on the persons referred to in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, other than those provided for in this Title. There shall be no discretion in applying the limitations and conditions provided for in this Title, other than in favour of the person concerned.
The backstop part of the agreement seems to be in the Protocol section, starting about page 301. I notice that it seems to extend all the current EU rules on state aid (i.e. nationalisation) to this period, which Jeremy Corbyn wouldn't be happy about:
State aid

1. The provisions of Union law listed in Annex 8 to this Protocol shall apply to the United Kingdom, including with regard to measures supporting the production of and trade in agricultural products in Northern Ireland, in respect of measures that affect that trade between the part of the territory of the United Kingdom to which Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 applies by virtue of Article 6(2) of this Protocol and the Union which is subject to this Protocol.
I can't see anything explicit on what happens to free movement during the backstop Protocol. It talks about free movement of people between the UK and Ireland in particular, and the free movement of goods between the EU and UK. I don't know whether that means free movement from UK-EU exists by default in the backstop, or does not exist by default.

We definitely need a lawyer to read this in detail.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:51 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Just in case anybody is still labouring under the impression that we couldn't possibly have seen this coming: 20 years of lies printed about the EU.
posted by jontyjago at 1:55 AM on November 15 [12 favorites]


I’m betting Gove, McVey, Mordaunt and Javid next to go, all with an eye on that sweet leadership contest.
posted by Catseye at 1:56 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


I’m betting Gove, McVey, Mordaunt and Javid next to go, all with an eye on that sweet leadership contest.

Yep - I think Raab jumping first is what he thinks will give him an advantage.

Don't think of it as resigning, just leaving early to avoid the rush

Esther McVey has just gone
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:03 AM on November 15


I’m betting Gove, McVey, Mordaunt and Javid next to go, all with an eye on that sweet leadership contest.
One down, three to go.
posted by winterhill at 2:03 AM on November 15


But treating everyone in the UK (or Britain, if we’re doing that - I mean, sure, let’s hold the Scots collectively responsible for the Troubles) as if they’re getting what’s coming to them and all this is deserved and somehow righting historical wrongs is bullshit.

I'm not going to defend the nasty satisfaction billiebee talks about - as an Irish person living in Britain I get a spike of it pretty much every week despite recognising that it's ultimately unfair and self-destructive - but dismissing non-British people's grievances as being based on 'historical wrongs' when most of them are based on shit that's either current or within living memory... is exactly the sort of myopic exceptionalist attitude that characterises nearly every level of British culture and gave us Brexit in the first place.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 2:03 AM on November 15 [27 favorites]


Yup. Esther's down the rat line.
posted by skybluepink at 2:06 AM on November 15


We are definitely looking at confidence vote territory, here.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:15 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


This article is nearly a week old, which is a couple of months in Brexit time, but (as you'd expect from Ian Dunt) it's very prescient about how, once the deal is made...

...things are going to get very strange very quickly in Brexitland. The ground will not stay still beneath your feet. It will slip and slide. The assumptions you'd adopted over the last two years will prove extremely treacherous. Allies might not be allies anymore. Enemies might not be enemies.

So for example I now find myself agreeing with Rees-Mogg that it's ridiculous to be indefinitely subject to the rules of the CU without any voice in shaping them. (Of course we differ in our beliefs about the cause and solution to this.) And I imagine Barnier is going to start playing down the chances of the UK being given an extension to or the chance to withdraw Article 50 so despite my admiration for his patient and consistent negotiation, I'm going to have to hope he's fibbing about 'this or nothing'.

And the difficult question for all of us is what we're prepared to risk as the result of May's deal being rejected. All Brexits are bad, but no-deal is shockingly bad. And how realistic is the possibility of reversing the result of the referendum? A second one appears to be supported by relatively few MPs and most of them are terrified of the press who would frothingly present it as the end of democracy. If May falls to the Brexiteers, isn't it more likely that we'll end up with something worse under a Johnson government?

So I'm happy to see this deal savaged, but (as someone with a lot of skin in the game) I'm very nervous too.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:16 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


BBC: Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, has resigned over the draft Brexit deal.

By the way, Petition Parliament: STOP BREXIT
It's so desperately simple. The Government's standard response to these kinds of petitions is "The British people voted to leave the EU and the government respect that decision". BUT, the government themselves DO NOT KNOW the outcome of that decision, so how can they possibly respect it???
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:22 AM on November 15 [7 favorites]


If May falls to the Brexiteers, isn't it more likely that we'll end up with something worse under a Johnson government?

The nightmare scenario is May falling and being replaced by a hardcore Leaver who simply runs the clock out until a No Deal while paying off the DUP to make sure motions of no confidence can't get through the House. There are few politicians with that little decency but Boris does spring to mind.
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:40 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


European Union fact sheets on the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland and Brexit Negotiations: What is in the Withdrawal Agreement (including citizen's rights).
posted by ltl at 2:40 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


Started tracking resignations on my work whiteboard. I suspect there will be a cheer when Grayling goes (if he can manage to do even that!)

Up to 5 so far.
Looks like an orchestrated pattern with a couple of big hitters going before the speech to grab attention then a few more junior ones during the speech (to keep momentum, but also because the senior resignees probably want to keep a nice prime time spot for their grande huff)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:41 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


but Boris does spring to mind.

I know it's obviously not happening, but I'd be delighted to have Jo Johnson as interim PM (in the leadup to a general election to elect some actually competent people)
simply because Boris has been so nakedly careerist that to see his whole lovable buffoon bollocks undercut by his sensibly dressed, quiet organised brother would just burn his heart out of him.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:46 AM on November 15 [7 favorites]



This article is nearly a week old, which is a couple of months in Brexit time, but (as you'd expect from Ian Dunt) it's very prescient about how, once the deal is made...

...things are going to get very strange very quickly in Brexitland. The ground will not stay still beneath your feet. It will slip and slide. The assumptions you'd adopted over the last two years will prove extremely treacherous. Allies might not be allies anymore. Enemies might not be enemies.


There's a comment from a Brexiteer below that fine article which states their twisted view of reality very clearly:
More and more it looks loke no deal.

Then let it be and let's get on with it.The fuse of Italian debt has been lit so let's get the hell out of there.

If that happens, and in the wierd universe you're conjouring up, the EU may realise they've ballsed it up and our money, fish and open market have gone.

The £ goes down, we start reorganising our tax regime and incentives for business and get into the trade deals that'll revitalise our GDP.

Rapid changes in government on the continent may see them wanting to reopen negotiations with us as the solidarity they've shown so far splits and descends into a huge blame game.

Many who would previously come to the UK cannot and unemployment starts to rise quickly, as does the unrest on the continent at their worsening situation as compared to our improveing one.

Imagine then that the improving relations with the ex-commonwealth starts to kick in?

Pressure from within explodes the union and a new organisation picks up some of the best pieces.
One thing is the man's infuriating albeit also impressive ignorance, another his apparent gleeful desire to see the whole of Europe blow up as a consequence of Brexit. What a dick.
BTW, I strongly trust he is wrong about that last point. A lot of anti-EU'ers in the rest of Europe have become very subdued and quiet since the Brexit vote, and I expect the actual thing to be scary enough to shut them down entirely. Losing the UK from Europe will cost, for a while. But Europe will definitely recover. I hope the UK will too.
posted by mumimor at 2:50 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


A Johnson vs Johnson Tory leadership contest is of course the logical outcome of the surreal cluster fuck that is UK politics at the moment
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:55 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Maybe a threeway contest between Boris Johnson, Jo Johnson and Ed Balls.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:59 AM on November 15 [3 favorites]




Thanks for posting this, chappell, ambrose. I've had to log in from work to favourite Larry the Cat as next PM.

The quotes in the Fintan O'Toole article are amazing. My colleague has just said it's a good thing Raab has resigned or we'd have had to sack him for his admitted lack of relevant knowledge.

And what is the Labour Party doing? They haven't tweeted for 21 hours. Is this because they are working with white-hot heat on a game-changing move?

Found this (derail) when I was Googling Owen Bennett's forthcoming biog of Gove: Bureauc-rat attack: Rodent control called out five times a day by government departments.
posted by paduasoy at 3:16 AM on November 15


And I meant to say Happy Birthday, winterhill.
posted by paduasoy at 3:19 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


"May says the government is not planning for no Brexit.”

Nor for brexit neither.
posted by dng at 3:27 AM on November 15 [12 favorites]


Faisal Islam on twitter.
Former ally of PM, MP: “She's finished. Boris will strike. He won’t win, but he’ll trigger it. several people positioning as caretaker till Summer”
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:34 AM on November 15


If you're a betting person you can get 4/5 on there being an election this year.... (13/8 on 2019, 10/1 on 2020 or later)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:42 AM on November 15


This whole debacle is a repeat of David Cameron's bafflingly inept/hopelessly naive/transparently duplicitious attempt at convincing the exact same anti-EU zealots to back his great reform deal so as to avoid holding the referendum.

Which of course they rejected so they could get the referendum they wanted. And likewise they were always obviously going to reject this, whatever it was, so they can get the no deal they wanted.

Because trying to appease extremists is the most politically fucking stupid idea in the world.

(Of course, Theresa May wan't content with just the extremists in her own party, she had to enter into a coalition with an entire other party of intransigent extremists, too)
posted by dng at 3:45 AM on November 15 [16 favorites]




Because trying to appease extremists is the most politically fucking stupid idea in the world.


The difference is now, because of the yellow press being in synergy with rabid antieuropeans for a few years now, "perception has become reality" re brexit being "the will of the people" and basically the Dolchstoßlegende for the 21st century . It is a rare leader that could stop all this stuff - none exist within the conservative or labor parties.

PEOPLE'S VOTE is about the only way out, and even then it's dicey.
posted by lalochezia at 3:50 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


This is pure grandstanding bullshit. I'm going back to bed. Hopefully to dream of a time when Ed Miliband formed a coalition with Caroline and the SNP and none of this shite happened.

Just agree to a second referendum, May. Stop trying to be a bargain bin Thatcher.
posted by doornoise at 3:51 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


Yes, in the Britain we unfortunately live in, I've got a horrible feeling a second referendum will just inevitably end with an even bigger win for leaving.

Because everything is utterly terrible and I'm so depressed and alone.
posted by dng at 3:53 AM on November 15


If there's a second referendum (please, please) I say we take a leaf out of the US's Blue Wave playbook. Getting out the vote is what matters. I will be pounding the streets and doing all I can to make sure Remain gets over the line this time.
posted by doornoise at 3:56 AM on November 15 [11 favorites]


Again from Guardian live updates:

Labour’s Luciana Berger says the deal is not in the national interest. A YouGov poll shows 63% of people opposed, and 64% in favour of a people’s vote.

May suggests she is surprised, since the 500-page text of the deal was only published last night.


May doesn't realise how fast we can read when we really want to. Or know about Ctrl+F.
posted by paduasoy at 4:01 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


When people used to ask me why I was in favour of Scottish independence, I used to have several carefully thought out answers and a half dozen thousand word blog posts to show them.

Tellingly, a lot fewer people ask me these days. And for the few that do, I just turn and point to the south.


The interesting thing is that while the Scottish Independence and EU ref were notionally about parallel questions there is no reason to expect people to vote the same way on both - something that I have seen people incorrectly claim.

In principle, Scottish Independence and the EU referendum were about the same principle. What is the right political unit for making and sticking to collective decisions that affect everyone in the unit? That is a matter of balance between two factors that drive in different directions:

1) Driving apart: The larger and more regionally heterogenous a unit of decision making is, the less the interests and cultures of all the people in it are aligned.

a) Diversity of interests makes it hard to make monetary decisions in the Eurozone that reflect the best outcome for everyone, it makes it hard to make decisions on trade policy that make everyone in the customs union happy (which is why EU trade agreements take a long time to negotiate).

b) Differences in culture and preferences within the decision making unit are equally important. The different countries in the EU have different political cultures and views about things like economic equity but it's not just different views, there's also what Ibn Khaldun called 'asabiyyah' which is that sense of in-group cohesion that makes it possible to share resources within the group and act collectively.

Scotland has always had a different culture than England and centuries of political union have not changed that. During the years of the empire (from which many Scots benefitted economically as other British did) a British cultural unit developed which included the Scots, the English, the Welsh, and (some of) the Northern Irish. Most people within those units maintained a much closer emotional link to their national identity than to their British identity and the English were always keener on it than the Welsh and the Scots anyway. That 'British' identity has been steadily eroding for years.

In the case of the EU, there has never been a strong collective identity that promotes in-group cohesion. Even among multi-lingual EU elites with a strong sense of European identity, this identity has never been remotely as strong as their national identities. It's actually substantially less strong than the 'British' identity that the average Scottish person feels which is saying something.

2) Driving together: Having a political unit with a larger size means that collectively the unit is stronger and more resilient. Trade counterparties will take a large, wealthier unit more seriously and may "give up" more to get access to their markets. Larger units - other things being equal - are also military more secure.

Scotland + rUK is a stronger currency area, trade area, transfer union, etc. than if the two split up.Similarly the UK and rEU. This promotes aggregation of political units into larger trans-national agreements and supra-state associations like the EU.

So in both cases the question is fundamentally about balancing those two factors. A large decision making unit might be able to get a lot done if it can reach consensus to do it but a unit that includes distinct spatial clusters (countries, regions, etc.) that have interests that are too divergent or that have no emotional group cohesion might not be able to reach a stable consensus on many important issues.

In the Scottish IndyRef, you could argue that voters ultimately voted for the offered increase in Scottish government powers instead of independence and reached their own balance. This reduced the level of central control and moved decisions of matters such as income taxes closer to a cohesive political unit (Scotland) without leaving a larger, collectively more powerful, but less cohesive political unit (the UK), all in the framework of an even larger and even more powerful but even less cohesive unit (the EU). That last bit is important of course, many people who were content with the balance between cohesion and power of a three level system will not be happy with the balance in a very different two level system.

I've seen some people claim that this is inconsistent - after all the Scottish government will now have one fewer level of authority above it - but this is wrong because it ignores the fact that it is a pragmatic balance between two factors that people have come to terms with as an acceptable governing arrangement. Most people are not wild-eyed ideologues one way or the other and they do not vote on abstract principles.

In the EU referendum, voters were offered the choice between a slight weakening of central EU control 1 and a nebulous aspiration to "leave" without any definition of just what that was. I think most remain voters voted that pragmatically because they believed that being part of a larger but less cohesive entity was ultimately better than gaining de jure sovereignty in a smaller political unit - arguably with less de facto sovereignty because "sovereignty" depends on external facing economic power in practice: most countries follow either EU or US standards for products or both because they want to be able to actually sell them into large markets!

Instead people voted for a fantasy where we could keep the benefits of being in a large political unit but "take back control" into a more cohesive unit. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way and that is why we are where we are.

Scotland has now been placed into an impossible position. If it leaves the UK it creates a trade barrier with its largest market but if it doesn't it gets dragged out of the EU and faces trade barriers with its second largest (the rEU). The Scots are now simultaneously more alienated from the centre of "British" politics and face a situation which would make independence more difficult than before.

1) ...and permanent recognition of the UK's special status - this was actually a really great deal that would have set the UK for decades of prosperity but didn't deliver the immigration stuff that the Tories had campaigned on for years so of course people didn't get why it was such a great deal)
posted by atrazine at 4:02 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


Deutsche Welle (German English-language news site) has a decent summary of the draft Brexit deal:
Citizenship rights
  • The rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU will be protected
  • UK citizens who have lived in the EU continuously for five years by the end of the implementation period will have the right to reside permanently in that member state. The same rules apply for EU citizens living in the UK.
  • EU citizens living in the UK can be joined by close family members — spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and dependent parents or grand parents — who live in a different country at any point in the future.
  • Workers and self-employed people will be broadly guaranteed the same rights they currently enjoy.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:03 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


Top comment from the guardian I just had to share.

"Two years ago Britain walked out on a long marriage to the EU. The EU just didn’t understand Britain. Free at last Britain would hook up with younger fitter models around the world.

Yesterday Britain got shown into the new bedsit. On the bed was a box with lawyer’s bills, a maintenance agreement and an unfavourable custody arrangement."
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:03 AM on November 15 [48 favorites]


(extremely dark humour flag) It is good that John Lewis have, a year early, also released their 2019 Christmas Ad.
posted by Wordshore at 4:32 AM on November 15 [3 favorites]


In the Scottish IndyRef, you could argue that voters ultimately voted for the offered increase in Scottish government powers instead of independence and reached their own balance.

Yes, although it is relevant that said offer was a relatively late one in the referendum process, and one widely (and fairly) perceived as a last-minute “oh fuck“ reaction from the mainstream parties as it became clear the vote was going to be a closer thing than anyone had anticipated. Polling was something like 22% pro-independence at the start of the campaign, rising to 45-50% by the referendum itself.

(you might have expected Cameron et al to learn some lessons from this about referendum gambles, but NOPE.)

Anyway, had the proposed third ‘devo-max’ option been on the ballot paper from the beginning, it probably would have won. A truly federal U.K. with Scotland as an equal partner member would be many people’s favoured alternative to independence, including a decent tranche of those who voted Yes in 2014 - that was a big swing in the vote share over the length of the campaign.

The EU can at least make a strong case for saying that smaller countries are treated as respected partners within its wider structure. The U.K. can’t,* so much, and has spent the last two years trampling over any pretence that it could, playing to the Daily Mail and the Brexiteers by shrugging off inconveniences like the Sewel convention or the idea that the devolved administrations might get a say on things. The appeal of being part of or free from a wider union is a lot more abstract than the appeal of unions in which your voice counts.

(*A Labour government could, given its track record in delivering devolution, but current Labour has proved abysmal at actually noticing and promoting its own history here. Scottish Labour are a total mess.)
posted by Catseye at 4:39 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


Ranil Jayawardena, who was a PPS at the Ministry of Justice, has resigned.

{who?}

(Shrug) Me neither. It's often an interesting education, discovering MPs for the first time through their resignation. Almost a national hobby in times like this.
posted by Wordshore at 4:43 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]



Nikki De Costa, Downing Street director of legislative affairs has resigned.

Not an MP, so you don't get any points if you have her in your Fantasy Governmental Huff team, but can come into play in the case of a tie.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:03 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


@hachikoco: Apparently EuroStar are doing a promotion whereby every 5th Brexit secretary gets free travel between London and Brussels.

@LewisCox4JC: I've got a cucumber in the fridge that's lasted longer than @DominicRaab's stint as Brexit Secretary.

(From May 2015) @David_Cameron: Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice - stability and strong Government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband
posted by Wordshore at 5:20 AM on November 15 [18 favorites]


@GuardianHeather: Jacob Rees-Mogg is penning his letter of no confidence in Theresa May (on vellum, we hope): so it's now or never for the ERG - do they have the numbers?

(tweet reply) @Grangousier: He's writing it in blood. Not his own blood, obviously. That's what servants are for.
posted by Wordshore at 5:32 AM on November 15 [9 favorites]


I think the Men In Grey Suits might be putting on their jackets soon.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:36 AM on November 15


Don’t worry everyone, Brexiteer commenters across the Internet are ending their tweets and posts with ‘simples ;-)’ and ‘end of.’

We’re just overthinking this, obviously.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:37 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]




The EU can at least make a strong case for saying that smaller countries are treated as respected partners within its wider structure. The U.K. can’t,* so much[…]

The UK fundamentally has the problem of being England + accessories purely due to relative sizes. 84% of the population lives in England (27% of the total is London and the SE alone)
8% in Scotland
5% in Wales
3% in NI

With the best will in the world and even if each constituent country's interests are proportionately accounted for you still end up in a situation where the non-English countries won't ever feel that they're being treated as respected partners.

By contrast, Germany as the most populous EU state has 18% of the population followed by France and the UK with 13% each (and those are closely followed by others). Even on a GDP basis Germany is only 21% of the EU total and the top three together are only just over 50% of the total. While political power within the EU doesn't quite track population (and officially it has nothing to do with GDP at all... but long term that obviously has an immense effect on how the system is arranged).

That much more even spread of population and economic power means that the EU is inherently less prone to domination by a single member. Even within the EU, groups of countries form informal and formal mini-coalitions to advance their views. The British, Dutch, and Danish for instance have often pushed in the same direction regarding trade open-ness.
posted by atrazine at 5:44 AM on November 15 [9 favorites]


Evening Standard saying Gove has turned down the Brexit Sec job... that's an interesting move as he was earlier reported to be the only Brexiteer to support May in cabinet last night
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:45 AM on November 15


From Guardian live blog:

Rees-Mogg says all the negative predictions about Brexit have not come to pass.

It is hard to hear Rees-Mogg because a protestor is shouting in the background.

He says there are “streams of talent” in the Conservative party, and plenty of people who could be leader. He names a series of Brexiters, including Boris Johnson and David Davis.


Emphasis mine. Jaw-dropping.

So glad we have sterling public servants such as Rees-Mogg to stand up for the stupid, the arrogant, the misguided, the money grubbing and the fascist.
posted by doornoise at 5:49 AM on November 15 [15 favorites]


Rees-Mogg says, if 48 letters do not go in, that will not be good for him.

What to wish for, what to wish for ...
posted by paduasoy at 5:50 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


It is hard to hear Rees-Mogg because a protestor is shouting in the background.

Yes; it sounds like the same person yelling "STOOOOP BREXIIIIIIIT" into a megaphone over and over who was doing it while Theresa was speaking yesterday evening. While I agree one hundred percent with his sentiment, heck, he is pointlessly and deeply annoying.

Oh here's a tweet with a video clip of him.
posted by Wordshore at 5:51 AM on November 15


The BBC's sign-language interpretation of all this is a beautiful thing.
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:51 AM on November 15 [11 favorites]


Does anyone know yet what provisions have been made for UK citizens in the EU under May's tabled deal? My parents live in Spain.
posted by doornoise at 5:54 AM on November 15


Rory Stewart MP “80% of the British public support this deal….
“I’m producing a number to try to illustrate what I believe…
“I totally apologise for that and I take that back”


Looked up Rory Stewart, or rather Roderick James Nugent "Rory" Stewart, OBE, FRSL FRSGS. He was at the same university as me at the same time. Whilst my life has not always gone to plan, at least I don't make up stats on the wireless.
posted by paduasoy at 6:06 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


Does anyone know yet what provisions have been made for UK citizens in the EU under May's tabled deal? My parents live in Spain.

See TheophileEscargot's earlier comment on a Deutsche Welle summary: "UK citizens who have lived in the EU continuously for five years by the end of the implementation period will have the right to reside permanently in that member state. The same rules apply for EU citizens living in the UK."
posted by ocular shenanigans at 6:06 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


A bit disappointing from the usually excellent Rory Stewart, it's natural to occasionally illustrate a point with spuriously precise numbers (if he'd just said "a large majority" it would have been fine) but not really good enough for a minister of the Crown speaking in public.
posted by atrazine at 6:19 AM on November 15


UK citizens who have lived in the EU continuously for five years by the end of the implementation period will have the right to reside permanently in that member state. The same rules apply for EU citizens living in the UK.
So in effect, the door is now closed for any UK citizen who wants to leave and settle in another EU country, or EU citizens who want to live in the UK for some reason. If you moved tomorrow, you wouldn't have been living there for five years by the end of the implementation period.
posted by winterhill at 6:28 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


So in effect, the door is now closed for any UK citizen who wants to leave and settle in another EU country, or EU citizens who want to live in the UK for some reason. If you moved tomorrow, you wouldn't have been living there for five years by the end of the implementation period.

And yet still pro-leavers routinely tell us all to fuck off to Brussels if we love it so much.
posted by dng at 6:29 AM on November 15 [10 favorites]


Whilst my life has not always gone to plan, at least I don't make up stats on the wireless.

I went to school with Nick Timothy - former chief of staff to May and architect of a lot of Brexit 'strategy'. He was fired over being the brains behind the 2017 election debacle and is now a rent a gob right wing arsehole.

No matter what I do in my career there's absolutely no way I can do more damage to the world than he has.
posted by brilliantmistake at 6:30 AM on November 15 [15 favorites]


Happy birthday, Winterhill!

UK citizens who have lived in the EU continuously for five years by the end of the implementation period will have the right to reside permanently in that member state. The same rules apply for EU citizens living in the UK.

Several EU countries allow you to naturalise after five years anyway. This rule will be helpful for those in Spain (naturalisation previously 10 years for everyone) and Italy (five years for EU citizens and 10 for third country nationals - so extending this to the end of the implementation period will be good for some Brits). Unless they put in some specific language, it’s not going to help my friends in Switzerland, who may lose all rights to stay next April. Then again, the way things are going, this deal isn’t looking super likely to come into force, so maybe it’s all academic anyhow.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:32 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


Thanks ocular shenanigans, I saw that. Is there any greater detail? Other factors including their right to healthcare, etc? No worries - I will google.
posted by doornoise at 6:45 AM on November 15


Yes, thanks chappell, ambrose - hopefully all academic! Cross fingers, touch wood and all that.
posted by doornoise at 6:46 AM on November 15


A brief guide to what the fuck is going on with Brexit, from Dazed magazine, of all places.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:50 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


But treating everyone in the UK (or Britain, if we’re doing that - I mean, sure, let’s hold the Scots collectively responsible for the Troubles) as if they’re getting what’s coming to them and all this is deserved and somehow righting historical wrongs is bullshit.

I left the thread last night so I’m only seeing this now. Just to clarify, I agree with you. I said it’s hard not to feel some twisted pleasure at the irony of our border being a stumbling block when its been the cause of actual death and destruction here, and somehow it was like we were being troublemakers (as always). Watching the potential destruction of the unholy alliance between May and the DUP (Christ don’t get me started) because of the NI question makes me feel a big old “serves you fucking right”. But that pleasure is not directed at the people of the UK. My heart breaks for all of us for fucks sake, and for my EU friends living here and my UK friends living abroad. The whole fucking disaster swings me between grief and rage, like everybody else. My disgust at the British Government - especially Cameron’s bloody pissing contest which started this whole thing, the idiocy and arrogance of which still takes my breath away - is levelled at exactly that: the Government. Not the people. Don’t tell me that I’m not allowed to hate the Government because I am and I do. And don’t tell me I said that what people have coming to them is deserved, because I did not. I don’t take any single iota of pleasure in the suffering ordinary people, including the Brexiteers, have in store. But I despise the politicians who let it happen.
posted by billiebee at 6:58 AM on November 15 [28 favorites]


With the best will in the world and even if each constituent country's interests are proportionately accounted for

No, this is what I’m saying: breaking it down to “you are 6% of the population so you get 6% of the say, if you had 20% of the population you’d get 20% of the say” is precisely why the other UK countries frequently don’t feel represented within the U.K. Because they feel like they’re getting treated as areas of one country, not as countries within a union of countries. (See also, the aftermath of the Brexit vote and “who cares if NI/Scotland voted Remain, so did Liverpool and London and they’re not getting a separate arrangement!”)

There are other political structures which would achieve much of this, short of independence. Devolution achieved a lot of it. Federalism would have achieved much more, devo-max too, even tightening up the existing devolution settlement so that UKGov can’t override the devolved parliaments (rather than just ‘mostly won’t, unless we’re desperate to get something through’) would go some way to that. But a lot of the Indyref Yes vote came from people who would have preferred devo-max or federalisation to independence in an ideal world, and were persuaded that the U.K. was just never ever going to deliver anything even close. The EU, on the other hand, seemed more tempting.
posted by Catseye at 7:01 AM on November 15 [8 favorites]


So have the Brexiteers realized that they won't be flying anywhere for a while after a no-deal departure? I have a hard time believing that the knives won't come out when people find themselves unable to go on their holiday to Spain since there will be no flights between the EU and UK. (And maybe not even Florida, if Trump is feeling particularly truculent on the day).

Sadly, unlike at present, there will be no backsies allowed. Ironically, I suspect that in the end, the Tories would probably cement their government in power for another decade if May would just "man" up and withdraw the article 50 declaration. Oh, there would be wailing, but it would amount to nothing since most people, deep down, would be relieved.

I'm actually a bit surprised that the Brexiteers are as committed as ever given that the economic impacts have begun to take hold over the past couple of months. There's a lot of money being spent in the EU by notionally British companies so that they don't get frozen out. Money that would have been circulating at home otherwise. I have seen little to no movement in the other direction, so you guys are sending millions of pounds a day to the EU more than you were before, but now with nothing to show for it.

It's very nearly as much an own goal as much of the uninformed shit Trump has done in the US. It's a biased sample to be sure, but nobody I know with a UK passport is pleased about any of this. They were somewhere between disappointed and mildly hopeful when they heard the results of the referendum, but at this point they're all either angry or bewildered.
posted by wierdo at 7:33 AM on November 15 [3 favorites]


They were somewhere between disappointed and mildly hopeful when they heard the results of the referendum, but at this point they're all either angry or bewildered.

Huh. I guess I was angry and bewildered before it was cool, then.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 7:36 AM on November 15 [8 favorites]


Gove apparently will only take the Brexit Secretary job if he’s allowed to renogotiate the deal. I... I’m trying to imagine how much of a shitshow that would be. (Apparently he’s also still mulling resigning, so at least there’s that.) Here’s my favourite cartoon about Gove.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:42 AM on November 15 [15 favorites]


Many people reporting that Theresa May will be giving a press conference at 5pm.
posted by Wordshore at 7:56 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]




Feeling in Westminster is the 1922 committee has 48 letters on file.

Probably just wishful thinking, but, who knows?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:02 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


There's a report from Sky's Kate McCann that Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 committee has a had meeting with the tory Chief Whip this afternoon... speculation that a no-confidence vote hasbeen triggered yet but that it's to prepare the ground as one is imminent.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:10 AM on November 15


Also seen speculation that there might be a delay as Brady will need to check back with those that wrote letters ages that they still want to May to go
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:11 AM on November 15


Gove apparently will only take the Brexit Secretary job if he’s allowed to renogotiate the deal. I... I’m trying to imagine how much of a shitshow that would be.

Take into account that some of Gove's allies have been testing the "Norway for Now" option of staying within the EEA and sorting ourselves out before we go any further out. That might be a good idea although it may now be too late to do it.
posted by atrazine at 8:19 AM on November 15


Take into account that some of Gove's allies have been testing the "Norway for Now" option of staying within the EEA and sorting ourselves out before we go any further out.

"Maybe I'll just cut a few fingers off my dominant hand for now, and then sort myself out before I lop the rest of the arm off. Sounds like a good idea!"
posted by Dysk at 8:24 AM on November 15 [15 favorites]


I'm actually a bit surprised that the Brexiteers are as committed as ever given that the economic impacts have begun to take hold

What I’m surprised/darkly impressed by is the number of Brexiteers who are not only pushing for No Deal but also absolutely adamant that this is what they meant all along, this is what everybody voted for, this is the only possible Brexit and anything that delivered otherwise would not be ‘real’ Brexit. Which is a bit of a turnaround from the days of the referendum campaign and “oh of course we’ll stay in the single market when we leave, don’t be so dramatic!” from many of those exact same people.
posted by Catseye at 8:24 AM on November 15 [31 favorites]


Probably just wishful thinking

Wishful? This is what the defenestration of May would mean for the leadership of the UK, according to the bookmakers:

5/1 Dominic 'we're an island?' Raab
11/2 Sajid 'Asian paedophiles' Javid
6/1 David 'no notes' Davis
6/1 Boris 'Trump's choice' Johnson
6/1 Michael 'down with experts' Gove
7/1 Jeremy 'EU = USSR' Hunt
10/1 Jacob 'where do I start?' Rees-Mogg

I'm not pro-May, but she at least produced an agreement which the EU accepts, which attempts to solve the NI border issue and which pays UK obligations to the EU. Look at the list above. Javid is the only one above who is not guaranteed to take the UK out under significantly worse terms or to crash out with no deal - and that's only because he's kept fairly quiet on what he wants from Brexit.

Maybe new Tory leadership would make the collapse of the government more likely. And the collapse of the government would probably make a second referendum more likely. But both those events would make a lot of really terrible outcomes more likely too. That's not to say I think May deserves to stay in office, but if the no-confidence vote goes through any celebration would be hugely premature.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:57 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


She's late for her 5pm press conference.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:12 AM on November 15


If May had any sense of duty, she'd withdraw the article 50 declaration on her way out the door. The deal on the table seems to be a nonstarter despite it being far more favorable to the UK than anyone had a right to expect and another referendum would be a waste of breath.
posted by wierdo at 9:14 AM on November 15 [10 favorites]


New @skydata poll:
Of the three Brexit outcomes Theresa May says are available, would you prefer a) her deal, b) no deal or c) no Brexit?
No Brexit 54%
No deal 32%
Her deal 14%

Which I think is in line with other polls of late.

Also - any rumours of Gove only wanting the Brexit Sec job if he can renegotiate - the EU is apparently saying no dice on that.
posted by Devonian at 9:14 AM on November 15 [4 favorites]


@James_Hate: The whole argument of ‘we had one vote already’ bores me. We did have a vote with a campaign predicated on lies and false promises. It’s like opting to go for a ride on a unicorn and them dragging out a donkey with a dildo on its head. What was promised did not exist!
posted by Wordshore at 9:19 AM on November 15 [32 favorites]


Press conference is on at last.
Live feed is here.

So far mainly just waffle.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:27 AM on November 15


Tomas Hirst @tomashirstecon
Simple point: Given the UK's bargaining position in negotiations, appointing those who had staked their political reputations on delivering the impossible as senior ministers was an act of gross irresponsibility by May. And what followed was largely inevitable...
(This is also good)
Problem May (& Brexiters more broadly) currently face is one eloquently sketched out by @CJFDillow - by presenting a bogus instrumental case for leaving the EU (striking great FTAs across the world) they hve abandoned making an intrinsic case that wld have enable softer solutions

They've painted themselves into a corner such that *even if they get control of the process, they can't succeed on their own terms*. That is a very dangerous place to be - makes their only viable play a wrecking strategy.

It is in this light that I think we should read JRM's submission and publication of his letter to 1922 but simultaneous refusal to put himself forward as a potential leadership candidate.

Also means I am not holding out much hope that they would fold in the event of a chaotic Brexit. Only a prolonged period of chaos provides the pretext for a retreat from their positions.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:36 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Every "media consultant" who has ever advised a UK politician to "answer your own question, whatever you were asked" deserves to get scabies on their genitals. That said, May is really in a bland, magnolia-painted fantasy land, judging by the non-answers that she's giving (possibly because her aides don't let her read the papers):
Q: Why don’t you say what you think - that the Brexit campaign offered something not possible? Why won’t you say that?
May says most people recognise this is not an easy negotiation. The public want the government to get on with it, she says.

Q: What do you say to Britain’s friends abroad who look at this and see a government in denial?

May says this is a government working with the EU to deliver a good deal for both sides.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:46 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


Rumours are doing the rounds to suggest that Gove is gonna be resigning today also.
Possibly imminently. Nothing concrete though. I think maybe everyone still wants some drama, but there isn't much to be had.

I really should stop paying attention to soap opera politics and do some work.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:03 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


May can't even deliver on her expected resignation speech
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:05 AM on November 15 [6 favorites]


@isaby: An informed source suggests to me that Chris Grayling is considering his position as Transport Secretary. Would be another huge blow if Theresa May lost her campaign manager from the leadership election (and fellow former Merton councillor)

@georgeeaton: Fitting that Chris Grayling's resignation is running hours late.
posted by zachlipton at 10:05 AM on November 15 [13 favorites]


I was expecting Mordaunt to go much earlier today. She is currently meeting with May though, so still time.
So that's three senior cabinet ministers still credibly threatening to quit.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:09 AM on November 15


It's a biased sample to be sure, but nobody I know with a UK passport is pleased about any of this. They were somewhere between disappointed and mildly hopeful when they heard the results of the referendum, but at this point they're all either angry or bewildered.

But it is definitely a biased sample - I had a bit of 'realising the extent of my echo chamber' moment just before I left work today. I'm used to the idea of the foaming-at-the-mouth gammon Brexiteers, but I suddenly think I've also underestimated the number of non-gammons who just don't really understand anything about what's happening, or about the EU.

We'd been chatting off and on in the office about Brexit all day, about the ministerial resignations etc, and, as we packed up to leave, about the awaited press conference. Then one of my colleagues - a manager, and not an idiot albeit (evidently) not particularly politically aware, said of May's proposed deal, as if he was breaking me a bit of hot insider gossip: "Apparently what's on the table is even worse than what we've got now!!!!" as if this was a total turn up for the books that nobody could have predicted before today. It wasn't particularly politically motivated, he wasn't trying to ram Brexit down my throat, it was just... like he was from another planet. I'm so bewildered. I may have shouted NO SHIT rather louder than is seemly in the workplace.
posted by penguin pie at 12:41 PM on November 15 [30 favorites]


The Pauline Kael Effect is a real thing.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:45 PM on November 15


I've got a relative whose job takes him well outside the bubble to include casual interactions with lots of people in all ranks of society and they always said you would not believe the amount of people who a) think immigration is a real big deal and / or are basically racists and b) the sheer ignorance of how difficult brexit was ever going to be and what sort of deal were ever going to get... there's a lot of 'I don't know why we've not left already! We voted for it we should just leave!" They really have swallowed all the propaganda that the right wing press has been feeding them over the years
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:04 PM on November 15 [23 favorites]


> "What I’m surprised/darkly impressed by is the number of Brexiteers who are not only pushing for No Deal but also absolutely adamant that this is what they meant all along

It's the narcissist's prayer in the future tense.
That's not going to happen.
And if it is, it's not going to be that bad.
And if it will be, that's not a big deal.
And if it is, it won't be my fault.
And if it will be, I won't mean for it.
And if I will,
you'll deserve it.
posted by lucidium at 1:07 PM on November 15 [13 favorites]


Rees-Mogg says all the negative predictions about Brexit have not come to pass.

And I say that the negative predictions of those remoaner meteorologists who say a hurricane will hit my town in 48 hours from now have not come to pass.
posted by kersplunk at 1:26 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]








The Daily Beast's headline gets straight to the point:

Theresa May’s Government ‘F*cked’ as Brexit Deal Tanks, Ministers Resign
posted by homunculus at 3:59 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]


If May had any sense of duty, she'd withdraw the article 50 declaration on her way out the door.

Given she wasn't allowed to declare it without parliament giving her the right, I'm doubtful she could withdraw it without parliament rubber stamping it too?
posted by edd at 4:04 PM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Lengthy, probably 100% accurate transcription of real-life events by @garius:

MAY: Think about it Michael this could be your chance to prove everyone wrong
GOVE: (wet clicking)
MAY: Brexit Secretary. They'd HAVE to admire you
GOVE: (subdued wet slapping)
MAY: They'd have to love you then, Michael. The people, they'd have to respect you
GOVE: (demonic purr)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:08 PM on November 15 [15 favorites]


Here's a rolled-up version of that thread.. So great.
posted by suelac at 4:35 PM on November 15 [7 favorites]


Just to explain further my reasoning that a hard Brexit would be so terrible that it's unfathomable to me that it will happen if the present agreement or some quietly negotiated backup isn't approved since I happened to see a MeFi member say something that evinced a lack of understanding on this point:

It has been made clear that no negotiations (including the behind the scenes stuff) regarding the status of aircraft operations between the (soon-to-be-again) CAA area and the EASA can take place until a framework is agreed upon. The very definition of a hard Brexit is that the day arrives without a framework in place.

Legally, that means UK operators will not be allowed to fly to EASA destinations and vice versa. G registered aircraft will not be able to be legally flown by EASA-licensed pilots and vice versa. That means no flights between CAA and EASA areas since nobody will be legal to make said flights. Passenger, cargo, whatever, it doesn't matter.

If you can't see how much worse that would be for the UK than the EASA countries, and how it would bring the UK economy to a near standstill, you're not connected with reality.

And this is just one of several major and hundreds of minor issues that people don't seem to grasp. The old treaties on which the UK's international trade and movement were based have all been replaced with agreements that will no longer apply after Brexit. In aviation, that includes the US-UK (mostly) open skies agreement that was in effect prior to the relatively recent conclusion of the EU-US open skies treaty.

TBH, I'm a bit surprised there are any airlines that operate to destinations outside the UK still based there. I guess they, like the rest of us, assumed that our betters weren't completely fucking clueless and would eventually remove their heads from deep within their own rectums. Alas, every passing day seems to involve heads moving ever farther up their attached digestive tracts.
posted by wierdo at 8:25 PM on November 15 [18 favorites]


Via Twitter, a fact that I found quite astonishing: Jacob Rees-Mogg is younger than Kylie Minogue.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 9:34 PM on November 15 [8 favorites]


I'm too tired to scan old threads, but I'll assume Three Blokes in a Pub has been mentioned before. It was through this series that I learned about the full impact of a no-deal Brexit. Just as it never truly occurred to me that folks I knew and respected would vote for and continue to support Trump, I never believed it would get this far without a deal being worked out.
posted by beowulf573 at 10:03 PM on November 15 [4 favorites]


A leftwing Swiss activist explains how to win referendums (which are frequent in Switzerland’s direct democracy model) by not allowing the xenophobes to dictate the terms of debate, even when they are in the plurality or the majority. Some ideas that the UK left could have benefited from over the previous several decades, and definitely something to think about if we happen to get a second bite of the apple. Another referendum may seem impossible at present, but even a week is a long time in politics, and we may one day have another chance to actually campaign on the merits of European solidarity, workers rights, environmental protection and the benefits of free movement.
Survey showed the populist referendum plan might garner up to 66% of voters’ support. To be sure, this was a low start for us. But we also knew that we didn’t want to live in a country with a two-tier legal system and a judiciary hindered in its work.

So what we did is this: we entirely avoided speaking about foreigners and criminality. Instead, we set the tone of the debate by speaking out about the rule of law and how important it is that everyone be equal before it. We moved the political battlefield and forced our adversaries to meet us there. We deliberately argued in a patriotic way, repeatedly referring to the constitution as a pillar of our liberal democracy. In this way, we removed the rightwing populist’s ability to dictate what “their” referendum was about...
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:46 PM on November 15 [20 favorites]


I have had a discussion over the flights issue with someone who deeply believed in Brexit a while ago. Her position was that this wouldn’t come to pass, even in the event of No Deal, because the EU wouldn’t want to punish us that much and even if it would then the individual countries wouldn’t. She was unconvinced by my arguments that this was not within politicians’ power to unilaterally decide and fix on about one day’s notice.

I have noticed this elsewhere too, a simultaneous lack of trust in politicians along with a sincere belief that they are all-powerful. Like the people who are angry with Theresa May for not producing a better deal this week (I don’t mean people like Rees-Mogg, he knows what he’s doing, I mean members of the public). It was obvious to anyone paying attention that of course it wasn’t possible to get a great sunlit-uplands Europe-begging-at-our-feet deal, and that May’s own decisions to trigger A50, to have in place red lines on eg immigration, and to negotiate all this with a parliamentary majority relying on the DUP, made this probably the best deal it was possible to get as a result. And yet people are angry - not that she put those restrictions on her government in the first place, but that she has been unable to turn lead into gold once she had.
posted by Catseye at 11:34 PM on November 15 [11 favorites]


a simultaneous lack of trust in politicians along with a sincere belief that they are all-powerful
Not only that, when you point out to them why they are mistaken, even with evidence, they don't believe you. Plus, they are "sick of it all now" and want it just to go away.

To be fair, there seems to be an overwhelming mood of denial and powerlessness about the whole situation across the country. The difference with the Brexiteers seems to be they have to justify this idiocy because it's their fault.

The institutional denial is interesting. I have been in various discussions around the impact of Brexit and the number of organisations who do not have advanced preparations in place is staggering. This is feeding into the idea a lot of remainers seem to have that this simply cannot happen. It's somewhat based in reality in that there is literally not enough time to prepare for No Deal before March. It's genuinely revocation, extension or a Cormac McCarthy novel.

If we get to 2019 and we're still staring down the barrel of No Deal I imagine the denial will break and we will either have people on the streets or politicians scrambling to extend/revoke the whole thing.
posted by fullerine at 12:15 AM on November 16 [4 favorites]


Disillusionment with Corbyn seems to start with his apparent stance on Brexit and get thoroughly reinforced by the Labour Anti-Semitism scandals. But he now seems to be grudgingly in favour of the People's Vote?

I worry it's too little, too late. Disaster Capitalism got us into this mess, and I am not in favour of Accelerationist Bolshevism to get us out. Things don't have to get worse to get better, dammit. Socialism doesn't need to be born in riots.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:40 AM on November 16 [8 favorites]


All Govt whips summoned back to Downing St today. Probably a no-confidence vote, outside chance it’s a whip-round to buy a few drinks and a box of Quality St for Olly Robbins.
posted by Catseye at 1:29 AM on November 16 [2 favorites]




The very definition of a hard Brexit is that the day arrives without a framework in place.

I don't think that's right. A hard Brexit is one where the trading relationship with the EU is based on a FTA or similar and there is no freedom of movement between the UK and EU, ECJ jurisdiction in the UK etc. A soft Brexit involves the UK staying in the CU or even the single market. A Canada deal is an example of a hard Brexit and a Norway deal is an example of a soft Brexit.

When you talk about Brexit without agreements with the EASA, you're referring to a No Deal Brexit. I've seen people talk about No Deal as 'the hardest Brexit' but that seems to me to slightly miss the point, as they're talking about two different stages of Brexit. A No Deal is a failure to agree on a Withdrawal Agreement (the document produced yesterday), but the Withdrawal Agreement sets up the transition period where the trading relationship is negotiated. The outcome of that second phase of discussions will be either a hard or soft Brexit.

Now, almost no one is genuinely proposing a No Deal Brexit. Rees-Mogg claims to be, but his proposal involves the UK paying the EU part of its obligations and in return keeping vital agreements running - which is clearly a deal. But one reason there is confusion between hard and No Deal is that Brexiteers are constantly moving the window of what is to them an acceptable Brexit to ever more extreme positions.

And going back to the two stages of negotiating, I feel remainers aren't saying loudly enough that even if there is a Withdrawal Agreement by March next year, that's just the start of a multi-year project to agree a trading relationship. This is going to drag on and on. A huge proportion of the population 'just want it over with', regardless of where they stand (or not) on the actual issues. I wonder if a second referendum and remain might be best sold to non-lobsters as the quickest way to make this whole thing go away.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:55 AM on November 16 [5 favorites]


I wonder if a second referendum and remain might be best sold to non-lobsters as the quickest way to make this whole thing go away.

Make this all go away. Vote to stay.

Let someone else worry about trade deals. Vote remain.

Bored of borders? You'll hardly notice them if you vote remain.

Remember when we hardly ever heard about the EU? Let's go back to that. Vote remain.
posted by rory at 2:20 AM on November 16 [10 favorites]


Listened to the podcast version of this the other day...Will Nissan stay once Britain leaves? How one factory explains the Brexit business dilemma Really gets down into the details on how Brexit is going to effect (and be effected by) just one factory (well one enormous factory)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:32 AM on November 16 [2 favorites]


There are other political structures which would achieve much of this, short of independence. Devolution achieved a lot of it. Federalism would have achieved much more, devo-max too, even tightening up the existing devolution settlement so that UKGov can’t override the devolved parliaments (rather than just ‘mostly won’t, unless we’re desperate to get something through’) would go some way to that.

My view is that political structures are secondary to relative power. A federal UK with powers split the way they are in the US would still be absolutely dominated by England. Imagine if the US was made up of New York, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.
posted by atrazine at 2:32 AM on November 16


Yes, England has a) the population & b) the financial clout to absolutely dominate the rest of the country, both culturally and economically.
posted by pharm at 2:36 AM on November 16


Disillusionment with Corbyn seems to start with his apparent stance on Brexit and get thoroughly reinforced by the Labour Anti-Semitism scandals. But he now seems to be grudgingly in favour of the People's Vote?

I don’t believe Corbyn writes emails sent out to the membership. This looks like it’s come from McDonnell or someone else. Unfortunately the labour leadership appears to see Brexit purely as a tool to lever the Conservatives out of office - if the outcome for the country is a crash out Brexit & people die then too bad for them - they were worthy sacrifices on the road to the future socialist uplands. (I may be slightly cynical about this, but it’s not as if anything they’ve done so far actually contradicts this interpretation is it?)
posted by pharm at 2:45 AM on November 16 [4 favorites]


Imagine if the US was made up of New York, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.

It's even more extreme than that... England has 10 times the population of Scotland, nearly 20 times the population of Wales and 30 times the population of Northern Ireland
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:46 AM on November 16 [1 favorite]


NB. Parts of the Labour leadership are clearly manoeuvring for a way out of the whole ridiculous mess. Whether they can line up Corbyn et al is anyone’s guess though.
posted by pharm at 2:49 AM on November 16 [1 favorite]


Busy Old Fool: Nobody is proposing a no deal Brexit. Which I call hard Brexit because literally the only other option given the stated requirements of the parties involved is along the lines of the framework presently on the table, regardless of any whinging and peacocking during the transition period, and that's (the framework) pretty damn soft. Like it or not, the choices are remain as is, take something close to the backstop on offer, or no deal.

Sadly, wishing it not be so does not change the situation one bit. After all this time and all this delay and all this bluster, the framework on offer is what it will be going forward. There is no reason to expect that shouting more loudly will get the EU to budge. If the backstop is agreed, you won't exactly be improving your negotiating position since they are getting pretty much everything they want anyway. Even if they were inclined to renegotiate, time is dreadfully short, making an "unintentional" (make no mistake it's entirely intentional on the part of a certain group of pathological liars) no deal Brexit that much more certain if this agreement isn't accepted.
posted by wierdo at 2:51 AM on November 16 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that was a bit more argumentative than necessary. You can replace "hard Brexit" in what I wrote with "no deal," but the reasoning remains the same.
posted by wierdo at 3:04 AM on November 16


A long one but a good one, again by Fintan O'Toole (like his third big piece in two days) in the Guardian: The paranoid fantasy behind Brexit.

"The other crucial idea here is the vertiginous fall from “heart of Empire” to “occupied colony”. In the imperial imagination, there are only two states: dominant and submissive, coloniser and colonised. This dualism lingers. If England is not an imperial power, it must be the only other thing it can be: a colony."

"But the other idea is the fever-dream of an English Resistance, and its weird corollary: a desire to have actually been invaded so that one could – gloriously – resist. And not just resist but, in the ultimate apotheosis of masochism, die. Part of the allure of romantic anti-imperial nationalism is martyrdom. The executed leaders of the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, for example, stand as resonant examples of the potency of the myth of blood sacrifice. But in the ironic reversal of zombie imperialism, the appropriation of the imagery of resistance to a former colonising power, this romance of martyrdom is mobilized as defiance of the EU."


Goddamn but when Toolbox is on, he's on.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 3:16 AM on November 16 [17 favorites]


Apropos of Corbyn rejecting a second Brexit referendum as 'not a priority' (Daily Mirror), Richard "Scarfolk" Littler:
Corbyn: The Brexit train can't be stopped.
Journo: It can. The train has brakes.
Corbyn: But the passengers have already paid.
Journo: Yes, but many changed their minds when the destination was changed.
Corbyn: Let's talk about hard-working chimney sweeps in Wigan.
Journo: No.
Good lord, Corbyn really wants a snap election so he can go back to Brussels (“We would do a better deal.”).
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:33 AM on November 16 [7 favorites]


A federal UK with powers split the way they are in the US would still be absolutely dominated by England.

Yes, quite likely, but again there are different ways to do this (I don’t even think federalism is even the only one). There are for example plenty of reasonable criticisms one could make about the way smaller/weaker member countries get treated in the EU, but from Scotland’s perspective right now it looks like the EU is backing up Ireland and its interests far far more than the U.K. is doing for Scotland. And the SNP are explicitly highlighting this, and for a reason.

The nationalist approach in Scotland specifically (v different in NI, I suspect more similar in Wales although Wales is somewhat behind Scotland in devolved powers at the moment) is very much a long game - get a bit of power, say “look what we’ve achieved with this, imagine what we could do with more”, get more power, repeat. The common UK approach of “Oh you’d never have that much of a voice within the U.K. anyway because you’re just too small” plays into that argument very nicely indeed from the SNP’s perspective - that is an explicit admission that the next step would have to be independence, then. It is a big disappointment from the perspective of those of us wishing for a more complex debate on possibilities here that Labour, including Scottish Labour, aren’t prepared to make a better case for what can be done within devolution short of full independence.

(Example: Scotland does not have a nationalised railway. Scotland’s government can’t nationalise its train service, because that power is reserved to Westminster. The current Scottish govt proposal is to have a public ally-owned company bid for the franchise. Scottish Labour’s response is not “that doesn’t go far enough, we will push for devolving that power once we’re in Westminster” but rather “that doesn’t go far enough, we would nationalise the whole thing if we were in power in Holyrood.” NO YOU WOULDN’T, you can’t, devolution is your great achievement and you don’t even seem to know or care about how it works aaaaaaargh.)

Mundell originally said he’d resign if the Brexit agreement gave NI a different deal to Scotland/rUK generally, because this would jeapardise the Union. He seems to have backed down on this now although it’s notable how many of the resigners have stated the deal endangering the Union as the reason they won’t support it. I don’t think they actually care on a deep level or in any practical sense but as an argument, it’s right: giving NI a different arrangement means NI treated as separate, and also gives massive amounts of ammunition to the nationalists in Scotland and Wales because then it’s clear that no separate arrangement for them is an active choice, not an inevitability.

There are of course decent reasons for why a government would choose to treat NI differently. But they’re not compelling arguments for why it wouldn’t choose the same for other devolved nations pressing for that, from the point of view of those nations. (Also, even when it does acknowledge the peace process it often boils down to a really simplistic “otherwise NI might break out in guns and bombs again” as if violence and civil war is some kind of unfortunate skin condition NI is prone to, rather than the result of any political choices, which I find beyond frustrating but that’s another issue.)
posted by Catseye at 3:46 AM on November 16 [10 favorites]


wierdo: I agree with your arguments on the practical options available and the likelihood of the EU making a different offer and I don't think anything I wrote is in opposition to them. (I could have added that what is traditionally seen as a Hard Brexit is not really on the table, but my comment was already longer than I wanted.)

I picked up on the terminology used because
  • hardcore Brexiters have (as I wrote) been engaged in a project to shift what 'really counts as Brexit' ever further into isolation from the EU. Conflating No Deal Brexit and Hard Brexit plays right into that so I think it's important to keep the original definitions which distinguish the two.
  • confusing the sequential negotiations around the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trading Relationship is endemic and serves to make Brexit seem easier than it is.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:01 AM on November 16 [5 favorites]


The Canary: May's terrible Brexit deal could see Corbyn's socialism banned from the UK:
...it appears to enshrine in law the same obstructions to state aid after Brexit too, as a precondition of our future relationship...

Article 17 prohibits the ability to "fix purchase or selling prices". This could prevent rent caps, energy price caps, wage caps, or affordable state housing – some key policies of Corbyn’s Labour.

Meanwhile, subsection (b) prohibits the "limit or control [of] production, markets, technical development or investment" This could potentially justify denying state subsidies for British industries, such as shipbuilding, renewable energy tech, and other high-tech sectors...

But what this document does demonstrate is the neoliberal economic framework that both UK Conservatives and EU policymakers mutually consent to; a system which both enshrines the free market in law and legally deters state intervention.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:06 AM on November 16 [5 favorites]


right now it looks like the EU is backing up Ireland and its interests far far more than the U.K. is doing for Scotland

This despite the fact that RoI is a significantly smaller proportion of the EU than Scotland is relative to the UK.

But Scotland is just so small, of course it's natural and just that they're dominated by England's interests.

*eyeroll*
posted by Dysk at 4:25 AM on November 16 [3 favorites]


There are of course decent reasons for why a government would choose to treat NI differently. But they’re not compelling arguments for why it wouldn’t choose the same for other devolved nations pressing for that, from the point of view of those nations.

NI has a hugely complex land border with the republic. Obviously there's bad reasons for that thanks to past British actions, but nobody would want Westminster thinking about fiddling with the border, particularly this government in alliance with the DUP (which in itself is skating dangerously close to a breach of the Good Friday Agreement), and at this time in particular.

So we're stuck with a land border that isn't there because of natural boundaries but is purely artificial - it has hundreds of official crossings, more than the EU has on its entire eastern boundary. That includes roads that go back and forth across the border, lord knows how many additional foot crossings, and even individual shops and houses that literally straddle the border. To reinstitute a hard border after 20 years of it being effective erased - as WTO rules require if we leave without a deal - would mean mass road closures, many, many border posts, and substantial evictions and shop closures, causing massive dislocation and pain for many on both sides. Families straddle the border, people regularly shop and go to work either side, goods zip back and forth... it's a microcosm of the UK and the EU interdependence, but dialled up to 11 for obvious historic, cultural, religious and economic reasons. Plus the Good Friday Agreement, which is not something which anyone should even be considering discarding.

Neither Scotland or Wales have anything like that situation or history with another EU country, their only route to the rest of the EU is via sea or air (excluding their land borders with England, which won't be closing because of Brexit). I can entirely understand why they think NI is getting special treatment - it is - but there are damn good reasons for having their situation be unique that have nothing to do with politics or economics. Not that I'm accusing you of confusing that at all, but I definitely think the SNP are using NI as a wedge to back their own push for independence that ignores the very unique situation on the island of Ireland.

Scotland has plenty of good reasons to want to depart Westminster's influence (I think a good chunk of england would happily go with them for the same reasons!), they don't need to use NI as a stepping stone.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:36 AM on November 16 [5 favorites]


It's worth remembering that Amendment 7 to Clause 9 of the Withdrawal Act, which gives MPs the ability to vote down the Withdrawal Agreement, was passed by only 4 votes and was described at the time by hardcore Brexiters as a 'betrayal of Brexit' and the Tory MPs who broke ranks to vote for it were vilified by the Mail and other newspapers.

Many hardcore Brexiters are now, of course, cheering on every MP who plans to use that vote against the Withdrawal Agreement.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:43 AM on November 16 [8 favorites]


I definitely think the SNP are using NI as a wedge to back their own push for independence that ignores the very unique situation on the island of Ireland.

yes, probably - they were on that from about day 1 after the referendum. But so long as they keep it to “if you can choose separate arrangements for NI then you could also choose separate arrangements for Scotland, on this specific issue which has a massive amount of popular support” then it is still a tough point to counter.
posted by Catseye at 4:51 AM on November 16 [3 favorites]




Scotland has plenty of good reasons to want to depart Westminster's influence (I think a good chunk of england would happily go with them for the same reasons!), they don't need to use NI as a stepping stone.
Listening to the legitimate concerns of SNP politicians on the radio yesterday, I couldn't help but think that Northern England is in perhaps a worse situation than Scotland. It too has to compete with a Northern Ireland that's potentially in the customs union, but it has none of the devolved powers of Scotland and frankly has no-one speaking for it in the way Sturgeon and Blackford passionately speak up for Scotland.

The regions of Northern England are politically tied to a Tory South of England that cares extremely little, if at all, about them. Economically, the North of England has more in common with Hamilton than Hertfordshire. At least Scotland has its own government that is able to make investment decisions and adjustments to policy to account for Scotland's economic situation.
posted by winterhill at 5:42 AM on November 16 [13 favorites]


New Statesman: The DUP’s confidence and supply agreement is dead - but it doesn’t matter

From that link:

Increasing the leverage available to the DUP at this acute point of pain for the PM is the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which, as Downing Street has already admitted, allows the DUP to vote against the government on the Budget as many times as it pleases without triggering a confidence vote.

Jesus, Cameron inadvertently put the UK in the same constitutional position as Australia and the US, where it's possible for governments to continue in power even when they're denied supply by Parliament/Congress. Which means the civil service and other government-funded organisations running out of money, and people whose wages ultimately come from Westminster not getting paid.

Which could mean that some of us get a head start on starving to death before a No-Deal Brexit. Merry Christmas.
posted by rory at 5:44 AM on November 16 [3 favorites]


On the subject of Scotland and the Lib Dems in particular, I'm not entirely convinced that the entire Lib Dem cohort in the Commons would back remaining in the EU as people assume.

Alistair Carmichael represents Orkney and Shetland, the latter of which is particularly reliant on the fishing industry. Fishing communities in Shetland voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU over long-standing objections to the Common Fisheries Policy (although a majority of Shetlanders voted Remain). Carmichael is now sounding off in the local press using very hard-Brexit language.

It seems that the "Lib Dems = party of remain" is an over simplified view.
posted by winterhill at 5:51 AM on November 16


Cameron: the git that keeps on gitting.
posted by Grangousier at 5:51 AM on November 16 [15 favorites]


...the Tory MPs who broke ranks to vote for it were vilified by the Mail and other newspapers.

The Mail has a new editor and they're not quite on the No Deal or Bust train any more.
posted by PenDevil at 6:08 AM on November 16


“We are also prepared for a no-deal scenario but of course we are best prepared for a no-Brexit scenario,” Donald Tusk tells reporters in Brussels (Independent).
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:23 AM on November 16 [5 favorites]


The Guardian sums up the MPs who have declared they have written to the 1922 Committee... it's 21 so far, with 48 needed to trigger a no confidence vote. Of course that doesn't take into account those who may have written in private so the number is probably much higher.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:24 AM on November 16


The SNP know that the situation in NI is different but they have to point out that Scotland is not mentioned once in the document when they have said they wanted a differential settlement - not least because Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay. Plus it will be more ammunition for the forthcoming Independence vote (well if the Tories let them have another Indie vote... Think the most likely scenario is that May will say 'now is not the time' again and they have to take to the UN and go into the next General / Scottish Election with a manifesto that is one word: Offski!)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:33 AM on November 16 [1 favorite]


It seems that the "Lib Dems = party of remain" is an over simplified view.

Well yeah, any pronouncement on an entire party is going to be somewhat inconsistent. They're the only party I can see (well, apart from the Greens) who could be likely to adopt it as official party policy. Though we've seen how much official party policy matters to parliamentary Lib Dems in the past, of course: it's the reason all of this is irrelevant, because of their actions when they were in government.
posted by Dysk at 6:43 AM on November 16 [5 favorites]


https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/16/uk-austerity-has-inflicted-great-misery-on-citizens-un-says

My browser is not helping me today, so I'm just posting the url and this quote:

The UK government has inflicted “great misery” on its people with “punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous” austerity policies driven by a political desire to undertake social re-engineering rather than economic necessity, the United Nations poverty envoy has found.

Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, ended a two-week fact-finding mission to the UK with a stinging declaration that despite being the world’s fifth largest economy, levels of child poverty are “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster”.

About 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty, and 1.5 million are destitute, unable to afford basic essentials, he said, citing figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. He highlighted predictions that child poverty could rise by 7% between 2015 and 2022, possibly up to a rate of 40%.

“It is patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty,” he said, adding that compassion had been abandoned during almost a decade of austerity policies that had been so profound that key elements of the post-war social contract, devised by William Beveridge more than 70 years ago, had been swept away.

In a coruscating 24-page report, which will be presented to the UN human rights council in Geneva next year, the eminent human rights lawyer said that in the UK “poverty is a political choice”.

posted by mumimor at 7:25 AM on November 16 [13 favorites]


I've genuinely never heard of this new brexit secretary, whoever he is.
posted by dng at 9:12 AM on November 16


I think he was specifically chosen so he couldn't make too much noise when he resigns in disgust in about three days time.

I understand his sole contribution to the national discourse has been a belief that Sir Tom Jones is dead.
posted by Grangousier at 9:17 AM on November 16 [5 favorites]


> The Canary: May's terrible Brexit deal could see Corbyn's socialism banned from the UK

Re: Corbyn's socialism, this piece may be of interest: Labour’s Socialist Realism: A new book of essays edited by UK Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell makes the case for economic democracy and charts the increasingly transformative thinking of Corbyn's Labour Party.
posted by homunculus at 9:22 AM on November 16 [2 favorites]


For conservative MPs, getting given the role of Brexit secretary must be a bit like being called up for jury duty at your own trial.
posted by dng at 9:23 AM on November 16 [1 favorite]


I was hoping that it would go to Chris "Frank Spencer" Grayling. He's completely destroyed everything else he's putatively been in charge of, why not let him do the same for Brexit?
posted by Grangousier at 9:27 AM on November 16 [3 favorites]


I've genuinely never heard of this new brexit secretary, whoever he is.
Part of me heard that news and thought "good stuff, why should I know who he is, politicians shouldn't be celebrities, better him than a fame-hungry tosser".

Then I remembered which country this is and started to wonder who he'd pissed off to be given the job.
posted by winterhill at 9:31 AM on November 16


"However bleak and dark and troubled America seems right now, it’s not as bleak and dark and troubled as Britain. You have Robert S. Mueller. We don’t."

-writes Carole Cadwalladr in the NYRB
posted by vacapinta at 9:40 AM on November 16 [17 favorites]


"However bleak and dark and troubled America seems right now, it’s not as bleak and dark and troubled as Britain. You have Robert S. Mueller. We don’t."

listen, the Special Relationship may not be as special as it once was, but that's no reason to jinx us
posted by murphy slaw at 9:58 AM on November 16 [21 favorites]


I recently read David Peace's Red Riding Quartet. I don't know if I would recommend them to other people - content warnings for racism, rape, misogyny, murder, torture, and violence that is unremitting, unentertaining, unjust, horrific, miserable and repetitive - but they capture a view of the North of England in the 70s and 80s that seems to be coming right back, in all its senseless poverty and violence. As the UN rapporteur in mumimor's link says, "poverty is a political choice". Or, as I linked in a previous thread:
[T]he UK is the longest period of declining real incomes in recorded economic history. ‘Recorded economic history’ means as far back as current techniques can reach, which is back to the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Worse than the decades that followed the Napoleonic Wars, worse than the crises that followed them, worse than the financial crises that inspired Marx, worse than the Depression, worse than both world wars.
This is all a political choice. Austerity never made economic sense, it was always a political decision to slash the state and invite disaster capitalism. For all that we should never forgive New Labour their wars abroad, at home they made significant cuts to child and pensioner poverty. Look at where those percentages got down to - well under 20% - and then look again at the UN rapporteur predicting that child poverty could reach 40%. This is all the result of deliberate choices from the party in power. There's no such thing as a nice Tory - they all want to go back to Thatcher, or, better yet, to Victorian Britain. No-Deal Brexit would be fine for them. You know those people who secretly kind of wish for the apocalypse, because they believe that they'd survive the zombies or the plague or the asteroid, and come out on top in the subsequent dystopia? That's the Tories, because they already have the wealth and the power and already know that they'll come out on top.

I've been thinking about this exchange a fair bit recently. From a couple of days ago; Professor David Andress responding to Piers "Morgan" Moron:

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan
What about those of us who don’t understand how Britain ever survived so successfully for CENTURIES before it became a member of the EU just 45yrs ago...?
David Andress @ProfDaveAndress
Oh, Piers, mate. It was imperialism, mostly, on the back of slavery; and even when we were the biggest economy in the world there were kids running round the streets of our cities with no shoes, and no food in their bellies.
Feature, not a bug, etc.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:28 AM on November 16 [31 favorites]


In this Westminster battle of the bastards, we’re all going down with the ship

Perhaps the Department for Exiting the European Union could take its lead from Have I Got News for You, which changed to a system of rotating hosts after running into repeat difficulties with its main anchor. The arrangement certainly made the career of one Boris Johnson, which serves as a reminder that most of the terrible ideas in the UK are interconnected. And usually went to school with each other.

Marina Hyde, genius as ever
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:36 AM on November 16 [11 favorites]


@andrewhomeski: #CurseReesMogg may you get magically transported into a where’s wally picture without a stripey red shirt and get lost forever.
posted by Wordshore at 10:43 AM on November 16 [4 favorites]


You know those people who secretly kind of wish for the apocalypse, because they believe that they'd survive the zombies or the plague or the asteroid, and come out on top in the subsequent dystopia? That's the Tories, because they already have the wealth and the power and already know that they'll come out on top.

Brexit is arguably a surprisingly pure application of the Shock Doctrine.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:30 PM on November 16 [2 favorites]


Re: Piers Morgan- he does remember the status quo ante was regular Continental wars, right?! Put him in a WWI trench and see how he likes the pre-EU utopia.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:33 PM on November 16


I guess what's most mind boggling to me is Labour's part in this omnishambles. I get that Corbyn feels that some EU rules are too restrictive for him to get the socialist utopia he dreams of, but doesn't he (and the rest of the party) see that there will be no money for that or anything else in a no deal scenario?

It's like the people in the US and USSR during the cold war that thought nuclear winter would be fine so long as they were the ones in charge of the rubble and ash once the bombs had finished falling. Three cheers for winning the worst prize ever?
posted by wierdo at 2:02 PM on November 16 [12 favorites]


I get that Corbyn feels that some EU rules are too restrictive for him to get the socialist utopia he dreams of, but doesn't he (and the rest of the party) see that there will be no money for that or anything else in a no deal scenario?

I agree with probably about 90% of Corbyn’s policy platform but I also think that he’s an incredibly bad and ineffective leader, and that his views on the EU (which would under most circumstances be relatively harmless) completely disqualify him from being leader of the opposition at the present moment. He’s not opposing anything at all. I mean, it says something about the state of Labour after Ed Milliband that all they could come up with for the leadership contest was three blairite non-entities with PPE degrees and Corbyn, widely seen as a joke candidate - and Corbyn won. But unfortunately that leadership election has in many respects fucked us all. In the words of someone on twitter: “A Marxist I know explained the problem with Lexit very well recently: Brexit isn't an empty vessel that can be drained of its current content - xenophobic nationalism - and then filled up with internationalist socialism”. But maybe that’s not even Corbyn’s plan? I’m not sure he’s trying to do any contradiction heightening (although others in Labour and Momentum may be). I get the impression that he just thinks the EU is a bad thing and therefore we’d be better off not being a part of it, nothing more complex than that.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:41 PM on November 16 [12 favorites]


Sorry that was sort of an unfocused rant. But fundamentally I don’t think you should credit Corbyn for planning for post-Brexit any more than the Tories. Everyone in a position of power in British politics today seems to see Brexit as an end in itself.

Since I can’t seem to stop linking to people’s tweets, here’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy making a related point:
Stop saying endgame! There is no endgame. There is no end. This is going to go on forever. For all our lifetimes. Every election from now. Every political decision.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:45 PM on November 16 [12 favorites]


Brexiteer cabinet ministers in plan to shift May on EU deal. Gove, Leadsom, Fox, Mordaunt and Grayling (dream team!), aiming to edit the NI backstop “to include the possibility of new technology or a free trade deal as alternative solutions to the Irish border issue”.

Not sure at this point what’s more baffling here:
a) the idea that the government is capable of designing and delivering a major new groundbreaking tech project on a massive scale in four months;
b) the idea that the EU will happily make revisions to complex agreement it’s already negotiated if sent “brexit_agreement_FINAL_final_ver5_saturday_trackchanges.docx”
posted by Catseye at 12:40 AM on November 17 [12 favorites]


Jesus, Cameron inadvertently put the UK in the same constitutional position as Australia and the US, where it's possible for governments to continue in power even when they're denied supply by Parliament/Congress

Don't lump us in with the American system! You need confidence of the house to pass supply bills to hold government in Australia.
posted by chiquitita at 1:59 AM on November 17


Seeing some talk on twitter that their might be enough Labour MPs, with large amounts of Leave voters in their constituencies, willing to vote for May's deal to push it through... we'll see.

I do think she's personally survived for now... if the latest flurry of letters to the 1922 committee weren't enough, I can see there being any more in the near future.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:02 AM on November 17


Don't lump us in with the American system! You need confidence of the house to pass supply bills to hold government in Australia.

I'm not suggesting that America has a Westminster system, but maintaining supply is a concern for any government. The point is that in both the US under Obama in 2013 and Australia under Whitlam in 1975, one of the houses of Congress/Parliament controlled by their political opponents (all of Congress in Obama's case, and the Senate in Whitlam's) was able to obstruct supply without it automatically bringing down the government (i.e. the President and his appointed government in Obama's case, or the Whitlam government supported by the House of Reps in Australia). In the UK, the House of Lords lost the power to trigger such a constitutional crisis in 1911: only a failure to pass supply in the Commons would bring down a government. But now a failure to pass supply in the Commons won't automatically bring down a minority government, thanks to the FTPA. Joy.
posted by rory at 4:20 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]


It's worth reminding everyone, too, that Australia's 1975 constitutional crisis was resolved by the Governor-General (the Queen's representative, appointed on the advice of the government), dismissing the prime minister and his government, which had been reelected only 18 months earlier when the Senate had first pulled the same stunt.

In the UK, a dismissal from above would be extremely unlikely. The Queen has less power under the UK's unwritten constitution than the Governor-General has under Australia's written one.

If the DUP chose not to support the budget as a way of exercising leverage over May's government, which it can now do without bringing her government down, triggering fresh elections, and putting its own seats at risk, things could get very ugly indeed.
posted by rory at 4:42 AM on November 17


Seeing some talk on twitter that their might be enough Labour MPs, with large amounts of Leave voters in their constituencies, willing to vote for May's deal to push it through... we'll see.

As this is the only way to shit out the enormous turd, expect a lot of spin saying exactly that. Reality may not fall into line.
posted by Devonian at 5:53 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]


Brexiter cognitive dissonance time! In this Sky News clip of her scathing attack against both the proposed Brexit withdrawal text and the European Union, Nadine Dorries MP says: "This deal gives us no voice, no votes, no MEPs, no commissioner."

aaaaaAAAaaaarrrrrRRRRRgggghhhhh
posted by rory at 8:01 AM on November 17 [19 favorites]


Let's just say there's a good reason Remainers on Twitter highlight examples of Brexit ignorance with the Nadine Dorries Award.
posted by PenDevil at 8:33 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]


Re: Piers Morgan- he does remember the status quo ante was regular Continental wars, right?!

Piers Morgan doesn't remember anything. Piers Morgan doesn't think anything. Like a salmon returning upstream to where it spawned, like a moth incessantly beating its wings towards a porch light, Piers, blind and insensate, just follows the primal urge driving every fibre of this being towards the publicity.
posted by reynir at 1:50 PM on November 17 [18 favorites]


Observer, Emails reveal Arron Banks’ links to Steve Bannon in quest for campaign cash
An email, dated 24 October 2015, written by Banks and copied to Bannon among others, states that Leave.EU “would like CA [Cambridge Analytica] to come up with a strategy for fundraising in the States and engaging companies and special interest groups that might be affected by TTIP [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership].”

Banks is under criminal investigation over the sources of his £8m donation to the Leave.EU campaign after the Electoral Commission suspected he was not the “true source” of loans and the money had come “from impermissible sources”, claims denied by Banks.

Political donations from foreigners are illegal under British law. The email that suggests Banks attempted to solicit overseas donations for his unofficial Brexit campaign is likely to be published as evidence by parliament’s inquiry into fake news on Monday.

Banks states in the email that US citizens with British relatives could be targeted for donations, writing that a potential strategy should look at “how we could connect to people with family ties to the UK and raise money and create SM [social media] activity.” The same email, written nine months before the EU referendum, also reveals that Banks would “like to get CA on the team, maybe look at the first cut of the data”, suggesting the firm may have been offered access to information about British voters from Banks’s Brexit campaign, a claim denied by Banks.
posted by zachlipton at 4:44 PM on November 17 [3 favorites]


New Yorker:
For two years, observers have speculated that the June, 2016, Brexit campaign in the U.K. served as a petri dish for Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign in the United States. Now there is new evidence that it did. Newly surfaced e-mails show that the former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and Cambridge Analytica, the Big Data company that he worked for at the time, were simultaneously incubating both nationalist political movements in 2015.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:21 PM on November 17 [4 favorites]


The incidental mention of HM The Q above in the context of Australia's Governor General reminded me of the existence of the UK's largely-notional comfy one-time-only nuclear "Monarch says 'no' >> UltraMegaConstitutionalCrisis >> No More Monarchy >> maybe someone sorts shit out in the meantime otherwise you're still buggered" option, which (thank fuck) I've not seen or heard breath of mentioned in commentary re: Brexit. Guess that's some sort of tarnished silver lining.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:35 PM on November 17 [1 favorite]


Although, thinking about it for a minute, that's probably more to do with the fact that the default fail state at this point is to automatically drop out of the EU and the "monarch says 'no'" moment is already long past and we're all shafted regardless. Sweet dreams.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:42 PM on November 17


Have there been any whispers on what the Queen thinks of all this? I'm aware it doesn't and shouldn't matter, but curious.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:51 PM on November 17


I mean, clutching at straws here, but it kind of should matter - republican here, but what else is the point of having, at great expense, an arbitrarily selected head of state? Theoretically it’s for when democracy breaks down, and the Brexit vote and subsequent [waves hand vaguely at everything] seems as close to a catastrophic failure of democracy as we’re likely to see.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:08 PM on November 17 [8 favorites]


I'm always feeling, Blue, are you wondering whether the invoking of Article 50 means dropping out of the EU once the two years are up even though no further action is taken? That doesn't seem to be the way the EU is taking it (see for example Donald Tusk's recent remarks).

The Court of Sessions gave permission for the question of whether Article 50 can be reversed to be taken to the European Court of Justice, but the Westminster Government is appealing the decision in the Supreme Court.

If it turns out the invocation of Article 50 can be revoked, and it also turns out that an Act of Parliament would be required, then in theory the Sovereign could refuse to give that Act (or more properly Bill, I suppose) Royal Assent. That means it might matter what she thinks, as Chrysostom wonders. Would she go that far? There's nothing to suggest she would. She's never withheld assent on any of the thousands of Bills she's been presented with, and it's probably only lawful for her to refuse assent on the advice of her Cabinet. That would require a situation where not only did a Bill get passed that Cabinet opposed, but one where the PM and Cabinet were so opposed that they would ask the Queen to take such a drastic step.

So, no, probably. On the other hand, there's the hat.
posted by GeckoDundee at 9:12 PM on November 17 [3 favorites]


New Yorker: The Brexit Fantasy Goes Down In Tears
- Interesting to read this article, which starts off from the point of view of one person's feeling of regret, with the earlier New Yorker - linked above - dealing with the various Cambridge Analytica manipulations of the campaign.
posted by rongorongo at 10:58 PM on November 17 [1 favorite]


Have there been any whispers on what the Queen thinks of all this? I'm aware it doesn't and shouldn't matter, but curious.

The tabloids (and other right wing press) said she was a Brexiteer (naturally)

But there was that hat.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:35 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


Few more links. UK Polling Report says the deal is unpopular, Labour seems to be opening up a slight lead:
...based on what they had seen or heard about the deal, 15% of people supported it, 51% were opposed, 33% said don’t know...

If people were forced to choose between the deal or leaving without one, 60% would choose the deal, 40% no deal. On the other hand, if the choice was between the deal and having a fresh referendum, people would prefer a new referendum by 56% to 44%.
Via this tweet here are UK and EU summaries of the deal for those who are finding the 585 pages a bit of a slog. This analysis seems to confirm what I originally thought: that the "backstop" does not include free movement between the UK and EU.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:45 AM on November 18


The whole reason we've gone through this whole tortured process was May's dogmatic insistence that free movement came to an end after the transition, while not closing the NI border, which was an EU condition. No border means NI at least has to stay in most of the single market (i.e. free movement of workers, goods, capital and services), May agreed to that in December, then took it back when the DUP objected to NI being different to the mainland (thus pushing NI closer to the Republic), and yet there it is in the final backstop for NI as it was the only possible solution, while the UK would revert to customs union membership and a bunch of restrictions so we don't undercut the single market. Basically, worse than Turkey.

We could have opted for EFTA (i.e. Norway) two years ago, kept the whole country in the single market and customs union thus much reducing the economic shock of Brexit, kept an open border in NI, and still derogated from a bunch of EU law along with EU membership, thus meeting the terms of the referendum; and given up our influence and vote, but we'd be out of the EU. But then May was obsessed with immigration (including the infamous 'go home' vans in migrant areas) when Home Sec, so nobody should be surprised.

The hard brexiteers would have been pissed, but then trying to appease them through this whole process has achieved bugger all anyway as all they do is snipe from the sidelines and move the goalposts. Not that they ever have possible solutions.

e.g. yesterday:
Raab said the UK should demand an agreement that allows it to unilaterally leave any customs union.
Raab said: “If we cannot close this deal on reasonable terms we need to be very honest with the country that we will not be bribed and blackmailed or bullied and we will walk away. I think there is one thing that is missing and that is political will and resolve. I am not sure that message has ever landed.”


If only someone like Raab had been in charge of negotiating the withdrawal deal.

Raab, who stepped down as Brexit secretary on Thursday saying he could not accept the terms of the deal.

Oh.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:25 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]


It's as if the only - the only! - thing that really mattered was a happy finish for the xenophobes.

But in terms of cognitive dissonance, it's better than Feynman playing bongos with the Portsmouth Sinfonia. Radio 4 news phoned up a few Tory party local chairpeople on Sunday and asked them what they thought of May's deal and whether they supported it. One chap went to great lengths to say how he hated it, it stank, it betrayed every promise made, it marked two years of complete lack of political leadership and vision, and then said "But I'd have to vote for it, otherwise Corbyn will get in. And the Tories are the party of strong, effective government".

That Nadine Dorres award is useless - it would have to be split so many ways...
posted by Devonian at 6:46 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


We could have opted for EFTA (i.e. Norway) two years ago

That's what I find so bonkers about the whole thing. I mean... I think it's a negative to leave the EU, but it's not like the EU doesn't still have some serious cracks, both in terms of monetary policy and in terms of countries slipping toward fascism, that leave me with doubts about its long term future. And it's not like there aren't a bunch of non-EU European states that have relationships with the EU. Pick one of the models! The details are already worked out!

But they just cling and cling to the fantasy where they get everything they already had but get to ignore the Four Freedoms. Oh, and get to stop paying anything in.
posted by tavella at 7:25 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


it's not like the EU doesn't still have some serious cracks, both in terms of monetary policy and in terms of countries slipping toward fascism

It's okay, one of the countries seriously speeding toward fascism is in the process of leaving.
posted by Dysk at 2:41 AM on November 19 [16 favorites]


Nadine Dorries MP says: "This deal gives us no voice, no votes, no MEPs, no commissioner."
aaaaaAAAaaaarrrrrRRRRRgggghhhhh

I recommend you let @janegodley express this even better (nsfw)
posted by rongorongo at 6:16 AM on November 19 [9 favorites]


Quoting myself: hardcore Brexiters have been engaged in a project to shift what 'really counts as Brexit' ever further into isolation from the EU. Conflating No Deal Brexit and Hard Brexit plays right into that so I think it's important to keep the original definitions which distinguish the two.

Anyone following the Brexit language shift will enjoy the fabulous Chris Grey expressing my thoughts above infinitely better in this piece in Prospect back in September.

Also, from Matt Chorley of the Times (I know, I know, but...):
So I think Labour's position is they would get a better deal in three months than the government has managed in two years by asking more nicely, but if they needed longer they could use the transition period to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement that must be agreed for the transition period to come into effect, and he doesn't like the Brexit deal agreed by Brussels, because it doesn't provide the exact same benefits of EU membership which he disliked because of state aid and competition rules, but remaining is not necessarily better than leaving with no deal at all, and the outcome of the referendum must be respected but all options remain on the table, but a second referendum is not an option for today but could be tomorrow, and if it was Corbyn doesn't even know how he would vote.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:34 AM on November 19 [7 favorites]


Simon Jenkins in the Guardian:
As soon as the referendum result was announced, the defeated remainers tried to pretend it had not happened. They demanded another referendum, which inevitably sounded like sour grapes and a denial of democracy. Some insulted Brexiters and others wasted time going to court. They even joined hard Brexiters in deriding such compromises as versions of the Norway option, the single market and a customs union. The case for soft Brexit went by the board. Remorselessly, Brexit came to mean hard Brexit...

At no point did remainers and pragmatists form a coalition to shout from the rooftops the necessity for Britain to stay in Europe’s common economic space. They divided and diluted their forces. When the inevitable compromise finally surfaced last week in May’s withdrawal deal, there was no lobby to give it purchase. Hard Brexit, now a de facto no-deal Brexit, was left totally in the ascendant. On every television screen, its champions went unchallenged, talking rubbish about reopening negotiations, about “rule-taking, not rule-making” and fantasy “deals with the rest of the world”.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:00 AM on November 19 [6 favorites]


At no point did remainers and pragmatists form a coalition to shout from the rooftops the necessity for Britain to stay in Europe’s common economic space. They divided and diluted their forces.

This kind of "blame the remainers" argument is baffling to me. It's as if the Tories diverted the train to a track that's headed off a cliff, and then as the train plummets toward the ground you blame Labour for not flinging themselves in front of the train in an effort to slow it down.
posted by duffell at 11:25 AM on November 19 [10 favorites]


John Harris in the Guardian, Brexit is a class betrayal. So why is Labour colluding in it?
While some of us have been spitting feathers about the deceptions perpetrated by rightwing leavers, Jeremy Corbyn has seemed barely interested. Is there some kind of awful equivalence between the rightwing Brexiteers, who see national crisis as the ideal seedbed for a free-market utopia, and leftwingers who think socialism is similarly best assisted by disaster? Whatever the explanation, and whatever the levels of support for leave among Labour voters, a supposed party of opposition – and a leftwing one at that – accepting a project birthed and then sustained in the worst kind of rightwing political circles is a very odd spectacle indeed. This, surely, will also be the verdict of history.

As things stand, Labour’s position is apparently built on two fairly incredible beliefs: that it could somehow negotiate a much better Brexit, and that it wants a general election, which parliament is very unlikely to grant. Even if a contest did happen, unless the Tories were mad enough to plunge us into the chaos of no-deal, what exactly would it be about? With Brexit both falling apart and defining the entirety of day-to-day politics, Labour’s crafty fudging of the issue in 2017 would be impossible. Would its central offer be the difference between the current plan, to stay in a customs union for an unspecified period, or Labour’s guarantee to do so permanently? Might voters basically be asked to choose between the negotiating nous of Tories and the supposedly superior talents of Corbyn, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry? Contrary to Labour’s hype, there is no chance of any deal delivering “the exact same benefits” as the status quo, nor of the party’s fabled “jobs-first” Brexit: with his usual bloodless candour, Donald Tusk this week reminded us that our passage out of the EU is “a lose-lose situation and that our negotiations are only about damage control”. As if anyone needed reminding, this would apply to a Labour government as well.
posted by zachlipton at 12:14 PM on November 19 [9 favorites]


This kind of "blame the remainers" argument is baffling to me.

Yeah, the second paragraph of the quote doesn't follow from the first, I don't think. If you want to blame anybody for not forming a coalition to mitigate the disaster of a hard Brexit, then surely the Lexiteers like Corbyn are the more appropriate target than true-blue Remainers are?
posted by tobascodagama at 12:19 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


All the UK wants to do is end Freedom of Movement. All else follows from that.

Even true for supposed Remainers:
Nick Clegg: We should stay in and reform freedom of movement.
Tony Blair: EU could compromise on freedom of movement.

Theresa May's first five words when announcing her deal: This deal ends free movement.. Stating very proudly that she is ending free movement for all UK citizens.

That is all this was ever about. Not trade, not sovereignty. Just xenophobia and racism.
posted by vacapinta at 12:30 PM on November 19 [29 favorites]


And then one more:
Don’t blame the Irish: the Brexit chaos is all about England
Fintan O'Toole
First, negotiations will always be determined by the balance of power. The very poor outcome of the Brexit negotiations for Britain reflects the realpolitik: there was a relatively small and isolated country up against a huge multinational bloc. This is the accustomed way of such things. But this time there has been a staggering variation: the places have changed. Britain, not Ireland, is the relatively small and isolated country. Ireland, not the British Empire, has on its side the power of a huge multinational bloc.

This in itself is deeply disorienting. It is a new thing: the first time in 800 years of Anglo-Irish relations that Ireland has had more clout. No wonder the Brexiters and the British government found it impossible for so long to even recognise this new reality. They operated – and some of them continue to operate – under the old rules, in which the game would be settled between the big powers, and the interests of a small country such as Ireland could be easily shoved aside. The Irish would get a few platitudes about peace but the real deal would be done between London and Berlin.
posted by mumimor at 1:03 PM on November 19 [13 favorites]




More Fintan O'Toole
The paranoid fantasy behind Brexit.
In the dark imagination of English reactionaries, Britain is always a defeated nation – and the EU is the imaginary invader.
posted by adamvasco at 2:50 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Simon Jenkins is like a well meaning but ineffectual vicar, making the right noises, but really any problems are something you should do something about yourself, and don't be silly, everything's going to be fine in the end, everything's fine.
posted by lucidium at 4:18 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


I’ve lost St. George in the Union Jack / That’s my flag too and I want it back

“Roots” by Show of Hands always leaps to mind when Fintan O’Toole talks about the rise of English nationalism that led to Brexit.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:44 PM on November 19


I've occasionally enjoyed Simon Jenkins in the past, but the quote above is just baffling to me. When Brexiteers accuse me of believing leavers are stupid it stings because it's not a million miles from the truth - I do believe a lot of leavers (and, to be fair, remainers) voted with a deep ignorance of what leaving the EU would mean. But Jenkins' description comes from an alternate reality I don't even recognise; a reality in which the Lancaster House speech doesn't exist, in which there are pragmatic leavers campaigning for a soft Brexit and in which leavers attacked all forms of leaving the EU equally.

As soon as the referendum result was announced, the defeated remainers tried to pretend it had not happened. They demanded another referendum, which inevitably sounded like sour grapes and a denial of democracy.

No, demands for a second referendum were not widespread immediately after the result. They have steadily built as the extent to which the leave vote was based on false promises and widespread misinformation has become apparent.

Some insulted Brexiters and others wasted time going to court.

To describe Miller vs the Sec of State for Brexit as 'wasting time' is just bizarre. Parliament is currently looking like it'll vote down the Withdrawal Agreement, a vote that pretty clearly came about because Miller won her case over the sovereignty of parliament regarding the Article 50 vote. The pro-Brexit press certainly didn't see it as a waste of time - 'Enemies of the People', remember Simon?

They even joined hard Brexiters in deriding such compromises as versions of the Norway option, the single market and a customs union. The case for soft Brexit went by the board.

Again, that's not at all my memory. Yes, remainers have pointed out that the Norway option is worse than what we have now, giving us all of the costs with fewer of the benefits, but it's also been fairly consistently described by remainers as the least damaging Brexit on the table. What more are we supposed to do, pretend it's better than current EU membership terms? And again, it has been off the table since Lancaster House.

Remorselessly, Brexit came to mean hard Brexit...

It means hard Brexit because, yes, soft Brexit has been a non-starter since Lancaster House. And as I pointed out in my earlier comment, redefining Brexit ever more radically is entirely a project of Brexit ultras and remainers have been calling it out as it happened.

At no point did remainers and pragmatists form a coalition to shout from the rooftops the necessity for Britain to stay in Europe’s common economic space. They divided and diluted their forces.

Hold on, who are these non-remainer pragmatists who remainers failed to form a coalition with? If there is a lobby of Brexiters who are pushing for a Norway model, they've been singularly ineffective at getting their message out because I've been following Brexit and I don't know who they are.

As for remainers, yes we have been talking at length about the advantages of staying in the single market and I've no idea why Jenkins thinks we haven't. But - as I may just have mentioned already - any version of Brexit which involves single market membership was ruled out nearly two years ago in the Lancaster House speech.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:54 AM on November 20 [24 favorites]


@AdamWagner1:
Big Brexit news: UK Supreme Court has refused permission for UK government to appeal to prevent the European Court of Justice deciding whether Article 50 is revokable or not

Key point here. The Supreme Court can't hear the case because the decision of the lower (Scottish) court isn't yet final, as it will give judgment once the ECJ has pronounced it's own judgment, as is the point of the process. So the European Court of Justice will now hear the case *next week* - more here from @JolyonMaugham of the @GoodLawProject which has brought the case and are generally brilliant

It's massively important as it should give MPs clarity on whether Article 50 - the trigger provision which will result in the UK leaving the UK on 29 March 2019 - is 'revocable', i.e. can it be reversed, and if so in what circumstances (i.e. unilaterally, bilaterally etc). If Article 50 is indeed revokable then this would mean MPs have potentially an option to cancel Brexit altogether, cancel the Article 50 notification therefore stopping the clock or call for a People's Vote before 29 March 2019 which would allow for one option to be remain
posted by zachlipton at 1:31 AM on November 20 [7 favorites]


The crazy thing is that the UK government has been fighting this case every step of the way. In other words, the UK government is fighting to limit its own options.
posted by vacapinta at 2:17 AM on November 20 [4 favorites]


Jenkins seems to think it would have been possible to negotiate with brexiters. If they had been pragmatically motivated by the politics of the situation that might have been possible. But this was all about racism (see the hyperfocus on free movement - immigration) and you cannot negotiate with racists (nor can you have a harm minimising brexit that ends free movement, nor would this remainer - an EU citizen - want it). How am I supposed to negotiate or compromise with people for whom this entire exercise was about throwing me out? Why are Labour so keen on helping them?
posted by Dysk at 2:19 AM on November 20 [8 favorites]


Simon Jenkins is an idiot... I still remember his 'Don't worry, if there's No Deal, we'll just carry on same as before' column earlier in the year
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:57 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]


The crazy thing is that the UK government has been fighting this case every step of the way. In other words, the UK government is fighting to limit its own options.

The UK government has been fighting (expensively - 5 QCs employed on the motion defeated today) so that neither it - nor the electorate - gets t to know it's options.
posted by rongorongo at 3:18 AM on November 20


I am just coming back and catching up with all this after a pleasant weekend break from Brexit news, so apologies if I am saying something that's already been said.

The repeated assertions of the Prime Minister that "free movement will end" seem like a needlessly divisive thing to repeat as a soundbite.

I assume that she genuinely believes that "free movement" is a universally unpopular policy in the country and constantly repeating "free movement will end!" in every speech attempting to sell her deal is going to boost her.

A large part of the country associates the phrase "free movement" not with negative scaremongering about mass immigration but with the idea that "I can go and work in Germany without much hassle should the opportunity arise".

There is, I suppose, a divide between those who see free movement as the freedom of others to come into Britain and those who see it as the freedom for themselves to leave Britain.

It seems a very odd choice of soundbite to constantly repeat when she's trying to bring the country together behind her proposed deal.
posted by winterhill at 3:20 AM on November 20 [9 favorites]


winterhill: yes, exactly. I don't want my freedom of movement curtailed, and I'm hurt and bewildered that it's being announced as a positive. But then I also don't look at my personable, competent, much-valued Romanian and French and Irish colleagues, scowl, and think "evil queue-jumpers, your jobs should have gone to Australian or Indian software engineers", so clearly I'm out of touch and out of step with the zeitgeist.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:44 AM on November 20 [5 favorites]


The repeated assertions of the Prime Minister that "free movement will end" seem like a needlessly divisive thing to repeat as a soundbite.

It's more than 'free movement will end', the line yesterday evening was that EU migrants will be stopped from 'jumping the queue' when they get jobs in the UK. In other words, citizens of EU countries who have taken up their legal right to work abroad are being described as queue-jumpers. Britons working in the EU by extension are queue-jumpers too, though obviously that wasn't stated. From German professors to my friend, a Polish nurse doing NHS care work with dementia patients, they're antisocial selfish cheats. (Queue jumping in Britain is somewhere around dropkicking kittens in social acceptability.)

At times I have sympathy for May. She was a remainer, but took on an impossible task after the Leave vote came in and has got her head down and tried to deliver it. She's an unflashy woman doing the hard work while all around posh boys in her own party jeer and gripe, being too intellectually lazy to produce anything coherent of their own.

But then she uses those who already among the most vulnerable in Brexit, those who are already subject to hate and villification, not to mention legal uncertainty, as fuel for xenophobia that she hopes will sell her WA to the hardcore Brexiteers. There is no excuse.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:17 AM on November 20 [10 favorites]


Given what he tenure in the Home Office was like, is anybody surprised? There was never any reason to give her the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Dysk at 4:28 AM on November 20 [6 favorites]


The campaign in 2016 was rubbish at talking about the benefits of EU membership for ordinary people in ordinary jobs, preferring instead to emphasise German university professors, high-skilled Dutch tech workers and benefits for big business.

I was clearing out some crap the other week and came across a Stronger In pamphlet. People like Richard Branson, Karren Brady and Alan Sugar were quoted saying how great EU integration was for their businesses. In a working-class Northern town, that was never going to resonate in any meaningful way. Those people, and people like them, are broadly unpopular. What's good for them is generally shit for us, and I am sure that line of campaigning swung at least a few people to Leave.

It might sound harsh, and it's not a viewpoint I necessarily agree with. But on the whole people in Burnley or Billingham don't give a shit about university professors being able to collaborate more easily or tech firms being able to more effectively compete for top skilled workers. It might as well be an entirely different world when you're working a zero-hour contract at a warehouse and being told you can't go to the loo because you're a replaceable unit rather than a human.

Stronger In fell into a trap of believing that we all inhabited the cosmopolitan world of the south-east professional and media bubble. They failed to correctly point out that free movement was a freedom for us, for our kids to go and work in Germany or our parents to retire to Spain and not just a freedom for big business to import thousands of people and push down working-class wages. The stuff about professors and finance workers just went in one ear and out of the other.
posted by winterhill at 4:40 AM on November 20 [7 favorites]


I think there's a degree of wishful thinking about the level of hostility to immigration for most British voters. UK Polling Report says Most Britons believe immigration levels have been too high: 63% say too high, 22% about right, 3% too low. Most support the "hostile environment" policy too.

As Leave chief Dominic Cummings said:
One of the key delusions that ‘the centre ground’ caused in SW1 concerned immigration. Most people convinced themselves that ‘swing voters’ must have a ‘moderate’ and ‘centre ground’ view between Farage and Corbyn. Wrong. About 80% of the country including almost all swing voters agreed with UKIP that immigration was out of control and something like an Australian points system was a good idea. This was true across party lines.

This was brought home to me very starkly one day. I was conducting focus groups of Conservative voters. I talked with them about immigration for 20 minutes (all focus groups now start with immigration and tend to revert to it within two minutes unless you stop them). We then moved onto the economy. After two minutes of listening I was puzzled and said – who did you vote for? Labour they all said. An admin error by the company meant that I had been talking to core Labour voters, not core Tory voters. On the subject of immigration, these working class / lower middle class people were practically indistinguishable from all the Tories and UKIP people I had been talking to.
In a way I think a kind of trap has just slammed shut on the Remainers. They didn't spend two years talking about the virtues of free movement, they spent the time primarily talking about food and drug shortages; economic collapse; deportations of existing immigrants; repeal of EU consumer and worker protections; chlorinated chicken coming from a future trade deal with the US.

If May's backstop becomes permanent, none of those things happen. We stay close to the single market; there's little disruption; rights of existing immigrants are strongly protected; EU regulations stay largely in force; new trade deals are difficult to impossible. The anti-hard-Brexit arguments don't necessarily apply to opposing a soft one.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:03 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


But going back slightly, why are people hostile to immigration?

People I talk to have no issue with immigration in itself. They don't care if people from Poland want to come here and work. The issue people bring up most with regard to immigration is overcrowded public services - which isn't an immigration issue but an issue with underfunded public services that haven't kept up with population growth.

The population is growing, partly through immigration and partly naturally. If you visit most towns nowadays, there are houses being thrown up in the thousands. My home town is ringed with thousands of new-builds on developments with names like Alderley Gate, Sycamore Grove and so on. What isn't being built to go with these houses are basic public services. You won't find a school or a doctor's surgery or even a basic corner shop among the new-build estates. You're lucky to even find a bus stop, let alone an increase in road and transport capacity to accommodate all the new people.

So people spend an hour sitting in traffic on the way to work. They have to fight for a school place for their kid that's not three towns away. They call the doctor at 8am and find all the appointments for the next month booked up, or they break a leg and find themselves waiting in A&E for eight hours. They look for someone to blame - the government doesn't want people to realise it's the government's fault for systematically cutting back on services and deliberately underfunding local councils, so they imply that it's too many immigrants causing these problems. A friendly big-business media helps them along, and you get the current clusterfuck.
posted by winterhill at 6:51 AM on November 20 [24 favorites]


the government doesn't want people to realise it's the government's fault for systematically cutting back on services and deliberately underfunding local councils, so they imply that it's too many immigrants causing these problems

If only there was a political party that believed in providing those services through progressive taxation and was willing to say this out loud, in public.

I am really very, very sorry about Jeremy Corbyn, by the way. I think we can all band together (eventually) to do something about the rightwing cabal of fucktards spanning your former colonies — in politics, in media, in industry — but...you will still have to replace Jeremy Corbyn. Possibly with a mushroom or something, I don’t know. But goddamn he seems terrible.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:59 AM on November 20 [10 favorites]


People I talk to have no issue with immigration in itself. They don't care if people from Poland want to come here and work. The issue people bring up most with regard to immigration is overcrowded public services - which isn't an immigration issue but an issue with underfunded public services that haven't kept up with population growth.
This a billion times.
And also this a billion times:
If only there was a political party that believed in providing those services through progressive taxation and was willing to say this out loud, in public.


Every single Western European country needs immigrants. We aren't having enough children to sustain the economy or to care for us in old age. We all need a good economy to keep up welfare services.
In Britain, the politicians have been blaming the EU for their own failure to provide adequate services to the population, which is a big lie. But there is another lie behind it, one they share with the anti-EU right across Europe: the capitalists want immigrants, but they don't want immigrants to have even the very basic rights the EU secures. They want the immigrants to be precarious, even illegal.
posted by mumimor at 8:01 AM on November 20 [11 favorites]


People I talk to have no issue with immigration in itself. They don't care if people from Poland want to come here and work. The issue people bring up most with regard to immigration is overcrowded public services - which isn't an immigration issue but an issue with underfunded public services that haven't kept up with population growth.

AFAICT at a glance these data don't exist in a convenient dataset, but I would bet a nice fancy meal that if you could find it, people who were most concerned about the level of public service provision would be no more likely to support brexit than people who put some other issue first, but that people who harbor negative views of foreigners would be much, much more likely to vote for it, as would people who said that the most important issue was keeping Britain British or some similar twaddle.

tl;dr: I expect that many or most of these people are like the anglos in the rust belt who kept insisting that they were voting for Trump for economic reasons, or had that insistence made on their behalf.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:47 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


A minute or a few ago I heard a good point on the radio (was in and out of the car, so can't attribute correctly, I'm guessing it was Jens Peter Bonde, life-long EU sceptic, now somewhat EU accepting): everyone who wants to deal with the EU has to accept EU rules and regulations. The US must, China must. The EU are not ever going to accept chlorinated chickens or unsafe cars. The commission is going to fight cartels and monopolies. Bank rules are being tightened at this minute, and tax rules are coming. You can fight and bicker, but if you want to make a deal, you must comply. So Brexit (including Lexit) was a loosing proposal from the outset, in terms of "taking back control".

I'm thinking two things. One is the obvious, what people are discussing above: the only reason for opting out is racism, opting out of the four freedoms, and literally giving up control and influence of everything else to achieve that. The other, more sinister and also supported by some facts is that global powers want to undermine the EU so they can sell more chlorinated chicken and huge monopolies (these are just examples, insert anything), and used Cambridge Analytica and Bannon and Farage to achieve Brexit for the purpose of undermining EU as a whole, with ignorant racism in the UK as a spring board.
posted by mumimor at 12:12 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]


> "...the freedom for themselves to leave Britain."

When you consider it that way, it makes "free movement will end" a pretty bloody ominous turn of phrase.
posted by lucidium at 12:47 PM on November 20 [6 favorites]


(Queue jumping in Britain is somewhere around dropkicking kittens in social acceptability.)

I lived in Britain for seven years (immigrant queue jumper that I am) and this queue business is such a myth. Brits queue jump all the goddamn time. The reason people constantly whinge on about it is because it happens all the bloody time (Don't even get me started on the byzantine rules for ordering at the pub). It's kind of like how the British used to call syphilis the French Disease (despite having the patron saint of syphilis as England's national saint).

The mythical British queuing ability is just another olden days nationalist/revanchist trope that people whip out when they're up for a round of bigotry. America is better at queuing than the British and if you really want to give out Olympic gold medals well that would be the Canadians at Tim Hortens waiting on a double-double. If pre-caffeinated colonials can out-queue you then really ought to ditch the notion that you are good at it.

So when you accuse immigrants of queue jumping the accusation in reality is that they are being too British and you would like them to be better than that. It's kind of like Trump's Mirror.
posted by srboisvert at 1:44 PM on November 20 [16 favorites]


America is better at queuing than the British

Thirty years ago my friend and I were looking to cash travelers' checks. The teller: "Are you queuing?" Me: (long pause) "I don't know. Are we?"

posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:36 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]


Carole Cadwalladr interviewed by James O'Brien on LBC r.e. Arron Banks, the BBC's bias, Facebook, and Leave.EU seeking funding from Robert Mercer. It's worth a listen for a quick summary of her work as it stands.

Cadwalladr, already linked upthread, is a national treasure and doing probably the most important journalistic work in the UK today.
posted by Quagkapi at 2:46 PM on November 20 [8 favorites]


Nicola Sturgeon has been down at Westminster today trying to organise the Brexit Resistance... she really is Leader of the Opposition at the moment.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:49 PM on November 20 [9 favorites]


The DUP leaving the confidence and supply agreement - which it has, even though it says it's pausing it or whatever - has let Sturgeon get stuck in, and she's wasted absolutely no time. SNP and Labour amendments to the Finance Bill have been passed without a vote, which is astonishing, and Labour is apparently listening to her 'coalition of opposition' proposals, which is equally astonishing (don't underestimate the tribale hatred Labour has for the SNP).
posted by Devonian at 4:08 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]


Sturgeon is also, apparently, reaching out to the conservative back benchers in a bid to build a Norway model coalition. She's been proposing that for the last 2 years - but it could suddenly become a viable option should May's bill be defeated in parliament. She appears to be working down a priority list of 1)As much of the UK as possible to remain in the CU/SM - failing that - 2)People's vote - failing that 3)Go for Scottish independence.

The mutual tribal hatred between the SNP and the Conservatives should also be noted in this context - to add to the antagonism with Labour. It will be a tricky Westminster needle to thread - particularly when you are doing it from Edinburgh.
posted by rongorongo at 12:08 AM on November 21 [3 favorites]


Also, from Matt Chorley of the Times (I know, I know, but...):

Update: Oh dear. I have grave news. I seem to have accidentally brought down the government. Or at least chipped away at its majority. Word reaches me that Andrew Bridgen, the Tory MP, is refusing to vote for the government in protest at my column in The Times on Saturday
posted by zachlipton at 12:57 AM on November 21


I lived in Britain for seven years (immigrant queue jumper that I am) and this queue business is such a myth. Brits queue jump all the goddamn time.
Try driving pretty much anywhere in Britain, particularly England, particularly particularly affluent areas of England and watch the 'polite Brit' stereotype crumble before your very eyes. It's an aggressive world of angry gestures, tailgate driving, screaming abuse and sometimes outright physical attacks. I've got a dent in my car door where Wilmslow Audi Man took offence at me stopping at a red light, instead of sailing through so he could whizz through behind me.

This is not a pleasant country, which makes me sad because it used to be a really nice place to live.
posted by winterhill at 1:07 AM on November 21 [6 favorites]


Just to note that Carole Cadwalladr is running a Patreon to help fund her investigations into illegal shenanigans surrounding Brexit. If anyone has any spare cash that they're not putting into stockpiling food and essential medicines it's a great cause and may help put more pressure onto the government for a full-scale official investigation.
posted by crocomancer at 1:09 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


the capitalists want immigrants, but they don't want immigrants to have even the very basic rights the EU secures. They want the immigrants to be precarious, even illegal.
Building on this, they want pretty much everyone in certain places to be precarious. It's part of the business model to have neglected, underdeveloped areas of the country and the world where they can exploit workers with few options. It doesn't make business sense to develop Barnsley to be as affluent as Buckinghamshire, or Cambodia to be as rich as Canada. Under the neoliberal system, whether it's on a national or global level, you need an underclass to be warehouse drones or sweatshop workers or army cannon fodder.

I'd hazard a guess that most MeFites are in a fairly privileged class and haven't come across much of this stuff in day-to-day life, but once you get below a certain income level and type of job, life becomes a frankly Byzantine mess of zero-hour contracts, crap 'casual' working conditions, working for an outsourced contractor of an outsourced contractor, often not knowing who you work for, pointless bureaucracy and power-play, an assumption that you're up to no good and a constant battle to prove you're not. Northern and Midlands towns are full of these dreadful employers.

People rightly object to the system, but the response from employers is to say "you have no intrinsic value as a human being or a worker, you are just a replaceable part in a machine, and there is a constant stream of EU migrants who'll do your job if you don't want to, like it or lump it". It's no wonder that places which have gone from reasonably good manufacturing jobs to this neoliberal bullshit voted Leave.

We need immigrants, and people need to be free to live in the country where they feel they can live their best life, whether that's Britain or elsewhere. Borders are bullshit. But what we did in the 2000s was to allow migration to be exploited and controlled by big business - workers as an imported commodity from poorer countries, not humans moving from one place to another for a better life. Viewed through that lens, and combined with the concurrent underinvestment in public services, it's not surprising that people are hostile to mass immigration - it's part of a whole ecosystem of shit that's kept us downtrodden for the past 15 years or so.
posted by winterhill at 1:30 AM on November 21 [15 favorites]


People rightly object to the system, but the response from employers is to say "you have no intrinsic value as a human being or a worker, you are just a replaceable part in a machine, and there is a constant stream of EU migrants who'll do your job if you don't want to, like it or lump it"

Here in the Midlands, nobody I know has heard anything about EU citizens from employers. Plenty about other workers being available and having to lump it, but the explicit racism-baiting just isn't something that people actually say. Those on the receiving end might hearb it that way, but most of the available workforce is British, and any given minimum wage worker's replacement is most likely to be as well. Even where they're not, I have literally never heard of any employer in the Midlands explicitly saying "well we'll replace you with [a foreigner]". We'll replace you comes up a lot, of course, but unless things are very different in the North to the Midlands, there just isn't that literal and explicit stoking of racism.
posted by Dysk at 5:27 AM on November 21


Like, employers are certainly saying "we can replace you" but the bit about it being Johnny Foreigner's fault is all from the press and politicians.
posted by Dysk at 5:30 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


But what we did in the 2000s was to allow migration to be exploited and controlled by big business - workers as an imported commodity from poorer countries, not humans moving from one place to another for a better life

What are you saying here? That all (most? some?) of the people who came here saying they were moving here for a better life were actually only coming here because they were being imported by "big business"? What does that even mean?

Because you appear to be willing to dehumanise a hell of a lot of people to make your anti-neoliberal conspiracy theory stand up.
posted by grahamparks at 5:34 AM on November 21 [7 favorites]


Maybe things are different if you work if fruit picking specifically, but basically everywhere else you're more likely to be replaced by Robert rather than Roberto. Between all the shitty places I have worked, and the places that all of my mates have worked (lots of retail, call centers, warehouses, trade businesses/builders, care providers, and other various temp bullshit, predominantly in Coventry) not one has been majority non-British. A chunk of us foreigners often, yes, but never beyond a quarter, usually much less than that.

If there were places to work that were basically all immigrant, that'd actually be kind of lovely in a way - wouldn't have to put up with the constant low-level racism (if I had a penny for every time someone thought I'd be a sympathetic ear to a rant about bloody immigrants, because they either forgot that I'm not British - no accent, I'm white - or because "you're one of the good ones though" I could buy a fancy steak dinner.)
posted by Dysk at 6:22 AM on November 21 [2 favorites]


If there were places to work that were basically all immigrant

The Amazon fulfilment centre in Rugeley that James Bloodworth worked undercover in, described in his book Hired!, and summarised in this article, seems to be that sort of environment. "Despite some initial excitement whipped up by Amazon’s PR people and complaisant local newspapers when the warehouse first opened in Rugeley in 2011, there were few British order pickers by the time I arrived in 2016. Many of my co-workers were eastern European migrants...", about a third of the way down the article.

I'm quite surprised to find you can buy the book from Amazon.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:48 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


Like with fruit picking, I can imagine a few of the absolute worst, most exploitative workplaces maybe being line that. But it is flat out wrong to characterise it as being in any way representative of the Midlands employment market in general, and likely it doesn't hold up any better elsewhere.
posted by Dysk at 6:53 AM on November 21


  • Fintan O’Toole, Brexit: Ireland and the English Question.
    “The thing we should have seen coming (and which nobody saw coming) was English nationalism… the English were beginning to assert themselves as a political community. They were beginning to say Actually, you know what, this British thing, we’re not that interested in it anymore. We want to be English.”
  • Brexit: British and Irish Identity.
    “Of the four regions of the Union, there is only one left that has a plurality (not even a majority) of people who describe themselves a British; that’s In Northern Ireland… Britishness is in very deep trouble, and the idea of The Union as some sort of static entity that can be celebrated and rallied behind is a Complete denial of what actually happened in Brexit, which is an English national revolution.”

  • posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:37 PM on November 21 [10 favorites]




    Legal verdict in The Spectator: This is not a bad deal. It is an atrocious deal.

    Their readers might infer that this makes No Deal preferable, but the sane conclusion is that remaining is far, far preferable. The truth about "taking back control" is that only Remaining gives us control, by maintaining our say in EU laws and treaty-making. Any other path gives it away.

    But taking back control was always a fig-leaf. Brexit was about ending freedom of movement at whatever cost. Losing Northern Ireland, losing Scotland, losing regional and global influence, losing all economic security, losing our ability to move freely in Europe: all of it deemed an acceptable price for Keeping Out Foreigners.

    Maybe parliament will come to its senses and trigger a people's vote, which seems the only practical way to cut through the "will of the people" impasse. But Corbyn's calculated indifference to the implications of Brexit makes it just as likely that May's deal will limp over the line. He may hope that the resulting stagnation will usher in a Labour government in 2022, but how many voters will be thinking what I'm thinking: that they will never be able to vote for an MP who let this happen, whatever party they're from?

    In 2017 my local Labour MP was one of the handful who refused to support triggering Article 50, so I could vote for him to help maintain pressure within the party to shift course. But next time, I doubt that will be enough to outweigh indirectly supporting a leader who was complicit in Brexit.
    posted by rory at 2:25 AM on November 22 [8 favorites]


    rory, thanks for the interview link from the always excellent Fintan O'Toole. I had a moment where I thought he referred to Nigella Lawson as the chairman of the Leave campaign before I realized he said "Nigel." Heh.
    posted by duffell at 3:52 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


    Clean-break Brexit is pure fantasy, by a barrister specialising in EU law, competition and consumer disputes, regulatory challenges, and WTO/international trade.
    posted by rory at 4:13 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


    We're reached the 'Mr Blobby on Loose Women talking about Brexit' stage in the lunacy.
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:21 AM on November 22


    This report has a section comparing British attitudes to immigration with other European countries:
    Figure 6 shows two different measures for 12 countries: The first shows 2013 data on the percentage of people expressing a preference for reducing immigration levels. At 77%, the UK was the most anti-immigration of these countries, though over 70% of people in France and Belgium also favour a reduction...

    As a further way of characterising countries we include a second measure from the European Social Survey based on people’s views on whether immigration “makes the country a better or worse place to live”. By this indicator, the British public looks more welcoming with just a minority (27%) saying “worse” (choosing 0-4 on the 0-11 scale), a little lower than publics in Belgium, France and Germany and far lower than in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Estonia.
    On the labour market effects of immigration FullFact has a summary largely based on this this report:
    UK research suggests that immigration has a small impact on average wages of existing workers but more significant effects for certain groups: low-wage workers lose while medium and high-paid workers gain...

    Research does not find a significant impact of overall immigration on unemployment in the UK, but the evidence suggests that immigration from outside the EU could have a negative impact on the employment of UK-born workers, especially during an economic downturn.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:04 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


    The latest float in the mad parade: The former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has conceded Theresa May’s Brexit deal would be “even worse” than staying in the EU. Well, of course. Now all we need is a concession that no deal at all would be "even worse" than staying in the EU. Don't hold your breath.

    Also today, Spain is threatening to scupper the Withdrawal Agreement over Gibraltar, as was widely tipped by remainers two years ago and ignored by the UK government until this week.

    Yesterday's Twitter buzz was all about the leaked political declaration and the miserable prospects for British people's freedom of movement:

    "Arrangements should allow for the temporary entry and stay of natural persons for business purposes in defined areas."

    "Mobility arrangements will be based on non-discrimination between the Union's Member States and full reciprocity. ... The Parties aim to provide, through their domestic laws, for visa-free travel for short-term visits. The Parties agree to consider conditions for entry and stay for purposes such as research, study, training and youth exchanges."

    So, travelling to the EU will be on the same basis as travelling to any other western country - visa-free for short tourist visits only - with some provision for business travel in "defined areas"; and for educational purposes, they'll think about it. And it will all depend on whatever regime the UK government implements: if Theresa May decides that she really dislikes Bulgarians and wants to restrict them to two-week visits and a test on how well they know "God Save the Queen", then all EU citizens will be restricted to two-week visits and a sing-song, which the EU will then reciprocate. Start brushing up on "Ode to Joy".

    A lot of British people living in Spain, Ireland, France and Germany, to name only the four largest UK-in-EU27 communities, must be considering their position right now. If this isn't handled carefully, a lot of them could be forced to sell up and return to the UK. And on the evidence of the past 29 months, what's the chance it will be handled carefully?

    There are some fuller analyses already from Chris Grey and Ian Dunt, but the short version is: it's shit, life in the UK is going to be shit, everything is shit. Freude, schöner Götterfunken...
    posted by rory at 4:08 AM on November 23 [7 favorites]


    From rory's Ian Dunt link:
    May has just lied and lied and lied. She lied when she said we could make a success of Brexit. She lied when she said we could secure full market access while maintaining full sovereignty. She lied when she said she could get a trade deal before the end of Article 50. She lied when she said there would be no need for transition. She lied when she said it would not need to be extended. She lied when she said Britain might choose between either extension or the backstop. She's lying now when she says this is a good deal for Britain, or that any kind of economic or political success might follow from it, or that it is in the national interest. Her administration has been defined by a relentless attempt to conceal the reality of Brexit from public and parliament, so she can survive another day, another week, another month. It is such a shabby, tawdry spectacle.

    And now here we are, staring at a deal so unimaginably bad that no-one wants it. Not the EU, not the UK, not Brexiters, not Remainers, not Tories, and not Labour.
    And yet it has a not-insignificant chance of passing doesn't it? Then the UK goes into an endless transition period and onto another un-negotiable deal as Ian Dunt lays out in more detail.

    All paths (Deal, No Deal, No Brexit) now lead to humiliation for Brexiters as it was always going to be.
    posted by vacapinta at 4:16 AM on November 23 [9 favorites]


    A lot of British people living in Spain, Ireland, France and Germany, to name only the four largest UK-in-EU27 communities, must be considering their position right now.

    Last night I was talking to a French friend who came to live in the UK when married a Brit in the early 90s. She is currently in the process of applying for British residency. Providing to the Home Office that she qualifies for this involves assembling a mountain of paperwork: P60s, tax receipts, banking records and travel summaries dating back many years. If she was not somebody who happened to be assiduous about keeping old documents (a useful French trait from a land where some ordinary looking documents are supposed to be retained for life) - a fluent enough speaker of English to understand the labyrinthine system, if she had been unable to come up with the considerable sums of money involved and if she had not been able to manage her justifiable feeling of rage and frustration - then she would not have stood a chance in this process.

    If somebody who has based the majority of her life in the UK, who married a local and who has raised a family and build a business here- has such difficulties - then I hold few hopes for the vast majority of more tenuous EU immigrants.
    posted by rongorongo at 6:08 AM on November 23 [12 favorites]


    I've enjoyed - in a bitter, black and mordant way - the attempt to revive the 'new technologies means no need for the backstop' argument. Which, like all the Brexit unicorns, is shown to be pure fantasy within minutes of appearing, but is disinterred on a daily basis nonetheless. (In the days when I argued with creationists, such things were called Aratts: arguments refuted a thousand times).

    This latest zombie unicorn is being trotted around the show ring at the same time as the National Audit Office reports that the national campaign to put smart energy meters in every UK home is impossibly behind schedule, over budget and underperforming. The meters, put in just a quarter of homes since 2012, should be universal by 2020. The ones that have been installed save a lot less money than expected, cost a lot more to put in, and stop working if you change suppliers. The second generation of meters are still on trial and don't work in many situations. And what the NAO report either doesn't say or hasn't been reported as saying, is that the 12 million installed base (including the million that have stopped working already) will need to be replaced anyway as they're based on radio technologies (Zigbee, 2G) that are obsolete and have approaching end-of-life.

    Designing and rolling out a reliable national smart meter infrastructure isn't easy, although I'd argue that some very basic design mistakes were made that would have been easy to avoid. But it's a lot easier than replacing a hard border with electronic tracking. As anyone who knows what they're talking about will recognise, which is why the Brexiteers can't.
    posted by Devonian at 6:50 AM on November 23 [5 favorites]


    Ha, my smart meter stopped talking to the in-home unit within six months of installation, and judging by the way I'm now receiving estimated bills again, it's since stopped talking to the energy company too. I can't say I blame it; I don't want to talk to them either.
    posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:59 AM on November 23 [5 favorites]


    if she had been unable to come up with the considerable sums of money involved

    I'm a non-EU migrant to the UK, so know how stressful it is to deal with the Home Office even when your case is uncomplicated, but it staggers me to think how much additional stress has been added for migrants by the fee increases since we arrived.

    My wife and I came to the UK on an ancestry visa in 2001, applied for ILR in 2005 and naturalisation in 2006; I don't have the receipts onhand, and it's hard to find online exactly how much we will have paid, but it looks as if it would have been about a thousand pounds for Indefinite Leave to Remain and naturalisation for the pair of us, and maybe a few hundred more for the initial visa and for the Life in the UK test. There was no healthcare charge at that time.

    For a couple to come to the UK on an ancestry visa today, apply for ILR and then apply for naturalisation, will now cost them over twelve thousand pounds. A few weeks ago I would have said over ten thousand, but the healthcare charge has just doubled to £400 per person per year, adding £2000 per couple over the five years until they can get ILR.

    The two of us sure aren't making ten times what we were making in the early 2000s. Having to budget two grand a year of our disposable income to pay for all of that would have had a huge impact on our initial years in the UK.
    posted by rory at 7:26 AM on November 23 [6 favorites]


    All paths (Deal, No Deal, No Brexit) now lead to humiliation for Brexiters as it was always going to be.

    s/Brexiters/Britain/

    This whole debacle is the fault of a tiny number of English public school boys who were raised on stories of the Empire and dreamed of restoring Britain's place in the world, and the irony is that their efforts can only end in the final demonstration of Britain's decline as any kind of power.
    posted by daveje at 8:11 AM on November 23 [6 favorites]


    I think that dream (and the underlying inflated self-aggrandising sense of Britain's place in the world) was share by a good portion of the Leave-voting electorate.
    posted by Dysk at 8:54 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]


    All paths (Deal, No Deal, No Brexit) now lead to humiliation for Brexiters as it was always going to be.

    Certainly they will be judged to have been humiliated (by just about everyone else in the known universe). But will they experience humiliation? Surely that requires a sense of shame.
    posted by duffell at 9:29 AM on November 23 [6 favorites]


    The wonderful Marina Hyde.
    Get ready for Brexit advent, where a new political hellscape opens every day.
    posted by adamvasco at 4:39 PM on November 23 [7 favorites]


    I think that dream (and the underlying inflated self-aggrandising sense of Britain's place in the world) was share by a good portion of the Leave-voting electorate.

    The thing I hadn't really appreciated until reading this thread, and the many referenced articles linked here, was that the Brexit 'dream' was really a resurgence of English nationalism, rather than anything especially British in nature. The Scotland voted overwhelming to remain as did most of Northern Ireland and Wales. It was England that voted to leave, it was the English who yearned for the glory days of Empire. Maybe the who process should just be called Exit.
    posted by vac2003 at 5:34 PM on November 23 [4 favorites]


    Wales voted Leave, 52.5% - 47.5%.
    posted by Chrysostom at 7:07 PM on November 23 [2 favorites]


    Wales voted Leave, 52.5% - 47.5%.

    My bad. I mis-read this map, which shows the Brexit vote by geographical area, rather than by population.
    posted by vac2003 at 7:17 PM on November 23


    Humiliation is too strong; a national humbling is more accurate. The philosophy of Brexit was that, freed of EU constraints, the UK would take its rightful place in the world. This is indeed what is happening, but alas that place is not as the great power of their imagination. The UK’s place in the world is hardly terrible but, as Johnson learned during his brief but undistinguished term as foreign secretary, our emissaries no longer bestride summits like Castlereagh.

    For far too long British politicians, journalists and voters have enjoyed a patently distorted vision of the nation as indispensable world player. Now the nation is facing the painful truth that the UK is not as pre-eminent as it has liked to believe.
    Brexit is teaching Britain its true place in the world
    posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:11 PM on November 23 [8 favorites]


    Brexit is teaching Britain its true place in the world

    The same way it helped the last Brexit secretary to understand how important the Dover-Calais link was to the UK, looking at a map teaches something else really important: Britain is a small country off the coast of Europe.

    The English public school boys are still dreaming of a map where a quarter of the world is coloured red.
    posted by daveje at 3:00 AM on November 24 [5 favorites]




    One more: Pro-Brexit adviser admits UK would be better off staying in EU
    Shanker Singham is ‘frustrated’ by PM’s failure to pursue an independent trade policy

    And since he is a crooked "adviser"* rather than a lying politician, he says it like it is:
    His main preoccupation is removing regulations that he says are used as barriers to trade, such as some of the EU rules on food safety, chemicals and pharmaceuticals licensing, and caps on financial services. Trade justice campaigners such as Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, have described his proposals as “pure shock doctrine”, outlining a neoliberal agenda to break rules designed to protect the public, privatise welfare services including the NHS and remove post-crash curbs on finance.
    He is not an economist. If he were, he might have noticed that the EU is the third largest economy in the world, and the UK's biggest trading partner. Everyone who wants to trade with the EU has to play by EU rules, otherwise: no deal. At all.

    *It's in the article, along with other fun stuff, such as that he voted remain.
    posted by mumimor at 5:08 AM on November 24 [5 favorites]


    The border between the Republic and the North has a Twitter account. It’s profile describes it as seamless and frictionless, but uncomfortable with infrastructure. It is trolling the Brexit talks.
    posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:23 AM on November 24 [7 favorites]




    The Economist has published a guide to No Deal: What to expect if nothing gets sorted. (Alternative links: 1, 2.)

    On Saturday, Theresa May wrote directly to British people, boasting about ending their and their children's rights to live and work in the 27 other member states of the EU:
    We will take back control of our borders, by putting an end to the free movement of people once and for all.
    This should cement the view, deduced earlier, that Brexit has been interpreted primarily by May as an endorsement of her xenophobic impulses. Brexit is about xenophobia and racism, front and centre: the first line of her stated "benefits". She gets to take all of our rights away.

    The Observer's interpretation, "May begs the public: ..." also lends credence to the idea that if this deal goes, so does she.

    Sunday's Mirror: "Poll reveals the majority of Brexiteers' constituents would now vote Remain":

    A new poll reveals almost every Cabinet member is now in a Remain seat. And the findings by the Best for Britain campaign show even hardline leavers under pressure to change positions.

    Jacob Rees-Mogg has seen the 47.9 per cent of Remainers in his Somerset North East seat in 2016 upped to a winning 53.8 per cent.

    On Prime Minister Theresa May’s Maidenhead turf, constituents have swung from 54.6 per cent to 58.9 per cent in favour of staying despite her deal.

    And the seats of key Cabinet members Michael Gove and Amber Rudd have switched away from Leave. the figures show 422 of 623 UK constituencies now want to stay in the EU. And 324 of 533 in England back Remain along with all Scottish seats and almost all of Wales.

    Altogether, 193 constituencies have changed their mind since the 2016 referendum, according to the poll.
    UK MeFites: please write to your MP to oppose Brexit, and ask that they support a People's Vote - the only way out of this mess. This is not a lost cause, yet; the tide is with us: if the deal goes down, the PM might as well, and a People's Vote is then squarely on the table. Please do everything you can to support it.
    posted by Quagkapi at 5:26 PM on November 24 [13 favorites]


    Parliament just seized thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents from a US tech founder. Among the papers are apparently messages between Zuckerberg and Sanders and others regarding Cambridge Analytica and other data/privacy missteps. Parliament took action when Zuckerberg refused to answer MPs' questions, and went so far as to send the Parliament Serjeant of Arms to the hotel where the papers were seized.
    posted by suelac at 7:10 PM on November 24 [10 favorites]


    It can be a mistake to assume your opponents are more homogenous in their beliefs than they are. There are differences of opinions between different groups of Leavers.

    The European Research Group of Tory MPs was founded in 1993 and had their first heyday in the Major government up to 1997, opposing the Maastricht treaty. Back then, immigration from Europe wasn't considered a big issue. Remember that the enlargement of the EU into Easter Europe only happened in 2004 which is when the large flows of migration started. The ERG was motivated partly by fears about sovereignty and being absorbed into a European "Super State", partly by right-wing economic ideas that Britain should radically de-regulate. They never cared about immigration then, and only later as a tool to attract support.

    UKIP was a much larger group with its own different ideas. Its leadership started out at a similar time and with similar views to the ERG. But it only started getting electoral success after EU enlargement, largely on the back of fears about EU immigration. A lot of UKIP voters in this period had views more left wing than their leadership, perhaps not caring about economic policy in what was basically a single issue protest party. Since their collapse in the 2015 election the UKIP leadership has lurched towards the far right and now seems more concerned about islamophobia than the EU: leadership struggles have also left it less effective in the media.

    The compromises of Theresa May's deal are basically that she has tried to get the closest possible economic relationship with the EU consistent with restricting immigration. This has meant trading off (from a Tory perspective) much chance of removing EU regulations. It also reduces the chance of future independent, deregulated, free trade deals if you that's a good thing like the ERG.

    So the ERG are naturally furious. They haven't got what they wanted, a deregulated minarchist state. They would have been perfectly willing to trade away immigration restrictions and get something else instead. The ERG are influential in the press and have propagated their sense of betrayal in the media.

    But it might be premature to generalise that "Leavers" in general must be as horrified at Theresa May's deal as the ERG are. The people who voted for UKIP at its peak might be relatively happy with its restrictions on immigration, and not bothered about its lack of deregulation. The ERG successfully framed the early response to the deal, but it's still possible that Theresa May might fight back for it. One help for is that under Geordie Greig rather than Paul Dacre, the Daily Mail now seems to be on her side against the ERG.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:03 PM on November 24 [3 favorites]


    Who is the real Nigel Farage... and why won't he answer my questions?
    Trump... Russian TV... key witnesses in Robert Mueller’s investigation. The jokey ‘bloke with a pint’ now has a network that spreads well beyond the UK.
    posted by adamvasco at 4:39 AM on November 25 [3 favorites]


    This is the timeline I think has the highest probability of happening.

    1. A fortnight of feverish discussion and arm-twisting fails to stop...
    2. ... the Brexit deal from being voted down in Parliament.
    3. May does three things: asks Europe for A50 delay, announces referendum, resigns.
    4. You thought 1 was feverish?

    I have always said that once the truth about Brexit penetrates the Unicorn Field, it'll fail. I think it's happening now. I think it's so fucking late for this, and I think so much permanent damage has been done, and I have no fucking idea whatsoever about how Corbyn's own unicorn tendencies will play out. I am also a born optimist, despite everything. But I think we could survive and that come April, I shall still be a citizen of the EU.

    Lord, make it so.
    posted by Devonian at 1:54 PM on November 25 [7 favorites]


    Well, there's this: Labour plays waiting game over second Brexit referendum
    When I read it this morning, it made me so angry, I couldn't be in myself and scared the dog by walking about screaming. Corbyn is such a shitty little useless prick. But just over the last few hours, the internal dynamics in Labour seem to be shifting dramatically. Maybe I'm hoping and dreaming too much, but perhaps Corbyn could be out by the end of the week, and the UK have a real opposition? And a second referendum.
    posted by mumimor at 2:08 PM on November 25 [8 favorites]


    Sorry, Devonian, but unless Jeremy Corbyn and friends pull their heads out of their asses and realize that there is no better deal to be had, regardless of who is at the beginning table.

    It's been a farce because of the ineptitude of May and her Government, but the EU's red lines wouldn't have been any different, it just would have been a less dramatic and speedier process of getting to the same point had competent people been available.

    As long as the narrative remains about "Teresa May's bad deal" and not "the only sensible option is to work to change policy from within as one of the most influential EU members," you guys will continue to shamble towards, and over, the cliff. Just be happy the EU isn't actually putting the screws to you as some of the more..hallucinatory..members of your politic insist they are. In reality, they're offering you a chance to avoid years of catastrophic suffering, but still even people who almost certainly know better refuse to speak the truth.
    posted by wierdo at 11:03 PM on November 25 [6 favorites]


    I have always said that once the truth about Brexit penetrates the Unicorn Field, it'll fail. I think it's happening now. I think it's so fucking late for this, and I think so much permanent damage has been done, and I have no fucking idea whatsoever about how Corbyn's own unicorn tendencies will play out. I am also a born optimist, despite everything. But I think we could survive and that come April, I shall still be a citizen of the EU.

    It’s been clear for a while that there was no chance we could stop Brexit until the pressure of the deadline caused a serious political reckoning, and I want to believe that it might yet work out — but once that kind of political crisis kicks off, god knows how it all might unfold.

    This kind of high-stakes brinkmanship is no way to run a country.
    posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:05 AM on November 26 [9 favorites]




    Corbyn is such a shitty little useless prick.

    He's a backbencher, with a backbencher's brain. Good at the small stuff, but the UK's biggest political crisis since WW2 is sadly beyond him.

    Jeremy's brother, on the other hand, is a genuine certifiable frothing loonbucket.
    posted by daveje at 6:44 AM on November 26 [11 favorites]


    Jeremy's brother, on the other hand, is a genuine certifiable frothing loonbucket.

    My god, you're not kidding. That's Timecube plus plus levels of gibberage.
    posted by Devonian at 7:31 AM on November 26 [3 favorites]


    Are there any serious possible alternatives to Corbyn who will campaign for a second referendum? Because if so, you guys should, uh, maybe do that. Like immediately.

    Or is it possible Nicola Sturgeon could save you?

    I would also really like you guys to still be in the EU come April, if only for purely fascist-defeating reasons (ETA: i feel like that encompasses “avoidance of suffering” too, but maybe that’s the optimism), and am looking for Devonian-style optimism.
    posted by schadenfrau at 7:45 AM on November 26


    Are there any serious possible alternatives to Corbyn who will campaign for a second referendum? Because if so, you guys should, uh, maybe do that. Like immediately.

    Corbyn can only be removed by a popular vote of party membership, from memory. The Economist had an article on how unusual Labor's new PM election system is, but I can't find it.
    posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:51 AM on November 26 [1 favorite]


    Why did the fishing industry vote for Brexit?
    I have feelings about this. It's a good production. There are a lot of debatable points and they are good. In Denmark, we've struggled with the industrialization of the fishing industry, because it is not sustainable, and we need to regulate it across borders, because hey, fish don't recognize borders.
    Well, listen to it if you have the time.
    posted by mumimor at 12:41 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


    From vacapinta's link above:

    Team Remain Plan:
    1. Vote down deal
    2. ???
    3. Second referendum


    Here's a ray of hope from Matthew Parris in The Times (paywall):

    On what might follow defeat of the May plan, the rest of the EU has not yet spoken; nor will they (quite rightly) while our prime minister’s proposals are still alive. However, if or when they fall I would expect, in short order, an initiative from our EU partners, opening the door to extending the negotiating period should Britain wish to conduct a new referendum. This is a likelihood.


    That's 2 (a).

    Unfortunately a vital step must also be convincing some that a second referendum is not a bad idea, a betrayal, or undemocratic. It's not "the government asking again until it gets what it wants", although that surely will be one of the arguments wielded. My MP, at least, has said that the potential disillusionment of voters is a hard problem and a reason against a People's Vote. We Remainers won't have it but we must care about it and the arguments we have need to be tempered accordingly.

    There is now talk of a Plan B, which Labour might support, being "Norway Plus". It hasn't been discussed with the EU; they're waiting to see what happens to Plan A. Norway has freedom of movement with the EU. This is May's primary red line. Make of that what you will, but that's another reason why she might not be PM for much longer. It doesn't diminish the need for a People's Vote; another interpretation of Brexit is another reason to confirm what people want.

    The Parliamentary vote is now set for Tuesday the 11th of December, after 5 days' debate. Write to your MP.
    posted by Quagkapi at 12:55 PM on November 26


    One thing I think is important to acknowledge and which was not expected by the Brexiteers is that the EU is solidly united. The Brexiteers imagined they could prod at the German auto industry, or the Danish bacon people, and push them to accept a better deal. This hasn't happened for many reasons, and one important one is that they don't want to invite the poison of Brexit indoors, and they are willing to accept a rather hard price to avoid it.
    Negotiaters who understand the price of their principles are hard on those who are shabbily trying to solve a problem they created all on their own.
    posted by mumimor at 1:13 PM on November 26 [9 favorites]


    Norway has freedom of movement with the EU. This is May's primary red line. Make of that what you will,

    I've always been pretty clear what to make of May's joyful renunciation of Freedom of Movement, what with her deepest conviction being a pure form of xenophobia.
    posted by ambrosen at 1:23 PM on November 26 [5 favorites]


    All paths (Deal, No Deal, No Brexit) now lead to humiliation for Brexiters as it was always going to be.

    As Tomas Hirst pointed out on twitter, given the inherent impossibility of Brexit fantasies, it was rather irresponsible of May to appoint a load of hardcore Brexiteers to her cabinet in an attempt to cover her own arse within the Tory party. Another act of profound political cowardice, for which we'll all suffer for a long, long time.

    One thing I think is important to acknowledge and which was not expected by the Brexiteers is that the EU is solidly united.


    This fantasy of "divide and conquer", cutting individual deals with each Member State, is partly due to the delusion that the UK is still a force on a par with the British Empire. China can and does use this exact strategy (they recognise the EU, but don't recognise the authority of the EU to negotiate collective trade policy on behalf of the EU28), but China is one of the world's largest markets and can throw its weight around. The UK isn't. When China is unreasonable in negotiations, it's a deliberate tactic. When the UK is unreasonable, it's rank incompetence.
    posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:05 PM on November 26 [7 favorites]


    Here's a recap of some choice Brexiteer quotes, if you're in the mood for a reminder about how easy things were going to be once those continentals got wind of our steely resolve and impregnable bargaining position.
    posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:08 PM on November 26 [4 favorites]


    May's Brexit deal sounds like a 'great deal for the EU', says Trump
    “Sounds like a great deal for the EU,” the president said. “I think we have to take a look at, seriously, whether or not the UK is allowed to trade. Because, you know, right now, if you look at the deal, they may not be able to trade with us … I don’t think that the prime minister meant that. And, hopefully, she’ll be able to do something about that.”
    In fairness, Trump's intervention - while barely readable, and undeniably the result of an elderly man suffering a serious neurocognitive disorder - isn't much less coherent than any statement from the Tory frontbench on the issue over the last couple of years.
    posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:35 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]


    My MP, at least, has said that the potential disillusionment of voters is a hard problem and a reason against a People's Vote. We Remainers won't have it but we must care about it and the arguments we have need to be tempered accordingly.

    But this is not a problem that will go away, no matter what happens next. We've had years of corrosive, divisive politics leading up to what can only be seen as a massive political failure. None of the three options - bomb out of EU, do May's deal or remain - is in any way inherently healing, and if there's no way for Parliament to choose between them then what's left?

    Remain is the economic and practical choice. That it won't address the primary driver of Brexit - xenophobia used as a cover for Tory poverty policy and disaster capitalism - is unfortunate, but is that really a reason not to grasp this particular nettle?
    posted by Devonian at 2:42 PM on November 26 [5 favorites]


    There is now talk of a Plan B, which Labour might support, being "Norway Plus".

    Convince them that the "Plus" is voting rights in the EU and Bob's your uncle!
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:27 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]


    There were (at least) three main problems with the original referendum:

    - it was advisory, not binding;
    - the majority was wafer-thin;
    - the Leave campaign was based on ignorance and lies.

    All of these help explain why the country is still divided on this issue, since it was impossible to claim a settled and clear mandate.

    So there must be a new referendum, since May's deal won't pass Parliament. The only route I can see working is one where there are two choices: May's deal, or Remain. No deal is a non-starter for two reasons: it's utterly insane, and it also allows to Brexiteers to (rightly) claim foul on the basis that the anti-Remain vote is split. But in order to pass, May's deal needs to have a higher margin, like 60%, in order to overturn the status quo.

    The rationale is that once the electorate is given the choice between Remain, and what is clearly the best and only deal on offer, at least they will have an informed choice between two well-defined positions. The 60% threshold is also important, since (IMO at least) there must be a higher margin for such a significant change. If the Brexiteers win, then they can justifiably claim victory. If they lose, well, history teaches that they won't fucking shut up, but given enough time, they'll all die, so the problem eventually sorts itself.
    posted by daveje at 3:40 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]


    > But this is not a problem that will go away, no matter what happens next. ... is that really a reason not to grasp this particular nettle?

    Right, but tell that to my MP (a Remain-voting Tory of little spine).

    The EU was of little concern to most people before the referendum, and that's hopefully what we'll go back to.
    posted by Quagkapi at 4:14 PM on November 26


    There were (at least) three main problems with the original referendum:
    - it was advisory, not binding;

    This is what I'd put at the top of my list for several reasons. For example it relieved the government from the need to provide any white paper outlining what would happen in the event of a leave vote (compare the paper produced by the Scottish government a couple of years before the 2014 Independence referendum). There is also a problem with holding a non-binding referendum where you don't very clearly flag that to voters at the time: it is a deceptive practice from a democratic point of view - and and a legally problematic one in Scotland where the people's will is held to be sovereign (hence creating a constitutional problem if they say they wanted to remain under a referendum most believed was non-advisory).
    posted by rongorongo at 2:28 AM on November 27 [1 favorite]


    What exactly do you mean by a "non-binding" or "advisory" referendum in the UK?

    I know in other countries there is a distinction. But in the UK Parliament is sovereign, and no Parliament can bind another. There's no way for a UK parliament to pass anything actually binding: any subsequent Parliament can repeal it by a simple vote.

    Another point that was made in Tim Shipman's book "Fall Out" is that David Cameron seemed to assume that he could manipulate the wording of the original referendum, but that the Electoral Commission runs referendums under UK law and changed the wording to make it more neutral. There's a lot of pondering going on how to structure or word the second referendum so that one side can win, but this can't actually be done under current law,. The Electoral Commission controls this and will try to make it as neutral as possible.

    Finally, there's a popular theory on Metafilter that the UK can unilaterally withdraw Article 50, even though the British government, the European Commission and the European Council all say it can't. There's a case before the European Court testing that, which should report "relatively quickly".
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:03 AM on November 27


    I think people mean non-binding in that it did not require a subsequent act of parliament. Or as the judiciary has pointed out:

    It draws ‘the conclusion that a referendum on any topic can only be advisory for the lawmakers in Parliament unless very clear language to the contrary is used in the referendum legislation in question’. It then adds that ‘[n]o such language is used in the 2015 Referendum Act’, and, further, that the Act ‘was passed against a background including a clear briefing paper to parliamentarians explaining that the referendum would have advisory effect only’.

    The fact that Parliament can later repeal the impact of a referendum is a different question than whether it is initially backed by force of law.
    posted by vacapinta at 5:00 AM on November 27 [3 favorites]


    Finally, there's a popular theory on Metafilter that the UK can unilaterally withdraw Article 50, even though the British government, the European Commission and the European Council all say it can't.

    Doesn't need to be unilateral, really - no brexit is in everyone's best interests.
    posted by Dysk at 5:09 AM on November 27 [2 favorites]


    I think people mean non-binding in that it did not require a subsequent act of parliament.

    A good example is the Alternative Vote referendum. The act of parliament that set up that referendum also contained legislation to implement the change of voting system if passed.

    The Scottish and Welsh devolution referenda in 1997 are also worth looking at. Both were non-binding, and required follow-up legislation. The Scottish result was 74.29% in support, ie, a clear mandate. The Welsh result, on the other hand, was 50.30% in support, and I felt at the time that that wasn't a sufficient mandate to enact a constitutional change. Similarly, the 51.9% vote for Brexit also wasn't enough of a mandate imo to rip up decades of agreements.

    There's also the (relatively infamous) 1979 Scottish Devolution referendum. A majority of voters was required, but that majority also had to represent at least 40% of the electorate. As it was, the majority was only 51.6%, against a middling turnout. Also, not a mandate imo.

    When the history books reflect on this period of British history, it'll be described as the time when Britain simply lost its collective mind.
    posted by daveje at 6:58 AM on November 27 [8 favorites]


    Doesn't need to be unilateral, really - no brexit is in everyone's best interests.

    But if the alternative theory that Article 49 (re)joining is easy is true, why is there any urgency about it? We can go ahead and leave and if we don't like it, we press the button and get back in. So far all the fuss has been over transition/backstop arrangements, so rather than make decisions based on incomplete or misleading information at the very least we should wait to see what the exact terms of the final negotiation are. We're covered by the transition deal and unilaterally-extendable backstop so there won't be any food and medicine shortages and massive tailbacks while we negotiate.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:11 AM on November 27


    The EU was of little concern to most people before the referendum, and that's hopefully what we'll go back to.

    I see that as a big part of the problem. The UK population hasn't been encouraged to take an active interest in Europe except as part of the infighting in the main Westminster parties, and when there is a positive opinion of and interaction with the EU - as in Scotland - it's only brought onto the national stage as a weapon. "You can't vote for independence, Scotland, you'd have to leave the EU." (Yeah, not forgetting that one.)

    All that disconnection made it easy for activists like Farage and Bojo to paint a false picture of the EU over time, which fed nicely into the internecine conflicts of the right.

    My personal unicorn is the collapse of the Tory party and the radical realignment of the Left, creating a strong centrist Europhile movement that offers a new deal for the UK population in the European context. That this looks a lot like the SNP is not coincidental.
    posted by Devonian at 8:19 AM on November 27 [4 favorites]


    But if the alternative theory that Article 49 (re)joining is easy is true, why is there any urgency about it?

    No, that's not it at all - rejoining isn't easy. It's about retracting article 50, which can absolutely be done with the consent of the EU27 (if not without). It avoids most all of the complications of rejoining.
    posted by Dysk at 8:47 AM on November 27 [6 favorites]


    Rejoining via Article 49 is inevitably a longer process, requiring unanimous consent throughout and the EU sets all the requirements (e.g. join Euro, Schengen, etc if it so insists) which might be even more politically fraught, if that is possible.

    Revoking Article 50 can hopefully be done unilaterally and, anyways, leads to status quo.
    posted by vacapinta at 9:03 AM on November 27 [2 favorites]


    How (the Guardian thinks) your MP will vote on the deal.

    My MP comes up as voting in favour: "on the government payroll". It occurs to me that that letter I wrote her in support of a People's Vote might have been a waste of good ink...
    posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:04 AM on November 27 [1 favorite]


    Has everyone already seen the clip of Boris fucking up a piece to camera about Portugal?

    Quick reminder for those who have trouble believing their own memory: Theresa May appointed this guy as her Foreign Secretary.
    posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:03 AM on November 27 [4 favorites]


    A note that Rick Mayal's "Alan B'Stard" pretty much nailed the Bojo patter back in the 80s. But it was satire back then.

    (From the same stable as the Portugal link there is also footage of Boris and a long suffering Caroline Wilson - Director of Europe at the foreign office. In this case the comedic link would be David Brent, I think).
    posted by rongorongo at 10:15 PM on November 27 [2 favorites]


    Nicola Sturgeon's press conference from Bute House yesterday is interesting from the point of view of what she believes should/is going to happen in the lead up and aftermath of the December 11th vote.
    posted by rongorongo at 11:03 PM on November 27




    All forms of Brexit will make the UK worse off

    I've spent the last 10 minutes trying and I am really am at a fucking loss to even articulate any sort of coherent response to this.

    We're so desperate to appease the Daily Mail / UKIP crowd and end Freedom of Movement (both in and out don't forget) that we are willing to...

    Aw fuck I can't even. I'm so fucking angry right now.
    posted by jontyjago at 2:06 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]




    Christ's holy piss on a burgundy passport, it is hard to listen to the True Believers on the radio STILL with the patronising, prim, puritanical 'nothing anyone else says is real, Brexit is gonna be great, there is one deal and it's the best deal' while all around them is chaos and sharded lies.

    It does sound like actual chaos in Westminster, mind, with 'non-binding amendments' to be allowed after all, the Labour disciples struggling to keep up with pronouncements from on high, and nobody pretending the numbers add up. "But Norway Plus has cross-party support...." oh, do fuck off.
    posted by Devonian at 5:36 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


    An anonymous official reports that May will now be allowing amendments in the "Meaningful vote". It seems she ran out of plans for what to do after she loses a straight up-and-down vote, so she had to look for some additional tactics.

    Parliamentary business managers from the different parties are still hammering out the details of how the vote will be held...

    Officials believe that no alternative to May’s option will command a majority in the Commons either, and a series of votes on the amendments could demonstrate that. Labour members are likely to be ordered not to support a second referendum, for example.
    posted by sourcejedi at 5:43 AM on November 28


    It does seem like the tactic might work. Let a "Second Referendum" amendment get put to vote, watch it lose. Let a "No Deal Brexit" amendment get to the vote, watch it lose. When the final vote comes, a significant number of the MPs who voted for these amendments might come round to May's deal: they've given their favoured option a shot, and they think that the May deal is the next best option.

    There was a curious article in the Spectator a couple of weeks ago arguing that Theresa May could easily win a second referendum if it's a run-off format where her deal is the middle option. Not sure if that could be her back-up plan: it's not as easy to rig the wording of a referendum as people think since they are controlled by the Electoral Commission.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:00 AM on November 28


    That second referendum is refusing to lie down and die. From further down the page on that link from Sourcejedi:

    May went into more detail than ever before about the prospect of another plebiscite. Her usual answer is that it would be a betrayal of democracy and she won’t allow it.

    “It wouldn’t be possible to hold a referendum before March 29 next year. That would mean extending Article 50, delaying Brexit or leaving with no deal,” she said. “I believe the best option for this country is to ensure we deliver on the Brexit vote, we leave the European union next March, we don’t delay that point and we leave with a good deal that will protect jobs across the country.”


    Note that any part of "extending A50, delaying Brexit or leaving with no deal" is entirely possible, with the EU signalling very strongly that the first two are on the table if they're in order to hold a second referendum, and the no deal Brexit absolutely going to happen if we don't stop it. So May is signalling for the first time that she's thinking about it.

    As for Labour members are likely to be ordered not to support a second referendum, for example., we have this from the Guardian today:

    John McDonnell has said a second Brexit referendum “might be an option we seize upon”, admitting for the first time that remain should be on the ballot paper and insisting that “no deal” should not.


    It's still a godforsaken omnishambles, but there's still a but.
    posted by Devonian at 6:11 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


    "We can’t have no deal on the ballot paper,” McDonnell said. “There’s an overwhelming majority in parliament against that happening, because of the damage.


    So the ballot should just have "Remain" then?
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:43 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


    UK Polling Report on the Survation/Daily Mail poll:
    Survation’s poll conducted on November 15th found that 61% of people had heard about the deal and of those people 27% supported it, 49% opposed it...

    Survation’s new poll conducted on November 27th asked the same questions, and found 72% had now heard about the deal. Of those people 37% supported the deal (up 10), 35% opposed the deal (down 14)...

    However, before one concludes that the public are now leaning in favour of the deal, it’s also worth looking at the other questions in the poll. The poll also repeated questions asking how people would vote in some hypothetical referendums. These suggests that people continue to prefer remaining in the EU to the deal (Remain 46%(+3), Leave with the deal 37%(+3)) and that in a choice between the deal or leaving without one, they’d go for no deal (No deal 41%(+7), deal 35%(+3)).

    This leaves us in a bit of a quandary. People narrowly approve of the deal and think MPs should approve it… but they also prefer both of the two obvious alternatives to the deal.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:34 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]




    May's Brexit deal sounds like a 'great deal for the EU', says Trump

    Buzzfeed: Donald Trump Has Been Speaking To Nigel Farage About Theresa May’s Brexit Deal
    According to a diplomatic source, Farage gave a withering assessment of the agreement May has struck with the European Union, which hardened Trump’s view that the UK has not achieved a good deal in the withdrawal negotiations.

    A senior White House official confirmed to BuzzFeed News Trump had recently spoken to Farage, but said that Trump had his own views about Brexit, which he has stated consistently in public.

    A third source said that Trump talks regularly to Farage, the former UKIP leader and Brexit campaigner turned radio host, and that they have spoken on the phone recently. The source would not be more precise about the timing of the most recent call.
    n.b. “News of the phone conversation comes after Trump said May's Brexit agreement "sounds like a great deal for the EU."”
    posted by Doktor Zed at 11:30 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


    Front page of The National - who, along with Channel 4, were excluded from May's Scottish press conference, yesterday, is iconic. I can't remember a political leader in the UK who was as nervous of hostile questions (or who was allowed to get away with being so).
    posted by rongorongo at 11:43 PM on November 28 [9 favorites]


    > "May's Brexit deal sounds like a 'great deal for the EU', says Trump"

    Upon reading this, I was very briefly surprised by the incongruous thought that Trump was saying something complimentary about May's deal, until I realized that he wasn't because in what passes for his mind, "great deal" for one side necessarily means "bad deal" for the other side.
    posted by kyrademon at 2:47 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


    The Brexit process has given us a remarkable insight into how history can be rewritten. (Twitter thread from remainer Tony Nog.)
    posted by rory at 3:15 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


    When Theresa May answers questions, as she has done today in Parliament, I notice that it is rarely illuminating. It is all double-speak and evasion.

    But, sometimes, when she is a bit backed into a corner, and she has to answer the question of

    Q: "But, Prime Minister, why are we limiting our rights/tanking our economy/endangering our future/our place in the world etc.??" and she simply answers with:
    A: "This is what the people voted for."

    it is hard to not to see her as some sort of avenging angel or some agent of the monkey's paw. This is what you wanted and I am here to give it to you good and hard.
    posted by vacapinta at 3:36 AM on November 29 [7 favorites]


    Cameron's arrogance hurt the country, but May's insults cut deep. "I’m not sure I could trust myself if I actually ran into David Cameron. Ever since the Brexit referendum, I have been trying to avoid any occasions where I think we might have to meet."
    posted by rory at 4:00 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


    Theresa May has just appeared before the Liaison Committee in Parliament and talked of preparing for No Deal:

    May suggested that, if MPs vote down her Brexit deal, she will activate full planning for a no deal Brexit. This came in response to questions from the Labour MP Rachel Reeves, who repeatedly asked May to rule out a no deal Brexit. May would not give that assurance. Instead she said:

    "If the House votes down that deal at that point, then there will be some steps that will be necessary. Obviously we have been doing no deal planning as a government ... the timetable is such that actually some people would need to take some practical steps in relation to no deal if the parliament were to vote down the deal on December 11."


    Does this mean martial law, prime minister? Please let it mean martial law, ooooooo, can't wait. Tanks rollin' down the 'igh street, it'll be lovely. Lovely-jubbly martial law, that's wot I voted for, that's wot those Brexit buses promised us. 350 million quid a week to spend on our proper British army, none of yer EU army here, just our fine British lads marching down the 'igh street, touslin' our British nippers' 'air, 'andin' out tins of beans and iodine tablets to purify our drinkin' water. Delicious.
    posted by rory at 4:13 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


    AC-TI-VATE FULL PLAN-NING.
    posted by rory at 4:15 AM on November 29 [7 favorites]


    There should be something here about the Newsnight vicar - according to a Twitter flurry, it appears that a woman who appeared on Newsnight speaking in support of Theresa May's plan from the point of view of a member both of the clergy and the public is, it turns out, an actor. Whether in her spare time, or her actual career, it's difficult to say. Newsnight say the former. There's a notion that she might not be an actual vicar (it's been suggested that her qualification in that area was from some kind of internet certificate farm), though her status as an actor, or at least extra, is better supported.

    However, it's undoubtedly true that she's a member of the public with a theatrical agent of some kind who owns her own dog-collar.

    (When they arrange the discussions, TV programmes already know what they want to be included, it would be inefficient not to, so they look for people who represent those points of view, but it's all planned in advance. The suggestion is that this woman was reciting a script, but it's more likely that she was free forming on the talking points Newsnight wanted her to cover, as pretty much every other interviewee does, whether politician, journalist or "Member of the Public". In either case her opinion is literally irrelevant - all it means is that Newsnight managed to find someone prepared to state that opinion on television.)

    I'd provide a link, but the only non-Twitter thing I can find is the Canary, and I'm not linking to the fucking Canary. I do have some standards, they're just not very high.
    posted by Grangousier at 11:25 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


    Back when the referendum was on, I didn't give the Brexit arguments or even the Remain counter-arguments much thought. Not because I wasn't worried, I was, but I was so certain of my own views and so contemptuous of theirs that I didn't feel any need for further reflection. Now, I really wonder what these idiots can have been thinking when they talked about "better deals".
    I mean: the EU was a community of 28 countries. When they (still) make trade deals with other countries or, they do it with other communities, they do it with the volume of (now) 27 countries, together the second or third largest economy in the world. How could anyone convince themselves or anyone else that the UK could make better deals? It is literally nonsense. And how could anyone convince themselves or others that the UK could get a better deal with the EU than it has/had as a member?
    Add to this: the Brexiteers were almost all people who could and should know better. How many years did Johnson work in Bruxelles. Farage was a MEP. Others were Cabinet Members and MPs. They have all the access to the relevant knowledge anyone would ever want.

    I'm going to quote schadenfrau from over in the current US shitshow thread:

    One of the few bright spots in this massive, unending shitticane which otherwise blocks out the fucking sun is that finally, finally, the true incompetence and idiocy of so many white men is laid bare. In public. It’s no longer something we have to argue abstractly; there is very visible evidence that everything is rigged in their favor, that standards are different for them, and that most of them, as a result, are total candyasses.
    posted by mumimor at 1:09 PM on November 29 [9 favorites]


    #VicarGate and a bit more
    posted by adamvasco at 1:10 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


    When they (still) make trade deals with other countries or, they do it with other communities, they do it with the volume of (now) 27 countries, together the second or third largest economy in the world. How could anyone convince themselves or anyone else that the UK could make better deals?

    By fielding superior negotiators, of course.
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:46 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


    It feels a bit like this country gets slightly, and more depressingly, stupider every week now.
    posted by dng at 1:48 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


    By fielding superior negotiators, of course.
    I know this is a joke, but British civil servants were doing an amazing job within the EU, and I have yet to meet one Brexiteer among them.
    posted by mumimor at 1:49 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


    I can't quite believe I just saw this, but could it actually be that Theresa May doesn't understand that freedom of movement in the EU, for EU citizens, is reciprocal?

    What planet is the PM on?

    Either that, or she is a bare-faced liar.
    posted by Quagkapi at 4:51 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


    British civil servants were doing an amazing job within the EU

    Sure, but you asked what the Brexiteers were thinking. Even now they think May's deal suffered from poor negotiating. It's just a matter of getting the EU to see that the U.K. holds all the cards.
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:26 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


    I can't quite believe I just saw this, but could it actually be that Theresa May doesn't understand that freedom of movement in the EU, for EU citizens, is reciprocal?

    It's the core Brexit delusion, that the vote only causes bad things to people you don't like, while having no ill effects for yourself or people like you.
    posted by daveje at 1:10 AM on November 30 [4 favorites]


    As a live example of a Brexiter's talking points running headlong into facts, here's a clip of Melanie Philips (a prominent and hardcore right-wing columnist) appearing as the pro-Brexit voice on Sky News and being taken aback to discover that... the EU is a lot bigger than the UK? relative and absolute numbers are different?

    (found via a link trail that started with an an earlier comment)
    posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:19 AM on November 30 [3 favorites]


    It is an ongoing joke, I know, but asked whether Corbyn or May makes a better prime minister, Corbyn comes in third. This time though, a distant third.

    If all goes as planned, there will soon be a national debate. Pro-Brexit May will debate against pro-brexit Corbyn. And all this show is for the public who do not actually get to vote on anything. Overall, a big win for democracy.
    posted by vacapinta at 2:23 AM on November 30 [4 favorites]


    One of the few bright spots in this massive, unending shitticane which otherwise blocks out the fucking sun is that finally, finally, the true incompetence and idiocy of so many white men is laid bare. In public.

    I think this is optimistic. It's obvious to people who already feel that way, of course. But to a lot of the people who voted for these chronic incompetents in the first place (and let's be clear, it was never really not obvious), they're doing a grand job.
    posted by Dysk at 2:46 AM on November 30 [3 favorites]


    I can't quite believe I just saw this, but could it actually be that Theresa May doesn't understand that freedom of movement in the EU, for EU citizens, is reciprocal?

    Even Steve Bullock, ex-negotiator for the UK in the EU (pre-referendum), had "no idea" until yesterday that UK citizens returning after years abroad, even if those years were in the EU, face a wait of 3 months or more (depending on how long they were away) before they can access benefits:

    Rules that came into force on 1 January 2014 mean that, if you're claiming income-based jobseeker's allowance and do need to show that you are habitually resident, you cannot be viewed as habitually resident until you've been living in the UK or elsewhere in the common travel area [UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Ireland] for at least three months.

    So if Britain crashes out without a deal and a million Britons living in Europe find themselves having to move back, they'd better have homes and jobs to come back to, or they'll find themselves living on the streets. This isn't hypothetical: it's already happening.
    posted by rory at 4:47 AM on November 30 [3 favorites]


    It feels surreal that one of my main concerns about the prospect of a Leave win in the weeks before the referendum is only now, in November 2018, four months before we crash out, coming into focus in the national debate about leaving. And that our prime minister is acting (either genuinely or disingenuously, it hardly matters which) as if she hadn't realised it would be a problem. Self-link ahoy:

    There are many things Britons will be giving up if they reject the EU next week. Short-term financial security will be high on the list, with the pound set to crash and many international companies set to relocate. Having a say in the environmental and energy policies of an entire continent will be another. But for me, at the top of the list is the ability to inspire Britain’s young people with the possibility of living and working in any of 27 other European countries for little more than the cost of getting there.

    Actually, I was wrong on one point: it's 30 other countries, when you include Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Plus Liechtenstein, if you get one of their 56 EEA residence permits issued per year.

    If MPs and even government ministers don't seem aware of or care about such a huge loss of rights, it's no wonder so many people still think Brexit will be a splendid wheeze.

    Britain is divided by more than Brexit and won’t back Theresa May’s deal.
    posted by rory at 5:10 AM on November 30 [2 favorites]


    Laura Kuenssberg:

    PM tells me she still hopes to get MPs on side for Dec 11th, but won’t rule out a second vote in Parliament on her deal - interview soon on @BBCPolitics and @BBCNews


    So if a vote goes the wrong way, the way to fix it is to have a second one? Really?
    posted by Devonian at 6:33 AM on November 30 [6 favorites]


    The irony there would be so rich I think I might genuinely vomit at the sheer, shameless hypocrisy on display.
    posted by Happy Dave at 6:46 AM on November 30 [1 favorite]




    Oh my God.
    posted by schadenfrau at 7:14 AM on November 30 [1 favorite]


    I mean...I don’t know why, but that’s the thing that...

    Like I’m used to that level of political engagement in the US. And now this is making me play this out in my head if it were happening here.

    Silver lining: that’s a LOT of room for improvement on a second referendum.
    posted by schadenfrau at 7:17 AM on November 30


    I'm not sure how far that "people think No Deal means Remain" thing applies. If you look at the Survation poll for instance, the question and options they give are:
    If there was a referendum tomorrow, with the following options on the ballot paper, which would you support?

    The government's Brexit agreement
    Leaving the EU without a deal
    Remaining in the EU
    The pollsters do seem to have thought as far as specifying that "No Deal" also means "Leave".
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:25 AM on November 30 [3 favorites]


    I wonder if Miller's research was uncovering people who believe that if we leave with no deal then all of our current arrangements would remain, and they can then build on them to implement the changes they want, like keeping out immigrants. Cakeism, in other words. There's always been plenty of that.

    I dunno, when so many seem to have shifted from "Brexit will be all upside, everything will be better" to "it's worth any amount of disruption and pain to leave", it's hard to keep second-guessing their way of thinking.

    In that Survation poll:

    Q6. The EU has said the current Brexit agreement is the only one on the table. If the Government was to lose the vote in the House of Commons, what do you think the EU would do?
    Offer the UK more concessions: 37.6%


    Cake! Cake! Cake!
    posted by rory at 8:53 AM on November 30 [2 favorites]


    rory: "Plus Liechtenstein, if you get one of their 56 EEA residence permits issued per year."

    Is Liechtenstein the smallest country in the EU+EEA?
    posted by Chrysostom at 2:35 PM on November 30


    Seems to be, yes. Comparable in population to Monaco, and San Marino is even smaller, but neither are EU/EEA members.
    posted by rory at 2:59 PM on November 30


    Has Hilary 'Bomber' Benn shown Parliament a way out of the mire?

    Guardian: SNP and Lib Dems back Benn amendment to prevent no-deal Brexit

    Benn said his amendment declined to approve May’s deal, rejected the UK leaving the European Union without a deal, and “enables parliament to express a view, to see if there was an alternative that could get support”.

    Benn hopes his amendment would allow MPs who might otherwise have supported the prime minister because they are concerned about the risks of crashing out of the EU without a deal to vote against May’s Brexit plan.

    Not my favourite person, but I for one will be eternally grateful if Parliament catches hold of this lifeline. C'mon twelve or more Remainer Tories! C'mon Independents! C'mon Plaid! C'mon Caroline!
    posted by doornoise at 3:34 PM on November 30


    And another minister resigns rather than vote for May's deal (Guardian).
    posted by doornoise at 3:42 PM on November 30


    This is probably going to sound bonkers... but if Benn's amendment goes through and both May's deal and no-deal get shut down, we'd have:

    1. May completely adrift,
    2. The UK blocked from further Brexit negotiations with the EU,
    3. The perfidious Tories abandoned by the DUP,
    4. The arch Brexiteers cut off from their dastardly no-deal,

    what are the possibilities of some sort of pragmatic cross-party coalition under say, Jo Johnson, to extend Article 50 and force a second referendum? There are probably lots of reasons why this can't happen, so crush my hopes quickly, please!
    posted by doornoise at 3:56 PM on November 30 [1 favorite]


    "This would be exactly what some in Number 10 suspect - that is (sic) vote falls, Parliament essentially takes over from the executive and power just drains away" Laura Kuenssberg on Twitter

    Many would suggest that this is as it should be. I've had more than enough of May's posturing and willingness to send the country to the no-deal dogs in service of her own personal power.

    Ok, enough. I'm going to try to sleep now.
    posted by doornoise at 4:24 PM on November 30


    What are the possibilities of some sort of pragmatic cross-party coalition under say, Jo Johnson, to extend Article 50 and force a second referendum? There are probably lots of reasons why this can't happen, so crush my hopes quickly, please!

    So in answer to my own question above (no sleep tonight, it seems)...

    Voting down the Brexit deal could lead to the Queen forming a new government of Remainers – here's how - Philip Goldenberg for the Independent

    Assume that the House of Commons throws out Theresa May’s Brexit deal, and that Labour then tables a no-confidence vote. Both scenarios are highly likely. Assume, then, that a no-confidence vote in the prime minister succeeds (less likely, but possible – particularly after the recent volte-face by the DUP). What happens next?

    Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011, there has to be a general election unless an alternative administration obtains a vote of confidence within a fortnight. Suppose Jeremy Corbyn fails to obtain one – highly likely so long as it is understood that there is another option. Buckingham Palace then has to ask somebody else to form a government. But whom?

    No single other party could form a viable administration, but there is a hidden party which could. It consists of the vast majority of MPs who would seek to avoid, at all costs, the economic disaster of a hard Brexit and would support a second referendum now that the facts are known.

    posted by doornoise at 4:50 PM on November 30 [3 favorites]


    Every so often, puissant political parties implode and die. Where, sir, are the Whigs? Where the Liberals?

    We may be closing in on one of those moments. They do happen.
    posted by Devonian at 7:47 PM on November 30


    The Strange Death of Conservative England
    posted by Chrysostom at 9:25 PM on November 30


    Voting down the Brexit deal could lead to the Queen forming a new government of Remainers

    So the New Centrist Party is back again, but I find it very hard to see how that maths works. There are 316 Tories, 308 Labour+Lib Dems+SNP+Plaid Cymru, 10 DUP and a few others. The Tory party base is very pro-Brexit and very hostile to Labour: I can't see that many MPs going against their base and joining a Remain coalition. You need more Remain Tories than there are Leave Labour MPs to get even a fragile majority. It would be very hard to keep a coalition of hostile parties together even with the whips working for it: this presumably has the actual party leaders and their whips opposed.

    It's also hard to see the Queen going for something so unprecedented and original.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:27 PM on November 30 [1 favorite]


    It's also hard to see the Queen going for something so unprecedented and original.

    You don't think she would like one of the last acts of her reign to be saving the United Kingdom and its 66 million people from going down the gurgler?
    posted by rory at 12:45 AM on December 1


    The Queen is pro Brexit but I think she cares more about staying neutral. Why would you assume an old, rich, white person with an extremely safe property portfolio to be a Remainer?
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:50 AM on December 1


    Just a general impression of her over the years. And the blue hat with yellow stars that she wore when she opened Parliament in 2017; she's known for using dress as code. Also, I don't trust The Sun, so I don't trust their Dec 2016 claims about her being pro-Brexit.

    Forming a government that has the support of the house is her constitutional role. It's a perfectly neutral act. If the pro-Brexit side can't get their act together and there's no scope for an election, then one could say it's her duty to do it. And she's all about duty.
    posted by rory at 1:03 AM on December 1 [1 favorite]


    Anyway, even if she was pro-Brexit in 2016, she will have seen the mounting evidence of impending doom, she's not an idiot, and she's not an ideologue, so there's nothing to say she isn't a #RemainerNow.
    posted by rory at 1:07 AM on December 1


    The supposed source of the Queen asking 'why we can't just get out' is Brexiteer Michael 'backstabber' Gove, who after his stint at Education, if he told me it was raining I would assume he was actually pissing down my leg, and it was 'leaked' during the referendum campaign. The Queen's been so utterly determined to a fault not to get publically involved in politics I take it with a huge grain of salt that she'd have told a gathering of people what she really thought.

    I also don't think she's going to save us from our own screwups either, any more that Sinn Féin will suddenly take their seats and change the parliamentary balance on a key vote. The queen can no longer dissolve parliament at the request of the PM, it takes 2/3 of the commons or a failed confidence vote followed by no alternative government arising to have a new GE. Most tories are opposed to Corbyn becoming PM at a visceral level given his history, so I don't see the numbers needed coming from them to cause a GE, she'd have to whip the party to support a GE (as happened in 2017) and the risk of losing (again) I just can't see her taking that kind of gamble again to get the deal through. Though the DUP and hardline brexiteers voting against May in a confidence vote is definitely possible.

    More likely to me is that she gets toppled from within when half her own party votes down the deal with Labour et al, ala the men in grey suits who convinced Thatcher to resign. If it gets as far as the membership we'll definitely get a hardline 'run out the clock' PM, with Rees-Mogg, 'Boris' Johnson or Raab all possibilities to just crash us out come March.

    The fear of that outcome among moderate tories and some minor parties though might well cause her to survive an attempted coup at which point all bets are off. Stock market panic and plunge in the pound seems likely in that event at the threat of a crash out which may panic enough Leave voting area Labour and Remainer Tory MPs to pass the deal at a 2nd attempt, which does seem to be May's plan, insofar as she can be said to have one that reflects reality. Or we end up with a referendum with remain, deal (and possibly no deal) as options because parliament can't figure out what else to do and beg for an extension for article 50 to hold one.

    The default position is we leave with no deal in March, as that law passed some time ago. Anything else will require a majority in parliament to overrule it, which will be a series of squeaky bum votes for sure - and which order they happen in may well determine the outcome. Will remainers hold their nerve in their attempt to get a referendum? (the only politically feasible way of overturning the 2016 one)? Will Labour actually come out in enough numbers to have one? Would Remain even win a 2nd ref?

    Who the hell knows. At least by xmas we should know if it's time for normal people to start stocking up on essential supplies in preparation.
    posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:56 AM on December 1 [7 favorites]


    facing a rebellion by pro-Brexit Conservatives in the European Research Group, the government U-turned on plans to ban assault rifles, amending its own legislation to strip references to the dangerous devices from the Offensive Weapons Bill


    NewStatesman
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:03 AM on December 1 [1 favorite]




    ...all to keep together a party of millionaires, Eton Bullingdon boys, spivs and WI harridans


    I know what a millionaire is. Any help with the others?
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:37 PM on December 1


    Eton is a very expensive private school (founded by Henry VIII I think), the Bullingdon Club is an exclusive Oxford University dining society with a reputation for bad behaviour, a spiv is a wide boy, a ducker and diver, a dealer in shonky goods; the WI is the Women’s Institute, which is stereotypically made up of older women in the countryside selling each other cakes and jam.
    posted by Bloxworth Snout at 3:43 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


    I checked, and Eton was founded by Henry VI, not Henry VIII. Sorry.
    posted by Bloxworth Snout at 3:46 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


    The Bullingdon Club

    Spiv

    WI harridans is a little more eh. The WI is the Womens Institute, which was, when I was growing up, a rather conservative, nationalistic organisation which encouraged women to be active in supporting roles while the menfolk got on with the business of running the world. It's not that now, and harradin is not a good word today, but I absolutely know of which he speaks - which is forty to eighty years ago.
    posted by Devonian at 3:55 PM on December 1 [3 favorites]


    The WI (in England) tend to organise a lot of events in rural villages and small towns. Some do orientate around home baking (primarily cakes) and jams, as previously mentioned, with some events being for WI members only, and some for all residents or the general public. Talks about local history, and tasks such as flower arranging, are commonplace. As also previously said WIs used to have a Conservative/nationalistic/right wing slant and lean heavily towards older demographics, though things are rather different nowadays - several of my liberal and leftie friends and colleagues are members of their local WI. One of them, a Momentum Corbynite, runs hers; the quality of the Victoria Sponge Cake at their AGM earlier in the year was exceptionally high god it was so good you have no idea. Anecdotally, the most right-wing people who formerly would have been WI members have drifted off to whichever evangelical church is within disability scooter battery range of where they live.
    posted by Wordshore at 4:29 PM on December 1 [12 favorites]


    I know that pointing out the incompetence of Brexiteers seems unnecessary at this point, but this is particularly flagrant. Soon after the referendum, Iain Duncan Smith's think tank put out a publication about the details of how the UK should leave the EU called 'Road to Brexit' with contributions from MPs Peter Lilley, Bill Cash, Owen Paterson, Bernard Jenkin etc.

    John Redwood wrote the first chapter. His 'Action Plan for Brexit' (on p.14) begins:

    1. Offer talks on trade and tariffs if [the EU] wish to change anything, saying we are happy to offer them no change to current arrangements.
    2. In other words, we stay in the Single Market as now, without freedom of movement and the contributions.
    3. The advantage we have on trading is that we are happy with the status quo, so they are the ones with a problem if they wish to change it.
    4. This reverses the presumption of many commentators that the UK needs to negotiate with the rest of the EU and is the supplicant.

    A nice encapsulation of the ignorance, hubris, cake-ism and exceptionalism at the heart of Leave. There's plenty more howlers in that document if you're in the mood.

    (quote found on Steve Bullock's Twitter)
    posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:46 PM on December 1 [7 favorites]


    NB: If you remember the clip Monty Python often used of an audience of somewhat elderly women clapping, that was a Women's Institute audience.
    posted by Chrysostom at 8:30 PM on December 1 [3 favorites]




    This opinion from the ECJ makes it seem very likely that the UK still has a get out clause, which is a big relief.
    posted by ambrosen at 12:40 AM on December 4 [8 favorites]


    It's definitely going to make things... interesting... if any member state can issue an Article 50 and unilaterally revoke it at any stage. Any time Victor Orban or any of the populist governments in Hungary, Poland, Greece, Italy, Austria or wherever are put under pressure by the EU they can start threatening or issuing Article 50s and just back them out if the heat gets too much. That opinion isn't binding and has to be confirmed though.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:27 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


    Makes sense to me what the AG says. And they did add a clause that says "does not involve an abusive practice"

    Any time Victor Orban or any of the populist governments...

    You are arguing the EU side of the case. That is, that the EU should have some say in this. The clause at the end might allow the EU to at least reject the withdrawal notification as something done in bad faith.

    Although the ECJ hasn't issued its decision, the AG's statement inevitably points the way.
    posted by vacapinta at 3:36 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


    So it's looking like May is gonna be on BBC while Corbyn is gonna be on ITV...
    Rival Brexit debates planned as Corbyn and May can't agree on format
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:47 AM on December 4


    The whole situation is like a Mandlebrot image composed entirely of bullshit - however far you zoom in or out it's just more bullshit as dazzlingly complex as the bullshit you were just looking at.

    So we have two leaders, supposedly debating each other despite the fact that they actually agree with each other on the putative subject of the debate and only want to use the event(s) to prosecute their own personal hobby horses and political interest - they're different events because the political interests diverge so much (May: something something willofthepeople with an undercurrent of racism; Corbyn: something something generalelection that he assumes he'll just win, followed by unspecified socialist paradise. The one thing they both agree about is the general distribution of unicorns if either of them get their way). Anyone who has anything useful to say about the subject of the debate will be excluded (I'm assuming Farage will be included somewhere, because he always is. He doesn't have anything useful to say about anything, though, and our only hope is that the FBI swoop down and lock him up at some point in the next five days, which is tragically unlikely).

    It really annoys me that my own personal position aligns so closely with the one the Kremlin trolls are promoting (viz: "Fuck them. Fuck them all to hell.")
    posted by Grangousier at 4:22 AM on December 4 [10 favorites]


    Government prepares to ration ferry space under no-deal Brexit

    “Perishable goods like salads and vegetables won’t make it on to ‘DfT Seaways’,” said one official. “Some foods will run out in the supermarkets — it will be a bit like the USSR.” The UK imports 30 per cent of its food from the EU.

    Failing Graying on the job = we're all going to starve.
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:27 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


    I've got tickets to see Kristin Hersh on the 29th March. At this point I'm basically assuming that's going to be the last enjoyable moment of my year/decade/life/eternity/etc.
    posted by dng at 6:32 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


    So in case you were worried things couldn't get weirder, the Spectator's plan is now that hard Brexiters should revoke article 50 themselves, spend two years on No Deal preparation, then invoke Article 50 again for a hard Brexit.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:46 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


    So it's looking like May is gonna be on BBC while Corbyn is gonna be on ITV...
    Rival Brexit debates planned as Corbyn and May can't agree on format


    A perfect cue for Channel 4 to schedule an issue of Celebrity Gogglebox where the various leaders, not invited to either debate, get to give live sardonic comments on the action from their sofas. While drinking from large glasses of Prosecco . In know which show I'd watch.
    posted by rongorongo at 6:47 AM on December 4 [5 favorites]


    The hard Brexiters are in a minority, though, in Parliament and in the country, however you slice it. And what on earth would they do in those two years that they haven't done already, given that the inherent flaws in a hard Brexit are those which cannot be willed away. Build more lorry parks?

    Mean while - WAR WITH SPAIN!
    posted by Devonian at 7:52 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]


    Are you following the Guardian's MBM coverage of the contempt of parliament debate concerning the AG's legal advice on Brexit? It's looking like the DUP and maybe some tory hard brexiters will line up with the opposition which could mean the AG could be referred to the Standards Committee and potentially suspended from parliament.
    posted by biffa at 8:09 AM on December 4


    BBC cancels debate. ITV's is still on.
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:20 AM on December 4


    Contempt of Parliament - Gov lost the amendment vote 307-311, which would have kicked it to committee.

    Now voting on the straight contempt vote.
    posted by Devonian at 8:43 AM on December 4


    MPs back motion declaring ministers in contempt of parliament over Brexit legal advice: 311 votes to 293.
    posted by biffa at 9:02 AM on December 4 [7 favorites]


    I think straight contempt is the best way to go with this government, frankly.
    posted by Grangousier at 9:04 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]


    Well, that was a fun day. Government in contempt (but still trying to wiggle off the hook), amendment passed that gives Parliament a say if May's deal fails, ERG looking miserable AF, A50 now potentially withdrawable - and I think the paths to second referendum just widened considerably as a result. Today's breaks mean, I suspect, that if Parliament wants the second ref, it has all the tools to do so - it can ask the EU to suspend the A50 countdown and get the space needed for legislation and commission work.

    Will parliament want this? I don't know, but it gave itself the option by a majority of 22. Whether May resigns or a no confidence motion is carried... all possibilities that roll the dice anew.
    posted by Devonian at 10:06 AM on December 4 [11 favorites]


    Absolutely electric Twitter thread on the day's events from Ian Dunt. Worth reading in retrospect. Unrolled.

    He's still posting as I post this.
    posted by Quagkapi at 12:08 PM on December 4 [7 favorites]


    And his politics.co.uk piece: May crushed as parliament humbles her before Brexit vote
    posted by Grangousier at 12:11 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


    Nigel Farage quits Ukip over its anti-Muslim 'fixation'

    I doubt we've seen the last of him, though...
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:14 PM on December 4


    Nigel farage quits more often than a Brexit Secretary.
    posted by dng at 12:31 PM on December 4 [8 favorites]


    That’s just him shedding his now undeniably racist skin like the pointless snake he is. He’ll soon grow another.
    posted by Happy Dave at 12:41 PM on December 4 [5 favorites]


    Probably a good time to remember the wise words spoken by John Cleese in Clockwise: "It's not the despair. I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand."
    posted by Grangousier at 12:45 PM on December 4 [10 favorites]


    Who is behind the push for a post-Brexit free trade deal with the US?
    What we didn’t vote for in the EU referendum was a clutch of rightwing thinktanks seeking to capture our democracy.
    Not a lot of surprises here but first time I have seen it all laid out so plainly.
    posted by adamvasco at 1:54 PM on December 4 [4 favorites]


    Dominic Grieve speaking a few minutes ago in the House, hastily transcribed via Ian Dunt's Twitter:

    The reality is not the PM's red lines but the rather harsher truth that the decision that underpinned Brexit was built upon fantasy. A fantasy about the nature of the UK, about its apparent lack of interdependence with other states and about our ability to get a deal from the EU which seemed to presuppose that we were separating ourselves from a sovereign entity and not, as we were in reality, trying to detach ourselves from an international treaty organisation with a complicated rule book.

    I do not consider - that I can look my sons in the eye - that I am simply prepared to sign this off.

    As for no-deal, a moment's look at the economic projections show that it would be plunging this country into chaos for the sake of satisfying the ideological fixations of a tiny minority of this House. And I will not let happen.


    I'm cheering a Tory MP. What is happening?
    posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:07 PM on December 4 [15 favorites]


    The edifice of lies is finally tumbling down. With the writing on the wall, expect those who are not ideologues to at least tut disapprovingly even though they share responsibility for the situation they are now finding fault with.
    posted by wierdo at 6:38 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]


    Holy shit you (and the rest of the world) might actually dodge this bullet?
    posted by schadenfrau at 6:55 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]


    'Humiliation on a historic scale': what the papers say about first day of Brexit debate

    I honestly can't see any way that May could win the vote now... and how she would survive afterwards. The FEAR is now who would replace her but hoping that Boris and the Haunted Pencil's chances have been diminished by association with the - surely - failed hard Brexit.
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:45 AM on December 5


    Holy shit you (and the rest of the world) might actually dodge this bullet?

    I'd say the odds are shortening, but they're still long. The problem with predictions based on the current situation is that every outcome seems very unlikely. Choose any result and you immediately see huge obstacles to it happening.

    May's current deal going through? The votes aren't there. An amended May deal going through? Numbers still doubtful and anyway there's no time to substantively renegotiate with the EU. No Deal / WTO? Yesterday's amendment makes that very unlikely and most MPs recognise it's a barmy idea. Switching to Norway Plus or similar? Hard to see many leavers or remainers voting for something demonstrably worse than the status quo. General election? Turkeys aren't going to vote for Christmas. A second referendum? Both major parties are currently opposed and it's hard to see enough votes coming through given MPs' fear of the press reaction. Article 50 extension? Brexiters hugely suspicious, all Tories nervous it would lead to GE and European elections in May a huge spanner in the works.

    Use this Guardian tool to model how any any option would do in a parliamentary vote and you'll see how hard it is to come up with a compromise that will get voted through. And even if it does, it's still got to be legislated and May might resign / call a GE if a vote goes against her beliefs.
    posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:00 AM on December 5 [3 favorites]


    New Statesman on Farage:
    Farage’s political success was in winning over not just the votes of far-right parties like the BNP but in pulling over supporters of the Conservative and Labour parties who had similar attitudes to BNP voters but would not vote for an explicitly racist party. He was – for the most part – able to instead offer an implicit message about immigration and people from abroad...

    Now Ukip has become a party that is offering an explicit far right message, and has started to abandon electoral politics for the politics of the street, and Farage’s fear is that it will struggle to repeat, let alone exceed, the electoral successes of Ukip.

    There are three important questions here. The first is: will voters notice? We know that Ukip has started to pick up in the polls since ministers started to resign from the government and talk of Brexit being “sold out”. What we don’t know is whether that is solely because if you are angry about the government’s Brexit strategy, you know that the lever to pull is to vote Ukip, or if some of that support is down to Batten’s embrace of explicit Islamophobia and the decision to closely identify Ukip with the far right’s online provocateurs...
    Conservative Home: May's very weakness is becoming a strange strength:
    What stirs more fear in those backbenchers – No Deal or No Brexit? Do they dread most the undoubted difficulties of No Deal, leading to a collapse of confidence in the Government, the loss of their seats, and a Corbyn-led Government – perhaps sooner rather than later? Or do they fear No Brexit more – and the revenge of a turbulent electorate, cheated of the prize it voted for, which sends the Conservatives the way of the old Christian Democrats in Italy? There is no away of knowing...

    Finally, ponder the shape of events. Voters were narrowly for Leave in 2016. The Commons is still for Remain: perhaps a sixth of it is for Brexit by conviction rather than calculation. And the long and short of it is that the more time passes – and the deeper the Government’s crisis becomes – the less MPs pay even lip-service to the biggest event in our electoral history. The tide in Parliament is for Remain. It moves slowly – even glacially. But it is carrying the Prime Minister with it.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:24 AM on December 5


    To add to the imponderables, bear in mind that the EU has said that renegotiation is not an option, and that suspending/extending A50 will only be agreed if it's for a second referendum. Norway Plus is a bad idea for many reasons, not least that it doesn't stop freedom of movement - the one thing that Brexiteers actually care about, and that it's really not a good fit for our economy at all. You wouldn't pick it. Plus we can't just do it; there'd have to be negotiations.

    There are just three obtainable options - no deal hard Brexit, May's mess, and Remain. If Parliament can't choose one, then it has to go back to the people to decide. That may be the only path out of here, and we do have to get out of here.
    posted by Devonian at 2:56 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


    Norway Plus is a bad idea for many reasons, not least that it doesn't stop freedom of movement

    I agree with the rest, but this is a feature not a bug.
    posted by Dysk at 3:11 AM on December 5


    It's a bug if you're a xenophobe. Brexit has been sold on xenophobia, thus Norway Plus can't get past. If it can, you might as well stay in.
    posted by Devonian at 3:39 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


    The next Dominic Cummings blog post is going to be epic: I’m holding out for a total meltdown.
    posted by pharm at 3:46 AM on December 5


    Brexit has been sold on xenophobia, thus Norway Plus can't get past.

    I don't think that follows. Whatever brexit was sold on, it was a very slim majority, and doesn't reflect the feelings of parliament. We don't have to play the Sun and Mail's game of insisting on "the will of the people" or whatever. Parliament is sovereign. Wasn't that the point too?

    If it can, you might as well stay in.

    Even better!
    posted by Dysk at 3:53 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]




    Trapped in the backstop indefinitely. No wonder the Brexiters are out in force today saying they want the backstop dropped from the deal (not gonna happen, as far as the EU is concerned; it's purest cake with a dash of unicorn).

    I allowed myself a moment of optimism last night. The brambles are clearing from the path to stopping Brexit altogether. We've already lost so much in the lead-up, but we might not lose everything.
    posted by rory at 4:03 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]




    From that:
    There is no will of the people. It changes all the time. It is shifting, unpredictable and individual. Whenever anyone claims they represent it, they are behaving like a tyrant, because they treat as monolithic what in fact varies and is unpredictable. It is false on the most basic possible level. People voted for Brexit on the promise that a deal would be easy to achieve. That does not create a mandate for leaving with no deal and it is insane to pretend otherwise.
    posted by Grangousier at 6:01 AM on December 5 [6 favorites]


    Re the NI backstop, which is currently being argued about in the commons: I’m really having trouble wrapping my head around why a unilateral exit option is so important to so many Brexit-supporting Tories.

    Let’s recap: the backstop prevents a hard border between Ireland and NI in the event that the rest of the UK can’t get its act together and agree a deal during the transition period - NI continues in the single market, while the rest of the UK doesn’t, until a magic trade deal is agreed in 2022 (or never, in which case NI stays in the single market indefinitely, while the rest of UK doesn’t).

    Exercising a hypothetical option to leave the backstop unilaterally would immediately, necessarily require a hard border. A hard border is completely (and rightly) unacceptable to Ireland and the wider EU, so exercising this option would immediately blow up any arrangements with the EU, regardless of when this happened or what exactly those arrangements were. Ok, it might make sense (for some values of “sense”) to do this if the rest of the UK had already ended up in a no-deal Brexit. Otherwise, it would immediately result in a no-deal Brexit. Either way, after the option is exercised and the dust has cleared, the UK has a hard border with Ireland and trades with the EU on WTO terms as a Third Country.

    So... let’s say you’re in the backstop arrangement but damn! there’s no pre-agreed option for unilateral exit, and you want to leave... er, surely you just do so? You put the border back in place, you blow up whatever current relationship you have with the EU, you move to WTO rules, trading as a Third Country... Sound familiar? That’s right, this is exactly the same result as exercising the pre-agreed unilateral option, except that you did it... well, unilaterally. Of course, in this instance you’ve broken a treaty commitment, with the loss of goodwill and trust and so on. But in either scenario, this is only something that you’d consider doing if your relationship with the EU had completely broken down / you didn’t mind being the cause of that breakdown yourself.

    I mean, I know, it’s the Tories, I’m overthinking this, but it doesn’t make any sense at all.

    Why is it so important to get the EU’s permission to say “the UK will be able to leave the arrangement without the EU’s permission”, when that option exists anyway in practical terms, with near-identical consequences?
    posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:48 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


    I think they’ve got to the point where they reject the concept of international treaties altogether. Wait until they learn that their personal freedom can also be constrained by laws and contracts, it’ll blow their minds.
    posted by Bloxworth Snout at 10:11 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


    Why is it so important to get the EU’s permission to say “the UK will be able to leave the arrangement without the EU’s permission”, when that option exists anyway in practical terms, with near-identical consequences?

    The one thing (only thing) the Tories are good at is letting the blame for their actions fall on others - the Lib Dems, Labour, immigrants and they've been working on the "EU is punishing us" narrative.

    They want to crash out but they also want to blame the EU. If they do it themselves then it is they that have broken the GFA and international treaties - no getting out of that. If they can pull the EU into agreeing (spoiler: they won't) to let that happen or that such a thing is possible then they can pin it all on them. And they will do exactly that.
    posted by vacapinta at 10:22 AM on December 5 [4 favorites]


    Because despite everything they've managed to get a "no deal Brexit" within the Overton window for a significant part of the population.

    In all other circumstances simply walking away from all of your obligations is simply unthinkably insane. But the Article 50 deadline has created a once-in-a-lifetime situation in which it can be presented as a perfectly sensible option that rational grown-up countries might choose to take.

    (or, as David Allen Green loves repeating, something that will simply happen by automatic operation of law if nothing dramatic is done to stop it)
    posted by grahamparks at 10:44 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]


    They want to crash out but they also want to blame the EU.

    Oh, I’m sure it’s all political posturing anyway, since there’s absolutely no way that the EU would be able to agree to that. It just seems that some of the not-the-sharpest-knife-in-the-drawer-well-OK-it’s-a-spoon Tories seem to have really bought into the idea, which is to say, lots of Tories. They’re asking for something that will 1) of course never be granted and 2) is unnecessary.

    Just as a government’s budget isn’t really at all like a household’s, international treaties aren’t much like legal contracts that most people are used to. There isn’t really a higher authority to bind you to them, and countries can and do break / ignore their obligations all the time. Treaties are better thought of as a cross between a set of minutes and an engagement ring, really. (In which case, this is like insisting “put in the minutes that we both agree I can break up with you and move out of your house.”)
    posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:46 AM on December 5


    Leave 'very likely' won EU referendum due to illegal overspending, says Oxford professor's evidence to High Court:

    An exhaustive analysis of the [Vote Leave] campaign’s digital strategy concludes it reached “tens of millions of people” in its last crucial days, after its spending limit had been breached – enough to change the outcome.
    posted by rory at 2:46 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]




    The excellent Steve Bullock thread rory posted above, unrolled.
    posted by GeckoDundee at 3:36 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


    The entire point of the backstop is that it applies unless and until a deal is reached. The media and politicians who are acting shocked about the legal advice saying the backstop lacks a unilateral exit merchanism are being tremendously disingenuous. Not that I'm surprised.

    The backstop is a safety net. It's permanence in the absence of a deal is the whole damn point.
    posted by knapah at 8:02 PM on December 5 [4 favorites]


    So, my question is: Why are people discussing Norway+ as if it is another way out of this mess?

    My understanding is that that is a future model which can be discussed during the transition, after the WA agreement is signed. So, are Norway+ folks pushing for May's WA agremeent or are they not understanding it or am I missing something?
    posted by vacapinta at 2:48 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


    [No deal] would be a disaster on an unprecedented peacetime scale, but the reality is that so far as the majority of the principal political players are concerned, all the possible alternatives are worse. Rather like the First World War – which basically happened despite none of the participants really wanting it to – Brexit now has a momentum which is almost impossible to stop. ...And there’s this: none of the people with power actually want to stop it anyway.

    Stuart Campbell assesses an unpalatable array of what might happen next.
    posted by rongorongo at 8:27 AM on December 6 [4 favorites]


    rongorongo: Thanks, interesting article, as is the YouGov analysis it links to.

    One option he doesn't consider is the two stage referendum proposed here "with Remain, Leave-with-no-deal, and May’s compromise as the three options followed by an immediate runoff of the final two." That would likely result in May's deal winning as the middle option anyway though, so it hardly seems worth the effort of another referendum campaign which is likely to be even more vicious and divisive than the last one.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:51 AM on December 6


    If May's deal can't make it through Parliament, a binding referendum for her deal might actually be the least bad option, short of remaining. Yeah, the referendum would be awful, her deal is awful, but every possible deal would be awful. Of course you have to somehow convince Parliament to pass the legislation for such a referendum in full knowledge that it will probably result in the implementation of the deal they just roundly rejected, so there's that.

    If there's really no other plausible route from here that doesn't end in no-deal then it's probably worth it.
    posted by BungaDunga at 9:00 AM on December 6


    According to YouGov everyone hates May's deal... but it's deadlock on the other options of Remain and No Deal
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:31 AM on December 6


    I've heard some talk that if the vote is less than loss of less than 40 seats May will be able to hang on and go for a second vote (with probably a minor bone tossed her way from Europe) but if it's more than 40 she's gone.
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:34 AM on December 6


    I've heard some talk that if the vote is less than loss of less than 40 seats May will be able to hang on and go for a second vote (with probably a minor bone tossed her way from Europe) but if it's more than 40 she's gone.

    From what I've heard, it's more likely to be a defeat of 400 than one of 40.
    posted by knapah at 9:37 AM on December 6




    RBS braces for no-deal Brexit by shifting £13bn to Netherlands.
    Strong and steady not springing to mind.
    posted by adamvasco at 1:24 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]


    RBS braces for no-deal Brexit by shifting £13bn to Netherlands.

    The sort of freedom of movement the practitioners of brexit seem to really like.
    posted by dng at 1:49 PM on December 6 [10 favorites]


    It has become a standard metaphor to describe the UK as standing on a conveyor belt that will pitch us into a “no deal” oblivion on March 29th, unless we we take decisive action. The ECJ’s likely ruling has, this week, opened up a simple and low penalty means to step off the conveyor: rescind article 50. After you have done that, the government would have a sane amount of time to consult with the electorate and decide what to do next; to handle the whole process in a controlled way. Any political leader with an iota of sense would realise this. Ironically we don’t seem to have a battle between 2 who don’t.
    posted by rongorongo at 3:37 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


    rongorongo's Stuart Campbell link is a pretty good summation of the ugly options and consequences. I think Krishnan Guru-Murthy had it right; it will not end in our lifetimes. If Article 50 is withdrawn, there will be a large chunk of the British population who are convinced that they had the cake in their grasp and it was taken away from them by perfidious politicians, and they will double and triple and quadruple down on their hatred and demand for Brexit. And if Brexit happens and then there is no cake but economic destruction and despair, those people won't go 'well, maybe I was wrong' and turn on their masters. Instead, they'll listen eagerly as their masters explain that the problem is that Brexit didn't go far enough. There's still all those foreigners in the country, we have to get rid of them, and when those are gone there's still all those brown people that came when we were still an empire, and so on. There will always be a new scapegoat to target.
    posted by tavella at 4:07 PM on December 6 [8 favorites]


    Corbyn has been repeatedly clear that Brexit should go ahead, just better, because if he was in charge then [inaudible mumble]


    TBF, that appears to be everyone's thinking.
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:18 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]


    As you say, tavella, I don’t think that the option of cancelling article 50 - and trying to pretend it was all just a Dynasty style bad dream - is viable. We do have to have another referendum in order to mirror the strategy of having the first. The difference is that this time it can be done properly. Have the Brexit advocates come up with one white paper which presents their best attempt at how leaving the EU should work. Most especially they would need to decide whether this should be an option which limits immigration - or just one which takes back some control. Have the remainers create a white paper too. That should articulate why they think the EU is important to us; all of us. There needs to be a plan of what should happen if the referendum results are non-homogeneous. If the people of Scotland want to remain and the people of England want to go - for example - then we need to decide beforehand how that will be handled. Finally, there need to be steps in place to establish clear campaigning rules and to agree the result will be void if they are seen to be broken.

    Preparing for a properly designed second referendum would take about a year, I guess. And that is why rescinding A50 would be a necessity pre- requisite.
    posted by rongorongo at 11:41 PM on December 6 [5 favorites]




    And now in Real Life becoming even more like The Thick Of It/The Day Today news... Norway Rejects Norway
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:13 AM on December 7 [3 favorites]


    These people are vile pieces of shit:
    Tory MP suggests using possible 'no-deal' food shortages in Ireland to drop the backstop
    Ireland would be hit hard in the event of a no-deal Brexit; a Brexiteer has argued this should be used as leverage to get a better deal.
    posted by adamvasco at 7:27 AM on December 7 [8 favorites]


    Unfortunately, rongorongo, if you look at those Yougov polls, there's nothing that suggests another referendum will end things. Sure, the plurality want to remain, but the majority still wants to leave, the numbers haven't really changed. So whatever number of people who have come to their senses, they are either insignificant or have been replaced with soft remainers who just want to get things over with.

    What's worse, choosing no Brexit in that poll doesn't mean you actually want to stay in the EU. Some of those voters are presumably people who are sane enough to realize no-deal exit is terrible, but who don't like May's deal. And they think that there can be a better one, either because of cakeism or because they don't care about some of May's red lines and are fine with a border in the Irish Sea or whatever.
    posted by tavella at 8:39 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


    Self link “the Great post-Brexit British bake-off
    posted by The Whelk at 8:42 AM on December 7 [9 favorites]


    I'm beginning to think the Mitchell and Webb "The Event" sketches are accurate Brexit premonitions.
    posted by BungaDunga at 8:44 AM on December 7 [8 favorites]


    Hello, good evening, and remain in the EU.
    posted by tobascodagama at 9:07 AM on December 7 [3 favorites]


    These people are vile pieces of shit
    I wonder whether a tendency to want to give women of colour the benefit of the doubt might have partially obscured the fact that Priti Patel is a psychopath.
    posted by Grangousier at 9:26 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


    I keep seeming Leave supporters using the catchphrase "respect the results of the referendum", and it makes me snort every time.

    Fintan O'Toole has mentioned in multiple places that Britain has no national political tradition of national referenda. It's not something they do. It's not a skill they've cultivated, the established techniques of referendum are not part of British politics. They've got that whole Parliament thing.

    The Irish? They have they all referenda time. They know how it's done. Now the Brits could have asked the Irish for advice given the Irish experience with doing refer… sorry, I'll wait till everyone stops laughing.

    What the Irish could have told them is that:
    -It takes MUCH longer to organize than Brexit was given.
    -A referendum is ALWAYS about more than what's on the ballot. The ballot issue is just the proxy for what people are REALLY voting about.
    -Both sides are REQUIRED to publish a detailed "what happens if we win, what happens if we lose" position paper explaining what the referendum is about.

    That crucial 3rd part never really happened, so the Leave campaigners were allowed to spin whatever bullshit they wanted without consequence, to get people to vote with their emotions and post-colonial English nationalism, rather than a clear-eyed look at what the facts and realities on the ground.

    "Respect the outcome of the referendum"
    "Take back control of our laws and borders."

    *snort*

    The fist pounding and demands for upholding the democratic process are such crap in the context of how this was all carried out.
    posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:08 PM on December 7 [20 favorites]


    In this Brexit soap opera, it’s time for Emmerdale-plus-plus

    Marina Hyde, great as ever... the last three paragraphs are particularly good.

    I was amazed when I saw the doctor earlier - who still seemed bewildered that his German wife had left him because he voted Leave to get all that money for the NHS... it proved, what I long suspected after knowing a couple of medical students at uni, that you can be highly educated and still be think as two short planks.

    For non-Brits Emmerdale is a rural-set soap opera that was notorious at one point for it's plot inflation culminating with a plane crashing on Emmerdale village itself.
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:04 AM on December 8 [5 favorites]


    And now in Real Life becoming even more like The Thick Of It/The Day Today news... Norway Rejects Norway

    Norway's Heidi Nordby Lunde was even blunter in this Channel 4 interview:
    "I think you would mess it all up for us, the way you have messed it all up for yourselves."

    Heidi Nordby Lunde, president of Norway's European Movement, is sceptical about calls for the UK to strike a Norway-style deal with the EU. https://twitter.com/Channel4News/status/1071078003780870146/video/1
    Furthermore, she says, "I'm sceptic of letting the U.K. into the EFTA family because it's kind of like having an abusive partner spiking the drinks and inviting to a Christmas party and think that this will go well." [real, not The Thick of It]
    posted by Doktor Zed at 3:56 AM on December 8 [8 favorites]


    The Irish Border (unrolled Twitter thread, a thing of beauty) - The Meaningful Vote - how it works.
    posted by adamvasco at 8:14 AM on December 8 [3 favorites]


    Marina Hyde, great as ever

    She's so, so good:

    Maybe it was felt that attempting to subjugate Ireland with food shortages had been done before? I know they say Brexit’s driven by nostalgia, but perhaps the tactic was regarded as – how to put this? – beyond the pale.
    posted by rory at 9:15 AM on December 8 [5 favorites]


    Related
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:55 AM on December 9


    The ECJ has ruled that UK can cancel Brexit by unilaterally revoking Article 50, without the need for other member states to ratify the decision. Crucially, the decision also says that revocation could take place during an extension of the 2 year period, thus giving time for a referendum or general election.

    This reduces the risk of the no-deal timebomb going off in March, since the 'stop this madness' button remains active until the last moment.
    posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:33 AM on December 10 [13 favorites]


    Although the problem is that although the button is labelled "Stop this madness", what it means is "Let's have some different madness".
    posted by Grangousier at 2:10 AM on December 10


    Different madness that doesn't wreck things for a generation. Or if it does, it's the usual kind of wrecking, not the legally-binding cannot-be-undone kind day brexit is. It's the more palatable madness.
    posted by Dysk at 2:25 AM on December 10 [2 favorites]


    Leavers are still (still!) banging on about Project Fear, but they've had their own Project Fear running ever since May triggered Article 50: that it was irrevocable, it's too late to back out now, and even if somehow we could persuade the EU27 to let us revoke it then that would mean losing the rebate, having to join Schengen, and whatever else.

    Today we know that they were wrong, and the highest court in Europe says so.

    The buzz on Remainer Twitter today is that this also destroys any prospect of renegotiating May's deal: the EU27 couldn't now conduct any renegotiation in good faith, as the UK has a get-out-of-jail free card at any point up until 29/3/2019. It also undermines our chances of getting an extension to Article 50. Signing up to the deal will end with us being trapped in the backstop indefinitely unless somebody invents Magical Border Invisibility Dust. We don't have time to hold a referendum before 29/3/2019. It's revocation of Article 50 or No Deal.

    Thanks to the Grieve amendment, the power is now in Parliament's hands. Whatever May or her ministers say at this point is irrelevant. If the Commons doesn't want Britain to face an indefinite loss of sovereignty (via WA + Backstop) or catastrophe (No Deal), it has to vote down her deal and instruct the government to revoke Article 50.

    It's conceivable... just... that it might all be over by Christmas. That Article 50 will be revoked in the next few days, and that we can enter 2019 knowing that we can put three years of being obsessed with the EU and Brexit behind us, and get on with addressing the many other problems that face us.

    Which more plausibly means that we're leaving with No Deal next March, and anyone with the means to do so has three months left to get the hell out of Dodge.
    posted by rory at 4:22 AM on December 10


    It's conceivable... just... that it might all be over by Christmas.

    Except...

    "Theresa May has postponed the final vote on her Brexit deal, according to sources. A vote could take place next week or even be delayed until early January."
    posted by dng at 4:35 AM on December 10 [1 favorite]


    Theresa May seems to be adopting my foolproof old method of getting out of tests at school, by phoning in sick and then hoping everyone forgets all about it, forever.
    posted by dng at 4:37 AM on December 10 [2 favorites]


    She might not wriggle out of it that easily: Labour thinks Govt would need to table a Business of the House motion to delay tomorrow's vote. If they lose that, Tuesday's meaningful vote still takes place.

    One positive side of a delay would be giving longer for the UK in EU Challenge to play out. If MPs felt they could safely drop the "we must respect the will of the people" mantra because the referendum had been declared void, the path to revocation would be clear.
    posted by rory at 4:54 AM on December 10




    May so useless she can't even organise a calamitous defeat properly
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:47 AM on December 10 [3 favorites]


    Laura Kuenssberg suggesting that Labour could work with the ERG to vote against the vote being stopped or something and some rapid consultation of Erskin May (book on the rules of Parliament) going on (and no doubt lots of back corridor scheming)
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:52 AM on December 10


    And this guy says it's gonna be down to The Speaker on what happens
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:59 AM on December 10


    It's conceivable... just... that it might all be over by Christmas.

    Nothing that anyone has ever said this about has ever ended well...
    posted by Dysk at 7:02 AM on December 10 [10 favorites]


    It also undermines our chances of getting an extension to Article 50.

    That I don't follow. Parliament has the power to revoke A50, absolutely, but in practice that would leave the spectre of a future Parliament deciding to re-submit it and the acrimony in the meantime would be off the scale.

    There would have to be a second referendum (unless something really damning comes out soon about the legitimacy of the first). That would need an extension, and the EU would really have to grant it.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put on BBC Parliament and watch the resumption of the EU withdrawal debate. Oooh, the House sounds restive!
    posted by Devonian at 7:31 AM on December 10 [1 favorite]


    Last week I wrote to my MP, an ultra-loyal Tory, to urge a 'no' vote on the Withdrawal Agreement. I tailored my letter to avoid sounding like an ideologue, instead starting by mirroring the more reasonable parts of his recent statements on Brexit. I focussed on arguments I thought he might not have heard so often, for example that the Agreement will inevitably lead to an Article 50 extension in July 2020, with accompanying extra payments and years of negotiating and implementing a trade deal with a 2022 deadline that we won't make and then we'll be having the same panic again. (I made a similar point in this thread above.)

    He recently announced that he would be voting against and gave as one of his reasons that the Withdrawal Agreement would mean that 'we are still talking about Brexit for many more years to come'.

    I'm not so self-important that I believe I changed his mind or that I was the only person to raise this issue, but it does show that if you select your arguments with care, even people you fundamentally disagree with can take them on board.
    posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:32 AM on December 10 [6 favorites]


    Theresa May has called off Tuesday's crucial vote on her Brexit deal in the face of what was expected to be a significant defeat by Tory rebels


    BBC
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:42 AM on December 10 [1 favorite]


    May: "Does this House want to deliver Brexit?"
    SNP (loudly): "NOOOOO!"

    Much laughter.
    posted by Devonian at 8:12 AM on December 10 [8 favorites]


    When asked when the vote will be, May responds that she has until Jan 21st.

    So she is going to make sure there's a gun to everyone's head before the vote happens. A deal nobody wants put together by a PM with personal redlines that do not reflect those of the people. And by preparing for No-Deal she is making it more likely. She is about to bring an unwanted catastrophe to Britain, dragging along everyone with her, destroying small businesses, critically endangering people's health and livelihoods.

    IanDunt, live-tweeting right now:
    So what exactly is the prime minister's plan. Is she going to reopen negotiations or not? Unclear. When will she come back with a deal? Unclear. There is simply no fucking plan at all. Conversations on something which will never happen, cannot ever happen by virtue of logic and language, to an unstated timetable.

    But, at least, the UK will be out of that un-democratic EU, right.
    posted by vacapinta at 8:14 AM on December 10 [4 favorites]


    Meanwhile, the pound is tanking...
    posted by Devonian at 8:20 AM on December 10


    It's astonishing how no matter the shambolic depths reached so far, there is always another unfathomable abyss for us to tumble into.
    posted by dng at 9:04 AM on December 10 [2 favorites]


    That would need an extension, and the EU would really have to grant it.

    The argument I saw (and thought made some sense) was that the EU has less incentive to grant A50 extensions in a landscape where any country can revoke A50 unilaterally. They can say that if we don't want the negotiated deal and the prospect of No Deal bothers us that much - and it should - then we should just revoke A50, and not make them have to seek unanimous support among the EU27 for granting an extension. The failure of British domestic politics to get us to a position where someone in authority actually sends a letter revoking A50 should be on us, not on them.

    We could have gone through all of this parliamentary rigmarole and held a people's vote in plenty of time if the government hadn't deliberately/incompetently dragged its heels. If May succeeds in delaying the parliamentary vote until January, she will have deliberately wasted even more time that everyone knows we need to prepare for another referendum, if there's to be one. That puts us in a worse position to justify an extension, not a better one.

    Still, less incentive doesn't mean no incentive at all, and the prospect of No Deal is so unpleasant that it could lead the EU27 to grant an extension for a fresh referendum, if that's the only way left to avoid No Deal. They wouldn't have to, and shouldn't have to, but out of decency they might.
    posted by rory at 9:15 AM on December 10 [1 favorite]


    Jeremy Corbyn, your fellow European socialists need you in the EU
    Signed: George Papandreou, president of the Socialist International; Udo Bullman MEP, president of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament; ...and many MEPs
    posted by vacapinta at 10:01 AM on December 10 [4 favorites]


    Wow, I thought I couldn't be surprised anymore but this is definitely "another unfathomable abyss." I'm glad at least that Speaker of the House Bercow is inflicting as much embarrassment as he can.

    I mean, in a way, I get it--May's best hope for her deal is to run the clock out and pressure MPs to make the (false) choice between No Deal and her deal. But does she really want to go down in history like this?

    Seems like it is time for Labour to bring a motion of no confidence.
    posted by overglow at 10:25 AM on December 10


    Bercow is being glacially sniffy with Leadsom as she tries to go over the schedule for Parliament in what can only be described as a hostile environment...
    posted by Devonian at 10:37 AM on December 10




    The mace has been grabbed! (that's the parliamentary equivalent of it really kicking off)
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:30 PM on December 10 [6 favorites]


    Seems like it is time for Labour to bring a motion of no confidence.

    At this point, the only non-Tory party not to kneel down and beg Jeremy Corbyn to hold a vote of no confidence (apart from the lone Green MP) is the DUP, who have been spitting blood about this deal.

    Of course, Jeremy Corbyn is still trying to hedge his bets. He's as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.
    posted by daveje at 2:04 PM on December 10 [10 favorites]


    Imagine what this would be like if there were actually a thinking, feeling human being in charge of the opposition.
    posted by tobascodagama at 2:10 PM on December 10 [2 favorites]


    If there were a no confidence motion right now, though, the government would probably win it unless the DUP were persuaded to abstain, and I don’t see what Corbyn can offer them as an incentive to do so.

    I am no great fan of Corbyn but I don’t see what calling the no confidence motion right now would achieve.
    posted by doop at 3:27 PM on December 10 [2 favorites]


    Speaking to reporters afterwards, the MP said: “The symbolic gesture of lifting the mace and removing it is that the will of parliament to govern is no longer there has been removed. I felt parliament had effectively given up its sovereign right to govern properly. They stopped me before I got out of the chamber and I wasn’t going to struggle with someone wearing a huge sword on their hip.”
    ...
    The official feed of parliamentary proceedings, broadcast on BBC Parliament, did not show the mace being seized in common with a policy on not showing protests.

    However, the footage was tweeted by a journalist in the BBC political research unit and swiftly went viral, potentially setting up a conflict with the parliamentary authorities, who fear giving airtime to such incidents can encourage MPs to take part in similar protests.
    I had literally no idea this was a thing. Not only is there a ceremonial mace, if anyone does something to it, the BBC will edit it out of their video feed.
    posted by BungaDunga at 3:58 PM on December 10 [2 favorites]


    That's quite an issue in the Parliamentary broadcast world. Some parliaments think televising disorderly behaviour will encourage it and/or bring the parliament into disrepute. Others argue that transparency is more important.
    posted by the duck by the oboe at 4:05 PM on December 10


    Corbyn wants Brexit, but doesn't want to be blamed for the damage it caused, just wants the greater power it would give him over an isolated UK; it's not just the right wing that believes in shock doctrine. So ideally for him the government collapses after March 29th and he wins the ensuing election. I doubt very much he wants to trigger one before then because if Labour won (though that's hardly certain even given the Tory incompetence) then he might be pressured into revoking Article 50 and definitely would be held responsible for a great deal of the results of a non-revocation.
    posted by tavella at 4:25 PM on December 10 [5 favorites]


    I had literally no idea this was a thing. Not only is there a ceremonial mace, if anyone does something to it, the BBC will edit it out of their video feed.

    Parliament cannot lawfully meet without the Mace, representing the monarch's authority, being present in the chambers. If he had made it out, they'd have to suspend Parliment (I imagine. I think only Cromwell managed it.)
    posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:39 PM on December 10 [5 favorites]


    The mace as the symbol of royal authority extends into the Commonwealth. Which has led to some even more uncouth parliamentary shenanigans. (Fair warning: 19th century Australia.)
    posted by Devonian at 4:53 PM on December 10


    I can say from experience that the mace from the Australian House of Representatives is not allowed to be taken as carry-on luggage on Qantas flights.
    posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:08 PM on December 10 [12 favorites]


    I watched the mace video and I don't see any guy with a sword. The mace is taken back by an older woman with no visible weaponry. Is the MP exaggerating?
    posted by rdr at 5:47 PM on December 10


    The woman who retrieved the mace does appear to have a sword on her person. She even places her left hand on the hilt briefly.

    Watch her as she leaves her seat and enters the aisle around 0:09. It's visible again as she's replacing the mace around 0:23.

    Russell-Moyle is obviously playing it up a bit, since at no point was the sword actually drawn and I doubt he had any intention of fighting his way out even if there wasn't a (purely ceremonial, I'm sure) sword present, but he didn't actually make up the sword.
    posted by tobascodagama at 6:04 PM on December 10 [6 favorites]


    urge to go into excruciating detail about legislative maces and then to segue so smoothly you'd think I was Lando Calrissian hopped up on smoothies into the historical origins and modern usage of the committee of the whole... rising
    posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:49 PM on December 10 [6 favorites]


    the guy who grabbed the mace is both queer and MY AGE so what have I been DOING with my life?
    posted by The Whelk at 9:30 PM on December 10 [7 favorites]


    urge to go into excruciating detail about legislative maces and then to segue so smoothly you'd think I was Lando Calrissian hopped up on smoothies into the historical origins and modern usage of the committee of the whole... rising

    Make the post, man. Let's get something good out this godforsaken mess.
    posted by Devonian at 1:59 AM on December 11 [1 favorite]


    New thread.

    (This one only has a few days left in it, and the Gollum thread doesn't look like it's going to take us in the more general direction we need, so I figured it would be useful.)
    posted by rory at 2:44 AM on December 11 [5 favorites]


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