Meet the new plan, same as the old plan
January 21, 2019 4:03 AM   Subscribe

In a few hours, Theresa May is due to give a statement to Parliament about her Brexit Plan B, after a week of even more floundering about than we've come to expect. Gina Miller writes about the need for MPs to use the parliamentary sovereignty that she fought for. David Lammy MP argues that even a Norway outcome would be lose-lose. A backbench effort to rule out a no-deal Brexit is supposedly supported in private by much of the government, who don't want to do it themselves for fear of splitting their party. But might explicitly ruling out No Deal mean that May's deal ends up getting through?

Also today, EU27 citizens living in the UK are now able to apply for "settled status", paying £65 per adult for the privilege of gathering years of paperwork to satisfy the award-winning† Home Office. UK warehouse space is nearing capacity as firms stockpile for Brexit. Falling house prices in some of UK's wealthiest areas suggest the rich are bailing out.

Meanwhile, among Brexit's true believers, the founder of Wetherspoons does his best to lose his pubs half of their potential customers. A Leaver describes the history of failed Euroskeptic attempts to come up with a plan in the years before the referendum, and what that means for us today.

Previously.

†A member of the government described the Home Office as having "won awards" on a recent BBC Newsnight piece about the scheme. As far as I can tell, this refers to a 2017 UK IT Industry Award for Best Use of Cloud Services.
posted by rory (558 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
 


You ever feel as if your mind had started to erode?
posted by ZipRibbons at 4:35 AM on January 21 [16 favorites]


Also today, EU27 citizens living in the UK are now able to apply for "settled status", paying £65 per adult for the privilege of gathering years of paperwork to satisfy the award-winning† Home Office.

Not quite. It's the phase three test of their Android app. If you do not want to scan your passport with your Android phone (an activity I cannot strenuously and strongly enough recommend against) you still cannot apply, because the scheme is still not open. Just doing the phase three test of their Android app.
posted by Dysk at 4:42 AM on January 21 [10 favorites]


I feel like I’m in one of those Star Trek episodes where time is looping but everything is also falling apart around me.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:43 AM on January 21 [34 favorites]


TM isn't really going to come out this afternoon, speak to the nation (again!) and tell us all that she's going to have another pop at renegotiating the backstop with the EU, is she?

Surely even she isn't that bloody-minded. Unless, of course, she is attempting to run down the clock.
posted by winterhill at 5:06 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


Thanks for that clarification, Dysk. So, all EU27 citizens are now able to take part in a trial of some software, rather than a trial of the whole scheme or the actual scheme itself. Maybe the Home Office hopes to cover itself by leaving it in perpetual beta and blaming that for anything that goes wrong.

University EU27 staff have been able to test it out for months, which means we've seen Home Office posters around our buildings showing stock images of shiny happy people having fun. It's so much fun filling out forms for the Home Office and waiting to hear whether you've been accepted for settlement in the country where you're already settled! Now comes with free Sword of Damocles.
posted by rory at 5:11 AM on January 21 [14 favorites]


Also at a uni, most of my colleagues got this paid for by the institution in December I think. Then they got taxed on the £65 as an added benefit to their pay. Marry Xmas!
posted by biffa at 5:20 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I really don't understand why they want you to do the application from a mobile phone. It seems the worst possible approach. It's the least secure device most people own, the most exposed, the least convenient to fill out large quantities of data on, and the hardest to get documentary evidence on to. And of course, the only alternative they will offer to using your mobile is fucking posting them your passport. Not like, going in to your local council office and getting them to do an authorised photocopy. No. Post them your original documents, including passport. Or scan them with your mobile. No middle ground. No computer based application. What the fuck?
posted by Dysk at 5:20 AM on January 21 [27 favorites]


I have begun stockpiling food.

In Britain. In 2019.

I HAVE BEGUN STOCKPILING FOOD.
posted by kyrademon at 5:25 AM on January 21 [90 favorites]


Falling house prices in some of UK's wealthiest areas suggest the rich are bailing out.

As someone without a dog in this hunt, I hesitate to point out what some might see as a silver lining to this very large and threatening cloud, but look here.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:26 AM on January 21 [8 favorites]


House prices falling would, in isolation, be good. In conjunction with a more general economic downturn though (like the one brexit will likely precipitate) it's going to lead to a firmer grasp on UK housing stock for relatively few landlords snapping it up on the cheap, rather than the average person having better access to housing (as their income and the value of their current house will also have been wrecked).
posted by Dysk at 5:31 AM on January 21 [38 favorites]


If you do not want to scan your passport with your Android phone

To be fair, it's not unusual for apps to attempt to read my passport when I put it in my pocket next to my phone. It's definitely a bit of a worry.
posted by ambrosen at 5:33 AM on January 21


Falling house prices in some of UK's wealthiest areas suggest the rich are bailing out.

While other foreign buyers are snapping up super-prime real estate at a discount, ensuring that areas like Belgravia remain uninhabited except by skeleton staffs of servants.

When buy-to-let landlords sell up and mortgage-holders go bankrupt, we will probably see (as in the US following the subprime crisis) hedge funds cornering the market on habitable space and pushing the rents up to just over what the market will bear (knowing that when the current tenants have been bled dry and join the zombie armies of the homeless, there's a steady line of the equally desperate willing to have a go).
posted by acb at 5:33 AM on January 21 [10 favorites]


As someone without a dog in this hunt, I hesitate to point out what some might see as a silver lining to this very large and threatening cloud, but look here.
What good is a 20% lower house price if you can't find a job to pay for said house, no matter how cheap it is?

House prices are based on employment prospects in the area - that's why housing close to areas with a high concentration of high-paid work (say, Cambridge) is much more expensive than housing in areas where the work is casual, low-paid and scarce or involves a long commute (say, the Welsh valleys).

Houses in the latter type of area are very cheap, but still sitting empty because even at those low prices, people can't afford them on the wages available in the area and can't get a mortgage on the kind of insecure work available in the area. Falling house prices mean employment opportunities in the area are getting less.
posted by winterhill at 5:33 AM on January 21 [6 favorites]


If you do not want to scan your passport with your Android phone

I wonder whether they only chose Android because they bought into the stereotype of EU citizens as migratory guest-workers with cheap dual-SIM Chinese Samsung knockoffs, or possibly as a subtle message that signifiers of middle-class stability such as iPhones do not belong to them.
posted by acb at 5:35 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


It's because Apple refused to grant them low-level access to the Apple Pay subsystem on iPhones. As is standard policy for Apple - no third party apps can have the access the Home Office wants. They're still pretending that they'll get it eventually, but the reality is that no equivalent iPhone app will be forthcoming, not in the immediate future or indeed ever.
posted by Dysk at 5:37 AM on January 21 [41 favorites]


Post them your original documents, including passport.

Looks like the Home Office gotta Home Office. Even in the good ol' days (early 2000s) when it still didn't cost a fortune to apply for ILR and naturalisation, we non-EEA people had to do exactly this. It meant months of being unable to leave the country, hoping that your documents didn't get lost down the back of a filing cabinet.

I wonder why anyone might be reluctant to send their non-UK passport into the Home Office two months before the UK could leave without a deal and life could get very difficult very quickly.

I hesitate to point out what some might see as a silver lining to this very large and threatening cloud

The cheaper properties in question won't be much comfort to people looking to get onto the property ladder, unless they have a £1m+ deposit.
posted by rory at 5:38 AM on January 21 [8 favorites]


From the Grauniad live feed, 26% of the people who prefer a no-deal Brexit think that it means staying in the EU.

We're a virus with shoes.
posted by daveje at 5:39 AM on January 21 [53 favorites]


From the Grauniad live feed, 26% of the people who prefer a no-deal Brexit think that it means staying in the EU.

Or, as suggested in the Twitter thread, they didn't really read the question properly and voted for their preferred outcome. Either way, not promising.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:43 AM on January 21 [6 favorites]


It seems the worst possible approach. It's the least secure device most people own, the most exposed, the least convenient to fill out large quantities of data on, and the hardest to get documentary evidence on to.

Isn't that the point?
posted by pompomtom at 5:46 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


From the Grauniad live feed, 26% of the people who prefer a no-deal Brexit think that it means staying in the EU.

Surprisingly close to the crazification factor.
Although I suppose you need to add 7% "Nobody knows" to that.
posted by sour cream at 5:50 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


I have permanent residence and have no idea if I should change this to settled status. The guidance helpfully tells me that I can (for no cost apparently) but not that I need to or that there are any differences between the two. The rights appear to be the same but am I better off holding onto this permanent residence? A document which I technically don't and didn't need but got because the government provided zero assurances about my future status for over a year.

The shrug emoji continues to be the unofficial mascot of Brexit.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:57 AM on January 21 [9 favorites]




I really don't understand why they want you to do the application from a mobile phone. It seems the worst possible approach. It's the least secure device most people own, the most exposed, the least convenient to fill out large quantities of data on, and the hardest to get documentary evidence on to.

As I understand it from the earlier trials, the process scans the NFC-readable chip on the passport, i.e. the same as the automatic gates at airports. It also takes a picture of the passport, and your face. You can fill in the rest on the phone or a computer, which is basically giving them your email, phone number and NI number. They do the rest of the checks against the police and revenue&customs databases (to see if you've been resident more than 5 years, and no criminal record) and notify you by email if you 'pass' - at which point you cough up the £65 to be allowed to carry on living where you already live. Yay.

The only tool that 99% of normal people have that can read NFC is going to be their smartphone (unlike IT weirdos like me that have a USB one on their desk). It doesn't work on iphone as iOS doesn't allow the necessary low-level access to the NFC reader that android does, and Apple are unlikely to ever allow it.

The thing the NFC check is doing is that you physically have the passport, and that it's (reasonably likely) untampered with data matches the photo. If you could just send a photocopy, it would be trivial to fake a bunch of them.

It does seem *massively* simpler than the 80 page 'document in detail every time you left the country for the last 5 years, P50s and bank statements and every official letter by date' process non-EU citizens have to go through for permanent residency which were changed a couple of years ago to also apply to EU citizens. (My wife took one look at that form and basically said if that's what she's got to do after 15 years here, she's going to go back to France.)

Admittedly this is like saying hitting yourself in the face is better than doing it with a cricket bat with nails in it, but this is Theresa 'hostile environment' May we're talking about. The problem is going to be the thousands that either it doesn't work for and have trouble with the 'send my passport and hope' to the Home 'you never sent us that paperwork' Office, or simply don't know about the cutoff in 2021 - three million people in two years is just asking for a future Windrush scandal.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:07 AM on January 21 [12 favorites]


If you could just send a photocopy, it would be trivial to fake a bunch of them.

Hence my suggestion of going to a government office (local council offices would be ideal) to have them verify the authenticity and have them make a photocopy which they then forward on your behalf. Council offices can verify the legitimacy of identity documents, or they couldn't execute large parts of their function. Asking people to use a notoriously insecure NFC device to scan their passports is a terrible solution, before we even consider that bit everyone has a smartphone, nevermind one if the correct type/brand and era.
posted by Dysk at 6:17 AM on January 21 [11 favorites]


(And for anyone where the HMRC checks based on NI card don't provide sufficient evidence on their own, you still need to provide the mountain of paperwork to prove your residence for the past five years. Assuming you can lay your hands on it, because there wasn't a looming requirement to keep a paper trail for at least three of those five years.)
posted by Dysk at 6:20 AM on January 21


Having had extensive dealings with my local council, I wouldn't trust them to verify the sky was blue, let alone run an IT project at short notice. They are also notoriously underpaid. You do realise NFC chips can be read by anyone in a few feet, yes, or a lot more with the right kit? Getting a ton of people's passport data is easy with a raspberry pi, a rucksack and a trip to the airport. Forging alterations is much harder.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:22 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


They don't need an IT system. They literally need to look at your passport, verify that it is indeed a passport, take a photocopy of it, sign it, address it, and put it in their outbox.

And we're ignoring that not everybody has an NFC passport (yet). So there has to be a system for verifying documents without it.
posted by Dysk at 6:25 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


(And again, councils are already verifying identity documents like passports all the time for other purposes)
posted by Dysk at 6:26 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


And we're ignoring that not everybody has an NFC passport (yet).

Or a NFC-capable phone. (I was a little annoyed to find that the Moto G4 still doesn't have one, but not as annoyed as I was to find it didn't have a compass...)
posted by entity447b at 6:27 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


verify that it is indeed a passport
This is indeed the step the NFC chips were added to solve, as they were proving increasingly easy to forge. Getting an undertrained council person to look at it does not, in fact, prove it is a valid passport. Anyway, we're quibbling over a minor point.

We both agree the process sucks, shouldn't be necessary, and EU citizens are getting the short end of the stick. Both of us can think of much better ways to do it, or frankly not do it all. I'm just explaining why it's being done that way, within the confines of this xenophobic government, not that I think it's a *good* way.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:28 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Getting an undertrained council person to look at it does not, in fact, prove it is a valid passport.

It sure does for benefits purposes, for example.

But sure, step it up a notch and have people go to their local HMRC or whatever office it is you go to to apply for a National Insurance card (it's a while since I did this, I can't remember exactly what it was called). They for sure already have NFC scanners, and are set up to deal with people bringing documents in. Like, there is existing infrastructure to do this, without resorting to telling people to go to the Google Play store for an app with a long and complicated name, and hoping they grab the right one.
posted by Dysk at 6:39 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I feel bad admitting this, but I recently changed some plans involving a mid-April trip to Ireland: instead of stopping off in London for a few days on the way to Cork, which was both cheaper and easier flights-wise, I'm stopping off in Paris instead.

I mean, I'm a pretty resilient, low-maintenance traveler, but even in the poorest and least-secure places I've been, I've never, ever been worried about whether or not there would be food, medicine or fuel available, if flights would be allowed in, or if public order was going to break down. Hundreds of backpackers arrive in places like Cambodia or Nepal or Bolivia every day precisely because they know it's safe enough and stable enough that they can relax - even these less-developed places are still connected to the world enough that you can call home for pennies, find clean water, get medical care of an adequate standard. Travel insurance is happy to cover you there.

But with Brexit? I simply have no faith in the May government's ability to keep its own people fed, healthy and safe if there's no deal, let alone tourists like me. I really cannot imagine what a developed society like the UK will look like after being functionally unplugged from the economic and regulatory space it inhabits for a few weeks, and I'm not going to bother finding out.

In a few years, when things are a bit more settled down (one hopes!), sure - I'd love to visit again. But not now.
posted by mdonley at 6:39 AM on January 21 [30 favorites]


Hence my suggestion of going to a government office (local council offices would be ideal) to have them verify the authenticity and have them make a photocopy which they then forward on your behalf.

This is the way forward surely. To prove identity when I lived in Argentina (this also applied to locals) you went to your local police station with your passport / documents where everything was noted and then at some point in the next 5 days a policeman would come round to the address you'd given and check it was you who lived there (either by knocking on your door or checking with the building supervisor if you weren't in).

It's a bureaucratic and labour-intensive solution but it worked. Not that you could implement that easily here - since austerity has kicked in, there isn't a manned police station within 15 miles of where I live now - a town of 20,000 people.
posted by jontyjago at 6:42 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


Hence my suggestion of going to a government office (local council offices would be ideal)

Yeah the council here does a check and send for an extra fee. It also means that you keep your documents as they just send off "certified copies" I'll use it when I finally get to applying for citizenship.
posted by koolkat at 6:54 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I really cannot imagine what a developed society like the UK will look like after being functionally unplugged from the economic and regulatory space it inhabits for a few weeks, and I'm not going to bother finding out.
Okay, good for you. But this kind of post feels a little tone-deaf when many millions of us live here and have no means to be elsewhere during what could well be a period of upheaval and hardship.

While any negative effect on tourism from the current political uncertainty is not great for our economy, your personal travel plans are not especially important in this context.
posted by winterhill at 7:02 AM on January 21 [28 favorites]


[Quick note: These Brexit threads have been going on for a couple of years, so if you haven't been reading it's fine to go back and take a look to see what folks have been discussing, but let's try to tamp down on the temptation to ask about/make suggestions that have been discussed absolutely thoroughly in past threads (ie: "so, revoke A50 and then have a second referendum," etc.). Also, while well wishes are nice, comparing this to Trump in US also tends to disrupt the discussion a bit, since it brings things around to talking about Trump/US (again!), and requires explanations on how this isn't an apples to apples comparison (US will be able to get rid of Trump; Brexit is long-term, etc).]
posted by taz (staff) at 7:02 AM on January 21 [45 favorites]


Can't they outfit council offices, post offices or similar with NFC readers (or even bulk-order a pallet of Android phones, install a government passport-verifier app on them, and send them out across the country)?
posted by acb at 7:03 AM on January 21


I honestly cannot fathom the endgame for a lot of the No Dealers at this point, and when I try I can't tell if I'm thinking too hard or not hard enough.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:19 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


Can't they...?

I think the whole point here is there are many ways of achieving what they are trying to do from a logistical point of view, but we mustn't forget that we, as a nation, are now charging people who have lived here for many, many years to register to live here. People who have contributed financially and socially to this country for decades.

And of course, this is not a mere bureaucratic oversight, but this is what millions of people want Brexit to mean. We often hear that the simple Yes / No nature of the referendum meant that it is now impossible to implement a Brexit which all the 52% voted for, but by selling the notion that EU immigration was uncontrollable for year (when in reality they themselves chose not to implement controls open to them) this government has also pushed the idea that by voting Leave we can now "control" who comes here. The greatest irony of all is that the architect of all of this, voted to Remain but is now in charge of putting her ultimate masterplan into action with her FoM red line.

All the pain, uncertainty and feelings of being unwelcome being experienced by millions of people are not side effects of Brexit - they are the whole point for a lot of the 52% and make all of the damage it will cause worth it. It makes me feel physically sick.
posted by jontyjago at 7:21 AM on January 21 [25 favorites]


I have begun stockpiling food.

In Britain. In 2019.

I HAVE BEGUN STOCKPILING FOOD.
posted by kyrademon at 1:25 PM on January 21


Yup, same here. And air tickets booked to fly out on 28th March, staying with relatives abroad, which I may or may not use depending on the situation. In the former scenario, I'll be packing what I need to work from there, just in case returning isn't a safe option for a while.

I'm lucky. I have a portable job, spare cash, no dependents and a supportive network. Many people do not have options: either they're already living at the edge of their resources, have nowhere to go or have commitments that they cannot abandon.

The PM's brinkmanship is criminal. She is prepared to ruin this country and destroy people's lives for the sake of maintaining that loose affiliation of the greedy and the vicious known as the Conservative Party.
posted by doornoise at 7:32 AM on January 21 [23 favorites]


Yvette Cooper: Our cross-party bill doesn’t threaten Brexit – it just gives us more time: It means that if we reach the end of February and things still aren’t sorted out, then parliament would get a vote on whether to extend article 50 and give everyone a bit more time.

Well, sort of... it would be a vote on whether to ask the EU27 collectively to extend A50. But the EU has said all along that an extension can't just be to allow more time for negotiation, but would need to be for something more concrete, such as a new referendum. So wouldn't this bill have to be explicit about why we were asking for more time, which would mean having to get Parliament to agree on a course of action, and isn't the whole point that we need more time because Parliament can't agree?

The only thing that Britain can do unilaterally to buy time is revoke A50, but Cooper says that this bill won't do that.
posted by rory at 7:35 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


I think the whole point here is there are many ways of achieving what they are trying to do from a logistical point of view, but we mustn't forget that we, as a nation, are now charging people who have lived here for many, many years to register to live here.

Only the Home Office could do something to 'foreigners' that even Jacob Rees-Mogg thinks is a bit much:
We are saying to people who’ve been living her legally, who had had all the right papers to be here, that they must have a new paper for which they must pay. They should have it free in the same way as a birth certificate is free.
posted by garius at 7:39 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


I HAVE BEGUN STOCKPILING FOOD.

Likewise, and preparing to start gardening for actual sustenance, rather than just an excuse to potter round outside and support the local bug, slug, and butterfly communities...

Particularly as, even though I've been paying attention and reading the news (and megathreads), I only twigged a couple of weeks ago that a no deal scenario means no implementation period, no 2 years of trying to bodge things and trying to adjust.

Everything just goes completely pear shaped in 2 months...

It would be nice to think that at some point in the future everyone involved in pushing Brexit through is going to be facing trial on some sort of criminal negligence/fraud charge. The reckless self-interested incompetence is just so staggering.

On the bright side, the portion of my childhood spent living off the grid in the Highlands when my parents went through their nuclear war survivalist phase looks like it's going to pay off after all. Also the ability to turn pretty much anything thing into alcohol could be a fairly valuable life-skill.
posted by Buntix at 7:39 AM on January 21 [51 favorites]


On the bright side, the portion of my childhood spent living off the grid in the Highlands when my parents went through their nuclear war survivalist phase looks like it's going to pay off after all. Also the ability to turn pretty much anything thing into alcohol could be a fairly valuable life-skill.

I am interested in your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:52 AM on January 21 [24 favorites]


> Also the ability to turn pretty much anything thing into alcohol could be a fairly valuable life-skill.

Do go on. With practical examples, please.
posted by humuhumu at 7:55 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


You ever feel as if your mind had started to erode?

I find May a fascinating figure from the point of her mindset. With Trump - remote and amateur diagnosis be damned - we can ask ourselves "What would a malignant narcissist do?" - and note that this gives us a pretty good prediction. It always seems that psychiatrists did not have many people with that personality disorder beating their doors down asking for help - because that is not something they would remotely think to do. Rather it was those who were forced to live around them that were crying out for assistance.

May seems to fit into that same pattern: she has all the kind of traits that are likely to those around her screaming for professional help: intransigence, mulish maliciousness, myopic strategic judgement, dire people skills. Like narcissism, this seems to be a cluster of behaviours often found in leaders (Corbyn, as others have noted, seems remarkably similar) - but I don't think there is a name for it - and that makes it a little harder to use as a predictor.

(While thinking about this question, I found these wonderful links form 2016 - Goodfield Institute and NY Times- predicting how May's Psychological profile were going to make her a great leader - "safe pair of hands")
posted by rongorongo at 7:59 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


At least the absolutely disgraceful £65 application fee for "settled status" has been removed. One does wonder if it was put in place in the knowledge that it would be widely unpopular, so that something positive could be announced this afternoon.

But other than that, all as expected. No new information and no new plans from Theresa May. Even Radio 5 Live, whose literal job is to cover live rolling news stories, didn't bother to take the May statement. That's the lack of expectation that surrounded this address.

One of the concerns I have about all this is how slow the whole thing is. We're talking now about the end of February for the second "meaningful vote" on the May deal with whatever meaningless platitudes she manages to eke out of the EU. It's so blatant at this point that she is attempting to run down the clock.
posted by winterhill at 8:01 AM on January 21 [8 favorites]


I honestly cannot fathom the endgame for a lot of the No Dealers at this point, and when I try I can't tell if I'm thinking too hard or not hard enough.

Beyond Friedmanite shock-doctrine disaster-capitalism? Soften up the population with the economic equivalent of carpet bombing, clearing the ground for a new settlement in which everything is up for grabs, and at the end of which, the old postwar social-democratic certainties will be but a distant memory, and the wretched remnants who survive will be grateful to their lords for the permission to so much as breathe.
posted by acb at 8:06 AM on January 21 [13 favorites]


At least the absolutely disgraceful £65 application fee for "settled status" has been removed.

What a fucking shower of incompetent fucks.

As they've just doubled the NHS surcharge to £400 a year on all non-EU visas (many of the holders of which are also working and paying NI / taxes) maybe they're covering their costs of registering all these pesky Europeans after all...
posted by jontyjago at 8:12 AM on January 21 [8 favorites]


I was mulling over the likelihood of mailing care packages to some UK friends, should it come to that, and then it hit me that there might not be any easy way to ship things in, and that was even more depressing.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:13 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


On the techie discussion here: Putting aside that we should never have been in this position in the first place and looking purely at the bureaucracy/engineering/process design: Getting the NFC reader in an Android phone to validate your passport, backing that up with a quick photo and then filling in a few other details (on your phone, or on a computer) seems like a pretty neat solution to me. Low cost, scales massively. On the privacy side, most people with a smartphone have already taken way more privacy risks than this particular use case represents.

On the other hand: 'Just getting someone in the council to photocopy your passport' is a lot more complex than it might sound - (a) people that work for the council dont work for central government, so good luck getting every council in the country to agree (and agree quickly) to some new process that soaks up their already overstretched resources to prop up a central government initiative that a lot of councils wont even agree with and (b) what then happens to the photocopies/scans of the passports and good luck designing that process (are they going to email the scans somewhere? yuk. Or do you have to build a system for the council employees to then enter the data and upload the scans? In which case, you're better off with an app for the end user) and (c) using up time of employees in offices is expensive.
posted by memebake at 8:17 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


Surely the whole point of government infrastructure is to provide economies of scale for universal needs? Tax everybody and use some of the revenue to provide the resources to meet those needs far more freely than in some idealised libertarian order of absolute-individual-freedom-with-absolute-personal-responsibility, where everybody is responsible for validating their own passports (and also carries a sidearm for self-protection, and probably pulls their own teeth if they need to).
posted by acb at 8:21 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


Ian Dunt: The civil war between Norway and People's Vote is insane

Not to get too tin-foily, but isn't this sort of thing exactly the SVR/GU playbook for sowing chaos abroad? Infiltrate or impersonate a movement for the sole purpose of making arguments that drive a wedge between that movement and its potential allies?

Like, in the US, that's what they were doing in BLM and leftist groups during the 2016 election. And presumably it's what they were doing in the UK during the referendum, too. No reason to think they just stopped.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:30 AM on January 21 [10 favorites]


I really don't understand why they want you to do the application from a mobile phone.

Traditionally it would be because some official's imbecilic ne'er do well relative by marriage was the owner or operator of the company or program required.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:34 AM on January 21 [19 favorites]


The difference, @tobascodagama, is that in the US, those were fronted by Russian-based anonymous accounts hiding behind fake identities; in the UK, they're actually fronted by deranged, swivel-eyed Torukipy loons, who really are making out they are good ideas (even if it's on behalf of the Kochs).

As the Russian State to the US, US capital to the UK State; they sell us for their sport.
posted by davemee at 8:36 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


acb: Don't know about the rest of you, but for any given bit of bureaucracy, I'd much rather do something on my phone than have to get a bus down to some physical place and wait around for someone to photocopy something for me.
posted by memebake at 8:36 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


That's assuming that the phone is a sufficiently mature and secure platform for the job. Given that the system only runs on Android, and only because on Android, anybody can access the NFC reader because the system is not secure, would give me reason to doubt.

“Be your own passport validation service” is a bit like the Bitcoin mantra of “be your own bank”; more a warning than a promise.
posted by acb at 8:40 AM on January 21 [9 favorites]




acb: I don't quite see how you're getting from 'do thing on your phone instead of at the town hall' to 'bitcoin/libertarian'
posted by memebake at 8:51 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I for one would much rather swing past the council offices when I'm in town than have my data sold to undisclosed third parties, as well as my passport data and a photo of it available to anyone with access to my old, no longer updates phone.

I'd like to at the very least have it as an option. Sure, let people trust their phones if they want, make an app. But don't make it the only practicable option.
posted by Dysk at 8:56 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


From the opening paragraph of an article in the Washington Monthly:
Any form of negotiation depends on the presumption of basic intelligence and moderate predictability from its leaders. [...] If one side has no idea what it wants or is willing to trade for, then everything breaks down. Worse, if the people doing the negotiating aren’t actually in change or in a position to offer concessions then nothing dependable can come of the discussion.
Oddly, the article is not about Brexit but rather Trump's negotiations over the US government shutdown.
posted by mhum at 9:00 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


So, is there any pith/merit in Y. Varoufakis latest game-theorist take: Run Down the Brexit Clock ?
posted by progosk at 9:02 AM on January 21


So, is there any pith/merit in Y. Varoufakis latest game-theorist take: Run Down the Brexit Clock ?

Given how badly Varoufakis mishandled his end of the Greek crisis (him specifically, not Syriza as a whole), my immediately response was to say “without bothering to click the link: no”.

But that seems needlessly disagreeable, so I clicked the link. The answer is still a resounding “no”.
What will happen if the impasse continues until March 29, without a formal extension of the Article 50 period? The threat from Brussels is that the EU will shrug its shoulders and allow a disorderly Brexit, with substantial disruption to trade, transport, and so forth. But it is much more likely that German business, along with the French and Dutch governments, would be up in arms against such a turn, and demand that the European Commission use its powers indefinitely to suspend any disruption in Europe’s ports and airports while meaningful negotiations begin for the first time since 2016.
...
Once MPs acknowledge that freedom of movement between the UK and the EU is a red herring, the most likely outcome is Norway Plus for an indeterminate, deadline-free period. Then and only then will Parliament and the people have the opportunity to debate the large-scale issues confronting Britain, not least the future of the UK-EU relationship.
Thanks for the stupid “game theory” that was so helpful to the people of Greece, mate. And I’m reassured to hear that FoM is a red herring, rather than the main sticking point in negotiations. What a relief that we don’t need to worry about that!
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:11 AM on January 21 [17 favorites]


Surely the whole point of government infrastructure is to provide economies of scale for universal needs? Tax everybody and use some of the revenue to provide the resources to meet those needs far more freely than in some idealised libertarian order of absolute-individual-freedom-with-absolute-personal-responsibility, where everybody is responsible for validating their own passports

Of course. However, we've had the Tories in power for over 8 years pursuing a destructive austerity agenda, so that councils in particular have seen their funding absolutely crushed, around 30-40% in real terms, at a time of rising costs due to an aging population as well the fall out of austerity on other parts of society. And their ability to raise local taxes has been capped. Most have cut services to the absolute bone, and are struggling to provide even their legally mandated services, and one the things to go has been staff.

The thing to bear in mind is that we're talking about an estimated 3.5 million people, 5% of the population. The current plan is that come the end of the transition period (assuming the withdrawal agreement is ratified on schedule, ahahahaohoh), free movement ends and EU citizens who are not already in the UK come under a different scheme. So the EU citizen registration scheme is due to end in April 2021.

3.5 million extra people, going to council offices that can't even cope with the current demand. The passport office issues around 5 million passports every year, and they are well known for getting completely bogged down and having people stuck in the system for months or even years. Adding an extra 3.5 million to that system with a hard deadline - and an inability to travel until the original document is returned - would bring the system to its absolute knees, just when we're starting to issue brand new (blue) passports for UK citizens.

And we're not talking about people who've got UK documents, birth certificates etc in a standard known format - the documents that need to be checked are bluntly, in a foreign language and of many different formats, many of whom's interaction with the British state has been minimal (no local registration, as is common in most EU countries), and may well not have amazingly great english.

The system absolutely *has* to be largely completely automated and default 'yes' for the large majority, there simply isn't the bureaucratic slack or staffing to do anything else. And to be fair, it's not like they could just send every EU citizen a card in the post, because the government has no records of them - even today there is no legal requirement to do anything at all to let anybody know you're an EU citizen living and working in the UK, exercising your free movement rights, and won't until the end of the transition period.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:22 AM on January 21 [10 favorites]


Sure, but as an alternative to the app, (they do currently offer one) you have to post your passport to the Home Office. Literally just replace that last bit in the current system with "get a certified photocopy from your local government office and post that" is not quite the hardship you're suggesting. They already have to deal with everyone who isn't an automated yes, it can't it won't use the automated system. Just make that bit not require giving up your passport in the middle of this particular situation.
posted by Dysk at 9:26 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


Fine, yes, I give up. That would be great, the tories should absolutely do that, and bringing it up a 10th time in this thread will absolutely make them do that.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:31 AM on January 21 [10 favorites]


Is there any actual reason that there's not another referendum now that it's pretty clear that there is and was no plan for Brexit? Other than pure pigheadedness?

Britain is a representative democracy, not a direct democracy (this is one of the many reasons that the referendum in the first place was such a bad idea - you pick a system and stick to it, even if the system isn't ideal, because new procedures are just that: new and untested). We elect local representatives every few years, and everything else, including the formation of a government, appointment of a prime minister, etc, is handled by them. So MPs are accountable to their constituents, but quite infrequently.

Outside of MPs, and of course the media, the only actors that have a little more power than regular constituents are those who join political parties - they can influence policy direction of the party, as well as the selection (and sometimes even deselection) of their local candidates.

So the question isn't "is this idea sensible", or "do a majority of voters support this idea" or anything like that. The question is more like "does this have a majority in parliament", or "would MPs vote for this, even if it meant defying the whip and voting against their own party" and even "is there any way that this issue can be forced to a vote, or can it be sidelined indefinitely by the government and/or opposition". I'm no expert on parliamentary procedure, so I'll just say that it's complicated, and doesn't necessarily result in optimum outcomes.

Now bear in mind that the Tories have a plurality in parliament - they're the largest party, even if they fall short of an absolute majority. To pass anything sensible at this point, you need to convince a lot of Tories to support it, which will mean voting directly against their own party and personal interests. Remember my point about the power of party members and bear in mind that even the more sensible, Remain-inclined Tory MPs are accountable to their local membership organisation, and that Tory party members are, put simply, elderly racists with very right-wing views. They overwhelmingly favour Brexit over remain, and more than 3/4 of them would back a no-deal crash-out Brexit over remain in a straight vote.

Then remember that the opposition is also led by an MP who favours Brexit and whipped his MPs to start the article 50 process, so you'd be looking at a similar problem on the other side of the house (although it's slightly better because Labour party members are broadly in favour of Remain).

It's a pretty fucked up situation, overall.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:37 AM on January 21 [26 favorites]


†Clearly that part of the script was written by Armando Ianucci
posted by symbioid at 9:39 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I've been stock piling my prescription drugs and I have a least a month spare now. Also googling how to get them from abroad (assuming a postal or at a courier service is still running), if not I suppose I could always try and get on a ferry (the stuff I really need I know you can buy over the counter in Germany at least)

This, of course, is insane.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:10 AM on January 21 [26 favorites]


Turns out the government have done as I've been pleading for sometime since I updated the page this morning, even if it is in far too few places.
posted by Dysk at 10:20 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Wetherspoons have (at least for where I live, in Extremely Remain Brighton) now taken to having Royal Mail deliver their in-pub "publication" (50% advert for Spoons, 50% testerical screeching hard-brexit political screed) direct to our homes.

Seriously, it came with today's post (same as other bulk non-addressed advertising items that RM can be paid to deliver). I skimmed it just enough to ensure my revulsion was accurate and slung it safely in to the recycling.

It feels like they're fighting a referendum / election / something-or-other that hasn't been announced yet. Or maybe they're just trying to whip the population in to contacting our MPs to try to get them to support a cataclysmic brexit. To which I say, "Good luck assholes!"; my bit of Brighton turned Labour at the 2017 snap-general election and the other bit is Caroline Lucas's turf.
posted by BuxtonTheRed at 10:31 AM on January 21 [5 favorites]


Or maybe they're just trying to whip the population in to contacting our MPs to try to get them to support a cataclysmic brexit. To which I say, "Good luck assholes!"

Sure, this probably isn't going to make a difference in Brighton and Hove.

But the problem is... We are coming to a major decision for the country, and two of the very narrow chances at anything less than unimaginable disaster is another public vote, either in a General Election or in a second referendum. I don't see either of those outcomes happening to be honest, but despair is a sin etc. And even overall public sentiment, if it appeared to swing strongly in one direction or the other in the days leading up to the end of March, could persuade a wavering MP to vote in a particular direction. Who knows.

And only one side of the debate is bothering to make their feelings known.

In the lead up to the 2016 referendum, I happened to be back in the UK for a few weeks. In Doncaster, two people pressed "Save the NHS" fliers into my hands - one was wearing a "Remember Orgreave" tshirt. These weren't Tories. The flier urged me to vote Leave to save the NHS. My parents' junk mail each week included various pro-Leave materials. Nothing from Remain. A few days later, I rode a motorbike from the North of England to meet up with some friends in Italy. We were talking about the vote - they were confident, I wasn't. I'd seen plenty of signs in fields throughout England: LEAVE. Someone had taken the trouble to hang "Leave" signs on all of the bridges that crossed the motorway between London and Dover.

Someone had taken the trouble. Someone like Tim Martin, who owns Wetherspoons, and paid for that magazine to be delivered to you. Nobody bothered to do that on the pro-Remain side. Richard Branson could have done something similar - but he didn't.

And with a third of the population unsure about their vote until the last minute, that passion, that effort and the exposure that they created could easily have tipped the balance a couple of percent in favour of Leave.

That's the mistake that Remain is, apparently, repeating. Who's come out vociferously for Remain, with a positive case for the EU and our continuing membership? Who's handing out fliers at train stations? Who's putting up signs in fields, and on bridges? Who's paying to have a free pro-Remain newspaper with offers at Britain's largest pub chain pushed through your letterbox? As far as I can see, Mr Stop Brexit - in his silly hat, pissing off all the Lobby journalists - is the face of Remain in the UK today.

And that's how you make the same unforgivable mistake twice in a row.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:55 AM on January 21 [44 favorites]


Cameron did not think EU referendum would happen, says Tusk
I'm moving on from bargaining to depression now.

During the weekend I was at a party with family and friends where it turned out everyone had family in the UK under different circumstances, from dirt poor to stinky rich. And while everyone was a bit worried, no one could imagine it will get as bad as it actually will. I realized that is a huge part of the problem. When you live in a modern(-ish), functioning(-ish) society, you literally can't imagine it can break completely down over a few days. With regards to Brexit, we are more like 1914 than 1939. Back then, smart people knew a war was coming, and that war would be terrible, but most people had no clue that it would be the end of civilisation as they knew it.

Even though the Tories are the heart of this and it is their fault 100% as it says in the article linked, it is also a terrible thing that there is no opposition. It's so simple to demonstrate that the problems in the UK, though similar to those all over the West, have been driven to the extreme in the UK by austerity. They have nothing to do with the EU. It's low hanging fruit for Labour. And yet, Corbyn. I'm depressed.
posted by mumimor at 11:14 AM on January 21 [13 favorites]


I think some parts of remain are being rightly cautious about who to promote as a face of remain. Some voices like Alistair Campbell have not been as helpful as they might like to think. There's perhaps caution about rolling out more old white men or over which MPs to have at the forefront. Tim Martin does fit a stereotype which plays well to a lot of leavers perhaps but having a business tycoon at the front of a remain might play too much to criticisms of remain being the establishment, as patently untrue as that is when facing Johnson, Rees Mogg and a large chunk of the Tories.

Femi Oluwole is brilliant I think and more grass roots voices like his are probably the way to go.

Also I do hear of street stalls for a People's Vote being run every weekend. Pimlico Plumbers have long had a massive pro-remain signage up viewable on a major railway line (albeit into an already pro-remain London). There are prominent business voices continuing to speak out (Deborah Meaden springs to mind, although it's predominantly via Twitter in her case). It's not like no campaigning is happening on those fronts.
posted by edd at 11:19 AM on January 21 [7 favorites]


> Cameron did not think EU referendum would happen, says Tusk

FWIW, Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s communications chief (played by Rory Kinnear in Brexit:Uncivil War, if you've seen that) points out that Cameron 'spent the whole of the 2015 election campaign making clear he would not lead any form of Government that didn’t have a referendum'.
posted by memebake at 11:42 AM on January 21


Who's come out vociferously for Remain, with a positive case for the EU and our continuing membership? Who's handing out fliers at train stations? Who's putting up signs in fields, and on bridges?

You are, of course, entirely right, ambrose.
The explanation is that Brexiteers and Remainers are fighting different fights. Not only is it a fight for change vs. fight for status quo (which tendsto put the disrupters at an advantage, see US presidential elections 2008 and 2016), but it's actually a fight for independence - from the evil dictatorship that is the EU. Brexiteers are (or regard themselves) as freedom fighters. Who cares about a little lower growth or higher tariffs when there's independence to be gained?
Which is incidentally why keeping the UK in the EU through some backroom shenanigans might be a bad idea, because this is what a fight for freedom looks like, except it will be fought in Brussels or Strasbourg instead of Derry. Maybe this is also what we'll have to deal with if there's a second referendum won by Remain.

Incidentally, it just dawned on me (sometimes, I'm a little slow) that the reason why Teresa May is so vehemently against ruling out no deal is not to keep a bargaining chip for her negotiations with the EU (who do not seem to be terribly impressed by that threat anyway), but rather to get her own party to vote for her deal. I now think that's her endgame - that faced with the alternatives of (a) no deal and economic catastrophe and (b) no Brexit and being branded traitors, enough MPs will opt for her deal.
posted by sour cream at 11:42 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


In regards to the Varoufakis article, the EU Commission using their powers to avoid disruption is the one bit of that I can buy. The problem for the UK is that it will be localized and entirely based on what bits are good for the EU; I believe there's already been some moves to allow aircraft stopovers for example. They aren't going to generally make deals that are to their disadvantage just to save the UK from itself.
posted by tavella at 11:44 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is also what we'll have to deal with if there's a second referendum won by Remain.

No it isn't. And there's no need to carry on with this shit stirring from overseas. Please at least lay your cards on the table and tell us what your links to the UK are.
posted by ambrosen at 11:45 AM on January 21 [13 favorites]


Can we please stop saying EU 27 can apply for the app, and the status to remain?!

It’s actually EU26. Happy Paddys Day to youse!


Top o’ the mornin’ to youse #plasticpaddys !!To be sure, to be sure, to be sure, you would have a Cup of tea, now won’t you? Ah, you will, you will, you will!

It was specifically stated today that The lucky Irish managed to survive a famine only to be grandfathered in Without further ado!

Probably because the entire NHS would collapse in an instant should the Irish decide to get the hump, and even resign for two or three days from the NHS.....
posted by Wilder at 11:51 AM on January 21 [3 favorites]


If there are any MeFites within reach of the south east coast of the UK, I tend to grow a lot of my own food, and have stockpiled the basics for at least three months, and with that I mean for about 10 people.

Hey you can get so far on pulses, lentils, paneer, Mung beans, frozen meals and the skills to make all that tasty!

We’re going to pop over to France for lunch each Sunday between then and now to stock up on other basics like CHEESE, WINE & beer

So we’ll be set and welcome anyone struggling

Our only concern is my husband’s patients on the night of the crossover to a no Deal Brexit because he’ll have to just pretend his medical degree crosses over at midnight, and he will provide emergency good Samaritan cover for those ladies requiring their emergency Caesarean sections after midnight! Those people requiring admission to ITU after midnight! And also trauma because they’re coming to the emergency department after midnight!.

So he just happens to be in scrubs , In the vicinity of an emergency department at 12:01 AM in the hospital he has served at for 16 years.........

Whistling a happy tune".....



And hoping he’s not going to be fucked over by a system that may insist he has no qualifications after midnight!

Thanks so much!
posted by Wilder at 12:09 PM on January 21 [28 favorites]


It's the loss of insurance that would ground flights rather than any other stronger legal requirements, as I understand it?
posted by edd at 12:32 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Here’s an interpretive dance performance foreshadowing how any future negotiations between the UK and the EU will turn out.

The UK is on the right side of the screen, the EU is on the left.
posted by New Frontier at 12:42 PM on January 21 [12 favorites]


This got retweeted across my stream yesterday and I can't stop laughing/crying at it.

The Brexit people voted for
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:59 PM on January 21 [11 favorites]




Faisal Islam of Sky News has got hold of an internal Border Force document from last November suggesting that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, in the short- to medium-term, imports could drop to 13-25% of their current levels.

Britain imports 76% of its vegetables from the EU, and 30% of its food in total. So if my maths are correct, we're looking at a drop of between 57-66% of our vegetable supply, and 23-26% of our total food imports (although a large proportion of that will be the aforementioned vegetables, in fairness). And that's assuming there'll be no knock-on effects of the disruption, which of course there will be. For example, we can expect less British fruit, too. It'll be rotting on the vine, as 95% of the workforce in that sector are seasonal EU immigrants. Etc.

Ever cloud has a silver lining, of course, and the bright spot in all this is for European exporters of illegal drugs. The Border Force document makes it clear that freight will be re-routed through the Netherlands. I know that if I was a Dutch entrepreneur in the business of sending pills to the UK, I'd be rubbing my hands with glee. This process is obviously going to be complete fucking chaos, with people under a great deal of pressure to stuff as many boxes labelled "food" onto a ferry as possible, in a very short period of time. Ideal conditions for sending over half a ton of pingers in the place of carrots.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:37 PM on January 21 [16 favorites]


Britain imports 76% of its vegetables from the EU, and 30% of its food in total.

Just occurred to me that I'm probably understating things here, because imports from e.g. North Africa probably go via other ports of entry in the EU and arrive in Britain via France. So third-country imports will be affected to the same degree as EU imports, unless they're landing directly in the UK. Which means that it's probably better to look at overall imports, not just those originating in the EU:

Britain imports 50% of its food. So you're looking at an overnight drop of 37-43% in the UK's total food supply, even generously discounting the effects on domestic production from the sudden disappearance of all the people who do the harvesting.

No wonder they're planning to get the army involved.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:53 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Ideal conditions for sending over half a ton of pingers in the place of carrots.
posted by lalochezia at 3:04 PM on January 21 [6 favorites]


And that's assuming there'll be no knock-on effects of the disruption, which of course there will be.

The knock-on effects are where the shitshow model becomes a (frowny face) quadratic rather than just linear.

To take booze as a simple example. The primary ingredient is sugar (apart from that it's just flavouring: and nettles and heather are everywhere) Sugar supplies should be fine. If anything it should get cheaper as the export sea-change in the article is reversed with interest in the form of tariffs and the sugar companies can't export anymore.

But, this doesn't factor in (to pick a few potential changes):

* Land having to be repurposed (and people retrained) to grow food that isn't sugar.
* Delivery trucks having to do runs half empty.
* Supermarkets operating half-empty.
* Fuel price increases (we're a big net importer these days).

Not even sure about the drug silver either. Currently I suspect that because EU post isn't subject to VAT/tariffs then there's a lot less in the way of screening to make sure it's not only legal, but more importantly not taxable (the incentives built into the system tend to become the system).
posted by Buntix at 3:22 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


If there's a lesson to be learned in all this, it's that functional "Democracy" shouldn't mean letting the people make the important decisions, but rather letting the people choose the people who make the important decisions.

That probably makes me an elitist or something.
posted by rocket88 at 3:50 PM on January 21 [6 favorites]


The upper limit on the safe degree of democracy may be set by the degree to which the public is well educated and has an understanding of the world in which their votes have an effect. Which means that both the increased cost of education and the rising influence of the Murdochs of this world have reduced the viability of democracy.

That's the optimistic option; the other one is that an enlightened public, at a broad enough scale to make a difference, has never been a possibility, and democracy has always been a dangerous idea, or as one might put it, something so precious that it must be rationed.
posted by acb at 3:56 PM on January 21 [8 favorites]


Eh, the Athenians figured out that all democracies end up as oligarchies anyway: the wealthy can always buy votes, or buy the person who received the votes. I think that’s why they instituted sortition for non-military offices.
posted by um at 4:13 PM on January 21 [3 favorites]


Well, if we get flooded with cheap cloggie bathtub wiz at least we won't notice that there's no food.
posted by Devonian at 4:14 PM on January 21 [5 favorites]


If there's a lesson to be learned in all this, it's that functional "Democracy" shouldn't mean letting the people make the important decisions, but rather letting the people choose the people who make the important decisions.

Quite deliberately, that's what the Brexiteers sought to undermine in their campaign, most memorably Michael "I Think the People in This Country Have Had Enough of Experts" Gove.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:16 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Ireland has referenda all the time and a similar style system to the uk in terms of representative democracy, with the important caveat that we also have proportional representation not first past the post voting. But as we have a constitution that means you have to come up with an actual replacement for what goes in there usually, so it is very clear the specifics of what you are voting on.

People can make informed votes on issues if the politicians involved in putting the vote take it seriously just like happened in the Irish vote on abortion last year. They published the entire legislation that would come before the vote and didn’t leave it for some future magic better time.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:57 PM on January 21 [17 favorites]




Here's the unroll for the thread lalochezia posted.

Sorry for the length, it turns out I had a lot to say and it's so much easier when there isn't a 120 character limit! I realise I haven't mentioned the Integrity Initiative, and I would really value some intelligent discourse on that. Should I bother reading up on it? So much noise related to that subject!

I am holding on to my belief that no party would want to be the one to bring about crashing out of the EU, Hard (Suicidal) Brexit/No deal. It would be a ticket to not being elected again for the foreseeable. The population would not forgive them, they will blame them and not take responsibility for getting us into this situation via the 2016 referendum, on the whole. The dangerous WTO nonsense would be shown for what it is.

Despite there being loudmouth Leavers all over the media, it doesn't appear that they have maintained their slender majority. In fact they are a long way away from having a majority now that people have got a more visceral understanding of what leaving the EU and Customs Union would mean for the UK. Ignoring the illegalities and suspect funding of the Leave campaign as a reason to have second thoughts, there seem to be significant numbers of people that voted Leave as a protest vote, who now would like to change their minds. Whether due to austerity or the feelings of being left behind and ignored by Whitehall, the understanding that the EU is not to blame is coming to some people. Also attitudes to immigration are changing, people know that the NHS is reliant on immigration and still want to save the NHS.

I understand YouGov polls are considered to lean towards supporting the Tories, but I don't know enough about statistical methods to examine that claim. Regardless, an online poll of 25,000+ that they undertook in December 2018 had some heartening results:

"80% of people who voted Leave two years ago still say they want Brexit to go ahead; but the figure falls to 69% if the choice is a “no deal” Brexit, and only 55% if the referendum offers the withdrawal agreement. The rest say they don’t know, or switch to Remain. (The respective loyalty rates on the other side – Remain voters in 2016 who would stick with Remain today – are significantly higher.)"
...
"when voters are asked how they would vote if Labour failed to resist Brexit, the Conservatives open up a 17-point lead (43% to 26%). That would be an even worse result than in Margaret Thatcher’s landslide victory in 1983, when Labour slumped to 209 seats, its worst result since the 1930s.

The key reason for this is that, if Labour is seen to facilitate Brexit in any form, YouGov’s results indicate that the party would be deserted by millions of Remain voters – without gaining any extra support from Leave voters."

I believe that Labour might have a recovery in Scotland if they back Remain, as currently they are pretty much dead in the water after siding with the Tories in IndyRef. 36% of Labour and SNP voters voted Leave in Scotland, but the SNP is clear on their Remain stance so they don't mind pissing off the Leavers, Labour should do the same. Labour could take votes in a future election from the Tories in Scotland with a Remain/People's Vote stance at this critical time.
It has been reported that many marginal Labour seats voted Leave, so mirroring the Tory party in putting party above country, the Labour leadership are not backing either revoking Article 50 or a second referendum/people's vote. Instead they are taking the seemingly inane stance of insisting that crashing out is taken off the negotiating table. This seems to play to the May approach of kicking the can down the road. As far as I know, it would take an act of parliament to achieve what they want, which means MP's voting, which means nobody can promise the outcome. So it cannot be promised by May, who seems to be enjoying waving it around as a threat.

Any new referendum has to be a binary choice, including Remain. I don't think they can get away with my way or the hard way as a choice. So I assume the options would have to be whatever 'deal' versus Remain, which would mean that No Deal crash out has to be ruled out somehow. Maybe the current Labour stance isn't completely baffling? Maybe Corbyn did vote remain and understands the importance of the EU to the UK economy, to the jobs he keeps going on about? It is pretty much in line with their conference Brexit motion.

"If we cannot get a general election Labour must support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote. If the Government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public."

Maybe, along with their supporters, they are clinging to the idea that there will be a general election called, despite the vote of no confidence not going their way. That seems delusional to me, but the whole situation is psychotic.

One of my worries is that May is narcissistic enough to want to go down in history as the woman who burned down the UK in order to 'save it', rather than the woman who didn't get Brexit to happen. How severe is her pathology?

Crashing out would be an extinction level event for much of the UK economy, I simply can't see any political party wanting to be associated with that. Whatever fact free rhetorical exceptionalism the few platformed extremists are spouting, the management seem to understand that no deal is not an option. History will be on the side of anyone who backs revoking A50 or a People's Vote.

This time around Remain need to be on top of their messaging, making it positive to counter the vacuous, jingoistic and very effective 'take back control' message. I would like to see short, easily shared video clips or animations, including:
1. Great things about being in the EU that we all enjoy
2. Economic shizzle, such as the number of people employed in businesses outside London that rely on the fact we are *in* Europe; supermarkets, JiT etc.
3. List of Leave campaign illegalities, investigations and etc.
4. Scientific breakthroughs that have resulted from pan European co-operation
5. Other positive stuff

If they don't exist, I guess I am going to have to make them. So if anyone wants to help, that would be great! Otherwise, it'll be done in Powerpoint, which might damage the cause. I want to live in a tolerant, open society!
posted by asok at 6:13 PM on January 21 [14 favorites]


No Deal Brexit will be calamitous for the world economy. I wish they'd get this all figured out because I was out of work from 2008-2011 and am not sure I could manage that again.
posted by hippybear at 10:11 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Also, it feels like this whole thing is being driving by economics on some level, so who profits from a No Deal Brexit? What investments or interests do men like Boris have which are going to result in them flying high while everything around them burns?
posted by hippybear at 10:54 PM on January 21


Crashing out would be an extinction level event for much of the UK economy

I agree it will probably be bad, but I think the truth is closer to "we don't really know what will happen and we don't know how bad it will be."

I think the predictions on the Remainer side are often faulty in that they take current figures and try to extrapolate them based on a single assumption, like this:

Britain imports 76% of its vegetables from the EU, and 30% of its food in total. So if my maths are correct, we're looking at a drop of between 57-66% of our vegetable supply, and 23-26% of our total food imports

What this fails to take into account is that Brexit will cause a disruption with so many unknown factors that it makes predictions impossible. Maybe tariffs on veggies will be dropped. Maybe there'll be small barges criss-crossing across the channel (maybe not for veggies but for stuff like insulin). Maybe it turns out that sourcing oranges from somewhere else is easier than thought. Or maybe it's none of the above but something else that noone has thought of before.

It's probably fair to say that in the case of Brexit, living standards in the UK will drop for at least some years - even the Leave side has conceded that. But specific predictions will likely prove wrong. Which is incidentally one of the big problems: Lack of predictability is already putting a damper on investment and this is likely to get worse.ppened either.
posted by sour cream at 11:54 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


"Then I would telephone President Macron and ask him to make a speech saying that De Gaulle had been right all along: the British are not to be trusted and should not have been admitted to Europe; that the French have been planning for years for us to depart and are delighted that they and the Germans will now be free to run things the way they want.

"With luck, this would so provoke the people that they would rise en masse and demand another referendum to stop the French from once more getting the better of us."


Sir Humphrey Appleby talking to Jonathan Lynn
posted by smcg at 12:07 AM on January 22 [10 favorites]


I found this little article in the Guardian to be a good overview of the parliamentary arithmetics on various options.

Did I say “good overview”? I meant depressing overview.
posted by Kattullus at 12:15 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Also, it feels like this whole thing is being driving by economics on some level, so who profits from a No Deal Brexit? What investments or interests do men like Boris have which are going to result in them flying high while everything around them burns?
posted by hippybear at 10:54 PM on January 21 [+] [!]


Basically, the rich Brexiteers are imagining a deregulated country, with low taxes and cheap, unprotected wages. And they imagine a much closer trade relationship with the USA, including the lower food safety standards. Most of all, they want the current EU regulations on the financial markets gone. They believe all of this will make some rich people much richer, and give them more power. Making all the rest poorer also means they can have their servants back, like before the war.
posted by mumimor at 1:31 AM on January 22 [13 favorites]


Making all the rest poorer

To help them, let's not forget that worker's rights in the UK are by and large controlled by EU regulations at the moment, so they will also be able to scrap all of those.
posted by jontyjago at 1:44 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


And they imagine a much closer trade relationship with the USA, including the lower food safety standards.

Don't forget US based health insurance companies licking their lips at full privatisation of the NHS.
posted by PenDevil at 1:51 AM on January 22 [6 favorites]


An important Twitter thread by Jim Grace examining all 72 of the 4514 EU-influenced UK laws that were "forced on us against our will" (i.e. the UK voted against them). Unrolled version.
posted by rory at 1:59 AM on January 22 [20 favorites]


Meanwhile that rag sitting on the tables in the aforementioned Wetherspoons seems to have some issues with where the content came from.
posted by edd at 2:09 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


There is another thing; till recently, the EU has actually not regulated banking very harshly, because there has been a very strong opposition to transnational bank regulation. Now, first because of the bank crisis, and then because of a number of scandals, this is changing.
posted by mumimor at 2:16 AM on January 22


This seems like a morsel of good news: Labour calls for vote in Commons on holding second referendum

It's not exactly a ringing endorsement but those seem in short supply from Big Jez.
posted by entity447b at 2:26 AM on January 22 [8 favorites]


Though if the Torygraph is to be believed, the government is preparing to use the royal prerogative to veto any legislation taking no-deal off the table.
posted by acb at 2:50 AM on January 22


Because Democracy.
posted by Grangousier at 3:16 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that it is possible to take no-deal off the table simply by UK legislation. How is that supposed to work?
There are still only the following three options: no-deal, May's deal (or modification thereof), no Brexit.

Taking no-deal off the table leaves May's deal and no Brexit.
May's deal is dead in the water. Any modification to make it more palatable to the UK parliament requires consent by the EU 27. Similarly, revoking A50 (no Brexit) requires at least a credible case that the UK has changed its mind - not in sight at the moment.

The UK cannot force the EU to accept whathever modification they come up with. MPs won't vote for the deal they so resoundingly rejected. And revoking A50 is not in sight, either. How is "taking no-deal off the table" supposed to solve that conundrum?

Maybe, "taking no-deal off the table" is some weird sort of code for "we'll ask for an extension of A50 if something doesn't happen by a certain date, but no-deal will not actually be off the table - it still might happen."

In which case, since "taking no-deal off the table" means that fewer MPs will vote for May's deal or a modification thereof, it might actually increase the chances of no-deal.
posted by sour cream at 3:46 AM on January 22


I'm not sure that it is possible to take no-deal off the table simply by UK legislation. How is that supposed to work?
[...]
no Brexit.


You've answered your own question.
posted by Dysk at 3:48 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Taking no deal off the table is a matter of passing legislation that cancels the existing legal deadline and says that if no deal has been agreed by , say, March 10th, then the EU is asked for a deferral on A50 while the country prepares for a referendum, to be held not later than X, which will ask for a choice between Remain and May's deal. If the country asks for Remain, A50 is withdrawn: otherwise it's reinstated and May's deal is signed.

Voila - no No Deal Brexit. No 'betraying the country because no Brexit is on offer'. No 'but that means removing our negotiating trump card' as there's no actual negotiating to be done. Not that there is, anyway.

I got a copy of that Wetherspoons thing through my door. I haven't expended too much energy trying to decode it (I can't read print without a lot of effort, magnifiers, etc) but by God it looks a frenetic pile of pants. Let there be copyright lawyers.
posted by Devonian at 4:12 AM on January 22 [14 favorites]


Devonian, your scenario is basically the one I've been hoping for as well. But remember that May's deal is still only the Withdrawal Agreement, and the document on the future relationship isn't binding.

In the event of a referendum, I'd like to see actual statements on issues like customs union, single market, services and freedom of moment, so that voters understand what the end game will probably look like. It also ties down the Leavers to actual statements of intent, rather than meaningless drivel.
posted by daveje at 4:22 AM on January 22


May's agreement is what's on the table, though. The Future Relationship stuff is to come, and can't be decided upon here in any case. The important thing is to kill No Deal and make it clear that whatever happens next, Brexit means that the NI situation will default to the backstop in the absence of anything better.

If nothing else, this gives business some certainty on which to plan. You know, the old idea that you shouldn't actually fuck over your own economy in the service of party political hackmanship?
posted by Devonian at 4:31 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


It's probably fair to say that in the case of Brexit, living standards in the UK will drop for at least some years

Like austerity, that's not a bug but a feature. In the eyes of the Stakeholders, the little people's living standards have been far too high for too long, and it has been making an impact on profits. (In the old days, there was justification for throwing the proles a bone, to keep them from joining Soviet-backed revolutionary movements; now, between fine-grained behavioural surveillance and the commodification of dissent, any such threat can be headed off far more cheaply.) Austerity, Brexit, the devaluation of the pound and the extinguishing of everything from freedom of movement to human rights are an adjustment back to how things should be according to the iron laws of nature: a pyramid-shaped society held together by chains of fealty, with the bulk of the population as serfs.
posted by acb at 4:43 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


I got a copy of that Wetherspoons thing through my door. I haven't expended too much energy trying to decode it (I can't read print without a lot of effort, magnifiers, etc) but by God it looks a frenetic pile of pants. Let there be copyright lawyers.
I got it too, in Yorkshire. Did they get a mailing list of Remain voters from somewhere? Quite why the owner of a chain of dreadful dive pubs is framing himself as an expert on anything other than running pubs, and why people are accepting him as such, is beyond me. It also seems a bit barmy to turn your business into a pro-Brexit billboard when that means a large percentage of the population is going to have second thoughts about going there. I haven't used one of the bakeries in my town since they had a Vote Leave poster in the window in 2016, for instance.

I hope I am right on this, but No Deal feels like political theatre to me. It doesn't have broad public support, those at the top of government know that it's going to be incredibly damaging, and the so-called "preparations" have felt like they are more for a media show than anything else. The lorries parked up on the airfield, the rubbish radio adverts that sound like they were put together on a 50p budget and tell you nothing, the junk EU Exit government website that is very light on information and looks like a rushed-out design.

It seems that the threat of No Deal combined with the delay of the second meaningful vote until the end of February(!) is a theatrical performance designed to scare MPs into voting for the May deal after all. That's a huge abuse of Parliament in my view.
posted by winterhill at 4:48 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Taking no deal off the table is a matter of passing legislation that cancels the existing legal deadline and says that if no deal has been agreed by , say, March 10th, then the EU is asked for a deferral on A50 while the country prepares for a referendum, to be held not later than X, which will ask for a choice between Remain and May's deal. If the country asks for Remain, A50 is withdrawn: otherwise it's reinstated and May's deal is signed.

I see, thanks.
Yes, I guess that would truly take no-deal off the table, but I cannot see how this could possibly pass through parliament, given that both outcomes are so unpopular among MPs.
posted by sour cream at 5:11 AM on January 22


That would depend on the arithmetic - the % who would prefer 'no deal' over some form of referendum (the format of which can be debated later) might well be fairly low.
posted by pipeski at 5:18 AM on January 22


people's living standards have … … been making an impact on profits

I find the idea that their motivation is due to economic rationality to be giving them the benefit of the doubt. I find it much more compelling that their primary driver is the immiseration of the middle classes and the demoralization of the able and the competent.

I mean, there's a few of them who are Scrooge McDuck cackling, but far fewer than the ones who are thinking "fuck you, plebs and foreigners". And then there's the ones who are too thick to realise the harm they're doing. Of course, those 3 factors mix within the same person, but I'd say it's rare that the financial drive is the primary one.
posted by ambrosen at 5:27 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I find the idea that their motivation is due to economic rationality to be giving them the benefit of the doubt. I find it much more compelling that their primary driver is the immiseration of the middle classes and the demoralization of the able and the competent.
One of the things that came into my mind recently is the constant moaning about the "ageing population" and the "damage" it is doing to the economy.

The subtext is really "working class people really shouldn't be able to carry on living after they cease to be of use to capitalism, why won't they just die at 66 like they used to instead of costing us money by carrying on to 80+?"

We should be really, really careful with any "yay, old Leave voters are dying!" stuff from Remain supporters and campaigners. Going beyond Brexit (whatever its outcome), when planning the future and the kind of country we want to be, we need to bring everyone along for the ride. Divide and rule has been at the core of the neoliberal playbook for decades.
posted by winterhill at 5:33 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I find the idea that their motivation is due to economic rationality to be giving them the benefit of the doubt. I find it much more compelling that their primary driver is the immiseration of the middle classes and the demoralization of the able and the competent.

I mean, there's a few of them who are Scrooge McDuck cackling, but far fewer than the ones who are thinking "fuck you, plebs and foreigners". And then there's the ones who are too thick to realise the harm they're doing. Of course, those 3 factors mix within the same person, but I'd say it's rare that the financial drive is the primary one.


Ooh, I totally agree. We've seen quite clearly how dim the vast majority of them are. But there is an important minority who do have a vision, and that vision is bleak. They have even been very open about it, and quoted in these threads.
posted by mumimor at 5:33 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


There was an amendment to a finance bill that restricts government tax abilities in the event of crash out Brexit, held before the meaningful vote. It doesn't dramatically change anything per se, but it was intentionally done as a test to see If there was a majority in the house for blocking no deal.

It passed by 20 votes, so there is a majority at the very least to delay no deal Brexit. The problem is getting parliamentary time to pass legislation to force May to ask for an extension, or withdraw article 50 if one isn't forthcoming.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:38 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


Can we dial back the conspiracy theories please? A little bit of Hanlon's razor would definitely not go amiss.

I mean, you could conceivably have a secret cabal who act out utter incompetence while secretly conspiring with their capitalist puppet-masters in a carefully orchestrated plan to enslave the poor. It's even conceivable that some of them secretly wish that's what they were doing. But the truth feels much closer to a case of clowns all the way down.
posted by pipeski at 5:56 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Not directly related but Merkel and Macron sign Treaty of Aachen to revive EU.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:59 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


the truth feels much closer to a case of clowns all the way down

From a letter to the Guardian last year: Please stop misusing the word ‘clown’
With regard to your recent article and headline (Our elders are supposed to be older and wiser. But not these Brexit clowns, theguardian.com, 21 December), I am a prize-winning international musical clown, part of an honourable profession, and am deeply offended by the misuse and misrepresentation of “clown” in connection with parliamentary or other forms of chaotic behaviour.

The constant use of the word “circus” in the press to denote a mess or bad behaviour is also distasteful. Unlike the comparison the press constantly draws, a clown or indeed a circus must be orderly and efficient to work properly. And in the case of a circus, it takes teamwork – which is the opposite of the impression the press gives.
posted by ZipRibbons at 6:04 AM on January 22 [18 favorites]


I don't think it's necessarily malice or even strictly incompetence. I think it's this:

"The basic annual salary for an MP from 1 April 2018 is £77,379. MPs also receive expenses to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, having somewhere to live in London or their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency." (sauce: https://www.parliament.uk/about/mps-and-lords/members/pay-mps/)

The median weekly salary for people in the UK is £569 (from the ONS: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/annualsurveyofhoursandearnings/2018)

That's £29,588 per year.

MPs by their very nature are massively insulated from the consequences of their actions and are not accountable in any meaningful way. No one making almost 80k a year (+expenses for most things that everyone else has to pay for) is going to be queuing up for food and medication no matter how pear-shaped Brexit gets.

They have nothing on the line except their personal ambitions. Even public opinion is somewhat immaterial as profoundly reprehensible people continue to make money by pandering directly to their audience.

To these people a "no deal" Brexit is at most a philosophical disappointment, not a personal catastrophe.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:15 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


Tomorrow evening I'll be attending the 8th - yes, 8th - leaving party, since last summer, of an academic or researcher who is leaving the "UK" for some other country.

Tempted to write a long rant/essay here on the reasons why, but we - the honest ones - know why. Going to spend that time working (which pays towards my own, evolving, future relocation plans).
posted by Wordshore at 6:25 AM on January 22 [18 favorites]


MPs by their very nature are massively insulated from the consequences of their actions and are not accountable in any meaningful way. No one making almost 80k a year (+expenses for most things that everyone else has to pay for) is going to be queuing up for food and medication no matter how pear-shaped Brexit gets.

Yet you’ll also find that due to the bubble many of them work in, surrounded by high finance types and think tank wonks (and the PPE at Oxford set especially) they’ll consider themselves woefully underpaid and overworked. Notions of public service and sacrifice having gone by the board some time ago for many of them.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:33 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile Tory Brexit hardliner MP Daniel Kawczynski has formally requested the Polish government to veto any extension of Article 50.
posted by acb at 7:03 AM on January 22


Don't forget that the only reason the UK still has an escape clause - revoke Article 50 - is because some Scottish campaigners took it to the ECJ and the Government fought the case every step of the way. In other words, the government was fighting to ensure that it was NOT given the right to revoke Article 50, or at least not have that clarified in any way.
posted by vacapinta at 7:23 AM on January 22 [20 favorites]


Meanwhile Tory Brexit hardliner MP Daniel Kawczynski has formally requested the Polish government to veto any extension of Article 50.

Looks like Poland has been identified by Tories as the weak link on the EU side.
posted by sour cream at 7:27 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Yeah, about that:A Polish govt source shots this down immediately saying Britain's withdrawal from the EU without an agreement is the worst possible scenario for Brexit

Adds Poland would evaluate any A50 motion if/when it comes from the UK govt, but would need to have a clear plan of what's next


That MP is in no position to 'formally' ask another government for anything except asylum. To ask another nation to directy interfere in the democratic processes of one's own state is positively Trumpian.
posted by Devonian at 9:10 AM on January 22 [21 favorites]


That MP is in no position to 'formally' ask another government for anything except asylum. To ask another nation to directy interfere in the democratic processes of one's own state is positively Trumpian.
Surely a Brexiter would not be asking for a foreign government to meddle, through the EU, in the affairs of Britain's elected parliament? Whatever happened to Take Back Control?
posted by winterhill at 9:20 AM on January 22 [8 favorites]


We've seen a bunch of these rumored sudden changes in position by the EU which turn out to be denied the next day. Makes you wonder ...
posted by romanb at 11:17 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]






Dyson to move company HQ to Singapore

James Dyson being a prominent supporter of Brexit.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:19 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


James Dyson being a prominent supporter of Brexit.

And Singapore being a recent signatory to an FTA with the EU.
posted by PenDevil at 1:25 PM on January 22 [13 favorites]


That chronic pain link isn't happy reading. All of us dependent on medication here have been looking at stockpiling. Family have been telling me to and when I ask 'how much? How long does it need to last?' I've never had anyone offer a reply. No one seemed to know.

I don't think anyone expected six months of disruption to be suggested (even though that doesn't necessarily mean a personal stockpile of anything like that scale).
posted by edd at 2:02 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]




Dyson moving actually gives me some hope
posted by mumimor at 3:28 PM on January 22


Another day in the circus convoluted world of British legislation, the Labour party are tabling an amendment for MP's to vote on ways to end 'Brexit Deadlock' which might include a second referendum. However, Tory rebels and Labour People's Vote campaigners say they wouldn't back the amendment because it does not include a commitment to revoke A50 in the event Parliament cannot agree before March 29 and it does not take no deal off the table.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Tory MP Dominic Grieve seem to be working together to attempt to get the No Deal crash off the table. This is the convoluted bit, explained by Ian Dunt.

A comprehensive report on public opinion on Brexit has been released, apparently it really is dividing the country, with more people having an opinion on Brexit than on which political party they support. Immigration is once again being shown to have become less of an issue for people, although without reading the report I can't say whether this is referring to the research I linked to in my previous comment.

A Labour party activist I spoke to suggested that they are expecting an extension on A50 (although in my opinion it is much easier to revoke it), No Deal is removed as an option, another vote of no confidence in government, hardline Brexiteers vote against May, general election, Labour get into power and negotiate something with EU and then there's a second referendum with their deal vs. Remain. I am just reporting what they said.
posted by asok at 4:03 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


Removing No Deal as an option removes any incentive for the EU 27 to reopen May's deal. So in that case it will be May's deal or no Brexit, two widely unpopular options. There still seem to be enough PMs who think that something better can be negotiated or that the EU 27 will cave in at the last minute that this will not fly.
posted by sour cream at 11:47 PM on January 22


Removing No Deal as an option removes any incentive for the EU 27 to reopen May's deal.
The EU 27 have already said multiple times that they are not reopening the deal. And No Deal was never an incentive for them to do so. The Leavers think it is, because they think the UK is an equal partner in negotiation to the EU, which is ludicrous.
The EU red lines are the four freedoms and the Irish border. They will not ever cross those lines. And they aren't the least bit wobbly, because crossing them would be catastrophic for the EU, and trade with the UK is not an important enough issue to allow putting the greater good at risk. (And anyway, they have good reason to believe that the UK may see things differently after a couple of years).

EU producers and manufacturers are quite chill about trade problems. As far as I can see, they are irritated that the UK politicians are such idiots, but many are saying something like (paraphrasing, obvs.): "well, it'll be like with the Russia sanctions. We'll dip a little for a while, but then we'll find new markets".
posted by mumimor at 12:10 AM on January 23 [11 favorites]


Wake up at the back there, Sir Ivan Rogers has just delivered another 11,000 word broadside.
I have read. Some highlights.
I'd be indebted to anyone who finds the original of this. His 'nine lessons of Brexit' from December is magnificent and, while 10k words, is IMO a better use of anyone's time than reading ten lesser pieces.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:27 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


in that case it will be May's deal or no Brexit, two widely unpopular options

Unpopular with whom? No Brexit is the most popular option out there these days, according to the polls. If you just mean "a lot of people don't like it", then everything is an unpopular option.

they have good reason to believe that the UK may see things differently after a couple of years

One frustrating element of the current situation is that if we do crash out and find ourselves wanting to open free trade agreement negotiations with the EU within, ohhh, I'd give it about a week, their baseline (quite reasonably) will be for the UK to cough up the £39bn and implement the backstop. So we'll be right where we are now, except haemorrhaging money and people.
posted by rory at 12:37 AM on January 23 [9 favorites]


Removing No Deal as an option removes any incentive for the EU 27 to reopen May's deal. So in that case it will be May's deal or no Brexit, two widely unpopular options.

The UK exports 44% of its goods and services to the EU, and 53% of our imports come from the EU. Exports from the EU to the UK only count for 8% of their exports. In other words, we are highly reliant on EU trade both for making money (mostly selling services) and in buying essential goods. Crash out brexit also means the remaining half of our trade also becomes much harder as all our existing trade deals with the wider world end - it was recently reported that they're not even close to ready to be re-signed by March. WTO rules are a very poor substitute.

The EU countries will take only a fairly small hit should those exports to the UK become harder, which makes logical sense because they will still have the other 26 countries to trade seamlessly with, as well as their trade deals with most non-EU countries. The main one to lose out will be Ireland, and they're showing zero sign of moving either. And you can absolutely expect the EU to insist on the withdrawal agreement or something near identical (pay what we owe, citizens rights by law, soft irish border) happening before they start discussing any kind of limited trade agreement.

No deal is like threatening to shoot yourself in the face so the other person will get some brains splattered on them. The EU doesn't want to see no deal, but it's not going to sacrifice the fundamental building blocks of the Union to avoid it, and that should be abundantly clear by now. No deal is a toothless threat to the EU, and always has been.

I also find it interesting when you say no Brexit is a widely unpopular option, when it has clear majority support in the public, in fact the only option to do so, with brexiteers split between no deal, deal, and softer brexit.

Moving on, I simply cannot find the article I read yesterday discussing it, but the report asok links above has a very interesting graph on page 40, showing people's fears about no deal.

80% of remain voters think no deal means queues of lorries at ports, while 93% of of remain MPs think that. Only 52% of leave voters think there will be queues, while leave MPs are down at 32%.

It's even more stark for expecting medical supply shortages - 55% remainers, 75% remain MPs, 14% leave voters and 2%! leave MPs.

You see the same trend for all the common fears about crash out brexit(fall of pound, flight cancellations, fall in house prices) - leave MPs expect it more than anyone, remain voters substantially more than leave voters, while leave MPs say it's all just project fear. MPs as a whole think think these things are likely significantly more than the public at large.

So that's why no-deal brexit* has such a substantial percentage of brexiteer backing - people, and especially MPs think the projected consequences by well, everyone bar Leave MPs, are being completely overblown by remoaners, and many simply don't believe them at all.

e.g. regarding Brexit:
"In July 2018, 87% of Remainers mentioned some kind of negative consequence
compared to only 18% of Leavers. Conversely, 61% of Leavers mentioned some kind of positive consequence
compared to only 3% of Remainers."

Also, people think around 25% of the population are immigrants; it's half that. They also think triple the % of the population are EU immigrants than actually are. Also
"Large numbers of us think that EU immigration increases crime levels, reduces the quality of the NHS and increases unemployment among skilled workers – when the best available evidence shows none of those are true."

When the public are radically far apart on what the truth even is any more, I really don't know where we go from here. Clearly leavers and remainers are just talking past each other at this point, and quite possibly always were. I've been doing my bit to try and gently correct misconceptions with co-workers and friends when the subject comes up (such as "I only voted Brexit because I wanted to stop so many of them coming over here and claiming benefits, I don't mind the workers" when that's a limit the UK government could implement already within the EU to prevent that but chose not to) but I don't see how the wider public can come to any kind of consensus when we're so far apart on what the facts are. I don't envy MPs trying to navigate this with both main party leaders implacably opposed to compromise, when they overall fear crash out Brexit the most.

If we assume a crash out Brexit happens and the consequences are dire, I fully expect no-deal brexiteers to blame the EU (for punishing us) and/or saboteur immigrants and remainers for the problems, and take it as justification to show how we made the right decision - we've already seen plenty of that language.

*4% of all voters in the same report think no-deal brexit means we revert to the the status quo, i.e. cancel brexit.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:40 AM on January 23 [21 favorites]




in that case it will be May's deal or no Brexit, two widely unpopular options


...but putting the onus of the Brexit's failure to launch on May is a great way to lessen its 'sting,' while saving the UK from mid-term (10 years of hard recession, I read somewhere) financial suicide. It would be May's greatest contribution, to have succeeded by failing to ruin the lives of so many.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:53 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


such as "I only voted Brexit because I wanted to stop so many of them coming over here and claiming benefits, I don't mind the workers" when that's a limit the UK government could implement already within the EU to prevent that but chose not to

They didn't choose not to? As an EU citizen, I lost effectively all benefits eligibility in the UK years ago.
posted by Dysk at 2:57 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Just wanted to say I’ve been appreciating the commentary in these threads a lot, thank you everyone for a civil and informative discussion and personal contributions that are more interesting than anything we read in the media really.

I’d also love to hear more contributions from mefites based in Ireland and Northern Ireland, especially after the latest (apparent? one hopes!) war of words on the hard border...
posted by bitteschoen at 3:20 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


They didn't choose not to? As an EU citizen, I lost effectively all benefits eligibility in the UK years ago.

Free movement rules allow, usually after 3 months, that EU migrants are working, studying, or do not require direct public funds. Most EU states require (after 3 months) registration, to have health insurance, and if you're not working/studying you have limited access to social security benefits. The UK did introduce some restrictions around 2014 IIRC to restrict access to some benefits in some circumstances for EU job seekers; I can't say I'm an expert as my wife has either been studying/working for most of her time here, and the rest of it she was with me and benefit eligibility is based upon joint income so no point applying.

EU workers in jobs should be eligible for the same benefits as native workers. These have been butchered due to austerity (ref universal credit) - I've been in fulltime study or work my entire adult life in the UK, and the only benefit I've ever been eligible for is child benefit.

The % of UK resident EU citizens who are non-workers is much lower than the native population %, even before the change a few years ago, and are a small % of the population overall, so in public policy terms it's a big nothing burger. (not that that stopped the tories tightening the screws a bit, obviously)

Most brits are not aware of this, and think the country has been 'overrun' (their word) with eastern european migrants who come to the UK with 14 children, get a free house on arrival and benefits to pay for everything forever. This is obviously bullshit, but they've read numerous scare stories in the daily fail which are a) misleading b) out of date and c) the UK government still doesn't implement the full measures EU law actually allows (e.g. registration), so if they really want to be nastier to poor out-of-work europeans for bugger all difference to government funds, the EU won't stop you.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:38 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


No-deal Brexit would mean hard Irish border, EU confirms
The Guardian's take on the Irish situation. Not that different from the Independent's but with a nice graphic
posted by mumimor at 3:58 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


So, what's actually going on today and in the coming days? I like to think I am relatively well-versed in Brexit affairs, I keep up with the news stories, but I genuinely have no idea what is happening at this moment. People are taking to the airwaves and newspapers talking and speculating that some Tory MPs might do this, or the EU might bend that, or Labour might call for something-or-other.

Have I missed something, or have we really ground to a halt in terms of actual progress towards some kind of solution with six weeks to go until 29 March? I hope beyond all hope that there is something going on behind the scenes, because from where I'm sitting many miles from London it feels like we've stopped. Meanwhile, business is emitting a constant high-pitched screeching sound along the lines of "for the love of God give us some answers or we'll have to start closing down" in an attempt to get heard.

The fact that our PM has decided that Plan B is to go back to the EU for concessions that they declined to give in the first instance seems negligent in the extreme. I know political predictions in the current climate are foolhardy in the extreme, but what's currently going on? PMQs is on the radio while I write this, and it's the same old guff from both sides.
posted by winterhill at 4:06 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


Absolutely No You-Know-What, so as far as I can tell, what you're saying is that the only measures the UK government could implement but haven't, is requiring registration. That seems to not be directly related to benefits. All the measures that can be taken to preclude EU citizens from benefits eligibility are already in place. There is some limited access to in-work benefits, but essentially no access to out-of-work benefits, like ESA or JSA beyond the first three months. Which is what they can do. So they're not leaving measures on the table that they could use. It's half a decade since they were.
posted by Dysk at 4:16 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]




Hot off the press: the transcript of Sir Ivan Rogers' UCL lecture is now available.
posted by rory at 4:29 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]



Hot off the press: the transcript of Sir Ivan Rogers' UCL lecture is now available.

Read it!
This was in part in the twitter thread, but it bears repeating, specially for those who wonder about the motives of the wealthy brexiteers, and just how stupid they are (my bold):
Prime Ministerial euphemisms like a “common rule book” cannot conceal that, to retain market access and minimise frictions in goods trade – and hence to prevent the relocation of major businesses from the U.K. – we are, in practice, going to have to bind ourselves voluntarily to align on the EU’s law book, and to implement masses of rules and norms we shall have had no part in setting.
Plenty of others outside the EU, including the Swiss, accept essentially that bargain on goods of course because the EU is a regulatory union behemoth which can and does export its standards extraterritorially. And it has a huge enough market that firms will design their manufacturing around its rules.
This infuriates the sovereigntists to the Prime Minister’s Right, because it manifestly will trammel the U.K’s trade policy on goods, and it will limit the FTAs the U.K. can pursue to partners whose regulatory orders are not fundamentally at odds with the EU’s.
But welcome to the world. Sovereignty in these domains, as in data, many services, procurement and so on, is not unadulterated even if you are a sizeable player but not a global rules setter.
And for those whose agenda is essentially both sovereigntist and geostrategic - they actually know enough to know that in goods regulation, we will never be a global rule setter, but they would much rather be a rule-taker from the US than the EU, but would also much rather not say that to the British public because they do not think they would have the votes – this Withdrawal Agreement points in a direction they view as anathema.
Because, as they see it, it’s driven by business interests which are beholden to a model of business predicated on a close economic relationship with the EU. Well, “fuck business”, as someone once said.
To avoid having to debate the reality of what this stance means for the UK economy – and fiscal position - we get 2 rhetorical devices. In both, the bluster fails to conceal the absence of substance.
First, we get the “go global, not parochial little Europe” routine.
Sure, increasing our trade with fast-growing parts of the planet should of course be a major U.K. goal. And that will, over time, further shift U.K. patterns of trade.
But that shift is happening – as it happens, faster – for “global Germany”, “global France” as indeed everyone else within the EU and everywhere else in the developed world. Which is why German trade flows with China earlier this decade for the first time surpassed those with France, when, 20 years previously, they had barely registered on the same scale.
And flows from both Germany and France to both China and India have long - vastly - surpassed Britain’s. The idea that it is impossible to have a global, Atlantic, Asian or African vocation from within the EU is, again, just crass.
posted by mumimor at 5:01 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


So, what's actually going on today and in the coming days? I like to think I am relatively well-versed in Brexit affairs, I keep up with the news stories, but I genuinely have no idea what is happening at this moment.

I think that while there's an illusion of activity going on, at the moment every side thinks they can win by running out the clock. Hard Brexiters know that by default they get a hard Brexit on March 29th. Hard remainers think that fear of a hard Brexit means that they can withdraw article 50 with no referendum on March 28th. Supporters of Theresa May's deal think that fear of both these alternatives means the deal will get approved at the last minute.

It's like a game of chicken where Dealers think that Remainers will swerve first, Remainers think that Dealers will swerve first, and Hard Brexiters want the cars to crash.

(I think this is one of the reasons both the European Commission and the British Government didn't want the ruling that Article 50 could be unilaterally withdrawn.)
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:51 AM on January 23 [13 favorites]


Picking up some highlights from the first half of Rogers' speech which I haven't seen mentioned yet elsewhere...

[The EU] has never for one minute believed that the UK would go through with “no deal” as it is self-evidently a lot worse – in economic terms - for the UK than the deal, and a lot worse for the UK than it is for the EU. They can see we might just do it by accident, indecision or incompetence. But not on purpose. The EU side has, however, persistently underestimated the accident risk.

The last point seems crucial, on underestimating the risk of an accidental crash. But if you drive the bus at full speed towards the cliff edge with the intention of braking just in time to avoid going over, but misjudge and end up doing so anyway, is it really an "accident"? Or is it a reckless gamble that you happened to lose?

We have thus reached the point in what I have previously described as the Brexit Revolution when it is essential for both the revolutionaries and the counter-revolutionaries to extirpate any “compromiser”. That is a pretty common feature of revolutionary politics. It is just that the UK is not very used to revolutionary politics, in which polarisation progressively narrows the space for compromise, and indeed compromise, always a fairly dirty word in UK politics, becomes a term of abuse.

That's about the size of it...

14 July 1789: Storming of Bastille
19 May 1790: National Assembly abolishes the nobility
September 1791: New Constitution ratified
25 April 1792: First use of guillotine
21 January 1793: Louis XVI executed

Mapping the Brexit timeline onto this, starting with the referendum on 23 June 2016, through the triggering of Article 50 in 2017 and the Chequers white paper in August 2018, suggests that anyone in government had better watch out after early April 2019, and nobody should want to be PM at the end of the year.

The Prime Minister’s proposed deal is now suffering precisely the same fate at the same hands as did continued EU membership in the referendum. It is there: concrete and attackable. Everyone can specify what they do not like about it. Which is plenty. To both sides, it seemingly looks worse than what we are leaving. You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose, as the saying goes. And the campaigners - on both sides, because this applies in spades to the Remain lobby now too - still vastly prefer to carry on campaigning in poetry than having to govern in prose.

His point about the Remain lobby preferring not to "govern in prose" might apply to some of the indecision around how to get Parliament to haul us back to remaining, but surely the destination is as prosaic as it gets: it's the status quo ante.

We are deep in the Alice in Wonderland world of UK politics where the vast bulk of the peculiarly antiquated debate about our trading future has been focussed on goods and tariffs issues. Where tariffs are, outside agriculture, very low with very few exceptions. Where services represent 80% of the economy and tradeable services much the fastest growing element of our trade; where barriers to services trade are all about regulatory architecture. And where the difference between commitments which are at Single Market levels and those in an FTA on Canadian lines could represent the loss of a very substantial percentage of our current total services exports to the EU.

This, right here, is why May's deal and anything close to it is almost as bad economically as no deal. Not as bad, because at least a deal on goods means we can eat, but without being able to deliver services into the EU an awful lot of UK people won't be able to eat anyway. Is the government in any way prepared for the spike in unemployment that this will cause, even if it's spread out over a 21-month transition period under the WA?
posted by rory at 6:04 AM on January 23 [11 favorites]


The EU countries will take only a fairly small hit should those exports to the UK become harder, which makes logical sense because they will still have the other 26 countries to trade seamlessly with, as well as their trade deals with most non-EU countries. The main one to lose out will be Ireland, and they're showing zero sign of moving either.

Brexit would hit the Dutch economy hard: A Brexit would have a "severe" impact on the Dutch economy, because it is linked to the U.K. more than to the rest of the EU.
posted by Pendragon at 6:24 AM on January 23


So, what's actually going on today and in the coming days?

The plane is in free fall. Several drunks are wrestling for control of the joystick.
posted by Grangousier at 6:27 AM on January 23 [16 favorites]


The EU side has, however, persistently underestimated the accident risk.

This implies that the EU making a deal that destroys the EU makes any sense in any way at all. If Brexit is a bus about to drive off a cliff, this would be like the EU putting a trailer on it with all of our prized possessions. But the flaming wreckage would be glorious!

It's not as if the EU has ever suggested that hard Brexit or even any Brexit was a good idea. The EU has worked hard to come up with an agreement. How is this underestimating the potential of a disaster?
posted by romanb at 10:06 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


This implies that the EU making a deal that destroys the EU makes any sense in any way at all.

This.

The exhortations for the EU to just give the UK (more of) what it wants—when even the UK does not know what it wants, and if it did its list of wants would be both infinite and mutable—shows how this is not a "negotiation" as traditionally understood. It's the equivalent of "the UK set their house on fire, so the least you can do is drive your car into a lake to make them feel better." Why would anyone do that?
posted by dudleian at 10:47 AM on January 23 [27 favorites]


Absolutely No You-Know-What - Most brits are not aware of this

I know people are entrenched in their bubbles and suffering the effects of cultural cognition, but I am constantly astounded that how many easily disprovable (and oft disproved) Leave lies live on, despite never having been related to reality. The narrative beats facts every day, and thanks to the right wing press, the story is repeated over and over. I was party to a Twitter discussion the other day where a brave Leaver took on three Remainers and dropped in the fact that he lived in 'what used to be the biggest fishing port in the world' and 'the EU took that away from them'. Businesses sold their quotas, British people aren't interested in the species of fish that have managed to survive the over fishing of our seas, our fish is almost all imported. How would someone who has any interest in the fishing industry not know that? It's not part of the narrative, that's why. But it's the truth.

Talking of the truth, I'll transcribe what Geraint Evans, a former trade rapporteur for the Council of Europe to the WTO, has to say:
(WTO rules are) made by a council of ministers where we would have less say, they would be administered by a commission where we would have less appointees and would be enforced by a panel of judges that would not be democratically elected, and which would overrule British courts.'

Here's another podcast, tangentially related, which has some great advice on how to come to an agreement, or simply discuss things. I don't think these techniques have been in play much in the Brexit negotiations.

Do not read this next bit if you are feeling that you have had enough of uncertainty and would like the world to go back to making sense.

So, Teresa May has a plan, one that has been incubated, hatched and is currently snaking it's way into fruition. Tempered and fired from the pressures and heat she has suffered in the past two and a half years.
She took this job because there wasn't anyone else who would take up the mantel. Pretty much all of the competition in the Tory party took a step back when they asked for a volunteer to be sacrificial PM. The ERG have been pulling apart the party she thought she wanted to be a part of, and she hates them. The Remain contingent, that she thought she was a part of, hate her. Everyone has been asking her to do something impossible, and hated her solution.
She has decided to let them have it. Hard Brexit, the destruction of much of the UK economy, subordination to the US and whoever else for trade deals, no rights for workers, no rights for anyone, fuck them all!
The Tory Party who forced this upon the nation will not be voted back into power for decades. No Brexiteer Tory would be electable and no Remainer would be selected by the party members.
Tories will look back at her time in office as a time when people listened to what they had to say.
The ERG tossers will be used and discarded by who ever they sell them selves to.
The indecisive population can go choke on a cheap sausage roll. Meat or vegan, it doesn't matter what they choose any more, the ungrateful bastards!

What does she care? She is married to a man who's company hasn't paid any UK tax for 8 years, but has paid £43 million in wages and other bonuses over the same period. She'll get a 'job' as a consultant for them and share some of the profits made advising other companies on how to avoid tax. Or maybe not, who cares any more. That sounds like it might be too much work to have to think about.

For many , who have had to listen carefully to everything she has said since taking the office of Prime Minister, she won't be missed.
posted by asok at 4:05 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


How is this underestimating the potential of a disaster?

I think that misreads Rogers' point. He's saying that the EU underestimated the chances that the UK government would make such a pig's ear of everything that they could end up crashing out by accident even though they (the UK government) want to conclude a deal. I think that's consistent with the reactions we've seen from the EU (and indeed the entire world) when the UK government has triggered A50 prematurely, thrown away its majority in an unnecessary snap election, stalled and wasted time at every turn, and lost the vote it needed to get the WA through parliament. Thirty months ago UK governments were widely perceived as competent. Now?

Later in the speech he makes another point about how the EU misread the UK government's position going into all of this:

This has frankly rather bemused EU elites who are used to a British political elite who they think, basically correctly, never really thought about the EU in anything other than purely economic, mercantile terms. Suddenly, you are dealing with a UK elite which seems not to be deriving its negotiating positions from any analysis you recognise or remember of the UK’s vital national economic interests.

He's laying out all of the contradictions of the (various) UK position(s), and how they've led us into this mess.

He does talk towards the end about how EU leaders need to think hard about what comes next, but that's a pretty obvious point, really: the situation is looking worse by the day, and everyone needs to tread carefully. That doesn't imply that they've been wrong to approach the negotiations as they have to date: they believed, quite justifiably, that No Deal would be a disaster that surely no rational government would countenance, and their negotiating strategy was predicated on that.

Perhaps it's now dawning on them that they might not be dealing with a rational government.

But what would that mean for their strategy going forward? Rogers doesn't say, but I'm guessing it still isn't "give the UK whatever it wants". Just... keep looking for ways to limit the damage.
posted by rory at 4:45 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


In more positive news, a man has found a new part time job. Its only 20 hours a year, but it does pay £3000 per hour. I am sure we all wish the very best to David Davis.
posted by biffa at 5:07 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


This Mirror column shows how impossible the parliamentary timetable is between now and 29 March, whether it's Deal or No Deal. Something's got to give.
posted by rory at 5:36 PM on January 23


The credulousness with which Rees-Mogg, Son Of William is treated by the press continues to annoy, but not surprise me (exhibit A in this field being Farage). The Beeb coverage of his peacocking today especially.

Carry no water for May, but I don't think it's overly reductive to suggest that
"Embattled Mogg/May desperate to reassert influence over Brexit after humiliatingly failing to muster votes on a key policy from their own group/party announced a halfbaked Plan B sounding much like Plan A, i.e. to beg the baffled EU27 to reopen the completed negotiations"
is an even-handed if overtly tabloid read on both or neither (fwiw, it's both)
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:21 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


I think that misreads Rogers' point. He's saying that the EU underestimated the chances that the UK government would make such a pig's ear of everything that they could end up crashing out by accident even though they (the UK government) want to conclude a deal.

I do understand his point, and agree with much of what was in the speech -- except for the important bits. I don't think it's an accident there was no hint as to what the EU should have done if it took No-deal seriously. The answer I believe is simple: there was nothing else that the EU could have done. There is no secret one-last-concession, nothing left to give away. Every option that can be offered has been offered.

Hence we have the statement:

And if we end up seeking to get a quick and dirty trade deal done at all costs before the election and escape the vassaldom of transition, the EU will use the pressure of the
ticking clock in the next phase just as effectively as they have in this, to extract
concessions.


... which is fundamentally flawed because the EU does not care about concessions. It's not that kind of negotiation. It's not trying to one-up the UK. Its motive is to not self-destruct, and to provide a smooth transition for everyone.
posted by romanb at 7:57 PM on January 23 [9 favorites]


I don't think it's an accident there was no hint as to what the EU should have done if it took No-deal seriously. The answer I believe is simple: there was nothing else that the EU could have done.

Of course there is. They could have started planning for it. Then they wouldn't be just now figuring out how to avoid a new civil war in Northern Ireland - and we wouldn't be hearing rumored warnings of border checks between Ireland and France.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:36 PM on January 23


Not disputing you, just the source but that is the most ludicrous thing I've heard articulated in a while. Ireland == EU as much as any other nation, they're not gonna be edged out for the benefit of EU26 and [lolinsertrandomemojishere]. I read that as more "hold the line, guys!" than "bu-bye, sucks to be you!"
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:52 PM on January 23


What exactly is the EU supposed to do? They offered the option to have NI stay in the customs union, UK decided it was a red line. The only thing the EU can do is back Ireland's choices. Any civil war in NI will be one hundred percent on the Tories and DUP.
posted by tavella at 9:58 PM on January 23 [7 favorites]


What does that have to do with whether they planned for it to happen or not? That was a single example. If you don't like it, go read about literally any of the other last minute plans being made by EU countries who clearly did not just finish two years of preparing for a no-deal crash out. Of course, if there is any evidence that some governments actually have been doing that, I'd be fascinated.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:02 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


So the narrative of the EU not compromising is another Tory narrative. The UK wide custom union "backstop" is a huge compromise. It's unprecedented for the EU to allow an indefinite CU with a third country and there are European members who really don't like it. They think the UK could sit in their backstop CU and slash taxes and workers rights to undercut full members. They are holding their tongues right now because the EU does value the Good Friday Agreement but let's not pretend that the EU wants the backstop.

As for what the EU should have done to prevent a No Deal Brexit. There is nothing they could have done. The UK triggered Article 50, the UK decided to leave, it is the UK that decides its relationship with the EU within the framework of the EU's basic principles. The EU can't do anything because there is nothing that the ERG ultras will accept that doesn't destroy the EU foundation.
posted by DoveBrown at 11:54 PM on January 23 [20 favorites]


Michel Barnier says opposing no-deal Brexit will not stop it in March
Michel Barnier has warned that the move led by Labour MP Yvette Cooper to block the prime minister from delivering a no-deal Brexit is doomed to fail unless a majority for an alternative agreement is found.

The EU’s chief negotiator, in a speech in Brussels, said the “default” for the UK was still crashing out if MPs could not coalesce around a new vision of its future outside the bloc.

“There appears to be a majority in the Commons to oppose a no-deal but opposing a no-deal will not stop a no-deal from happening at the end of March”, he said. “To stop ‘no deal’, a positive majority for another solution will need to emerge.”
Sigh
posted by mumimor at 12:22 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Barnier is such a doom-monger and pessimist. MPs could still coalesce around a vision of the UK's future in the bloc as a way to avoid No Deal.
posted by Dysk at 1:03 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


The Tory Party who forced this upon the nation will not be voted back into power for decades.

Unless they use the period of flux after No Deal to cement themselves into power, along the lines of Singapore's People's Action Party. Pass draconian internal-security laws (you know, because of the chaos), bring them to bear to neutralise all opposition. Jacob Rees-Mogg as the Lee Kwan Yew of Brexitland.
posted by acb at 1:41 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


MPs could still coalesce around a vision of the UK's future in the bloc as a way to avoid No Deal.

Isn't that covered by "a positive majority for another solution"?
posted by rory at 2:24 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


You're quite right. It's the Guardian's summary of his statement that subtlety changes his message.
posted by Dysk at 2:25 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I think Barnier has to be careful not to appear to take sides in the UK's internal politics. He can talk about the consequences of what's happening, but advising the UK government to take a particular path (e.g. referendum, election) would rightly be seen as partiality on the part of a negotiator.
posted by pipeski at 2:33 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


The Daily Mirror column Rory linked to above made me realise how much anti-Brexit needs a 'pub narrative'. For some reason, my pleasure in reading about GATT Article 24 is not widely shared among the public.

Almost everyone knows the pub version of why Britain voted to leave the EU: taking back control of laws from Brussels, not paying EU membership fees, reducing immigration. What's the pub version of why (hard) Brexit should be called off? 'It's a terrible idea' - too vague. 'The trade-offs between sovereignty and trade are impossible to make to anyone's satisfaction' - too complex. 'The referendum result was won on false promises and cheating' - no one wants to admit they were duped. 'Turns out it's easier and cheaper to stay in than try to negotiate hundreds of new treaties that won't even be as good' - OK, but lacks emotional resonance.

Of course nothing will persuade the extremists, but an explanation that enough people can accept, even if they don't much like, would hopefully allow us to move on and consign Brexit to the list of things most people just never want to hear about again.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:40 AM on January 24 [10 favorites]


This might feed usefully into many Leavers' worldview: "Parliament needs to change 40 years' worth of laws to get Britain ready for no deal or for May's deal. There's no way this lot are up to it. Let's stop Brexit until we've fixed Parliament."

Who knows, we might even get proportional representation out of it.
posted by rory at 3:51 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


"Taking Back Control" was a very revealing slogan, in the sense that it was a deliberate attempt by traditional UK elites to take powers back from Europe. Therefore you can characterise Brexit as yet another Westminster power grab, so "do you trust these liars and slimy gits with more power?"

PR was tried a few years back, there was a referendum, and it was overwhelmingly against. That question is settled for a while.

The EU isn't the problem, it's Westminster. Ever since the Scottish/Welsh devolutions 20 years ago, I've been convinced that the biggest structural issue in the UK is the lack of devolved parliaments for the English regions. It's also a point that Fintan O'Toole makes in his new book, where he says that there's a much more significant democracy disconnect in England than elsewhere in the UK. (Brexit is an English issue after all.) It was impossible to make Westminster go away, so the next best thing was to make Europe go away, since that's even more remote.
posted by daveje at 4:29 AM on January 24


"Put the Adults Back in Charge" would be as good a slogan as any, these days.
posted by pipeski at 4:57 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


The EU isn't the problem, it's Westminster. Ever since the Scottish/Welsh devolutions 20 years ago, I've been convinced that the biggest structural issue in the UK is the lack of devolved parliaments for the English regions

The devolved administrations remain hugely dependent on Westminster which is not always as cooperative as it might be in administrative matters, let alone political ones. That's a political failure on both counts, though - the deep lack of bona fides is not easily exposed.
posted by Devonian at 5:00 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


PR was tried a few years back, there was a referendum, and it was overwhelmingly against. That question is settled for a while.

That referendum was about AV, not PR, and sticking with FPTP has stuck us with the current parliamentary mess. Given that current events might lead us to overturn one or two far more significant and more recent referendums, who knows what else might be up for grabs?

First-past-the-post is one of the problems with Westminster.
posted by rory at 5:14 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


Welp, looks like former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond's been arrested. I'm sure there will be lots of noise about how it's typical of the SNP on social media from the usual crowd. The guy's a colossal ego, and accepting the gig with RT a few years back just so he could get a platform was a signature move.
posted by scruss at 5:43 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I've been convinced for a long time that the fundamental problem with the British body politic is that it needs to be restructured in terms of intelligent subsidiarity. Then I realise that even the words in that sentence are about a hundred floors above my pay grade, and that I probably shouldn't mention it.

It is true, though.

(Subsidiarity, as I understand it, is the principle that everything should be managed at the level most appropriate for that thing. Some things - roads, for example, or the National Grid - are best planned at the national level; others - schools, hospitals and so forth - are better administered more at the local level, but managed and planned nationally ; Other things might be best left to the individual at one scale or supranational organisations (the EU or NATO) at the other. The problem we have in Westminster is that every government wants to suck up all the power and funding to Whitehall with the added detail under some governments that they're used as tokens by which to aggregate public monies in private hands, which has only served to alienate the electorate and bog down the administration. The current government has added to this a keenness to suck down power that has recently been delegated upwards, despite the fact that it couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery.

It strikes me that a way forward would be for local organisations to provide - through friendly societies, co-operatives and the like - in areas where the government has seized the power but abrogated the responsibility but I've no idea how anyone would do it in real life. I certainly couldn't. I probably couldn't organise myself to get pissed in a brewery, let alone a party. The closest I've got to optimistic recently, though, is reading about people doing such things, although they should probably stay below the radar just so the government doesn't stop them or try to sell them off.

Anyway, subsidiarity. )
posted by Grangousier at 5:43 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


They could have started planning for it. Then they wouldn't be just now figuring out how to avoid a new civil war in Northern Ireland - and we wouldn't be hearing rumored warnings of border checks between Ireland and France.

Northern Ireland as part of the UK is exiting the EU. The UK is now fully responsible for Northern Ireland. The EU has been fantastically successful at one of its founding purposes – guaranteeing peace for its member states. When a state leaves, that guarantee is discarded by that state. There is only so much the EU can do as an outsider, try as it may.

A peaceful transition for Ireland has been put front and center by the EU in pretty much every round of negotiations with the UK.
posted by romanb at 5:48 AM on January 24 [14 favorites]


I have no idea how long any other country has set aside to pass legislation to do with Brexit but it’s a fair bit of time for Ireland. That’s why you didn’t see parliaments debate actual rules for the UK leaving a year in advance, instead I suspect most drew up plans and hoped they wouldn’t need that time.

That would be fine but the rest of the EU also has other things they need their governments to debate as well and that’s going to come to a thudding halt for weeks in some cases. And no one still knows what the UK really wants let alone will do...
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:44 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


instead I suspect most drew up plans and hoped they wouldn’t need that time.


I agree. That's the only point I've been making - if the EU (and members thereof) had always expected a No Deal result, they would have done some things differently.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 8:53 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


You seem to be moving the goalposts here? Of course the EU didn't *expect* a no-deal result at the start of this thing. They expected the UK to act like a sane polity. As it became clear the UK no longer was, they've kicked plans into higher gear, but they simply have no power over what happens in Northern Ireland and nothing that does will be their fault.
posted by tavella at 9:23 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


I do? I am not trying to do so. Here is the statement I originally responded to. How am I not still responding to it?

I don't think it's an accident there was no hint as to what the EU should have done if it took No-deal seriously. The answer I believe is simple: there was nothing else that the EU could have done.

posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:28 AM on January 24


Anyway: I hate seeing people argue the same point against a dozen others so I'll be leaving the thread.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:29 AM on January 24


the agents of KAOS: We may be talking past each other: it's entirely likely that the EU would have done things differently if it had more seriously expected a no-deal scenario. I just don't think it could have done anything for Northern Ireland, because by definition no-deal means there won't be an agreement with the UK over the Irish border. So we'd be in the same situation we're in now, but earlier, and with absolutely no ideas for the border. There just aren't any ideas that haven't already been contemplated and discarded.

The EU being more proactive earlier would have involved helping EU countries, especially the Republic of Ireland, but not the UK, deal with the economic fallout. And even that is not simple. For example, helping the Republic of Ireland find new markets within the EU, away from Northern Ireland, during the negotiation, would have been painted as an aggressive manoeuver by the UK. So it's all very precarious, and would not have necessarily benefited Northern Ireland at all.
posted by romanb at 10:36 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


A small thing: a poll today had Denmark going way left for the EU election, and also choosing pro-EU conservatives over anti-EU conservatives if they don't go left. It seems people are paying attention. If this holds across the EU, there will also be a majority in the European Parliament for helping Europeans hurt by Brexit. Not British people though.
posted by mumimor at 11:11 AM on January 24 [10 favorites]


That's the only point I've been making - if the EU (and members thereof) had always expected a No Deal result, they would have done some things differently.

That's the opposite of the point I made though. People did make plans even if they hoped it wouldn't happen. They just didn't want to spend weeks of parliamentary time on them unless they had to. Now they do, so you're seeing those bills appear. It might look more last minute than it is, and some of it is surely rushed, but at the same time I think most in Ireland at least were aware that the UK might take this all the way. You don't live life as their ex-colony and not know something about how they operate as a nation.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:43 AM on January 24 [11 favorites]


So Trump with his FART act (I am not making this up) is intending to pull the US out of the WTO.

Wouldn’t that leave the hard Brexiteers with anarchy as the base negotiating point for a trade agreement with the US?
posted by skyscraper at 9:13 PM on January 24


Even as early as the Thatcher/Major era, there was a small fringe of swivel-eyed loons on the edges of the Conservative Party who believed that Britain should seek ever closer union with the United States, because “common values”. They usually mentioned joining the FTAA, though the idea of the UK becoming a US state did occasionally pop up as a hypothetical. Perhaps if it comes down to being a US state versus being a carcass in the wasteland, this idea will rear its head again.
posted by acb at 12:51 AM on January 25


Let's hope not, eh?

It's been amusing to see how many women Conservative MPs have started wearing 'Thatcher blue' of late. And ironic, since Thatcher herself would probably have been horrified about what her latter-day admirers are up to.
posted by pipeski at 3:34 AM on January 25


Chris Grey on the poisonous politics of betrayal: "the logic of 'betrayalism' leads ... to a never-ending circle of purism, suspicion and betrayal. Once the betrayals start, they never end."

Gobsmacking moment in which Breitbart editor James Delingpole reveals that he doesn't understand the WTO rules he wants to see the UK trapped in.
posted by rory at 3:43 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]




I've decided that if I ever get access to a time machine I'd go back and plant documentary evidence that a Deling Pole was a long stick that a medieval sewage worker would use to manoeuvre turds around a cesspit. It's not quite as extravagant as killing Hitler, but it would make me happy.
posted by Grangousier at 3:58 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Delingpole is a classic example of the conservative 'free thinker', whose audacious, maverick thoughts tend to run the gamut from 'wrong' to 'not even wrong'.
posted by pipeski at 4:27 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


The Impact of Brexit on Tax Evasion and Money Laundering.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:51 AM on January 25 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Even though I've been going on about this for a while, it wasn't till I read this article I realized how much of a pariah the UK will be to Europe if the hard Brexit idiots get away with it. That said, Dyson moving to the real Singapore is perhaps an indication that they are realizing it can't happen.
posted by mumimor at 4:36 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


This Reuters article is a good summary of what happens next. Basically, a fight between all sorts of amendments.

It is easy to hide the fact that there are still only three options on the table: May's Deal, No Deal, Remain.
Extensions, elections, referendums, citizen's committees just are other ways of arriving at one of the three options.

May's Deal: Many amendments seek to alter May's Deal, such as including a time-limited backstop. But this isn't going to happen. May's Deal in some form will probably be voted on again and it may gain more and more support as people realize its the most palatable (least worst) form of Brexit. Labour is asking to put some wording about customs union in there which might convince Jeremy that May's Deal is his Deal too.

No Deal: Various amendments seek to avoid No Deal but since it is the default then something positive must be put into its place. Nobody is suggesting revoking Article 50.

Remain: Again, nobody is suggesting revoking Article 50. the Remain option appears right now as an option in a second referendum. Mainly the Lib Dems pushing these amendments.
posted by vacapinta at 7:25 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


Gobsmacking moment in which Breitbart editor James Delingpole reveals that he doesn't understand the WTO rules he wants to see the UK trapped in.

It's only gobsmacking to people who haven't followed his career as a similarly clueless climate change denier. Only in the UK can English Literature graduates regularly appear on TV as experts in science and trade policy.
posted by daveje at 7:34 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, I know he's got form for cluelessness. It was more that he went on the Beeb to parade his cluelessness so spectacularly.
posted by rory at 8:08 AM on January 25


What's the pub version of why (hard) Brexit should be called off?

How about the vacuum cleaner guy moving his company to Singapore just before Brexit hits. Does this not make people feel angry and used?

Yesterday: 'Who needs the EU? It may be our biggest and closest market but we can find other markets! Global Britain!'
Today: 'We are moving out of the UK. Not because of Brexit, we're moving because we want to be close to our biggest market in Asia! That's the most important thing!'

Like, wtf? If I was at a pub right now, I would run into the closet, grab that vacuum cleaner, take it out into the street, and smash it. If I was British. And an ex-Brexiter. And drunk.
posted by romanb at 8:38 AM on January 25 [7 favorites]


It's a small, cold, comfort that when I bought my new cordless vacuum cleaner last week, I made damn sure it wasn't a Dyson. If I could afford to put my old Dyson on a fucking bonfire, I would.
posted by skybluepink at 8:48 AM on January 25 [7 favorites]


Noticed yesterday one city centre pub that looks a bit like a Wetherspoons but isn't had a blackboard outside reading "NOT a Wetherspoon Free House".
posted by winterhill at 8:58 AM on January 25 [11 favorites]


romanb: I am giving you internet permission to go to that pub, get drunk, get into the closet (?!?), go out into the street and smash the machine.

Smash the machine!
posted by biffa at 9:06 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


I think the interesting thing is that a lot of remain voters are motivated by emotional arguments. Well everyone is in the end, at least to some degree. But for me, the prospect of Leave is the prospect of friends being kicked out of the country or making it more difficult to visit European friends. This is of course deeply personal and emotional.

I would imagine that people who voted Leave are not so personally connected with Europe and so this argument doesn't capture them. I guess what we're grappling with is arguing across a divide in how people see the world.
posted by Erberus at 9:13 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Marina Hyde of The Guardian on fire
posted by mumimor at 11:26 AM on January 25 [7 favorites]


Stupid question: Do these pubs owned by Wetherspoons say that anywhere? Are they actually called "Wetherspoons", or is it something like "The Duke of York (a Wetherspoons pub)", or is it more subtle and you just need to know it?
posted by Chrysostom at 11:38 AM on January 25


Do these pubs owned by Wetherspoons say that anywhere?

Yup, clearly branded. Kinda like Hooters in the U.S. but without the class.*



* And the gimmick is insular little-englanderism rather than flesh.
posted by Buntix at 11:46 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Stupid question: Do these pubs owned by Wetherspoons say that anywhere? Are they actually called "Wetherspoons", or is it something like "The Duke of York (a Wetherspoons pub)", or is it more subtle and you just need to know it?
It's the latter.

The name often alludes to what used to be on the site before it was a pub - so for example, the one in my home town is in an old bank so it's called The Counting House. One at a horrible 'entertainment complex' built on an old coal mine in West Yorkshire is called The Winter Seam. It then generally says underneath "a JD Wetherspoon Free House".

Inside, all the menus and signage are heavily branded as Wetherspoon.
posted by winterhill at 12:04 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


The thing is, before the owner turned out to be a campaigning little-England Brexiter, I have been known to use Wetherspoons. The food is not great but cheap, the tea and coffee likewise. It's not somewhere you'd go for a special occasion but for a cheap eat in an unfamiliar town it's quite passable.

Now, I wouldn't step through the door. That's a concrete case of business lost through the owner's political stance. Surely it makes no business sense?
posted by winterhill at 12:19 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]


The one here in Stirling used to be more circumspect in its external branding, but now has it up in neon before the original* name.

Thought it quite odd at the time as I wouldn't really have thought pushing the sort of English 'Bar meals' pub thing would be particularly good marketing up here. With 72% of people in the region here being anti-brexit in the latest poll guessing that his public brexit support is not helping them much.



* Think they made it up, it used to be the local HMRC tax office, and many's the happy hour I spent in there come closing time on the 31st of Jan. [the tax office that is, never been in it since it changed]
posted by Buntix at 12:28 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


The food is not great

That's putting it mildly. It's precision not-great. It's not very nice and there's never quite enough of it, so it disappoints all round.

The one in Bournemouth, over the road from the churchyard Mary Shelley is buried in, is called The Mary Shelley. The pub sign is Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's Monster.

I suspect Tim Martin has calculated that since his clientele is primarily composed of poor, desperate people, and that hard Brexit is the most reliable way to increase their number (and hence his profits) exponentially. The reasoning isn't inaccurate, it has to be said.
posted by Grangousier at 12:44 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


It's not very nice and there's never quite enough of it, so it disappoints all round.
I am glad this thread is back to the subject of Brexit.
posted by winterhill at 1:13 PM on January 25 [17 favorites]


winterhill: "Now, I wouldn't step through the door. That's a concrete case of business lost through the owner's political stance. Surely it makes no business sense?"

I suppose he's banking for every latte-sipping Remoaner he loses, they'll be two red-faced Little Englanders queuing up for beer that's about to go off and microwaved meat patties, served by people in polyester shirts on poverty wage zero hour contracts. It's a business built on exploitation, consolidation and market failure. I'll never set foot in one again.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:46 PM on January 25 [12 favorites]


that marina hyde piece omfg

Re: Jacob Rees-Mogg

"If you had to distil into one personage the British people’s gibbering historical deference to terrible ideas advanced by low-to-middlebrow post-feudal shitlords who openly detest them, this plastic aristocrat would be it. Rees-Mogg is the logical end of whole centuries of barking up the wrong tree. In the most recent leadership polls of Tory members, obviously, he trailed only Boris Johnson".
posted by lalochezia at 3:02 PM on January 25 [13 favorites]


‘We're reactivating the people’s army’: inside the battle for a hard Brexit
By Simon Hattenstone for The Guardian
In June 2016, Farage was less subtle. He posed in front of that notorious Ukip poster with the slogan Breaking Point: The EU Has Failed Us All, showing hundreds of refugees, most of them non-white, crossing the Croatia-Slovenia border in 2015. The poster was reported to police for inciting racial hatred, and even Farage’s fellow Brexiter Michael Gove said it made him “shudder”.

Since then, Farage’s frame of reference has become more coded. Blair, Obama, the BBC, London: he doesn’t need to say much more than this to generate a boo from his followers – just the name, the institution, the city is enough. It’s dog-whistle politics on a new level, although the crowd occasionally give him away: at a mention of London, an audience member heckles, “They’re all foreigners in London!”
A longer article about hard Brexit rallies. I had no idea these were a thing, and the read is quite scary. What is it that makes comfortable, middle aged people want to scream and shout at empty slogans at a rally? It's like stupid rock concerts or something.

The slightly different question of why they are Leavers is answered in the article: it's the racism/xenophobia, it's the personification of politics and it's the refusal to acknowledge that the Tories are responsible for the austerity and NHS issues which truly are real in the UK.
posted by mumimor at 2:01 AM on January 26 [6 favorites]


A useful supplement to that link, mumimor: Who is the real Nigel Farage... and why won't he answer my questions?
posted by rory at 4:16 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


New York Review
Why Britain Needs Its Own Mueller
Britain being Britain this is wishful thinking but to dream occasionally is good.
However more pressure needs to be put on more politicians to ask / voice awkward questions about these malicious and venal shysters.
posted by adamvasco at 4:32 AM on January 27 [6 favorites]


I'm thinking that maybe the EU could get a Mueller-type investigation. They are not likely to do that before whatever happens with the UK is over, though, for fear of being seen as interfering with the proces. But it is definitely a thing to ask our coming MEPs about when the electioneering starts.
posted by mumimor at 4:54 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Those of us here who are British are currently scheduled not to have MEPs after March 29.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:50 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Those of us here who are British are currently scheduled not to have MEPs after March 29.
That's why the rest of us should do something! And come to think about it, the threat of election tampering across Europe is enough reason for us to write to our local governments, current MEPs and commisioners. So that is what I'll do already.
posted by mumimor at 9:04 AM on January 27 [5 favorites]


UK cannot simply trade on WTO terms after no-deal Brexit, say experts: Firstly, the UK must produce its own schedule covering both services and each of the 5,000-plus product lines covered in the WTO agreement and get it agreed by all the 163 WTO states in the 32 remaining parliamentary sitting days until 29 March 2019. A number of states have already raised objections to the UK’s draft schedule: 20 over goods and three over services. ... The second hurdle is the sheer volume of domestic legislation that would need to be passed before being able to trade under WTO rules: there are nine statutes and 600 statutory instruments that would need to be adopted.
posted by sour cream at 11:21 PM on January 27 [7 favorites]


EU says withdrawal agreement 'not open for renegotiation' as No 10 says deal must change

"the spokesman would not be drawn on whether “some changes” meant the text of the withdrawal agreement itself would have to change (as Boris Johnson is demanding - see 9.59am), or whether some form of addendum (like Graham Brady’s codicil - see 9.59am) might do the trick"
posted by Kosmob0t at 5:07 AM on January 28


BBC: No-deal Brexit 'to leave shelves empty' warn retailers

M&S, Sainsbury's and Waitrose are among those warning stockpiling fresh food is impossible and that the UK is very reliant on the EU for produce.
[...]
Retailers have been reluctant to intervene in the Brexit debate...


Reluctant? Irresponsible bastards allowing the proliferation of lies, more like. Their management's job is to protect shareholder value. Not challenging the blatant bullshit about how food supply chains will be fine in the event of a no-deal brexit is a dereliction of that duty, as well as the more important but not legally specified duty to their employees and fellow citizens and residents of Britain.
posted by Dysk at 5:18 AM on January 28 [7 favorites]


Do not read the comments on that BBC article.
posted by Pendragon at 5:41 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


It strikes me that a way forward would be for local organisations to provide - through friendly societies, co-operatives and the like - in areas where the government has seized the power but abrogated the responsibility ...

This was precisely Cameron's flagship policy - the "Big Society".

... but I've no idea how anyone would do it in real life. I certainly couldn't. I probably couldn't organise myself to get pissed in a brewery, let alone a party.

Exactly. It's a great idea, if you assume that some nebulous set of other people (*cough* women *cough*) will surely step up to do it, despite the rich chuckling at the very thought, and everything falling apart around the rest of us.

To paraphrase Thatcher: the problem with capitalism is that you eventually run out of other people's willingness and ability to do the things you don't assign monetary value to.
posted by automatronic at 11:52 AM on January 28 [3 favorites]


Showing that precisely nothing has been learned in the last 2.5 years, the government agrees with itself that the problem is the backstop, which should be removed. The EU has very explicitly said they won't, and of course they won't, it being the only thing that makes the withdrawal agreement acceptable to them.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:37 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


I've been working through the five stages of grief, and spent a lot of the last few months bouncing between anger, bargaining, and depression. (Denial didn't last long.) I'm starting to reach acceptance, because I've now got no real hope that the House of Clueless is capable of dealing with reality.

So yes, the last 2.5 years has been spent learning nothing. However, the last few years are going to teach the UK quite a lot about its true position in the world.
posted by daveje at 1:15 PM on January 28 [8 favorites]


Guardian: Risk of no-deal Brexit ‘very high’, says key EU negotiator—Barnier deputy Sabine Weyand casts doubt on chances of deal being ratified in Westminster
[T]he EU’s deputy chief negotiator, Sabine Weyand, offered a sober analysis of the chances of a deal being ratified in Westminster.

She said: “We need to have a majority that doesn’t just get agreement over hurdle of a meaningful vote by a narrow majority but we need to have a stable majority to ensure the ratification. That’s quite a big challenge. There’s no negotiation between the UK and EU – that’s finished.[…]”

Weyand said of the two years of talks due to end on 29 March: “There’s a very high risk of a crash out not by design, but by accident. Perhaps by the design of article 50, but not by policymakers.”[…]

Weyand further warned that the debate in Westminster, in which discussions over the rival strengths and weaknesses of Norway and Canada’s relationship to the bloc have recently dominated, appeared at times to be “uninhibited by any knowledge of what is actually in the withdrawal agreement”.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:24 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


I'm so completely out of WTF right now. May is pinning her hopes on an amendment that the EU has explicitly, repeatedly and (right now) unprecedentedly loudly said will not work, and which even those inclined to support her admit says absolutely nothing of use. The telescopes trained on the incoming No Deal asteroid are revealing ever more horrific detail, but the unicorn trottes are merely arguing over what categories of mane length and colouration should be used for judging in the Unicorn Of The Year show.

The only emotion I have left for tomorrow's amendathon in the House is agog. I have lots of agog, bottles and bottles of it.
posted by Devonian at 4:28 PM on January 28 [14 favorites]


Agog?

Gog and Magog
more like it!
posted by lalochezia at 4:31 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


BBC Two: Inside Europe: Ten Years of Turmoil - "Documentary series. David Cameron's closest advisers reveal how he tried to tackle the Europe question, and his battles at home and in Brussels before the referendum."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:31 PM on January 28


I have emailed the Labour Party HQ to say that if Corbyn doesn't whip his MPs to support the Cooper Boles amendment I am cancelling my membership and monthly donation. It's the last straw. Corbyn is playing bothsidesism games to try to ensure he doesn't lose leaver votes but the end result is that he stands for nothing on brexit. I joined Labour to support Corbyn but for what??? Now I'm considering staying in just to try to vote him out.
posted by hazyjane at 10:10 PM on January 28 [8 favorites]


As Ian Dunt is pointing out, Corbyn is refusing to support an amendment which does what he demanded last week, and May is whipping her MPs to undermine her own deal.

Normally in UK politics you have a either a competent government, or a competent opposition, or if you're lucky, both at the same time. This is the first time in my lifetime that both the government and the opposition have been such absolute crap.
posted by daveje at 12:18 AM on January 29 [12 favorites]


Jon Worth has updated his chart (easier to zoom in on in this direct link) laying out the results of various decisions in the coming weeks, with estimated probabilities, starting with today's amendment votes.
posted by zachlipton at 12:24 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


As Ian Dunt is pointing out, Corbyn is refusing to support an amendment which does what he demanded last week, and May is whipping her MPs to undermine her own deal.

Same with the non-confidence votes: Labor and the radical right wanted the same thing - ged rid of PM May. But Labor won't vote for it if the motion is brought in by Brexiteers and the Brexiteers won't vote for it if it comes from Labor.
posted by sour cream at 1:20 AM on January 29


Now I'm considering staying in just to try to vote him out.
Don't tell the Corbyn fans, but I joined partly so that I'd get a vote on his replacement when he inevitably crashes and burns.
posted by winterhill at 1:47 AM on January 29 [6 favorites]


Labor
Labour. The Labor Party operate in Australia.

Sorry to be the spelling police, but this is a thread about the UK and this kind of thing betrays a lack of knowledge about the country and the political situation.
posted by winterhill at 1:54 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


I'm vaguely aware that today is an important day in the Brexit "process" but even as a natural-born UK citizen who has been following the news for the past three years, I still have absolutely no clue what's going on. It's even more surprising to me how little I now care about the day-to-day Westminster hubbub, the Brady Amendment, the Malthouse Compromise. I just want them all to fuck off and for there to be some kind of solution.

I am not typical Remainer constituency. I'm working-class, no higher education, low income, living on a rough estate in the North of England. If a London commentator was to put me into a Brexit box based on my demographics, it'd be Hard Leave. They'd assume I'd be out there waving my EDL flag.

I haven't had glittering academic, social and economic opportunities thanks to EU membership. I haven't been part of the metropolitan jet set flitting back-and-forth across Europe for city breaks and conferences (or even the EasyJet set flying to Majorca!). I haven't even set foot in another EU country except Ireland for over 15 years.

But when I think about what's happening, I just feel... sad. I was born in the European Union and even though I haven't personally been in a position to take full advantage of its benefits, I always assumed it'd always be there. I am proud to be English, I love this country, but I am also a European. Or I always have been. I feel like part of my identity is being taken away. Part of the reason I'm proud of this beautiful country is that it's always been a place people come for safety and refuge and opportunity.

I think of all the people I've worked with and known over the years - the young Polish families who have worked hard to make a life here and had children here, the young gay Hungarian lad I worked with who came to live and work in Leeds to get away from the repressive regime in that country, the United Nations of amazing NHS workers from Greece, Spain, Pakistan, Nigeria who saved my dad's life a few years ago, even the hubbub of languages I hear every time I go into town. Even though I haven't been to Europe, Europe - and the world - has come to me.

I don't want to live in Little England. I want to live in Big England - the welcoming, tolerant, open and friendly melting pot I thought we always were. I've cried about it more than once, and I hate that. Is this really how our story ends? In a tidal wave of stinking populist bullshit?
posted by winterhill at 2:36 AM on January 29 [65 favorites]


Sorry, Winterhill. You are entirely correct and I'll try to pay more attention in the future.
posted by sour cream at 2:46 AM on January 29


Whereas my perspective is quite the opposite. I'm from working class West of Scotland, but got to university, and I've now been living in Amsterdam for just over 20 years. I've been all over the EU, and my current job requires me to travel on a monthly basis: in one four-week period last summer, I had to visit Budapest, Berlin, and Poland. I've been to Germany in the last year alone more times than I want to think about.

That probably makes me one of the metropolitan elite that are despised by the Brexiteers. EU membership has enriched my life in ways that I can't begin to explain.

I was disenfranchised in the referendum, due to living outside the UK longer than the 15 year cutoff period. All forms of Brexit will cost me rights that I need to live and work here, and I'll have to make adjustments, in terms of residency, citizenship, etc. But I can deal with this, and I'm prepared to give up British citizenship if necessary. It's just hassle. The personal impact on myself and my partner isn't why I'm angry and upset.

The UK is still my home culture, and it's killing me that it's wilfully tearing itself apart.
posted by daveje at 3:30 AM on January 29 [19 favorites]


Whereas my perspective is quite the opposite. I'm from working class West of Scotland, but got to university
I'm applying now. As in, that's literally what I've got open in the other Firefox tab.

Whatever happens with the political situation, I want to try and make my life better and more interesting. Perhaps that's why I am so sad about the EU situation.
posted by winterhill at 3:36 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


It's ironic how Corbyn came in as the end to an era of New Labour, of triangulation, and of just being Tory Lite, aping their policy positions with minor details changed. Now, with brexit, that - a triangulating Tory Lite, whose policies are identical to moderate Tories' - is exactly what he's become, whereas the despised old New Labour actually hold views opposing the government. Corbyn was elected to make Labour a proper opposition again. And he immediately just started agreeing with the Tories, even whipping his own MPs to vote with them, on Brexit, the defining political issue of the moment.

The sooner he's gone, the better. But even if he leaves today, the damage is done.
posted by Dysk at 3:45 AM on January 29 [18 favorites]


I'm vaguely aware that today is an important day in the Brexit "process" but even as a natural-born UK citizen who has been following the news for the past three years, I still have absolutely no clue what's going on

It's the twitching of dead hobby horses being flogged by MPs while either completely ignoring the catastrophe that's 8 weeks away, or in the ERG's case, actively wanting to happen. All available options do not have close to a majority in the house and/or have been repeatedly dismissed as impossible by the EU, so unless May or Corbyn pull their head out their fundament sharpish, we will crash out hard.

The only vaguely relevant amendment is Cooper's, which will create a bill to force May to ask to delay Brexit by nominally 9 months in order to delay no deal. Apparently it will just get filibustered in the Lords by the suicide brexit squad, and seems unlikely the EU will actually agree to that long without a good reason so it's got a tough road ahead anyway. Corbyn still haven't said which way they'll whip Labour, while May is going to make a vague promise to soft Tories that they'll get another chance to vote on something, so they're not going to break the whip (and give up their government job) to vote for it either, so even that last gasp attempt to block no-deal looks likely to fall at the first hurdle due to cowardice.

After that, May will go back to the EU possibly to try and remove the backstop at the DUP's urging, they'll say piss off, and Parliament will have another vote on May's deal at some point in mid-late Feb with backstop in place, it'll fail again. Giving Parliament a couple of weeks to pass the necessary legislation so we actually have laws* come no-deal Brexit day, and can trade with other countries on WTO terms. There's at least 6 months worth of work to do in that two weeks, so basically we will literally be a failed state come 30th March.

Personally speaking, the Cooper amendment is my last straw. I've been hanging out in the 'bargaining' part of grief for a while (with the odd trip back into roaring, fist clenching anger). Assuming the last gasp attempt to block no-deal fails by a significant margin, I think I'm heading full on into depression. At which point, I'm going to start immediately stockpiling food to survive the initial crash (I've already started stockpiling my daily meds). Then start the actual concrete work of how to sell our house, quit our jobs, and move to France before the Rees-Mogg government starts taxing foreigners like my wife for access to the NHS etc. Calling it grief no doubt marks me out as one of those wailing elitist remoaners, but it does feel like mourning a death - the death of the country I thought I lived in, the death of rationality and compromise, the death of feeling like I belong here. Losing access to my family. The death of my career I've worked on for two decades if we flee. I don't want to leave, but I just don't see how I can raise my kids in the stinking cesspool of foreigner-blaming that's going to overflow when it turns out 'project Fear' was always project Reality, and the shortages and rioting start to bite.

* Repealing the European Communities Act 1972 in order to actually leave the EU under UK law will also kneecap a metric fuckton of laws that are based upon it. The government haven't even passed half the necessary instruments yet needed to basically cross out 'EU' and put 'UK' in place, let alone the work to roll over existing trade agreements with other nations we currently have via the EU, or even agree the schedules for WTO-based trade.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:18 AM on January 29 [19 favorites]


(I've already started stockpiling my daily meds)

Serious question, how are people doing this? Because the doctors at my surgery say their hands are tied when it comes to prescriptions - max two months' worth at a time, and only minor overlap in periods. So I have no idea how I'm supposed to get more than about three months' supply in.
posted by Dysk at 4:27 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


It depends on your meds I think - for something like insulin, the amount you need varies day-to-day so you can keep requesting the max prescription but not using it all and stockpiling the excess. For something you need, say, 1 pill a day and they only give you 30 pills every 30 days it's won't work that way.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:33 AM on January 29


Serious question, how are people doing this?

My GP uses an online repeat subscription service that lets me order my 28-day supply 3 weeks after the last one. I've been ordering as soon as it became possible for the last few months, so I currently have about 1 months excess 'in hand'. Previously, when I went on holiday and asked my GP to get my prescription early, they actually gave me three months in one go. I'm going to be trying the same tactic in a few weeks - even if they only give me two months worth in one go, that still buys me a few more weeks. Worst comes to worst, I'll have to try and get an emergency prescription via the french family-in-law, though receiving it is likely to be a challenge. If the shortages last more than a couple of months though, I'll simply have to go without.

'Vote leave - you might not die' probably didn't have quite the right ring to it when they ran it past the focus groups.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:43 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Add me to the list of privileged remoaners who can only watch helplessly while their homeland beats itself senseless in excruciating slow motion.

I'm still holding out hope that the whole sham will collapse under the weight of its own idiocy, but... ugh, it's all so depressing.
posted by ZipRibbons at 5:15 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


I'm listening to the rosta of delusion on Radio 4 right now. It's as if nobody dare say there are only three options Parliament can decide between - crash out with no deal, agree with the EU's proposed withdrawal bill, or ask to remain.

That's it. That's all that's on offer. There is no reason whatsoever to think anything else. But none of the politicians are admitting it.

Take me down to Unicorn City, where the hooves are sparkly and the manes are pretty...
posted by Devonian at 5:45 AM on January 29 [18 favorites]


If I hear the phrase "seek assurances," one more time, I am probably going to lose my shit. May is now saying she's going to ask the EU to reopen negotiations when they have said over and over again, that they're done: that's the deal. We're just stuck in this place while the clock is being run out.
posted by skybluepink at 5:57 AM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Anybody who wants to watch live: Parliamentlive.tv
posted by PenDevil at 6:02 AM on January 29


That's it. That's all that's on offer. Agreed.

Despite the failure of the BBC overall (IMO) they still have a lot of well-informed reporters and every once in a while, sickened by the inane piffle they are colluding in foisting on their audience, they break the 4th wall and explain the Brexit trade-offs in 30 seconds for anyone who is willing to hear and then, regretfully, turn back to the piffle. Evan Davis has done this a couple of times in my hearing—for all the good it has done him or anyone else.
posted by dudleian at 6:05 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Is there a stages of grief thing going on here with the saner leavers as they realise any attainable Brexit will never give them what they wanted or promised or produce a result that anyone can pretend is better than remaining?
  • Denial - only upsides, no complications
  • Anger - the EU and remainers are making this too hard
  • Bargaining - Chequers plan and Malthouse compromise
  • Depression - ???
  • Acceptance - Norway? PV?
posted by Busy Old Fool at 6:21 AM on January 29


The Leavers's five stages of grief are simpler than that: anger, denial, anger, denial and anger.
posted by daveje at 6:25 AM on January 29 [17 favorites]


One thing is very clear. The Tory party is the original cause of this situation, and the impossibility of uniting them is what has kept us in this insane situation. Whatever happens in March, the Tory party in its current form must be destroyed.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:43 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


That's it. That's all that's on offer. There is no reason whatsoever to think anything else. But none of the politicians are admitting it.

Ah, but that's why we're not politicians. AFAICT, the entire purpose of this whole charade now is lining up who to blame when it all goes inevitably sideways.

The ERG - we tried *so* hard to come up with a useless pile of ERG sex fantasies, dressed up in nonsense legalese to hide its blushes, that will not get the support of the EU, that cannot be done in time, that does not solve the problems it claims to, contains no new ideas, is legally and strategically unsound, grossly misleading and full of lies about WTO laws its authors have not fully understood compromise - it's that dastardly EU's fault for punishing us.

May and most of the tories - there's a deal. Sign the deal. The Deal is Brexit. Brexit is the Deal. It's Labour and saboteur remainers who never accepted the result who blocked the deal. Their fault now.

Corbyn - I would deliver the Brexit the 14% of Labour leavers want, and also cure scrofula. I want the membership having a say, unless they disagree with me. It's the Tories fault, I would have done much better.

Most Labour and minority MPs -arhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhsaveusahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

* thanks to Ian Dunt for his description of the Malthouse Compromise.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:45 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


and also cure scrofula

My work here on Earth is done.

*walks off into the distance*
posted by garius at 6:55 AM on January 29 [8 favorites]


A personal observation from Germany: under every Brexit news article there's a wave of hardcore Dexit in the comment sections. They are amazingly similar to the Brexiteers in content ('The EU needs us more than we need them', 'Why support Eastern Europeans and their welfare abuse' etc.). Other commentators dismiss them as coming from the troll factories and with all that we know has been happening, is it even a conspiracy theory to presume that these are orchestrated? Particularly suspect is how quickly the Dexit comments show up to be on 'page 1', and also the fact that the EU is actually very popular here.

Yet: one can only speculate. It makes it abundantly clear how effective that kind of campaign can and has proven to be. Who has time to respond to these posts when they're made a split second after an article is written? Does responding simply offer legitimacy to extremist viewpoints?

If democracy is to survive, the troll factories need to be shut out.
posted by romanb at 7:06 AM on January 29 [20 favorites]


If democracy is to survive, the troll factories need to be shut out.
Or news outlets need to stop offering comment sections beneath every other article. The BBC in particular needs to look long and hard at this. As a UK public funded outlet, they have an obligation to put forward a cross-section of views from the UK public - things like radio phone-in shows and Question Time are not my cup of tea but that's what they're there for.

What is questionable is offering an unmoderated online space hosted by the BBC where anyone - from anywhere, whatever their agenda or motive - can spew anonymous bile. I am sure that some of the guff spouted on the BBC and other news outlet comment sections is Russian-funded trolling.

If Jim from Bradford calls Radio 5 Live and spouts some ill-informed Brexit tosh, that's a member of the British public exercising their right to be heard on the public broadcaster, however misguided. You have a name and a place, and a human voice, and a presenter questioning them. If LeaveNow123 on the BBC website spouts the same tosh, they could literally be anyone from anywhere and can just talk without being challenged. That doesn't feel right.
posted by winterhill at 7:32 AM on January 29 [19 favorites]


What upsets me so much (because I realise I was played) is how the Labour party used their support for “Europe” as a dog whistle to call people like me to heel. “Europe” said: we value diversity, cooperation, and openness over exceptionalism and isolation, we’re looking forwards and outwards instead of over our shoulder at the empire.

And maybe some of them, some of the time, truly meant it. But now that Labour’s only chance of winning an election is (in their minds) to angle for the votes of people who don’t believe in that stuff at all—well, it turns out the Labour party never really cared much for “Europe”.
posted by dudleian at 7:43 AM on January 29 [16 favorites]


Corbyn confirms he'll back the Cooper amendment.

"We are backing a short window of three months to allow time for renegotiation." (The Cooper amendment says 9 months but allows for the time to be altered".
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:00 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


From @GiveBloodNHS:

We have taken the decision to cancel blood donation sessions in Dover and Folkestone for a 2 week period before and a 6 week period after Britain’s exit from the EU. This is because in the event of issues in Calais and other freight ports, this could lead to significant (1/2)


There's not a lot to add to that, is there?
posted by ambrosen at 8:09 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


+1 on shutting down comment spaces on online news; even The Guardian is a flaming trash pile. Whoever is responsible for keeping them going, and for their dreadful moderation and lack of curation, needs to reassess their life choices. If people want to chat about stuff online, by all means, there's Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, etc. It just shouldn't be part of the article.
posted by adrianhon at 8:15 AM on January 29 [10 favorites]


+1 on shutting down comment spaces on online news; even The Guardian is a flaming trash pile.

In most places they just don't need to exist anymore. They're a legacy of a time when Social Media didn't really exist and the pool of people online was smaller.

I mean, in places where you can police comments (or put them behind a wall of some kind with payment involved) then they're often great, although the old "Broken Windows" urban principle very much applies. Anywhere else though I agree, they're just a trash fire.
posted by garius at 8:25 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Corbyn confirms he'll back the Cooper amendment.
If my Labour MP votes against the Cooper amendment on the misguided basis that this is a "Leave-voting area" then I will contact her and tell her I'm not happy. I'm tired of whole areas being characterised as Remain or Leave based on little more than stereotyping.
posted by winterhill at 8:26 AM on January 29


More likely she'll abstain. Thus annoying both groups of constituents.

(I've never got why they think that's a good idea. No one likes a fence-sitter)
posted by garius at 8:35 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I'm tired of whole areas being characterised as Remain or Leave based on little more than stereotyping.

For an awful lot of constituencies, you can consult the referendum results rather than rely on stereotyping. There are a few where there aren't concrete numbers by constituency, but there's solid data for most (based on local government district or ward-level data if not constituency-level data directly).
posted by Dysk at 8:45 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


For an awful lot of constituencies, you can consult the referendum results rather than rely on stereotyping.
That relies on the line of thinking that nothing at all has changed since a single snapshot of a single day in 2016.
posted by winterhill at 9:01 AM on January 29 [7 favorites]


If my Labour MP votes against the Cooper amendment on the misguided basis that this is a "Leave-voting area" then I will contact her and tell her I'm not happy.

Can you contact her now, before the vote? Are MPs responsive to that sort of thing?
posted by nat at 9:23 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Yes definitely write and keep writing to your MP! As I said upthread, I emailed Corbyn last night about Cooper Boles telling him it was the last straw and look what happened! :-) Any more political leaders I need to email and sort out just let me know, I'm on it!
posted by hazyjane at 9:34 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Yes definitely write and keep writing to your MP!
She sent an email out last week to all local Labour members asking for opinions on the various Brexit options/amendments on the table and I gave her my views back then.

Hopefully she will take everyone's views into account when deciding what to do this evening.
posted by winterhill at 9:40 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


That relies on the line of thinking that nothing at all has changed since a single snapshot of a single day in 2016.

I read it as a direct reference to how an area voted, but I can see your read making sense as well.
posted by Dysk at 9:49 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Ian Dunt walks you through the current series of amendments, with results as they happen.
posted by zachlipton at 11:18 AM on January 29


This is such a complete omnishambles.

May has told MPs to vote to change the agreement she spent two years negotiating, and which the EU has repeatedly said they won't change.

The ERG are going to vote for the Brady amendment today, but if Theresa May doesn't come back from Brussels with any more concessions, then they've already said they'll vote against it when it comes back to the Commons.

The only sitting Northern Ireland MP who represents the majority Remain vote asked what the alternative arrangements in the Brady amendment are, and was told that these would be part of the negotiations. Meaning, they haven't a fucking clue, and are happy to treat the people of NI with utter contempt.

The Tory Party delenda est.
posted by daveje at 11:29 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Grieves and Cooper Amendments fails, May to go back to Brussels and knock on the door while the EU keeps the blinds down and the lights off.
posted by PenDevil at 12:01 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Oh well, we're good and properly sideways fucked, Cooper and Grieve both clearly defeated. MPs voted overwhelmingly that May's deal sucked. Given a gold plated opportunity to take control of the process tonight, they decided they didn't want it after all. Will have to wait for the actual division results, but it's very likely that some 30 odd labour MPs, including shadow ministers decided that they wanted May to carry on doing a little jig for the DUP and ERG instead. And of course Corbyn let them join the tories without consequences, unlike May who successfully bullied several front bench rebels into following the party line.

Doesn't matter if Brady passes or not, the ERG and DUP want the same old 'magic tech fairies' to solve the NI border which has already been said won't fly a million times by the EU, so that's another fortnight to be wasted on achieving sweet FA.

Crash-out Brexit in 59 days. FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK those arseholes.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:03 PM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Will have to wait for the actual division results
Why, in 2019, is it not electronic with full results and divisions published instantly online for the public? What's all this waiting around for them to file in and out of the lobbies?

Two-bit tinpot reality TV shows have audience voting buttons. Is it beyond the capabilities of our country to have similar systems in place for our Parliament?
posted by winterhill at 12:06 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


The blithering idiots are smart enough to want time to get out of reach before people know how they voted.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:17 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Why, in 2019, is it not electronic with full results and divisions published instantly online for the public?

They only agreed just the other day for a trial of MPs on maternity leave being able to proxy vote. In 2019. And only because the optics of forcing a Labour MP to literally cancel her planned cesarean so she could come to the House in a wheelchair to vote against May's deal made them look a little bit sexist.*

And we wonder why they just voted to send us back to a medieval relationship with the rest of the world...

* voiceover: it was a lot sexist.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:20 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


14 Labour MPs voted against Cooper. Enough to change the result.
posted by daveje at 12:29 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Spelman/Dromey amendment wins
This rejects the UK leaving the EU with no-deal.

Whilst this is not binding on the government it gives a path to revocation of Article 50 if the alternative is no deal.
posted by fullerine at 12:30 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Why no electronic voting? We’re a country hopelessly mired in past glories and we think that tradition makes us great, no matter the cost. Compare with more modern Parliaments (including Scotland) which have electronic voting, not to mention better layout.
posted by adrianhon at 12:32 PM on January 29


Hey, English Labour, you weren't supposed to take notes from Scottish Labour about how to profoundly alienate huge chunks of your voters.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:34 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


If I'm understanding this correctly, as the pound takes a nosedive, MPs have rejected May's deal, they've rejected an array of alternatives including various proposals for extensions of Article 50, and they just narrowly voted to reject the idea of crashing out without a deal. So, uh, they're in favor of a deal, just not any conceivable deal in particular?
posted by zachlipton at 12:34 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]



Ian Dunt re: Spelman amendment passing: "So what the fucking fuck does that mean?"
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:36 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


I believe they're in favor of a deal, just not any realistic deal.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:37 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


It means they demand unicorns, goddamit.
posted by tavella at 12:39 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


Brady amendment passes.
So the next two weeks are as follows.

EU says no.
May says prety please with sprinkles on top.
EU says no.

And we will be back here again.
posted by fullerine at 12:46 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


I can't believe they were willing to put that request for unicorns in writing.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:47 PM on January 29


It gives the Tory press more excuses to paint the EU as the bad guys. And more time for the ERG nutters to run down the clock to the the glories of Ragnarok.
posted by daveje at 12:50 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


So, uh, they're in favor of a deal, just not any conceivable deal in particular?

Correct. Because all the deals that are possible preserve Freedom of Movement, which is the one thing that the Leavers want to end.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:50 PM on January 29


The thing about watching Bercow in action is that you gradually increase your own vocabulary. My new word for today is:

exegesis

noun: exegesis; plural noun: exegeses
definition: critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture.
posted by Wordshore at 12:57 PM on January 29


Correct. Because all the deals that are possible preserve Freedom of Movement, which is the one thing that the Leavers want to end.

May's deal ends FoM. The sticking point is what happens with the NI border. The Irish, and thus the EU approach is there must continue to be a frictionless border in line with the Good Friday Agreement no matter what. DUP won't accept a customs border in the Irish Sea, so special treatment for NI alone is out. The compromise May the EU finally struggled to leaves the whole UK inside the EU customs area should no better agreement be reached to achieve a soft border before the end of the transition period (the UK will effectively stay a member of the EU for 2 years, but without any vote, to allow the future relationship to be negotiated, whether it's norway+, free-trade agreement, or unicorns on rainbow bicycles - if and only if the withdrawal agreement is agreed pre March 29th)

ERG and DUP don't want to be 'stuck' in a permanent customs union, as it prevents their goal of slashing standards and safety, and f.e.x. importing chlorinated chicken from the US.

So they have reverted to demanding 'maximum facilitation' i.e. the EU agrees to remove the backstop, and magical tech will be invented to have a 'transparent' border between NI and Ireland. Apart from food and a whole bunch of other stuff which will still require border posts. And a pinky promise that we'll try and come up with a better solution in the interim, and we won't just say 'fuck it' and institute a hard border in 2 or 3 years time.

The EU, unsurprisingly have already rejected this idea, many, many times. And recycling it is literally a waste of everybody's time.

MaxFac is just window dressing to waste time and blame the EU of course, the ERG and DUP nutters want a crashout brexit so they can turn us into singapore-on-thames with no brakes but they know there's only about 30% support for that in the country and much less in parliament so they need to dress it up in bullshit. And May can't pass her deal without the ERG and DUP, without Corbyn also deciding to hitch his wagon to her hard Brexit and being tied to the inevitable shitstorm when it turns out to be not what anybody wanted (seriously, everyone hates the deal)

Should May's deal not pass in the interim, we crash out in 59 days. The other possibility is MPs take control from a divided and minority government, but they also decided they didn't want to do that tonight despite the golden chance, so that pretty much kills of any chance of blocking no-deal brexit or a 2nd ref, though there's still an outside chance of that happening at the very, very last minute should a few more MPs suddenly discover a backbone.

But eh, we're wasting a few more weeks arguing with the EU over something they already rejected as fantasy bollocks, again, this morning. And the clock keeps ticking.

I'm off to decide whether I'm going to book flights out the country before March 29th. Not kidding.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:14 PM on January 29 [16 favorites]


A sobering read: Brexit Watch: Nasty Normal Europe.

Jan Techau, Senior Fellow and Director of the Europe Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Berlin, writing for The American Interest:
This is about a mindset lost all across Europe. This is about getting used to having it too good [...] This is the story of Europeans having enough of the shabby stuff that made them rich and free: bland compromise, bland middle-of-the-road politics, bland summits (and more summits), bland treaties, bland reforms, bland institutions.
We're doomed.
posted by ZipRibbons at 1:16 PM on January 29 [4 favorites]


From the guardian I. Spelman no-deal amendment
Amendment passed by 318 votes to 310, a majority of eight.

Tabled by the longstanding Tory MP and former environment minister Caroline Spelman, with the backing of more than 115 MPs from various parties, this states that the UK will not leave the EU without a deal. It is only advisory and has no legislative force.


Bold emphasis mine.

LIKE THE FUCKING REFERENDUM YOU FUCKNOZZLES!
posted by lalochezia at 1:21 PM on January 29 [23 favorites]


Today I wrote to the Danish EU Commissioner, (because I'm Danish, and because she's wild), suggesting that some sort of public investigation into foreign meddling can be started. I'll report back when/if she answers. But I can see a lot of Europeans outside the UK are following this thread. Maybe we can try to do something. At least I don't feel as helpless any longer.
posted by mumimor at 1:26 PM on January 29 [6 favorites]


May's deal ends FoM. The sticking point is what happens with the NI border.

Ah, my mistake. Thanks for the detailed correction.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:39 PM on January 29


I thought Freedom of Movement only ends after the transition period (theoretically the same as the "backstop"). To be honest, I haven't paid too much attention to the details as I never really thought May's Withdrawal Agreement had any chance of passing.
posted by GeckoDundee at 1:48 PM on January 29


Ian Dunt:
That was how they rejected reality. Then they threw their lot in with the fairy tales.

The last vote was on Graham Brady's amendment to replace the backstop with "alternative arrangements". What were these alternative arrangements? No-one would say. Brady himself has no idea. The prime minister won't offer anything. Even the Brexit secretary dodged the question.

The backstop is only supposed to kick in if alternative arrangements, like the hardline Brexiters' dreams about frictionless technology, do not come to fruition. So applying them now was like answering a question with the question. What's your alternative arrangement if the alternative arrangements don't work? Well, an alternative arrangement of course.
...
This is as bleak a day as we have had in the entire Brexit process. All roads now seem blocked. MPs won't back an extension to Article 50. They won't back May's deal. And they won't back no-deal. They've opted for fairy tales over action. Things are looking very bad indeed.
posted by zachlipton at 1:49 PM on January 29 [15 favorites]


Five stages of grief, the House of Commons edition: denial, denial, denial, denial and denial.
posted by daveje at 2:06 PM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Or news outlets need to stop offering comment sections beneath every other article.

While I agree, I don’t know if it’s enough to expect news organisations to handle it on their own. The trolls and bots will move elsewhere and obviously Facebook and Twitter are not safe either — I assume the same of Reddit or any other social network. There needs to be a much more powerful response. I used to think cyber-warfare was a bit of a joke, but, I’m beginning to think that the EU needs to fight against this with everything we have. There are just enough people who want to see us fail, and it’s too easy for them to do so.
posted by romanb at 3:27 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I just wrote to my MP, Caroline Lucas, to thank her for being one of the few sources of sanity in a madhouse of a parliament.

I don't know how she can stand it.
posted by doornoise at 3:39 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]




Woah, roolya_boolya, that may be something

In particular, Richard Neal, the Massachusetts Congressman who was centrally involved in the Good Friday Agreement and is the co-chairman of the Friends of Ireland caucus on Capitol Hill, has recently been appointed as head of the powerful Ways and Means committee. This committee will play a key role in overseeing any future trade agreement between Britain and the United States after Britain leaves the European Union.
The promise of a bilateral trade agreement between Britain and the United States is a central plank of Britain’s post-Brexit economic policy given that British exports to the United States are worth about 100 billion pounds to the British economy.

posted by mumimor at 4:15 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


May's deal ends FoM. The sticking point is what happens with the NI border.
Ah, my mistake. Thanks for the detailed correction.


Entirely understandable, because most of the discussion by MPs and amendments has indeed been about staying in the single market (which requires freedom of movement) or getting the benefits of staying in without also having FoM (labour's own fantasy position). But it's all a giant time wasting red herring.

I thought Freedom of Movement only ends after the transition period (theoretically the same as the "backstop").

You are indeed right. So I'll digress further!

Wall of text incoming summarising my understanding of current status, and I'm sure some will want to correct me on some points - feel free!

The timeline, if everything went to plan, looked something like this:

May's deal (withdrawal agreement) agreed by parliament ->
brexit day (29th march) ->
21 month transition period during which future relationship negotiated ->
at which point we branch;
a) future relationship agreed before end of transition, this is new permanent relationship of UK with EU as a non-member
b) no agreement. Backstop in withdrawal agreement kicks in.

The withdrawal agreement does 4 big things;
1) sets up the transition period, UK effectively stays member of EU without a say until Dec 2020
1) guarantee most of the rights of current EU and UK citizens to stay where they are, subject to registration (which is a tense point that we argued about earlier in the thread), including a path to citizenship - if they leave without citizenship for 5+ years, they lose settled status in the UK (I think UK citizens in EU have different rules per country on that bit) and UK citizens in the EU can't move to another EU country.
2) the UK pays what it owes the EU until end of 2020 (EU budget contributions, pension commitments etc), after refunds for various bits; comes to about £39 billion.
3) ends freedom of movement into and out of the UK after end of transition, unless superseded by new arrangements. Also UK exits single market, and most EU regulation, common fisheries policy etc etc. Probably another crisis at this point.
4) the backstop I described earlier, i.e. at the end of transition period, should nothing better for a soft border in NI be agreed, UK stays in a customs arrangement, NI also has some extra regulation to cover food safety, UK has to abide by a subset of EU regulations to ensure no backsliding on some standards. This is the point that parliament are stuck on.

EU trade agreements take years - EU/canada took 7, and that was relatively simple. So nobody really expects the UK/EU final relationship to be agreed in 21 or 33 months. It's taken us the best part of 2 years to agree the withdrawal agreement between May/EU, and most of that was a painful hard slog because May wanted all the economic benefits of being in the EU without the regulation, joint court, or freedom of movement, while her own backbenchers (the EU-hating subset of the tories, the ERG) and the DUP (NI fanatical unionists) kept demanding ever more fantasy rubbish on top. But the EU compromised a fair bit, and the agreement was made, pending Parliament approval. Assuming no better deal is agreed, the hard brexit post 2020 will cause economic damage, and screws over immigrants, but was the only withdrawal agreement that May would sign.

But the withdrawal agreement (the deal) has been voted down by a huge number of MPs; remainers/soft brexiters hate it because it ultimately leads to leaving 90% of the EU with no idea if that will ever be improved, crash-out brexiteers hate it because we don't leave 100% of the EU because of the backstop.

The UK is set, by legislation, to leave the EU on 29th March, deal or no deal. At which point the withdrawal agreement is moot, we crash out of all EU-derived legislation, EU-derived trade agreements with most of the rest of the world - and thus a customs and regulations border slams up between the UK and well, everybody. In 59 days. UK trade volume is predicted to drop to 20%ish of it's pre-brexit amount if we crash out with no transition, there will be huge queues for essential goods coming in from the EU, and there will be shortages of fuel, electricity, food and medicines. How much this is mitigated by EU emergency legislation is unknown, but it won't be for long, and it will be solely for the EU's benefit. Riots and army units on UK streets to maintain order are a possibility. Many laws will no longer be valid, as they won't have been fixed in time. Even WTO-rules based trading may prove impossible, and that has things like 40% tariffs on some food.

EU countries will suffer some economic damage from this sudden shortfall of trade, but the UK will suffer much more - including sterling likely to plummet, making it even worse. In *theory* citizens agreement will still be applied, but no guarantees for anybody as no legal enforcement of it. Level of chaos literally unknowable, but predicted to be very, very bad by all experts.

The ERG want crash-out brexit, because they're backed by/are disaster capitalists who will make a lot of money and want to turn the UK into a low-tax, low-wages serf economy for all bar the richest. A chunk of the population want crash out brexit because leave-means-leave, and the EU are bullies and they need us more than we need them m'kay, and all the chaos is just project fear, we'll be rich instead (something like that, I've never got a particularly coherent answer on that one)

The DUP, who May needs to pass legislation as a minority government, just want Ireland to go away entirely, I think. They're pretty fanatical generally; but NI politics is the kinda subject I don't want to step into too much though, as I'm far from an expert and it's complex.

May wants hard Brexit, because she hates immigrants and the European Courts (ref her time as Home Secretary). Her POV is her deal is better than no deal, but no deal is better than soft brexit or no brexit.

Ex-remainer MPs and soft-brexiteers (who want to brexit, but stay in the single market) both want to stop no-deal brexit; remainers want a 2nd ref to maybe overturn brexit entirely.

Most Labour MPs want remain, or at worst soft brexit. Labour policy driven by Corbyn is magic amazing brexit if only Labour were in charge, which is causing some tension there.

So much of the waffle of late has been about trying to get a softer brexit., or from the ERG/DUP, ways to scupper it entirely. But there's no time, and the EU are fed up, and most of it is about the future relationship which happens after withdrawal, so is completely irrelevant to the point at hand. The withdrawal agreement is *done*. It ain't gonna change at this point.

There are 3 options. Withdraw article 50, and cancel brexit, possibly after a delay and a referendum. Agree the withdrawal agreement as is, and fight like cats in a sack over what type of long-term brexit we have in the transition period. Crash-out with no deal, and watch the country burn. If you listened to MPs, very few will acknowledge those are the only options. Delay to discuss a new withdrawal agreement won't happen unless we end up with a new government or something pre-brexit day.

MPs said tonight they don't like no deal but won't block it. They don't like May's current deal. They don't want to take control over what happens next. They don't want Labour or the SNP's soft brexit (kinda moot point at this point anyway). They don't want to have time in parliament to discuss options in the next 6 weeks. They do want May to go back to the EU and say 'get rid of the backstop entirely, and we might, if the EU begs hard enough, vote for the withdrawal deal. We've compromised by letting you keep the bit about us paying what we owe'.

The EU have already said hell no. May has repeatedly shown that despite losing once, she's not going to change approach, or rule out no-deal, or delay brexit. The ERG have spoken, so off she goes to achieve fuck all but make us look even more like untrustworthy morons who wouldn't recognise reality if it was wearing a big silly hat, if that's even possible.

Next stop, May brings back the withdrawal agreement exactly as-is to Parliament around Feb 14th, and prays Remainers/soft brexiteers are so scared of no-deal brexit they will next time vote yes on a deal they hate, as it takes us much closer to a permanent hard brexit.

If she loses, there's one last chance for MPs to vote for something other than May's deal, or crash-out Brexit. Given tonight's valiant running away from any decision making power by them, I'm not hopeful. At that point, with May's deal dead a 2nd time, and no other option on the table, crash-out brexit becomes basically inevitable, despite only a small part of parliament or country actually wanting that outcome.

Yes, we have gone collectively insane. Worse, most people just don't care about all this everlasting detail, and want it to be over, somehow, because how bad could it, be, right? Some few of us are scared of finding out.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:23 PM on January 29 [36 favorites]


they're done: that's the deal. We're just stuck in this place while the clock is being run out.

That's the bit that's really getting to me at the moment - the whole point of the backstop is to prevent running out the clock by giving a default option for failure to agree on the border problem that the EU finds acceptable. There is not a shred of a chance the EU will budge on this, especially now that the UK has shown that given the first chance of getting what they want by running out the clock, they'll take it. They're doing the exact thing, right now, that the backstop is there to prevent, while at the same time claiming it's unacceptable. At least from the ERGs point of view I suppose this makes sense - they're not actually asking for a unicorn, they're more or less baldly stating that that's their preferred tactic and they don't want it taken from them.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:28 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


It's absurd. No Deal Brexit happens by default on March 29th unless May's deal is approved, or Article 50 is rescinded. It's like the car is heading towards a cliff, and Parliament has voted not to go over the cliff... but also voted not to touch the brakes and not to turn the steering wheel.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:23 AM on January 30 [7 favorites]


And you just know it'll be the cliff's fault.
posted by jontyjago at 1:26 AM on January 30 [13 favorites]


I'm moving on from bargaining to depression now.
Quite a few people here have been citing the 5 stages of grief in relation to their feelings regarding Brexit. March 29th, however it turns out, will indeed feel like a death of sorts: either the death of the UK's current membership of the EU or the death (/severe maiming) of Brexit itself as an idea.

But it will not really be a death - more a moment of ecdysis; a skin shedding as we move to whatever form the beast will take next. March 29th is such an obvious moment of potential trauma, that it is easy to be fixated about it and fail to look beyond at what happens next. Traffic jams, food shortages and chaos of all sorts in the immediate aftermath: probably. We will, I imagine, be in the phase of an event which computer users will recognise instantly as the one where they urgently type "Control +Z" a dozen times. We know that is only in cases where frantic "undo"s have no effect that we are forced to pause and contemplate a rebuild of the mess we have made. That moment will also be a point of a separate bereavement process. I think there are some grounds for being a bit more optimistic about the outcome - but we will have to go through the social equivalent of being thrown out of the house, acquiring a restraining order against us and living in the back of the car for a month of two first.
posted by rongorongo at 1:45 AM on January 30


Someone up the thread had a query about stockpiling meds - I'm not completely across the NHS and you'll need a sympathetic prescriber and this won't work for everything (not everything is a tablet that is scored) but if your dose is say 5mg you can get a script for 10mg and halve it, thus extending your supply 2x.
posted by chiquitita at 1:46 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


(I've already started stockpiling my daily meds)

Serious question, how are people doing this?


GP: "Weren't you here just last week?"
Patient: "Yes. Haha; silly me. I got my repeat prescription then, got my meds, then went and left them on the bus on the way home. There's no CCTV on the bus so no-one knows where they are. I am therefore out of meds."
GP: "What bus would that be?"
Patient: {slightly panics} "Um, the big red one."
GP: {sighs} "Let me guess. You'll be wanting a new prescription, then?"
Patient: "Yes. Sorry. Silly me."
GP: {prints one off} "Here you are. It's..." {side-eyes} "...strange how many of my patients have been losing their meds and need immediate replacements. Must be something in the air."
posted by Wordshore at 1:56 AM on January 30 [9 favorites]


Former EU negotiator Steve Bullock:

What will be noted most in Brussels & EU27 is not that the amendment passed, but that May supported it. She agreed the Backstop (twice); she proposed its form; she asked for & got their help in selling the WA; she promised she'd be able to. Then she chucked it under a bus.

She, and this Cabinet, will never be trusted again by EU27 leaders. Future Relationship negotiations will be conducted in a trust- and goodwill-free zone. Requests for concessions will be dismissed. Assistance will not be forthcoming. UK perceptions ignored.

Even if she does eventually get the WA through, the UK will be entering a world of pain in negotiations as a result of UKGov's earlier conduct and breaches of trust.

posted by rory at 2:04 AM on January 30 [19 favorites]


(Thank you for answers re: meds stockpiling. Sadly, because of the ridiculous political climate and level of scrutiny on trans care specifically within the NHS, GPs are generally reluctant to bend too many rules for my prescriptions, so the wink-wink nudge-nudge approaches likely won't work for me - I certainly haven't had much success in the past. Guess I might as well try again though!)
posted by Dysk at 2:12 AM on January 30 [6 favorites]


I take daily meds. When I left the UK, I explained to my GP that it may take a while to get setup in the new country. She's not a rule-bender generally, but she did agree to "just this once" give me a 6-month prescription instead of my usual 3-month. She understood these were exceptional circumstances and I expect that GPs understand people worrying about Brexit.
posted by vacapinta at 2:37 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


This potential medication shortage could see ops cancelled. It's outrageous, especially given the lies so often seen on that bus.
posted by edd at 4:32 AM on January 30


Jonathan Freedland: Almost everyone involved, from both main parties, showed themselves to be immersed in delusion, trading fantasies and absurdities, each one refusing to meet reality’s eye, let alone tackle it head on.

Rafael Behr: To our continental friends and neighbours it is scarcely comprehensible. It looks like British social awkwardness elevated to the scale of a constitutional meltdown. It is the stiff upper lip chewing itself to pieces rather than name the cause of our suffering: not the deal, not the backstop, not the timetable, not Brussels, but Brexit.
posted by rory at 5:10 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


This is all such a mess. No Deal seems extremely likely now. The Dutch cabinet has just granted its PM emergency powers to deal with it. It will be a global shitshow.

The two parties in the UK are too busy ensuring that the blame for No Deal rests elsewhere than actually trying to stop it. Corbyn just wants you to know that it is May's fault. May wants you to know its Parliament's fault for not agreeing to her deal or the EU for not giving in more. This is cowardice of the highest order.

Brexit can be stopped. Tell your MP to Just Make it Stop. The UK has the power to revoke Article 50, to Remain and Reconsider.

What is happening now is a big game of chicken. Each side wants the other to pull the brake so that that they can then be portrayed as the ones who defied the 'will of the people' or whatever. I prefer to call it courage. If the UK goes off the cliff because of these cowardly political games, the blame rests with ALL of them.
posted by vacapinta at 5:17 AM on January 30 [18 favorites]


Thank you for answers re: meds stockpiling.

My neighbour has a different GP and a more difficult time doing this ridiculous-but-sensible stockpiling thing. Her GP:

1) Repeatedly asks if your request is genuine, or if you are stockpiling. My neighbour has to use a story with no holes in it, and stick to it.
2) Looks back at previous prescription dispensing dates and works out from those the exact date of when my neighbour will run out of those meds. So she's been told she has enough from previous requests to last another few weeks and to come back when they are just about to run out.

tl;dr sheer-minded blunt persistence may be your only hope of stockpiling.
posted by Wordshore at 5:26 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, my MP is Frank Field. He is not going to make it stop. I think the last week has utterly killed any vague hope I had left. They really are that reckless and cruel.
posted by skybluepink at 5:29 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


March 29th, however it turns out, will indeed feel like a death of sorts: either the death of the UK's current membership of the EU or the death (/severe maiming) of Brexit itself as an idea.

The latter is next to impossible. Brexit essentially bears a lot of the characteristics of a conspiracy theory at this point. The believers form a group which has no common ground with the rest of the world. You can try to refute the theory with argument, but it's a religious faith. You can try to refute it with evidence, but evidence is denied as manufactured. Or else it becomes an argument for the conspiracy instead, as the next few weeks will demonstrate: the EU digging its heels in over the withdrawal agreement won't be about the EU safeguarding the interests of its members, but in the Remainers minds, becomes yet another argument for leaving.
posted by daveje at 6:01 AM on January 30 [9 favorites]


As was pointed out by a Twitter wag, the Labour Party leadership dgaf about the fact a majority of Labour voters want to stay in the EU. Playing around with the idea of crashing out of the EU is monumentally reckless.
It's been said before, but threatening to get your blood on your opposite number in a negotiation by shooting yourself in the head, is not a strong negotiating tactic.

They expect Labour voters would vote against Brexit, if by some miracle there were a GE pre leaving day, and they would vote against the Tories at any other time. They are probably right.
It's like an advert for proportional representation.

The distain this shows for voters, EU citizens, overseas UK residents, migrants, medication users, the NHS, everyone who works in an area related to just in time delivery or the service industries (just about everyone) and the 40% of people who say Brexit is affecting their mental health, Ireland, Scotland etc etc is flabbergasting.
posted by asok at 6:15 AM on January 30 [7 favorites]


The news stand is looking extra delusional today. All about what a triumphant, brilliant PM May is. It's terrifying to think what's going to happen when reality bites and they need someone to blame.
posted by lucidium at 7:01 AM on January 30 [5 favorites]


I cannot imagine what it’s like for a civil servant who is supposed to be making plans for what comes next. At this point the UK seems likely not just to crash out but to crash out with its entire preparation being driving a convoy of lorries down a motorway once.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:29 AM on January 30 [6 favorites]


What do you mean you don't think we're adequately prepared for No Deal? We staged a traffic jam and everything! Project Fear! Project Fear!
posted by Dysk at 9:06 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


I cannot imagine what it’s like for a civil servant who is supposed to be making plans for what comes next.

I have a friend who's in a legal dept of the civil service. They've been working 60+ hour weeks since before Christmas, all leave is cancelled, everyone is working themselves into the ground trying to write unprecedentedly brand-new legislation for an uncertain future that has to be correct the first time. It's horrific.
posted by Cheerwell Maker at 9:10 AM on January 30 [13 favorites]




The comments thread on that article is 99% people being all "see this is why we need to brexit such disrespect" and then a half dozen people replying to try to explain the difference between satire and current events.

How are so many people mistaking this for real news??
posted by Dysk at 9:27 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


I see that Corbyn continue to faff about with the notion that he improve on May's deal... somehow?
Jeremy Corbyn says he discussed “various issues surrounding the problems of the back stop” in his meeting with Theresa May this afternoon and that the prime minister will speak with the EU about these concerns.

During the 45-minute conversation, the Labour leader told May that under her proposals the UK would enter into a treaty arrangement without the right to leave it for the first time in the country’s history. “I have a problem where we go into an agreement which is one sided, I want an agreement which is mutual.”

He added that he would like a “comprehensive customs union” with the EU, with a say in how those trade agreements are made.
It is truly painful to see Labour hamstrung by a leader completely out of sync with not only his members but also his party's constituents – not to mention, say, the greater good of the country. I took great satisfaction last year when I cancelled my Labour membership, citing Corbyn's shitty handling of Brexit, and joined the SNP. I can only hope that Scotland can eject itself from the flaming ruins of the UK as cleanly and quickly as possible.
posted by adrianhon at 10:19 AM on January 30 [16 favorites]


the Labour leader told May that under her proposals the UK would enter into a treaty arrangement without the right to leave it for the first time in the country’s history. “I have a problem where we go into an agreement which is one sided, I want an agreement which is mutual.”

But it is mutual. The EU can’t get out of the backstop without the UK’s consent either. Although, come to think of it, Corbyn raises a valid point. Should the EU really chain itself to this UK indefinitely? I wonder if the EU side has given sufficient consideration to this point.
posted by sour cream at 11:46 AM on January 30


How are so many people mistaking this for real news??

Well, it was basically what he said, he just didn't say the f-word out loud.

A friend once worked in Brussels and still has a huge network there in the Commission and among journalists, and friends and family in the UK. Just one week ago, they didn't believe it could come to a crash, because no-one can be that stupid. Now, they are not so certain.

I thought about Corbyn as I heard two politicians debate a new proposal in the radio today. They were fighting about some details in how to go forward with our country's Paris plans for the climate. Both government and opposition agreed that we should meet the Paris Agreement goals, they disagreed about the way there.
I mean, normally I hate our government because they are racist neoliberal nationalists (yes all at the same time). But since I'm so worried about Brexit and the fate of my family and friends there, I suddenly realized that this is what you can do in a functioning democracy. Sometimes.

BTW, the office of Margrethe Vestager answered me, and sent me this link about the EU action plan about disinformation. They couldn't answer me about a Mueller type investigation, because it isn't her responsibility. I'll have to write back and ask who to ask, I guess.
posted by mumimor at 11:55 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


I don't mean to make this about US politics, but it's very striking to me that the next "meaningful" vote on the withdrawl agreement will be happening at precisely the same time the current funding for the USA federal government will be running out. I am absolutely convinced Trump will attempt to get his wall included in further funding, yet again. I think we're all convinced at this point Parliament will vote the WA down, yet again.

So it seems highly likely that the USA govt will be "shutting down" YET AGAIN while the UK enters the first panicky stages of actually, literally, shutting down as a functioning state.

Things could get fucking weird very quickly, for all of us.
posted by 3urypteris at 12:19 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


I took great satisfaction last year when I cancelled my Labour membership

My father-in-law is retired, a lifelong Labour Party member, active in the local party and community, even worked closely with the current MP (shadow front bench) a few years back. He's now cancelled his membership and written to the MP explaining why, and the main reason is essentially Labour's Brexit policy. Another reason is that he thinks Corbyn is a complete and utter disaster, but he might have left that out of the letter.
posted by daveje at 1:25 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Should the EU really chain itself to this UK indefinitely? I wonder if the EU side has given sufficient consideration to this point.

Yes, of course the EU has given this adequate consideration. Once again, could you stop gloating?
posted by ambrosen at 1:36 PM on January 30 [9 favorites]


This is all extremely frightening and all of our nerves are on full alert. I feel closer to my resistance fighter grandparents than I ever have. But it's been a while since I've seen Brexiteers, Lexiteers or trolls on our MeFi threads, we are good at keeping those out. So my view is that we should see each other as allies with only slightly different points of view.
Take care everyone.
posted by mumimor at 1:43 PM on January 30 [4 favorites]


Should the EU really chain itself to this UK indefinitely? I wonder if the EU side has given sufficient consideration to this point.

Considering the year-long negotiation it took to find a variant of the backstop that May would accept, yes, I think they know what they're letting themselves in for.

Putting it another way - the EU wants to defend the Good Friday Agreement, even though they're not even a signatory. Keeping the peace process alive with a frictionless border is important to Ireland, so it's important to all 26 other member states. Theresa May is so desperate to stay in Number 10 that last night she threw her own deal - that was tortuously fitted round her stupid inflexible red lines - under a bus.

Right now, it is official UK government policy, actively supported by the majority NI party, to seriously threaten to impoverish the whole of the UK just so they can gain the ability to hurt the UK citizens living in Northern Ireland by closing the border if they so choose, in violation of an international peace agreement they are the guarantor for.

It should be the UK insisting on a backstop, so that no matter what happens the UK citizens in NI will be safeguarded, instead of the bizarro-world situation we're now in.

But then, as a man said to the Guardian today:

"Look at this,” he said, pointing to a paragraph about negotiating a banking collapse. “This is what’s coming.” He’d been stockpiling tins for months. A no-deal Brexit was going to make everyone poorer, he said. But it was worth it, if it meant the UK got control over immigration. That’s why he voted to leave the European Union: “We’ve got too many of them coming over here and I want it to stop."

"The 73-year-old former builder and engineer said he had been lied to by the leave campaign. “They didn’t tell us the true facts. They kept us in the dark like mushrooms and fed us bullshit,” he said. “We voted because of immigration and we didn’t realise how poor we would be. It will be terrible but I still want it, because of immigration."

Anyone know if I can return my country for a refund? I think it's broken.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:06 PM on January 30 [26 favorites]


Labour MP Jess Phillips treats the Commons to an incredible speech [video]: "the idea that my consitutients are not skilled because they don't earn over 30,000 pounds is frankly insulting, it is insulting on every level. It is insulting on every level that our care workers, our nurses, our teachers...And perversely, I have met many people since I was elected long before—I thought I'd met posh people before I came here, but I'd actually just met people who eat olives—I mean, I had no idea of the level of how posh one person could be. I have met lots of people who earn way more than 30,000 pounds who have literally no discernible skills."
posted by zachlipton at 8:49 PM on January 30 [23 favorites]


Anyone know if I can return my country for a refund? I think it's broken.

The paragraph after that is worth posting too:
It is something Iraqi-Kurds in the barbers up the road have heard a lot since the referendum. “I was in a nightclub and these two English lads were pretty drunk,” said one barber, who asked not to be named. “They were saying: ‘We’re coming out of Europe and then we can get rid of you.’ I told them: ‘I’m a British citizen.’ I got citizenship 20 years ago after fleeing from Iraq. But they said: ‘It doesn’t matter, you’ve got dark skin.’ My 11-year-old daughter has heard this too.”
posted by vacapinta at 12:39 AM on January 31 [7 favorites]


They were saying: ‘We’re coming out of Europe and then we can get rid of you.’ I told them: ‘I’m a British citizen.’ I got citizenship 20 years ago after fleeing from Iraq. But they said: ‘It doesn’t matter, you’ve got dark skin.’

That's brexit in a nutshell. And it's what Labour voted for. For all her eloquence about olives, Phillips included.

Has any parliamentarian apologised for their part in enabling all this?
posted by Dysk at 12:47 AM on January 31 [17 favorites]


It is forecast that the proportion of the UK population over 65 will increase from 12% to 26% by 2040.
Who is going to pay the taxes to keep the country functioning? Not corporation tax or the 1%, unless there is a huge change. Who is going to look after the elderly? Who is going to staff the ever expanding NHS?
Currently we spend £159 billion on pensions and £142 billion on health care, which is just under half of all government spending.
Those over 65 are voters, what can a government do to keep their vote?
They are going to want working age people to migrate into the country.
If the housing market continues as predicted, by 2040 40% of properties will be occupied by a single person due to the ageing population, as well as other factors. People treating housing as an investment, rather than as a home continues to skew housing costs. There are currently 200,000 empty properties in England, 10's of thousands that have been empty for a decade or more.
That is not a sustainable model.
The primary cause of homelessness is housing costs. Currently, approximately 1 in 20 people in the UK are homeless, rising by 4% year on year.

This is not a country that needs to be messing around with it's economy to appease xenophobes and pander to the far right of the Tory party.
posted by asok at 3:01 AM on January 31 [4 favorites]


Those over 65 are voters, what can a government do to keep their vote?
They are going to want working age people to migrate into the country.


A substantial majority of them are apparently not going to want any such thing.
posted by flabdablet at 3:12 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


A substantial majority of them are apparently not going to want any such thing.

It is so absurd, and it's the same all over Europe. Those who need immigration the most are those who oppose it the most. I wish someone would take the time to explain it to them. Actually, I do remember some politicians trying, now and then, but the media both-sides in the xenophobes, and also fear mongering sells more copy and more ad space.
posted by mumimor at 3:22 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


While we are on the cheery subject of othering bringing disaster, here is a thread from a Yugoslavian migrant living in the UK.

'Food for thought, an apposite warning given the seeming failure of government to protect this country from an act of monumental self harm. The us/them rhetoric, the divisiveness, and intolerance are all portentous of a deeper and more damaging conflict waiting to be triggered.'
posted by asok at 3:32 AM on January 31 [6 favorites]


I wish someone would take the time to explain it to them.

I think the single most distressing stage in the development of my own political consciousness was the sudden awareness of the sheer mass of chickens who simply cannot be persuaded to vote for anybody but Colonel Sanders.

I don't think I've ever met or even heard of anybody who has been talked out of xenophobia by means of rational explanation.

The only thing I've ever seen correct virulent xenophobia is frequent social interaction with members of the despised outgroup, often forced by workplace or housing proximity, and if that's going to work at all it generally works quite slowly. "Oh I don't mean you, you're one of the good ones" arrives fairly quickly, but the gradual understanding that they have been wasting perfectly good fear and loathing on people who actually give no cause for it takes maybe a decade to gel.

Of course if you are a Colonel Sanders like the execrable Farage, there is no hope for you at all. All we can ever do with arseholes like that is outnumber and out-organize them. They will never change.
posted by flabdablet at 3:41 AM on January 31 [11 favorites]


Brexit: Theresa May considering bid to woo Labour MPs with cash injection for Leave areas

There's always a magic money tree if the survival of the Tory Party and the government is at stake.
posted by daveje at 3:57 AM on January 31 [7 favorites]


I wish someone would take the time to explain it to them.

As James O'Brien has pointed out: you can explain it to them, you can’t understand it for them.
posted by daveje at 4:00 AM on January 31 [14 favorites]


Theresa May will not be flying to Brussels in a Spitfire. In case anyone was wondering.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:07 AM on January 31 [1 favorite]


While we are on the cheery subject of othering bringing disaster, here is a thread from a Yugoslavian migrant living in the UK.

Social technology researcher Lee Bryant posted a thread a couple of months ago about how media coverage can facilitate partisan extremism and breakdown, comparing UK coverage of Brexit with that of the Yugoslavian civil war:

“Sometimes I unplug my brainstem from the non-stop crisis liveblog that has become our life in the UK and become briefly conscious of how the media, especially the BBC, has failed us on Brexit in a way that reminds me just a little bit of the collapse of Yugoslavia. […] UK is not Bosnia, of course. But neither was Bosnia til ‘92. There is a chance the UK will break up if it crashes out, and then who knows? But the media continue to give attention & credibility to the bad actors marching us towards the cliff.”

As a corrective, here’s a video of Sky’s Beth Rigby interrupting Boris Johnson to read him Donald Tusk’s statement and then telling him to his face that he is deluded.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:57 AM on January 31 [15 favorites]


I don't think I've ever met or even heard of anybody who has been talked out of xenophobia by means of rational explanation.

To a certain extent, it's not that important whether individual people are xenophobic. What matters is that xenophobic voices keep themselves isolated and locked up in their own homes, and that people don't go out either being xenophobic face to face or in support of xenophobic policies.

That's actually going to be a lot easier to suppress: focusing on winning dialogue and actions rather than the hearts and minds.

Because as we've seen, it's not too hard to bullshit the hearts and minds of people prone to xenophobia, so why not bullshit them into accepting that the world's OK?
posted by ambrosen at 5:22 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


I don't think I've ever met or even heard of anybody who has been talked out of xenophobia by means of rational explanation.

I don't know. I don't know of very specific examples of dealing with xenophobia, but I have experienced citizens' assembly type events, where people have changed their views radically during a day of deliberation. I think the group aspect of that type of discussion lets people change without embarrassment.

I've also seen that when citizens are allowed to make decisions about their own local area (again in public fora situations), they want to keep their non-white neighbors on.
posted by mumimor at 5:32 AM on January 31 [2 favorites]


'Trauma packs' being stockpiled in UK over fears of no-deal Brexit
At the time of the 2017 bombing of the Manchester arena, in which 23 people died, the high number of casualties of both adults and children required Johnson & Johnson to swiftly fly-in additional packs from Belgium containing plates, wires, cables, nails and screws for the stabilising of joints.

“This is routine and the rapid deployment of trauma packs to the UK by the European Distribution Centre meant patient safety was never compromised”, a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson said.

The company, which is not the only provider of trauma packs, said that while there were “factors outside our control” it had been “preparing for no deal for well over a year” given the risks to the flow of medical supplies.

“Our priority throughout has been to patients, consumers, healthcare providers and our employees”, the spokesman said. “We are doing everything we can to prepare for all potential Brexit scenarios – including increasing our level of stockholding, increasing warehouse capacity, reviewing and where necessary changing transport/distribution routes”, the spokesman said.
posted by mumimor at 5:50 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]


This chart showing the options for Brexit is pretty great - I feel like it underplays the likelihood of no deal, but the view of how options overlap and which countries have which setup now is really informative.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:06 PM on January 31 [4 favorites]


Since these threads have played host to a bit of back-and-forth over “who has lost more, British people or Europeans who have made Britain their home”, and since I confess to sometimes feeling a sneaking envy of those who aren’t losing their EU citizenship, I’m sharing something that’s really helped me to understand how much Europeans in Britain have to lose, and how much they’ve lost already. It’s a post by Maria Farrell, explained the isolation and helplessness experienced by EU27 nationals stuck in a hostile UK right now.

At Least You Can Leave
I wrote before about how, when a country thinks it’s being clever by weighing and measuring people by their current market value, it’s being a) economically illiterate and b) squandering the good will every relationship relies on. But I have to admit I also find it galling to be looked down on by a political class whose privilege is so iron-clad and life experience so narrow that they’ve never worked outside the single, uniform architectural style of their private school, university and parliament. The places they move through as they move through life merge into one single neo-Gothic space where it always smells of polished wood and where arcane customs make People not Like Us feel foolish and illegitimate.
It’s also particularly good on the indifferent contempt that the British political classes show to Ireland and the Irish. Well worth reading.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:18 PM on January 31 [29 favorites]


I cannot imagine what it’s like for a civil servant who is supposed to be making plans for what comes next.

I went to a talk this morning given by a couple of FCO officials, including the regional coordinator for Brexit where I’m based. They were talking to (and taking questions from) an audience of university faculty. They were surprisingly frank and open about the rather tawdry political calculations involved throughout the process, the fact that most people voting cast their votes on the basis of a wide range of factors, most of which had nothing to do with the EU, and that Brexit was a move away from [supposedly] traditional British values of multilateralism and relationship-building. One of them came out and said that it was very difficult to answer questions about Brexit as a UK civil servant, because one had to be positive about the outcome as much as possible and not give in to disappointment. At another point one said that yes, there was going to be a great deal of unavoidable short-term damage to the UK.

I think in their circumstances I would have had to quit, because I’m so bitterly disappointed about what my country has shown itself to be. But I respect their decision to stay the course and to try to mitigate as much of the damage as possible.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 3:17 PM on January 31 [9 favorites]


I continue to watch in horror from afar in Australia as the UK lurches, seemingly inevitably, toward March 31st. As little as three years ago my wife and I saw her British passport as a possible escape vector away from the terrible rightward push of politics here in Oz if things got much nastier. But now its value is almost as depreciated as an out-of-warranty luxury car, but without the terrifying liabilities thanks to her dual citizenship.

I struggle to understand how out of the many British expats I've worked with since the start of the referendum process, almost all of them still clamour for the UK to leave the EU. Some of them - the kind that imagine themselves Harry Flashman - complain that it's all been ruined back home by job-stealing foreigners, but mostly they're seemingly decent people, more than a few with Indian and Pakistani backgrounds, their own parents or grandparents having migrated to the UK. And yet they still talk in dog whistles about the need to 'control immigration.' It boggles the mind.

In 1999 we had our own referendum on the matter of independence. A proposal to become a republic was soundly defeated. The general consensus in the intervening 20 years seems to be that it was voted down because the choice was between the status quo and a highly specific and somewhat unpopular republican model. That it would likely have succeeded if it had been posed as a choice between 'keeping the Queen as head of state' and 'kicking Her Maj to the curb in favour of a republican model to be determined at some unspecified future date by a parliament who we of course will trust to not look after their own interests first.'

That referendum is said to have 'failed', but in the wake of Brexit I'm not certain that's the right word. I'm so sorry. Be careful.
posted by MarchHare at 9:56 PM on January 31 [9 favorites]


That's an interesting perspective on the Australian republic referendum, MarchHare. Watching Brexit unfold has made me slightly more small-c conservative, in that I'm more suspicious of fresh starts, radical but vague solutions and smashing existing structures to replace them with something inchoate but nebulously 'better'. I want to change the world, it's full of injustice and inequality, but I see it happening through growing the number of small improvements rather than making a few big changes.

Maybe our tech-saturated lives have encouraged us to think that everything can be Ctrl-Z undone, that we can always respawn our characters at a secure checkpoint or if we really mess up, the worst that can happen is that we have to turn the whole thing off and on again. I fear the 20s are going to be about discovering how much longer building structures and systems takes than tearing them down.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 11:56 PM on January 31 [7 favorites]


I continue to watch in horror from afar in Australia as the UK lurches, seemingly inevitably, toward March 31st.

It all goes wrong on the evening of the 29th, 11pm local time.
posted by Dysk at 12:16 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]




Dusk: you are quite right, of course. I was doing some planning for the start of April and got my dates mixed up. I hope no-one involved in the negotiations makes the same error!
posted by MarchHare at 2:40 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


If only all we had to worry about was the negotiators getting the date wrong!
posted by jontyjago at 4:14 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


The level of competence they've generally displayed, I'm not sure we can rely on them not to fuck even that up.
posted by Dysk at 4:19 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Brexit Explained. Really this is as good as anything else in terms of concision
posted by rongorongo at 5:37 AM on February 1 [5 favorites]


I still can't believe that the government would let zero deal happen, the backwash would remove them as a political force as soon as the period of emergency powers ended. Labour have gone on record saying zero deal is not acceptable, for their part.

No February recess for Parliament! Well I would hope not!

The people most likely to riot are going to be those who are not prepared, which includes the majority of Leavers who are maintaining the delusion that it will be a minor hiccup, like a bank holiday weekend, and then everything will be back to normal (but cheaper). They don't believe the supermarket owners, who say destroying just in time delivery would be bad, because they are all Remainers and would say that!
As it has been pointed out, the companies should have made these warnings somewhat earlier because they have a duty to shareholders to maintain their profits. The big four supermarkets have profit margins in the low single digits, would they survive the first year?
posted by asok at 1:53 PM on February 1


Officials warn of putrefying piles of rubbish after no-deal Brexit
As well as recycling waste, the UK ships about 3m tonnes of rubbish a year to the EU to be burned in incinerators that generate electricity. Most of this is household rubbish, which is sometimes shredded and has metal removed before being sent abroad.

If waste has to be stockpiled after a no-deal Brexit, industry experts say the populous south-east of England would be worst affected. The UK’s lack of incinerator capacity and shrinking number of landfill sites drives the exports.
posted by mumimor at 9:02 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


Officials warn of putrefying piles of rubbish after no-deal Brexit

Not sure why the Guardian’s picture editor chose an image for this story that prominently features... coconuts. I think there’s very little danger of rotting coconuts accumulating in the streets after Brexit, unless climate change significantly alters the direction of ocean currents.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:22 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


The swallow may fly south with the sun or the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:43 AM on February 2 [21 favorites]


tobascodagama, I hope you're not suggesting coconuts migrate. Because if they do, May will probably want to rescind their right to freedom of movement.

On a more serious note, the Times's deputy political editor Sam Coates has published leaks from HMG's "Operation Yellowhammer" No-Deal contingency plan, which admits, "If there is no deal, the impacts could be felt {sic} could fall across every transport mode (and possibly each sector within wider government), and could grow exponentially as issues impact upon each other and capabilities of responders at all levels decrease or become overwhelmed."

Coates writes, "Government creates war-like structure with 24 hour, 3 shift a day “battle rhythm” all reporting to cabinet office / Cobr". Also, "Government admits it only has facilities to cope with “two concurrent events to be managed”" (this specifically includes a "Bridges event", i.e. a death of a royal family member).
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:37 AM on February 2 [10 favorites]


Another layer in the omnishambles, it's really hard to see how the government can be even capable of anything other than a no-deal Brexit at this point.

@pauldalyesq:
We need to talk about the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement Implementation) Bill.
Behind the scenes a constitutional outrage is brewing quietly.

THREAD

The "WAIB" will be legislation of the highest legal, political and constitutional significance.

It exists in draft (so I'm told). It has been shown to some initiates (think tankers, academics).

But it has not been published.

As far as the world at large is concerned the WAIB sits quietly in a dusty drawer or deep in Windows Explorer on a DExEU machine.

Britain cannot leave the EU with a deal until this legislation is passed.

Let that sink in.

For all the focus on the meaningful vote, a vote approving the Withdrawal Agreement is only one of the pre-conditions for ratification.

The other is that the WAIB must be passed.

This is all set out in the Withdrawal Act, s13.

Let me repeat: no deal can be concluded until the WAIB has been passed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords and received Royal Assent.

Will this be a straightforward process? Well....

The WAIB has to do at least 4 things:

1. provide for payment of the "divorce bill" negotiated with the EU;

2. provide for the protection of citizens' rights;

3. provide for the continuing supremacy of EU law during the transition period;

4. and consent to remaining subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice for the transition period (and longer in the case of citizens' rights)
(continues on thread).


Unrolled by threadreader
posted by Buntix at 10:35 AM on February 2 [12 favorites]


I hope you're not suggesting coconuts migrate

Not without the assistance of swallows.
posted by Grangousier at 10:44 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Damn, I missed the comment that was a response to and now look a bigger fool than usual.

I've gone full tin-foil hat on this, by the way. It's fairly clear to me that anyone with any influence is playing silly-buggers specifically to engineer a disorderly exit in order to exploit the chaos for power. Like that movie with Bruce Willis and the asteroid, except instead of sending up demolition experts to destroy it, they're whistling with their hands in their pockets waiting to claim mining rights. Except it's a fucking meteorite the size of a small country.
posted by Grangousier at 10:48 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


It's been interesting seeing the numerous articles about the no-deal planning that's taking place in government, and how utterly catastrophic it would be, and I've been wondering about the game of chicken being played here.

There's the first level, which is May trying to force her agreement through Parliament, the alternative being that running down the clock means no-deal by default. No-deal is a disaster, as any fule kno, and something that no rational government would choose given any other option. But there is another option, which is unilateral revocation of Article 50 before the deadline. The EU has been quite clear that the withdrawal agreement can't be changed, and while there are many straightforward and official reasons for this, I can't help thinking that since revocation is an option, right up to the deadline, there's another level of chicken here.

Never forget that before the referendum, May was a pretty clear-thinking Remainer.

I'm probably clutching at straws though.

In other news, it looks like Nissan will abandon plans to build a new car model in Sunderland, just another piece of bad news for the UK car manufacturing industry. Support for Labour is slumping as the Tories build an opinion poll lead, but man-without-a-plan Jeremy Corbyn still calls for a snap general election to put an end to austerity.
posted by daveje at 1:08 PM on February 2 [4 favorites]


Jeremy Corbyn still calls for a snap general election to put an end to austerity.

Wait. So we are already on the next topic? Worry about Brexit later, gotta deal with something else right now?

This is starting to look like Nero inviting Marie Antoinette over for some cake and fireworks.
posted by romanb at 5:06 PM on February 2 [6 favorites]


I cannot wrap my head around Corbyn and his "strategy". He's destroying Labour right before our eyes.
posted by aramaic at 6:14 PM on February 2 [4 favorites]


This sure is a promising headline (from Reuters):

Queen Elizabeth to be evacuated in case of Brexit unrest

This must be some novel definition of "take back control" that I was unaware of previously.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:28 PM on February 2 [6 favorites]


The thing is: Labour would lose votes with an explicit "stop Brexit" policy. If the Labour leadership abandoned their policy of ambiguity in favour of a vote-maximizing position, that means being more explicitly pro-Brexit than at present.

A lot of Labour seats are in the industrial North and are strongly pro-Brexit. Yes, the party base is strongly Remain. The ambiguity is there to try to keep those groups together.

The line "fanatically anti-European Jeremy Corbyn is leading Labour to electoral disaster by not being explicitly anti-Brexit" is popular here but wrong. On this matter, what you want is for Jeremy Corbyn to ignore the mass of voters and appease the party base even though the polls and focus groups say that's a bad way to win an election.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:29 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Queen Elizabeth to be evacuated in case of Brexit unrest

Wasn't this a minor plotline in World War Z?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:34 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


The line "fanatically anti-European Jeremy Corbyn is leading Labour to electoral disaster by not being explicitly anti-Brexit" is popular here but wrong.

I think the line for many here is "... Jeremy Corbyn is leading the UK to economic and societal collapse." Losing an election is miniscule in comparison.
posted by romanb at 9:57 PM on February 2 [16 favorites]


Labour slump gives Tories biggest lead since general election
Regardless of what we might think here on the blue, calculation and triangulation isn't taking Corbyn anywhere. Dishonest politicians is what got us to Brexit in the first place, and Corbyn is fooling no one. He's such a disgrace!
posted by mumimor at 10:37 PM on February 2 [10 favorites]


A lot of Labour seats are in the industrial North and are strongly pro-Brexit.

A lot of the strongly pro-Brexit people in those seats will be Tory and UKIP voters - even some Lib Dems (who voted Leave in only a slightly lower proportion than Labour voters). If the Labour leadership think they'll gain votes by going strongly pro-Brexit they're mad: they stand to lose many more pro-Remain voters than the pro-Brexit votes they would be attempting to preserve.

I no longer think they're thinking about it in such a calculating way. Corbyn and his small band of Labour Lexiter MPs are just sticking to what they've wanted all along.
posted by rory at 12:37 AM on February 3 [8 favorites]


The House of Commons voted against even extending the Brexit date by three months. Pro-Brexit Labour MPs rebelled against Jeremy Corbyn to stop it. In the current House of Commons, the votes aren't there.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:56 AM on February 3


The thing is: Labour would lose votes with an explicit "stop Brexit" policy. If the Labour leadership abandoned their policy of ambiguity in favour of a vote-maximizing position, that means being more explicitly pro-Brexit than at present.

Looking at this purely from party political advantage (which is itself cowardice) - if Labour facilitates brexit, they lose vast swathes of remain and momentum voters.

The conventional voting intention question produces a six-point Conservative lead (40% to 34%). However, when voters are asked how they would vote if Labour failed to resist Brexit, the Conservatives open up a 17-point lead (43% to 26%). That would be an even worse result than in Margaret Thatcher’s landslide victory in 1983, when Labour slumped to 209 seats, its worst result since the 1930s.

The key reason for this is that, if Labour is seen to facilitate Brexit in any form, YouGov’s results indicate that the party would be deserted by millions of Remain voters – without gaining any extra support from Leave voters.


Labour seats with a narrow majority in leave-majority areas *might* be saveable with a support brexit policy; but at the cost of losing far more seats elsewhere in the country - many leave-voting constituencies are now remain ones.

From the first article as to why:

YouGov... tested two referendum scenarios. If the choice is Remain versus the government’s withdrawal agreement, Remain leads by 26 points: 63% to 37%. If the choice is Remain versus leaving the EU without a deal, Remain wins by 16 points: 58% to 42%.
...
The larger point is that the nature of the choice has changed since 2016 – 52% voted Leave when it was a general aspiration with little apparent downside. Today support for Brexit is significantly lower when Leave is more clearly defined.


Trying to argue for soft brexit is still arguing for brexit, and at this point those who still want it want crash-out brexit because they a) want the emotional victory of leaving the EU entirely b) don't believe it will hurt, or think it will but want to kick out immigrants more. If that's what you want, then you're voting for the tories.

Note the similarity between the 42% who want no-deal and the 40% tory vote. Going after them is fool's gold, and sacrifices the rest of the voters that doesn't want Brexit at all, and any chance of beating the tories. Staying glued to the fence isn't helping any either as you lose votes from both sides, as current polling shows, and either way they will ultimately have to pick a side in the final votes.

The House of Commons voted against even extending the Brexit date by three months. Pro-Brexit Labour MPs rebelled against Jeremy Corbyn to stop it. In the current House of Commons, the votes aren't there.

Narrowly. Some shadow front benchers were allowed to vote with the government or abstain without losing their jobs, despite the 3 line whip. Some might change their mind if forced to give up their job to do it. A number of tory ministers didn't vote against the gov this time because it would cost them their job; they extracted a promise they would get another chance as the price. They may well vote the other way next time.

I admit, this requires backbone from Corbyn and tory MPs, so I'm not *that* hopeful. The vote on the finance bill against a crash-out brexit (and the explicit vote in the house without teeth) showed there IS a majority in the house to at least delay brexit, the question is will they vote that way and mean it when at the last chance saloon. Right now, nobody knows.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:12 AM on February 3 [16 favorites]


There are times, when in a representational democracy, MPs should vote against their constituents. Because they should know more about governance than their constituents. Obviously, in these cases one can blame them of failing to communicate properly. But they should still vote their consciousness and their knowledge.

That said, Labour should have owned Remain from the very outset: they should have done a strong campaign, showing how the EU is protecting workers rights the Tories want to take away, protecting consumers with regulations the Tories want to take away, and gives economic support to regions that the Tories have literally forgotten existed (NI, anyone?) Challenge those leavers in Cornwall who are now about to be totally f***ed over.
And it can still be done. It can even be done after Brexit, I'm pretty sure the EU will let the UK back in, for many, many reasons. What is needed is a convincing new Labour leadership with a strong pro-Europe agenda. Find inspiration in America: it's not the luke-warm moderates who got the Democrats to the polls, it's all of those Democrats who have a strong social agenda and who don't waste time trying to the appease the racists.
posted by mumimor at 1:27 AM on February 3 [11 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the EU will let the UK back in, for many, many reasons.

Sure, but the UK needs to get to the endpoint of utter humiliation before that happens. Rejoining the EU will require huge swathes of the electorate to admit that they were wrong, they were fooled, and that they were responsible for the economic collapse that forces the UK to want to get back in. That's not going to be a quick or easy process. It's not going to happen before it's seen as the least bad option.

Something that is constantly missing in Labour's calculations is that 48% of the electorate voted to stay. Tory policy for the past few years has been to screw them over. Labour policy has been to completely forget about them. When the dust settles, this will be seen as Labour's primary strategic error.
posted by daveje at 2:38 AM on February 3 [10 favorites]


There are times, when in a representational democracy, MPs should vote against their constituents.

This constituency voted for Brexit (argh) and this is what is happening with my Tory MP. In the general run of things I don't like him much, but he has a) always been very good about spending time in the area and getting involved and talking to people, which I think is important, and b) really stepped up with regard to the omnishambles. I've written to him more than once and always received a prompt and sensible response, and he regularly sends out information detailing his thinking and explaining his actions. Likely whistling in the wind, but at least I do in fact feel represented by this chap I didn't vote for, and feel like he's trying to do his best for the country and his constituents and not just clinging to some kind of ideological nonsense.

I'm pretty sure the EU will let the UK back in, for many, many reasons.

It certainly won't be with the massively advantageous sweetheart deal I understand we currently enjoy, and will entail even more of the kind of EU thinking and rules that set Brexit off in the first place. Decades will have to pass.
posted by Ilira at 2:45 AM on February 3 [13 favorites]


Buntix: Another layer in the omnishambles, it's really hard to see how the government can be even capable of anything other than a no-deal Brexit at this point.

This is really scary stuff. So even if parliament magically agreed on a withdrawal agreement tomorrow, there doesn't seem to be enough time to get the necessary legislation in place. Meanwhile, parliament has ruled out extending A50.

It also explains something that I have been wondering about for some time. Last summer, the timeline was to get the WA agreement agreed on in October. When it was obvious that that wouldn't work out, that was delayed to November, but on the understanding that this is really pushing it, because we should leave enough time for ratification and legislative matters. And ever since November came and went, making that swooshing sound of missed deadlines, I have been wondering what happened to leaving enough time for ratification etc. It seems like it was never mentioned much again after November. So what's going on?
posted by sour cream at 6:31 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Unless there's some behind the scenes activity going on between the UK and EU (an extension of Article 50?), it seems the UK is hurtling towards the two last main options: hard Brexit or withdrawal of Article 50.
posted by romanb at 6:59 AM on February 3 [2 favorites]


This is really scary stuff. So even if parliament magically agreed on a withdrawal agreement tomorrow, there doesn't seem to be enough time to get the necessary legislation in place. Meanwhile, parliament has ruled out extending A50.

There were 2 main amendments; Cooper-Boles which was to give parliamentary time to implement a law forcing the government to delay brexit if it meant no-deal, whether it likes it or not (which May ordered the tories to vote against), and Spelman, which was about not wanting a no-deal brexit. Cooper-Boles failed due to 14 Labour defections (and 12 abstentions) and insufficient tory rebels - several of whom decided they wanted to give May more time first. Spelman succeeded. So Parliament doesn't want a no-deal brexit, but nor does it want to get its hands dirty and force the government's hand at this point.

Several tory hard brexiteer ministers have recently said that a technical delay might be necessary (and acceptable) once a deal was agreed, to finish passing legislation, though May is insisting there's enough time and Brexit will happen on her arbitrary deadline. Given the amount of times she's said one thing will definitely happen then pulled a u-turn 5 minutes later and then insisted nothing has changed, one can safely ignore May's statements of this nature.

So should the withdrawal agreement, or a variant if May is successful on changing the backstop*, get through Parliament in the near future, there would be room to ask for a short extension to finish ramming the necessary legislation through, and the EU have already said they'd be open to that. There's 6 main brexit bills IIRC, plus the act implementing the withdrawal deal itself, and a bunch of technical gubbins. Plenty of substantial stuff, but if a deal has been agreed by Parliament, it seems relatively likely that an extension for a few months would be forthcoming to finish the work as the government has the power to do that easily, and crashing out when their deal is finally in place and agreed by all parties would be particularly insane. Not that that can be _entirely_ ruled out of course, given the last 2 years.

IF the deal is not agreed though, then there's even more legislation that needs to be passed in a hurry, and much less appetite for a delay from the government or the EU, so that's when it'll be brown trouser time.

* replace the backstop with euro-hater magic tech that doesn't exist, that's been rejected repeatedly by the EU as pure fantasy, and the backstop is explicitly in place in case such magic tech doesn't materialise in the next two years? yeah, not gonna happen.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:23 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


One of the great enablers of Brexit: the fact that its supporters could continually lie without consequence. Here's MP Daniel Kawczynski called out about lying about the Marshall Plan. Lying tweet still up there.
posted by daveje at 7:31 AM on February 3 [10 favorites]


That'll be the Daniel Kawczynski who has been put on a £6k/month salary by Thomas Kaplan since Brexit. Which is a very odd thing indeed.
posted by Devonian at 3:30 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the EU will let the UK back in, for many, many reasons.

No, this is not going to happen, at least not in any reasonable time frame. Accession to the EU typically takes around a decade. And that process wouldn't even start without at least one UK general election and presumably a referendum.

Look at how long it took to negotiate the UK's exit from the EU. Every one of those issues will need to be renegotiated because remaining EU members - any of which can block the admission of a new state - are hardly likely to consent to the UK's former sweetheart deal. And the UK has signed agreements with other non-EU countries and will necessarily sign many more in the interim, but all these agreements will need to be broken, possibly involving damages and/or compensation to be paid by the UK. Both major parties are heavily implicated in Brexit, so for a government to even suggest rejoining the EU will mean admitting that they screwed the country and got nothing out of it.

I'm not exaggerating here: if things get bad enough for politicians to be frank about what happened there will be riots in the streets, very possibly an actual revolution, and probably (assuming the Union survives Brexit) the dissolution of the UK.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:23 PM on February 3 [7 favorites]


There is one possibility for rejoining the EU after we've left, and that would be during the transition period after agreeing the withdrawal agreement. We won't be able to diverge from EU rules or sign separate trade agreements during that period.

It would require an aggressively new pro-EU PM and party/coalition, elected on such a platform. A number of current british opt-outs would not be available. The rebate would be gone for sure, Spain would require something on gibraltar; maybe not joint sovereignty outright, but at least a path that could lead to that. Schengen maybe not, as a number of EU countries are already getting twitchy about that due to refugees. Given the timescale, not joining the Euro might be arguable. Ironically, one selling point for the EU would be a commitment to contribute UK armed forces to a future EU defence force, as France and Germany want.

It would also require a ref with a substantial majority to rejoin, probably 2/3. Nobody is going to want to bring the UK back in if the population haven't been convinced it's a good idea. The EU can be pragmatists up to a point, and the last 3 years aside, there have been strong geo-political reasons to have the UK in the union, but they will not want a repeat of this shit.

Do I think this will happen? Bar a meteor strike on Westminster and the Daily Fail simultaneously, not a chance. The UK is narrowly majority remain now, but that doesn't seem to make any difference at all to the current parliament. Even the current brexit damage makes little difference, so further companies moving out during transition won't sway enough of the population either to force change.

And once we actually leave, whether it's at the end of the transition, or by crashing out which seems the most likely outcome now, it's going to take long-lasting severe economic damage, significant hardship for the young, and probably NI and/or scotland leaving the union - all of which seem near inevitable if we crash out. A decade in the wilderness at least, followed by a long hard process of joining the EU as a new applicant with all that entails, maybe another decade. A diminished and broken nation, finally realising they've been had, along with - bluntly - the death of many of the elderly Brexiteers.

What we're going to go through in the interim though if we crash out... including probably a period of declared national emergency with mass riots, troops on the streets and possibly the emergence of a populist fascist party doesn't really bear thinking about.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:02 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


We've been through the 'how long would it take to rejoin?' question during the Scottish indyref. Remember that? The Unionists said that if Scotland left the UK, it would perforce have to leave the EU, and this it'd better damn vote to remain. Otherwise Scotland would be a pariah state and even if it wanted to rejoin ine EU it would have to go to the back of the queue and wait decades.

Yes, that.

What came out of that, if you listened to the politicians in the EU who'd actually have to deal with such a scenario, was that there was absolutely no reason the EU would slow down the membership of a country which wished to belong, excepting the alignment of financial, legal, regulatory and trade systems to make that country compatible. There is no 'queue'. In the case of Scotland, the consensus was, there would be presumably be a transition period following a Yes indy vote while the mechanisms of independence were prepared, and if Scotland wished to remain in the EU then as far as possible that same period would be used to get ready for membership retention.

A country that was already a member of the EU and thus in alignment would have very few barriers to a swift and trouble-free transition. (There was some talk of Spain blocking this due to Catalonia, but this was mostly bollocks then and is totes bolls now.)

A post-Brexit UK would be in a very similar position. I'm not saying that there couldn't be gross legislative vandalism to try and prevent this - indeed, I'd expect no less from the visigoths - but if the EU can effectively absorb somewhere like the GDR without decades of wrangling...
posted by Devonian at 12:57 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


A country that was already a member of the EU and thus in alignment would have very few barriers to a swift and trouble-free transition.

That form of alignment is utterly trivial compared to the necessary public and political alignment in the UK regarding re-entry. And from the EU's point of view, they will need to see sufficient evidence of the UK's good intentions, and that it will be a supportive member, and not a constantly disruptive one.

Honestly, don't underestimate the considerable barriers to UK re-entry. Technical alignment is nothing compared to the political issues on either side.
posted by daveje at 1:39 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


Yes, it's simply not true that the accession process is "typically" ten years. When already aligned EFTA countries Sweden, Finland and Austria joined, it was nearer three.
And don't listen to the Brexiteers who are trying to paint the EU as some sort of emotional being, who would want to punish the UK or have the UK to apologize or bend down. As Devonian says, there is no queue and there never was. In spite of all the clownery, the UK is a net positive for the EU, and I literally can't think of one of the 27 who wouldn't welcome a UK with a new pro-EU leadership. And if you think the current UK government is capable of entering new independent trade deals that might hinder a realignment with the EU, I have a nice price for you on the Tower Bridge. The most striking and depressing thing about all of this is how it has brought the utter incompetence of British politicians (and probably the British parliamentary system) to light.
Yes, the sweetheart deals, including the rebate will probably be gone in a new membership. Schengen and the Euro are separate agreements, and can't be forced on anyone. But full membership is not the terror the British public have been told it is. Maybe when they realize that Brexit was a big lie, they will also realize that full membership is not some sort of Nazi Fourth Reich.

A reentry will require entirely new leaderships, probably in both the major parties, or if the Tories are completely lost to their own incompetence, in Labour and the Liberals. I see that as a challenge, but not as an impossible challenge. A lot of young people cast their hopes on Corbyn, understandably. I get that completely. But I think when the reality of Brexit sinks in, they'll get that his dreams and promises are from an other century. They don't need nationalized production, they need free education, and free movement, and regulated finance. And taxes on the rich. All things that are very compatible with the EU.

Obviously it will take longer to sink in if somehow it is May's deal that is Brexit. But even then Brexit will quite rapidly show itself for what it is: madness. Brexit will sink the all-important service sector when passporting ends, it will sink whatever manufacturing is left because UK manufacturing is interdependent with EU manufacturing, it will sink the NHS both because there isn't the funding, because the revenue disappears, and because of all of the current EU workers in the NHS will move on. There is a dire need for healthcare workers in every single EU country. Wages will sink and prices will rise. The grifters will grift. And even though Britain is actually an island, it's no longer as isolated as back in the fifties. People will be able to see the remaining EU countries getting on while they are falling back. Already, my British friends, and Europeans living in the UK can see the value of their pound falling against the Euro. Some already can't afford coming over, imagine how that will feel in two years.
Also, all this will happen while the UK is still forced to follow all the EU regulations on goods and services, because the EU is the UK's biggest trade partner, and it would be even madder to abandon that market. Increasingly larger parts of the world are aligning themselves with the EU (the alternative is the US); you know this "Canada" solution people are talking about? That is Canada aligning itself with the EU on a whole long list of goods and services. Japan has recently signed a similar agreement. The world in which the UK can find itself alternative partners is getting smaller every day. (Obvs. it was always the US in the hard-brexiteers minds, but that is not what the broader public signed up for, chlorinated chickens, anyone?).

In this scenario, which is IMO very realistic, there is obviously a ground for a fascist-style Dolkstoss-Legende, where EU gets the blame for what some English people imposed on the UK. But we are not living in the 30's. I don't believe the UK will go fascist, even if it gets a fascist movement. I do believe there will be civil unrest and fear until a younger and wiser new political leadership speaks up and rebuilds a fact-based political conversation. Let that be sooner rather than later.

Come to think of it, the divorce analogy is wrong and confusing. This is not really a divorce. Because there are not two separate and equal parts. The EU of today is a totally different creature than the EEC of yonder, and it is a unique integrated structure, where the parts relate to the whole as the parts of a body relate to the whole. You can speak of a hand as something unique within the body, but you can't take it off and keep it alive on its own. Brexit is more like an amputation than a divorce. And somehow the hand here is insisting it should be amputated, against the will of the rest of the body and against its own interests. If the body can keep its hand, it will, even though it is a somewhat freakish hand.
posted by mumimor at 2:02 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


The thing is: economies tend to be resilient. Even after major natural disasters or wars, there tends to be a period of catch-up growth when growth is higher than usual, after which the growth rate returns to normal. Even a hard Brexit would be recovered from eventually. Moreover, during the catch-up period growth would likely be above the normal long-term rate.

E.g. suppose £10 billion worth of business does not happen during hard Brexit chaos: £5bn of that never happens, £5bn is delayed till after the immediate shock. What that actually means is a net loss of £5bn. What that looks like to a casual observer though is that there are short term problems, but after that the UK growth rate is higher than normal, probably higher than the EU average. (I.e. the delayed activity is added to the normal current activity during the catch-up phase).

So even if Brexit is actually economically damaging, it's not safe to bet on that being obvious to everyone in the UK. It could also look like "There were transition problems and then there were benefits."
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:06 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's just me, but it seems like this thread (as well as discussions elsewhere) has taken a turn towards "Britain rejoining the EU in future". Does that mean that people are getting resigned to Brexit for sure, whether hard or negotiated? Is this ... it?

(As an outsider, I still find this inconceivable that a barely-successful non-binding referendum conducted on the basis of what is now widely acknowledged to be false pretenses, foreign meddling, and outright lies is going to be used to effectively shoot a country in the head to spite its face.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:01 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


Does that mean that people are getting resigned to Brexit for sure, whether hard or negotiated?

The biggest defeat in parliamentary history wasn’t enough to make Remain and/or a second referendum gain serious traction in Westminster. The prospect of going over the cliff is now weeks away and still the debate is in terms of May’s deal or no deal or some hypothetical deal. Even the prospect of extending Article 50 for a few months is seen as a radical step.

It’s an unstable situation and it could still change dramatically; I still hope that when the crisis gets close enough, Parliament could assert itself and stop the madness… but there doesn’t seem to be any appetite for it. And Theresa May’s sole political strength seems to be unwavering stubbornness.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 8:39 AM on February 4 [12 favorites]


It's barely worth hypothesising at this point what might happen next. That's the problem when so many mutually incompatible promises have been made. Chaotic exit from the EU seems both likely (if you look at how little progress is being made) and unlikely (given how it would sink any government under which it happens).

As to the nature of the referendum, or the illegalities in the way it was conducted, that's very much a case of worrying how a forest fire started while it's still blazing.
posted by pipeski at 8:43 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


The thing is: economies tend to be resilient. Even after major natural disasters or wars, there tends to be a period of catch-up growth when growth is higher than usual, after which the growth rate returns to normal.
My guess is as good as yours, but I don't think Brexit easily compares to a natural disaster or a war. I've tried to think of an international precedent, but nothing really comes to mind. Even after major natural disasters or wars, people don't usually cut themselves off from their largest trading partners or unnecessarily* create hard borders to their neighbors. They don't usually discourage international investment and trade.

*obviously, if the war was with your neighbor, there is another situation
posted by mumimor at 9:01 AM on February 4


Does that mean that people are getting resigned to Brexit for sure, whether hard or negotiated?


As we circle closer to the Bexit plughole the two final options on the table will be rescind A50 or no deal. Given that choice - the obvious option to choose is so clear as to be visible to absolutely everyone except the person who happens to be in the position to make the choice. It is absurd. But it is The Dunkirk Spirit. !
posted by rongorongo at 10:17 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


We just got Tim Martin's shitty Brexit propaganda rag through the letterbox. Unsolicited, of course, and I'm pretty sure I've never voluntarily set foot in a Wetherspoons pub, and certainly not since he started bloviating about Brexit. I am debating whether to just recycle it, or tape a mailing label on it and sent it back postage due as unsolicited hard right propaganda.
posted by skybluepink at 10:23 AM on February 4


Dunkirk spirit? Britain did not voluntarily leave Europe at Dunkirk. Britain did not exclude foreigners at Dunkirk; the British navy transported a hundred thousand free Europeans into the UK in just seven days. After Dunkirk, Britain returned to Europe as soon as possible.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:57 AM on February 4 [13 favorites]


I was still slightly hopeful that disaster could be averted, until last Tuesday night. Parliament had the chance to take control of the process, but decided that it was best kept in the strong and stable hands of Theresa May, assisted by Agent Corbyn.

Whatever momentum either a second referendum or revocation had, basically died at that point. Instead, we've got another couple of weeks of the Tories wasting time pretending that the nasty backstop will go away, while continuing to demonstrate exactly why it's needed.
posted by daveje at 12:25 PM on February 4 [7 favorites]




If I can get a Morgan for half-price out of this, I'm all for it. /s
posted by rhizome at 1:03 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


The government seem to be terrified of a zero deal crash out, if its true that EU imports would be 'waved through' at 20 ports of entry, as reported. Reuters is reporting that May has been talking to EU business leaders to ask them to ask the EU policy makers to avoid a hard Brexit. I mean, that sounds like it's designed to upset Leaver conspiracy theorists, but what else is it going to do? Surely the issue is within her gift, not theirs?
What I am struggling to understand is how the UK would continue to trade with the EU if it crashes out. We won't have a trade deal with the EU, will we? How can we wave through imports which are supposed to be subject to varying tariffs?
As regards the whether people are resigned to inevitable Brexit, I would say no, the are not. However, our politicians are making a considerable mess of things and reaffirming the lack of trust in Westminster that got us into this mess. I don't think anything is stopping further attempts to get some legislation through to extend or revoke Article 50, other than our politicians.
Where have the Peoples Vote advocates disappeared to? Simply voting against Corbyn because his ammendment didn't mention Remaining isn't going to get the vote to happen.
posted by asok at 4:48 PM on February 4


Dunkirk spirit? Britain did not voluntarily leave Europe at Dunkirk. Britain did not exclude foreigners at Dunkirk; the British navy transported a hundred thousand free Europeans into the UK in just seven days. After Dunkirk

This is true - and my mention of Dunkirk was more my clumsy attempt to promote the kind of @Coldwar_Steve image that sums up the madness we find ourselves in so well.

The Dunkirk evacuation does have parallels with Brexit however: both of the more complimentary and less complimentary type: first of all it is something we remember as a positive event - but which was really the result of a valiant and broad based effort to recover from a massive military defeat that had stranded the British army in Normandy. Secondly, the evacuation is something rather more celebrated in England (where people justifiably remember more than 300,000 people rescued) than it is in Scotland (where people remember the abandonment of the 51st Highland Division - who had been assigned by Churchill to fight as part of the French army - with 10,000 being taken into captivity and many killed).

Finally: a no-deal Brexit seems to make a peace-time repetition of the need for the need of something like the Dunkirk evacuation - except in the opposite direction. There will be an unfolding chapter of the saga where we remember valiant efforts to feed people and bring them medications.
posted by rongorongo at 9:58 PM on February 4 [5 favorites]


I read this Dunkirk book recently and the underlying reason for the evacuation is that the numerically superior British and French forces couldn't agree on where, when and how to counterattack. The French command dithered for days, the British commander either panicked or thought "fuck this" and started evacuating, and the remaining French forces weren't strong enough.

Some historians think the Allied forces would have been annihilated anyway, others that the Second World War could have been won there and then with a well-timed counterattack on the over-extended German army.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:24 PM on February 4 [2 favorites]


Another branch worth of cash lopped off the magic money tree...

UK to spend £800k on 'highly likely' Eurotunnel Brexit case [bbc]
The government plans to pay a law firm £800,000 for advice in case Eurotunnel decides to sue over the effects of Brexit on its business.

The contract description originally said Getlink, previously called Eurotunnel, was "highly likely" to go through litigation.

It said the government could be forced to pay "significant damages" if the firm was successful.
The law firm is called Slaughter and May, presumably because Wolfram and Hart have moved their offices out of London due to the potential for greater levels of evil and chaos than even they can stomach.
posted by Buntix at 12:30 AM on February 5 [15 favorites]


Where have the Peoples Vote advocates disappeared to?
Biding their time. They withdraw their amendment on having a 2nd ref as they knew they didn't have enough votes, and having it already be rejected as an option makes it harder to pursue. So their current plan is to wait for everything else to be rejected, then plop a 2nd ref on the table late in the day as the last concrete alternative to no-deal exit. It will absolutely require Corbyn to endorse Labour policy and fully deploy the whip to back it though, which he certainly hasn't done so far. Soft brexit/remainer tories remaining in government will also need to give up their jobs to do it.

The thinking goes even May may blink and back a 2nd ref as the only possible way to get her deal through once her own party and DUP rejects it again. (members of the ERG have already leaked that getting rid of the backstop is only the first of their goals, so they will never, ever back any deal)

But have I personally given up? Yes. I'm not going to punish myself any more by having some sliver of hope that Parliament will ride to the rescue and give the 60%+ of the country who don't want either Brexit on offer a say. I've been burned too many times now hoping desperately that some sanity or sense or fucking civic duty might prevail. Last Tuesday proved only the racists matter now in this country.

May herself has demonstrated time and time again that stopping immigration and trying to appease her hardest right wing party members are all she really cares about. I genuinely think she'll crash us out on schedule if her deal fails, she's done everything else the ERG wants, so I can't believe she's suddenly going to change now simply because it will impoverish the country, and parliament simply won't have the guts to stop her. I bet she doesn't even think it will damage the tories election chances when the alternative is Corbyn, and she may even be right.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:39 AM on February 5 [22 favorites]


members of the ERG have already leaked that getting rid of the backstop is only the first of their goals, so they will never, ever back any deal

They're literally concern-trolling. "Oh, I'll support your deal, it's just that this one thing is unacceptable... Oh, you've fixed that? Well, there's this one other thing that's a dealbreaker, if you could just fix that one thing, I'd be fully on board... Oh, you've fixed that? Well, just one more thing..."
posted by Dysk at 2:01 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


From afar, I keep going back and forth on the speculation about the aftermath of hard brexit.

In response to apocalyptic doomsaying, my gut reaction is a bit of skepticism on the basis that in such situations, institutions and especially individual people in the right places at the right times often become flexible, pragmatic, and constructive and things go much better than feared.

But then on the other hand, when complex systems fail, they often fail catastrophically. When some of those people I previously mentioned don't rise to the occasion, failures cascade and then at some point there's catastrophic collapse.

I guess the jargon is that there's an "inflection point" close to the beginning of the crisis where things could go either way, depending upon the crucial-but-possibly-obscure decisions of relatively few people who happen to be in the position to make them.

If the rules don't allow choices that might avert disaster, it takes the courage of some key people to disregard them. And then others to likewise be very pragmatic and cooperative (both at the same time and as a rubric) to go along with this and behave likewise.

I think perhaps one of the key distinctions between catastrophe and (in relative terms) saving the day, is that cooperative spirit I mentioned. Human social behavior in extremis is often cooperative unless there's a willful cluster of conflict, which is contagious.

So my reasoning is to expect that crash-out brexit will either be not that bad (because lots of people go to heroic efforts) or very bad.

That's not very insightful or helpful, I recognize, and I acknowledge that for me this is mostly academic, but I'm following this thread more closely than any other on MeFi lately, I read these speculating comments, and I've been thinking about this quite a bit.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:42 AM on February 5 [12 favorites]


my gut reaction is a bit of skepticism on the basis that in such situations, institutions and especially individual people in the right places at the right times often become flexible, pragmatic, and constructive and things go much better than feared.
As someone working tangentially to a lot of those individuals who would be required to rise to the occasion I'm less confident.
The planning for no deal I have seen seems to be premised on the idea it can't possibly happen. It's like if Italy's Y2K strategy was followed by everyone.

Anyway, even a not that bad No Deal (or May's Deal) will be pretty terrible for those who are on the margins of a "cooperative society".
You know the story, the powerless will be on their own.

In short, I think we're fucked and I'm pretty much gonna spend the rest of the quarter in extreme denial.

Edit: or to put it another way, there was an inflection point and we missed it.
posted by fullerine at 3:28 AM on February 5 [7 favorites]


people in the right places at the right times often become flexible, pragmatic, and constructive and things go much better than feared

Not sure this is based on much interaction with the Great British Jobsworth (a type of which Parliament seems to be mostly constructed at present).
posted by flabdablet at 3:37 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


In addition to which, there's the reasonable hypothesis that it's a fascist coup - once an emergency has been induced, they can rule by fiat. It's not a mistake - all the "negotiations" have been to lull the EU into a false sense of security and maximise the chaos when the inevitable disorderly exit happens.* Given that they've been as much use as a chocolate teapot against the Yellow Vest Gammon Squad Avengers, (proven) Russian influence and other malfeasance, we might reasonably conclude that the police and security services are already on side.

What larks, eh?

*I don't think it's worked, tbh - the EU are justifiably sceptical of the UK, but that was the plan.
posted by Grangousier at 4:26 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I think we are all prone to engaging in a sort of social pareidolia where we see patterns and just assume we're going to surf the next Kondratieff wave down (with regrets) to the mean. The weather today will be more or less the same as yesterday.

And I do sometimes wonder if I am just being crazy-paranoid buying the big bags of rice and all the beans. But history (* & even very current history in places like Syria) shows that seemingly impervious equilibria can suddenly be punctured all to fuck.

All it ever takes is a sufficient degree of incompetence, self-interest, and corruption from those running the show.

And yes: there's the reasonable hypothesis that it's a fascist coup

The previous fascist takeover project was a reactionary response to the slightly more previous upwelling of socialist and solidary based thought and progress. It's what capitalism does when it's cornered and called on its shit.

All that said: I have zero clue, it might be a big squib nothing, it may be a big plummet into nothingness.

* A video I accidentally found looking up 'West Beyrouth', Geddy Lee Tells His Family's Holocaust Story (Full Interview) - "I remember my mother constantly reinforcing the idea that we had to keep the family together because these terrible things can happen"
posted by Buntix at 4:50 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


So my reasoning is to expect that crash-out brexit will either be not that bad (because lots of people go to heroic efforts) or very bad.

I think the first is more likely but it will also come at a large cost, for example, dropping all import tariffs on food means wrecking UK farmers, ignoring WTO quotas and regulations means likely large penalty payouts down the line and so on. And given the level of competence on display so far the second is still far from unlikely, so anyone in the UK should be stockpiling and preparing for such as much as possible.

I remember seeing an AskMe about Brexit prep that included a couple of very condescending answers about how silly the person was being. If you stockpile correctly (ie, the things you actually use) then you are no worse off if nothing happens and a hell of a lot better off if something *does* happen.
posted by tavella at 9:07 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


This morning there was an interview on the World Service with Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford Organics (farm to consumer food) in which he said that it would take four days of not trading to wipe out their profit margin and two weeks to bankrupt a business that they have spent 30 years building.
If we leave the EU in March, we are at the beginning of the Hungry Gap, which lasts until mid June. During that time, 80+% of the fresh green vegetables that are consumed in the UK come from Europe.
Each year 500 million tonnes of fresh food goes through Dover alone. There is no way around just in time delivery for fresh food.

The programme also considers how to reduce reliance on imported foods, using heated greenhouses and other modern techniques. Once again, if these things had been addressed and a plan made over the last decade to invest in increasing production so that we were less reliant on food produced in warmer climes, then leaving the EU would be less of a fools errand.
They interview a Leave supporter, who opines (from his house in Portugal) that farmers who can't survive in the new business environment should go to the wall, just like Minford's comments on the car industry. Ideology over humanity every time.

Meanwhile, this astonishing conversation popped up. Leave voter who works for Nissan in Sunderland, voted Leave to teach the English some humility. Twenty years, he thinks it will take us to rejoin the EU, as England, once the union has broken up. Then we'll value the institution. He's OK though, because when the plant closes he expects to be moved to the German production line, as he has dual citizenship. To be fair, he acknowledges that the poorest will suffer the most, so he would vote Remain if given the chance again.
posted by asok at 9:08 AM on February 5 [5 favorites]


The adult in the room, in the case of No Deal, will be the EU. Have a look at the Brexit preparedness notices for all the things that will be affected.

In the event of No Deal, they do have an action plan, but as you can see it is very little - mainly allowing limited transport for a transition period. But the transport is EU-UK not intra-EU. This alone will probably bankrupt UK companies who don't have any logistics flexibility.

There will probably be some quick bilateral agreements but they will probably mainly be humanitarian (food, medicine, etc) and then others (e.g. services, finance, transport, science, arts) which will likely be in favour of the EU. If this is the case then the effect on the world economy will be painful, and for the UK specifically it will be catastrophic. Any businesses that were still in the "But, surely..." state of mind will likely start reorganizing or relocating or folding starting in April.

As a minor example of all the chaos that will happen, personally, I know of one large European hosting company that has backup datacenters in the UK. Since the UK will no longer be in the same data governance region, it is planning to shut those datacenters down and relocate to Europe.

Never mind the more excitable stories, the following WILL happen in a no-deal Brexit
posted by vacapinta at 9:48 AM on February 5 [10 favorites]


I got our weekly Riverford box just today, and the newsletter inside said much the same as Singh-Watson did on the World Service. He's been very open with his thoughts and concerns with Riverford's customers for as long as this has been going on. The Riverford situation is especially heartbreaking, as in the last year or so, the company has moved over to being largely employee-owned. It sounds like they're as prepared as they can be under the circumstances, but even with their efforts, the no-deal outlook is pretty grim.

I feel kind of like a panicky fool for stockpiling, and I'm sticking to the kind of stuff we eat anyway, along with massive quantities of stuff my cats need, but I have absolutely no confidence in the crooks, bigots and fools who are running this shitshow. I mean, they keep harking back to WWII, but can you seriously imagine them pulling it together to create a competent rationing programme? I think last week was a real reckoning for me: they really are prepared to do this stupid, cruel thing.
posted by skybluepink at 10:42 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


The UK is expecting to start Free Trade Agreement negotiations with US and others in a no-deal situation...

Start.

There's a real timeline dysfunction going on in the UK.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:07 AM on February 5 [6 favorites]


They can't legally start negotiations while in the EU.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:20 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


For anyone stockpiling, don't forget toilet paper. Even in the worst scenarios, enough food is likely to get to you one way or another to prevent actually starving, while toilet paper is bulky to transport and I daresay not high on the government emergency planning lists. And if you don't have a bidet, I can recommend this portable version as working absolutely great. Reduce your toilet paper usage to just patting dry!
posted by tavella at 11:38 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Oh yes, totally stockpiling the loo roll. And the cat litter. And we have a bidet! (Which one of my cats likes to sleep in, the furry little freak.) I wish this wasn't happening. I really wish I didn't feel like I have to do this.
posted by skybluepink at 11:47 AM on February 5


Where have the Peoples Vote advocates disappeared to?

...

But have I personally given up? Yes. I'm not going to punish myself any more by having some sliver of hope that Parliament will ride to the rescue and give the 60%+ of the country who don't want either Brexit on offer a say. I've been burned too many times now hoping desperately that some sanity or sense or fucking civic duty might prevail. Last Tuesday proved only the racists matter now in this country.

...

In short, I think we're fucked and I'm pretty much gonna spend the rest of the quarter in extreme denial.

Edit: or to put it another way, there was an inflection point and we missed it.


...

I have nothing to add to this, but since the absurd votes last week, in which - if I repeat this enough maybe it'll eventually make sense to me, like in 10 years - May voted against her own deal, it's where I've been, as well. Although I believe it's possible to scrape our way out of this, it's now so close that it's beyond me to care. I can't / don't want to watch a busload of UK citizens (including me) *nearly* go over a cliff. The entire episode should have been avoided in the first place, the vote should never have been held, and the fascist fucks who hate Europe so much, who wanted all of this, should have spent some of the last 40 years fucking off.
posted by Quagkapi at 12:40 PM on February 5 [12 favorites]


I was at a dinner party tonight, and we talked a bit about the Brexit situation, and no-one there believed anyone could be as stupid as the UK government, one man said he was sure they were bluffing. I could hear my voice going to a Very Loud Scream -- did he really think anyone in their right mind would stage a lunatic parliamentary vote in order to fool the EU negotiators? Well, no. But I think he caught the general atmosphere in Europe very well. People think this can't be happening because it is just too stupid. Even the Italians (and there was one amongst us) got their act together and wrote an acceptable budget.
posted by mumimor at 2:27 PM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Am I going mad? Didn't Theresa May praise her deal as being the best, only deal possible? Didn't she last week vote against her deal, for an amendment that replaced the backstop with alternative arrangements, being worked out by Marcus Fysh and Owen Paterson, surely the two thickest MPs in Parliament? And didn't she just today say that alternative arrangements might not work, and the backstop might just be modified slightly, not completely replaced?

I'm going crazy. I'm standing here solidly on my own two hands and going crazy.
posted by daveje at 2:54 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]


Now, now. You're not mad. Theresa May just lies all the time.
posted by skybluepink at 2:57 PM on February 5 [5 favorites]


Look, forget the myths the media's created about Brexit--the truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.
posted by fullerine at 5:56 PM on February 5 [14 favorites]


Ian Dunt, Warning lights flashing over EU settled status app, a detailed look in which the system works as poorly as expected, with the most vulnerable people at the greatest risk of catastrophe:
If the automatic check of your HMRC and DWP records can't find data points for all the required periods, the system will offer you pre-settled status, rather than settled status. If you want, you can then appeal against that decision and send in more evidence.

This is a dangerous moment. Many applicants will think they're pretty much the same and just accept the result, even if it's wrong. Campaigners are particularly worried that under-educated applicants will be tempted to select this option. That's a problem, because pre-settled status is much worse than settled status. Settled status gives you indefinite leave to remain. You have a firm legal status which lasts forever and no-one can challenge. Pre-settled status gives you five years limited right to remain. It means you can't leave the country for more than six months at a time. Crucially, it does not automatically upgrade to settled status when you've been here five years. It just cancels out. It's likely that sometime during 2021 and 2026 many people will forget to apply, or fail to understand the system, and suddenly find themselves without legal status.
...
But nevertheless, the warning signs are there. The system looks designed to work extremely well for people in full time employment. It will work much less well for others. Some people are without work, or self-employed, or took time out of work to volunteer, or did not keep their records because there was no reason to, or escaped from abusive marriages and do not have access to evidence of their residency, or do not speak English, or struggle with technology, or are afraid of the authorities, or do seasonal work, or have mental health problems, or recieve benefits which aren't checked by the system. Many are of them will be frightened by the Home Office's demand for evidence, or unable to understand it.

The more vulnerable you are, the worse this system will work for you. Many people are likely to accept settled status and then forget about it, leaving them suddenly as an undocumented migrant in 2026. And then they'll fall into the Home Office's Hostile Environment policy. People will have moved on. The press will have stopped paying attention. And they'll be at the mercy of the authorities.

If the Home Office had a different track record, that would be less concerning. But they don't.
posted by zachlipton at 1:14 AM on February 6 [12 favorites]


Seven weeks out from brexit, and they're still only in the test phase for Settled Status scheme. Their website suggests they hope to have the whole thing running "by the 30th of March". Keen observers will note that said date is after brexit.
posted by Dysk at 3:05 AM on February 6 [6 favorites]


In a very rare "I wish I had a twitter account" moment, I'd pull Ian Dunt up on this:

If you don't own an Android phone, there are other ways of proceeding with the application. You can [...] go to one of the 50 scanning centres across the country.

The Settled Status website lists 13 (with very spotty coverage geographically) and I can't find any more by googling. Is he wrong? Or is there something I'm missing?
posted by Dysk at 3:27 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


"I've been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted #Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely."
-Donald Tusk, Feb 6, 2019
posted by vacapinta at 4:44 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


The official line is that the 13 centres are for the trial phase, and that there will be 50 once the proper version is rolled out.
posted by pipeski at 4:46 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Tusk is entirely right, although he doesn't add that many of those who promoted Brexit don't consider it their job to have a plan. They're above the details - they're visionaries, don't you know? Or, as Dysk said above, concern trolls.
posted by pipeski at 4:54 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


I've been wondering what that special place in hell looks like

Maybe this?

Or perhaps it involves being refused service everywhere except Wetherspoons pubs.
posted by flabdablet at 5:51 AM on February 6


Goods shipped to Britain from the EU will be waved through UK ports without checks for a temporary period if there is a no deal Brexit, HM Revenue & Customs announced on Monday.

In a move aimed at reducing gridlock at UK ports if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, HMRC said it would introduce “simplified importing procedures” for an initial period of one year.
...
HMRC’s announcement follows a promise made by the Treasury last year that, in the event of no deal, the government’s main priority would be to keep trade flows moving rather than maintaining on-the-spot tax collection.
Would anyone like to invest in some pingers disguised as carrots?
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:08 AM on February 6


[A few comments deleted. Sorry, just going to rewind a bit; non-UK folks, maybe take a step back and skip the arch bleak comments -- coming from someone who's not on the ground, in a very tough and stressful situation, that attitude can come across as ignorant and even callous.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:49 AM on February 6 [18 favorites]


no-one there believed anyone could be as stupid as the UK government, one man said he was sure they were bluffing.

There's some bluffing going on, but I think it's directed mostly at UK parliament. The Prime Minister will try one more time to get her deal through, and then most likely have the option of rescinding Article 50 or trying (if necessary) to prevent it being rescinded. I wouldn't discount either possibility at this point. There are large forces pushing each way, in balance it could be close.
posted by sfenders at 7:56 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


The Prime Minister will try one more time to get her deal through, and then most likely have the option of rescinding Article 50 or trying (if necessary) to prevent it being rescinded.

The Prime Minister cannot rescind Article 50 on her own. This requires an act of parliament.
posted by sour cream at 8:33 AM on February 6


Is there reason to think, in a parliament that has already voted against "no deal", that the Prime Minister doesn't have enough power and influence to get at least that done, were it deemed necessary? Not so much as to completely give in to fatalism, in my view.
posted by sfenders at 8:52 AM on February 6


The ECJ ruling said that withdrawing A50 needs to be done in accordance with "the consitutional requirements." I understand that this is commonly held to mean a vote by parliament, because a vote by parliament was also necessary to kick of the entire A50 process.

In addition, withdrawing A50 needs to be done in good faith. So that rules out doing so just to buy some time.
posted by sour cream at 9:17 AM on February 6


Or perhaps it involves being refused service everywhere except Wetherspoons pubs.

One minor impact of crash-out Brexit is that it could easily lead to another CO2 shortage. So when all those pink-tinged middle-aged gentlemen find their Weatherspoons has run out of only-british beer I would find it *very* hard to resist telling them 'you won, get over it!'

Is there reason to think, in a parliament that has already voted against "no deal", that the Prime Minister doesn't have enough power and influence to get at least that done, were it deemed necessary?

Since we're on hypotheticals, we could end up in the position where May is trying to rescind Article 50 but doesn't have the numbers due to the DUP and ERG, while Corbyn is whipping Labour to block it because he's still on the manifesto promise to deliver amazeballs Brexit. Which would be so entirely bizarre and insane it could never possibly happen. So the way things have gone lately, that's probably a dead cert for March.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:22 AM on February 6 [11 favorites]


withdrawing A50 needs to be done in good faith

What is the force of this statement? The EU has no say in whether the UK withdraws Article 50. If parliament votes to withdraw it before March 29 (Possible? Yes! Likely? Who even knows anymore?) then it can legally do so without any extra-UK participation. Perhaps you’re thinking of an extension, which the EU has stated they would only allow under extenuating circumstances and with a specific reason, i.e. not just to give May more time to hang out in No. 10 but because something like a second referendum was scheduled.
posted by tractorfeed at 9:26 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


He's probably referring to the ECJ ruling on whether Article 50 notification could be withdrawn, and under what conditions.

"The revocation of Article 50 itself must be “submitted in writing to the European Council”, and it must be “unequivocal and unconditional”.

That the revocation must be unequivocal implies that the UK could not revoke it with the intent to re-submit it shortly after, but what would happen if it did would be complicated. The court also said that the member state would have to revoke “in accordance with its constitutional requirements and following a democratic process”."

It can also be withdrawn during any extension period, right up until we actually leave, and is entirely unilateral. Constitutionally, it could be argued either way that it requires an Act of Parliament or that government alone could do it, but given an Act was required to send it in the first place it would be constitutionally more robust to withdraw it with an Act too. May went to great lengths not to have Parliament involved in any of the process at all, and had to be forced to do so by the UK Supreme Court - and opposed mightily the ECJ case being brought at all as it was all 'hypothetical', so her voluntarily doing it seems... unlikely.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:49 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


In addition, withdrawing A50 needs to be done in good faith.
I think that came from the advice from the EU's advocate general, but this was not specified in the ruling of the court?
posted by edd at 10:18 AM on February 6


I think that came from the advice from the EU's advocate general, but this was not specified in the ruling of the court?

Ah indeed, you are correct. But "unconditional and unequivocal" does in fact seem to rule out revocation in order to buy some time.
posted by sour cream at 12:24 PM on February 6


You have a point, sour cream, as I've just read through the relevant portions of the English language version of the opinion in question, and it mentions "good faith" a few times. However it never explicitly defines this phrase. The relevant subsection (scroll down to 148) reads, in its entirety:

"A further limit on the exercise of the right of unilateral revocation arises from the principles of good faith and sincere cooperation"

After this declaration, there is a reference to a footnote of a different document (presumably wider in scope) which reads:

"In accordance with the principle of sincere cooperation, enshrined in the first paragraph of Article 4(3) TEU, the European Union and the Member States are, in full mutual respect, to assist each other in carrying out tasks which flow from the Treaties..."

Not being a scholar of European law I'm uncomfortable opining here but in these times of "but ... they can't just... do that, ... can they?!?!??!" (on both sides of the Atlantic), I fear the phrase "good faith" carries no weight unless it's very precisely codified in an official legal document.

At any rate my partner and I literally planned our lives (including a sabbatical) so as to be living on the continent on March 29, and we absolutely recognize that we are very fortunate to be able to do so. As dual US-UK citizens, we're pretty much despondent about almost all news at this point.
posted by tractorfeed at 1:23 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


"I've been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted #Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely."
-Donald Tusk, Feb 6, 2019


Politico.eu: Brussels Says Tusk Wasn’t Joking, Brexit Really Is Hell—Officials close to Tusk say the outrage at his outrage is misplaced. He was just speaking his mind.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:14 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


"I've been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted #Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely."
-Donald Tusk, Feb 6, 2019


The leading contenders for the European council president’s broadside
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:08 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Corbyn lays out Labour’s terms for backing May on Brexit
In his letter, Corbyn calls for the government to rework the political declaration setting the framework for Britain’s future relationship with the EU – and then enshrine these new negotiating objectives in UK law, so that a future Tory leader could not sweep them away after Brexit.

He says the changes to the political declaration must include:

- A “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”, including a say in future trade deals.
- Close alignment with the single market, underpinned by “shared institutions”.
- “Dynamic alignment on rights and protections”, so that UK standards do not fall behind those of the EU.
- Clear commitments on future UK participation in EU agencies and funding programmes.
- Unambiguous agreements on future security arrangements, such as use of the European arrest warrant.

There is no mention of the second of the shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer’s six tests, which said that Labour would not support any deal that failed to deliver the “exact same benefits” as single market and customs union membership.

Labour’s approach, which Corbyn called “constructive”, appears to be focused firmly on the forward-looking political declaration, rather than the 585-page withdrawal agreement, which contains the Irish backstop and the divorce bill.
posted by mumimor at 12:45 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Even aside from scrapping the pertinent of the "Six Tests", he's also abandoned the policy agreed with Labour membership to push for a general election, or if that isn't in the cards, push for a People's Vote. He's unilaterally abandoning what the party membership backed, in order to offer to back the Tory government - and Theresa May's Tory government at that, possibly the most regressive and punishing of at least a generation.

Corbyn would rather whip his MPs to back the Tories than pursue actual Labour policy.

Disgusting.
posted by Dysk at 2:32 AM on February 7 [17 favorites]


Corbyn is a Leaver, he's always been against the EU on a fundamental level. Once you understand that, then you understand why he's acquiescing in a far-right Tory policy.

A Labour leader that wasn't genuinely anti-EU would have taken the Tories to the cleaners by now. Whatever the Corbyn-fanboys believe, he's an absolute disaster.
posted by daveje at 2:54 AM on February 7 [17 favorites]


Yeah, I'm disgusted not surprised.

It'll be interesting* to see which particular knots the Momentum crew will tie themselves in trying to justify Corbyn going against the kind of Party democracy he was supposed to be all about, in favour of backing the Tories. Screw you, Labour members, I'd rather side with May!

*in the sense of the old curse, "may you de in interesting times"
posted by Dysk at 3:02 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


50 days until Brexit. Without turning this comment into a "fucking fuck the fuckers" rant, it is truly extraordinary that we still don't know what's going to happen. I understand that some kind of short term extension to Article 50 is considered to be one of the more likely scenarios right now – but when will that get agreed? A few weeks before, a few days before?

I remember back in October thinking they were cutting things close. Then it was November, it'd be settled; then December maybe, then surely January.
posted by adrianhon at 5:49 AM on February 7 [8 favorites]


If there's one thing the writers of the presently unfolding sitrag* should have taught us by now, it's that the answer to any outrage-worthy "surely..." is going to be... nope.

They're just unimaginative like that.

*as opposed to sitcom
posted by flabdablet at 6:09 AM on February 7


Little Dawn posted this over in the US politics thread, but it is as relevant here:

'Aristocrats are anarchists': why the wealthy back Trump and Brexit
posted by mumimor at 6:16 AM on February 7 [5 favorites]


50 days until Brexit. Without turning this comment into a "fucking fuck the fuckers" rant, it is truly extraordinary that we still don't know what's going to happen. I understand that some kind of short term extension to Article 50 is considered to be one of the more likely scenarios right now – but when will that get agreed? A few weeks before, a few days before?

Multi-billion pound businesses do not know if their supply chains will still function in less than two months. You are correct, this is utter insanity.
posted by jaduncan at 6:21 AM on February 7 [9 favorites]


A few months ago one of my employees told me he was a bit nervous about Brexit, and if our board had contingency plans. After reassuring him that the vast majority of our income is from outside the UK and handled by Apple/Google, I said that contingency planning was pointless because we had no fucking idea what the government was going to do, and that it'd be impractical and too expensive to set up a subsidiary abroad.

Let no-one ever again say the Tories are good for business.
posted by adrianhon at 6:27 AM on February 7 [14 favorites]


If the Home Office had a different track record, that would be less concerning. But they don't.

A blatant and continuing case in point is the Windrush exiles.

@Sistah_Space: "My friend is on that plane bound for Jamaica this morning. I've just spoken to his wife. His daughter, (16 last week) and son (13 next week) are inconsolable. Dad's been here for well over 20 years, has nobody in Jamaica. We've all been up all night, very sad day for humanity."

It's a policy where it's obvious that the only reasoning behind it is to create a hostile environment, the cruelty is the point. They are pro-actively trying to find the tiniest excuses to exile people who for all intents and purposes are just as British as anyone living here, who have been living productive and ordinary lives. It's hard to see how they are going to do anything other than extend this policy towards EU residents the second they become able to.

Corbyn (and Labour) lost the last little bit of respect I had for him when he did his anti-immigrant thing, even if it was couched in terms of "Immigration BAD! as the capitalists use it to lower wages". The one good argument the old labourites had against Scottish independence was that socialism is an internationalist movement and we shouldn't be seeking to create borders and boundaries to labour (as in the workers, not the party). That seems very hollow now.

It's also buggers belief that he/they can actually think this is going to help the non-aristocratic classes in any way. It punishes us by limiting where we can work, making us more in thrall to our local capitalists and is almost certainly result in a massive reduction of worker and consumer protections and regulations, not to mention the privatisation of the NHS.

To cut a long rant short(er): Corbyn is not only in the process of destroying the principles, integrity, and credibility of the current Labour party, but he's also participating in the destruction of everything good the party's done since it was founded.

But anyway, bidets (and a great example of how immigration and multiculturalism benefits us all): last year I learned of the shattaf, apparently something that is common in muslim households and really should just come as standard with all toilets. It's basically just a mini-shower/squirt gun plumbed into the cistern water inlet so you can scoosh yer bits on the throne.

And they are cheap as chips (almost literally).

'Aristocrats are anarchists': why the wealthy back Trump and Brexit

I don't disagree, but he is misrepresenting anarchism quite badly, or he's doing so via Chesterton's words. Which is odd really as Chester-Bellocks take on Distributism is really quite a congruent political philosophy with actual anarchism. Anyhoo.
posted by Buntix at 6:28 AM on February 7 [7 favorites]


There's a link in the Aristocrats are anarchists article to this, which is also fascinating: Leading Brexiteer activist 'buys EU passport via Malta'
posted by mumimor at 6:34 AM on February 7 [3 favorites]


It's hard to see how they are going to do anything other than extend this policy towards EU residents the second they become able to.

Already started. I can't be the only EU citizen living here who can't rustle up documentation for five continuous years of residency despite having lived here far, far longer than that. From a system requiring retroactive documentation that there was no need for anyone to produce or retain, there can only really be one eventual outcome.
posted by Dysk at 6:41 AM on February 7 [15 favorites]


This NYTimes article has some nice graphics. I mean, the design is good, very easy to understand and full of information. It's not a nice read.
posted by mumimor at 8:02 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


But anyway, bidets (and a great example of how immigration and multiculturalism benefits us all): last year I learned of the shattaf, apparently something that is common in muslim households and really should just come as standard with all toilets. It's basically just a mini-shower/squirt gun plumbed into the cistern water inlet so you can scoosh yer bits on the throne.

More entertainingly known in the Asian houses I know as 'the bum gun'. This is your scheduled moment of relief from rampant despair.
posted by jaduncan at 9:10 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


The Sinn Fein President yesterday wasn't messing around. The Cameron/May/Johnson legacy is going to be the break up of the union isn't it. Little Britain indeed.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald tells the British Prime Minister that she has come to Ireland with no plan, no credibility and no honour and that in the event of a hard Tory/DUP Brexit she must prepare for an Irish Unity Referendum. (Twitter Video)
posted by merocet at 10:30 AM on February 7 [17 favorites]


He says the changes to the political declaration must include...a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”... “shared institutions”..."alignment on rights and protections”...

I'm glad to finally see Corbyn articulate the principles he wants to work toward. Now what he needs to do is time travel back to 2016 so that there is time to negotiate the details.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:59 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union”... “shared institutions”..."alignment on rights and protections”...

EU membership achieves all of that. Just sayin.
posted by flabdablet at 3:08 PM on February 7 [12 favorites]


Brexit deal may not be put to MPs until late March

An EU official said it was remarkable that May had not offered “any new concrete proposals” during her 45-minute meeting with Tusk, the European council president, which was described as “OK” and “honest”. Neither did the prime minister have “any clear answers on the timeline”, the official said.

A second official warned of a “vicious circle”, in that the UK appeared unable to make any proposals and the EU was unable to act until it received a request."


She did find time to tick-off Tusk for criticizing Brexit fantasists though.

So, as predicted, May is just running down the clock. The EU will entertain no change to the withdrawal agreement, but may add some extra waffle to the non-binding political declaration, possible even including some stuff about magic tech as imagined by EU bureaucrats.

MPs will then get a vote at the last minute to approve the deal or not; if they say yes, there's an extension to pass the needed legislation with god knows what holes in it, and several more years of wrangling over how much we want to trash the economy vs screwing immigrants. If not, then we crash out days later, with definitely no time for MPs to force a change from no-deal even if they had the balls, quite possibly not even time for a non-binding vote to express mild disapproval, which May would ignore anyway.

And Corbyn and McCluskey has definitely interpreted Labour party policy "all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote." to mean "carry on pretending a Labour brexit would be great so I can blame the tories when it isn't, so we can have a 'public 'vote' after Brexit of a general election. And if my MPs want to vote with the government to make brexit happen, well that's up to them."

Goods are now leaving UK ports, and the longest hauls don't know if they'll even be able to unload when they get there post March 29th. But it's fine -
A spokesperson for the Department for International Trade said it would not comment on the private meeting, but that the government was continuing to prepare for all eventualities. The spokesperson said: “We are making good progress on securing deals and have signed agreements with Chile, the Faroe Islands, and Eastern and Southern African Economic Partnership Agreement states."

So that's all sorted then.

Meanwhile at home, we are currently looking for old council tax bills and an android phone with NFC that scans passports, because my galaxy with working NFC and Pie doesn't work. Get this - if you've stayed in the country more than 5 years at any point with an EU passport, you were automatically legally granted permanent residency. But since you didn't actually need it in most circumstances, it was never documented in any way. To get the new 'settled status', you need to *prove* you've been here continuously for the last 5 years. The government will look at tax records, but they only look at the last 5 years, as they don't have records going back any further, but they do reserve the right to sell your data.

So unless you've literally been in continuous employment for the last 5 years - which my wife hasn't, because she took a year off to raise our children - your previous years, no matter how many, don't count for squat and you'll only be offered provisional status and have to start the 5 years from scratch, and remember to apply again - with 5 years of proof - at the end of that, or you become an undocumented illegal resident. Letters with a date on only count for one month if you appeal, so that means you'd potentially need to provide 60 bits of documentation to cover every month of the last 5 years if I can count gud. You're only allowed to send 10. But annual bank statements and council tax bills count for 12 months. Any EU citizen that has not been a complete packrat for no reason for the last 5 years basically gets to start from scratch, no matter if they've legally had permanent residency for many years. Despite the many, many people I've met who didn't believe me on this, being married to an englishman makes zero difference at all. I wish I could say I was surprised they're going full steam ahead on Windrush 2.0. I just wish the best for those poor souls who win their court case against the English government in a decade or so.

The odds are steeply increasing of me soon having to go live in a country where I barely speak the language, leaving behind my father who was recently diagnosed with cancer, both our careers, along with massively devalued savings and a flat I won't able to sell, but I just maybe will be allowed to stay with my wife and children.

Cheers, Parliament, you're doing a heckuva job representing the minority of racist wankstains who still want this. Fucking fuck all the fucking fuckers who couldn't get a fucking fuck in a fucking fuckshop. Fuck you so very much.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:21 PM on February 7 [36 favorites]


Absolutely No You-Know-What: Just in case you haven't tried - councils are recommended to keep their tax records for 10+ years, it might be worth trying to get them to send you their records of your property? Sorry if that was obvious.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:38 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


It's not so much the tax records, but dated letters with her name on them - and council tax letters are sent to the registered residents to cover the whole 12 months, so 'prove' her residency for that year. We've used them in the past as one of the few things that's acceptable as proof of address that she actually has, because we live in the 19th century without a functional ID card system like every other european nation. And I pay the gas bill, so that's out, and the bank try to avoid sending as little paper as possible. But if we can't ferret out the appropriate documents from our boxes of random papers, I'll give it a try, thank you. I don't know what the actual approval system is like when you fail, because we haven't got that far, because we can't scan her passport despite two modern android phones, but the gov website documentation is not encouraging.

Live is beginning to feel so much like living in a Fawlty Towers episode it would make me laugh, if this wasn't deadly serious reality for millions of resident EU citizens and their families that's actually happening.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:52 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


There's a link in the Aristocrats are anarchists article to this, which is also fascinating: Leading Brexiteer activist 'buys EU passport via Malta'

The important thing to remember about the rich, is that stuff literally matters less to them, because they’re more insulated from consequences. It really is “all a game” to them; they can and do retreat into Scott Fitzgerald’s “vast carelessness”.

This guy might well believe in Brexit (whatever that means). He may very well not view his actions as hypocritical, prefering instead to think of himself as hedging a bet, as one might do on the stock market. Or he might see Brexit as more of a long-term project, and understandably wish to spare himself the short-term pain. Or he might divorce his own personal and financial interests, which are clearly better off within the EU, from what he sees as the country’s interests.

Whatever. Anyhow, this isn’t to excuse or justify or rationalise his actions. This is to point out that you and I can’t do this, because we don’t have 1.2 million euros to buy a golden passport from Malta. We’re not insulated from these actions. We’re not the rich. And we need to stop letting them decide things for the rest of us. They have no skin in the game, and also they’re bad at it. And we suffer the consequences; not them. If they won’t surrender their power voluntarily, then they must have their power taken away from them - by some means or other.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:23 PM on February 7 [13 favorites]


Another wonderful summary from Chris Grey:

For the circles we are going round are not a neat holding pattern, waiting patiently for a safe landing according to known procedures. Rather, Britain is in a vicious tailspin, almost out of fuel, and plummeting to the ground. The pilot is frozen in panic, the second pilot is present but not involved, the cabin crew are bickering and the noisiest of the passengers have convinced themselves that the theory of gravity is elitist fear mongering.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:37 AM on February 8 [13 favorites]


My version of that metaphor has the plane out of fuel and the pilots unconscious. If no-one does anything, the plane will crash. There's no safe landing back to where the plane took off from, it's only a question of minimising the damage.

I was about to post the Chris Grey link myself, but for me, the key quote is:

Brexiters have created a hermetically sealed logic. Every warning is dismissed as Project Fear, with the jeer ‘you can’t prove Brexit will make that happen’; every time a warning comes true, it is dismissed as Project Fear Mark 2, with the jeer ‘you can’t prove it was Brexit made that happen’.

The European Medicines Agency closed less than two weeks ago and moved here (Amsterdam), and it's already dragging other pharmaceutical organisations with it. That's not business uncertainly, regardless of what the likes of Digby Jones want to claim.
posted by daveje at 5:43 AM on February 8 [3 favorites]


My version of that metaphor has the plane out of fuel and the pilots unconscious. If no-one does anything, the plane will crash. There's no safe landing back to where the plane took off from, it's only a question of minimising the damage.

Why no fuel? It is possible to land back where we started - Article 50 can be revoked. Nobody will but it isn't impossible.
posted by Dysk at 6:04 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


An airplane without fuel can usually be landed safely too, but it's not a situation in which to waste time. Time wasted is altitude wasted and in a plane without fuel, you're never getting it back once it's gone.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 6:13 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


Okay, but there was an explicitly stated "no safe landing" in there too. I suppose I asked slightly the wrong question.
posted by Dysk at 7:21 AM on February 8


To clarify the metaphor, the UK is too far gone to get back to where it started. Revoking Article 50 won't return the jobs that have left, restore the capital that has fled, re-inject the investment that didn't happen, or repair the damage to the UK's reputation and diplomatic relationships.

There are also people on board with parachutes who think that crashing will be a good lesson for everyone else.
posted by daveje at 7:32 AM on February 8 [8 favorites]


The UK and the EFTA countries in the European Economic Area, that is Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, have come to an agreement that will ensured continued full rights for each others' citizens if no-deal Brexit happens. Here's the announcement by the UK government, with an explainer.
posted by Kattullus at 7:46 AM on February 8 [1 favorite]


The UK and the EFTA countries in the European Economic Area, that is Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, have come to an agreement that will ensured continued full rights for each others' citizens if no-deal Brexit happens
That's lovely. And was quoted above, when I thought is this satire or real life?
I mean, I'm happy for the people in these small to tiny population countries, but how about everyone else?
posted by mumimor at 7:51 AM on February 8


Brexit crisis command centre starts hiring civilians

The good news, if you think you have the skills to deal with putrifying rubbish and shortages of medicine, is that there’s a reasonable contractor day rate:

Candidates are being offered between £300 and £400 a day and must be prepared to start by the end of this month.

The bad news is that they’re only recruiting psychics:

The recruits for EUXE must be able to “see the emergency trends with little or no information and act appropriately at pace”.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:09 AM on February 8 [14 favorites]






Captured States: When EU governments are a channel for corporate interests. Summary, Full report.
Great report. And if the citizens of the EU elect a left-leaning EP this year, I'm sure they'll act on it. Get out the vote, and get your friends to vote for the left. I will, and looking at the current polls, so will most of my compatriots*.
The EU is what we want it to be.

*In Denmark, there has never been a lower level of support for leaving since we joined the EEC in 1973. It's at 8%, down from being consistently very close to 50% for all those years. Also, the EP polls are showing a fair majority for the left of center parties. Thanks, Brexit.
posted by mumimor at 8:49 AM on February 8 [9 favorites]


The Tories have realised you need ferries to run a ferry servic. The shadow secretary of state for communities and local government does his best Comic Book Guy impression, describing Grayling as the "worst secretary of state ever" and Mick Cash continues to be a racist on behalf of the RMT. Seriously, any non-British RMT members must be feeling real welcome in and supported by their union right now.
posted by Dysk at 3:49 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]


The Tories have realised you need ferries to run a ferry service.

... and (Metafilter's Own) garius is on top form...
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:22 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]


The Tories have realised you need ferries to run a ferry service

It’s more that the secret Irish backer, which was providing both expertise and financing to Seaborne, has pulled out. The BBC article for whatever reason fails to make this clear, especially the part about Arklow’s involvement previously having been a secret.

The Guardian does better in their first paragraph:
A controversial no-deal Brexit ferry contract awarded to a firm with no ships has been cancelled by the Department for Transport after an Irish shipping firm that had been secretly backing the deal pulled out.
And here’s a newly revealed letter from Arklow to Grayling last month, setting out their capacity to support Seaborne.

Not sure where this leaves the dredging of Ramsgate harbour, which needed to happen before Seaborne could purchase any ships to moor there. I’m not clear from the phrasing of either the Guardian or the BBC whether Brittany or DFDS is supposed to be running ferries through Ramsgate too, but I’m pretty sure that the dredging was sole responsibility of Seaborne, and that they were sub-contracting the work to a Dutch company.

So in conclusion: the much-mocked Seaborne was actually backed by a major Irish ferry operator, but this was a secret for some reason; that ferry operator has now pulled out and the scheme has collapsed; Ramsgate probably isn’t going to reopen as a port suitable for ferry traffic as a result, and the two ferries that were supposed to be purchased won’t be either; politically this has been an embarrassing disaster for Grayling and the government along nearly every possible axis (the only extra humiliation I can imagine would have been Grayling visiting the site, slipping on a banana peel and falling into the sea).
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:39 AM on February 9 [10 favorites]


Seaborne was actually backed by a major Irish ferry operator, but this was a secret for some reason; that ferry operator has now pulled out and the scheme has collapsed

I wondered how they'd blame the EU.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:26 AM on February 9 [5 favorites]


Over in the George Orwell thread, basalganglia recommended Back in Time for Dinner, and I'm spending my lovely Saturday evening watching it. This (episode 1) is about those wonderful old days the Brexiteers are pining for, and I can't help but thinking they are about to get it. And so is everyone else who didn't want Brexit.

Why do I think it might that bad? Well: Brexit: Netherlands talking to 250 firms about leaving UK. And those are not small companies.
posted by mumimor at 10:20 AM on February 9 [6 favorites]


...but this was a secret for some reason...

Somehow would not be surprised if Chris Grayling was planning on being on the first ferry over, waving St George's Cross shouting 'ENG-ER-LUND! ENG-ER-LUND!' and wanted to avoid the embarrassment of having to do that on a boat with the Republic of Ireland Tricolor flying off the back and named 'The Spirit of Kilkenny'.
posted by PenDevil at 11:24 AM on February 9 [6 favorites]


> Why do I think it might that bad? Well: Brexit: Netherlands talking to 250 firms about leaving UK. And those are not small companies.
From TFA: “While Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, recently said he did not see Brexit as a business opportunity, […]”
Heh. Not primarily, maybe, but essentially everything this guy does has “corporate interest” stamped on it.
posted by farlukar at 10:04 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Back May’s deal, then hold people’s vote: plan to end Brexit deadlock
The initiative, aimed at breaking the political impasse, is being advanced by Labour MPs Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson and has won the support of prominent Remainers in the Tory party including Sarah Wollaston, Dominic Grieve and Anna Soubry.

The amendment would offer all MPs the chance to support, or abstain on, the withdrawal bill and would specify that, if passed, the decision would be implemented on the condition it was put to the public for approval in a second referendum.
. . .
If the amendment passed through parliament but the deal was rejected in the subsequent referendum, the UK would stay in the EU under current arrangements.

If, however, the British people confirmed the decision of MPs to leave the EU under the terms of May’s deal, Brexit on these terms would immediately come into effect without any need for it to return to parliament.
So a referendum on the results of negotiations, after calling a referendum on whether to start negotiations in the first place. Pretty much exactly what any coherent referendum would have included from the start. The EU would definitely extend the deadline for a referendum between two acceptable end states, May can tell the demons who whisper in her hears that she Passed Her Deal, and Paliament and the UK as a whole can back out of this mess while saving some amount of face.

I therefore assume this will not pass.
posted by 3urypteris at 2:12 PM on February 10 [17 favorites]


I argued something similar a few threads back, that the best way to sort this out was to have another referendum on the terms of the deal, with the other option being Remain. At least then everyone knows what they're voting for.

I thought I was being boringly sensible. I now find out that many disreputable people have advanced this idea in the past, like John Redwood, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and David Davis.
posted by daveje at 2:41 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


The "second referendum" idea as proposed by David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg would be a yes/no on whatever deal is negotiated, with them pushing for "no" as a way to get more from the EU. I guess they imagined a more favorable timeline. More likely they just didn't give a shit.

This amendment would be for a deal/remain referendum, so yeah boringly sensible.
posted by 3urypteris at 7:47 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]


Back May’s deal, then hold people’s vote: plan to end Brexit deadlock

The obvious problem with this proposal is that the alternatives are accepting the hated backstop or abandoning Brexit altogether, which leaves no path to glorious tradedeals and unicorn-lit uplands. I imagine there’ll be immediate cries of treason and “this is not what the people voted for.”
posted by sour cream at 10:55 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


That's going to happen regardless. Honestly, you ought to be used to this by now.
posted by daveje at 12:27 AM on February 11


I try not to be too much of a conspiracy-monger, but I have noticed an uptick recently in 'Revoke A50, it's the only answer' tweets from egg accounts with John13579-style usernames and timelines full of near-identical messages.

I'm not saying everyone arguing for revocation is a bot or even that it's a bad idea, but it does feel like there's an effort coming from sФmЭШhԐЯԐ to nudge remainers into 'the most extreme option is the only option' in the same way as leavers have gradually moved from 'we demand Brexit' to 'we demand hard Brexit' to 'we demand no deal'. I suspect 'revoke or die' won't gain as much traction because... well, I hate to sound smug, but honestly because I believe remainers are hugely more pragmatic and realistic.

And on the topic of how Brexiter expectations have changed, we've gone from buccaneering Britain's post-Brexit boom to... eating seaweed.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:23 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


...if you're not for revoking Article 50, in what sense are you still a Remainer? It's literally the only way for Britain to remain in the EU.
posted by Dysk at 3:26 AM on February 11 [12 favorites]


I imagine there’ll be immediate cries of treason and “this is not what the people voted for.”

That has been happening for a good while now. As May is discovering in her futile attempt to keep her party together, and noted upthread, the brextremists are concern trolls.

Farage: "Wouldn't it be terrible if we were like Norway and Switzerland? Really? They're rich. They're happy. They're self governing."
Farage again: "In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way."
Hannan: "absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the Single Market"
Aaron Banks: "Increasingly the Norway option looks the best for the UK"
Boris Johnson: "there will continue to be access to the Single Market"
Jacob Rees-Mogg: "We could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed."

Bit different to what they're saying now.

They are charlatans and mountebanks who were responsible for a campaign funded by dirty money and outrageous law breaking, with the same people as behind Trump. They want to destroy as much international co-operation as possible so they can do what they want with their ill-gotten wealth; unseen, unregulated and untaxed.

...if you're not for revoking Article 50, in what sense are you still a Remainer? It's literally the only way to remain in the EU.

I think the trolling is about revoking article 50 without a 2nd referendum, thus increasing the alienation and feeling that politicians don't work for them by leave voters. Much as I would personally breathe a huge sigh of relief in the short-term, stopping Brexit without a public vote is a dangerous path to tread.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:32 AM on February 11 [7 favorites]


Much as I would personally breathe a huge sigh of relief in the short-term, stopping Brexit without a public vote is a dangerous path to tread.

From where I'm sitting, it's a fuck of a lot less dangerous than leaving. The brexiteers are going to feel that someone swindled them out of their unicorn wonderland whatever happens, and that situation will not be pretty regardless.
posted by Dysk at 3:43 AM on February 11 [19 favorites]


Perhaps I wasn't clear enough that I was talking about 'revoke now, nothing else is good enough' demands, often made in a seeming attempt to shut down discussion of a 2nd referendum or an A50 extension or other possible paths away from the cliff edge. An uncompromising demand that downplays the political reality, narrows the window of discussion and reduces the chances of finding common ground.

Again, I'm not arguing against the idea of unilateral revocation or saying that people shouldn't advocate it. I'm very happy it's out there. I'm talking instead about a possible pattern of suspicious accounts advocating it as the One True Leave Position. (and after noticing quite a few such tweets this morning, I of course can't find a single bloody example now so either the accounts have been squashed or I misjudged)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:04 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]


I was talking about 'revoke now, nothing else is good enough' demands

Revoking at any time within the next 44 days would be fine with me.
posted by flabdablet at 5:08 AM on February 11 [7 favorites]


If anyone thinks there's a viable pathway to unilateral Article 50 revocation by March 29th then please enlighten me, because I can't see it. Political reality is May's deal with or without some extension, or crashing out. And too many MPs will prefer to crash out than face the wrath of the voters and the right-wing press by calling for revocation.
posted by daveje at 6:27 AM on February 11 [6 favorites]


too many MPs will prefer to crash out than face the wrath of the voters and the right-wing press by calling for revocation

Australia's favourite parliamentary poodle, Christopher Pyne, has had Thoughts on the underlying dynamic, by no means unique to the UK.
posted by flabdablet at 7:03 AM on February 11


Well... fuck.

Why A No-Deal Brexit Is Now Theresa May's Fallback Plan To Save Her Party – And Herself
Government insiders and cabinet ministers believe that the PM has in recent weeks decided that jumping off the cliff may somehow have a softer landing than expected.
...
In recent days, May has more than ever bought into the Smith-Lewis argument that party unity has to come first, one source claims.

“She’s thrown all of her weight behind the chief whip. He’s telling her ‘your party is fucked if you do anything other than hold strong’.”

Despite a flicker of hope in recent days that May is reaching out to Jeremy Corbyn to seek common ground, few around her believe she will countenance the kind of “soft” Brexit – including some version of a UK-EU customs union – that Labour is demanding.
...
But several Tory Remainers, including trusted go-between Sir Oliver Letwin, have confided to colleagues that since the 230-vote defeat last month, May has entered into an irreversible pact with her Brexiteers.

“What worries me now is that it feels like something has changed,” says one MP. “It feels like she’s crossed a line now. She’s boxed herself so far in she’s lost any capacity to pivot, even though she might want to in her head, she’s stuck now.”
...
“She’s so difficult to read, but the key thing over everything else is her survival instincts - there’s nothing wrong with those. Credit where it’s due.

“She’s trying to navigate it week by week. I don’t think she will take a conscious decision, I think she will end up acquiescing in one or other form. And time is running out to get a Norway [soft Brexit] deal.”
Much, much more at the link. Just like the referendum itself, the entire country is being held hostage to insoluble internal Tory party politics. And it looks as though they’re about to start shooting the hostages.

@paulwaugh

TLDR:
If you're a Remainer, be afraid, be very afraid.
If you're a 'clean Brexit' Leaver, you'll be delighted.
The PM is being swayed by internal polls/focus groups showing she's more popular when she flags no-deal.

@dsquareddigest

If even that summary is tldr:

1) insulin
2) a functioning Conservative Party

pick one
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:41 PM on February 11 [19 favorites]


Save the people, or save the power. What a choice.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:00 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]


Save the people, or save the power. What a choice.

Tiny Revolution: "...the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution 'fail' while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to 'succeed' if that requires them to lose power within the institution."

A modification of the Iron Law of Oligarchies, which isn't boiled down to such an understandable bite.
posted by rhizome at 2:08 PM on February 11 [9 favorites]


Nah it’s cool though, Jezza is doing just fine. He’ll save us.

Conservatives would win majority if election were held today, YouGov finds
Pollster that got it right in 2017 forecasts Labour losses
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:45 PM on February 11 [4 favorites]


Well, this bodes well.

The NHS is stockpiling body bags to cope with no deal Brexit [The Mirror]

(Technically they're no indication it's due to any expected increase in demand, but still...)
posted by Buntix at 1:02 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]


George Soros: Europe, Please Wake Up.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:30 AM on February 12 [5 favorites]


Andrew Adonis: “Very significant statement by Theresa May in response to Dominic Grieve just now. She said in so many words that if her deal gets a majority in the Commons days before end of March, all the consequential legislation will be rushed through Parliament as an ‘emergency’”
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:33 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


It's all so insufferably fucking craven isn't it.

I wonder if future historians will be able to pinpoint the moment when it turned.
Personally I think it was when Kinnock stood in front of that crowd in Sheffield. He always struck me as a decent bloke, not the brightest but in posession of a conscience. but that moment, when he gave in to the performance of it all.
posted by fullerine at 7:34 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


I wonder if future historians will be able to pinpoint the moment when it turned.

Iraq.
posted by jaduncan at 6:09 AM on February 13 [6 favorites]


Good guesses, all, but the correct answer is:

Thatcher.

Thanks for playing!
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:39 AM on February 13 [10 favorites]


Guardian: Dark Money Is Pushing for a No-Deal Brexit. Who Is Behind it?—Targeted no-deal Brexit ads are funded opaquely, yet the government has failed to bring in new laws
Since mid-January an organisation called Britain’s Future has spent £125,000 on Facebook ads demanding a hard or no-deal Brexit. Most of them target particular constituencies. Where an MP is deemed sympathetic to the organisation’s aims, the voters who receive these ads are urged to tell him or her to “remove the backstop, rule out a customs union, deliver Brexit without delay”. Where the MP is deemed unsympathetic, the message is: “Don’t let them steal Brexit; Don’t let them ignore your vote.”

So who or what is Britain’s Future? Sorry, I have no idea. As openDemocracy points out, it has no published address and releases no information about who founded it, who controls it and who has been paying for these advertisements. The only person publicly associated with it is a journalist called Tim Dawson, who edits its website. Dawson has not yet replied to the questions I have sent him. It is, in other words, highly opaque.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:42 AM on February 13 [11 favorites]


EU officials: UK only 'pretending to negotiate' over Brexit impasse.
Verhofstadt asked Lidington four times what the British proposal was and “four times didn’t get an answer”, according to the EU official, who described the encounter as “very surreal”.
An EU diplomat said May’s strategy was probably to run down the clock “sending her negotiators here and there” to buy time ahead of a European summit on 21-22 March. “They come forward with the same proposals and they get the same answers,” 
posted by adamvasco at 1:11 PM on February 13 [10 favorites]


Theresa May 'scrapes the mould off jam' (BBC News)
As if Theresa May was not in enough of a jam over Brexit, she has now sparked a debate about how to handle actual jam - the kind that comes in jars.

It comes after she reportedly told cabinet ministers [Daily Mail link] she scrapes the mould off the fruit preserve rather than throw it away.

The SNP's Pete Wishart picked up on the PM's comment on Twitter, saying it was "a bit like she runs the Tory Party".

The PM reportedly made the comments in a cabinet discussion on food waste.

The prime minister told colleagues that she scrapes the mould off and the rest is "perfectly edible", according to the Daily Mail.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:27 PM on February 13 [5 favorites]


That’s ridiculous. Where does Wishart get the impression that she is scraping any mould off the Tory Party?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:08 PM on February 13 [3 favorites]


It comes after she reportedly told cabinet ministers [Daily Mail link] she scrapes the mould off the fruit preserve rather than throw it away.

When it comes to jam related matters, Jezza has this one covered.
posted by PenDevil at 10:42 PM on February 13




As Brexit Deadline Looms, Billboards Call Out Politicians' 'Quick And Easy' Claims (Frank Langfitt & Samuel Alwyine-Mosely, NPR)
In the rush of digital news that washes over so many of us every day, it's hard to remember what a politician might have said or promised several weeks ago, let alone several years. Some activists in the United Kingdom have come up with an imaginative, seemingly old-fashioned solution to this modern-day problem.

They plan to put up at least 150 billboards across the U.K. quoting some of the promises and rosy predictions politicians made about Brexit in recent years so people can reconsider them amid the political chaos that has followed.
...

The [activist] group is called Led By Donkeys [Twitter]. It's a play on a phrase, "Lions led by donkeys," that was used to describe British infantrymen led by incompetent generals during World War I.
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:34 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


From The Guardian: Corbyn to hold Brexit talks with Barnier and Verhofstadt next week
This will be interesting...
posted by mumimor at 6:04 AM on February 14


I'm kind of in love with this monster the Dutch created to warn companies to prepare for Brexit. English write-up in The Guardian here.
posted by antinomia at 7:43 AM on February 14 [17 favorites]


43 days until Brexit, and things are going just swimmingly:
MPs have delivered a significant blow to May’s authority by rejecting her Brexit motion by 303 votes to 258 – a majority of 45. The defeat will have no practical effect, but it will reverse the modest achievement she achieved two weeks ago when she secured a majority for a Brexit motion. Seeing how hard she is finding it to maintain a Commons majority, EU leaders may feel even less inclined to offer her Brexit concessions than they already were.
BTW I wonder if we should start drafting a new Brexit thread since we're closing in on the 30 day mark for this one?
posted by adrianhon at 10:05 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


BTW I wonder if we should start drafting a new Brexit thread since we're closing in on the 30 day mark for this one?

If we do that before the last possible moment, we remove the No Thread option and the mods won't offer us any concessions.
posted by Devonian at 10:17 AM on February 14 [65 favorites]


True, although you forget we could try a VONC again: Vote of No Cortex.
posted by adrianhon at 10:27 AM on February 14 [5 favorites]


Can we petition to extend the 30 day deadline?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:34 AM on February 14 [10 favorites]


Look, there's no reason to indulge in Project Fear - things will be just fine even if the unreasonable site rules force us into the No Thread option. We'll probably be able to make a better Free Commenting deal with Reddit anyway.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:17 AM on February 14 [21 favorites]




"Frustration and #Brexit despondency reign right now in EU circles," the BBC's Katya Adler writes in a Twitter thread.
—“This new round of EU-UK negotiations is essentially window dressing” -one official tells me “Each side just repeats well-known red lines to the other. And all this with time running out.”
—“And who knows what they might do if faced with an imminent no deal” one EU diplomat tells me “But up till now it’s been the EU leaders taking the hard line in negotiations. Not Brussels officials”
—EU diplomat tells me “This isn’t about machismo: us refusing to back down. We need to find a sustainable solution for the millions affected here. We see May trying to blackmail three groups simultaneously: EU+Ireland, Labour and Brexiteers. Chance of this ending badly is high”
—Another EU source says “Some of the ‘solutions’ to backstop you read about in UK press being ‘discussed in Brussels’ must be skilful Downing Street spin. We in Brussels are often surprised to read about them. Maybe they are test balloons to see how we react”
Alder suggests that the EU is hoping for a May agreeing to a permanent customs union just before time runs out, allowing them to revise the backstop provision and begin actual EU-UK trade negotiations.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:58 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


I've tried really really hard to not play the "ask beleaguered UK mefites to explain their politics to this ignorant foreigner" card, so I'm sorry for this, but, uh, is there some cultural context I'm lacking that would explain why the stripping on TV panels discussing Brexit?
posted by zachlipton at 1:50 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Assuming you're referring to the woman who's been drawing attention to herself by doing that, it's because there's a woman who's been drawing attention to herself by doing that.

It's all Brexit. It doesn't have to mean anything.
posted by Grangousier at 3:20 PM on February 14 [3 favorites]


Apparently there's not only a woman who strips off to protest Brexit (because it "leaves Britain naked" and is also "the emperor's new clothes", apparently) but also a woman who removed her shirt while discussing the woman who strips off to protest Brexit.

I'd ask if you guys are ok over there, but I already know you aren't.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:22 PM on February 14 [9 favorites]


The woman in tobascodagama's link is Boris Johnson's sister. What is even happening.
posted by Justinian at 5:24 PM on February 14 [15 favorites]


What is wrong with these people
posted by mumimor at 5:28 PM on February 14 [4 favorites]


Just dropping in to check up on the latest Brexi... OH MY SWEET JESUS!
posted by romanb at 6:15 PM on February 14 [8 favorites]


OK, gotta love Britain doing what it does best: pointed absurdity in the face of pointless absurdity.

But I'm surprised that Orwell or Wells didn't think of that particular possibility first…
posted by Pinback at 6:28 PM on February 14


Here's the website and a 2 minute video lecture of naked-protesting anti-Brexit economist Victoria Bateman. Both contain nudity.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:49 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


OK, gotta love Britain doing what it does best: pointed absurdity in the face of pointless absurdity.

You mean like reciting poetry at each other in the Commons in the face of no deal?
Like this ... limerick by Andrea Leadsom:

Labour is red
Tories are blue
Our future is bright
With a good deal in sight
For the UK and our friends in the EU.
posted by sour cream at 11:33 PM on February 14


Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.

Seems appropriate that she'd read us Vogon poetry when we're all about to be thrown out of the airlock.
posted by rory at 1:08 AM on February 15 [9 favorites]


naked-protesting anti-Brexit economist Victoria Bateman
It does seem to me that she's using Brexit to make some kind of point about nakedness rather than the other way round, but I suppose it makes a change from the usual. I would be enormously grateful if no one would suggest it to Boris as a way forward.
posted by Grangousier at 3:25 AM on February 15 [6 favorites]


I would be enormously grateful if no one would suggest [nudity] to Boris as a way forward.

That would be a heck of a Brexit Monster.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:27 AM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Brexit already costs the UK £800 million a week.

Let's spend it on the NHS instead.

(Not appearing on a bus near you.)
posted by daveje at 6:34 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


So there's there's this fairly decent idea kicking round twitter*

It posits that a good solution would be a second indyref. But it's England holding the referendum on whether to leave the UK (and Wales deciding who to go with). That way Scotland and NI (and possibly Wales) just stay the same as before, the new UK (minus England) in the EU.

Admittedly it's not great for England, but we're well onto the damage limitation stage.

As evidence that it's probably inevitable I would submit:

Theresa May takes swipe at ‘disruptive’ school pupils over climate change walkout


@NicolaSturgeon It’s a cause for optimism, in an often dark world, that young people are taking a stand on climate change. @scotgov is a world leader but, given the urgency, it is right that we are all challenged to do more and that we hear the voice of the next generation.

-- retweeting: @BBCBreakfast: "Some school children around the world are striking today over climate change 🌎
Find out where the #schoolstrike4climate movement came from ⬇️"

In many ways Brexit seems to be primarily about Westminster not to much opting out of the EU, but the 21st century.

* Can't remember or find the originator... cite it if ya find it!
posted by Buntix at 7:36 AM on February 15 [3 favorites]


Can't remember or find the originator... cite it if ya find it!

We were discussing those sorts of possibilities in the week after the referendum.

It feels like everything we're living through right now is stuff that was being discussed (with dread) in the week after the referendum. What a waste of time, money and lives the past two and a half years have been.
posted by rory at 8:03 AM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Ian Dunt, on fire as usual:

The views of parliament are now to be erased and rewritten on a daily basis, in whatever manner best accommodates what the government happens to want to do. It is to parliamentary democracy what Stalinism was to photography.
posted by rory at 8:41 AM on February 15 [7 favorites]


I know we could probably fill entire brexit threads just posting excerpts from Marina Hyde columns, but the end of her latest piece is a basically perfect summation of the absolute horror of utterly everything about everything at the moment.

Marina Hyde: As for how the rest of the week was spent, there’s a point at which politicians’ preoccupations cease to be curiosities and tip over into the realm of horrifying psychiatric diagnoses. Kurt Vonnegut wrote his satirical novel Cat’s Cradle after becoming troubled by what he saw as the indifference of pure scientists contributing their theoretical work towards the development of practical horrors such as the atomic bomb. The title referred to the childish game he imagined one of these rarefied individuals playing right at the moment the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. If we crash out of the EU without a deal, I hope someone publishes a coffee-table book detailing each of the irrelevant arguments we had on each day as the Brexit doomsday clock ticked down. T-minus 42 days: was Churchill a shit or not? T-minus 41 days: where do you stand on the Boer war?

There is something truly grotesque about all this playing out as children around the country and the world strike from school to protest against climate emergency. In Westminster, a generation who will never be forgiven don’t even have the thing they won’t be forgiven for on their radar. It is left, shamefully, to actual kids to point it out. With absolute ironicidal inevitability, then, May made the time to criticise the nation’s young for their actions. Apparently, the climate strike “wastes lesson time”. Just to be clear, Prime Minister, on Thursday a party colleague requested an emergency parliamentary debate on Winston Churchill, who literally DIED IN 1965. Can you grown-ups give the kids another lecture on time-wasting, please? And if there’s any time before Brexit left after that, how about a game of cat’s cradle?

posted by dng at 4:17 PM on February 15 [11 favorites]


Also, this bit of Marina Hyde's column appears to be incredibly, but perhaps not surprisingly, true:

On Monday, [UK defense secretary] Gavin Williamson ... threatened to send a warship to China. On Thursday, as a result, China pulled out of trade talks with the UK.

After all, according to Williamson, Brexit is all about "enhancing the UK's lethality." [sadly, also true]
posted by sour cream at 12:20 AM on February 16 [1 favorite]


Simon Jenkins' comment on that: British ‘lethality’? Gavin Williamson’s brain has gone absent without leave
Do read some of the comments, if you like some snark with your tea
posted by mumimor at 1:52 AM on February 16


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