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December 11, 2018 2:41 AM   Subscribe

This was the day Parliament was supposed to have its "meaningful vote" on the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK government and the EU - a supposedly "soft Brexit" that is anything but. But Theresa "Contempt of Parliament" May has postponed the vote, supposedly to renegotiate the backstop designed to prevent a reemergence of a hard border on the island of Ireland, possibly to "focus minds" by running down the clock (108 days and ticking), and possibly because she seriously believes that cherry-picking is still possible. The EU's response is that the Withdrawal Agreement and its backstop are as good as they will get. posted by rory (542 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite
 
As an European living in the U.K. this unnecessary rigmarole feels terrible. The ongoing uncertainty about what's going to happen to us 3.5 million is soul destroying. After 20 years paying taxes in the UK we now have our house on the market and will move to the friendlier shores of the ROI. Not that the house will have any value left if the Pound continues to slide due to the market response to this unmitigated clusterfuck.
posted by fordiebianco at 2:52 AM on December 11, 2018 [36 favorites]


It does look like May's only goal is to make sure that Brexit happens, and is made irrevocable, by fair means or foul. She's going to desperate measures to do this, and betting a lot on this. I'm guessing that, once Britain is a fiefdom split between the house of Rees-Mogg, the Mercers and various Kremlin oligarchs, any investigations or consequences can be made moot, and in any case, the wretched remnants of humanity trapped within its borders will have more serious problems to worry about.
posted by acb at 3:01 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


This just in from Ian Dunt: This government is trashing our constitutional arrangements on a daily basis.

I'm proud of my three MEPs, Alyn Smith, David Martin, and Catherine Stihler, who joined Jolyon Maugham, Andy Wightman, Ross Greer, and Joanna Cherry in taking the case on Article 50 to the ECJ. And proud to have helped crowdfund it.

Imagine being able to pretend 2016 never happened. Just imagine. Can we bring David Bowie back from the dead, while we're at it?
posted by rory at 3:02 AM on December 11, 2018 [33 favorites]


Rory: alas, your wished-for return of David Bowie has been scrapped and will instead be replaced by a Dalek invasion fleet.

(At this point all I can say about the ongoing omnishambles of Brexit—speaking as a pro-EU resident of a capital city that voted 74% for Remain, in a nation that voted 62% for Remain, and is still being dragged kicking and screaming out of the EU by these Tory clowns—is "arse".)
posted by cstross at 3:05 AM on December 11, 2018 [39 favorites]


At least Theresa May has delivered on her goal of uniting the country - absolutely everyone hates this deal.
posted by daveje at 3:07 AM on December 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


Theresa May’s cowardly blunder may have saved us from Brexit [Polly Toynbee in The Grauniad]
posted by chavenet at 3:17 AM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


As if this whole mess couldn't make Britain look more craven, untrustworthy, and frankly evil; we now have Cabinet Ministers salivating at the thought of once again literally starving Ireland into submission to British hegemony.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:19 AM on December 11, 2018 [12 favorites]


It's all the Speakers fault... obviously.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:38 AM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]




Just remembered I once worked at place that never had a Christmas meal/party because the boss(es) just thought it was just too difficult to organise to cover everyone various different, and often contradictory, requirements (dietary, location, time etc etc).

This is a metaphor by the way.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:10 AM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


You can quote me on this: there is zero chance of having the legal terms of the deal altered in any significant way absent a removal of one of TM's red lines.
posted by jaduncan at 4:13 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


Embarrassing.
posted by winterhill at 4:18 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


I can't decide what to get everyone for Christmas. So I'm going to postpone Christmas.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 4:26 AM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]




The thing is, the best way to understand Theresa May’s predicament is to imagine that 52 percent of Britain had voted that the government should build a submarine out of cheese.

Did they want to name it "Cheesy McCheeseface"?

....I'm a US resident who's become a youtube-channel-follower of the show The Last Leg (British panel shows are how I cope with a lot of the current US politics). On last weeks's episode, which aired on Friday, two of the hosts got into a bet as to the outcome of this vote - the loser would have to do the whole show this coming Friday dressed as Teresa May.

But the bet they were making was "will the plan win or lose". Neither one accounted for "the vote won't happen" as an option. I'm really curious to see how they're going to tackle this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:33 AM on December 11, 2018 [13 favorites]


For most people, staying on in a rubbish job that one is no good at is driven by one's having no better alternative means of paying the rent & keeping the heating on. Mrs. May, on the other hand, surely does have other options, being a well-connected establishment figure & all, who, moreover, probably has some savings to fall back on. And yet she keeps on making an ever bloodier mess of it all.
posted by misteraitch at 4:36 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


For most people, staying on in a rubbish job that one is no good at is driven by one's having no better alternative means of paying the rent & keeping the heating on.

It shows a lot about the uniquely dire state of UK politics that a politician as objectively terrible at politics as May has proven to be is still in any position of power, however illusory.
posted by brilliantmistake at 4:47 AM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


It shows a lot about the uniquely dire state of UK politics that a politician as objectively terrible at politics as May has proven to be is still in any position of power, however illusory.

Nobody talented wants to be holding the hot potato.
posted by jaduncan at 4:49 AM on December 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


Despair, frustration and even resentment pervades diplomatic corps in London. "There is so little understanding [in the UK] that European states were not happy with the withdrawal treaty. They don't feel like they have won. Many of them have misgivings, and in many ways, the British have got everything they wanted."

What the European papers say. "When exactly does the EU decide it's had enough of rolling May's Brexit rock up the mountain? And just what is the EU able – and willing – to do to help her once more?"

How Theresa May came to delay the Brexit vote. "You have to remember for a lot of cabinet ministers, this is about self-preservation."
posted by rory at 4:50 AM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


The combination of the early Article 50 declaration and the red lines set out by Theresa May meant that this was inevitable.

Either:
All of the UK is within the customs union and single market
Only NI is - border with rUK
None of the UK is - NI/Ireland border

That's a mutually exclusive and exhaustive set of options. The first one is not possible if the UK wants to control migration and negotiate its own custom deals.

I guess it would technically be possible to control migration but that would require the EU to compromise on the four freedoms. They'll never do that. Partially out of principle and partially because there is a careful balance holding the whole thing together. Many East European countries would not accept opening their markets to German manufactured goods and French food surpluses if they were not able to offer their citizens the chance to work in Western European countries (from where they send money home which is needed to build up capital bases and from where they can eventually be expected to return in some numbers to beef up human capital). So that is not happening.

If it wasn't for NI, it would have been legally simple (if economically nuts and a logistical nightmare) to just leave the EU and EFTA entirely. Of course it would have taken 5+ years to prepare for genuine third country status but from a legal point of view it would actually be easy, most countries have third country status with respect to the EU. It would take a lot investment at ports and at Dover but it wouldn't be impossible with enough time. Hard Brexit could have been done if there had been the will to do it. Except that it couldn't because of the Irish border issue.

Hard Brexit means hard borders and that would be considered by many to be a violation of the Good Friday Agreement. (Technically you could argue that as long as the border isn't militarised and people rather than goods remain free to cross it at will it isn't a violation but that's because it was never drafted to anticipate the current situation. Anyway, perception is everything and if people feel that it's been violated then that's bad enough.)
posted by atrazine at 4:51 AM on December 11, 2018 [21 favorites]


"I'm a US resident...British panel shows are how I cope with a lot of the current US politics."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:33 PM on December 11


As a UK resident, I follow US politics to escape the slow-motion car-crash of UK politics.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 4:58 AM on December 11, 2018 [41 favorites]


This unbelievable f-up continues.
posted by carter at 5:03 AM on December 11, 2018


As a UK resident, I weep and weep.
posted by dng at 5:04 AM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


As a UK resident, I watch current French politics and think at least their political apocalypse has a bigger special effects budget
posted by brilliantmistake at 5:06 AM on December 11, 2018 [80 favorites]


Either:
All of the UK is within the customs union and single market
Only NI is - border with rUK
None of the UK is - NI/Ireland border


Option 4: Britain will start trying to bully Ireland out of the EU. We've already seen a Tory politico (either through gormlessness or unsubtlety) talk about Britain being able to cause food shortages in Ireland if it remains recalcitrant about backstops. In the coming weeks, we may see politicians allude to Britain's nuclear arsenal, and possibly mention how many times, hypothetically speaking, it could destroy, say, Ireland.

(Thatcher famously got Mitterrand to hand over codes for disabling Argentina's Exocets by threatening a nuclear strike on Buenos Aires, to be on his conscience, and Thatcher was nowhere near as cornered as the current lot.)
posted by acb at 5:15 AM on December 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


As a UK resident, I follow US politics to escape the slow-motion car-crash of UK politics.

Me too! This morning I found myself non-rhetorically wondering, 'What if I've had a psychotic break and I'm trapped in a delusion in which the government is falling apart over the degree to which it ought to cripple the country, and Donald Trump is in the White House?'
posted by Mocata at 5:25 AM on December 11, 2018 [12 favorites]


For this Polish citizen Trump and Brexit provide the... we need a word for "the relief from not being alone in one's misery". Although I'd vastly prefer the relief from knowing that all the other countries are just fine and all we need to do is try to be more like them.
posted by hat_eater at 5:33 AM on December 11, 2018 [27 favorites]


This morning I found myself non-rhetorically wondering, 'What if I've had a psychotic break

I spend a lot of my time these days ruminating about Wonko the Sane. Wonko broke with civilization over toothpick instructions, surely we can agree that a civilization lurching towards Brexit, and with Donald Trump in the White House, is no longer one in which you can live in and stay sane.
posted by jzb at 5:34 AM on December 11, 2018 [16 favorites]


During the No Drama Obama years, I used to watch HIGNFY to get my dose of political wit because all the available US politics jokes relied too much on "look at these racist assholes over here" and like, I'm already soaking in that, and it's not actually that funny. Now, nowhere is safe and I'm just mainlining QI and Would I Lie to You.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:34 AM on December 11, 2018 [10 favorites]


Turkeys (MPs) don’t vote for Christmas
posted by Middlemarch at 5:44 AM on December 11, 2018


I'm a US resident who's become a youtube-channel-follower of the show The Last Leg (British panel shows are how I cope with a lot of the current US politics).
As an Australian resident embroiled in the 11-year clusterfuck in a burning dumpster crash of not knowing who’ll be Prime Minister tomorrow, I’d like to point out that Adam Hills is ours and we’d really like him back please.
posted by prismatic7 at 5:49 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


Say what you like about the constitutional crises of yore but at least most of the old school politicos would either do the right thing for the country (even if it destroyed their career) or they would resign and make way for someone who would.

This indefinite cowardice and brinksmanship is far, far worse for democratic norms. It is legitimising and normalising all kinds of things which will become very dangerous once they are wielded with fascist malice instead of simply Tory incompetence and self-interest.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:05 AM on December 11, 2018 [11 favorites]


Can you guys just get a vote of no confidence and sack your PM already?

And I'll agree to the statement above: I too found the best way to cope is mainlining Would I Lie to You? AND Mock ('o) the Week. (Thank you for a well placed head Dara!)

Now I just want to know what - if any - of this past year makes it to the holiday quiz shows ...

For the record 17 1/2 is a sad number of giraffes on a double decker bus...
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:14 AM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


As a UK resident, I follow US politics to escape the slow-motion car-crash of UK politics.

Yes, but you have people like Adam Hills and Charlie Brooker talking about it. Jon Stewart has retired and Trevor Noah, while great, is all on his own over here.

This habit has also given me a conversant awareness with UK politics as well, though, so I'm wincing in sympathy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:14 AM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


the wretched remnants of humanity trapped within its borders will have more serious problems to worry about.

...

(Thatcher famously got Mitterrand to hand over codes for disabling Argentina's Exocets by threatening a nuclear strike on Buenos Aires, to be on his conscience, and Thatcher was nowhere near as cornered as the current lot.)


For some reason, I'm reminded of Alan Moore's afterword to the collected V for Vendetta, which he wrote on completion of the series in the late eighties, and what he'd changed his mind about since beginning the series in the early eighties: that a nuclear war (even one that avoided direct strikes on Britain) was survivable, and that it would take something that drastic to cause Britain to slide into fascism.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:24 AM on December 11, 2018 [10 favorites]


It's all the Speakers fault... obviously.

Stolen: "This all could have been stopped by a good guy with a mace."
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:25 AM on December 11, 2018 [12 favorites]




Can you guys just get a vote of no confidence and sack your PM already?


That would require Corbyn to stop being one of the most atrociously up-his-own-arse Labour leader since Reg Selff-Colonic briefly headed up the party in the mid 1950s.
posted by Devonian at 6:48 AM on December 11, 2018 [15 favorites]


It beggars hyperbole.
posted by Segundus at 6:52 AM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


Personal interests > party interests > national interests
posted by slimepuppy at 6:53 AM on December 11, 2018


A no confidence vote doesn't work so well if no-one else wants the job-- who wants to go down in history as the idiot that delivered on Brexit? Nah, easier to wait, then do a no-confidence vote and prattle on about how if they were in charge all along the streets would now be paved with gold.

My current dream is May gets desperate enough to call for a people's vote as a delaying tactic so she can enjoy being PM for just a little longer. Alas for her, the public vote remain, or more realistically they vote 'Oh FFS, just remain'

Looking at the post-referendum results, Corbyn figures out the youth dominated, finds his long-missing backbone and discovers, lo and behold, that he was staunchly pro-remain all along (but will oh so toughly hold the EU's feet to the fire when he's at the table).

The UK is left a laughing stock, but at least a laughing stock with a future that doesn't screw over our economy and a beautiful collective sigh of relief is let out in harmony from Non-UK EU citizens in the UK and UK EU citizens outside the UK.
posted by Static Vagabond at 6:53 AM on December 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


Though I thought calling May ‘a mule flogging a dead horse’ got closer than most.
posted by Segundus at 6:55 AM on December 11, 2018


Labour won’t call a no-confidence vote because they don’t think they’d win it (probably they are right, DUP have said they would vote with Tories), so we get the wondrous sight of Labour furiously condemning the government for postponing a vote merely because it can’t win while also doing the same itself.

I would have more sympathy for their position here if they bothered coming up with a workable one on Brexit.
posted by Catseye at 6:56 AM on December 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


SNP have just asked for vote of no-confidence. Corbyn just said he will table a no-confidence motion 'at the appropriate time'.
posted by biffa at 7:03 AM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


I would have more sympathy for their position here if they bothered coming up with a workable one on Brexit.

I have a friend who argues that choosing when to inject some disambiguliser into their Brexit position is a political decision all in itself, and that there's some strategic value to deferring it right now. I hope he's right.
posted by Mocata at 7:06 AM on December 11, 2018






it's like the UK held a referendum on "should a wizard appear and magically grant every citizen a pony", which, despite vigorous assertions by the faction against that wizards aren't real, passed by a hairsbreadth.

now social media is filled with people saying "i don't know why you're so worried, the wizard will be here any minute now" while the government tears itself apart trying to put together a plan that comes within a pale shadow of the referendum's promise.

now, having promised a single pony, to be divided among all citizens, which is dead and rotting, May has decided to delay the vote in the hopes that she can somehow get more MPs on board with her rotten ponychunks program, or that the wizard will suddenly appear.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:25 AM on December 11, 2018 [40 favorites]


I would have more sympathy for their position here if they bothered coming up with a workable one on Brexit.

An "interview" between Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary and actor Stephen Mangan was published in the Guardian this weekend and I found it to give a clearer picture than most recent articles on where Labour stand (officially). Which is pretty much nowhere.

And whilst, in a sense I understand the problem all parties face in that they have to be seen to respect "the will of the people" regardless of how much it will fuck the country over, for the main fucking opposition party to only be able to come up with:
We go back to Europe and say, “Look, let’s reset our relationship. Let’s be grown up about this. You know the difficulty we’re in, so let’s try and fix this.”
is fucking laughable.

Can you tell us:
How would you try and fix this?
What you would see as an acceptable deal for the country?
Have you spoken to anybody from an EU27 country to get a feel for what sort of deal would be on the cards?

I'm not saying I would like the answers to these questions, but if you could just show us that you've actually thought about it that would be a start for fuck's sake.
posted by jontyjago at 7:27 AM on December 11, 2018 [16 favorites]


SNP have just asked for vote of no-confidence. Corbyn just said he will table a no-confidence motion 'at the appropriate time'.

Presumably the appropriate time will be on March 30th, after no deal.
posted by dng at 7:28 AM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


And another factor that Corbyn & co seem to be missing is that Labour MEPs make up around 10% of the European Parliament Socialist Group and the remainder really don't want them to go.
posted by jontyjago at 7:43 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


So I've hated May since she was Home Sec and I think Corbyn is an ineffectual fossil but...

I'm genuinely not sure what I would have done differently, post referendum, if I were either of them.

It's all well and good to say that Nicola Sturgeon is what a real leader looks like but actually she's got it easy. She's vigorously representing the position that a substantial majority of the Scottish electorate and an overwhelming majority of her voters and party members back. A position that she also personally backs, and a position that gives them the best hope for future Scottish independence. (The latter because it is a lot easier not being in the same country as your largest by far trading partner - England - if you're still in a customs union and single market with them). I think that she is a good leader but I don't think this is a good example of it.

What is Corbyn meant to do? Labour has always been a coalition between part of the urban middle class and the working class. The latter voted for Brexit and has always been sceptical of the EU. The MPs who are most opposed to Brexit are in many cases ex-Blairite liberals rather than really left-wing like him. It's all well and good to say that he should be against Brexit because it's a bad idea, but opposing it would be electoral suicide for Labour. And then what? Not to mention that he's personally always been suspicious of the technocratic neo-liberal elements within EU institutions (largely put there by the very effective British civil service BTW).

Likewise, what was May to do? She could have pushed for a Norway option from an early date. That would have taken us out of the EU and technically complied with the referendum terms. Her interpretation (coloured, I'm sure by her own views on immigration) was that many people voted to leave because of concerns about immigration. To be honest, I think that is true. I think that attempting to reach a solution that controlled immigration is the most honest and democratic response to the referendum. And I think that despite the fact that I'm an EU national living in the UK, can't stand Theresa May, and think immigration is a net good for this country.
posted by atrazine at 7:51 AM on December 11, 2018 [17 favorites]


Theresa May ignored the first rule of negotiation: Ask yourself if you are negotiating from a position of power.

You would have to be a complete moron to think Britain wields any power in their negotiations with the EU.
posted by prepmonkey at 7:58 AM on December 11, 2018 [10 favorites]


What should May have done?

1. Not triggered A50 "until we have a clear picture of the Brexit we want."
2. Not called an election which turned a very uneasy situation into a very unstable one.
3. Started proper discussion and planning for Brexit.
4. When a plausible Brexit plan evolved trigger A50, or...
5. If no plausible Brexit plan evolved, go back to the country.
posted by Devonian at 8:07 AM on December 11, 2018 [34 favorites]


I'm genuinely not sure what I would have done differently, post referendum, if I were either of them.

Have a plan before triggering Article 50 instead of just playing for the newspapers. Been honest with the electorate about what will be lost. Treating the EU as a collaborator not as an enemy.

Brexit isn't actually an impossibility. It can be done. But it is a decades long project of slowly unwinding EU integration, helping businesses plan the transition, scope out what the new infrastructure would look like. In short, provide a responsible government looking out for its people.

Neither May or Corbyn have been honest. Now they are hitting the wall of reality, undone by their own lies. It is not hard to understand how this could have been done differently.
posted by vacapinta at 8:10 AM on December 11, 2018 [30 favorites]


I think that attempting to reach a solution that controlled immigration is the most honest and democratic response to the referendum

Well- it could have been done honestly. She could have said "we're controlling immigration, but to do that we will need a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and the rUK, and it will either be on the island of Ireland or in the sea. Oh, and we'll have to leave the common market to do it and it will probably take a decade."

This is not a great bargain, but it's better than the government pretending the UK can get everything it wants...
posted by BungaDunga at 8:12 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm genuinely not sure what I would have done differently, post referendum, if I were either of them.

May could have announced a year-long consultation process prior to triggering Article 50. She could have thought carefully about what the realistic options were before announcing a set of ‘red lines’ which she pulled out of her own arse, rather than be taken by surprise when she found out the implications of her own policy. She could have not called a general election. She could have started the whole process by approaching the other EU countries as allies and friends who we needed to work with to get through a difficult process, instead of immediately using the rhetoric of combat. She could have reached across the aisle from the start instead of treating the realignment of the UK's biggest geopolitical commitment as a party political issue.

And Corbyn had it even easier: the whole joy of opposition is that you can vigorously oppose and criticise without having to come up with concrete alternatives. Which is what he’s done, except for the ‘vigorously oppose and criticise’ bit.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 8:13 AM on December 11, 2018 [25 favorites]


May could have announced a year-long consultation process prior to triggering Article 50.
This is normal UK government behaviour. They consult on everything. They will have years-long consultation periods on things like new railway lines, even things as minor as changes to FM radio licensing policy. It beggars belief that they didn't consult on something as major as this and simply raced ahead with triggering Article 50.
posted by winterhill at 8:17 AM on December 11, 2018 [17 favorites]


May could have announced a year-long consultation process prior to triggering Article 50.

Giving people time to think often leads to unpredictable results. They could've reconsidered.
posted by hat_eater at 8:23 AM on December 11, 2018


1. Not triggered A50 "until we have a clear picture of the Brexit we want."
2. Not called an election which turned a very uneasy situation into a very unstable one.
3. Started proper discussion and planning for Brexit.
4. When a plausible Brexit plan evolved trigger A50, or...
5. If no plausible Brexit plan evolved, go back to the country.


Fair enough. I agree with the first point. In fact, quite a few of the more serious hard brexiteers agree with that as well. It removed the ability to genuinely aim for a full departure from the EU.

I'm not sure I agree with the second point. The whole argument against a referendum is that it leaves you with a shaky mandate around a single question. If she had increased her majority, and early indications were that she would, it would have been hailed as a master-stroke. If she hadn't held it, and ended up where she is now (very possible) we'd all be saying that obviously she should have called a GE right away and run on a Brexit platform.

The primal fault really are A50 timing and the lack of honesty from anyone in the whole Brexit process over what the trade-offs were. Having triggered it, I'm not sure there are many possible futures that wouldn't lead here.
posted by atrazine at 8:30 AM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


It strikes me, looking at this as an outsider, that it seems that one major problem here is that the UK political parties are hopelessly internally divided on Brexit, and by extention a whole slew of other critical issues, and that they've been papering over the divisions for a while now and it's finally coming to a head.

The Tories aren't fully united behind Brexit, Labor isn't fully united behind stay, and the minority parties are nipping at the edges hoping to pick up some voters. I suspect in the long run we'll see the parties realign on various ideological axes and a fair number of voters switch from one to another, or alternatively, at least one of the major parties falling completely to pieces and a new party arising from the wreckage.

Not that the situation with the Northern Ireland border doesn't complicate matters even more, but I think even without that added complication the major UK parties are long overdue for a major ideological realignment and/or collapse and new parties forming.

It's looking bad for the UK for a while, which sadly is not unusual among democracies these days.
posted by sotonohito at 8:32 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


1. Not triggered A50 "until we have a clear picture of the Brexit we want."
2. Not called an election which turned a very uneasy situation into a very unstable one.
3. Started proper discussion and planning for Brexit.
4. When a plausible Brexit plan evolved trigger A50, or...
5. If no plausible Brexit plan evolved, go back to the country.


I'm pretty sure the 2017 election was called with this vote in mind - if she'd romped home with a majority of over 100 as the polls thought she would have done then there would not have been a crisis. A soft Brexit fudge would have gone through and there would have been nothing lunatic hard Leavers or Remainers could have done.

As euro sceptic as Corbyn is there would have been zero chance of a second referendum on staying in the EU without the surge in the Labour vote that he spearheaded.
posted by brilliantmistake at 8:37 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


the UK political parties are hopelessly internally divided on Brexit

Not really. The majority of Labour MPs and party members, for instance, have always been against Brexit. But their constituents are divided, and that's what's led to them sitting firmly on the fence, by and large.

Tories aren't that much different. The majority were pro-remain until the day after the referendum, when many of them underwent a Damascene conversion.

It's all been about 'the will of the people', by which they mean the people who might be persuaded to vote for them at the next election under the current FPTP electoral system.
posted by pipeski at 8:39 AM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm genuinely not sure what I would have done differently, post referendum, if I were either of them.

In these hypothetical situations, do we assume that we have to cling to power, no matter what? Because that’s obviously May’s attitude. It’s been obvious for a long time now that Brexit in any form is going to be a disaster. May of course was a remainer before becoming PM, so she knows what she’s doing. Corbyn seems equally incapable of putting country over party, or over himself - he’s blinded by the idea of having another general election, despite the Tories somehow managing to hold a significant lead in the polls under his ineffectual Labour leadership. However, if we’re ruling out the possibility of admitting a mistake, admitting that perhaps someone else is needed at this moment in history, and doing the decent thing even at a personal cost to one’s political ambitions, then yes, that does constrain the options.

And do we come need to imagine that we share their own insane personal hobbyhorses? I’m pro-EU and also not a complete fuckwit, so if you Freaky Friday’d me into either of their positions today, or at any point in the last couple of years, then yes, I have a pretty firm idea of what I’d have done differently. But if I have to imagine that, like May, I’m a cruel, racist Little Englander, and that I’ve come to believe that destroying the British economy is a worthwhile price to pay for prevent anybody immigrating to the UK in the future, then sure, the exercise is harder. Or, if I have to imagine that I have Corbyn’s illustrious career as a cantankerous backbencher who has consistently voted against the European project on every question of importance in the last several decades, and I have to overcome my own personal animus to the institution and give up a plank of my own comfortable ideology, for years unchallenged by reality or responsibility, then yep - it’s tough.

And do we have to pretend to be completely fucking delusional like them? Because both Corbyn and May are united by their belief that once we’re out of the EU, society can be remade in the image that they have in their head - in May’s case, a swashbuckling feudalistic tax haven somewhat like the Channel Islands, striking trade deals on better terms than the EU could manage (?!) and in Corbyn’s, a socialist paradise with a renationalised post office and plenty of public spending, despite an unprecedented economic shock that directly targets our most productive industries (?!).

It’s just... I’m trying to make sure that I understand the exercise correctly.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:49 AM on December 11, 2018 [33 favorites]


Labour has always been a coalition between part of the urban middle class and the working class. The latter voted for Brexit and has always been sceptical of the EU.

I think that it's pretty classist to say that Labour's working class membership is Brexity. Possibly they're in the most Brexity constituencies, but there's an awful lot of Brexity rich places where far too many David Davises roam the streets, too.

People in deprived areas become Labour members because they see deprivation and want to fight the structural causes of it, and they'll have a fair intuition of where the money's going and the systems that cause it to be diverted. People like Corbyn, well, they think the system's bad, but when it comes to specifics, then they don't care. It's feel good politics, not actual need-driven politics.

And if there's one thing that separates Brexiters from us, it's that we understand that government is made of complex interlocking systems.
posted by ambrosen at 8:55 AM on December 11, 2018 [8 favorites]


Theresa May during her tenure has made an awful lot of noise - including in yesterday's "I'm cancelling the vote" statement to the Commons - about governing on behalf of the "left behind" people and regions of the country.

This is, of course, meaningless bullshit. Ask anyone who travels by Northern Rail or drives on what passes for the Sheffield-Manchester roads. But there is a simple way of putting her money where her mouth is. Cancel Brexit and revoke Article 50. Then spend the £39 billion money that had previously been earmarked for the "divorce" bill on a renewal and rebuilding fund for the regions - mostly, but not all, outside London and the Home Counties - that have been neglected for decades.

That sort of money could go an awfully long way towards much needed improvements to non-London transport infrastructure, improvements to the crumbling and neglected urban environment and housing stock in many of our towns and cities, training for people whose warehouse and call centre jobs are a matter of months or years away from being automated out of existence.

Instead of banging on about "left behind" areas as if they're a different country and you can't possibly understand why they might have wanted to give the government a kick up the arse, invest and bring said areas up to speed with the south east. Then you wouldn't have so much of the anger that led to the referendum result in the first place.
posted by winterhill at 8:56 AM on December 11, 2018 [17 favorites]


The mystery is solved, it's all the fault of the Irish
posted by fallingbadgers at 8:56 AM on December 11, 2018 [8 favorites]


May could have announced a year-long consultation process prior to triggering Article 50. [..] She could have started the whole process by approaching the other EU countries as allies and friends who we needed to work with to get through a difficult process

Aren't you forgetting one thing? The EU made it very clear that there were to be 'no negotiations without notification'. In other words, no serious consultation was possible until Article 50 had been triggered.

And on the timing of Article 50, let's not forget which party leader it was who wanted to trigger A50 on the morning after the referendum. If Corbyn had had his way, we wouldn't even be having this conversation because the UK would already have been out of the EU for the past six months.
posted by verstegan at 8:57 AM on December 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


Then spend the £39 billion money that had previously been earmarked for the "divorce" bill

Let's not forget that the only reason there's a "divorce bill" at all is because we were already committed to spending that money while inside the EU. It's not a spontaneous exit charge, it's money we already owed, that, if we were to stay, we'd still need to pay.
posted by regularfry at 9:02 AM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


Tories aren't that much different. The majority were pro-remain until the day after the referendum, when many of them underwent a Damascene conversion.

To be fair to my former Tory MP, it took a front page splash (with an allegation of groping) on The Sun in November 2016 before he underwent his Damascene conversion at the age of 30. Which I guess either shows naivety or conscience.
posted by ambrosen at 9:03 AM on December 11, 2018


Let's not forget that the only reason there's a "divorce bill" at all is because we were already committed to spending that money while inside the EU.
They should still spend some money on "left behind" regions (for which, read all of the UK outside parts of a few districts in London/SE) instead of letting them literally fall apart and descend into abject poverty and then acting shocked - shocked! - that people in them aren't too keen on the status quo.
posted by winterhill at 9:04 AM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


In these hypothetical situations, do we assume that we have to cling to power, no matter what? Because that’s obviously May’s attitude. It’s been obvious for a long time now that Brexit in any form is going to be a disaster.

So for the sake of argument:

No, we don't assume that but we do assume that "we" really believe in what our parties stand for and are not willing to sink the party forever. Incidentally, I really don't think May is enjoying this at all and I think that she genuinely believes she has to stay to see it through.

And do we come need to imagine that we share their own insane personal hobbyhorses?

I guess, sort of yes. Otherwise it's pretty easy, isn't it? I think at a minimum for the exercise to make any sense and to not turn into "what would I do as PM", we'd have to accept the most generous possible interpretation of their respective political beliefs.

If we're May we have to believe that immigration should be reduced (we don't have to believe that for xenophobic reasons for the purposes of the exercise) but we do have believe it. Alternatively I think it still works if we personally don't care but believe that people voted to leave the EU for this reason.

I think in Corbyn's case, all we have to accept is the electoral dynamics. His own beliefs are unhelpful but I think that if he didn't hold them, he'd act in a similar way.

And do we have to pretend to be completely fucking delusional like them? Because both Corbyn and May are united by their belief that once we’re out of the EU, society can be remade in the image that they have in their head - in May’s case, a swashbuckling feudalistic tax haven somewhat like the Channel Islands, striking trade deals on better terms than the EU could manage (?!) and in Corbyn’s, a socialist paradise with a renationalised post office and plenty of public spending, despite an unprecedented economic shock that directly targets our most productive industries (?!).

I don't think that's an accurate reflection of Theresa May's position. I think she believes that the best possible outcome is for the UK to stay in the EU the way it is now but that if we're going to leave and incur the massive costs of doing so, we might as well get some of the upside from what trade deals we can eventually get. The UK will be able to strike trade deals and some of them will be good ones and better tailored to the UK, that's not delusional. What's delusional is believing that the overall package of deals will be as good as what we have now. Obviously that's nuts.

To be honest I'm not sure if that is or isn't Corbyn's position.
posted by atrazine at 9:07 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm genuinely not sure what I would have done differently, post referendum, if I were either of them.

When Theresa May didn't get a majority in the election, she should have managed Brexit cross-party. Set up a super Select Committee of all parties and let them oversee the negotiations.

Yes, the right-wing Tories of the ERG would have screamed. But there would have been an overwhelming majority of Labour and Conservative MPs behind a soft-ish Brexit, they could have screamed but but would not have had the numbers to do anything. Same for the DUP. Jeremy Corbyn would not have been able to weaponise problems in the negotiation process, since Labour would share responsibility for it.

The world wars and the 1930s depression were run by coalitions. It was a fundamental mistake to try to do a big, complicated thing that affects the whole nation as a minority government. Whatever options she took from then on were going to alienate some section of her party, and whoever led the opposition was going to sit back and criticise.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:12 AM on December 11, 2018 [14 favorites]


From fallingbadgers link:
And that is what alarms so many Tories: after centuries of troubled Anglo-Irish relations it is the smaller of the two islands which appears to be exercising greater power for the first time.


It's almost like there's an inherent advantage to being part of a larger bloc.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:14 AM on December 11, 2018 [29 favorites]


If we're May we have to believe that immigration should be reduced (we don't have to believe that for xenophobic reasons for the purposes of the exercise) but we do have believe it. Alternatively I think it still works if we personally don't care but believe that people voted to leave the EU for this reason.

That's another part of why Brexit stinks. May's personal hobbyhorse about reducing immigration was shown to be opportunistic posturing when she failed to make any dent in it during her tenure at the Home Office. And in the years since, the holes left by EU citizens leaving the UK have been steadily filling with non-EU citizens. Non-EU immigration has always been exempt from freedom of movement, and yet basically nothing has happened in terms of reducing it, and it rarely gets talked about. Immigrants to the UK are, for the most part, net contributors to the treasury. The government knows full well that the economy and the shifting demographics of the UK mean that we need (a) more people of tax-paying age, and (b) more workers in the under-rewarded care, medical and manual work areas. The fact that the UK simultaneously depends on, and harasses immigrants at an official level is pretty hypocritical.
posted by pipeski at 9:27 AM on December 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


Aren't you forgetting one thing? The EU made it very clear that there were to be 'no negotiations without notification'. In other words, no serious consultation was possible until Article 50 had been triggered.

I was thinking of a process within the UK; not negotiation with the EU, but consultation with business leaders, trade experts, scientists, all the relevant parties. Lots of detailed studies to be written and published. The aim would be to go into the negotiations properly briefed and prepared, instead of starting the clock ticking by triggering Article 50 and then trying to decide what the government’s policy was.

And on the timing of Article 50, let's not forget which party leader it was who wanted to trigger A50 on the morning after the referendum. If Corbyn had had his way, we wouldn't even be having this conversation because the UK would already have been out of the EU for the past six months.

Oh, Corbyn has been every bit as useless as May. The only reason he doesn’t look quite as bad is that he’s not the one who has had to actually negotiate anything. But it’s certainly true that there was a lot of political pressure to trigger A50 immediately; not just May and Corbyn failed in their responsibilities, so did Parliament. But the fact that lots of people were advocating to do something stupid doesn’t make it any less stupid.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 9:29 AM on December 11, 2018 [9 favorites]


I can't imagine why they're not capitulating to a former colonial power that has expressed in the last week intent to starve them

it's almost like the Irish use EU money, are EU citizens, and are being treated like equals by other EU nations (and not like a former colony that's gotten too big for its boots)
posted by BungaDunga at 9:32 AM on December 11, 2018 [31 favorites]


the EU's full backing of Ireland over the border question is a nearly perfect argument for how the EU is a good idea, isn't it?
posted by BungaDunga at 9:34 AM on December 11, 2018 [22 favorites]


Theresa May ignored the first rule of negotiation: Ask yourself if you are negotiating from a position of power.

You would have to be a complete moron to think Britain wields any power in their negotiations with the EU.


I really feel the EU is irrelevant at this point.

England is playing entirely in their own end and scoring own goals, carding each other and yelling "What even is a ball?" while Europe and the referees are standing in the other end of the field wondering if the game will ever start for real.
posted by srboisvert at 9:50 AM on December 11, 2018 [23 favorites]


I think it’s staggering how glib a lot of our politicians have been about Northern Ireland. I always thought of peace in Northern Ireland as one of the great political successes of my lifetime. It’s mixed up in my head with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid as moments of optimism, when the world was getting better. The situation seemed so incredibly intractable and it seemed so inevitable that it would just rumble on for ever. I was living in London rather than Belfast, so on the whole it didn’t personally affect me more than occasionally interrupting my Christmas shopping or screwing up the trains, but it was still shitty.

And then they managed to end it all. It’s a reminder that we can work together and make the world better.

And sure, the Good Friday Agreement is a bit of a fudge, and the power-sharing arrangements in Stormont were not in a good state even before Brexit, but the fact that so many people are willing to risk it all is amazing to me.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 9:52 AM on December 11, 2018 [40 favorites]


Bloxworth Snout: "I think it’s staggering how glib a lot of our politicians have been about Northern Ireland...

And sure, the Good Friday Agreement is a bit of a fudge, and the power-sharing arrangements in Stormont were not in a good state even before Brexit, but the fact that so many people are willing to risk it all is amazing to me.
"

Especially when you consider many of the most frothy Brexiteers are old enough to remember mortar rounds being lobbed into Downing Street's back garden. Indeed, some of them were in office.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:59 AM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


Sky News are reporting that the required 48 letters have been sent to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee to trigger a vote of confidence in the leader but they are holding off on an formal announcement while May is out of the country
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:53 AM on December 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


Full Fathom Five, Nicholas Hermann - "As the Brexit deadline looms, the disused airfields of the Second World War can be seen not simply as relics of a patriotic war but as warnings of the dangers of hubris and isolationism."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:53 AM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


Ah, I love a good old-fashioned Tory backstabbing.
posted by doornoise at 11:12 AM on December 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


No worries, May will avoid the no confidence (and the vote) by simply retiring to France.

You cannot lose, if you do not play.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:15 AM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


But seriously, May already had no hand to play with the EU - and now? Why would anyone make concessions for someone who may not be in power next week?

Yes, Happy Dave, it might be easier if she missed her flight home.
posted by doornoise at 11:18 AM on December 11, 2018


It's a bad time to retire to France. Who knows whether you'll be able to stay after March?
posted by Devonian at 11:23 AM on December 11, 2018 [15 favorites]


And the Tories wonder why people think of them as the Nasty Party. Honestly.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:24 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


No worries, May will avoid the no confidence (and the vote) by simply retiring to France.
Is this something along the lines of football manager Mark Hughes, who keeps his record of never having been relegated by simply getting sacked from teams shortly before they get relegated?
posted by winterhill at 11:32 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yes, Happy Dave, it might be easier if she missed her flight home.

On both sides of the pond, I keep expecting someone to make a dramatic Third Wave reveal.

Alas...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:32 AM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think it’s staggering how glib a lot of our politicians have been about Northern Ireland.

They're taking their lead from voters on that one:
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.”
- Fintan O'Toole, "How Brexit Broke Up Britain" (New York Review of Books)
posted by kersplunk at 11:42 AM on December 11, 2018 [19 favorites]


Are the Labour leadership attitudes to Brexit just the austerity story all over again?, in which Simon Wren-Lewis argues that Corbyn is repeating the mistakes of pre-Corbyn Labour that brought him to power in the first place, i.e. conceding the fight immediately and offering an incoherent, watered-down version of Tory policies instead.
Labour party voters overwhelmingly want Labour to come out in support of remaining in the EU, because it is the right thing to do. But apparently allies of Corbyn say that private polling and focus groups conducted by the party suggest that doing so risks preventing Labour from winning the next general election. Does this debate ring any bells? It certainly does for me. The debate over austerity took exactly this form within Labour from 2010 to 2015.
I’m so jealous of the Blue Wave in the States and the new energy entering the Democratic Party, after years of pandering towards racists and shitheads who’ll never vote for them while they can get the pure stuff from their opponent instead. If only Momentum was living up to the same promise.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:34 PM on December 11, 2018 [18 favorites]


Corbyn is repeating the mistakes of pre-Corbyn Labour that brought him to power in the first place

There's some truth in that, but I think it's more that Corbyn is the wrong man at the wrong time. Austerity years - yes, the big issues of the day being against zero hour contracts etc. (They're still massive issues, but have been pushed to the side due to Brexit). Brexit years - the idea that the EU is the main obstacle in the way of Britain becoming a socialist utopia is complete bullshit. The leading Brexiters are pushing for Britain to become a much bigger tax haven than it already is, and have persuaded a significant number of turkeys to vote for Christmas.
posted by kersplunk at 1:11 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


Sky News are reporting that the required 48 letters have been sent to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee

I'm so torn. On the one hand, yes, absolutely May should not be PM but how is a leadership contest going to help? The likely outcomes I can see:

* Leadership contest, Brexiteer becomes PM, who will probably pull some strong-man bullshit to try to renegotiate or gleefully drive us off of a no-deal cliff.
* Leadership contest, Remainer becomes PM -- is this even a thing?
* Leadership contest, May holds on because other options are even more odious, we continue joyless march towards March
* Leadership contest, nobody wins, general election triggered (can that happen?), another hung parliament because Labour are useless
* ??????????????

The best I can hope for is somehow Parliament decides to cancel Article 50 while all of this mayhem is going on to "buy more time for Brexit" and then we all just stop talking about it and pretend like none of this ever happened.
posted by ukdanae at 1:19 PM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


There are also Conservative politicians who don't even think the Good Friday Agreement was a good idea in the first place, Michael Gove being one of them. They didn't want peace, they wanted to win.
posted by Catseye at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2018 [13 favorites]


I was at a cafe in London a couple of years ago and overheard a couple of dudebros talking about how they would make bank over the destruction of the NHS. Then later had to step out to the curb as a trio of power brokers walking three abreast would not cede a centimeter of sidewalk to me. Shortly later I learned of bespoke Range Rover upgrade brands that I assume are all owned by arms dealers and money launderers. London is overrun with predators.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2018 [10 favorites]


My "no, I was never ever a Brexiteer, why do you say that"-stepfather called today, like he always does when the news are overwhelming. Today I gave him more time than usual and noticed that a) he is still a racist; b) he still believes a lot of the Brexit lies and c) he is totally overwhelmed by all the information he is getting. He is an old man, and he was wrong, but to be fair, he gets some of the important parts and he tries to parse it, but it is all overwhelming, and if there was an opposition in England I feel one of their main jobs would be to communicate and simplify the message, not to a level of stupidity, but to a level of information suitable for people who honestly care but who don't spend all their spare time on internet communities.
posted by mumimor at 1:23 PM on December 11, 2018 [13 favorites]


Shortly later I learned of bespoke Range Rover upgrade brands that I assume are all owned by arms dealers and money launderers.
Those Overfinch things are built/customised just up the road from me. I'm nowhere near London.
posted by winterhill at 1:24 PM on December 11, 2018


Leadership contest, nobody wins, general election triggered (can that happen?)

Yes - iirc under FTPA a vote of no confidence means parliament has 14 days to get some government in place that can get through a confidence vote, and if nobody does then that triggers a general election.
posted by Catseye at 1:26 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


Those Overfinch things are built/customised just up the road from me. I'm nowhere near London.

OK, and if it's helpful to your local economy that's a plus, but I assume there are not many on the road there. They seem designed to exude threat and menace.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:29 PM on December 11, 2018


Is that true with an internal-Conservative Party vote of No Confidence, or just the whole House of Commons vote of No Confidence?

They're named the same, but are very different things.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 1:30 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


OK, and if it's helpful to your local economy that's a plus, but I assume there are not many on the road there.
You assume wrong. Back to Brexit.
posted by winterhill at 1:33 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ah - no, that's in the event of a whole HoC vote of no confidence.
posted by Catseye at 1:37 PM on December 11, 2018


They didn't want peace, they wanted to win.
And that's the issue right now, especially if the rumours of the 48 letters are true. Most of us would take one look at the job of PM in December 2018 and run a mile, because it's so obviously a poisoned chalice. But the kind of people who make it to the top of the Conservative Party don't think like that. They're blinkered and borderline sociopathic. They see themselves outside Number 10, cameras flashing, their name as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. They've won, out-competed, outsmarted, outgunned all their competition to the ultimate top job. They don't give a shit about anything, not even the fate of the country - to them it's a dog-eat-dog world and they've won, that's what matters.

That's the problem we have. If the 48 letters have gone in and May goes, who replaces her? The likes of Gove and Boris have been sharpening their elbows for months. God help us all if one of those becomes the Prime Minister. May is an awful person, barely competent, I don't like her and I don't like anything she stands for. She'll go down in the history books with Call Me Dave as one of the worst PMs ever to disgrace this great country. But right now, she's better than the alternative, and she knows that.
posted by winterhill at 1:40 PM on December 11, 2018 [18 favorites]


If she loses a Tory vote of no confidence the bloodletting will be crazy - I don’t think there’s any way this would be a coronation as it was post-Cameron. It might be enough to even split the party.

And we’ll be back with exactly the same problems sometime in January when there’s a new interchangeable vicious public schoolboy back in charge.
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:38 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


"And we’ll be back with exactly the same problems sometime in January..."

Maybe not. As batshit chaotic as this has been the possibilities multiply. Very few (none?) seem *likely* but the overall number seems to increase.
posted by aleph at 3:06 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


If the party splits then how would they form a government? Its difficult to see it not going to a GE pretty rapidly which a split party would be in no position to fight and since it seems likely the vote in constituencies would also be split if voters are faced with two tory party candidates then a Labour government would seem to be the most likely result.
posted by biffa at 3:10 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


I’m not an accelerationist (look where that’s got us with Brexit) but at present the leaders of both parties would like Brexit to happen - despite being given the greenlight by the ECJ to end this nonsense tomorrow, they seem determined to run out the clock and force Brexit by stalemate. I see no way out of this mess, but any possible salvation starts with reducing the grip on power enjoyed by May and/or Corbyn. So, fuck it - let’s have some proper Tory chaos.

I get that this probably sounds rather like the attitude of a low-information Brexit voter in 2016, but not being a Tory MP I don’t get a vote this time around so, sure, bring it on.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 3:23 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


If the party splits then how would they form a government?


A Government of National Unity is not too far out of the bounds of possibility and has been floated by several Conservatives - A Remainer rump of the Tories + Labour + SNP et all could scrape a majority to get a Peoples Vote passed or see out the Brexit process. It’d be a short lived coalition but both major parties are rebellious enough that I can see party discipline falling apart to that extent if it’s the only way to get anything done.
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:56 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


I did wonder about a GNU when I wrote that comment. I guess if we can resign ourselves to the fact that government has done knob all else but Brexit for the last 2 years anyway we might as well have one that is just about Brexit.

I think my problem is that if we enter a period of possible Tory collapse then stuff like this may end up on the table. Its hard after decades of seeing how things generally run to form, to bear in mind that occasionally shit really does blow up and when that happens everything is up in the air and can land any old how.
posted by biffa at 4:24 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's a big step from 48 Tory MPs writing to the 1922 committee to trigger a no-confidence vote to 158 Tory MPs voting for May's resignation. That the ultra-right brexiteers have taken this long to get to 48 (and we're still not certain they have) indicates there's a lot less of them than they were recently bragging about. A significant majority of Tory MPs, unlike the party membership, are former remainers, currently 'soft' willofdapeople brexiters, with a small but loud remain group.

Assuming May did fall, the Tory MPs will whittle the field of candidates down to 2, before they go to the membership. The membership is mostly 80 year old gammons who want the darkies kicked out the country and/or Germany told to get their Hun fingers off our money, so they will guaranteed back the one promising a 50 car pileup br..., sorry, it's now being branded a 'clean global' brexit - and there's no way you're not going to have someone like Boris "Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox" Johnson or Rees-"MP for the 19th century"-Mogg, or possibly both, in the final 2. Who will go and shout incoherently across the channel for a bit, come home and run out the clock.

I think there's still enough Tories who still have a fragment of their soul left/don't want to be kicked out of office post-brexit by people outraged that their pension has been cut 50% and there's a 6 month wait for a GP appointment to be handed sugar pills for bowel cancer/can count who will back May at this point to avoid Boris for PM. And then she's safe within the party for 12 months.

Which might be May's 'plan'? Because the odds of her being toppled go way up once she loses a vote in parliament on the Deal and proves she can't move in any direction without tripping over her own xenophobia. (EU citizens are "bargaining chips" and "queue jumpers", remainers are "citizens of nowhere" (as PM); hostile environment, Windrush, "Go Home" vans (as home sec) oh yes, she's a lovely person)

Corbyn won't hold a vote of no confidence because he's waiting for the deal to be passed (or hard Brexit day) - only at that point will the DUP end their confidence arrangement with the Tories and stand a reasonable chance of succeeding. And he doesn't want to try and fail, because then Labour party policy is 'all options on the table' i.e. pushing for a 2nd ref. which is how the leadership bought off the overwhelmingly pro-EU membership. And he's been a brexiteer all his life, so the bestest outcome for him personally is car-crash Brexit, catastrophic collapse of the economy leading to a swift general election, and then he gets to sit in the big chair and implement whatever socialist utopia the phantom neoliberal EU is stopping him from having, and print whatever money needed to fund it. And since a big chunk of Labour voters want to kick out the foreigners, having a hard border won't do him any harm for votes from them, and he assumes the Cult of Corbyn aka Momentum won't abandon him at his moment of triumph.

Despite there being a strong majority in the House for no no-deal exit, and a growing majority for remain in the public, I honestly think the most likely result now is we crash out by accident or design. May seems utterly determined to make the choice her deal or crash out, Corbyn is waiting for Brexit however it happens, and any replacement for May will crash us out intentionally. Tories mostly seem to genuinely believe a Corbyn government would be worse than a no-deal Brexit so I just don't see how you'd get a government of national unity in enough numbers.

God, I hope I'm wrong. Otherwise my plan is being married to a French woman might be enough for them to let me in.

On a lighter note about May getting stuck in her car on her way to see Merkel; she just wanted to keep the benefits of staying in her car while leaving it.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:26 PM on December 11, 2018 [11 favorites]


"This all could have been stopped by a good guy with a mace."

Guardian: MP Causes Uproar In Parliament By Grabbing Mace In Brexit Protest—Lloyd Russell-Moyle waves symbol of Queen’s authority to show anger over debate delay

We are one step away from someone invoking Cromwell.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:31 PM on December 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


A Remainer rump of the Tories + Labour + SNP et all could scrape a majority to get a Peoples Vote passed or see out the Brexit process.

Don't they literally only need to pull together for about a day to revoke article 50, before No-Confidencing each other back to a general election?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:31 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


Another rumour has Sinn Fein telling May that a no-deal Brexit will mean a reunification referendum in NI - which is in the Good Friday Agreement - which could well be won.

And which could most certainly fan the flames in Scotland.

So there's that.
posted by Devonian at 4:52 PM on December 11, 2018 [14 favorites]


Don't they literally only need to pull together for about a day to revoke article 50, before No-Confidencing each other back to a general election?

Imagining that makes me shudder. It's exactly what the Brexiteer/UKIPer faction in Parliament and the press would need to stir up an enormous pile of shit about the people being betrayed by a government working against their stated will.

My own post-2018 fantasy is that we elect a government whose stated aim is to run the country in what the evidence suggests is the best way to heal the social imbalances that led to all of this. Said government would probably push for 'reform from within' with respect to the EU. While we're at it, can we have sensible electoral reform and kick out the Lords?

Scotland (indulging a stereotype a little) will I think be continue to be pragmatic. The vote against independence last time suggested that most Scottish voters feel that leaving the UK is too much a step into the unknown - see also their vote on the EU. Remaining in the UK and remaining in the EU aren't, I think, coming from completely different places.
posted by pipeski at 5:07 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


Remaining in the UK and remaining in the EU aren't, I think, coming from completely different places.

Wasn't a big issue in the referendum that exiting GB likely meant leaving the EU?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:20 PM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


Wasn't a big issue in the referendum that exiting GB likely meant leaving the EU?

Absolutely, with a side order of "And the Spanish will never let you back in, because they don't want to encourage Catalonia". That was never actually the case - what would have happened to Scottish EU membership was unclear, because it had never happened before, but although some Spanish politicians did make noises the overwhelming sense from the EU was that a country which had been in the EU and was thus largely compliant with the rules, that wished to remain in the EU, would be accommodated as far as possible. Whether the economy of the newly independent Scotland would be in compliance with EU rules was one of the big imponderables, but I'm of the opinion that the stars were strongly aligned for Scottish accession or retention with minimal fuss. Because everyone involved wanted it to happen that way.

Of course, it'd be harder if there was a land border with a non-EU state... but the Scottish/English border has fewer crossings and is much less complex in many ways than the NI/RoI border. There are still plenty of nutters, but they tend to play rugby rather than blow things up. .
posted by Devonian at 6:00 PM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


The 'small c' conservativism argument might work for older voters in Scotland but not for voters under 55 who are strongly pro Remain and pro Independence. There was some swapping of sides - some Remain voters to Yes, some Leavers to No after the Brexit vote, but the movements cancelled each other out. However recently Yes has shown a small uptick and the polling for Yes in the event of a 'No deal' Brexit is quite startling. So much depends on what happens next with Brexit. Lots of people who voted 'No' to independence after being promised that doing so would keep us in the EU are pretty damn furious about Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn is not that popular up here with folk who used to be the Labour faithful, so it will be interesting to see how these very disgruntled voters react when the shape of Brexit becomes clear.
posted by Flitcraft at 6:29 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


the Scottish/English border has fewer crossings and is much less complex in many ways than the NI/RoI border.

It comes with a wall, doesn't it?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:54 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


Neither Hadrian's Wall nor the Antonine Wall track particularly closely to the current English-Scottish border.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:47 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


Neither Hadrian's Wall nor the Antonine Wall track particularly closely to the current English-Scottish border.

And the Lord knows you don't want walls for borders I think it'll work perfectly well as it does on the continong, where you only know you've crossed into a different nation state when your phone switches to a different network. And I for one will work to establish a new mobile network in Scotland called Fukdatoris
posted by Devonian at 8:21 PM on December 11, 2018 [10 favorites]


the Scottish/English border has fewer crossings and is much less complex in many ways than the NI/RoI border.
The Scotland England border is just 96 miles long (as opposed to 310 for the Irish border) - and it has only about 13 road crossings (of which just three: the A1, A68 and M6 are major) - and it does not divide any towns. So it would not be overwhelmingly hard to turn into a hard border.
posted by rongorongo at 11:53 PM on December 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


Leadership challenge confirmed.
posted by Catseye at 11:53 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


If she does end up losing - or resigning - tonight, I'm waiting for whoever Aaron Banks* backs for PM as that's probably going to be the winner given his recent attempts to get hard brexiteer infiltrators into the party specifically for that eventuality. Christ, what a timeline.

* money man behind Leave.EU campaign, linked to Bannon and Cambridge Analytica, under investigation as money thought to have come from Russia.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:14 AM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


Hey, if she loses, maybe we'll at least get a Thatcher-like view of May crying as she leaves Number 10. That's about all I've got. It's so damn bleak.
posted by skybluepink at 12:36 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Arghhhh, what a fucking mess.
posted by knapah at 12:39 AM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


Of course she's late with the announcement. Of course.
posted by ambrosen at 12:39 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Is the vote tonight a secret ballot? Or will the MPs have to reveal their votes?
posted by crazy with stars at 12:41 AM on December 12, 2018


Secret ballot. And she's pissed the fuck out of all her MPs off, that's for sure.
posted by ambrosen at 12:42 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


"21st January legal deadline". That's a UK internal deadline, isn't it?
posted by ambrosen at 12:52 AM on December 12, 2018


Shortly later I learned of bespoke Range Rover upgrade brands that I assume are all owned by arms dealers and money launderers. London is overrun with predators.

If you come to the City of Westminster in the summer, you may witness the spectacle that is Saudi Supercar Season, in which large numbers of rare sports cars—Maseratis, Lamborghinis, small hand-made marques that sell for millions each, some gold-plated—with Saudi number plates cruising around, driven by the kingdom's up-and-coming young princes.
posted by acb at 1:06 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


"21st January legal deadline". That's a UK internal deadline, isn't it?

Yes, that was an amendment to the UK EU Withdrawal Act enacting our withdrawal on 29th March; the PM has to present any deal for a meaningful parliamentary vote by the 21st Jan (i.e. it can be voted down) or explain to Parliament why there's no deal - in the event it gets voted down, I think the PM gets up to 3 weeks to come back and say what plan B is. Which is about as toothless as you'd think if the deal is rejected, and was as far as Tory remainers actually managed to rebel earlier in this process. Though originally there wasn't even going to be a meaningful vote in parliament on any deal, so there's that.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:14 AM on December 12, 2018


Saudi Supercar Season

It's a bit like that other boys and toys festival, innit?

Getting back to the topic though, I reckon Labour were holding off on the government confidence vote because they thought this would happen. If May surives, they go for it.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 1:18 AM on December 12, 2018


May has issued a statement this morning saying that any new leader would mean Brexit being delayed or even being stopped.

It says that there would not be time to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement - as hers is the "best" we can get, does she envision a successor negotiating something worse?
posted by jontyjago at 1:24 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


So apparently the rule is that a leader that wins a challenge can't be challenged again for another year.

What a genius provision: if May has a narrow victory – and it's not likely she can do any better – the Tories are practically guaranteed to go into the next election with a leader whose degree of unpopularity within her own party has been precisely and publicly quantified.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:49 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Weirdly this could strengthen May... Just a few days ago I though she would be out by Christmas, but that would have been resigning after the loosing the vote by a huge margin. Even I didn't think the Tories would be so low as to slime out of actually having the vote. I'm not entirely sure there's a mandate among the Tories MPs to kick her out - even those that were against her Brexit.

May's main characteristic is stubbornness and unless she is forced she won't go. Having the mandate of a previous recent win behind her could have her pushing on even if she lost a Brexit vote.

Then again, if she only just wins there might be an intervention by The Men In Grey Suits*...

God help us anyway given this collection of sorry specimens that are tipped to replace her.

*A delegation of senior members of the party that would make it clear that it was time to go
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:56 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


Then again, if she only just wins there might be an intervention by The Men In Grey Suits...

There was a good line on the Today programme this morning that if the apocryphal Senior Tory with a Revolver and a Glass of Whisky turned up at Downing St to force her resignation May's response would be to drink the whisky and then shoot her visitor.
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:01 AM on December 12, 2018 [12 favorites]


New Statesman: The middle of the Tory party is turning against Theresa May
Discontent has multiple reasons. One factor is that several MPs do not believe that May has what it takes to pass a Brexit withdrawal agreement: the ability to reach out beyond the confines of the Conservative Party.

There is also rising distrust at her secretive style of making decisions: “one reason she won,” one of this group told me, “is she looked people in marginal seats in the eye and said: ‘I won’t have an election’. And now we know what she’s like”. Her seeming willingness to risk a no-deal exit makes her intolerable to this part of the party...

The eleventh hour decision to mothball the vote has only aggravated the problem. Ministers who had gone out on television saying that the vote would not be pulled feel embarrassed, while MPs whose local parties are threatening them with deselection for backing the deal feel as if they have been sent over the top for nothing.

On top of all that, MPs who feel that the only way to get a Brexit deal is if the “decent” or “sensible” bit of the Labour party can vote for it despairs of her handling of the whole thing and her inability to “reach out” to people outside the Conservative Party.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:02 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


the Tories are practically guaranteed to go into the next election with a leader whose degree of unpopularity within her own party has been precisely and publicly quantified.
Which probably points the tactic of "killing not scorching the snake" when it comes to any doubt at the vote. No point in confirming a PM who you would not want to see as a leader under all foreseeable circumstances -for at least the coming year.
posted by rongorongo at 2:02 AM on December 12, 2018


the Tories are practically guaranteed to go into the next election with a leader whose degree of unpopularity within her own party has been precisely and publicly quantified.

Yes, that's certainly a possibility. But I don't think it's a certainty at all. Tories generally want to stay in power above all other considerations (including national interests), so you'd find May would just be told to get out of the way. Think resignations and more resignations, and people flat out refusing to take up cabinet positions.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 2:03 AM on December 12, 2018


164/315 is about 52%. The mandate our PM deserves.

Too perfect to actually happen, unfortunately. I'd have thought she'll get a bit more.
posted by Quagkapi at 2:15 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


And this is why Jeremy Corbyn calling a non-confidence vote should have happened yesterday or the day before. He would have more chance of winning against a Tory Party led by someone they desperately want to get rid of, and a party in complete disarray and disunity. Now he's blown it, since the Tories will then by more united behind a new leader, whoever that is.

He who hesitates is lost.
posted by daveje at 2:19 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


David Cameron tweets:
I hope Conservative MPs will back the PM in the vote today. We need no distractions from seeking the best outcome with our neighbours, friends and partners in the EU. (212 likes after 8 minutes)
Beardyman replies:
this is all your fault you massive bell end. (424 likes after 5 minutes)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:26 AM on December 12, 2018 [25 favorites]


From Mrs May's statement:

"The new leader wouldn’t have time to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement and get the legislation through parliament by 29 March – so one of their first acts would have to be extending or rescinding article 50, delaying – or even stopping – Brexit when people want us to get on with it."

There's that mention of stopping Brexit again. It's coming up with increasing frequency these days...
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:34 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


There's that mention of stopping Brexit again. It's coming up with increasing frequency these days...

It's almost like she's hinting at something.
posted by daveje at 2:38 AM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


Thanks to the recent ECJ judgement, we also know that it is easier to rescind Article 50 (unilateral) than to ask for an extension (requires unanimous consent from the EU), so there's that.
posted by vacapinta at 2:39 AM on December 12, 2018 [5 favorites]


There's that mention of stopping Brexit again. It's coming up with increasing frequency these days...

She's trying to spook the slightly-less-insane hard brexiteers (I know, oxymoron) in her own party into backing her. She's telling em it's her deal or no brexit; for the Norway-for-now/remain wing, it's her deal or crash out brexit.

Unsurprisingly, both sides are taking note of what she's saying to the other, and aiming to get their preferred outcome that she's threatening the other wing with, which is why the deal is currently a dead parrot.

If May survives, it strengthens her hand for the deal, particularly if she runs the clock down some more first; but also risks her being forced to delay/withdraw article 50 by the remain wing + labour etc.

If May does go, then a crash out Brexit seems a racing certainty unless Parliament manage something extraordinary - with the current law being that we leave deal or no deal come the 29th, there's not many mechanisms to stop an executive hellbent on causing it bar a vote of no confidence and possibly a general election, and none of the Tories want that as it risks Corbyn in charge at the end of it.

Cameron called the referendum in the first place to try and settle the war in the Tory party over Europe that's been going on for decades. Great plan, you absolute potato head.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:05 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


There would have been no point in Corbyn calling a confidence vote on the government yesterday as the DUP were still supporting the government, and no Tory MP has said they're willing to vote against. It would just have handed May a victory.

There's also an element of wishful thinking in the idea that without Jeremy Corbyn, the Parliamentary Labour Party would become tigers for Remain. Lots of Labour constituencies in the industrial North are firmly pro-Brexit, and any Labour leader would have to deal with their MPs. At one point in the Article 50 process, Jeremy Corbyn threatened to vote against it unless his conditions were met, but after a backbench rebellion by Labour MPs he had to back down and support it unconditionally. While he was rebellious on many things, Corbyn's generally gone along with the party line on Europe, being anti-EEC when that was Labour policy in the 1980s, but agreeing to campaign for Remain in the referendum as documented in "Fall Out" by Tim Shipman. Corbyn's no europhile, but it's fantasy to imagine that he's single-handedly dragging the Labour Party towards Leave: in some ways it's the other way round.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:11 AM on December 12, 2018 [10 favorites]


She's trying to spook the slightly-less-insane hard brexiteers (I know, oxymoron) in her own party into backing her. She's telling em it's her deal or no brexit; for the Norway-for-now/remain wing, it's her deal or crash out brexit.
This is a thing an awful lot of commentators, especially on the Remain side, don't seem quite able to grasp.

The majority of Tory MPs causing trouble for May right now aren't coming at it from the point of view that Brexit is a shockingly terrible idea and they want to save the country from ruin. They're attacking her because the relatively hard Brexit deal she's come up with isn't hard enough and cedes a tiny amount of power to the EU in terms of the Irish backstop.

If that faction got their way and TM was dumped, we'd have a hard-Brexit hardliner PM who would be more than happy to allow us to crash out of the EU with no deal. There wouldn't be a cancellation of Brexit, there wouldn't be a coalition formed around either a People's Vote or EEA/EFTA membership, things would literally get even worse. The people sharpening their knives for May are not our friends (if we're in favour of EU membership or close partnership). May is awful, but better than the alternative.
posted by winterhill at 3:19 AM on December 12, 2018 [13 favorites]


Cameron called the referendum in the first place to try and settle the war in the Tory party

Cameron promised/called the referendum in the first place to get himself elected. The promise of chance to get out of Europe was enough for a big chunk of single-issue voters to vote Tory rather than UKIP.

There's that mention of stopping Brexit again.

I would love to allow myself to cling on this thin thread of hope if it weren't for the fact that all the way through this process May has painted the EU as an enemy which needed to be defeated, rather than a valuable and important trading partner. At the end of all this, for her to then say, well you know, maybe the national interest would be staying with these Continental types after all (and welcoming them into our country), just stretches my sense of credulity a little too far.

I know it's 2018 and literally anything could happen but, still.
posted by jontyjago at 3:21 AM on December 12, 2018 [5 favorites]


This is a thing an awful lot of commentators, especially on the Remain side, don't seem quite able to grasp.

Yes, I see this too. There's a lot of "haha, you can't get what you want, far-right! Stop promising unicorns!"
But the far-right CAN get what it wants and those promises are empty and they KNOW they are empty, you fools.
posted by vacapinta at 3:23 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


To extend Ian Dunt's metaphor that we’re on “a conveyor belt towards an abattoir”, we're on a conveyor belt towards an abattoir where one of us has just been handed the remote control with the Stop button, and is telling different people that she'll either push it or refuse to push it if they don't back her plan to use the conveyor as a treadmill.

Only three Brexit megathreads to go until we change over to Exciting New Recipes for Rat megathreads.
posted by rory at 3:25 AM on December 12, 2018 [26 favorites]


It's interesting that for the first time the Leave side seem to be starting to prepare for another referendum. Spectator: ‘Tell them again’ – how the Leave campaign could look in a second referendum:
Vote Leave mastermind Dominic Cummings has previously said that Vote Leave would reform in the event of a second vote and win by a larger margin. They wouldn’t be the only Leave campaign group. The Leave Means Leave organisation is currently raising money and building up its network in the event there is a second vote. The prep work has gone as far as getting an agency to help with marketing lines an an election slogan. The slogan suggested? ‘Tell them again’. The thinking being that the campaign could run off the idea Leave voters have been ignored for the past two years and they needed to finally have their voice heard.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:28 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Lots of Labour constituencies in the industrial North are firmly pro-Brexit, and any Labour leader would have to deal with their MPs.
I wish people, largely in the London based media, would stop repeating this assertion as if it's undeniable fact.

Yes, large areas of the North voted for Brexit in 2016. But there were so many reasons for this, an awful lot of which were literally nothing to do with the EU. We can't forget that for some years prior to the 2016 referendum, life in many of the North's towns and smaller cities was a bit shit for many people.

A lot of areas never quite recovered from the loss of major industries and have been subsisting on low-paid insecure work for shit bosses in call centres and warehouses for a long time. Combined with a largely right-wing media that's been blaming the EU and immigrants for everything for decades, it was always going to be like this when the vote came. The North has been literally completely ignored in all sorts of national policy-making for many years and this was a (self-destructive, stupid) way of getting some attention from the oblivious London government.

Now that the reality of what it actually means for our poorest areas - many of which benefited from EU investment to some degree - is coming home to roost people are starting to take a fresh look at the issue. The North is not full of thick-headed Union Jack-waving hard Brexiteers crying out for a crash-out Brexit. It's a poorer region that has suffered from systemic underinvestment over many, many years which was ripe for exploitation by the far right.
posted by winterhill at 3:30 AM on December 12, 2018 [24 favorites]


Lots of Labour constituencies in the industrial North are firmly pro-Brexit, and any Labour leader would have to deal with their MPs.

More than 100 seats that backed Brexit now want to remain in EU

posted by PenDevil at 3:40 AM on December 12, 2018 [11 favorites]


Or in other words, Corbyn's continued backing of brexit is ideological. He is a believer. He belongs in a fucking bin with Rees-Mogg and the rest of the ERG.
posted by Dysk at 3:42 AM on December 12, 2018 [18 favorites]


As, at this point, does anyone enthusiastically backing Corbyn.
posted by Dysk at 3:44 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


Or in other words, Corbyn's continued backing of brexit is ideological. He is a believer. He belongs in a fucking bin with Rees-Mogg and the rest of the ERG.

Always has been. As I've said before, "but the people want it!" has always been just his excuse. He's never given a shit about standing up for stuff "the people" didn't want before.

He's an accelerationist. Brexit is his wet dream.
posted by garius at 3:46 AM on December 12, 2018 [12 favorites]


I wish people, largely in the London based media, would stop repeating this assertion as if it's undeniable fact. Yes, large areas of the North voted for Brexit in 2016. But there were so many reasons for this

Plus it totally overlooks the mathematical truth that you can have a Labour electorate where the majority of Labour voters firmly back Remain but the majority of voters back Leave.
posted by rory at 3:46 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


As, at this point, does anyone enthusiastically backing Corbyn.

Sunk cost innit. There are whole swaithes of the Party now who cannot possibly question Saint Jeremy on anything. It's all-or-nothing.

Honestly. They start every conversation in Party meetings with the phrase "As a Jeremy supporter, I..."
posted by garius at 3:48 AM on December 12, 2018 [7 favorites]


Possibly relevant: the Koch brothers have been funding Spiked, weird Marxist history and all.

How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:51 AM on December 12, 2018 [6 favorites]




Guardian liveblog on.

May says she has provided that. She has got an agreement. No one in the EU was left in any doubt about feelings in the Commons. Corbyn’s policy is to stay in the EU, she clams.

Corbyn says, if there is a deal, May should put it to a vote. He asks May to categorically rule out a no-deal Brexit.

May says the way to ensure there is no no deal is to agree a deal. She says Labour wants to change the law so that trade unions in this country can go on strike in solidarity with strikers anywhere in the world. That is not solidarity with small businesses, or ordinary working people.


Man, I really hate Corbyn, but May is doing a great job so far of persuading me otherwise.
posted by vacapinta at 4:14 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


Corbyn’s policy is to stay in the EU, she clams.

If only.
posted by Dysk at 4:15 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


Ian Dunt outlines the scenarios: We're the hostages of a Tory party that has gone insane.
posted by rory at 4:23 AM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


Listening to PMQs on the radio, it's interesting that it's possible to predict the PM's answer to each question before she opens her mouth to respond.

It's like listening to a soundboard with a few set responses.
posted by winterhill at 4:26 AM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


He's an accelerationist. Brexit is his wet dream.

The only evidence I've seen for this claim is Corbyn voting against "Europe" back in the old days, when practically everyone on the soft or hard left was against the EEC, and it was generally Labour party policy.

The book "All Out War" by Tim Shipman seems to have good sources and certainly Shipman has no affection for Corbyn, I've no reason to doubt its account. That has Corbyn neither particularly for nor against Europe, but easily persuaded into committing to a Remain stance and campaigning for it.

Genuine accelerationists are quite rare, and don't usually spend decades on the fringes of mainstream parties gently arguing for change.

Britain is still heavily divided on Brexit. Corbyn is trying to triangulate between the two sides. If Corbyn has a heart attack tomorrow weeding his allotment, don't bet against his successor trying to do the same thing.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:59 AM on December 12, 2018 [12 favorites]


Also, Corbyn doesn't strike me as having the imagination or fanaticism to be a proper accelerationist. He doesn't appear to be a bloodthirsty Robespierre, salivating at the prospect of a righteous bloodbath and the chance to reform the world, but rather as an old socialist, whose other world that is possible is essentially Britain pre-Thatcher but post-1949 (most of which was spent outside of the EU, which is our conundrum).

The reports I've seen of Corbyn facing forums of ideas for new ways forward for the left have basically borne this out: his ability to look forward is limited.
posted by acb at 5:07 AM on December 12, 2018 [11 favorites]


Britain is still heavily divided on Brexit.

But Britain is only still divided because of the cowardice of our leaders and the continual propaganda onslaught of the press.
posted by ambrosen at 5:28 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


And the Lord knows you don't want walls for borders

It'll be Running Man-style shock-necklaces for everyone, mark my words.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:39 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Daily Heil headline: MAY: BACK ME OR GET CORBYN AND NO BREXIT

@JimMFelton: Rarely seen "eat your vegetables or we're buying a puppy and going to Disneyland" parenting tactic there
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 5:46 AM on December 12, 2018 [43 favorites]


But Britain is only still divided because of the cowardice of our leaders and the continual propaganda onslaught of the press.


I would certainly agree the press and propaganda is a major source of division in the UK, but its still division and it won't be cancelled out any time soon.
posted by biffa at 5:56 AM on December 12, 2018


David Cameron tweets

How unfortunate. He really should have left it at Doo doooo doo do.
posted by sfenders at 6:02 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


Man, I really hate Corbyn, but May is doing a great job so far of persuading me otherwise.

If the Labour Party in the UK and the Democratic Party in the US were anything like the way their opponents portray them, the world would be a much better place.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:25 AM on December 12, 2018 [7 favorites]


Andrew Griffiths MP, who had the whip taken away from him for sexual misconduct allegations, has just had the whip restored and is now able to vote tonight. Unsurprisingly he has come out strong for Theresa May.

The Tory party, ladies and gentlemen.
posted by brilliantmistake at 7:46 AM on December 12, 2018 [14 favorites]


After the incident with the mace I'm beginning to wonder if Griffiths gets to wield an actual whip now
posted by BungaDunga at 7:50 AM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


For any crucial vote they'll drag in the sick, the dying.... and the pervs
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:11 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


Jeremy Corbyn tweets: Whatever happens tonight, it is utterly irrelevant to the lives of people across our country. (With a link to an article about Universal Credit failures.)

A Tory power-struggle over how best to deliver the pet project of dodgy right-wingers, millionaires and moguls and sideline the elected legislature of the UK is utterly irrelevant to our ability to provide for the welfare of the people, eh.
posted by rory at 8:26 AM on December 12, 2018 [10 favorites]


Option 4: Britain will start trying to bully Ireland out of the EU

Personally I feel the biggest problems after Brexit came about because a) May and govt genuinely did not think about the Good Friday Agreement and what Brexit meant for it; b) many, many MPs seem genuinely confused about the status of Ireland as an independent country and not as a colony, including people appointed to be ministers in charge of Brexit and NI, c) no one in England seems to realize that it would be political suicide for any Irish politician to give in on this and d) we have veto powers that are not necessarily controlled by England. And given the stuff that has been said about Varadkar by various British politicians, I doubt he's in a mood to sacrifice himself for May and her mess.

There's no renegotiation possible for the Irish government: they're going to say no to anything that allows a hard border in the country of Ireland, because they too are keen to stay in power. Anything else is fantasy, like most of Brexit.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:59 AM on December 12, 2018 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile the adults not in the room agree on the biggest trade deal ever. The EU and Japan have made a new trade agreement that includes pledges to honor the UN climate goals.
I'm sure both Rees-Mogg and Corbyn are both able to make a better deal for Britain. Or not. Sigh.
posted by mumimor at 9:03 AM on December 12, 2018 [17 favorites]


Farage was asked about the Irish border issue before the referendum. "Oh, it won't be a problem. We can fix that." was the entirety of his answer.

As this was the gist of any problem brought up with the Brexiteers before the referendum, I think they gave the border exactly as much attention as everything else.
posted by Devonian at 9:06 AM on December 12, 2018 [8 favorites]


If she does end up losing - or resigning - tonight, I'm waiting for whoever Aaron Banks* backs for PM as that's probably going to be the winner given his recent attempts to get hard brexiteer infiltrators into the party specifically for that eventuality. Christ, what a timeline.

Aaron Banks is a clown who despite spending an absolute mass of money has basically no political influence.
posted by atrazine at 10:08 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Guardian is one of the few places on the internet where I do read the comments section. This beauty is rightfully the most recommended, as it shreds the hypocrisy of those who claim another vote on Brexit would be undemocratic.
Whoa, Tories you made the decision about May two years ago, you can’t change it, that’s undemocratic.
posted by vac2003 at 10:15 AM on December 12, 2018 [24 favorites]


Aaron Banks is a clown who despite spending an absolute mass of money has basically no political influence.

Except for that Brexit thing which he bankrolled.
posted by PenDevil at 10:49 AM on December 12, 2018 [5 favorites]


Various outlets reporting 100% turnout in the Tory no confidence vote. Result at 9 apparently. Tweets from journos seem to indicate May has survived handily, judging by glum ERGists and smug-looking May supporters.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:51 PM on December 12, 2018


Apparently ERG's magical thinking isn't limited to trade deals and national borders, but to their own tactical manoeuvering as well.
posted by duffell at 12:55 PM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


This Telegraph journo says they might stick the knife in at the parliamentary level by kicking off a non-binding no confidence motion, should this party coup fail.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:58 PM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


She's survived. Handily.

200 to 117.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:01 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Guardian says TM has won.
posted by stillmoving at 1:01 PM on December 12, 2018


BBC reports May survived. Not on site yet.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:04 PM on December 12, 2018


@IanDunt: That is terrible. She is ruined, but immune.
posted by zachlipton at 1:05 PM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wouldn’t call over a third of her MPs voting against her as ‘winning handily’. That’s a serious loss of authority.
posted by daveje at 1:06 PM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


83 is not exactly a whopping majority... especially as she only got that by promising not to contest the next scheduled general election.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:06 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Rees-Mogg virtually in lip-trembling tears of indignation on the BBC news coverage. One moment of sweetness amongst the murk.

The people have spoken, Jacob. A democratic vote. A majority, and as we know that's all that matters.
posted by reynir at 1:06 PM on December 12, 2018 [19 favorites]


Dried out tea bag you find kicked under the counter a month later, Ress Mogg: This is a terrible result for May and she should resign
posted by lucidium at 1:06 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


So the ERG coup against one of the worst PMs in living memory failed... yeah, you would make such a good job of brexit.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:13 PM on December 12, 2018 [10 favorites]




I think Grey's wrong on one thing; there is, unfortunately, somewhat of a consensus in the UK. As far as I can tell, a solid majority of the UK population would rather not be in the EU. It's just that that they vary in their willingness to accept various consequences. There's a section that will sullenly remain because they assess that trying to exit will bring more economic trouble or limitations than they want, there's a grouping that will accept various deals and have varying red lines, and there's a section that would happily crash out because it won't touch them, they might even make a fortune shorting the UK. And of course, that assortment is only counting the people who have somewhat realistic assessments of the consequences of various options, then there's the large number of people who have delusional expectations of what they'd get.

But all together they seem to make up a solid majority, with the result that they'll all in some degree resent withdrawing Article 50. Even some of them that voted Remain in the first place.
posted by tavella at 2:01 PM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


I mean, look at various people who have publicly repented their Leave vote, like the tearful guy calling into the BBC. I can't recall a one of them that said 'I now realize that the EU is a good and positive thing to be in', it's all been variations on 'I didn't realize it would be such a disaster trying to extricate ourselves'. That's not actually wanting to be in the EU, that's just accepting it as the less worse option.
posted by tavella at 2:08 PM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


As far as I can tell, a solid majority of the UK population would rather not be in the EU.

Is this based on any facts ?
posted by Pendragon at 2:09 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


That's not actually wanting to be in the EU, that's just accepting it as the less worse option.

Politics is the art of the possible less worse option.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:11 PM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


The current deal that the U.K. has with the EU is certainly the worst possible, apart from all the others.
posted by daveje at 2:19 PM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


Pendragon, I can't dig them up now, but my opinion was based on various paired-option polls. It was pretty clear that while any given specific brexit plan had a minority vote, the group that actively wanted to remain was only about 40 percent. And some of those probably not even specifically positive about the EU, just not wanting the disruption.

I mean, I'd probably still try to force a withdrawal of Article 50 if I was in the UK, not least because when the consequences roll in, the delusional section of the brexiteers is likely to embrace more and more violent measures against the next scapegoats in line. But I can't say I'm optimistic about the longterm future of the UK in the EU unless a sea-change in opinion on Europe and the EU is brought about.
posted by tavella at 2:26 PM on December 12, 2018


Since it seems unlikely there are 200 people anywhere in the country that have confidence in Theresa May, despite the name let's take this as it is. Its a majority of Tory MPs who have even less confidence in the rest of the pack of arseholes to do any better a job, and that many of them would rather poke out their own eyes than let Rees-Mogg or Johnson anywhere near running the place.
posted by biffa at 2:26 PM on December 12, 2018 [6 favorites]


From rory's Chris Grey link:
Indeed, even now that the Ultras have turned on her, she continues to deploy their slogans so as to treat the 2016 vote as an inviolable mandate to deliver Brexit in the form that she has ordained, on the date she has ordained. It is a monocular, Terminator-like, dedication to a very narrowly defined mission from which she has only deviated to the extent that at some point last summer she realised that it could not be done in the fantasy way that the Ultras had said (and still say) was possible, and that she had so foolishly promised to give them.

The one hope is that now that the ERG have been conclusively shown to have an excess of hot air and a shortfall in the trouser department, May will *finally* stop trying to win their backing and actually embrace a softer Brexit across the house once her deal goes down in flames. Or is so determined to carry it through she does a referendum on it, I'll happily take that too.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:36 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's rather wonderful that the ERG have failed in their palace coup, so now look even more foolish than before, while May now knows that a third of her MPs hate her enough to knife her, so is even less likely to manage to stitch together a majority for anything.

The degree of complete incompetence and venal stupidity just inches upwards every day.

It's going to come down to Parliament having to decide between no deal hard or second referendum, and it WILL have to decide. And my money's on the second referendum.
posted by Devonian at 3:00 PM on December 12, 2018 [6 favorites]


For the love of all that is holy, Devonian, I hope you're tight on that one.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 3:11 PM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]


Matthew Goodwin @GoodwinMJ:

New polling on #Brexit. British adults...

Oppose May's deal by 42-26
Oppose No Deal by 41-34
Oppose remaining in EU by 45-44
Oppose 2nd referendum by 50-40
Oppose extending date when UK leaves EU by 46-34
Support renegotiating with EU if May deal fails by 45-25

ComRes Dec 4
posted by joedan at 3:29 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Dec 4

That's æons ago. Is there a brexit equivalent of the Scaramucci?
posted by farlukar at 3:35 PM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


At least half still want out of the EU, even after the clusterfuck of the past two years. As a mainland European it's very, very hard to not just wish the UK to F Off already. Even knowing this is not the most helpful or productive thing to think.
posted by Kosmob0t at 3:40 PM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


New polling on #Brexit. British adults...

Oppose May's deal by 42-26
Oppose No Deal by 41-34
Oppose remaining in EU by 45-44
Oppose 2nd referendum by 50-40
Oppose extending date when UK leaves EU by 46-34
Support renegotiating with EU if May deal fails by 45-25


You're still not getting a unicorn, you know.
posted by Devonian at 3:41 PM on December 12, 2018 [19 favorites]


The problem with polling of that type is that a lot of people will state opposition to most of a set of imperfect options, taken individually. If the same people are asked to make a this or that choice, they might not actually choose the worst of those two things.
posted by pipeski at 3:53 PM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


Poll published in the independent 4 days ago;

When BMG asked some 1,500 respondents, “should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union, or leave the European Union”, 52 per cent said “remain”, 40 per cent said “leave”, six per cent said they did not know and one per cent refused to say.
...
When respondents were asked whether they believed the withdrawal agreement and political declaration on the future relations secured by Ms May are a “good deal” or a “bad deal”, 49 per cent chose the latter.

Just over one in ten, 13 per cent, said it was a good deal, while 23 per cent said it was “neither good nor bad” and 15 per cent said they did not know.

When asked whether MPs should back or oppose the deal, 43 per cent said it should be rejected by parliament, 26 per cent said it should be accepted and 31 per cent said they did not know.
...
People were against no deal by 44 per cent to 37 per cent, for a new referendum by 46 per cent to 30 per cent and for Norway by 41 per cent to 39 per cent.

A sign of just how difficult it will be to secure any deal that enjoys broad support came from another question, which asked respondents to say what it is that is most important for a Brexit deal to secure.

The equal top answers were “controlling immigration” and “maintaining smooth trading links with the EU” – two things which, to an extent, are mutually exclusive because of the red lines set out by the EU and UK in negotiations.


Basically, there's no such thing as a clear will of the British people, and there hasn't been since the Referendum. Most polls show Remain with a clear advantage, some show the opposite, and as we learned in 2016 and previously, polls can be entirely unreliable. So whatever the government does, a substantial proportion of the population will hate it - which means all the chancers, liars and mountebanks can dress up whatever *they* want and call it the will of the people.

This would make amazing TV drama, if it wasn't our goddamn reality.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:54 PM on December 12, 2018 [9 favorites]


New polling on #Brexit. British adults...

Oppose May's deal by 42-26
Oppose No Deal by 41-34
Oppose remaining in EU by 45-44
Oppose 2nd referendum by 50-40
Oppose extending date when UK leaves EU by 46-34
Support renegotiating with EU if May deal fails by 45-25


Absolutely (by 1%) demand to leave, but refuse to use any available exit.

Spider-Man: What about the exploding wall and all that "Behold the grim visage of Dooooom"?! And, and... you blew up a wall!

Doctor Doom: Yes? That is how Doom enters a room. How do you do it?

Spider-Man: Uh, through the door?

Doom: The door? Like a peasant?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:20 PM on December 12, 2018 [9 favorites]


For all your psephological needs, remember to check out polling guru John Curtice's website: What UK Thinks- EU
posted by Flitcraft at 4:23 PM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


FFS Britain... really?

If you guys are willing that much to grind your country to a solid start, won't you please also take the massive bell-end off our hands on the other side of the pond? No need for us both to go through this much fuckwittery.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:58 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


farlukar: "Is there a brexit equivalent of the Scaramucci?"

William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath was PM for only two days, because he couldn't find anyone willing to join his government. There seems something ineluctably "Brexit" about that.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:28 PM on December 12, 2018 [9 favorites]


Oppose May's deal by 42-26
Oppose No Deal by 41-34
Oppose remaining in EU by 45-44
Oppose 2nd referendum by 50-40
Oppose extending date when UK leaves EU by 46-34
Support renegotiating with EU if May deal fails by 45-25


From an admitted outsider perspective, the above seems fairly coherent, unlike previous votes where public preferences have arguably managed condorcet cycles. Most people seem to want some sort of deal, just not May's deal, and want further negotiations to get it. They don't want another referendum, and failing any deal, they might even opt to remain.

That's a totally reasonable set of goals. As it happens, those goals appear impossible, but that's mainly because the EU is playing hardball -- and even then, that's only if you take them totally at their word. In most negotiations, the public's preferences are exactly what you do: keep pushing for a better deal, with an option to drop the entire negotiation and revert to the status quo if you can ultimately never find a deal you like. It's only due to the weird structure of this particular negotiation that that strategy seems unicornish.

...And actually, when I look more closely at the condorcet cycle post linked above, this ranking is pretty much what you would get if you ran a more sensible transferrable vote system on that poll:
If such a system were used, for these data, assuming everyone voted, then May’s Deal would beat Remain by 56:44 after the second preferences of the No Deal supporters were reallocated. Even though Remain starts ahead 39:33 on first preferences, there are enough No Deal supporters who prefer May’s Deal to Remain to overturn the initial Remain lead.
That is, a majority of people want to keep negotiating for a better deal than May's, but failing that, they prefer May's deal to remaining; but if it somehow comes to no deal vs remain, they might (barely) opt to go with remain, though that final preference is probably within the margin of error of most extant polls.
posted by chortly at 8:43 PM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


New polling on #Brexit. British adults...

{Sings} "Whatever it is, we're against it."
posted by Paul Slade at 12:54 AM on December 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


And what do they think will happen if they keep “renegotiating”? Do they think that, if we press the EU long enough, we'll wear them down and they'll agree to expel Ireland or to accept Norway-minus-freedom-of-movement (but with Englishmen allowed to live in Spain and the South of France because they're the mighty lion-race of Albion and inherently deserving of deference)? Do they think that Jacques and Fritz and all their vino-drinking, garlic-eating chums will accept a Great Britain that's a pirate galleon off their coast, fortified like North Korea but undercutting their regulated industries with rock-bottom labour costs and “self-regulated” safety/environmental standards, forever immune to censure because nobody wants to set off one of their embarrassing tantrums again?
posted by acb at 12:59 AM on December 13, 2018 [26 favorites]


"As it happens, those goals appear impossible, but that's mainly because the EU is playing hardball ..."

The EU is applying its laws, agreements and treaties to a future non-member. How is that playing hardball? What makes Brexiters believe they have a god given right to EU markets without being a member or following EU regulations or treaties or paying for the necessary infrastructure to keep the EU working? Seriously people. To channel Obama, get in the queue, we have other things to deal with.
posted by romanb at 1:17 AM on December 13, 2018 [29 favorites]


The quick reversal of the vote on the agreement yesterday looks like a prelude of what's to come around March. In the face of a an immediate economic collapse, with an already rapidly falling Pound, May reverses article 50 to 'buy time to renegotiate'. And we get to do this whole thing all over again. Because really, if the agreement is not accepted, what other options are there politically? Not many are willing to be solely responsible for a hard Brexit and yesterday showed that.
posted by romanb at 1:42 AM on December 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


May's deal is Brexit. It is Brexit written down on paper, in legalese, in binding agreements. It is a withdrawal agreement between the EU and a departing member. It is not a future agreement. That still needs to be negotiated.

I disagree with May's deal only because I disagree with Brexit. It is a bad deal because Brexit is a bad deal. But if you agree with Brexit, then there is nothing to object to, unless you have been believing the we-can-have-it-all propaganda across the UK media.

What part is objectionable?
That the Irish border must remain open? Are people expecting the EU to just agree to break an international agreement because...?
That the EU will not allow the UK in the Single Market without Freedom of Movement? Are people expecting the EU to capitulate on one of their core principles because...?

Honestly, part of me believes that the best possible timeline is:
1) May's agreement is accepted. Britain goes out and into transition.
2) A more enlightened Britain asks to rejoin, via Article 49 and comes back in. No exemptions. Might even have to consider Euro and Schengen.
posted by vacapinta at 1:46 AM on December 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


when I look more closely at the condorcet cycle post linked above, this ranking is pretty much what you would get if you ran a more sensible transferrable vote system on that poll

Condorcet? Allocating preferences? Pffft. Surely we need to respect the Will of the People as expressed in the 2011 referendum: the UK doesn't want preferential voting, because numbers are hard and it's all too complicated. The True British Way would be for a people's vote to be a three-way contest between Remain, Deal and No Deal decided by first-past-the-post.
posted by rory at 1:55 AM on December 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


As far as I can tell, the first past the post winner from those options would be Remain.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:59 AM on December 13, 2018


Indeed.
posted by rory at 2:06 AM on December 13, 2018 [6 favorites]


Merry Christmas from Ed Miliband.
posted by rory at 2:06 AM on December 13, 2018 [9 favorites]


If there is another referendum and Remain wins, the UK has one saeculum (i.e., ~70 years) to start seeing itself as culturally and politically part of Europe, before the Brexitshambles drops out of living memory and people start thinking that it might be a good idea again. Sort of like Nazism these days.
posted by acb at 2:24 AM on December 13, 2018 [11 favorites]


It's foolhardy to make political predictions these days, but a fool I am, so I don't think there'll be a second referendum. The deal will pass in January. At this point, it's all about saving face. The ERG faction won't vote for the deal as it is, but they also won't bring down the government because there's a real prospect of the Conservatives losing power should that happen, and if there's one thing as certain as can be it's the Conservative need to hold power at all costs.

May will come back with some kind of woolly assurances on the backstop and that'll be enough for the ERG to hold their noses and vote it through, having claimed the "renegotiation" of the backstop as a victory for themselves.
posted by winterhill at 3:26 AM on December 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


If there is another referendum and Remain wins, the UK has one saeculum (i.e., ~70 years) to start seeing itself as culturally and politically part of Europe

By then half the population of the UK will have been forced by climate change to emigrate to Norway or Sweden, so the problem will take care of itself. And they can choose whether to be in or out of the EU in the process...
posted by rory at 3:58 AM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


At least half still want out of the EU, even after the clusterfuck of the past two years. As a mainland European it's very, very hard to not just wish the UK to F Off already. Even knowing this is not the most helpful or productive thing to think.

This seems reasonable, though. I'd think it too. I'm British and I think if we vote Leave again we deserve what we get.
posted by jaduncan at 4:14 AM on December 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Getting serious now lads, it's divided Our* Boys!

*'Our' here obviously applied to English only
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:25 AM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


As far as I can tell, a solid majority of the UK population would rather not be in the EU. It's just that that they vary in their willingness to accept various consequences.

I don't know if there are majorities for this elsewhere but a lot of people in The Netherlands, and France, among others are in this category. Actual affection for the EU as opposed to a grudging acceptance of it as a pragmatic solution is not that common in many countries. What's different in the UK is the fantasy-land belief that the consequences of leaving are minor.

Except for that Brexit thing which he bankrolled.

Aaron Banks bankrolled the unofficial Leave campaign and was considered so toxic, worthless, and dodgy that even Dominic Cummings wanted him far away. He even threatened to resign if they had anything to do with him.

As it happens, those goals appear impossible, but that's mainly because the EU is playing hardball -- and even then, that's only if you take them totally at their word.

The EU is doing its level best to come up with a workable deal given how unrealistic the combination of all the UK's "red lines" are with the goals of a frictionless trade deal and a peaceful Northern Ireland. Many EU countries are not happy with this deal and only sticking behind it because of discipline. The whole thing has actually been very cheering for me as a believer in EU federalism, look at all those countries acting with unity and purpose and discipline. Probably sobering for Putin to see what happens when a real strategic threat arises.

I disagree with May's deal only because I disagree with Brexit. It is a bad deal because Brexit is a bad deal. But if you agree with Brexit, then there is nothing to object to, unless you have been believing the we-can-have-it-all propaganda across the UK media.

Agreed.

Honestly, part of me believes that the best possible timeline is:
1) May's agreement is accepted. Britain goes out and into transition.
2) A more enlightened Britain asks to rejoin, via Article 49 and comes back in. No exemptions. Might even have to consider Euro and Schengen.


Definitely not agreed! The EU loses by becoming smaller here but it also becomes more unified in purpose. Also, while Schengen is fine, the Euro isn't even a great idea as currently constructed so I doubt anyone else is eager to enter. The only thing that would fix the Euro is a transfer union and that will only be less likely if the UK reluctantly comes back into the EU tent.
posted by atrazine at 5:09 AM on December 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


But if you agree with Brexit,

That's the thing, though. Which Brexit? It's like being asked if you believe in God - you have to define your terms first. We can't 'completely leave' the EU any more than we can leave the planet; there will always be some areas of mutual agreement that depend on accepting some terms from the EU.

It has been so depressing of late, listening to Conservative activists on the radio, who even at this stage in proceedings refuse absolutely to admit to any complexity, let alone the huge paradoxes that have directly led to the current fuck du cluster. I'm reminded of a relative who was conned out of quite a lot of money by a fake time-share company, but who refused point blank to accept the fact - he found reasons why the company was never at fault despite him getting absolutely nothing and the principals doing a runner.

Humans: so hard to teach, so easy to deceive...
posted by Devonian at 6:09 AM on December 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


Mmm. If only I had no moral compass at all, I could be so rich. Sadly, I've just enough to keep me poor, but not enough to keep me out of hell.
posted by Grangousier at 6:21 AM on December 13, 2018 [5 favorites]




As it happens, those goals appear impossible, but that's mainly because the EU is playing hardball -- and even then, that's only if you take them totally at their word.

This is how a teenager would explain his parents refusal to buy him a Tesla because they couldn't afford it. Look at those retirement accounts! Look how much the house is worth! The teenager doesn't see why nobody even considers those to be part of the negotiation options, but at least their excuse is that they are a child.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:25 AM on December 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


For the love of all that is holy, Devonian, I hope you're tight on that one.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 23:11 on December 12 [2 favorites +] [!]


The rough structure of opinion in the Commons, according to R4 just now:

No deal - 130 (Hard Tory, DUP)
May's deal - 200 (Soft Tory)
Remain/2nd Ref - 303 (Lab, Lib Dem, SNP, odds and sods. Lab's official line is it wants an election, which it will not get; if no election, 2nd Ref. So they count here)

You need 319 (I think - thereabouts anyway) for a majority.

No deal won't shift unless the backstop goes away. Which it won't
Remain/2nd Ref see May's deal as harmful and pointless, and will only support it if No Deal is the only other option. Which it isn't.

The question is, as the cliff edge approaches, will 100+ Remainers convert to May, or will 15 or so soft Tories go 2nd Ref?
posted by Devonian at 9:39 AM on December 13, 2018 [9 favorites]


Remain/2nd Ref see May's deal as harmful and pointless, and will only support it if No Deal is the only other option. Which it isn't.

It is the default, though. If neither the 303 nor the 200 budge, the 130 get their way anyway. Which seems like a real incentive to compromise, but there's no halfway between soft Brexit and no Brexit so it just makes the Prisoner's Dilemma look like a walk in the park.
posted by rikschell at 9:49 AM on December 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


It's two children in a trenchcoat playing Chicken with another car, except that car is actually their own car's reflection in the mirror, and the children can't work out how to take their feet off the pedal.
posted by BungaDunga at 10:08 AM on December 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


Snap General Election Will Be Held In Next 12 Months, Says Theresa May's Ex-Policy Advisor

“At the end of it there will either be a no-deal Brexit carnage, from which the governing party won’t recover, in which case I think there will be a general election in the spring, early summer, which I fear Jeremy Corbyn would win.”

He went on: “Let’s assume we get a deal, I think Theresa May [...] will go whenever we tap her on the shoulder after March.

“I think then what will and should happen is the Europeans will go off and have elections [...] and we will then have a proper Conservative leadership election, for a post-Brexit withdrawal, new generation Conservative who can reunite this party, this country.”

He added: “I think then we will come back to parliament in October, and it will be clear after about five days that there is no majority and we need a general election.”


I can see his first 'No deal' prediction playing out like that... not so sure about the 'Deal' case - especially the bit about there being a country uniting Tory candidate out there somewhere. At the moment they would struggle to find someone to unite their party, never mind the whole country.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:35 AM on December 13, 2018


Discovered today that an otherwise reasonable-seeming colleague is a Brexiter. She said "of course when the EU said this is the best deal you can get, that was a huge giveaway of the fact that we could get a better deal" ...
posted by paduasoy at 10:53 AM on December 13, 2018 [8 favorites]


Discovered today that an otherwise reasonable-seeming colleague is a Brexiter. She said "of course when the EU said this is the best deal you can get, that was a huge giveaway of the fact that we could get a better deal" ...

The stupidity of humans seems boundless.

I've got people like that at my job also. Seemingly reasonable, good at their job and suddenly something totally stupid/racist/xenophobic comes out of their mouths.

I don't think for a minute I'm immune to, or above such stupidity and I'm always guessing in what ways I'm totally fucking stupid.
posted by Kosmob0t at 11:23 AM on December 13, 2018 [15 favorites]


She said "of course when the EU said this is the best deal you can get, that was a huge giveaway of the fact that we could get a better deal" ...

Uhhhh.... then what does she think the EU would have said if that really was the best deal you can get?
posted by mhum at 12:41 PM on December 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


The 75 year-old MD of the small family company I work for voted Brexit because "things needed shaking up" and without being able to specify what things and how they need shaking up he seems quite happy that things are indeed being shaken up.

Plus he doesn't like taking orders from France & Germany because "we beat them in the war".
posted by jontyjago at 12:47 PM on December 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


...he thinks the UK was fighting France in WWII?
posted by Dysk at 12:52 PM on December 13, 2018 [13 favorites]


The 75 year-old MD of the small family company I work for voted Brexit because "things needed shaking up" and without being able to specify what things and how they need shaking up he seems quite happy that things are indeed being shaken up.

The Daily Mash gives up on satire.
posted by tavegyl at 1:12 PM on December 13, 2018 [6 favorites]


God knows what he really thinks. He's just shaking things up. Silly old sod.
posted by jontyjago at 3:02 PM on December 13, 2018


Uhhhh.... then what does she think the EU would have said if that really was the best deal you can get?

Nothing, because it would be too weak and irrelevant to be quoted. Except maybe when they ask please may we trade with the amazing Britain?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:46 PM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't think for a minute I'm immune to, or above such stupidity and I'm always guessing in what ways I'm totally fucking stupid.

At least you're smart enough to realise that.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:52 PM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Krunning-Duger, as it were.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:18 PM on December 13, 2018




Brexiter and cabinet minister Dr Liam Fox "welcome[s] the approval of the EU-Japan economic partnership agreement ... which could boost UK GDP by up to £3bn in the long run".

Could it just. We'll get all that in the agreed transition period before we leave, will we? Or in the next three months before we crash out?
posted by rory at 2:35 AM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


...he thinks the UK was fighting France in WWII?

As the old Gammon proverb goes, “wogs begin at Calais”. As such, Johnny Foreigner is Johnny Foreigner, and whether they're Hitler, Napoleon or the crossbowmen of Agincourt is beside the point.
posted by acb at 2:53 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]




Could it just. We'll get all that in the agreed transition period before we leave, will we? Or in the next three months before we crash out?

Well, I believe the argument is that the UK will finally be able to sign its own superior free trade agreements which will be exactly like preexisting FTAs made by the EU. So this makes sense. Plus there's an added benefit for UK firms: they will have years to warm up while EU companies experience the severe disadvantages of paying less import tax and getting to those markets early.
posted by romanb at 3:47 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Well, I believe the argument is that the UK will finally be able to sign its own superior free trade agreements which will be exactly like preexisting FTAs made by the EU.

The delusion is worse than that, David Davis (ex Brexit Secretary) was on record saying that: "The truth is existing trade deals with non-EU countries would stay in place until either side wanted to renegotiate"
posted by PenDevil at 3:51 AM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Hasn't gone well in Europe. May speaking. She's using the words 'clear' and 'clarification' a lot, but it's clear without her clarification that absolutely nothing has happened apart from a lot of bad-tempered frustration on both sides. "Robust discussions" led to "clarity", apparently.
posted by Devonian at 5:23 AM on December 14, 2018


> Uhhhh.... then what does she think the EU would have said if that really was the best deal you can get?

"Oh no! [rends garments] With this deal you lay us low! [gnashes teeth] You have won yet again, you cunning Brits!"
posted by lucidium at 5:55 AM on December 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


Guardian: "Britons must pay €7 to visit mainland Europe after Brexit". Just another hoop to jump through - very reasonably priced, and valid for multiple trips for three years - but the fact that "[visitors] will need to [...] state the first country they will visit" is a pain, as it would seem to rule out just applying for one routinely, well in advance of need.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:28 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


"Britons must pay €7 to visit mainland Europe after Brexit". Just another hoop to jump through - very reasonably priced, and valid for multiple trips for three years

After Managed No-Deal Brexit, €7 will be about £250, or several months' worth of gruel.
posted by acb at 6:44 AM on December 14, 2018 [10 favorites]


Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK's Permanent Representative to the EU until January 2017, delivered a Heseltine Institute Public Lecture about Brexit at the University of Liverpool on Wednesday. Full transcript (or pdf).

Some highlights (but do read the whole speech):

It was obvious, reading the December 2017 Agreement document from outside Government that this must lead inexorably to where we have now reached. There was no other endgame from that point. Which was why, a year ago, I started telling corporates they were really seriously underestimating the chances of a “no deal” outcome.

Before we have even left, we have seen, in the last 2 1⁄2 years, the most anaemic boost to UK net trade triggered by ANY major sterling devaluation since World War 2. For politicians not completely blinded by their own rhetoric, the warning signs for the UK economy as we worsen our trade terms with the Continent are there to see.

Markets continue to react, or have until this week, as if something must turn up and that “no deal” is a virtually unimaginable scenario for politicians professing to be serious, to contemplate. That risk has therefore been seriously underpriced for a year or more, because we are dealing with a political generation which has no serious experience of bad times and is frankly cavalier about precipitating events they could not then control, but feel they might exploit. Nothing is more redolent of the pre First World War era, when very few believed that a very long period of European peace and equilibrium could be shattered in months.
posted by rory at 6:44 AM on December 14, 2018 [11 favorites]


After Managed No-Deal Brexit, €7 will be about £250, or several months' worth of gruel.

Ah yes, I'd forgotten about the new post-decimal currency: six bowls of gruel to one rat, two and a half rats to the squirrel.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:49 AM on December 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Among my many friends affected by all this is one who's married to a Nordic partner. They have properties in both countries they co-own with income attached, but the UK side of the partnership oays the UK tax and the Nordic side the Nordic tax. While they're both EU citizens, there's no particular recording of how they split up residency terms and thus the UK side flies beneath the radar of the Nordic gov, and vice-versa. Everything that's due gets paid with minimal paperwork, and this has worked very well for many years.

That's going away. Their uncomplicated life is about to become enormously more complicated, and that's before they know what sort of residency restrictions or other BS will be placed on them. All this as they start planning for their retirement, how to best care for elderly relatives in both countries, etc, when they were expecting to just gradually phase to just living in one of the countries.

So many of my friends have new horizons of shite appearing that is disrupting their lives. And I can't think of a single person who's going to be better off.
posted by Devonian at 6:51 AM on December 14, 2018 [11 favorites]


How Ireland Outmaneuvered Britain on Brexit

Is this just a gif of DJ Khaled saying "Congratulations, you played yourself" with the word "Ireland" clumsily pasted on DJ Khaled's face?
posted by tobascodagama at 7:23 AM on December 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


How Ireland Outmaneuvered Britain on Brexit

All due respect to Ireland, but a box of rocks could have outmaneuvered Britain on Brexit.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:24 AM on December 14, 2018 [25 favorites]


And I can't think of a single person who's going to be better off.

I can think of one, but he's more of an eldritch ghoul than a person.
posted by acb at 7:36 AM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


May speaking. She's using the words 'clear' and 'clarification' a lot

Channel 4: NEW - Two expert lipreaders tell 5 News that Theresa May accuses Jean-Claude Juncker of describing her as nebulous. (w/video of the exchange with purported subtitles).

#nebulous is trending on Twitter, and the whole sorry thing feels emblematic of current Brexit negotiations and the media coverage of them.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:47 AM on December 14, 2018


Maybe they were just discussing their favourite Amiga games.
posted by dng at 8:02 AM on December 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


#nebulous is trending on Twitter

Someone should do a JavaScript version of the old C64 rotating-tower platform game almost by that name, only with Brexit references. Perhaps with the tower representing a Brexit agreement, and impassable monsters (troublesome leprechauns, European stereotypes in Mind Your Language-era national costumes, slabs of ham in tweed jackets, cadaverous vultures with top hats and monocles, goons in bowler hats and orange sashes lobbing old-fashioned round bombs). The top of the tower is, of course, unreachable.
posted by acb at 8:06 AM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Or their favourite prog rock lyrics - "There they stood, incredulous, the distance reading "Nebulous" and "Best of luck, Buzz Aldrin beat you there".
posted by Devonian at 8:09 AM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Trailer for Brexit coming in Jan on HBO/C4, staring Sherlock as Vote Leave guru Dominic Cummings
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:52 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ah yes, I'd forgotten about the new post-decimal currency: six bowls of gruel to one rat, two and a half rats to the squirrel.

Don't be fooled. You can't eat a squirrel's tail. They only slightly larger than a rat for most of the year. The rat is therefore a better value.
posted by srboisvert at 5:25 AM on December 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Until the last few seconds I was convinced that trailer was a spoof but it's for real.

Also, not linked here yet: Marina Hyde in top form with her latest column.
posted by Kosmob0t at 7:29 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Trailer for Brexit coming in Jan on HBO/C4, staring Sherlock as Vote Leave guru Dominic Cummings

[real]
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:01 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Ah, damn these unreliable browser updates.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:02 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hugo Rifkind's Cheese Submarine has gone deliciously viral. A Twitter search will not disappoint.
posted by Devonian at 9:23 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Trailer for Brexit yt coming in Jan on HBO/C4, staring Sherlock as Vote Leave guru Dominic Cummings
"Fuck off @hbo. Imagine if we did this for Trump right now. You are literally interfering in our criminal justice system." - Carol Cadwalladr
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:43 AM on December 15, 2018 [17 favorites]


Cadwalladr has more: "Oh dear. The company making that Cumberbatch Brexit drama? It's part funded by Len Blavatnik. A donor to Trump's inauguration. And partner of Viktor Vekselberg,a sanctioned Russian businessman who's been questioned by Mueller. This is not a good look." (Here's the Variety article from her screen shot)

Sounds like Cumberbatch has found a project to match his Julian Assange performance in terms of political spin.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:27 AM on December 15, 2018 [11 favorites]


New Chris Grey blog-entry: As Brexit realities bite, Brexiter fantasies grow
posted by Kosmob0t at 12:05 PM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK's Permanent Representative to the EU until January 2017, delivered a Heseltine Institute Public Lecture about Brexit at the University of Liverpool on Wednesday.

Ivan has written a post based on the talk he gave.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:27 PM on December 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


From Sir Rogers' post: A majority voted to leave altogether. And when they did, they were not told that, at the end of the withdrawal phase of the negotiation, there would be another vote on whether they meant it, now that they saw the terms

They weren't told that Brexit was going to fuck the country back to the Dark Ages, either, and yet here we are.
posted by entity447b at 11:15 PM on December 15, 2018 [10 favorites]


How did Britain wind up in the EU, that bastion of evil that is now trying so desperately to leave?

Well, Britain won WWII, but 20 years later was known as the "sick man of Europe" and didn't look at all like a country that won a war, whereas Germany (which lost the war) along with the surrounding countries did. War aside, what was the one defining difference between the UK and these other, successful countries? They were all in the EU! ...which was much smaller at that time. The conclusion was that to catch up, the UK needs to join the EU.

So you could say that the feeling at the time was "it's all about the economy, stupid!" and the entire relationship was seen as transactional and not really based on cooperation. Hence the rebate. And different to the feeling in the rest of Europe, joining the EU was seen as a defeat by a large chunk of the population and many politicians. Like Germany had won the war after all, through the back door. Because, you see, there are only two kinds of countries on this earth: those that dominate and those that are dominated, the rule-givers and the rule-takers. Hence the awful rhetoric in the British press. It's always "us vs. them". It's about "winning" the negotiations. And looking at it through that lens, all this talk about souvereignty and "taking back the country" suddenly makes much more sense.

Of course, anyone with a clear mind can see that the EU is not out to dominate the UK. Or that the EU is dominated by Germany, which is actually going out of its way to avoid anything that can be construed as "dominating". But a healthy dose of schizophrenia can be blinding. In that mindset, the EU is all set to take over the UK and make it a vasall state. While at the same time, the EU is barely functioning and on the brink of self-destruction. And this schizophrenia explains many of the false myths surrounding the EU. Who cares if they are factually wrong when they serve a greater good, namely to extricate the UK from the evil empire? Also, saving the country from an invasion is hardly "racism", is it?

Because now, 40 years later, things have changed and the country is wealthy enough that it does not need the EU anymore. In fact, it's not about the economy at all, stupid! It's about souvereignty and taking the country back. That's why it's OK if we take an economic hit for the next 50 years or so.

Needless to say, not everyone is better off now than they were 40 years ago and for those regions of the country that felt like they were missing out, the referendum was a welcome opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the state of affairs. After all, who cares if there's no difference being in or out? In that sense, the referendum was the unlikely win of an unholy coaltion of those relitigating WWII and those wanting to "stick it to the man".

The sad irony of this all is that the UK will come out of this as a rule-taker rather than a rule-maker, regardless of how things go forward. As has been pointed out before, there are three ways going forward:

May's deal: To many people, that's the worst of all worlds. In the "us vs. them" mindset, it's total defeat - staying in the EU indefinitely, but having no seat at the table. So it's very unlikely to pass.

Stay in the EU: That's possibly even worse. Not only does this mean staying part of the evil empire, it also means defying a democratic vote. Also very unlikely.

Crashing out with no deal: These are uncharted waters. Economic mayhem is possible, if not even likely, but actually noone really knows what will happen. Note that this is also the default scenario that will happen if nothing happens. By contrast, the other two scenarios require action. For this reason, I think that this is the most likely scenario. But even in that case, the UK is in no position of strength to negotiate its new position in the world. It might have souvereignty on paper - in truth it will be reduced to a rule-taker.

Of course, large parts of the UK press and politics have made out the EU as the source of everything that's going wrong and will keep blaming the EU no matter which of the above options are taken, although the real challenges lie elsewhere, namely in Russia, an increasingly unpredictable US and a China that is starting to assert itself. Most of the other countries of the EU have recognized this and know that they can only stay relevant in the world if they stick together. And yet, the UK seems oddly focused only on the continent it tries to leave.

In the "remain" scenario, the question is, will the EU be stronger or weaker with the UK? Fron an economic standpoint, the answer is clear. But from a political standpoint, less so. Hungary and Poland have already taken a page from the UK playbook and are casting the EU as the "enemy", and to a lesser extent this seems to be starting in Italy as well. But even in those countries, there is clearly no majority of the population that actually wants to leave.
posted by sour cream at 12:13 AM on December 16, 2018 [8 favorites]


Ivan has written a post based on the talk he gave.

If you scroll all the way to the end, you find that the current 2nd most popular article on the Spectator is a piece of quite stunning counter-factual imbecility called The Myth of the Brexit Cliff Edge. But it's a work of clear-sighted reason compared to some of the comments, eg:
MPs are seeking to sabotage Brexit and indeed the possibility of any deal, by openly signalling to Brussels that they are running up the white flag and won't allow a no deal. Signalling to the enemy during time of war. Isn't that treason?

You can't win a war by signalling you're timid. Our lousy MPs, particularly the lame, barely educated, Labour women who keep prattling on our airwaves in their cockney accents, are an embarrassment.
Worth a look if only to see what the other guys are thinking.
posted by daveje at 4:21 AM on December 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


Across the world Anglophilia is giving way to Anglobemusement

The biggest worry is not that the world’s view of Britain is changing. It is that this darker view of Britain is more realistic than the previous one. The Brexit vote could almost have been designed to reveal long-festering problems with the country: an elite educational system that puts too much emphasis on confidence and bluff and not enough on expertise; a political system that selects its leaders from a self-involved Oxbridge clique; a London-focused society that habitually ignores the worries of the vast mass of British people; and a Conservative Party that promotes so many pompous mediocrities. The reason Brexit is doing so much damage is not just that it is a mistake. It is a reckoning.

Sad, but very very true.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:33 AM on December 16, 2018 [23 favorites]


These past few weeks I've felt some kind of turning point. I am not in Britain anymore but I still have friends there I keep in touch with. People who used to laugh about Brexit and all the posturing and eventually conclude that "they'll work something out", now seem more serious and are beginning to panic.

They're asking me whats going on and, well, I am telling them the same things I thought I was telling them a year ago when I decided to leave the country. It feels like it is sinking in now, at least to some, that this is deadly serious.
posted by vacapinta at 9:10 AM on December 16, 2018 [11 favorites]


Britain was thought to have a Rolls-Royce government. This reputation was so solid that the EU’s Brexit negotiators initially wondered if the incompetence of their British counterparts was a clever ruse to lull foreigners into a false sense of security.

Though, in reality, wasn't the Rolls-Royce, for all its grandeur and dignity, a lot less reliable than anything any self-respecting German car maker would offer?
posted by acb at 10:19 AM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I am not in Britain anymore
I am telling them the same things I thought I was telling them a year ago when I decided to leave the country
It must be nice to be able to just up sticks and leave the country when the political and economic situation starts to get a bit rough. Some of us have a bit more skin in the game, though. We were born here, our families and friends and whole lives are here, and we aren't in a financial or legal position to bugger off. If you've got a British passport and a grand in the bank, you aren't going anywhere.

We have to stay here, see what happens and cross our fingers that we don't get too burned in the process and that everyone comes out of the other side alive. Perhaps some of our easy-come-easy-go globe-trotting friends should have a bit more tact when they talk so glibly about emigrating. Especially when they're on their high horse about the "reality" "sinking in" for Brits. It's plenty sunk in, love.
posted by winterhill at 10:23 AM on December 16, 2018 [12 favorites]


Though, in reality, wasn't the Rolls-Royce, for all its grandeur and dignity, a lot less reliable than anything any self-respecting German car maker would offer?
Speaking of Rolls Royce...
posted by winterhill at 10:38 AM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


Obvious metaphor: the current Rolls-Royce's only connection to Rolls-Royce Motors from before 2003 is the brand, which was bought by BMW with no other manufacturing IP. Even before 2003, Rolls-Royce had been using BMW engines for many models.

It's like British institutions are so tightly coupled with European systems that they can't easily exist independent of them.
posted by ambrosen at 11:43 AM on December 16, 2018 [8 favorites]


Bentley are similar. They still build them in Crewe - I know a few people who work there. But through a complicated series of events (which included a merger and then de-merger with Rolls Royce) they are now a brand of Volkswagen.
posted by winterhill at 11:52 AM on December 16, 2018




You can't eat a squirrel's tail

Exactly! It's a meal and a cosy yet stylish accessory!
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:25 PM on December 16, 2018


... lame, barely educated, Labour women who keep prattling on our airwaves in their cockney accents ...

Sometimes you read things that have to be satires but you know they really aren't.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:03 PM on December 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


We were born here, our families and friends and whole lives are here, and we aren't in a financial or legal position to bugger off.

The UK doesn't have birthright citizenship, has an immigration environment so severe and inflexible that it this year it was caught deporting or attempting to deport an entire class of its own citizens to foreign countries, and is hostile to immigration to the point of economically shooting itself in the face. It charges £2389 to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and £1330 to apply for naturalisation (not counting attorneys, documents, tests, Home Office errors, etc.) and appears to increase those figures multiple times a year. And so, plenty of people who were born in the UK and/or have their families and friends and whole lives there actually aren't in a financial or legal position to stay? That's kind of the problem?? Having, as a nation, spared no effort in driving "globe-trotting" foreigners and people who love them out of the country, British people hardly get to be angry that there are other places for those people to go.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 3:05 PM on December 16, 2018 [25 favorites]


I forgot to mention how British citizens must earn £18,600 a year to bring their own spouses to live with them in the United Kingdom. Many, many, many people are forced to leave the UK, or live apart from their spouses and minor children because of immigration policies that come from the same place as Brexit. You could feel solidarity with those people, but no, the hostility to foreigners jumps right out, as it so often does.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 3:11 PM on December 16, 2018 [11 favorites]


In the first place, as you pointed out, these people between a rock and a hard place are not foreigners.

In the second place, if a person can't afford the exorbitant and escalating costs of staying, they may also not be able to afford the cost of emigrating.
posted by tel3path at 3:19 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


Especially when they're on their high horse about the "reality" "sinking in" for Brits. It's plenty sunk in, love.

It obviously hasn't though. Just because you don't write to the Spectator doesn't mean those letters aren't from "Brits".
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:20 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


The white working classes are also Brits, are probably not the ones writing to the Spectator, are about to lose the little protection we had from our own government. (some of us even voted Remain.) We can't get away because we don't have the money, even if our attachments here are discounted. We have to stay and fight with what limited options and tools we have. Loser, lose all.
posted by tel3path at 3:29 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


I am really not clear what you are trying to argue. It is simultaneously "we are so fucked" and "how dare you talk about how fucked we are, you filthy rich foreigner".
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:28 PM on December 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


winterhill: It must be nice to be able to just up sticks and leave the country when the political and economic situation starts to get a bit rough. Some of us have a bit more skin in the game, though. We were born here, our families and friends and whole lives are here, and we aren't in a financial or legal position to bugger off. If you've got a British passport and a grand in the bank, you aren't going anywhere.

We have to stay here, see what happens and cross our fingers that we don't get too burned in the process and that everyone comes out of the other side alive. Perhaps some of our easy-come-easy-go globe-trotting friends should have a bit more tact when they talk so glibly about emigrating. Especially when they're on their high horse about the "reality" "sinking in" for Brits. It's plenty sunk in, love.


That's really out of order. When we're in the middle of a pretty contentious, fractious and emotional debate which has an impact on everyone who lives in Britain, passport holders or not (and also has an impact on people who have previously lived here but retain ties, like vacapinta*), we don't really need this kind of patronising shite about easy come easy go "globetrotting"** friends. I think it's plenty sunk in for them too. Love.

Also, you think that just because some people have the option of moving elsewhere they don't have "skin in the game"? Fuck that. Like anyone who might conceivably have the option to move abroad actually might not want to due to their connections - familial or otherwise - with other people in this country who can't? There are plenty people - including some members of this here website - who are on a shoogly peg, right-to-live-here-wise, if we crash out of the EU. Sure, they could move elsewhere. Leaving their families, friends, social and working networks behind, if they choose (what a choice!). But fuck them, they can leave anytime they want, right?

I have a friend who's just been granted indefinite leave to remain; she's Polish, but her current employer both did the paperwork and paid the several thousand pounds for the entire thing. She'll be staying here for the forseeable, though if she'd had to pay for it herself, she'd be back off to the EU. She couldn't have afforded this herself, which would have deprived the UK (Glasgow, specifically) of a world class, award-wining musician, composer and filmmaker, the works she will make over the next few years, the results of the kind of collaborations she has spent the past decade in this country working on, and everything else. She constantly makes noises about moving back - to Paris, to Poland, to Spain, to wherever.

It's attitudes like yours - well, ladidah, globetrotting sophisticate, why don't you just fuck off back to where you came from because you don't understand what us real Brits feel - that are a huge part of it, and I can't say I blame her for it.

*I don't know vacapinta outside of having read his words on this screen but from that I know he lived in the UK for some time and therefore has a link to this place

**you know what this "easy-come-easy-go globetrotting friends" thing sounds like? It sounds like Theresa May's "citizens of nowhere" bollocks.
posted by Len at 4:31 PM on December 16, 2018 [34 favorites]


[I'm gonna generally second the idea that we be kinder to each other in here. There's plenty to be scared and furious and bothered by in what's going on but the ills of the world aren't coming from our fellow mefites and making the effort to separate out "this phenomenon is bothering me" from "you are the problem" is gonna be super important to us collectively getting through this.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:06 PM on December 16, 2018 [21 favorites]


Theresa May has called EU nationals queue jumpers, citizens of nowhere, had an absolute red line of being able to prevent freedom of movement, unlawfully deported large numbers of BAME UK nationals, created hostile environment policies that have denied many, many people basic services, and had vans run around telling people to leave. I'm pretty sure I can identify one of the main issues, and it's not people with the ability to move out of an increasingly authoritarian and racist by design state.
posted by jaduncan at 12:01 AM on December 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


... lame, barely educated, Labour women who keep prattling on our airwaves in their cockney accents ...

Sometimes you read things that have to be satires but you know they really aren't.


It isn't. It's a not-very coded reference to Diane Abbott, shadow home secretary. She's a favorite target of the frothing tories, mainly because she's a woman, and black. Admittedly, I wasn't impressed by her policy announcement on LBC at the last election for paying policemen £30, sorry, £8000 a year, but if we're going to disqualify politicians for a bout of incompetence, there really wouldn't be many of them left. Thick-as-mince Davis, just-discovered-we're-an-island Raab, holiday-resort-when-they-clear-away-the-bodies Johnson etc ad bloody infinitum etc.

It's worth remembering when it comes to Brexit, leave/remain voting was not correlated with wealth, or where you live, but pretty much followed age. The older you were, the more likely you were to vote brexit, regardless of income. Of course, there are many older people who voted remain too. But you don't get 16 odd million voting one way, and 17 million the other, without there being a massive split across every type of line about who we are as a country, and what our future should look like. Many voted for facile reasons, as many do in elections, because it's too big, too complex, and too boring for most people to care. They put their heads down, and get on with life.

I know a number of people, both remainers and brexiters that were thinking it'd all be sorted out, as such things "always are". Many still think that. We've been a peaceful relatively prosperous country for a long time, people forget what true chaos and collapse looks like, and how quickly it can happen. Then you add in all the soothing noises coming from hard brexiteers about how 'wto rules' or 'managed no-deal' will be just fine and we'll still be better off and as a population we're like a rabbit in the headlights, not recognising what's actually coming at us.

I'm desperately afraid it won't be fine. I don't want to up sticks to live in France; I've lived in different bits of England all my life, I have my parents to think of, my children were born here and my wife and I both have decent jobs, for now. But I have to think of my children's future, and should things really go sideways - or the 'settled status' not happen for my wife - then she and my girls will have to go back to France, to live with my mother-in-law if needs be, damn the cost, and I just have to hope I'll be allowed to join them.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:08 AM on December 17, 2018 [7 favorites]


The older you were, the more likely you were to vote brexit, regardless of income.

Not entirely, IIRC; the very oldest, who remembered World War 2 and its aftermath, leaned strongly towards Remain. Peak Leave would probably have been the generation born too late to have experienced the Blitz and wartime austerity, allowing them to shrug it off with a glib “we survived it”. Another thing they were born too late to have known was the British Empire; perhaps the sullen void of its absence and sense of malaise of a small country that was no longer a global power shaped their worldview.
posted by acb at 12:50 AM on December 17, 2018 [9 favorites]


Many older people are reliant on mainstream news media for their information. Some that I know saw it as a complex choice between Leave and Remain because it seemed that way based on the information available to them. It is not because they were thinking in bad faith.

Because they're mostly not here having this discussion with us they make great scapegoats and we can be as ageist as we like, which reinforces the unlikelihood that they will ever join in online discussions here or on more mainstream platforms. Nobody wants to have a discussion with people who actively want them to die because their death will fix what's wrong with the country today (which seems to be the prevailing worldview in this matter).

The divide and conquer is working *really* well.
posted by tel3path at 1:42 AM on December 17, 2018 [4 favorites]




I subscribe to the economist Danny Dorling's podcast feed - which is a stream of recordings of his talks, which are basically the same points in a slightly different order each time, but I find it helpful.

Here's a recent talk on YouTube related to his latest book Rule Britannia: Brexit and the End of Empire.

It's mostly graphs and I find it very interesting.
posted by Grangousier at 2:17 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I apologize for coming off as glib. I do feel, though, that there was a lot of unnecessary assumptions made about my motivations. Perhaps I owe some more explanation.

Leaving the UK was not an easy choice. I am a British citizen and we had developed roots there. We were making moves toward finally buying a house there when all this blew up. We had moved out of London to get out of the London bubble. We were part of the community, helping some of our older neighbors, working with local wildlife organizations even being volunteer wardens. We canvassed door-to-door for the Green party. We had lots of friends there and still do. I have a British god-daughter too who is now becoming a teen. We used to see her often but haven't seen her since we left.

My wife is an EU citizen and from a country that is only recently out of a dictatorship. She's a lifelong Anglophile and soon after we arrived established a small book business and was friends with British booksellers across the country. In the year before we left though, she suddenly was the target of xenophobic comments. This has never happened before and it shook her badly. She was having actual panic attacks and said to me "I know how this ends. We need to get out of here" We still wavered and, oddly, the final impetus was that our landlord (white British) announced that we had to move because she was selling our place. The reason was that she and her husband had decided they were accepting jobs outside the country -- in order to try and establish residency before Brexit (!)

I will admit though to being against borders. I hate them as these arbitrary dividing lines of humanity. It probably stems from my childhood where the US-Mexico border divided one half of my family from the other. I had bright cousins in Mexico who I knew were destined for a shittier life just because of that arbitrary border.

So, I admit to being a citizen of nowhere or a rootless cosmopolitan or whatever. I am proud of it. I plead guilty. But I won't admit that those of us who love the UK (why do you think I am in all these threads if I didn't care), who made our homes there, who tried to integrate and contribute to the culture and then, after all that, were made to feel like we did not belong and we should leave, are the problem. We are not the problem.
posted by vacapinta at 2:20 AM on December 17, 2018 [48 favorites]


I hope this doesn't come across as condescending but I think the Britain you lived in vacapinta was a small and lucky bubble.

It wasn't just Leave voters who were lied to.
All those who were shocked by the vote were too.
posted by fullerine at 2:36 AM on December 17, 2018


An awful lot of my (British) friends were shocked too. I think it's largely because they weren't paying attention. I've been predicting this since Cameron first floated the idea of a referendum ahead of the 2015 elections.
posted by Dysk at 3:00 AM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


I haven't moved though, because despite the protestations some might have about whether I've really got it bad, what with my not having a British passport, this is where my life is. Haven't lived anywhere else my entire adult life (well over a decade). It's not like I could afford to move anyway, really. I mean, if I have to, I can probably afford a plane ticket somewhere (but will there even be flights to and from Britain then?) but I'd literally be arriving at an airport and then wondering what the fuck to do from there.
posted by Dysk at 3:03 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


My wife is an EU citizen and from a country that is only recently out of a dictatorship. [...] She was having actual panic attacks and said to me "I know how this ends. We need to get out of here"

I understand that, vacapinta, and in fact feel the same, but I *can't* get out of here. Do you see? It is extremely unjust that you have had to leave, I certainly don't want you or anyone else to leave, and have done everything in my power to stop this, but I don't have very much power and I'm about to have even less.

Meanwhile, maybe my frail elderly relative (who was classed as a Brit, but isn't any more) will be deported if she loses her paperwork or the whims of the Home Office change yet again, and in that case she will face destitution.

As for me, just because I'm British, doesn't mean the British government hates me any less than it hates you. The bread is being taken out of our mouths, and we will have nowhere that we can go to get bread in the future.
posted by tel3path at 3:23 AM on December 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


We are not the problem.

As a citizen of Poland and Germany, I used to joke that I should apologize for doing all the plumbing and telling everyone what to do -- and therefore causing Brexit. Unfortunately it seems this is actually how people think.
posted by romanb at 3:26 AM on December 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


I (a naturalised British citizen with Australian nationality) moved to Sweden just over a month ago (a job opportunity came up). While I half joke about being a “Brefugee”, having escaped from Brexitland to the land of human rights and such, I feel no schadenfreude; too many people I care about are British, and stand to suffer if/when Brexit goes ahead (especially if it escalates to “Managed No Deal”, i.e., Juche with British characteristics). It pains me to see one of my countries suffer, all for the enrichment of a few spivs and kleptocrats.

Personally, my most immediate practical worry is whether, should I travel abroad after 29 March, Sweden will let me back in with my British passport. There are events I'd like to attend, but being put on the next flight out of Arlanda to Britain and billeted in an abandoned polski sklep alongside several grumpy pensioners recently deported from Malaga doesn't sound like fun.
posted by acb at 5:17 AM on December 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


These past few weeks I've felt some kind of turning point. I am not in Britain anymore but I still have friends there I keep in touch with. People who used to laugh about Brexit and all the posturing and eventually conclude that "they'll work something out", now seem more serious and are beginning to panic.

I'm a former immigrant to Britain but got out in 2012 before the current nationalist madness started sweeping the world but I still have friends in the UK. How does it already affect me? They no longer visit me in the United States. Not just because of The Deplorable's politics but because of the devaluation of the pound. You don't hear much about it but the lifestyles of the British middle class have taken a pretty substantial economic hit already. Those vacations abroad (and the British do love to vacation abroad) are already about 20% more expensive. Now that is probably still far cheaper than the internal train fares and British holidays but I'm curious if this will end up with the grimdark future of a British seaside resort revival.

Now foreign travel is a pretty non-essential expense and people can get by without but it is a sign of what is to come. It's just one of the first economic ripples.

Also those Brits (or anyone with a UK pension - myself included) who now live abroad? The purchasing power of their pensions are eroding sharply.
posted by srboisvert at 7:12 AM on December 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


May's announced a new vote on her deal in the week starting 14th Jan (possibly because Corbyn was threatening a no confidence vote - in her, not the government - if she didn't name a date)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:02 AM on December 17, 2018


@jessicaelgot (Guardian political correspondent):
“A terrible cynic might speculate that Corbyn’s office had a fair idea that the PM would indeed announce a date for the vote in her speech, given they get to see the speech in advance 🤨”
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 8:11 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Labour are saying they briefed on the plan before they saw the speech...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:17 AM on December 17, 2018


Am I correct in understanding that the initial referendum happened immediately after a general parliamentary election?
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:08 AM on December 17, 2018


Thought that Corbyn's no confidence vote might have to wait until the new year, but there's this interesting tweet from a Telegraph political correspondent:

Harry Yorke
‏@HarryYorke1

Right, my understanding amid all the confusion is that Labour will demand that the Government allow for their non-binding confidence motion in PM to be held tomorrow, or they will bring forward a formal no confidence motion in the Government, which is binding.


If it's true then looks like Corbyn is willing to push here, despite the likelihood that the DUP will vote with the government if it comes to a formal NC vote. Possibly there's been some inter-party discussion around the willingness to support a motion against the PM specifically?
posted by doornoise at 10:33 AM on December 17, 2018


YouGov latest polling data on Brexit:
Remain 62% v May’s deal 38%
Remain 57% v No deal 43%
posted by doornoise at 10:35 AM on December 17, 2018 [14 favorites]


That's a pretty astonishing shift in the polls. Not that anybody in power gives a rat's ass.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:41 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


The divide and conquer is working *really* well.

I understand that, vacapinta, and in fact feel the same, but I *can't* get out of here. Do you see?

Look, this whole derail about who has it worse was started by someone saying people who can leave don't have any problems and shouldn't be smug about it. If you want to keep hammering on whether people with only a British passport or people with another passport are worse off, then by all means do so, but maybe don't sprinkle in sanctimonious comments about all holding together.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:13 AM on December 17, 2018 [8 favorites]


Yes, as someone who has little or no opportunity of employment outside the UK if we hard Brexit and who has already waved off two dear friends from the country they'd made their lives in for the past decade, can we please drop the 'who has it worse' discussion?

Especially as the matter is in no way settled. Parliament can still find a way to neutralise May/ERG and vote its way out of this corner, either via the option of extending A50 and a second referendum going for Remain or revoking A50 in the public interest.
posted by doornoise at 11:28 AM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


[Not directing this to you, te3path, but yes, let's please drop the sidebar of who in the thread versus others in the thread has or doesn't have what options. This is a wide-ranging clusterfuck affecting a massive number of people in slightly to largely different ways, and it's fine for folks to share their own stories to illustrate the range of experience and repercussions, but deadly for the discussion to become an exclusionary yardstick of comparative suffering / potential suffering. We have enough room in our hearts and our heads to learn and hold everyone's situation with care and respect.]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:21 PM on December 17, 2018 [14 favorites]


Am I correct in understanding that the initial referendum happened immediately after a general parliamentary election?

It felt rather that way, but no: general election May 2015, referendum June 2016. Bonus surprise extra general election, June 2017. (We appear to be overdue for a bonus surprise extra referendum.)
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 12:26 PM on December 17, 2018 [5 favorites]


general election May 2015, referendum June 2016.

Although the official campaign started in April, unofficially it started with Cameron's formal announcement in February and there had been some activity in the previous year, pretty much from the election onward
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:18 PM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Thanks. Over the weekend, I had BBC World Service on in the background, and a guest suggested that if Cameron had simply announced the referendum a few months later, the people behind Remain might have been less fatigued and more successful.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:28 PM on December 17, 2018


Many older people are reliant on mainstream news media for their information. Some that I know saw it as a complex choice between Leave and Remain because it seemed that way based on the information available to them. It is not because they were thinking in bad faith.

Because they're mostly not here having this discussion with us they make great scapegoats and we can be as ageist as we like, which reinforces the unlikelihood that they will ever join in online discussions here or on more mainstream platforms.


You know this works exactly the same way in reverse, right? They weren't thinking in bad faith in the same way that somebody isn't thinking in bad faith when they are waiting for these people to die and the problem to go away: they're working with bad faith information and premises, so everything that comes out is bad, regardless of whether or not the thought processes are themselves evil.

Us foreigners, we were mostly not part of the discussion in mainstream media or the redtops, except as scapegoats and cartoon villains. The papers and mainstream media, and consequently the elderly you're now defending, were free to be as xenophobic and racist as they liked. And they were, and how!

But of course, we have to just shut up and turn the other cheek while the racist bullshit and outright lies they peddle are leading to us literally having our rights stripped from us.
posted by Dysk at 4:06 AM on December 18, 2018 [11 favorites]


So the government is actively planning for no deal and has 3,500 troops standing by to ‘assist with any crisis’.

Which I think someone down there in Westminster reckons is a reassuring thing to say out loud.

These fucking lunatics are going to drive us off the cliff, aren’t they?
posted by Happy Dave at 6:57 AM on December 18, 2018 [8 favorites]


Well, if the frogs and krauts obstinately hold out and refuse to let us kick out their citizens whilst flooding their markets with tariff-free chlorinated beef and sweatshop-produced products, may the resulting humanitarian catastrophe be on their conscience. We'll teach them!
posted by acb at 7:13 AM on December 18, 2018


(If a country makes it evident that it classifies a significant proportion of its own population as vermin/useless eaters (“scroungers”), as Tory/tabloid Britain does, then using their very visible suffering as a lever in negotiations is a perfectly rational thing to do.)
posted by acb at 7:17 AM on December 18, 2018


So the government is actively planning for no deal and has 3,500 troops standing by to ‘assist with any crisis’.


Since this does not sound like great news, it must be the ‘project fear’ everyone has been talking about? Or will the UK need the troops to joyously handle all those bags of cash that the EU is going to throw back across the channel?
posted by romanb at 7:33 AM on December 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


I really, really need to get my ILR application filed before this place goes off the fucking cliff in March. God only knows what'll happen to my job, and my job is what lets me stay here at the moment.

I don't particularly want to stay in a Mad Maxian no-deal Britain, but the alternative is Trumpmerica, and I'm not going back to that.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:09 AM on December 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


The one true Project Fear is and always has been every no deal exponent threatening civil unrest if there's another referendum.
posted by dng at 8:21 AM on December 18, 2018 [11 favorites]


The Gov is apparently allocating funds for necessary customs IT upgrades in the case of no deal Brexit. A hundred days before the event.

Perhaps they can - and probably will - give it to Capita, who have a fine history of delivering government IT systems four years late at triple the cost and 40 percent underperforming.
posted by Devonian at 9:07 AM on December 18, 2018 [7 favorites]


EU citizens will need to be sponsored and earn a minimum of £30,000 a year to get a 5 year visa, same as current non-EU workers, to be announced.

Hope all those farmers with signs up wanting Brexit Now I've been driving past for the last 3 years aren't relying on seasonal workers. And the NHS can train thousands of nurses in a hurry since they earn a lot less that that. Oh wait, nurse trainees numbers have dropped dramatically since bursaries were scrapped and they have have to pay full uni fees.

Maybe they'll extend the work-for-free-to-get-benefits program to working the fields, given we're going to need it when Kent turns into a car park with a no-deal brexit and the 50% of the food we import rockets up in price due to tariffs and sterling collapse. And I guess we won't need nurses, as the army will now be distributing our rationed medicines.

ThisIsFine.jpg
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:54 PM on December 18, 2018 [11 favorites]


Surely of all those (sink-estate NEETs/spoiled, avocado-fed millennial snowflakes/insert tabloid cliché here) who are going to be conscripted, on pain of starvation, to pick the fruit that Vytautas and Agnieszka are no longer there to pick, some can be diverted into duty as NHS nurses. Given that they're now talking about calling for volunteers to bolster the “people's NHS”, they won't have to pay them either. Everyone wins!
posted by acb at 3:45 PM on December 18, 2018


In other examples of why this government is driven by May's cruel heuristic of "if it hurts people who aren't exactly like us" rather than actual carrying about what's best for industry, here's May going for xenophobia above the wishes of those who are interested in business: FT reports that May has overruled her chancellor and business secretary to push ahead with the £30,000 salary visa threshold post-Brexit in tomorrow's immigration white paper...
posted by ambrosen at 11:31 PM on December 18, 2018


[Several deleted. US folks, please don't start big old hot take derails such as trying to tell people how their power grid should be organized based on your understanding of certain US paradigms. Not every thread needs to be centered on you.]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:42 AM on December 19, 2018 [13 favorites]


Maybe they'll extend the work-for-free-to-get-benefits program to working the fields,

Tory minister 'wanted UK pensioners to be low-wage fruit pickers'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:20 AM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


That appears to be the official recommendation of the Migration Advisory Committee.

Support is growing among businesses for a separate Scottish system for foreigners' work permits after Brexit. [BBC]
That is not looking likely. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), official adviser to the government on its immigration policy, chaired by Prof Alan Manning, recommended in a report published in September that such workers could be replaced by British workers.

"Although lower migration might lead to population decline, this problem is not something that starts at the Scottish border," it found. "Some northern English regions have similar prospects.

"Migration is much less effective at dealing with a rising old age dependency ratio than increases in the pension age.
So, post-brexit, retirement is going to be replaced with working low-paid labouring gigs to stay alive, until the point you can't.
posted by Buntix at 1:44 AM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Last week was bad enough, but this is agonising. Either Theresa May is bluffing and wasting £2bn we can ill afford to waste, or she isn't and we're utterly fucked. Either MPs cave and accept her deal and we're fucked, or they don't and she isn't bluffing and we're utterly fucked. Or they don't and she caves† and revokes Article 50 on 29/3/2019‡ and we're saved, except not, because so much damage will already have been done and half the population who still believe in unicorns will feel they wuz robbed. For at least the next month we'll feel the impact of preparations for No Deal, and depending what happens in Parliament in the week of 14 January could see full-blown panic after it.

Merry Christmas everybody, weer all crazee now.

†Quite likely, given her track record of U-turns.
‡Quite unlikely, given how hard she opposed the legal case about revocation and how doggedly she's pursuing her anti-immigration/anti-immigrant agenda.

posted by rory at 3:02 AM on December 19, 2018 [10 favorites]




[A couple deleted. Please go ahead and make a new post for the solar tariff announcement and discussion. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 3:37 AM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


2018 showed that the Conservative Party is no longer truly conservative. Despite the clickbait-y headline, I found Paul Mason's analysis of the crisis in modern conservatism to be quite insightful in places.
posted by pipeski at 4:09 AM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]




Anne Perkins at the Guardian: Westminster is stagnating completely. In the shadow of the immediate Brexit crisis, its opportunity costs – the bills left unprepared, let alone debated and passed – are not often considered.

Jolyon Maugham: If the government will not listen, if it refuses to recognise the supremacy of parliament, we must have a general strike. Absolutely. I've long wondered if it would have to come to this. The week of 21 January would seem the obvious time, if there's no resolution by then. I'm in.
posted by rory at 4:43 AM on December 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh, here we go. Tory media frothing over Corbyn muttering, "Stupid woman". Any dead cat will do in a crisis.
posted by doornoise at 4:58 AM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Jesus, Jezza. You've been in the house for donkey's years. You should know to use your inside voice.
posted by doornoise at 5:07 AM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


We will never hear the end of this, will we?
posted by doornoise at 5:08 AM on December 19, 2018


Yeah. For what it's worth, I agree: Theresa May is a profoundly stupid woman, but fucking hell, Corbyn, you just handed them something else to scream about.
posted by skybluepink at 5:09 AM on December 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


"But friends with Islamic terrorists", "But Venezuela" and now "But sexism". Great. It's the UK equivalent of "But her emails!!!"

Corbyn needs to apologise in the House and get this thing squared away quickly. FFS.
posted by doornoise at 5:13 AM on December 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


What Britain looks like after Brexit, by leading Leave MP Daniel Hannan, posted 3 days before the referendum.

Mentions of WTO, Northern Ireland, medicine shortages, Kent, army deployments on street: None.
cake-and-eat-it trade deals ready to go before Brexit, Britain world leading, and collapsing EU: plenty.

Just in case you'd forgotten the detail of the drivel the Leave campaign were promising Brexit would be like. But having another referendum now we *know* how badly their balls were being flambéed, is like totally anti-democratic, obviously.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:16 AM on December 19, 2018 [6 favorites]



What Britain looks like after Brexit, by leading Leave MP Daniel Hannan, posted 3 days before the referendum.


God, that is even more stupid than I could imagine.
posted by mumimor at 5:30 AM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


But hidden among the unicorns is the real agenda:
Financial services are booming – not only in London, but in Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh too. Eurocrats had never much liked the City, which they regarded as parasitical. Before Brexit, they targeted London with regulations that were not simply harmful but, in some cases, downright malicious: the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, the ban on short selling, the Financial Transactions Tax, the restrictions on insurance.
It's all "never mind the dirty commoners, we want a deregulated financial market, and we want it now"
posted by mumimor at 5:43 AM on December 19, 2018 [6 favorites]


Jesus, Jezza. You've been in the house for donkey's years.

But also, he's been leader of the Labour party for 3 years, and we should all know better of him by now. He's of no use whatsoever, and cannot be trusted with the responsibility of not screwing up.
posted by ambrosen at 6:24 AM on December 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


Anne Perkins at the Guardian: Westminster is stagnating completely. In the shadow of the immediate Brexit crisis, its opportunity costs – the bills left unprepared, let alone debated and passed – are not often considered.

New Statesman was lamenting that too:
Major pledges in the Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto – such as bringing back grammar schools, scrapping free school lunches for all infants, the controversial social care funding shake-up, and prison reforms – didn’t make it into the Queen’s Speech in June 2017, setting out the legislation programme for the session.
I'm shedding real tears over the would-be grammar school kids having to rub shoulders with comprehensive school oiks, the greedy infants stuffing their faces at lunchtime, the dementia sufferers not having their homes taken away...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:58 AM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


What Britain looks like after Brexit, by leading Leave MP Daniel Hannan, posted 3 days before the referendum.

Good god, even the first sentence is totally delusional:

It’s 24 June, 2025, and Britain is marking its annual Independence Day celebration.

No, Daniel. You don't get to celebrate Independence Day, because you already are, and have always been, indepedent. Celebrating independence is what other countries do. They celebrate their independence from the UK, not the other way around.

But of course, this plays into a common narrative among Brexitarians - that the UK has been taken over by the EU, to the extent of being a colony.

I forgot where I read it, but there was this brilliant analysis that deep down in the British soul, there is one part that feels like it is missing out of the experience of having been invaded and subjugated by foreigners. Daniel Hannan's nonsense about Independence Day celebrations seems to be an echo of this: If everybody else gets to celebrate Independence Day, why can't we, too?
posted by sour cream at 7:05 AM on December 19, 2018 [11 favorites]


I was imagining the celebrations, broadcast on the BBC and in the Daily Mail, on the day that the hated Freedom Of Movement is extinguished forever: union-jack bunting, usually reserved for Royal Baby celebrations, strung up across a leafy street, locals joyously burning their now-useless European Health Insurance Cards, one or two giving a vox-pop to the camera about where Johnny Foreigner can go stick his European Union, and perhaps a segment with the owner of the first blue passport to roll off the assembly lines, showing it off proudly. There'd be tea and crumpets and egg-and-spoon races and other nostalgic British tat, and perhaps a few dads would, after a few pints, start belting out a chant about the RAF shooting down German bombers.

In reality, the festivities would be staged, on one street all the loyal and/or clickbait-hungry media would focus on, careful to keep their camera angles tight to not reveal the presence of only maybe a dozen people.
posted by acb at 7:42 AM on December 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


mumimor: "It's all "never mind the dirty commoners, we want a deregulated financial market, and we want it now""

There's a Big Bang in the City /
We're all on the make
posted by Chrysostom at 7:45 AM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


...and perhaps a segment with the owner of the first blue passport to roll off the assembly lines...

In France, where they've been printed for years.
posted by PenDevil at 8:03 AM on December 19, 2018 [7 favorites]


Major pledges in the Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto – such as bringing back grammar schools, scrapping free school lunches for all infants

I've got as much contempt for modern conservatives as anyone, but I'm always re-amazed every time I remember that *taking food away from children* is not only a goal of theirs, it's a goal that they actually use as a selling point. Like, I'd expect them to cut it quietly to give bigger tax breaks to rich people, but the fact that the conservative voting population actually is so eager to hurt children that they will cheer it on wildly in party conferences... yeah.
posted by tavella at 8:10 AM on December 19, 2018 [8 favorites]


I forgot where I read it, but there was this brilliant analysis that deep down in the British soul, there is one part that feels like it is missing out of the experience of having been invaded and subjugated by foreigners.

Fintan O'Toole: The paranoid fantasy behind Brexit
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:20 AM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm always re-amazed every time I remember that *taking food away from children* is not only a goal of theirs

The conservative form of virtue signalling is performative cruelty, usually couched in rhetoric about “tough love”, “personal responsibility” and such.
posted by acb at 8:26 AM on December 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


Yes, it's a lot easier to create policies which harm poor or otherwise insecure people than it is to create policies that make rich or otherwise secure people feel better.

But everyone uses the former as a proxy measure for the latter, so they end up rewarding cruelty.
posted by ambrosen at 8:49 AM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Fintan O'Toole: The paranoid fantasy behind Brexit

Yeah, that's the one. Here are some key bits:

What’s striking is that we can begin to see in this hysterical rhetoric the outlines of two notions that would become crucial to Brexit discourse. One is the comparison of pro-European Brits to quislings, collaborators, appeasers and traitors. The leave campaign in 1975 likened the treaty of accession to the Munich agreement of 1938, remembered as a shameful act of surrender to the Germans.
[...]
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.
[...]
Europe’s role in this weird psychodrama is entirely pre-scripted. It does not greatly matter what the European Union is or what it is doing – its function in the plot is to be a more insidious form of nazism.


Goddamn loons.
Narratives are powerful things, aren't they? And they will always win against mere statistics.
posted by sour cream at 8:54 AM on December 19, 2018 [10 favorites]


Oh man, would you like me to tell you about that time I went spelunking in the stacks of the Bodleian for copies of “International Currency Review” from the 90s? That was a morbidly fascinating descent into the mind of the anti EU-fanatic: Everything about the EU was interpreted through the idea that it’s origins lay in the Nazi plan to unify Europe after they had won WWII. The EU project was doomed to failure & everything about it was bad & wrong.

That said, the criticism of the € was spot on; sometimes the loons are right.

I was trying to find a reference for a quote about the EU attributed to Ken Clarke. I decided Nigel Lawson had made it up in the end.
posted by pharm at 10:25 AM on December 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Coldwar Steve continues to document Brexit Britain with pinpoint accuracy.

This is exactly what it feels like to me.
posted by Grangousier at 1:53 AM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just went down a rabbit hole about Marcus Fysh, the pro-Brexit MP who has criticised Amber Rudd for not ruling out another referendum. This amused me: Yeovil MP threatens local Mum with legal action over Facebook page (some words NSFW).
posted by paduasoy at 2:30 AM on December 20, 2018


Interactive data questions from the ONS: What's changed since the Brexit vote?.
posted by paduasoy at 3:21 AM on December 20, 2018


From the above:

The number of EU citizens who came to the UK was 219,000 in the year ending June 2018, the lowest since 2014. Meanwhile, 145,000 EU citizens left the UK, with EU net migration falling to +74,000 (the lowest since 2012). However, decisions to migrate are complex and people's decision to move to or from the UK will be influenced by a range of factors.

I like how there's a "However" even though the preceding sentences are all numerical facts.
posted by vacapinta at 3:47 AM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]




Well-known democratic theorist Vladimir Putin tells Theresa May to 'fulfil will of people' on Brexit.
posted by rory at 4:19 AM on December 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


EU no-deal plans: Our childish outburst has put us at their mercy

Ian Dunt has read the extensive EU preparations for no deal that that stupid woman Andrea Leadsome claimed haven't happened.
posted by Grangousier at 6:05 AM on December 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


Thanks, Grangousier, was just about to post same. Key paragraph:

It's a horrible emergency situation to be in. Sure, the very worst outcomes, the real end-of-days stuff, is quarantined. But this provision is time-limited, it is contingent on continued EU approval, and it is completely one-way. It amounts to forcing investment out of Britain at the end of a spike.
posted by rory at 6:18 AM on December 20, 2018


That sure all sounds pretty horrible and I have no doubt that the analysis is correct.
But I don't think that it will change any minds.

To a Brexitarian this reads: "The EU wants to force us at gunpoint to stay. - They want to punish us. - The sooner we become independent from the EU, the better."

I'm afraid it's game over. At this point, even after another referendum May's deal or Remain would be dismissed in the future as having been forced under duress, upon threats by the EU - and therefore neither democratic nor legitimate.
posted by sour cream at 7:58 AM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


that stupid woman Andrea Leadsome

Can we not do this?
posted by Dysk at 8:18 AM on December 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


Not do what? This is the same Andrea Leadsom who claimed that she would be a better Prime Minister than Theresa May because she'd had children.
posted by daveje at 8:29 AM on December 20, 2018


I'm afraid it's game over. At this point, even after another referendum May's deal or Remain would be dismissed in the future as having been forced under duress, upon threats by the EU - and therefore neither democratic nor legitimate.

I'm not convinced that there's actually much appetite from the British public for a no-deal, chaotic exit from the EU. It's an ocean apart from what was promised before the referendum. Everything since that day has largely been an exercise in reading the entrails of a vote conducted in very different times. The burn-it-all-down loons have had their fingers burnt in the confidence vote already, and I sense that their bluster serves to conceal a real fear of the outcome of a confirmatory referendum.
posted by pipeski at 8:31 AM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


Not do what? This is the same Andrea Leadsom who claimed that she would be a better Prime Minister than Theresa May because she'd had children.

Not use her bullshit sexism as an excuse to deploy bullshit misogyny. If you think she's stupid, call her stupid. The misogyny is calling her a "stupid woman" when her gender in utterly irrelevant is unavoidable.
posted by Dysk at 8:42 AM on December 20, 2018 [17 favorites]


I'm afraid it's game over. At this point, even after another referendum May's deal or Remain would be dismissed in the future as having been forced under duress, upon threats by the EU - and therefore neither democratic nor legitimate.

Fuck that shit. I don't believe the original vote was legitimate, given the interference from unknown sources and the rank fantasies offered as solemn promises. And I don't believe denying us another vote is going to legitimise a damn thing. The only thing that would be considered legitimate by the hardliners under any circumstances is the sort of hard Brexit that I can absolutely guarantee you 52 percent of the voters did not vote for.

What was voted for was a Brexit that cannot be.

Nothing will heal the country except time and prosperity. Guess what gives us the best use of one and the best chance of the other?
posted by Devonian at 11:01 AM on December 20, 2018 [14 favorites]


I'm just saying that at this point, staying will be perceived as total defeat by the Brexitarians.
It's like losing WWII again.
So even in the case of remain, it would be just a question of time until Art. 50 is triggered again.
posted by sour cream at 11:57 AM on December 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm just saying that at this point, staying will be perceived as total defeat by the Brexitarians.

Meanwhile crashing out with no deal will be celebrated as a recovering victory by remainers.

Seriously, why are we only concerned with the idiotic half of the country not getting their way? Why is them losing such a fucking concern, and the other side losing just a complete meh?
posted by Dysk at 12:47 PM on December 20, 2018 [13 favorites]


(Not to pick on you in particular, that sentiment is everywhere. "It'll be civil war if we don't leave!" Uh-huh, and everyone will join hands and sing kumbaya Jerusalem if we leave, will we? The country is fractured either way. Might as well be fractured but not also utterly fucked in every other way too.)
posted by Dysk at 12:51 PM on December 20, 2018 [12 favorites]


If we manage to sneak out of Brexit by the skin of our teeth, do you really think that they'll be an appetite amongst the majority of the country to start this ridiculous process again?

The chief Brexiteers have proven themselves woefully inadequate fantasy peddlers. Non-voters who were meh during the first referendum have woken up to the dangers of dropping out. A significant number of Leave voters are regretting their anti-Cameron protest votes. 1.3 million British citizens living within the EU are demanding a say - and campaigners have challenges in the courts. Journalists are exposing links between the Brexit campaign and Russian intelligence operatives.

I can't see the Brexiteers getting anywhere near 50% again. Not in this generation.

As with many countries, we are facing a battle against bullshit populist rhetoric and anti-immigrant hate propaganda. We should prepare to face down those fascists, not bow to terrorist threats.
posted by doornoise at 2:17 PM on December 20, 2018 [6 favorites]


That is precisely what the Brexitarians say about the EU.

Except that they equate “fascist” with “foreigner”. We fought the Germans in WW2 not because they were a murderous authoritarian xenophobic regime but because they were dirty sauerkraut-eating foreigners.
posted by acb at 1:09 AM on December 21, 2018


I'm not sure if that is true, but in any case, to Brexiteers, fighting the Germans/the EU is an emotional cause, an act of resistance and heroism.
By contrast, remaining in the EU seems to be just caving in to economic necessities, so it's a mostly rational decision. That's the difference.

Anyway, we'll see how it all turns out. Maybe rationality will prevail over emotion this time.
posted by sour cream at 3:00 AM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


By contrast, remaining in the EU seems to be just caving in to economic necessities

Maybe for you. A bunch of us actually are passionate about the European project, and the effective abolition of a lot of borders. And our immigration status is not some dry bloodless thing.
posted by Dysk at 3:40 AM on December 21, 2018 [18 favorites]


My anger isn't the anger of logic denied, it's rage at wanton destruction, at cruelty empowered, at something bought with millions of lives and decades of work being set at naught - or worse, of people I love having thei lives ruined, at having my family membership taken away from me.

I am intensely proud of the European project. Look what went before. Look what's gone elsewhere. Look at how it has bought progress. What better thing at that scale has there been?

And then - and only then - do we get onto the economic imbecility and the damage to be done to us all.

So yes, my logic and reason are affronted. But my heart is livid at having my soul torn out.
posted by Devonian at 4:11 AM on December 21, 2018 [21 favorites]


Maybe for you. A bunch of us actually are passionate about the European project, and the effective abolition of a lot of borders. And our immigration status is not some dry bloodless thing.

I don't doubt that but it has been my experience that it is a small minority among remain voters who feel that way. Almost everyone I know voted to Remain and many are extremely vocal about it but I can't think of more than one or two of them who are genuinely passionate about the EU project.

That, by the way, has also been my experience at home in The Netherlands. A small number of people who really believe in the European idea (more admittedly than in the UK) and a large number of pro-European pragmatists. Even in France, where people are often more temperamentally inclined to idealism and theory than the Dutch or the English, most on the pro-EU side are on that side for pragmatic reasons.
posted by atrazine at 5:50 AM on December 21, 2018


I suppose that the more tabloids you read, the more rational and pragmatic Brexit becomes.
posted by romanb at 5:51 AM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


No, few people are passionate about the EU, even outside the UK. And yet, there isn't a single country outside the UK where leaving the EU is getting even close to a majority, not even in Poland or Italy.

I think the reason is as follows: For the smaller countries in Europe, it has always been a fact of life throughout history that they are under the influence of their bigger neighbors - or even under the threat of being absorbed by them (think of Poland or the Baltic states). By contrast, the EU is perceived, in those countries, as comparatively benign, and perhaps even a guarantor of stability.

As for the bigger countries like Germany or France, there was the trauma of WWII, again, pretty much absent from the UK, where it is celebrated as glorious and not so much thought of as traumatizing. For the Germans, the EU was a way to willfully give up part of their souvereignty, in order to prove that they will never again be the bullies, and to be rehabilitated into a network of obligations and cooperation. And the French liked this idea of using the EU to keep Germany in check.

All these considerations may be long history now, but they have become ingrained as a fact of life in all those other EU countries. It's just the way it is, and leaving the EU, for them, makes about as much sense as for Texas or California to leave the US.
posted by sour cream at 6:40 AM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I don't get this whole “passionate about EU” thing. The whole reason for being of the EG/EEG/EU or whatever was always pragmatic. You're not as likely to start a war with a close business partner; a common market with economically weaker nations should eventually lift everyone; etc.

For all it's flaws, the EU was always maybe-not-great but better than the alternative. A popular brexiteer argument is that the EU is undemocratic, an argument that has some merit, but ffs look at how the UK is run right now.
posted by farlukar at 7:14 AM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


Surely one can be passionate about the abolition of millennia of internecine warfare and the peaceful elevation of human wellbeing as a goal; or is passion a barbaric thing one can only feel about blood-and-soil assertions of honour and glory and victory over enemies?
posted by acb at 7:28 AM on December 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


Surely one can be passionate about the abolition of millennia of internecine warfare and the peaceful elevation of human wellbeing as a goal

Yes, surely one can. But ask yourself, how often do you see the EU framed in this way? And, be honest, how many people do you know (outside of this thread) who feel this way? Have you ever gone to a pub and heard someone argue "I'm really glad we have the EU, because this means fewer wars in Europe."?

I think the reality is this:
Few people outside the UK are passionate about the EU.
Few people outside the UK are passionate about leaving the EU.
Few people in the UK are passionate about the EU.
Many people in the UK are passionate about leaving the EU.

This doesn't have to mean anything, it's just another point on the graph that may or may not influence what awaits us.
posted by sour cream at 7:42 AM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think the reality is this

Just because you think it doesn't mean it is. All those "fews" should be "many". And who knows exactly how many.

Plenty of people who voted Leave weren't passionate about leaving the EU. They just had a general feeling that it couldn't be any worse, and bought the Brexiters' bullshit promises.

Have you ever gone to a pub and heard someone argue "I'm really glad we have the EU, because this means fewer wars in Europe."?

Last Monday night.
posted by rory at 7:54 AM on December 21, 2018 [15 favorites]


Pragmatism can indeed be passionate, and supporting the EU for pragmatic reasons is rather different to "just caving in to economic necessities" which was the original claim.
posted by Dysk at 9:07 AM on December 21, 2018


Have you ever gone to a pub and heard someone argue "I'm really glad we have the EU, because this means fewer wars in Europe."?

I've certainly heard people in pubs talking about how convenient it is zipping across borders like they aren't there on their holidays, about how awesome it is just being able to use your phone without worrying about charges, etc, etc.
posted by Dysk at 9:10 AM on December 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


(And the 1.3 million Brits living in the EU27 are likely to have some pretty strong and proactive feelings about being able to live the lives they do as well. That's more than a few.)
posted by Dysk at 9:14 AM on December 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


Anyway, I stand corrected, you can be passionate about pragmatic things.
posted by farlukar at 10:19 AM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm one of the 1.3 million Brits living on the continent and yes, I feel strongly about how great it is to be able to do it and how shit it would be if the opportunities I enjoy were to be curtailed. (Conditional tense because nothing has actually happened yet, no really, oh please let it all just collapse and go away forever...)

But I'm not sure that makes me "passionate". Neither do I feel like my Europeanism is a pragmatic thing. It's just fully integrated into the way I live my life. I wouldn't say I'm passionate about the air I breathe, for example.

I also don't believe that "leave is emotional / remain is rational" is a particularly useful way to look at the situation. I've said before that I think votes were cast on both sides based on feelings rather than reasons, which is why I worry that Remain could well lose a second referendum, unless they run a campaign with a much stronger emotional appeal than last time.
posted by ZipRibbons at 1:20 PM on December 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


I don't get this whole “passionate about EU” thing

It's no stranger than being passionate about "England" or "The UK", and people get quite worked up about those.
posted by grahamparks at 2:03 PM on December 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


Corbyn: Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election. "[O]pposition leader says he would go to Brussels to secure better deal if he was PM"
[A]sked if he could imagine a referendum emerging as a solution if it becomes clear that parliament is deadlocked – as the work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, mooted this week – he said: “I think we should vote down this deal; we should then go back to the EU with a discussion about a customs union.”

As to what stance Labour would take if a referendum were held, Corbyn said, “it would be a matter for the party to decide what the policy would be; but my proposal at this moment is that we go forward, trying to get a customs union with the EU, in which we would be able to be proper trading partners.”
posted by BungaDunga at 3:01 PM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Poor old Jeremy still doesn't seem to understand what's going on. There isn't going to be a better deal because unicorns don't exist, and promising to come back with a live unicorn isn't going to make them exist.
posted by acb at 3:55 PM on December 21, 2018 [15 favorites]


Corbyn: Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election

It's like he doesn't understand what "opposition" means. Remember how this was the guy who Momentum insisted would take Labour away from just being knock-off tories in terms of policy? Yeah...
posted by Dysk at 4:59 PM on December 21, 2018 [4 favorites]


Hey, are there any decent twitter is-this-a-bot checkers that don't ask for permission to use your account? I'm vaguely curious how many of the brexit zombie accounts I come across are real people and how many are likely to be disinformation, but the one I looked into asked for permission to post as me, which... no.
posted by tavella at 5:07 PM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Poor old Jeremy still doesn't seem to understand what's going on.

I am not sure anyone does, I certainly don’t. There certainly does not seem a route through to a second referendum at the moment in parliament with May in charge of the legislative agenda and able to beat any form of no confidence vote put against her. Corbyn has no options to play until May is defeated in a Meaningful Vote, I wish he did.

I do know the only route to proper change in this country would be through a Labour election victory which is predicated on 30 or so swing seats that voted heavily Leave though and so do the Labour leadership.
posted by brilliantmistake at 5:23 PM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


"[O]pposition leader says he would go to Brussels to secure better deal if he was PM"

I am genuinely baffled by this.
The deal on the table now is a hard-won compromise. A lot of countries besides the UK are not really happy with it. Noone in the EU27 wants to reopen it. In fact, if the negotiations are reopened, then all those grievances by other countries (who have souvereignty too, you know) will be put on the table as well. The UK cannot expect to come out better in that case.

I feel kind of silly writing this, because all this has been made abundantly clear by the EU27 and has been on the news so much recently that anyone with only a passing interest in politics should know this.

What is baffling to me is that Jeremy Corbyn does not seem to follow the news. Or understand this. Or have any advisors that tell him that he's in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks that he can get a substantially better deal than the one negotiated by TM.

I suppose the more charitable interpretation is that he knows full well that he won't get a better deal, but still pretends that he can for some strategic reason that I can't quite figure out. Maybe going to Brussels to try and secure a better deal is what you do these days in order to score points at home?
posted by sour cream at 9:21 PM on December 21, 2018 [8 favorites]


The current proposed deal is built around the red lines Theresa May took to Brussels, principally ending freedom of movement, and all of the EU statements about no other deal being possible assume the UK isn't about to change any of its red lines significantly.

Corbyn's premise is that a different deal would be possible if those red lines are abandoned. I don't think he's wrong in purely abstract terms, but he doesn't seem clear on how long negotiating a new deal would take or how much patience the EU27 would have to actually do it.

He also sounds like a bloody idiot attacking Theresa May without being clear about this nuance.
posted by grahamparks at 12:20 AM on December 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


I believe the UK political class of both major parties (still) genuinely think they are in the design phase of a future EU and are negotiating what that would look like. And not say, choosing from options that have been previously cemented.

Everyone here clearly gets that, but every few days something like "[O]pposition leader says he would go to Brussels to secure better deal if he was PM" occurs and reminds me that there's an alternative dimension across the channel.

It's like Texas seceding from the USA with the intention of changing the US Constitution after the fact.
posted by romanb at 12:22 AM on December 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


Corbyn's premise is that a different deal would be possible if those red lines are abandoned.

Except that he sets his own new and separate red lines and expectations, bringing everyone back to where we started.
posted by romanb at 12:26 AM on December 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


The current proposed deal is built around the red lines Theresa May took to Brussels, principally ending freedom of movement
[...]
Corbyn's premise is that a different deal would be possible if those red lines are abandoned.


Corbyn has also stated his dedication to ending freedom of movement, so it's hard to see how his negotiating position is going to be meaningfully different.
posted by Dysk at 1:15 AM on December 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


Have put Frankie Boyle's review of 2018 up as a new post. Even by his freewheeling standards, it's unrestrained and darkest satire.
posted by Wordshore at 2:04 AM on December 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


I'm beginning to think some of these people are not very smart.
posted by lucidium at 5:23 AM on December 22 [5 favorites]


Dr. Rachel Clarke, writing yesterday afternoon:
BREAKING. The govt has cynically just slipped out its No Deal NHS Brexit plan, Fri pm before Christmas.

Note this extraordinary line ordering NHS staff ‘to promote messages of reassurance’ to patients.

We are doctors, Mrs May. We do facts, not spin.
Find it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/brexit-operational-readiness-guidance-for-the-health-and-social-care-system-in-england
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:34 PM on December 22 [4 favorites]




Operation Yellowhammer is go.

Daily Torygraph: Michael Gove to recruit military planner amid food shortage fears in event of no-deal Brexit
Michael Gove is expected to become the first minister to recruit a military planner to address concerns that parts of the UK could run short on food in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The planner, who will be in place by January, has been offered to Defra by the Ministry of Defence to help ensure that shops in rural communities have enough food in the event of a "worst case scenario".

They will draw up contingencies based on a blueprint known in Whitehall as Operation Yellowhammer, which assumes “in extremis” that trade between Calais and Dover become severely disrupted.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:51 AM on December 24 [3 favorites]


Time to start greasing the tumbril wheels.
If you’re an EU citizen, you and your family will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status.
The EU Settlement Scheme will open fully by 30 March.2019. The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021.
Advertisement.
posted by adamvasco at 11:00 AM on December 27


Why time to start greasing now? That site hasn't changed for several months, and by all accounts won't for several months yet either...
posted by Dysk at 11:47 AM on December 27


Because it has only just come to my attention via an Irishman.
Britain is toxic and vile. So glad I left when I did. One day hopefully there will be a reckoning.
posted by adamvasco at 1:43 PM on December 27


If you’re an EU citizen, you and your family will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. If your application is successful, you’ll get either settled or pre-settled status.

Who should apply

If you’re an EU citizen or a family member of an EU citizen, you’ll usually need to apply if you want to stay in the UK after 30 June 2021. This includes if you’re married to a British citizen.

Who does not need to apply

You do not need to apply if:

you’re an Irish citizen
you have indefinite leave to enter the UK
you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK
Hm, nothing there about us British citizens.
Thing is we (UK citz) are *all* EU citz at the moment..it's a pity nobody could organise a simultaneous mass application of all EU inc UK across the UK to continuously crash the system (it is bloody disgusting either way that people need to pay to apply to stay in their own home) - @vivamjm
I'm entirely British - and hence an EU citizen - so applying to this, multiple times, to gum the fascists' cogwheels as much as possible, seems to me like a good idea. I suggest others do, too: we're born EU citizens, after all. I won't pay but I'll certainly write a few confused letters when they try to make me...
posted by Quagkapi at 3:04 AM on December 28


Laurie McFarlane on Labour's Brexit Trilemma:

"The great irony of Brexit is that most outcomes will lead to a loss of sovereignty and democracy. But there is a route forward."
posted by ZipRibbons at 3:51 AM on December 28 [1 favorite]


I'm entirely British - and hence an EU citizen - so applying to this, multiple times, to gum the fascists' cogwheels as much as possible, seems to me like a good idea.

I know someone who is going through the trial of the settled status process, and it's a stressful nightmare of bureaucracy and bad IT already. (The trial is open to a limited number of people in the NHS and universities). Deliberately making it worse would cause additional stress to people waiting to hear back about their applications.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:19 AM on December 28 [5 favorites]


Yes. Please don't gum up the Home Office any worse than it already is. Mrs. Example and I are doing our ILR applications this next year at long last, and it's already going to be rough enough.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:45 AM on December 28 [3 favorites]


> Deliberately making it worse

Definitely a drawback which would dissuade me, agreed.

However, something should be done, if we can, to resist this.
posted by Quagkapi at 6:01 AM on December 28


> "The great irony of Brexit is that most outcomes will lead to a loss of sovereignty and democracy."

I always get this mixed up, is it ironic when it's doing exactly what was planned? Seriously though, this article is a pretty clear summary that'll be handy to point people at, thanks.

"One silver lining from the Brexit debacle is that the Tories have been exposed as deeply divided and hopelessly incompetent."

It's tempting to mock this, like "oh now you notice", but it has been so prolonged and so blatant that I have finally started to hear this sentiment being expressed by people that never really had more than a few seconds a day for paying attention to politics before.
posted by lucidium at 7:21 AM on December 28


Jonathan Lis at Prospect magazine retweeted his predictions for 2018 for a year ago, and it's interesting to see how he did:
But while other leaders fall victim to policy, circumstance or the electorate, May is in the process of succumbing to all three. The defining story of 2018 will be her battle not with the mountain of phase-two negotiations, but with basic truth and fact.
She's still valiantly fighting that battle, but reality is close to burying her.
posted by Grangousier at 12:51 PM on December 28


Britain is toxic and vile. So glad I left when I did. One day hopefully there will be a reckoning.

Perhaps people could stop doing this.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:43 PM on December 28 [15 favorites]


This interview (SLYT) with Fintan O'Toole of the Irish Times is the best single exposition of how Brexit came about and its impact on Ireland. Utterly brilliant. It is an hour long but O'Toole is very engaging, intelligent and witty. The best single thing I have seen, heard, or read on the topic.
posted by vac2003 at 9:14 PM on December 28 [4 favorites]


Perhaps people could stop doing this.

Yes. 48% of the British people who voted, voted to remain. With demographic changes, as well as opinion changes, it's likely that a vote now would see a majority. In the last general election, nearly 58% of the British people who voted, voted for parties other than the Conservatives.

Any 'reckoning' will impact on those people as much if not more on the Brexiteers, and it will impact on those too young to even vote, and it will impact on the EU citizens currently living in the UK, but yeah, let's burn it all down because every last person deserves it.

(mind, being lectured on toxicity and the need for a reckoning from someone who appears to have moved to a country which has recently elected what appears to be an actual fascist...)
posted by reynir at 2:38 AM on December 29 [6 favorites]


News about the settled status application and app gets worse:

@The3Million
1/ The @ukhomeoffice is forcing every EU citizen applying for Settled Status to accept its Privacy policy that allows it to share all data with "public and private sector organisations in the UK and overseas". We now have a reply to our freedom of information request...

2/ We requested a wide range of information to establish what data is transfered, to who, where it is processed & stored and under which jurisdiction.

3/ Though the Home Office is holding that information it is refusing to provide it. "[...] the disclosure [...] will make the application system vulnerable to malicious attacks and hamper our ability to effectively operate immigration control."

4/ Apparently, the disclosure of how data is shared & processed will make "it possible to circumvent immigration control".

5/ We thought that the Settled Status system does nothing else but checking HMRC & DWP records and does a criminality check against national & International crime databases. How knowing where & by whom data is processed allows to circumvent this is beyond us.

6/ In summary, the UK Govt is creating a central register just for one minority in the UK, EU citizens, holding data it can share freely & in secret with undisclosed private & public organisation in the UK & across the world. This is truly shocking. /end

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/settled_status_app_data_privacy#outgoing-838331
[doc screenshots with tweets]

The app (Android only) development contract seems more than a little dodgy as well, from @antoni_UK: "They are spending £4.5m on developing the Settled Status App. And Brexiteers will be happy to hear that the contract has gone abroad (like the blue passport) to a company in Canada with... connections to tax haven Panama." [also doc images with tweet]

Guessing it's going to be about £250k for the actual app development, outsourced to the cheapest bid from Ukraine or India and the rest in grift to friends and family of whoever set it up.
posted by Buntix at 3:15 AM on December 29 [3 favorites]


The mobile app will be convenient for the Home Office as it will save their immigration bruiser squads time by tracking users to a specific location.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:49 AM on December 29


"[...] the disclosure [...] will make the application system vulnerable to malicious attacks and hamper our ability to effectively operate immigration control."
I speak Early 21st Century Whitehall so I can translate this...

"We. Have. No. Fucking. Idea. What. Is. Shared"
posted by fullerine at 12:00 AM on December 30 [8 favorites]


In the last general election, nearly 58% of the British people who voted, voted for parties other than the Conservatives.

Wait. Labour was/is also in favor of Brexit, no? Honor the referendum and everything.

So, in the last general election, about 70-80% (forgot the exact figure) of the British people voted for parties in favor of Brexit.
posted by sour cream at 12:46 AM on December 30 [2 favorites]


UK Defense secretary Gavin Williamson welcomes Brexit, because it will bring "new opportunities for the armed forces." [real]

Among these new opportunities are such diverse activities as building new military bases in, oh, Idunno, maybe Singapore or Brunei or Guyana, providing moral leadership for Australia and Africa and building a presence "east of Suez". Inevitably, he also did not fail to mention WWII.

Jesus Christ, where do they find these people?
posted by sour cream at 8:42 AM on December 30 [12 favorites]


In an attempt to better understand Brexit I finally watched The Crown. Watching Churchill endlessly go on about how England is going to take back her place ahead of the world and endless scene after endless scene portraying even picking wallpaper as a matter of national and hence apparently imperial and international significance is like watching Brexit play out now. Except I can fast forward through the endless talk of empire and just look at costumes.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:23 AM on December 30 [3 favorites]


@MrSandy_P:

We’ve had a drone that wasn’t a drone, a ‘migrant swarm’ that is neither migrants, nor a swarm and now we have a ferry company with no ferries. There’s some properly weird shit happening at the moment.
posted by Wordshore at 3:46 PM on December 30 [2 favorites]




As a defiant stand for my Europeanness I'm gonna be watching Dinner For One later

Happy New Year and Sod Brexit!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:38 PM on December 31 [3 favorites]


If you want to see the Gordian-knot-clusterfuck of possibilities awaiting us over the coming weeks , unravelled as a weighted probability graph, then Jon Worth has had a made a valiant attempt to satisfy.
posted by rongorongo at 4:54 AM on January 1 [4 favorites]


If you want to see the Gordian-knot-clusterfuck of possibilities awaiting us over the coming weeks , unravelled as a weighted probability graph, then Jon Worth has had a made a valiant attempt to satisfy.

Top comment: Surely this is over-simplified ? Made me laugh and sob out loud all at once
posted by mumimor at 5:41 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Enough to make you want to escape into the relatively simple and uncomplicated world of Bandersnatch.
posted by Grangousier at 6:16 AM on January 1


As a sign of how 2019's going to pan out, I was quite engaged by the splenetic gammon anger at the London New Year fireworks having a European theme. Absolutely gallons of eyeball-popping anger at the anti-democratic, traitorous, unpatriotic act of lighting up the London Eye blue and having a set of yellow fireworks around the circumference. "Would you have put the Argentinian flag up there during the Falklands?". Et cetera.

These people won't be happy until we're bombing Berlin again. Fuck them, fuck their views, and fuck those who pander to them. I want my future back.
posted by Devonian at 8:11 AM on January 1 [22 favorites]




There isn't really an appropriate thread for it, and I can't make one, but a reminder:
We all now live under a system of Orwellian immigration laws that find people of colour guilty until they can prove their innocence. It denies them healthcare, housing and the right to work unless they can produce the right documentation; and if they cannot, it ties them up in bureaucracy and threatens them with removal. It forces police officers to report victims of sexual violence to the Home Office if they cannot demonstrate their right to remain.

It's not unrelated, even though it may seem so. Brexit and the hostile environment and austerity are all part of the same process. Remember that the Tories don't deserve to be treated as decent people. They have no right to our sympathy. There is no doubt that they should have the benefit of.
posted by Grangousier at 6:10 AM on January 3 [8 favorites]


In a more recent talk, Fintan O'Toole points out that one possible source of background friction between Britain and the EU are the different legal traditions (common vs. civil) law. I've been chewing on his statements, for a couple of reasons:

- It helps explain why the blithe Brexiteer statements (about the Irish border, lorries queued at Dover/Calais, etc.) that "it's not a big deal, it will all work out, there's too much being made of it" gets traction with a (UK) public accustomed to common law, which relies on courts to "sort out the details", but mystifies (Continental EU) people used thinking in terms of civil law.

- I'd struggle to find it, but in one of the endless-now Trump threads, during a face-eating-leopards digression, somebody made a parallel point, that the MAGAhats hear a simple solution proposed - "Tax Chinese imports!" "Deport all undocumented immigrants!" - and they jump for it, but then when ICE inexorably turns up to arrest the beloved church-going football-coach guy that runs the pizza place, they get upset, because that was never their intent. But for whatever reason, they simply can't make the cognitive leap necessary to realize that passing a law (or issuing an Executive Order) to "deport all the undocumented immigrants" means precisely that; it says nothing about prioritizing people who commit violence, deal drugs, etc. - and of course, with (a) performance quotas (implicit or explicit) and (b) no direction specifying otherwise, any enforcement is going to end up prioritizing the easily-located - school kids, guys that deliver pizza, guys that stay put for 30 years and pay taxes, etc.

(Personally, I blame the unchallenged use of the phrase, "You know what I mean?" (see also: "Know what I'm sayin?" and "Does that make sense?"). Every time you nod silently, an angel loses its wings.)
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:57 AM on January 3 [2 favorites]


I think you might be up to something, Rat Spatula, although that still does not explain the level of distrust (if not outright hatred) of the EU among many MPs and Brexiteers in general.

Anyway, I think the current situation is this: There is no majority in parliament for any of the three scenarios of May's deal, no deal and Remain. Meaning, the government could take a two-way vote on all of these (May's deal? Y/N, etc.) and none would pass with a majority. The bizarre thing is that even if a vote on no-deal fails to pass, it will still happen, because that is simply the default. Meanwhile, the EU has made it crystal clear that there is nothing more to discuss.

It seems that too many people are still thinking that it will still all sort itself out somehow, but I just cannot see how. Looks like a good time to start prepping.
posted by sour cream at 7:42 AM on January 3


Did you mean "on to something"?
posted by Grangousier at 7:57 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Sorry, yes, on.
posted by sour cream at 8:03 AM on January 3




Right, it doesn't fully explain the motives, but I think it's an interesting side note.

In that same talk I linked, O'Toole also talks about the way the Brexit narrative inverts the way the English treat their legacy. Specifically, he talks about specific points of patriotic pride - the Dunkirk evacuation, the Charge of the Light Brigade, and so on - and how, during the Empire, these national moments of "failure" were revered, because they celebrated stiff-upper-lip British stoicism, and illustrated that the British suffered too (not just their colonial subjects); but those same narratives are now exploited to produce a sort of nationalistic self-pity-party.

I think that sort of "national id" explanation gets a lot closer to the fundamental things motivating Brexit*, but I think the the common-vs-civil-law point helps explain some of what looks like talking-past-each-other that goes on during the debate.


*But of course I'm just some Yank, I'd appreciate commentary from actual Brits on his remarks.
posted by Rat Spatula at 10:54 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]


It's just a lovely cocktail of ignorance, lies and racism. Don't waste your time trying to make more sense of it.
posted by mumimor at 12:34 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


the MAGAhats hear a simple solution proposed - "Tax Chinese imports!" "Deport all undocumented immigrants!" - and they jump for it, but then when ICE inexorably turns up to arrest the beloved church-going football-coach guy that runs the pizza place, they get upset, because that was never their intent.

Alexandra Erin named it: it's called the Shirley Exception (Twitter thread)
So I just saw someone wondering how liberals can cut ties with conservative friends and family members over immigration policies when most Americans (including most conservatives) support immigration reform.

I'm going to talk about what I call the Shirley Exception.
posted by ambrosen at 1:20 PM on January 3 [6 favorites]



Ramsgate Action Group on Seaborne Freight

They used a commercial credit check company to investigate Seaborne Freight, the TLDR: company is in a blind trust with no identifiable owners, investors or employees. Has no ships or premises and is technically insolvent.
posted by DoveBrown at 2:04 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


Police reinforcements for Northern Ireland in case of no-deal Brexit
Almost 1,000 officers from rest of UK to start training to deal with trouble arising from hard border

I doubt the woodentops will be buying a house on the overtime like they did after the miner's strike. Still, good news for burglars and other crims.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:42 PM on January 3 [1 favorite]


That is a very casual way to discuss something that is going to be extremely problematic in Northern Ireland. It’s not just redeploying people: it’s bringing in forces that have not a good historical record of dealing with Irish people.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 5:09 PM on January 3 [5 favorites]


Interesting point about the Shirley Exception.

Maybe this whole Brexit omnishambles is due to this kind of thinking on a national level. I mean, the UK literally kept asking for exceptions to the EU's most basic principles, some of which, it should be added, it was instrumental in pushing through in the first place. And the EU27 literally keep telling the UK that there cannot be any exceptions.

All this talk about this or that "plus" deal (Norway+, Canada+, FTA+++ whatever) might also fit into this. If Canada only got a "Canada" deal after years of negotiation, what makes you think that you can get a better, a "plus" deal, if not entitlement to exceptional treatment?
posted by sour cream at 11:58 PM on January 3 [4 favorites]


I found this summary of the current options at Richard Dunstan's LabourPainsBlog convincing and depressing. It punctures several common myths and makes it clear just how dire the situation is, even if you ignore the incompetence of much of the political leadership.

I'm not really selling it, am I? It's actually excellent.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:29 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


I'm not really selling it, am I?
If not, here are the opening paragraphs, they should do the job:
So, the xmas break is over, and in Parliament the Brexit bullshit is about to start all over again – with knobs on. For my sins, I work in Parliament and, if I had a penny for everyone who asked me, over the break, ‘So, what’s going to happen with Brexit?’, I would have 12p. Which seems a tad unfair. My inside knowledge is surely worth more than 12p.

Except it isn’t. Because there is no inside knowledge. No one in Parliament has a clue what’s going to happen with Brexit. Which is not unrelated to the fact that few people in Parliament have a clue. They stupidly got us into this mess – with their brilliant, democracy-enhancing idea to ask the public to vote on whether the Government should build a submarine out of cheese – and now they have no idea how to get us out of it.

OK, to be fair, between them they do have a few ideas. It’s just that none of the ideas are any good. Norway Plus, Canada Plus Plus Plus, holding a People’s Vote or even a People’s Assembly, or winning a general election and negotiating a jobs-first Brexit – these are all crap ideas that will not get us out of this mess.

As Martin Sandbu has noted in the Financial Times, Norway Plus – under which the UK would remain in the European Economic Area by joining Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in the EFTA bloc – is less an idea for getting us out of this mess, than a category error. Because, under the meaninglessly vague, 26-page Political Declaration that goes with the 585-page Withdrawal Agreement so incompetently negotiated by Theresa May, David Davis and Dominic Raab, and which allows for “a spectrum of outcomes”, we can have Norway Plus as our future relationship with the EU if we want. It’s just that (a) the EU27 will have to agree to it, and (b) we can’t start the negotiations with them until after we’ve left the EU.

Oh, and the Norwegians aren’t very keen on the idea, because for them “it would be like inviting the rowdy uncle to a Christmas party, spiking the drinks and hoping that things go well. They would not.” But the key point is that the only way to get to Norway Plus, or to any of the other alternative future relationships, is to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration that are on the table.

So, belatedly deciding that we want Norway Plus – or Canada Plus Plus Plus, or Corbyn’s ludicrous ‘jobs-first Brexit’ – as our future relationship with the EU wouldn’t solve our current dilemma, which comes down to deciding between just three options:

(a) ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement and Political declaration agreed with the EU27, leaving the EU on 29 March, and spending the next few years – perhaps the next decade – trying to negotiate our future relationship with the EU while continuing to argue amongst ourselves about whether we want that relationship to be Norway Plus, Canada Plus Plus Plus or some other arrangement;

(b) crashing out of the EU on 29 March with no deal; or

(c) revoking the Article 50 notification (as the ECJ has recently confirmed we can do) and remaining in the EU on the same terms as now.

THERE. ARE. NO. OTHER. OPTIONS.
posted by mumimor at 3:12 AM on January 4 [6 favorites]


And at the end of the article there is also the interesting tidbit that David Davis still seems to be thinking that there will be a transition period after the UK crashes out with no deal in March, or in the words of DD: "If we need to leave with no deal and negotiate a free trade agreement during the transition period, so be it."

Needless to say, if there is no deal, then there will be no transition period. It's not a particularly difficult point to understand, although I suppose that with all this talk about deal, no-deal, transition periods and so on, you may be excused for not knowing this if you haven't followed the news very closely or it just isn't something that you have given much thought to. But to hear this from the very person whose job it was to negotiate this stuff, that's just ... mindboggling.

Maybe the explanation is that it's just a careless typo - he just wrote down whatever came to his mind without reading it again and thinking through it whether it all makes sense, like you should do with an important text. But seeing that he argues that there's still time for a better deal and hints that that better deal may be a Canada+ type deal indicates that he still hasn't understood the basic purpose of the withdrawal agreement that he was supposed to negotiate - namely hash out the terms for leaving the EU and NOT the terms for an FTA.

Doesn't he have any assistants that keep him from embarassing himself?
posted by sour cream at 3:37 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


He's probably just really dumb, and got away with being really dumb till Brexit. Like the rest of them
Brexit: most Tory members would choose no deal over May's plan
posted by mumimor at 4:03 AM on January 4


No Deal is the plan for a lot of the leaders of the leave movement.
They think they can clean up in the ensuing chaos.

Now, in order to get to that point they need to disguise the absolute disaster it will be and lying has worked wonders up to this point.

David Davis really is that stupid though.
posted by fullerine at 4:32 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


I mean, they think they can clean up. I bet most of them will fuck up royally and just be given token sinecures by the few who do clean up. For a while, until it all collapses much worse.

Honestly, I don't think they've got the game plan particularly measured out to that level, and they may well not get the payoff they're expecting. Which is a shame for them, but, hey.
posted by ambrosen at 5:33 AM on January 4


What's the payoff they're expecting?
posted by sour cream at 5:43 AM on January 4


What's the payoff they're expecting?
Deregulated financial sector, deregulated labour market, no or minimum consumer protection, privatization of healthcare and infrastructure, in other words: good times for the 1%. Bad times for everyone else. The Tory politicians are both betting on this with their own money, and also hoping for extra rewards from their 0.01 % overlords.
posted by mumimor at 5:47 AM on January 4 [7 favorites]


I dunno, mumimor, but I think that doesn't sound very plausible.

You're saying that they're playing a really long game here that will almost certainly tank the stock market and come dangerously close to risking the collapse of civil society, and somehow still come out on top? A fiendlish clever plan to be executed by politicians that, frankly, seem too stupid to tie their own shoes? That seems awfully risky, and if anything, 0.01% overlords tend to be risk averse.

And it doesn't pass Hanlon's razor: Don't ascribe to malice what cannot be explained by incompetence.

Also, it smacks a bit of the kind of propaganda that you hear from the Brextremists: The EU is evil incarnate and its only purpose is as a vehicle for Germany to achieve what it couldn't in WWII and conquer Europe through the backdoor and bleed the UK dry - the EU is about to collapse but at the same time about to make the UK its colony, and so on.

I understand the urge to look for a deeper purpose in a senseless catastrophe, but reading too much into it quickly gets you into the realm of conspiracy theory. The 0.01% may sponsor politicians and so on, but it's not like they meet every weekend at the Bilderbergs.
posted by sour cream at 6:34 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


You're saying that they're playing a really long game here that will almost certainly tank the stock market and come dangerously close to risking the collapse of civil society, and somehow still come out on top?

Just bet against the markets. Short sell, etc.

The way that things like the ferries talked about above have been handled, it sure looks like a lot is personal graft is part of the plan...
posted by Dysk at 6:39 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Wait, I thought that most wealth of the superrich is held in company shares, i.e. stock. So when the market tanks, they lose, too. "Get the market to tank and sell short" might be a useful strategy for people without a stock portfolio, but not for the people who hold most of the stocks.

"...it sure looks like a lot is personal graft is part of the plan..."

Once again, I don't think there is a "plan". Just like there's no plan by the EU to make the UK its colony or dominate it or whatever.
posted by sour cream at 6:55 AM on January 4


You're saying that they're playing a really long game here that will almost certainly tank the stock market and come dangerously close to risking the collapse of civil society, and somehow still come out on top? A fiendlish clever plan to be executed by politicians that, frankly, seem too stupid to tie their own shoes? That seems awfully risky, and if anything, 0.01% overlords tend to be risk averse.

No, not at all. I think they are so stupid that they imagine that at 11:30 after Brexit, the UK will become Singapore on the North Sea through magic. Some of them know, and have openly acknowledged, that it will be a bit rough for a decade or two, but they know they can weather that because most of their fortune is already overseas and has been for ages. But those are in the minority. Most are just that stupid.
With regards to the 0.01%'ers, the people here are a narrow group who we already know from other "theatres" (as they used to say): Mercers, Murdochs, Putin & associates, Prince and his sister what's her name. There are probably a few more, but it's definitely not Bilderberg.

And it doesn't pass Hanlon's razor: Don't ascribe to malice what cannot be explained by incompetence.
¿porque no los dos?
posted by mumimor at 6:56 AM on January 4


Seriously: I have in my professional life been forced to deal with a group of very stupid people who had invented a very stupid scheme to bankrupt the business I was working for. I spent ages trying to figure out their reasoning, but they were just stupid people doing something stupid. The sad morale of that story was that they were petered out of the organisation (not ours, their own) that they had actually bankrupted while trying to bankrupt ours, and the only person who was ever blamed and felt the consequences was the least guilty one among them.
posted by mumimor at 7:18 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


I thought that most wealth of the superrich is held in company shares, i.e. stock. So when the market tanks, they lose, too.

Well yeah, but you think they're holding British stock, in companies that do their business in Britain?
posted by Dysk at 7:27 AM on January 4


Yes, I do. Check out this list of the wealthiest people in Britain. For the most part, their source of wealth is either UK companies or real estate in the UK, which will equally depreciate with Brexit.
posted by sour cream at 7:39 AM on January 4


Sure, but I don't see a lot of Tory MPs on that list. It's not the richest that are the architects of this. It's the Tories. A lot of the ERG and other brexiteers hold a substantial quantity of wealth abroad.
posted by Dysk at 7:55 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


(You're of course also right that a lot of them don't have anything vaguely resembling a plan. "We weren't supposed to win" was practically written on Boris Johnson's forehead on the day after the referendum, for example.)
posted by Dysk at 8:10 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


OK, we might be talking about two different things then. I was reacting to mumimor's "0.01% overlord" remark and assumed that the overlords are (thought to be) pulling the strings.

But be that as it may, I still think that this idea that "Tory MPs have a plan to wreck the UK economy on purpose in order to enrich themselves" is conspiracy theory fantasy that is no closer to reality than the conspiracy theories about the EU peddled on the other side. Sure, there may be graft or some politicians benefiting from short selling stocks, but all that is incidental and not the cause of or reason for the current crisis.
posted by sour cream at 8:26 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


The Shirley Exception is a superb insight. I remember being a child and reassuring myself about potential disasters, because some nebulous "they" wouldn't let something that bad happen. Surely someone would take charge.
posted by lucidium at 9:01 AM on January 4


Some quality rage and despair fuel here:

'Increasing Number' Of Tory MPs Are Considering No-Deal Brexit As A 'Viable' Plan B
Others said the government’s publication of technical notices on a no-deal Brexit may have made people soften to the idea as they are increasingly confident the country will be prepared.

Asked if more MPs are considering no-deal, a Leave-backing former cabinet minister said: “To a certain degree but people aren’t going round and saying no deal is going to be a cakewalk.

“But when people are seeing the technical notices they are asking, how much will this actually impact people’s lives?

“We won’t be able to get certain foods like bananas or tomatoes but it’s not like we won’t be able to eat. And we’ll be leaving at a time when British produce is beginning to come into season so it’s the best possible time to leave with no deal.”
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:17 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


The thing is, it is possible to be both stupid and evil. It may even be a common occurrence.
The Tories think they have a plan, and even a vision. They know this plan will lead to more poverty and less welfare for most Brits. So they lie about their plan. When they wrote about money for the NHS on that bus, they knew they were lying. They knew there would be no Brexit dividend, and they knew that even if there was (which there cannot ever be), they would not hand over that money to the NHS. So they lied and knew they were lying.
There was also a lot of stuff they didn't know. Actually, they are monumentally ignorant of just about everything relevant for Brexit.
But at the end of the day, they believed that their lies had a purpose, that they were working towards a goal, that someone would gain from Brexit. They knew all along that the UK as a whole would not benefit from Brexit, and they even knew that a lot of British businesses would be harmed. And still they got a lot of less informed people to believe in their lies and vote leave.
So these people were and are actively and deliberately doing evil. Does it then matter, that the evil they are doing is way over their heads? Does it matter that they didn't exactly understand that Britain is an Island or what "just in time"-manufacturing is? Does it really matter that they can't do the elementary math about the UK's size relative to the EU, if the wicked outcome that they did know they were planning for is the same?
The only reason the facts matter are that the general public should have known the facts before they voted, and they didn't, and because people still need to know what happened and what is happening.
As my little anecdote above shows, they may well be right in thinking they will personally come out just fine. If enough people are somehow invested in a lie, it becomes all important to protect the lie and the liars for all of those who went along with it. Look at May -- she isn't even a Brexiteer -- in my opinion, she is going to be the scapegoat for all of this. She'll be maligned and ridiculed while the real culprits will skate off and enjoy their future careers and comfortable retirement. I'm not defending May, she too is ignorant and she too lies to the British public. And she probably had her own sordid motives for taking on that job. But she is an example of the general rule that when people commit themselves to a lie, they cannot bring themselves out without some very tough love.
We all say this all the time, but this is going on all over the world right now, not least in the US.
posted by mumimor at 9:17 AM on January 4 [10 favorites]


“We won’t be able to get certain foods like bananas or tomatoes but it’s not like we won’t be able to eat. And we’ll be leaving at a time when British produce is beginning to come into season so it’s the best possible time to leave with no deal.”

So the strategy here is literally "let them eat cabbage"?
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:20 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


We won’t be able to get certain foods like bananas or tomatoes but it’s not like we won’t be able to eat

Let’s see that on the side of a bus.
posted by Catseye at 9:20 AM on January 4 [10 favorites]


Sardonic Column Weekly Roundup -

Ian Dunt
[Chris Grayling] is only capable of uttering a few key phrases, like some sort of nightmarish children's toy. One of these is the classic 'I'll take no lessons from…' and another is the always popular 'I make no apologies for…'. It is ironic, because if you were to suggest two things Grayling could do to improve his performance, they would be firstly to apologise and secondly to learn some lessons.
Marina Hyde
Few organisations have done more to positively discriminate in favour of the clueless or incompetent than the Tory administrations of the past few years, but even accounting for the likes of Iain Duncan Smith and Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling is the ultimate poster child for anyone whose inner voice tells them they couldn’t be something because they’re honestly just sensationally bad at it.
posted by Grangousier at 9:42 AM on January 4 [3 favorites]


"Tory MPs have a plan to wreck the UK economy on purpose in order to enrich themselves" is conspiracy theory fantasy that is no closer to reality than the conspiracy theories about the EU peddled on the other side.

Yeah, I think it's incidental, not done grand plan. I still think that that is the plan - just not that it was always the plan. More of a "well, I guess we'll do this then" situation. But given that brexit hasn't actually happened, it's still in the early stages where I would call it a plan.
posted by Dysk at 9:51 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


But also: some Tories were clearly pushing for Brexit all along, and likely had some idea of how to personally benefit from it, not just delusions of the EU bending over backwards to give Britain everything on a platter while the commonwealth fell over themselves trying to rush an advantageous trade agreement offer in before the Americans.
posted by Dysk at 9:56 AM on January 4


We won’t be able to get certain foods like bananas or tomatoes but it’s not like we won’t be able to eat

Let’s see
that on the side of a bus.

Can we get a kickstarter going?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:00 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]




Latest YouGov poll has Labour down three points, LibDem up three. If those held in a general election tomorrow, Labour would tank. It does seem that as people get a good look at either kind of Brexit on offer, they don't like it up 'em.

With exceptions. I was at a dinner party last night with a very dear pal who happens to be an old Scottish Communist and lexiter. His position and talking points, arguments and refutations were in almost every respect identical to John Redwood and the ERG. We - the other five present, who included his wife - pointed this out to him, plus the various extremely bad things that would happen on a no-deal Brexit to the working class, and his go-to response? "I don't believe a word of it".

Even he found it ridiculous, but he stuck to it. After a while, it went beyond Pythonesque. If our chum wasn't pretty much an avatar for Corbyn it would be hilarious.
posted by Devonian at 4:45 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Latest YouGov poll has Labour down three points, LibDem up three.

More than that:
The biggest Brexit poll conducted since the 2016 referendum, commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign, suggests a collapse in support for Corbyn’s party when people were asked how they would vote should Labour back or allow its MPs to support some kind of Brexit deal.

Labour polled 34% support in the YouGov poll of 25,000 people, conducted between 21 December-4 January. It puts them six points behind the Tories.

When voters were asked how they would vote should Labour MPs back a Brexit deal, its support fell to 26% – 16 points behind the Conservatives. Should Labour allow its MPs to vote however they wanted, support also fell to 26%. Campaigners argue the finding shows Labour faces losing millions of supporters by facilitating Brexit.
(Way down at the bottom of that page, more of an afterthought. Yes, it was commissioned by the PV campaign, but we have to hope that YouGov don't just make up numbers to order.)
posted by Grangousier at 4:52 AM on January 6


> We won’t be able to get certain foods like bananas or tomatoes but it’s not like we won’t be able to eat

Let’s see that on the side of a bus.
I aim to please
posted by farlukar at 11:54 AM on January 6 [10 favorites]


There is no leftwing justification for Brexit. We must fight it to the last
Chris Matheson, The Guardian
There is no justification on the left for Brexit. That so-called “lexiteers” are still invoking Tony Benn in their justification for a left Brexit demonstrates how out of touch they are with the modern struggles we face. I recall the dark days of Thatcherism when it was often only European law that prevented deeper Tory attacks on environmental and workplace protection, and that was before my colleague Jack Dromey, then a union official, led the Bournemouth bin workers to a famous victory to protect their terms and conditions when facing privatisation, a victory only possible because of European law.

But even since then the world has moved on, and however damaging globalisation has been, it can now only be tackled on a global scale. Britain standing alone cannot face down the forces of global capitalism. And the Brexiteers know this, which is why they are doing what they are.

After 29 March, the Brexit extremists will no longer have the restraining influence of the EU to hold them back
For these Brexit extremists, this project is about aligning the UK with the Trumpist US. The Trumpeteers and the Brexiteers are the same people, on different sides of the Atlantic. Whether from the Ukip tendency of Nigel Farage and Arron Banks, or the Conservative strand of Michael Gove, Liam Fox or David Davis (the latest senior Tory to visit at the behest of that shady nexus of so-called thinktanks linked across the Atlantic), the aim is the same.

They want to take the UK out of the EU and join us instead to the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) or the Pacific Alliance, offering free trade with these countries but none of the environmental, labour or consumer protection offered by the EU.
posted by mumimor at 2:59 AM on January 7 [7 favorites]


For these Brexit extremists, this project is about aligning the UK with the Trumpist US.

I think this analysis is incorrect.
Shirking environmental, labour or consumer protection offered by the EU might be appealing for a select few who actually might profit from that, but not for the great masses who voted for Brexit. No, for brexiteers, Brexit is not about aligning the UK with anything, it's about gaining independence from the evil EUSSR and its unelected eurocrats, as a quick look into the comments in the Daily Express or so will confirm. It's a fight for freedom, not a fight to switch alliances.
posted by sour cream at 5:22 AM on January 7


...David Davis: "If we need to leave with no deal and negotiate a free trade agreement during the transition period, so be it."

Needless to say, if there is no deal, then there will be no transition period. It's not a particularly difficult point to understand, although I suppose that with all this talk about deal, no-deal, transition periods and so on, you may be excused for not knowing this if you haven't followed the news very closely or it just isn't something that you have given much thought to. But to hear this from the very person whose job it was to negotiate this stuff, that's just ... mindboggling.
Mindboggling is the word, Sour Cream. And what hugely frustrates me is that the opposition seem to be incapable of properly capitalising on example after example of government incompetence.

The era of peak 'The Thick of It' was not good for British politics: soundbites and focus groups and cosying up to the worst of the press. But just imagine if a shark like Alistair Campbell was running Labour Party communications right now. On-message Labour MPs would be ripping hunks of flesh off the Tories night after night with vicious, memorable lines. Journalists would be fed a steady supply of damaging stories carefully timed to undermine every government announcement.

One might argue that it wouldn't exactly require a master of the dark arts to draw blood from Teresa May and her rotating cast of foamy-mouthed dunces, but whatever the reason, Labour's performance reminds me of the second verse of Attila the Stockbroker's poem 'And Smith Must Score' about the 1983 FA Cup final between Brighton & Hove Albion and Man U, when Gordon Smith got the ball 10 yards out late in extra time with the chance to win it for the Seagulls and somehow managed not to score:
A paralytic lemming
with the skill of a dead cat
and the finesse of a hamster
could have done better than that...
A decomposing dogfish
wrapped in bondage head to toe
could have stuck that ball into the net...
but Gordon Smith? Oh no!
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:23 AM on January 7 [8 favorites]


The darkness rose like a theatre curtain over the Kent horizon and what the gathered audience saw was a piece of national performance art that will echo down the ages.

There was Britain, standing fully naked in a disused airfield, drawing over itself in felt tip pen, pointing at its pale puckered flesh and howling like an illegal Eighties raver at the apex of an MDMA overdose.

What was happening was a Potemkin traffic jam. A government-organised tailback, put on to frighten the European Union into believing Britain is ready for no-deal Brexit, and not, as was palpably obvious, in the grip of a full on nervous breakdown.


To frighten the EU into believing we are serious about no-deal Brexit, the country has staged a fake traffic jam all the way to Dover
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:43 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


So what happened on Monday morning, is that the government paid 150 lorry drivers to turn up and have a practice go. A practice go at waiting on the out-of-service runway, and a practice go at crawling the 40-mile round trip to Dover. Or more accurately, it paid 89 lorry drivers, because, in yet more encouraging scenes, the full 150 didn’t turn up.
Sooo… the Potemkin traffic jam was only 60% of the intended size.

:golfclap:
posted by farlukar at 1:35 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Sooo… the Potemkin traffic jam was only 60% of the intended size.
Yes, and one tenth of the relevant size. Or something.
posted by mumimor at 1:54 PM on January 7


Brought to you by the same grifters who won't shut up about how government needs to get out of the way and let ministers plunder the treasury the working classes do "an honest day's work for once."
posted by duffell at 2:33 PM on January 7


Yes, and one tenth of the relevant size. Or something.

About 1.5 percent of the estimated 6000, but I sure it's the thought that counts
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:37 PM on January 7


The purpose of the exercise was not immediately clear, and given it was the brainchild, which is to say orphan, of Chris Grayling, it’s likely to remain unknowable


Hat off to the editor of that sub-head.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:12 PM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Oh, it's a pull-quote. Hat off to Tom Peck, then.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:16 PM on January 7


And as if the news on UK politics couldn't get any weirder, Corbyn has now branded the no-deal preparations as "Project Fear", thus using exactly the same rhetoric as Boris Johnson, Rees-Mogg, the ERG and all other hard-core brexiteers.

Except that they seem to be coming from opposite sides: Whereas the right-wing brexiteers think that there's nothing to worry about regarding no deal as the UK is poised to mussle up to the bars of the cage in which is held by the EU and vooom!, Corbyn seems to think (nobody really knows) that no-deal is such an unspeakable horror that the government shouldn't pretend to be contemplating it as a real option. You see, the government is just using it to scare everyone into voting for the shambolic May deal.

Or in the words of Corbyn: "The reality is there is no majority in this House to support no deal. Why won’t the government face up to this truth and stop wasting our time and our money?"

Now, what Corbyn seems to be overlooking is that there does not need to be a majority to support no deal, because it is THE. F*CKING. DEFAULT. If there is no vote from now to March 29, then that means no deal. There will be no vote on no-deal, so whether there is a majority or not is a moot point. The point is that there will (most likely) be no majority for May's deal, and there will (most likely) be no second referendum. So no deal it will be.

But what is surprising is that even Corbyn seems to be incapable of understanding this rather basic point. Unless he is, for some reason, really confident that May's deal passes...
posted by sour cream at 9:49 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]


And thinking about it a bit more, Corbyn's position makes even less sense: Either the government tactic works and May's deal passes, or it doesn't and then ... well what then exactly? Somehow Labour takes over and manages to negotiate a better deal in the nick of time?

Either Corbyn is just as deluded as David Davis and the rest of the unicorn chasers or he's got an ace up is sleeve. My bet is on the former.
posted by sour cream at 10:14 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


I just wrote a comment that was unfit for human consumption, and then deleted it because I want to be part of society. But Labour really should get rid of Corbyn already.
posted by mumimor at 10:16 AM on January 8 [6 favorites]


The government (I really feel I should somehow qualify that) lost a vote today. A cross-party amendment passed by 303-296 to forbid raising taxes to spend on no-deal Brexit without parliamentary approval.

I'm not entirely sure how much this is a practical measure, or how much it's a sign that Parliament is ready and able to properly block no-deal Brexit if it comes down to it. Combine that with the almost-certainty that the May deal won't go through (I say almost, because there have been rumours that Corbyn will whip an abstention to let it go through, but who the fuck knows) and we're back to A50-suspension-and-second-ref or A50-suspension-and-general-election. The default as it stands now won't happen if the Commons votes it away, and I think it just demonstrated that it would and could. Unless Jezza.

Things I am currently the least impressed by:

1. "You can't have a second referendum because it would be too divisive" when coming from the mouths of those who instigated the most divisive trajectory in modern British history.
2. Lexiters whose phrasing is identical to hard-Brexit Tories.
3. Everything else in this whole fuckery-fuck meisterfucker gefukken.
posted by Devonian at 1:30 PM on January 8 [12 favorites]


From The Register: Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt
[...]the growing likelihood of a no-deal withdrawal means that all .eu domains run by UK citizens or UK companies without a presence in the EU will become defunct.

You read that right. Dot-EU domains cannot be bought or renewed after Brexit by organizations nor people located outside the union, which means UK-based folks will be unable to hold onto their .eu domains.

And even if there is a deal, it remains highly likely that .eu domains owned by UK citizens will be forcibly shuttered after Euro bureaucrats surprised everyone last year by announcing they would go against long-standing industry practice and actively remove .eu domains – and related websites – from the registry if they had been registered by UK citizens.


This doesn't make one bit of sense to me, but apparently that's the rule for .eu domains and the EU is not inclined to change it in this case.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:41 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


It makes tons of sense. What I bet will happen though, is that some holding company type operation will spring up to rent EU presence. For £50/mo. These people are about to be over a barrel.
posted by rhizome at 10:52 PM on January 8


But what is surprising is that even Corbyn seems to be incapable of understanding this rather basic point. Unless he is, for some reason, really confident that May's deal passes...
Or he wants No Deal.

The "Project Fear" phrasing is weird. Even someone as tone-deaf as Crobyn knows how that looks.

Accelerationist, useful idiot or red under the bed 80s style retrospective, it doesn't really matter.
Corbyn should have gone in the Summer and is now as much a barrier to progress as May and the Tories.
posted by fullerine at 11:30 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]


Question: what do you guys think the path is from "Jeremy Corbyn expresses support for a second referendum" to "Second referendum happens"?

Labour has 256 seats out of 650 in the Commons. The Conservative Party has 317 and is implacably pro-Brexit. A substantial minority of Labour MPs are pro-Brexit too. No Labour leader can win a vote for a second referendum in the current Commons.

If the Labour leader expresses open support for a second referendum, he or she alienates a huge chunk of pro-Brexit voters in the industrial North that Labour would need to get a majority in the House of Commons.

Now I can see a path from "Labour keeps ambiguity on a second referendum" to "second referendum happens". May's deal is voted down, general election follows, Labour wins a maority, Labour uses that majority to vote for a second referendum. But I don't yet see how the other path works.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:51 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


It makes tons of sense. What I bet will happen though, is that some holding company type operation will spring up to rent EU presence. For £50/mo. These people are about to be over a barrel.

Or I'll transfer my .eu domains to my EU citizen friends who live just up the road from me, and buy them a pint. Or I'll register them in the name of a fictitious company called something like An die Freude GmbH, or just borrow the name of a real EU-based company with lots of other domains. Or citizen.
posted by Devonian at 1:13 AM on January 9


You might, but a lot of people wouldn't even know where to begin. Dreamhost could probably add it as an option during renewal.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:17 AM on January 9


Labour has 256 seats out of 650 in the Commons. The Conservative Party has 317 and is implacably pro-Brexit. A substantial minority of Labour MPs are pro-Brexit too. No Labour leader can win a vote for a second referendum in the current Commons.

The Conservative party is no more monolithically impacable on this than Labour. The numbers might still not be there, but it's not as straightforward as that.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:19 AM on January 9 [3 favorites]


I agree Corbyn nailing his colours to the "people's vote" would not make much of a difference.
I just think there are better options than cosplaying Nigel Farage.
posted by fullerine at 1:21 AM on January 9


Question: what do you guys think the path is from "Jeremy Corbyn expresses support for a second referendum" to "Second referendum happens"?

The way it looks right now is that the 300+ strong cross-party group introduces an amendment this afternoon which forces May to submit a plan B within three days of losing the vote on her plan A. That resubmission would be amendable. At this point, if a majority of UK MPs wants a second referendum instead of going straight to (a) hard Brexit, (b) Plan A or (c) Remain, then a second referendum we shall have - assuming that Corbyn doesn't try to shut down his side of things. At the moment, Labour is supporting the cross-party group, and around 20 Tories have rebelled and joined it.

The way the numbers are is that roughly 120 MPs want hard Brexit, 200 would vote for May's plan and 300+ want a second referendum (there's no detectable enthusiasm for just cancelling the first referendum). It's no longer a party matter, and if the cross-party group continues to maintain its support as evidenced yesterday then it is very likely that the Amendable Plan B amendment that will hopefully be accepted by the Speaker at start of proceedings this afternoon will pass. There was a Tory MP on the radio this morning saying he didn't vote for the amendment yesterday but would for the amendment today, and I suspect he's not the only one.

This calculus suggests that the second referendum is by now the firm favourite, and that we'll know by the end of next week.

If so, me hearties, we rejoin the battle with a vengeance.
posted by Devonian at 1:26 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


I should also say -there are also other outcomes along the lines of a no confidence vote or May resigning, but as those events really do run the risk (the first a bit, the second a lot) of running the clock out without the EU27 agreeing to suspend A50, I feel these are less likely.

But it's 2019, so WTFK.
posted by Devonian at 1:32 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


If Corbyn does try to whip an abstention on plan A I won't know what to think.
Labour doesn't have a mechanism for removing the leader outside of conference do they?
posted by fullerine at 1:39 AM on January 9


If the Labour leader expresses open support for a second referendum, he or she alienates a huge chunk of pro-Brexit voters in the industrial North that Labour would need to get a majority in the House of Commons.

Not sure this received wisdom is actually true at all.

From upthread:

Labour polled 34% support in the YouGov poll of 25,000 people, conducted between 21 December-4 January. It puts them six points behind the Tories.

When voters were asked how they would vote should Labour MPs back a Brexit deal, its support fell to 26% – 16 points behind the Conservatives. Should Labour allow its MPs to vote however they wanted, support also fell to 26%. Campaigners argue the finding shows Labour faces losing millions of supporters by facilitating Brexit.

posted by Dysk at 2:13 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


May is urged to stop MPs blocking no-deal Brexit by triggering an April 4 ELECTION so Parliament doesn’t exist when the UK leaves the EU
(Warning: Daily Mail)
The extraordinary tactic would mean Parliament being dissolved during March for an election campaign, which would still be ongoing on March 29 when the UK is due to leave the EU.

This is utterly bananas. Surely they wouldn't do this? (I know, I know but surely!?)
posted by ukdanae at 2:41 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


The way the numbers are is that roughly 120 MPs want hard Brexit, 200 would vote for May's plan and 300+ want a second referendum

The Sun: Currently 53 MPs have publicly backed a second Brexit referendum

Where does the 300+ number come from?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:55 AM on January 9


This calculus suggests that the second referendum is by now the firm favourite, and that we'll know by the end of next week.

If so, me hearties, we rejoin the battle with a vengeance.


Arrr!

Or rather "Errr..."

Since the last referendum I have lost my right to vote, having now lived outside the UK for over 15 years.

FFS.

At least the Dutch are doing the decent thing.
posted by ZipRibbons at 4:39 AM on January 9


Hi! Remember back when an anonymous leaver former cabinet minister said:
“To a certain degree but people aren’t going round and saying no deal is going to be a cakewalk.
“But when people are seeing the technical notices they are asking, how much will this actually impact people’s lives?
“We won’t be able to get certain foods like bananas or tomatoes but it’s not like we won’t be able to eat. And we’ll be leaving at a time when British produce is beginning to come into season so it’s the best possible time to leave with no deal.”

Well, it turns out he was even wrong about the produce:
Brexit utopia is a receding dream – instead Britain faces a food shortage
Guy Singh-Watson, the founder of organic veg box company Riverford, noticed that remark and wrote this comment in the Guardian (pull quote):
March, though, is the worst possible time for a no-deal Brexit. Weather permitting, some crops will have been planted (this time last year, very few had been) but, dear politicians, they need time to grow: 29 March is, in fact, the start of the UK “hungry gap” when last year’s crops of kale, cabbage, greens, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, swedes and stored apples, onions and potatoes are all coming to an end, while harvest of new-season crops will not start until mid-May.
posted by mumimor at 5:24 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]




Where does the 300+ number come from?

Um... it was from a Faisal Islam tweet last month. The publicly declared support is very different from privately declared support, but I think the amendment vote yesterday is good confirmation. If you were pro-May or pro hard Brexit, you wouldn't have voted for that.

That April election thing is utter bampot. It has the distinct whiff of a panicking ERG desperately trying to fan some flames via the Sun, and is about as bonkers as most bright ideas from that source.

Amendment for forced representation of amendable plan due to be voted on very soon. I just dipped into BBC Parliament TV and there's some very fractious and noisy business as Ledsom complains that the Speaker isn't following precedent. Bercow's having none of it, but is letting a number of points of order go through. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing, and some very snarky stuff aimed at him, but it has the air of timewasting by now.
posted by Devonian at 5:51 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Bercow barks DIVISION! and they're off.
posted by Devonian at 6:10 AM on January 9


I'm as far from a Tory as you can get, but Ken Clarke is my local MP, and he occasionally provides a welcome reminder that it's possible to be a Conservative without being a contemptible asshat.
posted by pipeski at 6:18 AM on January 9 [4 favorites]


Here we go...

Ayes 308
Noes 297

The amendment is in.
posted by Devonian at 6:28 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


Brexit proved our economy is broken, but our leaders still have no clue how to fix it
Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian

This is an excellent article
posted by mumimor at 6:53 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Where does the 300+ [ want a second referendum ] number come from?

Um... it was from a Faisal Islam tweet last month


Maybe I'm missing it, but I just had a look through his Twitter feed and couldn't find it. There was this tweet saying there could be 300+ MPs signing a letter against a No Deal Brexit. But that's not the same as supporting a Second Referendum, since it would include MPs who support May's deal, a Norway option, etc.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:51 AM on January 9


There are times during these debates I would pay quite large amounts of hard cash money to have Kier Starmer or Yvette Cooper as Labour leader.
posted by jaduncan at 7:55 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Here's Cooper as a Labour leadership candidate in August 2015: “At a time when we are dealing with a global climate change threat, when international borders have ebbed, when extremism doesn’t recognise nations and when we need to work together more than ever, is it really radical to quit Nato, to prevaricate over membership of the EU or trash our reputation as an internationalist party? I say no.”
posted by rory at 8:06 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Apologies - I got that wrong. I got the numbers from an analysis on Radio 4 which I first mentioned here. I can be sure of those figures, because I transcribed them from multiple listens. I can't remember which of the BBC political correspondents - or whether it was another journalist - gave those figures, but it was part of a long and well-informed piece.
posted by Devonian at 8:06 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Apologies - I got that wrong. I got the numbers from an analysis on Radio 4 which I first mentioned here. I can be sure of those figures, because I transcribed them from multiple listens.
Sure. But your original comment had:
No deal - 130 (Hard Tory, DUP)
May's deal - 200 (Soft Tory)
Remain/2nd Ref - 303 (Lab, Lib Dem, SNP, odds and sods. Lab's official line is it wants an election, which it will not get; if no election, 2nd Ref. So they count here)
You're calculating the number of MPs who support "Remain/2nd Ref" by adding up Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP and minor parties in the current House of Commons. That neglects any pro-Brexit Labour faction and still doesn't get you a majority.

Going back to my original point, that means I still think a more likely path to a second referendum would have a general election that changes the composition of Parliament first.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:01 AM on January 9


The question is what happens to the Soft Tory group after May's deal is voted down (as seems very likely). I suspect a lot of MPs in that group (and in Labour) are looking for political cover to say something like "May's deal is no longer an option, no deal is unacceptable or at least requires a specific mandate, so reluctantly I now think a people's vote is the least worst option".
posted by crocomancer at 9:18 AM on January 9




That neglects any pro-Brexit Labour faction and still doesn't get you a majority.

But there are also Remainer Tories. By far the biggest group within the Commons is Remain/2nd Ref, as has just been demonstrated, and while Corbyn could try and reduce the size of that group he couldn't do it by adding to the size of either of the other two groupings. He couldn't whip his MPs into voting for anything else, he could perhaps make them abstain so May's deal would go through but that would be heartbreaking for his membership.

Anyway, we'll see soon enough.
posted by Devonian at 9:30 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Mr Williamson also predicted Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Caribbean states and nations across Africa would look to the UK for “the moral leadership, the military leadership and the global leadership”. (from upthread)

Does this defence secretary know that the outside world can read? Clearly he does not see how delusional his prediction is, but at least someone has mentioned to him how insulting it is? I suppose these other countries are too diplomatic to respond with 'keep your morals' so maybe he just lives in a bubble.
posted by romanb at 10:07 AM on January 9 [6 favorites]


Moral leadership my arse. The death of the colonial mindset can't come soon enough.
posted by pipeski at 11:07 AM on January 9 [7 favorites]


The death of the colonial mindset can't come soon enough.

It will never happen given the latest vote in the UK parliament still seems to think there some other option that the EU is just holding out on and that the UK can get for...well, reasons. It's all fantasy from all sides, as far I can see. There isn't time for another vote, there is no other deal, and it's either accept it or crash out. The EU has 27 members that worked together to produce this deal and it's stayed more or less the same all over the period of negotiation, so it's not changing. Or I guess they can try and extend the transition period, but that would need to also be agreed on by all 27 member states.

No one wants the UK that much as a member to give up their own red lines, and the Irish, barring the DUP, are not nostalgic for the British Empire and have no intention of going through that again. But that seems impossible for many in parliament on both sides to get their heads around.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 2:13 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Isn't revoking article 50 still on the table?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:27 PM on January 9 [4 favorites]


I don't think so according to the EU.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 2:48 PM on January 9




The death of the colonial mindset can't come soon enough.

Agreed 100%. My politics are probably much more centre-right than most Mefites but I can tell anyone who would listen, the chances that Aotearoa/New Zealand will look to the UK for any sort of leadership, moral, military, or whatever, are precisely nil. You'd have more chance writing 'Brexit' on the back of a postage stamp with a broken piece of chalk than us looking to a post-Brexit UK as a model of anything. Done that, been there. Us cutting ties with the UK, especially over trade when they joined the EEC as it was then, was one of the best things we ever did as a country.
posted by vac2003 at 5:56 PM on January 9 [3 favorites]


New thread.

Ian Dunt's article (linked by fearfulsymmetry above) is excellent, and as good a starting point as any for a new Brexit thread, so I thought I'd post it as one - this thread is about to run out of time, just when things are heating up again.
posted by rory at 6:36 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]


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