Breaking Point
March 7, 2019 5:00 AM   Subscribe

With 22 days to go, Britain is unprepared for any kind of Brexit and unable to decide which way to turn, with May's government operating under a cloak of secrecy and considering prolonging the indecision if parliament's second vote on her Withdrawal Agreement fails next week. The endless Brexit lies have left us in an Orwellian nightmare, with some MPs receiving death threats every single day. Now new lies are doing the rounds of social media, as questionable money buys who knows what amount of under-the-radar campaigning in advance of a possible second referendum. Bookmakers, though, consider the odds of a second referendum to be worse than those of No Deal (5/1 versus 4/1 respectively), with the odds of the latter shortening.

We've discussed the horrors of No Deal many times in previous threads. French customs officers have just shown us its immediate impact at the borders by staging work-to-rule protests at Calais and Paris's Gare du Nord for the Eurostar, leading immediately to traffic jams and long queues. If trade routes really were to shut down, a hypothetical UK diet would leave a lot to be desired.

In positive news, the government has promised extra funding for neglected regions of the UK. In negative news, this "Brexit bribe" to MPs in Leave-voting regions falls far short of the EU funding those regions will lose.

Toyota and BMW are the latest car manufacturers to warn that a No-Deal Brexit threatens their UK production, shortly after senior figures at Honda told its UK workers that robot technology to build electric cars was being delivered by boat, before the sudden announcement that the plant would close. But that decision had nothing to do with Brexit, Honda claimed, so that's okay.

Breaking point? What breaking point?
posted by rory (591 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks for the new thread!

Britain has cut itself adrift from Europe. I fear we may sink
Martin Kettle, The Guardian

This is a very chilly reminder that we are only at the beginning of the beginning. The actual negotiations with the EU haven't even started yet, and they are way too complicated for the current leadership. And what if the Tories elect an even worse PM than May to lead them? The author mentions Boris Johnson, but TBH, all of them are idiots. Or evil. One of the comments mentions that the IRG are getting their way is that they are the only people who know what they want, which is to dismantle the entire UK economy and all of the institutions so they can pillage them.
posted by mumimor at 5:10 AM on March 7 [9 favorites]


Thanks, rory, for the new thread.

If you are new to Brexit threads/the strange and oft-illogical landscape of UK politics, then you may find the answer to your question in a previous thread.

These include:
* (Feb 18th '19) “We’re just going to wing it really; there’s not much more we can do”
* (Jan 21st '19) Meet the new plan, same as the old plan
* (Jan 10th '19) The Neverending Brexit Endgame
* (Dec 11th '18) Unexpected item in the bagging area
* (Nov 14th '18) The light at the end of the "tunnel" is a Eurostar
* (Oct 11th '18) The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)
* (Sep 20th '18) Liars
* (July 25th '18) Beyond the optimism of " There will Adequate Food Supplies"
* (July 27th '16) The Full English Brexit
* (June 23rd '16) UK Goes To Polls In EU Referendum
* (June 6th '16) The Result Won't Matter
posted by Wordshore at 5:25 AM on March 7 [29 favorites]


Ten percent of people in Britain are stockpiling for No Deal. In the government's eyes, we aren't doing enough to prepare. Planning a driving holiday in Europe after a No Deal Brexit on 29 March? You'll need one of these. Planning to drive your UK car into the EU? You'll need to carry one of these.
posted by rory at 5:29 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Reminder, especially for non-UK folks, to listen more than talk. It's a personally sensitive position a lot of people are in; keep the hot takes to yourself. Everyone needs a hug.
posted by rikschell at 5:30 AM on March 7 [69 favorites]


We’re in the endgame now.
posted by sixswitch at 5:34 AM on March 7


As an EU citizen living in the UK, I've received more news from my embassy than from the UK government. My MP (Patrick Grady of the SNP) has also been in constant contact giving as what little information he has. I tend to look at overseas newspapers if I want to get an idea of what's going on as UK media do not deliver well. I still don't know if I have to leave my home and my husband — but at least I have some ways of getting information which is more than what I can say about the general UK population.

If you don't live here, you have no idea how thick this fog of "uhm, nothing to see here, please move on, oh those foreigners" has become.
posted by kariebookish at 5:36 AM on March 7 [48 favorites]


I tend to look at overseas newspapers if I want to get an idea of what's going on as UK media do not deliver well.
Me too. The New York Times in particular has done some excellent journalism from outside of London, talking about the real effects of the current situation on actual people, as well as some brilliant non-Brexit reporting about austerity and other issues being obscured by Brexit.

The UK media feels too entrenched in the Westminster bubble - they're very good at talking about hour-by-hour political twists and turns that don't matter in the great scheme of things and banging the drum for their preferred outcome, but awful at taking a step back and looking at the wider issues.
posted by winterhill at 5:39 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]




Barring unforseen accidents, I’ll be on the Remainiacs march. I’m really not sure what else I can contribute to halting this madness.
posted by pharm at 5:41 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


I find this incredibly sad. As sad as what's happening in the US and other places. What the hell has happened to the world?
posted by tommasz at 5:42 AM on March 7 [37 favorites]


If you don't live here, you have no idea how thick this fog of "uhm, nothing to see here, please move on, oh those foreigners" has become.

In the same way that my brother once felt an urgent need to watch Aliens on VHS the night before a big exam, Britain has spent a few days discussing knife crime just over three weeks before we potentially suffer the political crime of the century.

Which isn't to say that knife crime isn't an issue worth discussing. But the news bulletins of the past couple of days have almost had an air of relief about them, as news editors grab onto this "normal" news to get away from Brexit. But Brexit isn't going away, it's getting closer.

It's as if the impending tsunami has drawn the water to the furthest point away from the beach, and our news editors are running around collecting shells.
posted by rory at 5:43 AM on March 7 [79 favorites]


In the same way that my brother once felt an urgent need to watch Aliens on VHS the night before a big exam
Dougal! We are NOT! WATCHING! ALIENS!
posted by winterhill at 5:45 AM on March 7 [15 favorites]


Reminder, especially for non-UK folks, to listen more than talk.
Also, while there is lots of explanation in these threads, I think it's also important for non-Brexit-wonks to consider (a) how interesting your question or comment is and (b) how you're phrasing it.

If your question / comment concerns a seemingly obvious solution to Brexit or a very general query about British politics, then these threads are probably not the best place for it. If it's a tricky technical issue and you've fruitlessly searched all over for an answer, you might find someone here will enjoy explaining the minutiae. (But no promises!)

Similarly, if your phrasing is 'why don't the Brits just....?' or 'I don't know anything about Brexit, but....' then it's not going to go down well.

These threads have really helped me appreciate how frustrating it can be to deal with even well-intentioned derails and misunderstandings when one has skin in the game. From MeFiMail conversations, I think many of us are going to remember that lesson when we participate in other threads where we are the 'outsiders'.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:49 AM on March 7 [35 favorites]


Expat's perspective here...

Waiting for my French naturalisation, which has been initially accepted to be finally finalised, on a technicality to do with my birth certificate.

I'm one of the lucky ones, as I had done research in advance and was in position to get the ball rolling in the weeks after the Brexit vote.

For people looking into it now, you're talking a year's wait to even be contacted to tell you when you can have an initial interview with the departmental sub-organisation which will check whether the gigantic dossier you have to assemble is all in order before booking in another interview, a year or two down the line, at the regional prefecture, where you'll have to provide new (within 3 months validity) versions of 50% of the documents in your dossier and have a 20 minute conversation about why you want to become French, before your case gets (hopefully) oked and passed by that prefecture up to the ministry of the interior for a final yes / no, before the ministry of the interior passes it on to the department of civil records in Nantes (stage I'm at) so that you can be correctly written into the French civil list before you then get contacted to set a date for the ceremony, putting down your signature and shaking the hand of the prefet at your departmental prefecture (make sure you do this last, or you can be refused at the 11th hour), before finally you become French.

The process for just getting residency - a Carte de Séjour - is not as onerous, but all the prefectures are swamped; it's a case of waiting for a few hours before the doors open and being as un-British as you can to barge to the front of queue. And then hoping that you dossier - only a large, not gigantic one, this time, will all be in order.

And it looks like the naturalisation isn't going to come soon enough for me to not have to do the Carte de Séjour in the interim. Sigh.

I honestly believe, and have made several French friends laugh saying, that it's actually just the ability to correctly complete the paper work and démarches that makes them say, yes you can be French.
posted by protorp at 5:52 AM on March 7 [37 favorites]


As an EU citizen living in the UK, I've received more news from my embassy than from the UK government.

Maybe it's the fact that I haven't lived there since I was five or six, but it never occurred to me to check the embassy website. I'm pretty sure I've got somewhere between "jack shit" and "hahaha" for rights beyond not getting deported 'back home' regardless, due to my prolonged absence (nearly three decades!) and I'm struggling to find anything useful beyond "well we don't know, check this UK government website for updates" on the embassy website.

Despite living here for a decade and a half, I cannot produce the documents the current system requires to qualify for Settled Status. So I'm very much looking at having to leave my partner and everyone else I know (I'm queer, and effectively have a family of choice here) with no hope that I if bring anyone with me even if that were in the cards otherwise.

Needless to say I have no fucking clue how to navigate any of the political and civil systems in place outside the UK.

Anyone who ever voted out otherwise agitated for Brexit in any guise should not hold their breath waiting for forgiveness.
posted by Dysk at 6:00 AM on March 7 [36 favorites]


Meanwhile, at least the LedByDonkeys crew are having some fun. (IIRC their crowdfunder is ongoing if you’d like more of this sort of thing).
posted by pharm at 6:05 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


And still no one know who funds the European Research Group.
posted by Damienmce at 6:08 AM on March 7 [15 favorites]


Hush now, that's not relevant to anything, let's continue to ignore that while making a big fuss about the opaque funding of TIG instead. You know, like the entire fucking British media. Double standards are twice as good!
posted by Dysk at 6:11 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


We’re in the endgame now.

No, we're not. This is just the start of a long-running process, whatever happens on March 29th.
posted by daveje at 6:11 AM on March 7 [19 favorites]




Dysk, have you heard about Tove?
I really feel for you. My stepfather is in a similar situation. He is old, so lives from savings that are already much less worth in Denmark now, before Brexit has even happened. He does say the embassy is helpful, though.

To those who don't know: you don't go about documenting your existence and carrying about that documentation when you think that you are an EU citizen in an EU country, with the right to live where you want. The UK leaving the EU was unimaginable when my stepfather moved (back, we lived there when I was a kid, too).
posted by mumimor at 6:18 AM on March 7 [12 favorites]


And still no one know who funds the European Research Group.
What funding would the ERG need? All its members are very well-paid and wealthy MPs and their activities basically consist of saying things to Parliament or the media. Unless I'm missing something, they don't even have a website.
posted by winterhill at 6:19 AM on March 7


Yes, I don't think ERG are especially opaque about where their funding comes from (mostly, the public purse). They've been criticised for not detailing how they spend that funding, however.

More pertinent to me is the question of what actual research they do concerning Europe. I mean, what specifically are they contributing to an academic understanding of 'Europe', however they choose to define it, and in which peer-reviewed journals can I find the fruits of their work published?
posted by pipeski at 6:26 AM on March 7


The ERG is just the caucus of Euro-hating MPs in parliament. Perhaps you were thinking of the financially opaque groups headquartered at 55 Tufton Street such as the Taxpayers Alliance (if you're a taxpayer ring them up and ask to join) or the Institute of Economic Affairs.
posted by PenDevil at 6:31 AM on March 7 [9 favorites]


If you don't live here, you have no idea how thick this fog of "uhm, nothing to see here, please move on, oh those foreigners" has become.

LBC radio’s James O’Brien: “The most compelling evidence of the media’s dereliction of duty regarding Brexit is the widespread ignorance of the fact that the ‘backstop’ is the British proposal, agreed after *we* rejected the EU’s. That pesky EU is trying to implement *our* decision. It’s completely bonkers.”

Meanwhile, the BBC updates on the grinding U.K.-EU negotiations: 'Difficult' Brexit talks see no breakthrough, European Commission says
Brexit negotiations "have been difficult" and "no solution has been identified" to the Irish backstop, the European Commission has said.

It comes after the latest talks between UK ministers and EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels.

Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the talks had taken place in a "constructive atmosphere" but there had been no breakthrough.[…]

Downing Street echoed Mr Barnier's characterisation of the talks as "difficult", but said the negotiations were "ongoing".[…]

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has met Conservative MPs who back a close, Norway-style relationship with the EU after Brexit.[…]

The Labour spokesman said the meeting was to "discuss how to achieve a deal that would be good for jobs and could bring Leave and Remain voters together".
As winterhill says, this is all very well as far as blow-by-blow reporting, but it doesn’t address how little the big picture inspires confidence in the outcome (I feel much the same way about the US media on Trump scandals FWIW).
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:48 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


The reporting of Tony Connelly (twitter) - the Europe editor for RTÉ (Irish state broadcaster) has been consistently excellent. Some of it is understandably Ireland-specific, but he seems to have a direct line to what's actually been going on in negotiations.
posted by kersplunk at 6:59 AM on March 7 [7 favorites]


I've just posted an Amsterdam event to IRL, feel free to join if you're in the neighbourhood.
posted by daveje at 7:11 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]




What funding would the ERG need? All its members are very well-paid and wealthy MPs and their activities basically consist of saying things to Parliament or the media. Unless I'm missing something, they don't even have a website.

Yes, its almost as if they wouldn't need any funding at all. Wonder why so many MPs appear to be happy to go against the nations best interests. Wonder where that money goes. Still best to use an opaque BVI legal structure so we can't find out.
posted by Damienmce at 7:35 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


The ERG receives donations as well as public money. Wikipedia on ERG funding.
posted by Dysk at 7:49 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


This week's Talking Politics covers TIG's chances as a new party and is surprisingly bullish on Mefi's own Tom Watson as a potential next Labour leader.
posted by adrianhon at 7:54 AM on March 7 [12 favorites]


Bring on baggypm, make it happen Britain!
posted by Dysk at 7:58 AM on March 7 [11 favorites]


I am currently listening to the 100th Remaniacs podcast in which Ian Dunt outlines the trap he sees that would mean the only choice is between her deal or zero deal crash out.

It looks like an extension of A50 is a 'technical reality' in any scenario as the necessary legislation needs to be brought through Parliament, even in the event of zero deal they would want more time to scramble to hire customs officials etc.

'She knows there is a complication in Article 50 extensions. That complication is the European parliament election in May. If Britain takes part, even in a strictly formal way, it can keep on extending Article 50 after July. But if it does not take part, July 1st becomes an absolute unextendable cliff edge.'

Just booked tickets for the trip to London for the Our Future Our Choice march on 23rd, Mefites represent!

To contrast that march organised by young people, Nigel Farage is using what may possibly be has last days of freedom to occasionally pop in on a march parodying the Jarrow march of 1936. Starting in Sunderland, the march will take place only in towns that voted Leave and will not be continuous. For £50 one can become a 'core marcher' at one of the events with a chance to meet Farage, a goodie bag and 'free' overnight accommodation. Just know that there is going to be an extension on A50, so
posted by asok at 8:29 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


I went comment-stalking and found his advice on running for office. Sound.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:33 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


A Brief History of Brexit for Americans on Full Frontal.

That was nicely done. The only bits that bothered me were the lines about how the EU "absolutely hate us". Even in jest, that sort of talk leads nowhere good. "The EU" don't absolutely hate "us". Perhaps some members of the governing bodies of the EU hate some of the more intransigent members of the UK government (and other UK politicians); more likely, they're frustrated and exasperated with them, and hate that things aren't resolved, and hate that we're in this situation in the first place.

But if Brits keep casually talking of how "they" hate "us", eventually we'll convince ourselves of it, and then anything hateful that "we" do to "them" will seem justifiable. And then we're on our way to everyone's favourite Mitchell and Webb sketch.
posted by rory at 8:46 AM on March 7 [26 favorites]


In one day:

Northern Ireland secretary (and total arsehole every time I met her) Karen Bradley has shown yet more ignorance about Northern Ireland by saying that killings in NI were "not crimes"
Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom has told Bradford MP Naz Shah that Islamophobia against British Muslims is a matter for the Foreign Office
Home Secretary Amber Rudd called her Labour opposite number Diane Abbott "coloured"

This is a government in collapse. They were barely on the rails to start with but this level of constant shit is not normal. In better times, they would have been fucked off long ago.
posted by winterhill at 8:49 AM on March 7 [31 favorites]




Is it legal to remain part of the EU (with an A50 extension) and not take part in the EU Parliament elections? I'm not sure it is - if an extension was agreed by the EU that covers election day (late may), then the UK has to take part. I don't see an A50 extension that covers the end of may wouldn't have EU elections; the legal challenges if the UK government tried it would be fairly likely to succeed (Art 39 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union).
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:55 AM on March 7


I certainly hope so, Nice Guy Mike.
I really do.

Listen to what Dunt says in the Remainiacs podcast I linked to. It's around 14 minutes in.
posted by asok at 8:59 AM on March 7


Thing with the Amber Rudd thing is that it sounds like a genuine Thick-Of-It-style brain fart - her brain may have been going for "woman of colour" and her mouth gave her something different. I don't want to defend Amber Rudd, though - May might have designed the foul machinery that is the modern Home Office, but Rudd's been driving it happily for the last two and a half years. The problem for me is that it might distract from the kinds of thing some parts of the government are happy to say not just despite the fact that they're offensive, but because they are, most obviously the utterances of Alexander "Boris" Johnson.
posted by Grangousier at 9:02 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


The only bits that bothered me were the lines about how the EU "absolutely hate us"
I noticed that too. There was a bit about "punishment" as well. As you say, not even in jest...
posted by mumimor at 9:03 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


I had to make an appointment with my GP to see if I can get all of the medications I need following the 29th March. Realising this was necessary is what brought on a lot of Brexit anxiety for me. And I'm a UK citizen. I can't imagine what it's like for those who aren't.

For those outside the UK, there's a lot of talk about whether we need to stockpile food, and those on the Leave side saying 'we did alright during the war, we'll be fine again'. So that'll be alright, then.
posted by mippy at 9:04 AM on March 7


Also, exceedingly glad I'll be out of the country the week before it happens, just for my own mental health.
posted by mippy at 9:04 AM on March 7


Just a personal request - could we perhaps dial back a bit on the "glad I'll be out of it" type comments as we get closer to the date itself? There are quite a lot of us who can't be out of the country for financial, family or other reasons and even though I'm sure it's not meant in this way, it feels a bit I'm-all-right-Jack.
posted by winterhill at 9:07 AM on March 7 [18 favorites]


Also: one of my least favourite things about Brexit is how people living in London use it as an excuse to bang on about how racist and backward the rest of the country is, particularly the North. The racist shittown I grew up in DID vote Leave, and has some extremely serious economic and social problems which right wingers have capitalised on to win support. But many working class cities of the North and Scotland voted Remain.
posted by mippy at 9:07 AM on March 7 [12 favorites]


winterhill - sorry, not my intention. We ended up booking the trip for prior to Brexit because the prices and probably exchange rate got expensive, and arriving back on 29th March makes me feel pretty nervous as well.
posted by mippy at 9:09 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


Also: one of my least favourite things about Brexit is how people living in London use it as an excuse to bang on about how racist and backward the rest of the country is, particularly the North. The racist shittown I grew up in DID vote Leave
That feels like a bit of a non sequitur. I live in a place that could perhaps be described as a racist shittown. It's one of the poorest parts of England, it has awful race relations, crime is through the roof and Jo Cox was murdered here. There are plenty of people here who are not mad racists, who did not vote Leave, who think like me that this whole thing is a sorry state and wish it would go away.

I know it feels like I bang the drum on this perhaps too often but I think it's worth saying again in this new thread - places didn't vote Leave, people did. Characterising whole towns as racist or Leave-voting or backward doesn't feel helpful and is a fantastic way to alienate people who live in those towns and might be wavering on the idea of a new vote and remaining in the EU. Every town in this country has a wide range of political views. There are Scottish Leavers, for goodness sake.
posted by winterhill at 9:13 AM on March 7 [23 favorites]


Brexit is fast approaching and the storm that's going to hit after Brexit is approaching even faster.

Yes, it's Brexit, pursued by air.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:24 AM on March 7 [22 favorites]


Is it legal to remain part of the EU (with an A50 extension) and not take part in the EU Parliament elections?
This is an interesting one. People have been talking about a two month extension from 29 March. For those at the back, that would take us to Wed 29 May. The EU Parliament elections are on different days in different member states (because different places have different traditional voting days, like Thursdays in the UK). But the latest they can be held in any country is 26 May.

If the amendment which is put forward on Tuesday is for an extension of Article 50 through to, say, 25 May then we know what the game is - it's running the clock to a point where it's illegal for us to remain members and hoping the pure desperation of preventing No Deal with no chance of an extension is going to force the May deal through. That would be typical of the cynical way this government has, er, 'run' this country for the past 2.5 years, to be quite honest.

If the amendment is more vague on dates, then the game is wide-open.
posted by winterhill at 9:24 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


Is it legal to remain part of the EU (with an A50 extension) and not take part in the EU Parliament elections?

For all I know it's legal for *us* to do that. But it potentially renders the resulting EU parliament unconstitutional and therefore powerless so I don't think the EU would be chuffed with that idea.
posted by edd at 9:32 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


Running a nationwide election at short notice feels a bit like a logistical impossibility. If we were going to be taking part in these elections, we'd have to be preparing for them right now. Legislation - which has been in place for this election in all other EU countries for ages - would need to be passed. Parties would need to identify candidates, prepare campaigns. Councils would need to staff the polling stations and print the ballots. Because we vote on Thursdays, a likely polling day here would be 23 May.

The 2017 'snap' election was called on 18 April and took place on 7 June - a 34 working day gap (because of weekends and three bank holidays around this time of year). If we vote on 23 May and assume the same gap, we'd need to know we were taking part in the election by 3 April, just a few days after the dreaded 29 March.

It doesn't feel like we'll be in a position to know whether or not we'll take part in the EU elections by 3 April.
posted by winterhill at 9:44 AM on March 7


places didn't vote Leave, people did. Characterising whole towns as racist or Leave-voting or backward doesn't feel helpful and is a fantastic way to alienate people who live in those towns and might be wavering on the idea of a new vote and remaining in the EU. Every town in this country has a wide range of political views.

Good to keep in mind. Also applies to generational cohorts and pink faces.
posted by rocket88 at 9:52 AM on March 7 [7 favorites]


And, let’s be honest, most people didn’t vote for this. They voted for change. They voted because of rising income inequality. They voted because of media manipulation. They most certainly didn’t vote for what is actually happening.
posted by weed donkey at 9:55 AM on March 7 [31 favorites]


It doesn't feel like we'll be in a position to know whether or not we'll take part in the EU elections by 3 April.

How is it possible to not know by then? Either an extension has been passed that covers the elections, or it hasn't. There's nothing wrong with holding the election and then leaving, that's what would be happening if no extension was passed.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:55 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


I'm just US citizen who cares a lot about the UK - I have lived there- so I don't have anything substantive to add and not sure if I'm even to the point of asking intelligent questions, but I want to thank y'all for these very informative and interesting posts and comments. I'm reading and learning from them.
posted by pointystick at 9:59 AM on March 7 [17 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with holding the election and then leaving

Well it's not hugely wrong in the scale of things but it'll annoy the other countries who then have to run more elections to fill seats at their expense, making it a bit less likely they'll agree to an intermediate length extension.
posted by edd at 10:24 AM on March 7


Northern Ireland secretary (and total arsehole every time I met her) Karen Bradley

Have had this confirmed by a number of people I know in local gov & civil service in NI across the spectrum, really not fans of her. That said they don't tend to put the best and brightest as NI Sec.
posted by Damienmce at 10:35 AM on March 7


> Although, I suppose UK MEPs could abstain.
But they probably won't if they're Brexit Party MEPs.
posted by farlukar at 11:26 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


And I'm a UK citizen. I can't imagine what it's like for those who aren't.

SUPER FUN.

Fortunately, Mrs. Example and I are just about to file our applications for indefinite leave to remain (basically permanent residency, for those of you who don't know) so at least soon we won't have to worry about being deported if everything goes off a cliff. Everything else, sure, but at least not deportation.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:28 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


That said they don't tend to put the best and brightest as NI Sec.

For the benefit of people outside Ireland/Britain, she literally said a few months after she started:
"I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice versa"
posted by kersplunk at 12:57 PM on March 7 [17 favorites]


Hello from Scotland, where literally everything that the majority of the population here voted for has been disregarded and frankly shat on. I don't just mean that the country voted Remain (which it did), but that votes for 'No' in the Indyref were on the back of things like stability, security, remaining in the EU.

It has been a real eye-opener, as an English person, to find out how much Westminster MPs of all parties (though I think the Tories are a bit worse than the others, they are all pretty awful) have no knowledge of, no interest in, and often an open disdain of the devolved regions. They'll come up here and kiss arse if they think we might piss off with the oil, but that's it.

And it's not a patch on what NI is getting. The maxim "never attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence" is pretty much all that's stopping me saying that Westminster (again, the Tories are the worst but the others make a good showing) are deliberately trying to provoke a restart of the Troubles. Patrick Kielty's article in the Guardian lays out a lot of the issues (and the fact that the DUP has managed to shoot itself in the foot).

I am basically in denial most of the time, because I can't sustain how angry and upset all this makes me on a daily basis. I've grown up with free movement, ERASMUS programmes, and things like that, and all that has been stolen from me. And not just that, stolen with such malice and incompetence that people I care about are going to suffer, and maybe even die because of it. The health minister will not guarantee that people won't die because of Brexit.

Any small-minded facist who wanted this can shove their blue passport up their arse and set it on fire.
posted by Vortisaur at 1:19 PM on March 7 [85 favorites]


(I want all people from the USA to take account of the fact that my post above took me over half an hour to write, because every time I try and express myself about this it's about 50% rage-filled expletives and it took a long time to edit it into something palatable for Metafilter. If you think that the final sentence is not palatable, you don't want to know what the first, second and third versions of it were.)
posted by Vortisaur at 1:23 PM on March 7 [69 favorites]


Speaking as a USian, I can say that the general British ability and willingness to curse creatively has been a consistent silver lining to the giant menacing storm cloud that hovers over this entire terrible timeline. Frequently you manage to put words to the rage in our gooberish American hearts. It is one of your best traditions, and, at the moment, a service to the world. So have the fuck at it.

I wish I could give all of you a hug, too.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:34 PM on March 7 [19 favorites]


a bit less likely they'll agree to an intermediate length extension.

The EU elections are held every five years, and the EU is already on record offering what was it, a 20 month extension? Nobody's going to do a five year extension.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:56 PM on March 7


If you weren't sure the UK was being run incompetently the fact life expectancy is dropping should settle it.
posted by deadwax at 3:04 PM on March 7 [7 favorites]


The EU elections are held every five years, and the EU is already on record offering what was it, a 20 month extension?

Yeah I meant a year or more as long term or thereabouts. By intermediate I meant something that would trigger further elections before autumn.
posted by edd at 3:16 PM on March 7


If the UK took part in the elections and subsequently left, couldn't they just leave the former UK seats empty until the next European election? They wouldn't have to reorganise the seats until next time around.
posted by winterhill at 3:22 PM on March 7


It'd mean agreeing a new plan for the seats as far as I can see, and those countries that would have got the extra seats might not be delighted at remaining underrepresented.
posted by edd at 3:28 PM on March 7


Although having said that maybe if they do want the extra seats that'll motivate them to have the elections...
posted by edd at 3:29 PM on March 7


How is it possible to not know by then? Either an extension has been passed that covers the elections, or it hasn't.

The most commonly mooted extension is until something like the end of June, just before the new EU parliament term starts. The assumption is that we wouldn't take part in the elections in this scenario, but of course that would mean no choice but to leave one way or another at the end of it.

I don't believe that either a 3 month extension that included elections - or the 21 month extension apparently favoured by the EU - is what will be put before parliament next week, or likely to pass if it was.
posted by grahamparks at 3:54 PM on March 7


I don't think this has been shared before here, but there's an excellent documentary titled "My Dad, The Peace Agreement and Me" by Paddy Kielty that explores the legacy of the Good Friday Agreement and the dangers of a hard border. Nothing new for those of you already in the know, but very worth your time either way.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:41 PM on March 7 [7 favorites]


The most commonly mooted extension is until something like the end of June, just before the new EU parliament term starts. The assumption is that we wouldn't take part in the elections in this scenario, but of course that would mean no choice but to leave one way or another at the end of it.

I believe this is only an option (according to the EU) if the EU and Britain have agreed on a plan and they need time to pass the relevant laws for implementation.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:11 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Well member states have been starting to say more explicitly that a short extension is not guaranteed, that they're basically 'fine, but we want a decent reason'. If it's just because we're going to carry on with 'but my backstop!' timewasting for another couple of months, then I think they'd rather us just crash out now and get it over with rather than whinge pointlessly for another couple of months and THEN crash out after fucking up the EU parliament as a leaving present.

It's just so mad. This version of the backstop was May's cunning idea to keep the DUP on board - the EU's version that May initially agreed to was a carve out for NI alone. Then the DUP kicked up a fit about customs checks in the Irish sea and threatened to bring down the government all the way back in December 2017. So then we basically spent a year trying to find a whole-UK version of the backstop that May wanted and the EU could accept. The EU was willing to let NI have access without being a member (and thus being subject to a raft of rules on standards) because a) the Good Friday agreement and b) NI is a small economy so risk of perfidy was limited. Letting the whole UK stay inside the customs border as a backstop was a much bigger risk, and the French at least are not happy with the substantial concession the EU eventually agreed to.

Now of course, after all that effort, May herself effectively whipped the party against that very concession to stop the brexiteers splitting or the DUP voting down her government. Removing or time-limiting the backstop will never happen, it just won't, and we've wasted 3 precious months on a pointless exercise by this utter old wankstain of a government. May's only visible objective at this point is to keep the Tory party together, nothing else. And she can't do that because the two wings of her party want fundamentally different things, so that only leaves delaying making any reality-based decisions as long as possible. And I think the EU's patience for May's transparently self-serving bollocks is finally starting to run out.

I am basically in denial most of the time, because I can't sustain how angry and upset all this makes me on a daily basis.

I've finally moved on from denial, I've come to accept that we're crashing out since the soft tories repeatedly showed they were truly gutless when it counts. It might be March 29th, it might be a month or two later, but if it's a choice between splitting the tory party and crashing out, May will take the latter. Food shortages, medicine shortages, rotting garbage in the streets, hundreds of thousands of job losses, collapse of the economy, none of it scares her more than the toxic brexiteers quitting.

I just have to desperately hope not too many more people will die from this utterly criminally incompetent omniclusterfluck of a Parliament. And hope is not something I have much left of any more.

Still trying to get that stupid bullingdon-boy designed hostile environment app to read my wife's passport, then likely the pettifogging paperwork side, all to get back the rights she already has. The only thing that keeps me going is believing that May will get to see her party splinter entirely, and know it was all down to her. And hoping Farage et al get to spend some quality time in prison due to the Mueller investigation.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:25 PM on March 7 [16 favorites]


And, let’s be honest, most people didn’t vote for this. They voted for change. They voted because of rising income inequality. They voted because of media manipulation. They most certainly didn’t vote for what is actually happening.

No this is exactly what they voted for. To leave the EU. They didn't think the consequences through but they knew what they were voting for, it was a simple yes or no ballot. Signed, an Irish person.
posted by fshgrl at 11:33 PM on March 7 [26 favorites]


I think many people didn't have a fucking clue what their vote would mean. They *wanted* it to mean all sorts of things, such as getting bent bananas back.

I've given up caring about what leavers think, they've utterly screwed us whether it was due to hatred of immigrants or because they just didn't have a goddamn scooby what they were doing. We're all going to get to live with the consequences of that - as it's starting to in Sunderland and elsewhere - soon enough.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:48 PM on March 7 [8 favorites]


I think many people didn't have a fucking clue what their vote would mean. They *wanted* it to mean all sorts of things, such as getting bent bananas back.

Or voters choosing Leave to stop immigration from non-Western countries, despite the fact the Leave campaign lobbied Indian restaurant trade groups to support them because leaving the EU meant they could increase immigration from those very same non-Western countries.
posted by PenDevil at 11:59 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


And hoping Farage et al get to spend some quality time in prison due to the Mueller investigation.

If they can make it to the Hard Brexit gate before the investigation catches up with them, between the severing of treaties with a hostile EU, the Henry VIII powers to amend the law autocratically and any emergency powers required to deal with the unfolding emergency, they will have gotten away scot-free. There will be no investigation, save for perhaps a whitewashing effort producing a report stating that there was nothing untoward. Perhaps Farage will be deemed expendable and thrown to the wolves as a sacrifice, or perhaps he'll live out his days in the House of Lords, keeping a careful eye on his itineraries with regard to extradition treaties in force.
posted by acb at 2:12 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Hunt: Future generations will blame EU for talks failure
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned that future generations will blame the EU if it fails to come to an agreement at this point in the Brexit negotiations.

“This is a moment of change in our relationship between the UK and the EU and history will judge both sides very badly if we get this wrong,” Hunt told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning

“We want to remain the best of friends with the EU. That means getting this agreement through in a way that doesn’t inject poison into our relations for many years to come. That’s what the UK has said we want to do, it’s what most people in the UK want and feel very strongly about.
I'm sure this will frighten Barnier into letting go of the fundamental principles of EU.
posted by mumimor at 4:30 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


The Irish Times did an opinion poll in Northern Ireland on Brexit related matters " Irish Times poll: Northern Ireland voters do not want DUP-Tory Brexit":

The poll finds that Northern voters are deeply dissatisfied with the management of Brexit by the UK government and, most significantly, with the Democratic Unionist Party, with more than three-quarters of all voters saying they are dissatisfied with the UK government.

Two-thirds of all voters (67 per cent) say the DUP is doing a bad job of representing Northern Ireland at Westminster, while 69 per cent of people – including 57 per cent of those from a Protestant background – are dissatisfied with DUP leader Arlene Foster.


There are some more breakdowns of figures in this article too.
posted by scorbet at 4:42 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Jeremy Hunt's "it’s what most people in the UK want and feel very strongly about"... yeah, you can say that because most people in the UK now want to Remain, but you don't get to present your government's Brexit shambles as some sort of touchy-feely let's-be-friends love-in. Your prime minister is poisoning our relations with the EU, a.k.a. threatening them with No Deal, at every step. But the poison has spread into our water supply, and we're all dying from it.
posted by rory at 5:16 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


I believe this is only an option (according to the EU) if the EU and Britain have agreed on a plan and they need time to pass the relevant laws for implementation.

The sequence of events next week is that the vote on an extension will only happen if the deal is rejected again, and both May herself and the Cooper amendment refer to it being a vote on a "short limited extension", which I take to mean three months rather than 21.

You may be right that the EU doesn't want such a thing, but that doesn't change what MPs will be voting to ask for.

God, next week is going to be such a clusterfuck.
posted by grahamparks at 5:17 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


I'm sure this will frighten Barnier into letting go of the fundamental principles of EU.

It's just Jeremy Cockney-rhyming-slang trying to shift away the blame again.

James O'Brien pointed out this morning that back in December, the withdrawal agreement was presented by Theresa May as a great victory for the UK, the best deal that the UK could possibly get, and something that couldn't be re-opened. The EU side is completely aware that this mess is purely due to internal Tory Party politics and the fact that Theresa May is a weak leader in charge of a weak government, and no, will not sacrifice its core principles because of the UK's political problems.

I still hope that the silver lining here is that the Tories become toxic for at least a generation.

And like Vortisaur, I'm finding that the main challenge in writing these posts is dialling back the temptation to go off on a Spider Jerusalem-esque rant.
posted by daveje at 5:21 AM on March 8 [4 favorites]


I still hope that the silver lining here is that the Tories become toxic for at least a generation.
That would be lovely, specially if there was another party which was sane.
(Joins the despaired)
posted by mumimor at 5:32 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Theresa May has told very many self-contradictory lies.
posted by jaduncan at 5:48 AM on March 8


I doubt the Tories will be toxic for a week, let alone a generation. Right-wing voters are going to vote right wing, and if anything, the misery wrought by Brexit and their joy in LARPing austerity will keep them warm and happy. They’ll suffer, yes – but the poor and the foreigners will suffer more.
posted by adrianhon at 6:01 AM on March 8 [19 favorites]


They’ll suffer, yes – but the poor and the foreigners will suffer more.

“The difference between Heaven and Hell is which end of the pitchfork you're on.”
posted by acb at 6:02 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Philosophy Tube:

Brexit Or What Is Democracry?
posted by The Whelk at 7:57 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


"Democracry" sounds about right, yes...
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 8:04 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


All the news these days is basically indistinguishable from March 2017, just with the metallic taste of desperation.
posted by Grangousier at 8:10 AM on March 8 [12 favorites]


The EU is calling May's bluff by offering a “unilateral exit” from the UK-wide parts of the backstop plan for Northern Ireland, which would mean that the customs union backstop applied only to NI: i.e., the border would be down the Irish Sea. Let's not forget that it was May's government that insisted that the backstop be UK-wide in the first place, against the EU's preference of limiting it to the relatively small NI. Now that she's rejected her own proposal, we're back where we were two years ago, apart from that loud ticking noise in the background.

The DUP will still hate it, but will the ERG buy it? May's deal promises to give them most of what they want once the transition period ends, after all. With Labour Brexiters compensating for the DUP on the floor of the Commons, might it get up?
posted by rory at 8:49 AM on March 8 [7 favorites]


Bloomberg :sources say the UK has already rejected new offer from the EU

(partly adding this link since I can never read the FT)
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:38 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


I'm at a loss here - I'm from the US but I've made the UK my home for last 10+ years. My main job is 70% EU funded and Mr. Moonlight's job is going to hightail it to France if we get a hard Brexit.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 11:00 AM on March 8 [4 favorites]


Preview of Upcoming Crucial Brexit Votes - YouTube (13:56)

Phil, a U.K. teacher, breaks down the next week. There's still a glimmer of hope for a referendum with "remain," apparently.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:42 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Oh, don't taunt us with your wretched glimmering, hope. It's not fair.
posted by Grangousier at 11:50 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


> Oh, don't taunt us with your wretched glimmering, hope. It's not fair.

There's less than 500 hours till hard crash-out Brexit. What a way to run the 5th largest economy in the world!
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:59 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


There's been so many u-turns on previously completely-impossible-to-change policy while pretending that was the plan all along, literally anything is *possible*. f.ex.

Repeatedly, and again Mar 2017 -“There's not going to be a general election”. April, May called an election.
Boris de Pfeffel, Foreign Secretary - "European leaders can ‘go whistle’ over EU divorce bill"
May's red line early on - Leaving the customs union, then basically begged the whole UK staying in a customs arrangement.
1st meaningful vote delayed at the last minute in Dec '18, despite numerous assurances for days it was going ahead.
May in Jan - "The government’s policy is that we are leaving the European Union on the 29th of March"
May in Feb - Grants parliament a vote on an extension to article 50.

Personally I've been disappointed too many times about the remainers in Parliament threatening to force a change in government policy, yet backing down at the last minute when May promises to meet their demands, only for her to renege later - and they *keep* falling for it. Such as the vote on article 50 extension - the original amendment would have given the power to Parliament, now May gets to decide how long an extension she asks for.

May giving up on appeasing the brextremists in an attempt to form a cross-party agreement just seems too unlikely. There's not a majority in Parliament for a referendum, and even if there was, the soft tories would back out at the last minute. So I'll be happy* if it happens, but I'm not holding my breath.

* Parliament forcing May to withdraw article 50 would be even better obvs, but that seems like lightning strike odds at this point. This does not feel like a 'last minute improbable win for sanity' timeline.

On preview: What a way to run the 5th largest economy in the world!

Well, we probably won't be that for much longer.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:23 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Just to lighten the tone a bit, here's Will Self completely eviscerating a Brexiteer Tory MP on TV. I mean, it's not even like the none-more-stupid Conservative is bringing a knife to a gun fight, it's more pea-shooter vs Death Star.

So many good points - the anchor plucking desperately at Tory Boy's sleeve to try and get him to not go down the ant-lion trap, Self using uncharacteristically short, simple words because he has to... but the best bit is right at the end. There is an actual laser beam.
posted by Devonian at 3:13 PM on March 8 [13 favorites]


The maxim "never attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence" is pretty much all that's stopping me saying that Westminster [...] are deliberately trying to provoke a restart of the Troubles.

Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.
posted by automatronic at 3:19 PM on March 8 [19 favorites]


Too much figurative evisceration, not nearly enough literal evisceration.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:26 PM on March 8 [4 favorites]






Well I learned today that if we hard brexit I will likely lose the existing large research project grant I am halfway through and the new grant i got last month. So that probably shoot down my chances of promotion, will mean we forego about 15 person years of grad and postgraduate employment and set my work back considerably.
posted by biffa at 4:23 PM on March 8 [10 favorites]


Just to lighten the tone a bit, here's Will Self completely eviscerating a Brexiteer Tory MP on TV

Ah, that's not just any random brextremist, that's Mark Francois, vice chair of the ERG (or NuKIP, as I've taken to calling them) now famous for this little piece to camera.

Basically, the german CEO of Airbus (Tom Enders) said his company would have to make "potentially very harmful decisions for the UK" in the event of it leaving the EU with no deal. And “Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness which asserts that ‘because we have huge plants here we will not move and we will always be here’. They are wrong.”

When a BBC correspondent tried to ask a question about the vote on Theresa May's deal, Mr Francois referred to the “Teutonic arrogance” of the EU and tore up a piece of paper containing Mr Enders' words.

He added: "My father, Reginald Francois, was a D Day veteran. He never submitted to bullying by any German and neither will his son".

It was nice to see Will Self effortless stare down the smug little racist.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:48 PM on March 8 [9 favorites]


Driving after Brexit: IDPs apply only for visiting other countries. If you are a UK licence-holder living in another EU country, then you need to exchange your UK licence for a licence issued by an EU country, before the UK leaves. If you wait until after the UK leaves, then you may need to take another driving test.
posted by rory at 12:58 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


I felt uncomfortable about the Will Self thing; it seemed to encapsulate a lot of what there was to dislike about the Remain campaign. He came across as lofty, smug, aloof, and belittling - like an unhelpful university tutor towards a first year student who hasn't done the work for this week and who's trying to bluster his way through. He would just sort of sit back and restate the basic syllogism that Mark Francois was failing to grasp, without trying to help him engage, and refuse to go anywhere until he'd grasped it.

In one sense, this is fair enough - I really can't fault him for behaving like this towards someone who has been vigorously and unheedingly trying to sell the entire country and its future off in return for a bit of soggy blue cardboard. On the other hand, people don't like being belittled - the message was very much "if you won't come to terms with my superior logic then I will have nothing to do with you other than give you a hard stare", and a lot of the Remain campaign, while faultless in its logic, did feel like this, and it's not going to win many new friends.

For a lot of the exchange they were kind of talking past one another - Will Self trying to get across his clever little Venn diagram, to which Mark Francois was oblivious because he would only engage with the emotion of the issue ("how dare you" etc). If Francois had bothered to stop and think for a moment he could have pointed out that this was at least an attempt to smear Leave voters by association. I thought it was interesting to look at the generally very polarized responses to this on Twitter - either Remainers cheering on Will Self for his logic, or Leavers cheering on Mark Francois for not being cowed by the bully; one side responding to logic, the other emotion.

Basically, I thought Will Self was correct but also kind of being a dick about it, and while it would take the patience of a saint to behave otherwise, it's not going to help matters. Not that I think one should take seriously the at best fundamentally un-serious arguments of the ERG, but maybe trying to push a positive story about the EU (you can go and live in Spain! or at least go buy cheap booze in France!) would have got somewhere.
posted by doop at 2:09 AM on March 9 [6 favorites]


To be fair, kind of being a dick about it has always been Will Self's shtick. Whoever chose to put those two people on that panel at this time knew exactly how it would play out.

And you know? I'm over trying to be kind to fuckwits. Just over it.

If somebody's reaction to an incontrovertible demonstration that they've been totally scammed by arseholes is doubling down in their support for those very same arseholes, they don't deserve anything but condescension. They don't like it? Sucks to be them.
posted by flabdablet at 2:52 AM on March 9 [21 favorites]


Basically, I thought Will Self was correct but also kind of being a dick about it, and while it would take the patience of a saint to behave otherwise, it's not going to help matters.
Will Self generally is a bit of a dick. His voice is one of the few things - like the Archers theme tune, or Radio Leeds - that has me lunging for the tuning knob when I hear it.

You've expressed something I've been banging on about for ages much better than I could. It's not enough to say to people who voted and supported Leave "you were wrong, you were lied to, these are the facts". The arguments and the facts on the Remain side are perfectly cogent but telling people they cocked up first time around, with a heavy helping of "you were too stupid to see through the lies, we're cleverer than you so vote how we tell you" isn't going to win them over.

If there's a second referendum - which at this point I can't see, but let's assume there is for a minute - then pretty much all of the previous Remain campaign needs to go in the bin. From a Northern vantage point it seemed to consist mostly of smug, wealthy, unpopular millionaire businesspeople and politicians telling us that the status quo was good for us, while our towns crumbled, our bills soared, our incomes collapsed and our basic public services dropped to bits. It was never going to win against a bunch of crazy, romantic, unrealistic promises about a glittering future if only we could throw off these shackles.

A Remain campaign has to bring people along who voted Leave last time around. It has to do a hell of a lot more listening than talking. It has to have less of a tone of "you were wrong to vote Leave and you're probably a bit of a racist" and more of a tone of "we hear you, we know things are shit and these are the concrete ways remaining in the EU will help you". Stop stereotyping whole towns, whole regions as "Leave-voting" with the insinuation that they're a bit backward and start making positive arguments.

ERG MPs, Leave campaign head honchos and incompetent Tory ministers deserve public excoriation on the airwaves, they certainly deserve much harder questioning than had during the campaign and in the intervening years, but that doesn't need to extend to everyone who voted Leave. If we're going to get a different result to 2016 then we need to have a reconciliation and a conversation, and it needs to extend beyond the immediate question of EU membership and needs to touch on what we want to be as a country going into the future.
posted by winterhill at 3:03 AM on March 9 [14 favorites]


they don't deserve anything but condescension. They don't like it? Sucks to be them.
Yep. This is exactly what will lead to another 52-48 win for Leave in Referendum #2.
posted by winterhill at 3:07 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


I think the greater problem of our time is that about half of all people are deciding things only based on their emotions, and that has become legitimate. (I just recently heard a politician say exactly that on the radio: I don't care about the facts, this is about feelings)
And I think it was over in the US thread someone linked to an explanation for that: the actual policies of the right have only a tiny constituency today. Everyone wants basic welfare, including healthcare, a right to work, housing and care for the weak and elderly. So for the last 40-something years, the right has worked hard and deliberately to convince everyone that identity politics and feelings are legitimate political standpoints. And they have succeeded so well that a lot of Labour politicians (and Social Democrats in Europe and Democrats in the US) have run along with it.
I wish someday some politicians will be able to combine facts and emotions. Maybe Greta Thunberg is the beginning of that, and AOC in the US.

Something mostly different I've been thinking of. There's been a lot of talk about how the UK never "got" the peace-making ideology of the EU, because the UK wasn't occupied during WW2. But the Good Friday Agreement is what the end of WW2 wasn't to the UK. My grandparents had a close friend killed during the Troubles. No way would they have voted Leave. But people are not aware enough of that, and it maybe should be a public education thing.
posted by mumimor at 3:20 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


But people are not aware enough of that, and it maybe should be a public education thing.
History education in this country is shite. We get taught pointless facts in schools about kings and queens and aristocrats, who married whom, who was related to whom. We get taught about the second world war in very simple terms - Brits good, Germans bad, the plucky Brits beat the evil Germans against all the odds. That's about it. We actually did study the Troubles in detail for A-level history, but that's because my history tutor (who is still a friend all these years later) was a huge left-winger. It's not there in general.

Where is the Peterloo Massacre? Where are the Jarrow marchers? Where is the miners' strike, Cortonwood and Orgreave? These are huge things that happened to us in this region and changed the course of history. History should be local and relevant and tell us who we are and where we came from with a view to knowing what direction we should be going forward in.
posted by winterhill at 3:30 AM on March 9 [12 favorites]


History should be local and relevant and tell us who we are and where we came from with a view to knowing what direction we should be going forward in.

This is a dangerous idea. This literally sets my fascism alarm bells ringing, because that is how their propaganda works.

If you don't trust the government to handle brexit - and I don't - I don't see how you could want them to be in charge of effectively setting people's identity.
posted by Dysk at 3:33 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


Well, that's nice. The local Amsterdam government has just written to me about the upcoming EU elections. Apparently, if the UK leaves the EU, then I will no longer have the right to vote in the EU elections here in the Netherlands in May. Another manner in which the UK government is systematically disenfranchising us.
posted by daveje at 3:33 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Really? I'm a fascist now? This is getting stupid. I think it's time to wander off and do something else for a bit.
posted by winterhill at 3:34 AM on March 9


Also if you want to unite people and bring everyone along, defining 'us' in a way that all but explicitly excludes anyone foreign ("local history ... tells us who we are") isn't probably going to be a winning strategy.

And no, I'm not saying you're a fascist. I'm saying that the UK government would take your idea and use it in service of fascism, whatever your intentions. Much like the Tories look at the US healthcare system and effectively respond with "hold my beer..." so they would with the US flag veneration ceremonies each morning in schools across the country.
posted by Dysk at 3:38 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


A Remain campaign has to bring people along who voted Leave last time around. It has to do a hell of a lot more listening than talking. It has to have less of a tone of "you were wrong to vote Leave and you're probably a bit of a racist" and more of a tone of "we hear you, we know things are shit and these are the concrete ways remaining in the EU will help you". Stop stereotyping whole towns, whole regions as "Leave-voting" with the insinuation that they're a bit backward and start making positive arguments.

I do entirely agree with you that if some miracle we get a 2nd ref (technically 3rd! tie breaker!) that the remain campaign needs to absolutely have people front and centre who can show compassion towards leave voters, accept that the last 40 years of centre-right policies have completely hollowed out northern towns, and do a FAR better job of extolling how retaining EU membership will improve their lives, along with emphasizing the emotional attachment so many of us have re-discovered to being part of a much wider community - that we are EU citizens, and other EU citizens are our coworkers and friends and neighbours and families and rather than see them as a 'flood' or 'challenge', that they should be embraced as making us all stronger and better off. We absolutely need to keep the failed old guard (Tony Blair etc etc) well away from the campaign.

However, two counterpoints. First, leave was not solely a cry of help of the north, or the working class. Some, of course but there were also many, many middle class people and older people of all classes that voted leave too. Voting leave was just as much about defending what they already have from foreigners - rural well-off southern voters backed leave just as much as voters in deprived northern towns.

Secondly, between them and the swivel-eyed ERG-type, given the utter fucking nightmare they have put my EU family and friends through for the last 3 years and the stress-caused depression I've had to live with due to their condescending fuck-you-got-mine decision and subsequent behaviour, I now have a deep emotional need to see that sort of smug cockwomble burned to the goddamn ground in public. I'm stockpiling toilet paper for fuck's sake, let alone meds and tinned goddamn vegetables. Words can barely describe my rage and loathing contempt for that class of utter unholy worthless ignorant cavalier tory that are an absolute canker on our society and national life with their smug, know-nothing beating-a-dead-horse lies just to enrich themselves and their millionaire mates. And I will shed not one tear when someone bluntly shows what bullshit-shovellers they are.

I willingly admit I should be kept well away from debating brexiteers in public, not least as I've excised about 17 fucks and fucking fuckers from this comment.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:58 AM on March 9 [31 favorites]


The arguments and the facts on the Remain side are perfectly cogent but telling people they cocked up first time around, with a heavy helping of "you were too stupid to see through the lies, we're cleverer than you so vote how we tell you" isn't going to win them over.

One thing that can be said in favour of the Leave side, it's that they're not rude and condescending at all.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:54 AM on March 9 [22 favorites]


You'd think that areas of post-industrial devastation in Scotland didn't exist to read how it's all the fault of smug millionaire businessmen and posh politicians that people hit by austerity 'fell for' glittering promises and voted for Brexit. The big Brexit voting areas in Scotland were well-off mostly Tory voting rural/fishing areas. It wasn't the ex-mining and ship building communities who voted for Brexit. So at some point people in the North of England need to ask why they were different and voted for a radical right-wing pile of unicorn poo as their answer to austerity.

It may be that this has more to do with representation. The face of Remain for me and many other Scots was Nicola Sturgeon who robustly defended Europe and immigration as well as opposing austerity. If the North of England were so poorly represented in English politics that they could only see posh right-wing liars like David Cameron and Osborne on one side and equally posh populist ultra right-wing liars like Boris and Farage on the other, and voted for the populist ultra-right, then perhaps the problem is with the non-right wing representation of the North of England, that it was invisible or people didn't feel represented by it. Maybe that representation problem in English Remain is what Winterhill is getting at but it's coming across a bit as asking people who are victims of Brexit to feel sorry for the perpetrators. Maybe it needs different framing?

(And perhaps it has something to do with Invisible Jezza who did not exactly make his mark in the Remain campaign?)
posted by Flitcraft at 5:26 AM on March 9 [38 favorites]


Flitcraft, I've been trying to write a comment saying what you just said simply and clearly for days. Seriously. Thanks.
posted by mumimor at 5:31 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


History education in this country is shite.

I have often wondered if this is a particular feature of former or current empires, given all the horrors an accurate history education would need to describe in grotesque, unrelenting detail to school children, but I think maybe it's just more...obvious...with former empires. People in power tell the version of history that makes them feel good. It was ever thus. Relying on the powerful to correct that seems...ill advised. Hasn't worked in the US, anyway.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:54 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


Poverty and climate more important than Brexit, says Corbyn
Days before Brexit vote, Labour leader says party not ‘obsessed by constitutional questions’


Completely agree. Brexit is a distraction which takes away time and resources - and will continue to suck away time and resources - from far more important things. Thus, it should be stopped as a matter of priority.

That is his conclusion, yes?
posted by vacapinta at 6:09 AM on March 9 [9 favorites]


This debate about how Remainers should best convince Leavers to change their vote in a second referendum has strong parallels to the debates amongst Democrats about how to reach out to Republicans after the 2016 elections – lots of introspection about how the winners felt belittled and lectured to by the elites, that sort of thing.

While it’s too early to tell, the emerging Democratic consensus around universal healthcare, electoral reform, increased redistribution, and a Green New Deal – all of which poll very well! – could hold lessons for us in the UK.

Imagine a platform and a message that is filled with bold ideas about, say, greater devolution to the regions; increased redistribution; a better social safety net; resilience against climate change; standing up for human rights; lifelong education; that sort of thing. Shoot for the fucking Moon, why not! And then crucially linking those things to continued membership and reform of the EU.

The problem is that while I think the Democrats managed to recover pretty quickly, as shown by the 2018 midterms, the grindingly slow process of Brexit coupled with the total irrelevance of the Lib Dem’s and Corbyn’s dislike of the EU has left the Remainers without any party to vote for (outside of the SNP, of course).
posted by adrianhon at 6:51 AM on March 9 [12 favorites]


You'd think that areas of post-industrial devastation in Scotland didn't exist to read how it's all the fault of smug millionaire businessmen and posh politicians that people hit by austerity 'fell for' glittering promises and voted for Brexit.
I think it best to let people from Scotland talk about Scottish issues rather than trying to address them in my own comments. I'm not trying to erase or ignore Scotland when I talk about northern England - I just don't know as much about its politics and history because I'm not from there and would rather read and learn from others' thoughts on the place than try and pretend I know it all.
posted by winterhill at 7:00 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


Guardian: Obscure no-deal Brexit group is UK's biggest political spender on Facebook—Britain’s Future has spent £340,000 promoting hard exit – but no one knows who’s funding it
The sophisticated campaign includes thousands of individual pro-Brexit adverts, targeted at voters in the constituencies of selected MPs. The adverts urge voters to email their local representative and create the impression of a grassroots uprising for a no-deal Brexit. The MPs then receive emails, signed by a “concerned constituent”, demanding a hard Brexit. The emails do not mention the involvement of an organised campaign group.[…]

Under Facebook’s transparency rules, a representative of Britain’s Future would have been required to provide a valid UK postal address before placing political adverts, but this information was not made public. There are no checks on the ultimate source of any funds.

Facebook said it was only thanks to its new political ad transparency tools, introduced after the EU referendum and soon to be rolled out across the UK, that it was possible to see the extent of political advertising placed by Britain’s Future. There is no equivalent database for Google, Twitter or other online advertisers.
The only people identified with this group are a former sitcom writer turned political activist and, apparently, a former BNP candidate.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:39 PM on March 9 [10 favorites]


a former sitcom writer turned political activist

Who worked on Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, so he has criminal form.
posted by Grangousier at 3:43 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


History education in this country is shite.
At school - in the 80s - , I was taught that the deaths in the Great Famine in Ireland was caused because the potatoes that the locals lived on were diseased. Let's be charitable by agreeing that was ... not the root cause. The best historians - and the best pupils of history - are those that learn to dig for information rather than absorb what it thrown at them and then regurgitate it. That is how I would like to see the curriculum slanted.

As I mentioned in a previous thread - one of the problem in The United Kingdom is that people in various parts of it do not know what it is, how it came to be or most particularly how other parts of it came to be and what its people believe. We believe the BR in Brexit stands for "Britain" - a country that does not exist, for example.
posted by rongorongo at 5:46 AM on March 10 [6 favorites]


And, let’s be honest, most people didn’t vote for this. They voted for change. They voted because of rising income inequality. They voted because of media manipulation. They most certainly didn’t vote for what is actually happening.

And that's the fault of the EU how? All of that is the UK's fault.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:10 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


Solid roundup of 12 reasons why Labour should oppose Brexit by Flip Chart Fairy Tales.
posted by adrianhon at 11:56 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Recent experience says that it's impossible to predict what will happen in parliament in the next few weeks. But the fundamental divisions within, as well as between, the main parties mean that the outcome is likely to be a muddle, rather than a clear cut resolution.

The only thing that seems certain is that May will get her P45 sooner rather than later. No bad thing, you may say, and I'm inclined to agree except for the horror show of candidates to replace her. And given the fact that the final choice of leader is in the hands of the ageing, Brexit-loving, rump membership of the Conservative party, I am terrified that things may get much worse.

I know the Labour party want a General Election, but unless they can pull themselves together, and appeal to a significant number of dissident Conservative MPs, that's not going to happen. We're staring down the barrel of another 3 years of crazy.
posted by dudleian at 12:36 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


That list is a study in ineptitude. I guess if you're a senior Tory you must look around and think, 'Good Lord, these people are completely useless, perhaps I am in with a chance/need to stand for the good of the country.' and the others all think the same. And the only thing each of them is right about is that all the others are useless.
posted by biffa at 2:53 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


And given the fact that the final choice of leader is in the hands of the ageing, Brexit-loving, rump membership of the Conservative party, I am terrified that things may get much worse.

Well, unless they just repeat Theresa May's wonderfully anti-democratic trick of waiting until it gets to the final two candidates and then forcing the other candidate to resign before the membership votes.
posted by dng at 2:56 PM on March 10


Poverty and climate more important than Brexit, says Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn, world champion at whataboutery.

(See also: him arranging to be in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan/at a commemoration of the coup against the Allende government in Chile/something equally ponderous and worthy and far away whenever there's a mass demonstration calling for a People's Vote.)
posted by acb at 1:59 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]




The thing is, he isn't wrong, it's just that Brexit is the immediate, huge, problem in front of us that's sucking all the air out of the room. Austerity has gutted the already much-reduced welfare state, and led to the immiseration of vast swathes of the North in particular, but really, any already impoverished area of the UK. This is ongoing and horrifying, and while we're all shouting at each other about the looming disaster of Brexit -- which is going to make it so much worse -- the bastard Tories don't really get called to account for the things that are currently making day-to-day life wretched for a huge number of people. Climate change is just so vastly awful it's hard for most people to even begin thinking about how to deal with it, when their immediate survival is at risk. So, yes, he's not wrong, but right now we can't reasonably be expected to do anything about those things while the timer is ticking down on the Brexit bomb. Which, again, dreams of escaping the neoliberal hellscape and building a new, more compassionate and just country are grand, but we're not getting Lexit while the fucking Tories are able to cling to power. I have no faith at all that they're going to leave government a minute sooner than the statutory end of their term, no matter how bad it gets. And does anybody really think if Jeremy Corbyn went out there and demanded a People's Vote, that May & co would give it to him?

God yes, I wish Labour were more united in stopping this thing, but realistically, how are they going to do that? This is the Tory shitshow.
posted by skybluepink at 2:49 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]


This is the Tory shitshow.

Corbyn ordered a 3-line whip to force Labour MPs to vote for the passage of Article 50.
posted by PenDevil at 3:00 AM on March 11 [15 favorites]


Sure, and that was incredibly stupid and infuriating, but the Tories are still in charge of this show.
posted by skybluepink at 3:09 AM on March 11


whynotboth.jpg
posted by acb at 3:14 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I've been finding the aphorism "All of these things can be true at the same time" of enormous comfort over the last three years. Run it in your head whenever someone tries to shut down an argument by pointing to a completely different argument.
posted by Grangousier at 3:20 AM on March 11 [12 favorites]


Poverty and climate more important than Brexit, says Corbyn

Not dying more important than getting out of the way of oncoming freight train, says Corbyn.

If you think poverty is important, you think brexit is important, as it will lead to the former. Corbyn's position makes no sense. Right now, brexit is more important than either climate or poverty, as it will affect both and other things too.
posted by Dysk at 3:39 AM on March 11 [12 favorites]


No matter how you turn it, it's going to be far more difficult to reconstruct the welfare state and the run down areas outside the EU, let alone do something about climate change outside the most important alliance in the region. And it will be incredibly difficult already if the UK remains. Corbyn doesn't understand this at all, because he is blinded by this fantasy of nationalization.
posted by mumimor at 3:44 AM on March 11 [6 favorites]


Welp, the Sun's political editor now believes May will pull tomorrow's doomed "meaningful vote" and replace it with a completely pointless "indicative vote" on a hypothetical deal.

That's totally fine! We have plenty of time to figure out a deal in [checks watch] the 444 hours remaining until Brexit.
posted by adrianhon at 3:55 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why MPs keep getting placated by May's lying mouth noises whenever there's an issue. She consistently oversells any concession to sense she'll make, and plans to deliver it at the 11th hour, then decides not to at 10:59.

And MPs keep falling for it.
posted by Dysk at 4:05 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


We have plenty of time to figure out a deal in [checks watch] the 444 hours remaining until Brexit.

Well, let's be realistic: everyone needs time to sleep and even more to keep their head stuck in the sand. That leaves about two minutes of productive 'dealmaking time' remaining.
posted by romanb at 4:07 AM on March 11


I don't understand why MPs keep getting placated by May's lying mouth noises whenever there's an issue. She consistently oversells any concession to sense she'll make, and plans to deliver it at the 11th hour, then decides not to at 10:59.

And MPs keep falling for it.


Same way all con artists work: by telling you things you want to believe and will be happy to behave as though they were true.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:08 AM on March 11


Yvette Cooper, denser than lead:

Yvette Cooper, who has spearheaded parliamentary efforts to rule out a no-deal exit, said Mrs May "had given me her word" MPs would have a vote on the issue this week.

"I don't believe she would straight up lie on something as important as this," she said.
-BBC
posted by Dysk at 4:20 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Welp, the Sun's political editor now believes May will pull tomorrow's doomed "meaningful vote" and replace it with a completely pointless "indicative vote" on a hypothetical deal.
This would be an attempt to say to the EU: "Look, this is a deal that can pass Parliament." So what happens is roughly the following:

Tuesday 8:10am: Number 10 sends a minister, probably Grayling, to the BBC studio to tell John Humphries that the vote will definitely go ahead as planned, because getting the deal through is the only way to avoid a no-deal etc etc
Tuesday 11am: Rumours start circulating of a planned cancellation of the vote, Guardian liveblog indicates that May is to speak at 12pm
Tuesday 12:30pm: May speaks, vote cancelled and replaced with the 'indicative vote' on a non-existent deal that includes the ERG's preferred backstop changes
Tuesday 7pm: Vote held, passes with ERG, DUP and Labour leaver support
Tuesday 7:05pm: EU says "no renegotiation on the backstop, the deal as agreed in November is take-it-or-leave-it". This is no surprise as its position, unlike the UK government's, has been firm for some time.

Wednesday 8am: We are back to square one.
posted by winterhill at 4:29 AM on March 11 [6 favorites]


At some point in the next 24 hours, the EU will reiterate, yet a-fucking-gain, that the Withdrawal Agreement can't be reopened, the backstop won't be renegotiated, and that any proposed amendments have already been dismissed as unworkable.

Where's Guy Fawkes when we really need him?
posted by daveje at 5:03 AM on March 11 [7 favorites]


I still think Yvette Cooper would make a much better Labour leader and Prime Minister than Corbyn.
posted by winterhill at 5:35 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]


Last night at the pub, I asked my husband what he thought were the odds that May tries to delay the so-called 'meaningful' vote again, and he just laughed bitterly.
posted by skybluepink at 5:54 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I still think Yvette Cooper would make a much better Labour leader and Prime Minister than Corbyn.

Fully agree.
posted by Dysk at 6:29 AM on March 11


At this stage, one could replace “Yvette Cooper” with more or less anything and end up with a valid statement.

And yes, that even includes the insipid Blair-manqués he defeated for the leadership a few years ago, the ones who ran on platforms like “having strong values” as a Labour value. They may be focus-group-driven managerialists enamoured of triangulation and public-private partnerships, but operating as such assumes that your country isn't on fire and about to fall off a cliff.
posted by acb at 7:01 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


The weird thing is that I think they needed a Corbyn leadership to become better candidates themselves. Now we all just need it to stop. One result of Corbyn is that I no longer have any faith whatsoever in The Left as a culture capable of achieving anything of lasting value. That's saying nothing about the values and strategies they purport to be prosecuting, simply the culture.
posted by Grangousier at 7:11 AM on March 11 [6 favorites]


Well, if “the Left” is defined as “let's roll things back to before 1979 and see if that helps” (as it appears to do in Corbyn's case), we may need a new Left. (For one, the new Left shouldn't be wedded to the idea of returning to an environment of near-full employment in a labour-intensive economy.)
posted by acb at 7:19 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]


(For one, the new Left shouldn't be wedded to the idea of returning to an environment of near-full employment in a labour-intensive economy.)
Yes, this. They need to stop going on about 'creating jobs'. Those days are over. We're not going back to the days of thousands of blokes working down filthy coal mines and in nationalised steel works and car factories, and many would say thank goodness for that.

What the left needs to be thinking about is how to create a meaningful and fulfilling existence for millions of people in a world where more and more work is automated. Work itself needs to be rethought and how we survive in a post-work economy has to be considered.

The right is way ahead. They're already coming up with detailed plans for digital serfdom and reliance on an insecure gig economy. While the left is stuck in the 1970s, the fascists of Silicon Valley and friends are forging ahead.
posted by winterhill at 7:33 AM on March 11 [26 favorites]


“let's roll things back to before 1979 and see if that helps” (as it appears to do in Corbyn's case)

In Corbyn's case, it's 1983. It's the year he first became an MP, and he stood on that year's Labour manifesto which called for withdrawal from the EEC (EU as was), and was described by Labour MP Gerald Kaufman as "the longest suicide note in history".
posted by daveje at 7:46 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]


A short CPG Grey on Brexit. Plus footnote on the EU’s secret (not really) negotiating strategy.

Nothing the average sane Brexit obsessive doesn’t already know, but a decent summary.
posted by pharm at 8:41 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


More from CH4

@C4Dispatches
“The amount I receive is not for public disclosure.”

Dispatches reveals that Brexiteer and Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg may have earned at least £7 million since the 2016 EU referendum, from an investment firm he partly owns - which has seen its profits increase since the vote.
[tweet has a video clip of the interview]

Also, how the hell is it true that MPs don't have to reveal income from investments?
posted by Buntix at 9:41 AM on March 11 [6 favorites]


Also, how the hell is it true that MPs don't have to reveal income from investments?
They vote on their own rules. Why not keep a good thing going?

I noticed something in the Guardian live blog earlier - 16:22 if you want to see it yourself:
Back in the Commons, Labour’s Kevin Brennan says it is customary on this occasion to says people have the monkey, not the organ-grinder. But on this occasion MPs have not even got the monkey, he says. And they have not even got the codpiece, he says.
Does any of this make any sense whatsoever to anyone else? I read it a few times and couldn't make head nor tail of it. We're paying these people to stand there wasting Parliamentary time talking complete gibberish. I assume he thought he was being funny.
posted by winterhill at 9:45 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


He's referring to Geoffrey Cox's attempt to find a legal formalisation of the backstop agreement that will satisfy both the EU and the Tory Brexit wing, which has been called "Cox's codpiece", see here. This is a bit of the sly sophisticated wit that parliamentary debate is well known for.
posted by Dim Siawns at 9:52 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


It would be super awesome if they'd spare us their dazzling wit, and just fucking sort this. I am very over the deep thoughts and clever bons mots of this useless lot.
posted by skybluepink at 10:03 AM on March 11 [14 favorites]


Apparently it’s now confirmed that May is going to meet Juncker tonight in Strasbourg for...more negotiations. Homework is being scrawled on the back of a used sheet as the bell is about to ring.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:13 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


Further assurances ahoy!
posted by skybluepink at 10:17 AM on March 11


And to think I used to prattle on endlessly about how parliamentary systems were intrinsically superior. God, I need to go apologize to so many people from college.
posted by aramaic at 10:50 AM on March 11 [19 favorites]


I recall a 4am essay crisis to desperately generate a barely passable turd of an assignment was a regular thing for PPEists at Oxford, and it hasn't changed for a lot of them since graduating. It's just it'll land us all in trouble, not just them.
posted by edd at 10:57 AM on March 11 [5 favorites]


Friend linked to a (warning: pdf) think-tank report suggesting that over £800 billion in assets have been moved by financial corporations from the UK to the EU as a result of Brexit. I don't have the background to fact-check it, but it seems to chime with everything else being said.

I have just requested the last repeat prescription I can get before Brexit. They're not life-saving medicines, just ones that let me function and work. I expect that they will not be prioritised in a no-deal scenario (which is as it should be, the lifesaving stuff should definitely be the major thing). I'm lucky. The braying shitstains in Westminster are probably just going to cause me pain, rather than kill me.
posted by Vortisaur at 11:31 AM on March 11 [17 favorites]


I picked up my last insulin before Brexit at the weekend. I'm seriously contemplating having to make a spontaneous trip abroad to source more if necessary, but there's no real way to plan for that either when planes might get grounded and other routes may get clogged up. At least I can actually afford to do that if needed - as always this is going to hit the poorest both first and hardest.
posted by edd at 12:00 PM on March 11 [7 favorites]


I've given up all social media because of Brexit. I was battling monsters and became one myself.

I feel that this was all a promotional stunt, a last-gasp attempt by the rich but unpopular kids of the British nobility to prove that the UK still had some relevance to the world. There may not be an empire for the sun not to go down on, but the world is talking about Britain. While much of the talking is pointing and laughing, it's seen as better than not being talked about. The stunt has gone horribly wrong, but if there's one thing I learned from going to an obscenely expensive public school, consequences happen to other people because the old school tie doesn't stain.

Tomorrow's vote, if it happens, will be a shit-show. I'm still hoping the EU will place full-page ads in all the newspapers saying "Hey - this is the deal. It's not negotiable. Take it or crash out. Love, the EU xxx", but they're too bureaucratic for that
posted by scruss at 1:56 PM on March 11 [5 favorites]


I'm currently reading the latest Anthony Beevor book about the Arnhem campaign that happened towards the end of the Second World War. It was basically the last attempt by the UK to demonstrate that it was still a power capable of independent action in the war, and not totally reliant on the US.

It was a disaster.
posted by daveje at 2:20 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]


and there's apparently a binding deal (no details yet, of course)
and they'll vote it down
and I will despair more.
posted by scruss at 6:07 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Even the government only claims it 'reduces' the risk of being trapped in the backstop. I'm not sure if that will be enough.
posted by jaduncan at 11:47 PM on March 11


So she's lying again, nothing has really changed in the agreement, and the Beeb continues carrying water for her. 400 hours left, and she's still fucking around.
posted by skybluepink at 12:30 AM on March 12


@Fintan O Toole: Very hard to see what's really new in all of this. It's the Withdrawal Agreement served with a side order of "this doesn't mean what it doesn't mean anyway".

Also Fintan O Toole:
It has to be understood, of course, that heroic failure was not to be treated as an admission of weakness. On the face of it, celebrating disasters seems to be advertising one's capacity for screwing up. It ought to have invited ridicule, all this getting lost in wildernesses, heading off with bad maps, failing to make plans, not delivering vital messages, sending the cavalry off to charge in the wrong direction. To turn it into a statement of strength, it was crucial that there be no self-pity. Indeed, it was not simply that there must be no self-pity - this absence must itself be supremely present. This is how strong we are: even in the face of disaster we don't cry, we don't complain, we don't stop to reason why and we never breathe a word about our loss. We are going out now and we may be some time.
posted by rongorongo at 12:48 AM on March 12 [6 favorites]


She basically got nothing more than she had in January. There's some extra bits stuck onto the withdrawal agreement, without changing it.
1) The right to issue a UK unilateral statement that gets attached. This is like me personally issuing a unilateral statement that I'd like article 50 notification to be withdrawn forever, i.e. worthless. Her's basically says 'the EU says it wants to be temporary, so that counts, right?'
2) the EU and UK pinky swear they're going to make their best efforts to get a deal so the backstop isn't needed, and they've added some waffle about how they'll start immediately to come up with a schedule of how to solve all the bits where the UK government doesn't know what it wants. This is largely the same as the EU have said all along, they're happy to say that *they* don't want the the backstop to be final, lasting state if something better comes along.
3) the dispute mechanism already in the agreement can be used to complain to the arbitrator that the EU is being mean when it does implement the backstop and hasn't broken its own laws to avoid implementing the agreement the UK just signed up to.

To re-use a phrase, "nothing has changed". It comes down to whether it's a big enough fig leaf for the DUP and (some of) the ERG to climb down and back the agreement, because in their whale-hunt for a 'pure' crash-out brexit they might end up getting no brexit at all.

Doesn't seem likely given the noises so far, so likelihood is that the deal will get rejected again by a massive margin. God knows what amendments get stuck on it this time though, we may end up with a repeat of the Brady amendment, i.e. the brextremists will pass it only if the backstop is removed entirely, thus prompting a collective head->desk moment across all of Brussels. And May could always delay the later two votes in the week on 'no deal' and 'extend' for some mad reason. 17 days left. Ticktockticktockticktock.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:54 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


Is it the case that the agreement says that the UK can withdraw from the backstop, but guarantees that there will be a solution that allows a magical seamless border encompassing Ireland?

So, if the UK gathers, say, James Dyson, Tim Berners-Lee and a dozen of the finest British minds today*, puts them in a room and tasks them with coming up with an Irish backstop replacement that works like magic, allowing the free, unimpeded passage of goods (including imported American chlorinated beef and a few thousand other things which are completely illegal in the EU) between Britain and Northern Ireland, the free passage of goods and people within Ireland, and the integrity of the EU's customs frontier which encompasses the Irish Republic, by 2020, and at the end of it, the damned horse can't fly and there's no weakly-godlike blockchain drone-swarm AI omnisciently zapping smugglers whilst allowing ordinary Irish people to go about their business unimpeded, it becomes Ireland's problem not the UK's? Britain gets to shrug its shoulders, say that we tried our best, and now the EU has to be the bad guy who imposes a hard border across Ireland or else gets its markets undercut by substandard goods, at massive profits to Britain? That's convenient.

* perhaps the designers of the ARM CPU and the inventor of the Brompton bicycle as well.
posted by acb at 2:07 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]




Britain gets to shrug its shoulders, say that we tried our best, and now the EU has to be the bad guy who imposes a hard border across Ireland

IANAL but I don’t think so, either legally (the UK is still party to the GFA and could not walk away from that treaty without major repercussions—not least in the US, with our one remaining friend) or politically (for all that I dislike May, she is not on the imperialist—Mogg/Johnson—or the plain ignorant—Bradley—wing of her party: she has negotiated a ladder for those in her party who scared themselves up a tree to climb down, not a mechanism for screwing over Ireland).

Of course that comment only applies to May and others who consider themselves bound by law, decency, and reality. I have to admit it is unlikely that the soon-to-be next leader of the Conservatives will be bound by such piffling considerations—until reality hits them in the face.
posted by dudleian at 2:22 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Cox says bollocks
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:01 AM on March 12


Of course that comment only applies to May and others who consider themselves bound by law, decency, and reality.

That's very generous to May, given her tenure at the Home Office (the "we can't deport him because of a cat" lies, the literally being found in contempt of court for acting illegally) and her rather... tenuous connection to the truth in her role as PM ("the vote is happening, the vote is happening, the vote is definitely assuredly happening, PSYCH!")

I guess she might consider herself bound by reality and law, but the way she acts suggests that she's wrong about that if so.
posted by Dysk at 3:31 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Cox is strange. I'm not entirely sure how the government has come to rely so much on the view of international law taken by a man from a commercial law background, especially since his claim that the Withdrawal Agreement might violate human rights law is the type of argument that would be greeted with (at best) slightly embarrassed sympathy in court.
posted by jaduncan at 3:33 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


it becomes Ireland's problem not the UK's? Britain gets to shrug its shoulders, say that we tried our best, and now the EU has to be the bad guy who imposes a hard border

No. There's a commitment to look at alternative arrangements (which was already in the withdrawal agreement) so that of course the backstop won't be needed; but the backstop is still very much there, in the tiny chance that - completely unexpectedly - magic future unicorn tech doesn't solve the trivial little problem of the most complex land border in the EU by 2020. And should the EU start laughing like an evil genius and say 'we have you trapped in our customs agreement now! No more talks for you!' then the UK can complain to the arbitrator who will of course say 'my God, the EU lied about talking to you to come up with a solution! Of course you can close the border and nobody will blame you!'

We haven't moved on from when the UK government met reality and decided to pretend it wasn't there.

1) No major border between NI and Ireland
2) No major border between NI and UK
3) ending all ties to the EU.

Pick 2. Same as it's been for two years. In 17 days, the UK will be picking 2&3 by default.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:04 AM on March 12 [4 favorites]




So, Cox has said not much has changed in the latest deal, and the pound plummets once more.

For my sins, I have been watching the £/$ conversion rate a lot these past few months and years. I've noticed a trend of there being big jumps on "good news" (like the updated deal last night) and then those jumps being gradually whittled away as people inevitably realise that nothing has changed and there is no way to make May's deal work, Parliament-wise. And yet we keep going around and around...
posted by adrianhon at 4:47 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Good job the news isn't being manipulated by people likely to make huge sums on the money markets!
posted by Grangousier at 4:48 AM on March 12 [7 favorites]


Cox confirms that he thinks a subsequent deal is more politically likely, but in the event there are intractable policy differences (as opposed to deliberate EU sabotage of the talks, which is near impossible to prove) then the situation remains the UK will have no legal exit mechanism from the backstop.

The agreement is dead. Now onto the extension, if Parliament votes for one (probable) and May asks for a short one, if the EU will agree even with no new plan. Juncker has already said we'll have to have EU parliament elections in May if we stay in long enough.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:53 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]




We haven't moved on from when the UK government met reality and decided to pretend it wasn't there.

Ian Dunt "The Brexiters believe in the magical solutions, so they do not question whether they will work. They have to work, because they are magical."
posted by rongorongo at 5:10 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Juncker has already said we'll have to have EU parliament elections in May if we stay in long enough.
Participating in EU elections is the only way to avoid no deal, the only way to get a new referendum, the only way to avoid being forced into into the MayDeal in a couple of months.

If the deal is voted down today, there is no more important fight than to get an extension long enough to ensure all options are left open. It's an uphill battle politically and there isn't much time. It's a very scary moment.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:30 AM on March 12 [13 favorites]


Saturday 23rd March 2019.
Assemble at 12pm noon for 1pm start.


That's cutting it a little close, isn't it?
posted by Dysk at 6:02 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


How much do you contribute to EU membership? (online calculator)
posted by gwint at 6:22 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


That's cutting it a little close, isn't it?
The People's Vote ... erm... people... are aware it's very late for this sort of thing, but they have a fair bit to do to get such things organised, and it seems like it was the best they could manage. It has been in the process of being organised for a reasonable amount of time, not just this last week or something.
posted by edd at 6:29 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


How much do you contribute to EU membership? (online calculator)

10p a day for someone on average earnings.

I switched on the radio at lunchtime and heard You and Yours on BBC Radio 4 talking to callers about stockpiling for Brexit. That's where we are.

Even some who were clearly Leavers said they're stockpiling, because they reckon that Brexit will be stolen by Remainer MPs and there will be riots.

Some were talking up the positives of food shortages: we got through the War ("we"? They didn't sound 90+); rationing will mean that our overall diet and health improve. I didn't see "Vote Leave to bring back rationing" on the side of that bloody bus.
posted by rory at 6:31 AM on March 12 [10 favorites]


Looks like the ERG have knocked back May's “revised” deal, and we're back to square one.
posted by acb at 6:40 AM on March 12


I'm sure their masochistic daydreams are delightful, but I suspect the reality of a tenner for a ready meal if you can even find one might put rationing into perspective for them.
posted by skybluepink at 6:41 AM on March 12


that bloody bus

Apart from the fact that it (a Neoplan Starliner) costs £200,000, it would be extremely satisfying to have a bus painted with that lie burn to the ground in some prominent public place, maybe at the culmination of that protest march. It would undoubtedly be
a) Impossible
b) A picture guaranteed to go down in history.
posted by ambrosen at 6:44 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I'm sure the Rees-Moggs will have no trouble keeping their larders stocked (if it involves descending to the black market, they'd have the clout to be immune from prosecution), and as for the regular Leavers, they can console themselves by the fact that the hated Metropolitan Elites have had further to fall.
posted by acb at 6:46 AM on March 12


> it would be extremely satisfying to have a bus painted with that lie burn to the ground in some prominent public place, maybe at the culmination of that protest march.

Has anyone got Bill Drummond's phone number?
posted by ZipRibbons at 6:47 AM on March 12 [6 favorites]


From the BBC:
Charles Walker, vice chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, tells Radio 4's World at One programme that if the deal does not go through tonight, there "will be a general election within a matter of days or weeks”.
So that’s why the £ jumped up...
posted by adrianhon at 6:49 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


May only has a majority of what, 4? So a handful of ERG extremists quit the party, trigger a no-confidence vote in the government which she loses, and they hope the collapse of the government derails things long enough to prevent an extension?

Or maybe they just bring down May once they lose the no-deal vote, on the basis that it's better for Corbyn to take the blame for the imminent Brexit disaster, and they can comfortably snipe from the sidelines without being expected to actually come up with solutions, which of course they never had.

Christ, what a shit show.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:00 AM on March 12 [7 favorites]


Sky sources say that the DUP has come down 'nooooo' - well, it had to, really. And Matthew Parris on WATO thought another three-digit defeat is on the cards for 7pm tonight. The only way then to rescue the deal would be to have a referendum - a general election runs the risk of coming back with no way forward.

It is an absolute bloody shit-show. The Tories deserve to be cast out for a generation.
posted by Devonian at 7:13 AM on March 12 [6 favorites]


The headbangers (DUP and ERG) say they're still against the deal, but it sounds like they will abstain rather than vote against. Aside that, there seems to be an increasing trickle of erstwhile deal refuseniks on the Conservative benches who have finally realised that they are far better off "taking the win" than driving the country onto the rocks.

May could be heading for a much smaller loss than anyone expected. Which in many ways makes things far less clear. The headbangers won't move, May's given Labour no reason to support her, and the EU are saying that's our final offer. In those circumstances, despite a narrow losing margin, it would be pointless to try to get the deal through on another try because nothing could / would have changed.

In which case, what's left? Only a referendum or a general election. The Brexiteers will never countenance a referendum (May neither), and after May's last disastrous GE it's hard to imagine her party would be keen to go down that route either.

SMH.
posted by dudleian at 7:14 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


A general election is indeed entirely pointless if Jeremy Corbyn thinks he's going to go and negotiate a better deal himself. It's got to go back in the end to this deal or calling the whole thing off, probably by another referendum (which as little as I'd like is about the biggest like I've got going for anything vaguely realistic right now).
posted by edd at 7:17 AM on March 12 [4 favorites]


What's general election polling looking like? The last time I looked, Labour had declined to the point where a Corbyn victory looked by no means overwhelmingly likely. If a general election were held now, would we be likely to see a Corbyn Labour government, a Conservative government unshackled from the DUPpie headbangers, some kind of Brexit-related coalition government (Independent Group+LibDems+a Green+random Remainers, or ERG+Lexiteer fantasists+DUPpies), or more of the same?
posted by acb at 7:38 AM on March 12




Polls are pretty febrile - last one I saw was Labour trailing heavily, but if it happens it won't be anything like a normal election. Both parties are damaged, there's no clear mapping between remain/leave and Labour/Tory, the electorate are pissed off - and not just the gammons.

I wouldn't worry about polls right now.
posted by Devonian at 7:44 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


You know all those Twitter jokes about how the new, improved Withdrawal Agreement would be the same as the old one but with a different font and margins?

Not a joke.
posted by rory at 7:46 AM on March 12 [7 favorites]


If there's a general election called, then surely that means that the UK crashes out by default on March 29th? Since there's neither an agreement about the Withdrawal Agreement, or an extension, or revocation of Article 50.
posted by daveje at 7:50 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


You'd presumably not call a general election without requesting an extension. A general election is one of the more plausible reasons for the EU to grant an extension as well.
posted by edd at 7:51 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


We'd get a extension - the EU has said that this in on offer provided it's for a GE or a referendum.

I would like to point out - not that this thread needs it - that through this entire process, the EU has behaved exactly as it said it would, and that every prediction by Leave about the EU has been completely wrong.
posted by Devonian at 7:54 AM on March 12 [43 favorites]


Here is a link to a live stream of the current House of Commons debate (for those who can stomach it).

What a horrible mess. Love and good thoughts to the honest, hard-working people who live in the lands whence came (most of) my ancestors. I am so sorry you've been put into the position of having to cope with such a fucking terrible trash fire.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 7:58 AM on March 12


@britainelects seems to post regular polling data.

A poll which includes TIG, UKIP and GRN and omits SNP, Sinn Fein, and Plaid Cymru, who collectively hold 46 seats.
posted by rocket88 at 8:39 AM on March 12


In that case yes, but as it's dependent on the source for any given bit of data you can find other postings that are a bit more sensible about who is included. This one for example.
posted by edd at 8:48 AM on March 12


The fact that the Green Party are included, despite not being mediagenically fire-breathing rightwingers, is probably as much progress as we can expect.
posted by acb at 9:00 AM on March 12




What's general election polling looking like?

UK Polling Report is good and had a couple more from the weekend:
ComRes had a poll conducted for BrexitExpress (a pro-Brexit pressure group) prominently but poorly reported in the Sunday Telegraph. The voting intention question included The Independent Group as an option, producing topline figures of CON 36%(-2), LAB 34%(-3), LDEM 8%(-2), TIG 8%(+8), UKIP 6%(nc)...

There was a BMG poll hidden away in the Independent. The figures were unusually reported without excluding don’t knows or won’t votes, with the Conservatives on 31%, Labour on 27% and 8% for the Liberal Democrats. According to the Independent the Conservative lead is five points once don’t knows are excluded – that implies something along the lines of Con 40%, Lab 35% and Lib Dem 10%
The thing is that in a first past the post system it's possible to get a solid majority with a smallish percentage share of the vote. With the anti- and soft-Brexit voters now split amongst the Lib Dems, TIG, and Labour that might well clear the way for a hard-Brexit Tory party under a new leader to get a working majority in the Commons.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:17 AM on March 12


SNP, Sinn Fein, DUP & Plaid Cymru don't stand for seats UK wide (which also means TIG shouldn't be included either at this point; but then when they're polling as much as the lib dems when they're not even a party...) which is why they're not useful in UK-wide polls. Blame polling companies, not the twitter collator.

Where polls focus on an individual country, the results include local nationalist parties, e.g. for Wales:
https://twitter.com/britainelects/status/1099968953881907201
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:18 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


For the same reason, polling percentages are essentially meaningless in a system with strong regional parties. A more useful poll would use the data to predict seat counts.
posted by rocket88 at 10:30 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Ideally, you'd poll each constituency, but that would be insanely expensive.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:50 AM on March 12


A more useful poll would use the data to predict seat counts.

yougov does this but I haven't been following to see if they've done it recently

They use multilevel regression and poststratification with normal-kind-of-large samples to get around having to poll ~600,000 people.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:56 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


There's also politicalbetting.com (they have a podcast, too) - although it's fairly simple to discern their political stances, I find their need to win bets can break through some of the confirmation bias. Interesting psephological stuff in there, too.
posted by Grangousier at 11:25 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


If anyone wants to chat along with the Brexit votes and aftermath tonight, chat is open and I'm hopefully in there all evening.
posted by winterhill at 11:26 AM on March 12


is this all as crazy as it looks from over here?
posted by schadenfrau at 11:48 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


It's probably worse, tbh.
posted by skybluepink at 11:52 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Senior Government figure says they expect the deal to be voted down by a majority of nearly 150

At this rate of turnaround, Theresa May only needs to submit her deal to parliament 3 more times over the next 9 months or so and she might break almost even.
posted by dng at 11:56 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


is this all as crazy as it looks from over here?
pretty much.

I was speaking to a Portuguese colleague the other day and all I could muster was "can a country go insane?"
posted by fullerine at 12:00 PM on March 12 [5 favorites]


BBC breaking:
Theresa May's deal has been defeated in the Commons by 149.
Earlier, she had urged them to back the "improved deal" or risk "no Brexit at all".
The attorney general said the deal still carried a "legal risk" that the UK would have no way out of the Irish backstop without EU agreement.
The DUP and the ERG group of Eurosceptic Tory MPs rejected the deal.
Labour also rejected the deal, with other opposition parties expected to follow suit.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:27 PM on March 12


Well I sure hope if the government get an article 50 extension they'll use that extra three months just as well as they've used these last three months, etc etc
posted by dng at 12:31 PM on March 12 [9 favorites]


Theresa May finally admits that Parliament will not back her deal. That was 5 months well spent! *sigh*
So now we move to the next two days of votes - but she challenges Parliament to choose between no deal, withdraw article 50, a referendum, or a different deal now. Interestingly, when she said '2nd referendum' there was a massive cheer in the house.

Oh, and Corbyn waffled about getting a general election. Of course.

The question moves now to how long an extension the house will ask for AND if they'll indicate what they want that extension for - both of which may be necessary for the EU to actually grant one.

Assuming May survives the rest of the week...
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:33 PM on March 12


She has an uncanny ability to soak up failure and humiliation and keep going, and even the most madly ambitious bastards in her party must not be eager to rip the Kick Me sign off her back and stick it on their own.
posted by skybluepink at 12:37 PM on March 12 [7 favorites]


she challenges Parliament to choose between no deal, a referendum, or a different deal now. Interestingly, when she said '2nd referendum' there was a massive cheer in the house

Stunningly, you're wrong here.

She ended her speech (at about 19:27) with “the EU will want to know what use we mean to make of such an extension and this house will have to answer that question. Does it wish to revoke article 50, does it want to hold a second referendum or does it want to leave with a deal but not this deal? These are unenviable choices, but thanks to the decision the house has made this evening, they are the choices that must now be faced.”
posted by ambrosen at 12:40 PM on March 12


I can't remember if she's mentioned revoking Article 50 before, but, oh boy, that would make me so happy.
posted by ambrosen at 12:48 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Stunningly, you're wrong here .

Sorry, I did add in 'the withdraw article 50' on edit, but obviously not fast enough! The 'no deal' option was slightly earlier when she was talking about tomorrow's vote - the sentence you quoted was assuming the house votes down no-deal, and for an extension.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:49 PM on March 12


Please, please do not let it be 'leave with a deal but not this deal.' Have we not have had enough of that?
posted by romanb at 12:56 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


The EU has just reiterated that there is no other deal. This is the deal. This will, however, not stop anybody from voting for their special unicorn deal.
posted by skybluepink at 1:00 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Hopefully even May isn't mad enough to 3-line whip the tory party to vote for a Brady-equivalent 'replace backstop with unicorns' amendment again.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:02 PM on March 12


Help me understand the people now advocating for a People's Vote.

They say May's deal is dead and that No Deal is off the table. So what exactly will be on this ballot?

1. Remain
2. ?????
posted by vacapinta at 1:03 PM on March 12 [5 favorites]


2. Cake?
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:04 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I can't believe you don't have the real motivation of the Brexit sponsors,
3. Profit!
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:05 PM on March 12 [8 favorites]


Most pundits seem confident that No Deal will be defeated tomorrow – but what about the Article 50 delay vote on Thursday? Any news on how close (or not) that’s expected to be?
posted by adrianhon at 1:06 PM on March 12




So what exactly will be on this ballot?

Do you want to continue with this bullshit? Y/N
posted by grahamparks at 1:10 PM on March 12 [8 favorites]


Alberto Nardelli on Twitter:
Senior EU official tells me UK now has 3 options:

1) leave with no deal on March 29
2) ask for extension (dependant on reason, length & EU27 unanimity)
3) revoke article 50

“There will be no further talks,” the source says.
I’m sure that’s going to go down swimmingly.
posted by adrianhon at 1:15 PM on March 12 [8 favorites]


A referendum could plausibly still have the May deal on. Just because parliament has rejected it for now doesn't mean they can't still ask the people if they want it.
posted by edd at 1:16 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Have a horrible feeling that May is just going to keep trying to push her deal through parliament even if MPs vote against no deal and for an extension without even considering any other option
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:20 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


@Samfr:

I think May should just troll all of them now and announce that a general election and second referendum will both happen on the same day as reinstated euro elections.

And throw-in re-runs of the referendums on PR and Scottish independence too.
posted by Wordshore at 1:24 PM on March 12 [13 favorites]


Joking aside though, the withdrawal agreement isn't going to change, as has just been demonstrated. So ANY 'deal' Brexit will be that WA, possibly with tweaks to the political declaration on where we want to head towards afterwards during transition, if we have an extension. Currently it is basically blind Brexit, given the current gov still doesn't know what it actually wants from the post-brexit deal - other than special unicorns, of course.

So that will likely be option 2 on any referendum. If there's sufficient changes to the political declaration, then Labour in theory could back it without a referendum.

Don't discount the possibility of May asking for a very short extension with no good reason, getting refused, and bringing the WA back for a 3rd time unchanged with no-deal the only other option.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:25 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


That would be completely within character for May. I, too, am waiting for her to switch the font on her deal and try again.
posted by skybluepink at 1:27 PM on March 12


1) leave with no deal on March 29
2) ask for extension (dependant on reason, length & EU27 unanimity)
3) revoke article 50


Reminds me of computer error messages :Would you like to abort, retry, or exit?
posted by nubs at 1:39 PM on March 12 [28 favorites]


I don't understand why they're having two separate votes on no deal and Article 50 extension. Those are the only options left, so aren't they the same vote? If you vote down the extension, you get no deal. What would it even mean to vote down no deal? "This house decides to not not make a deal with the EU?"
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 1:52 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Ian Dunt does his thing: Lost & ruined: May humiliated once again by Commons
There aren't any words left really. They've all been used. You can shift-F7 for new desciptions of humiliation, but after a while you run out.

Theresa May's countless indignities have become part of the political calendar now. They come in fortnightly intervals. Her first deal was defeated on a historic scale. She then whipped her MPs to dismantle her own agreement, painstakingly negotiated over the course of a year. And then she was even defeated on her motion confirming that she was trying to defeat her own position. It was like defeat squared. And today, once again, MPs rejected her deal.
...
Her plan will likely be to make [an extension] as short as possible - lasting just until May 23rd. If the UK does not take part in the European elections by then, it will be unable to extend Article 50 any further by virtue of EU law. This would allow May to try one final time with her deal, but this time having eradicated any other alternative to it apart from no-deal.

It is unconscionable that she is allowed to try this. The defeat is so comprehensive, her failure so complete, that to even put the deal to the Commons again is a sick joke. But there is now, in these few moments of stunned silence in between her defeats, a chance for MPs to take control. They have failed before, but now, finally, with just days left, they must see the necessity.
posted by zachlipton at 1:56 PM on March 12 [8 favorites]


I think what voting against no deal means, in effect, is that Article 50 is withdrawn if there is no deal.
posted by skybluepink at 1:56 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Aaaaand, yep, she's using the no deal vote to try to wedge another attempt at passing her crappy, twice-denied deal through: Faisal Islam tweet.
posted by skybluepink at 2:02 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Jim Pickard, the Chief Political Correspondent for the FT, on twitter:

Remember when Theresa May spent £1bn to purchase the votes of 10 DUP MPs?

(Working out as £100m per head)

We've done the maths on the £1.6bn "Stronger Towns Fund"

Only one Labour MP changed their vote from January to March: Caroline Flint

Price of that one vote: £1.6bn

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:13 PM on March 12 [12 favorites]


I think what voting against no deal means, in effect, is that Article 50 is withdrawn if there is no deal.
One would hope that would be the case. That would be the logical end to a vote against no deal (which is still an awkward double negative). If you don't want the May deal, and you don't want no deal, the only option left on the table is to remain an EU member.

But I don't think what's written down is ruling out no deal forever. It's saying "we don't want no deal but this might change". It's a meaningless bit of paper and a waste of all of our time and money.
posted by winterhill at 2:18 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]


The two motions are:
- To reject No Deal becoming government policy. (yes, it's worded as a negative)
- To extend Article 50 (wording not yet published).

If the first motion is approved, then it says nothing about what the government should do - that's what the second motion is for. The wording of the first motion notes that no deal is still the default option even if the motion is passed.
posted by grahamparks at 2:34 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


I'm still not seeing the point of the first motion -- given that no deal will happen by default without being government policy, rejecting it as such is meaningless. It's basically saying "This House declines to approve something that would happen without its approval anyway". What is this vote actually intended to achieve?
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 3:34 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


What is this vote actually intended to achieve?

Stalling.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:42 PM on March 12 [8 favorites]


The vote for no No Deal is intended to show overwhelming support for a deal to set against the overwhelming lack of support for this deal demonstrated by the vote we just had. I agree in practical terms it achieves nothing. The intent is to send a signal to the EU that we want to deal. If no No Deal gets a thumping majority, the EU can't ignore that even though they might like to: No Deal is dreadful for the UK, but it is no walk in the park for the EU either. (If no No Deal doesn't command overwhelming support, we're in deep, deep trouble).

That vote still won't answer the EU's big question "what do you want?". There are only 3 ways that gets answered: an election that delivers one party a huge majority so they can vote through what they want without having to worry about dissidents on their own side; a referendum that delivers an absolutely unarguable majority for one option or another; a collaborative effort across several parties to find an a deal that makes everyone equally unhappy, and to force it through parliament.

Based on polling (I know, I know...) a huge election victory looks unlikely. A referendum is unpopular with the leadership of both major parties and polling suggests that none of the alternatives likely to end up on the ballot paper has KO levels of support. The major parties would rather see the country burn than cooperate.

I have no idea how this ends.
posted by dudleian at 4:30 PM on March 12 [11 favorites]


Scott Bryan @scottygb
Oh god the New York Times accidentally published both versions of the Brexit vote in its story

[NYT link, but they've now decided which time line they're living in. His Tweet has the original image though.]
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:35 PM on March 12 [6 favorites]


I was in a TV studio this evening with a bunch of politicians of various hues. They were there, of course, to talk about the Brexit vote which had gone down a couple of hours earlier, but guess what the conversation was all about in the green room before they went on? How to cope with a sore throat when you have to speak. I can exclusively reveal, broken down by party:

Labour: oregano and warm water.
Tory: lemon and honey.
SNP: steam inhalation

Nobody seemed to be bothered by the country teetering on the brink of disaster - I guess there's nothing they can say they haven't said a thousand times by now. But it was engagingly surreal.
posted by Devonian at 5:57 PM on March 12 [29 favorites]


She has an uncanny ability to soak up failure and humiliation and keep going, and even the most madly ambitious bastards in her party must not be eager to rip the Kick Me sign off her back and stick it on their own.

I don't think I've ever seen as much raw contempt being heaped on a UK Prime Minister as I've seen being heaped on May.

Closest would have to have been Thatcher, but what got heaped on her had too much raw visceral hatred in it to count as actual contempt. The Beau Blair is remembered with a completely appropriate degree of contempt by those of us on the correct side of the Iraq war issue, but he never got the soaking from the press that May is getting now.

The only way - the only way - that I can make sense of May's attitude and activity is to read it as actual courage and actual political savvy. I think there's a chance that Yes Minister politics might actually not have been completely buried in the current mudslide of The Thick Of It poll-driven sludge, that May knows exactly what she's doing, and that what she's doing amounts to an absolutely industrial-grade fucking over of every smug inbred useless Tory arsehole she's ever had to endure in order to get her the job she currently has.

Brexit is the most mind-manglingly stupid idea that the Tory party ever came up with, and that's saying something, because by God they've come up with a mountain of them. May was never on board with it. She knows - she must know, having dealt with all them repeatedly at first hand - just how venal and craven and unprincipled and cowardly and beige the Leave camp in her own party is, and she knows exactly how completely fucking stupid the whole enterprise is.

The common wisdom seems to be that May will always say and do whatever is necessary in order to keep her job for another day, regardless of what happens to the UK. But her job, largely as a result of everything she does and says, currently seems to be Dartboard In Chief. Who the fuck wants that job, and who would behave so consistently as to make their job be that?

I think she's stronger and smarter than people give her credit for. I think she knows that revoking Article 50 is the only outcome that actually makes sense, I think she knows that Parliament contains enough frightened ditherers that the only way to get up a solid vote for revoking Article 50 is to wind up the pressure until it's too completely shit-scared to do anything else, and I think she's relentlessly applying the screws to make sure that's how things play out.

I think she's seen the naughty little boys lighting up the stolen ciggie behind the shelter sheds and she's making them smoke the whole packet so they pass out and throw up. It's kind of unfortunate that the only feasible way to get that done is to make the entire UK pass out and throw up at the same time, but then, May does have form for unprincipled ruthlessness.
posted by flabdablet at 9:58 PM on March 12 [7 favorites]


I also think she understands full well and has understood since the snap election didn't go her way that her present position is completely unsustainable, which means she really has nothing to lose by stamping Johnson and Rees-Mogg face down into the mud on her way out. Which, how would you not have an overwhelming desire to do if you were her?
posted by flabdablet at 10:06 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


I wish I could believe flabdablet's read, but it seems about as likely as the Queen unilaterally revoking the Article 50 declaration at the last minute once Parliament finally proves they will only dither and not make any meaningful decision.
posted by wierdo at 10:50 PM on March 12 [11 favorites]


I think that's probably wildly optimistic fanfic flabdalet, and May could easily be so grimly stoic that she insists on "delivering Brexit" at all costs because it appeals to her xenophobia and because that's what she was told to do.

It is extremely hard that the future of so many people depends on the state of mind of this one apparent deeply unhappy and unable to be happy person, but that's the way it's ended up.
posted by ambrosen at 10:54 PM on March 12 [13 favorites]


The thing about Theresa May is that basically her only human interaction is with members of the Conservative Party.

Her hobbies are cooking, walking and watching TV (particularly NCIS), nothing like golf or bridge that might involve meeting people. Her parents died when she was in her twenties. She has no siblings and no children. The Conservative Party is her life.

With a tiny majority the only sensible way to deliver Brexit was with cross-party cooperation. That's the precedent for big crises: WW1, WW2 and the Great Depression were governed under coalitions. But that's unthinkable to her, because people outside the Conservative Party aren't really real.

Her first priority is to keep the Conservative party from splitting, somehow tying the pro-business wing and Euroskeptic wing together. So far she's succeeded. No deal is better than a bad deal because once it's over the Euroskeptics will be happy and the pro-business Tories will suck it up because it's a fait accompli, so the party will stay united. Revoking article 50 would split the party as the Euroskeptics would want to invoke it again, so that can't happen.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:27 PM on March 12 [7 favorites]


TheophileEscargot: I'm not one to jump on the "women get treated differently" bandwagon, but I think maybe by saying "the party is her substitute family", you're framing her decisions as driven by emotion and need rather than... I don't even know what. Just plain bad? And maybe the decisions of a male PM in the same situation wouldn't be framed in that way. Not calling you out by any means - maybe you're right, and it's the framing around a male PM that would be wrong - just making a suggestion.
posted by Leon at 11:39 PM on March 12 [7 favorites]


flabdablet: your theory doesn't explain the snap election. The only reason to call that was to increase her working majority. The only reason to do that was to sideline the ERG and steer for a soft Brexit. That was Plan A. Everything since then has been flying by the seat of her pants.
posted by Leon at 11:44 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


I think she's stronger and smarter than people give her credit for. I think she knows that revoking Article 50 is the only outcome that actually makes sense,

Her government fought, and lost, a court case which wanted to claim that the ECJ should not rule on the issue of Article 50 revocation because it was a hypothetical issue. They were actively seeking to close off this avenue for themselves.

When somebody appears to be so greatly and consistently inept - there is indeed a temptation to wonder if they might really be following a secret tactic. More particularly when they have managed to secure themselves a position that is normally held by smart and competent people. May could indeed be pursuing a vengeance act against some of those in her own party - but if she is doing so then she is screwing up that tactic just as much as she is screwing up everything else.

So I look on May's predicament more as a con man would regard a mark: scammers look for traits such as pride, ego, ignorance, ideology and greed. These traits are often found in abundance in people who are otherwise intelligent. May has them all - in particular because of what appears to be a strong bigotry against imigrants. In this case the conmen can be found in the ERG. They are the ones who are pulling the strings here, I'm afraid.
posted by rongorongo at 12:32 AM on March 13 [11 favorites]


The only reason to do that was to sideline the ERG and steer for a soft Brexit. That was Plan A.

Agreed. But what I'm beginning to suspect that sidelining the ERG, which is where the greatest concentration of insufferably patronizing witless arseholes in the known universe and certainly within May's orbit is to be found, is the central point here.

I suspect that frustrating that pack of useless shits is in fact May's motivating drive, quite plausibly because she correctly if somewhat vaguely perceives their ongoing influence to be inimical to the future of the Tories as a political force, and that whether she achieves that frustration via soft Brexit or Parliamentary refusal to allow a no-deal crash-out doesn't matter much. She would have copped less stick from the press and the public had Plan A actually worked, but as you point out, none of those people are Tory insiders so nothing they say is actually audible.

I don't think she believes that Parliament will allow a no-deal crash-out when push finally comes to shove, and I think that makes sense of her sitting there yesterday chuckling to herself as the Sturm und Drang surged politely back and forth across the benches. She knows perfectly well that the deal on the table is the most accommodating withdrawal agreement that the EU could ever conceivably agree to; she knows that nobody with any clout in Parliament can afford to be seen to be supporting it; and she can laugh about it because the outcome doesn't matter to her.

Optimistic, perhaps. Fanfic? No. I'd have to be a fan for that, and I don't think I could bring myself to be a fan for any Tory.

As TheophileEscargot correctly notes, May is a Tory in a world of Tories and the world outside the party has no relevance for her. But I think it's an error to proceed from that fact to the idea that keeping the Tories united would therefore have to be her goal. The defining characteristic of success, for a Tory, is that somebody else must be made to fail and be seen to have been made to fail. If you're a Tory who simply can't see anybody but other Tories, then those whose failure you seek to engineer will have to be other Tories. There simply isn't anybody else whose failure actually matters.

Any way this plays out, the ERG is fucked worse than she is. They can't win even in what I'm assuming she sees as the somewhat unlikely case that they get their no-deal crash-out, because as soon as that happens she's gone and they won't have her around to shield them from the oncoming shitstorm of public discontent. If the worst comes to the worst, it will be widely understood to be Boris Johnson's fault.

She's a Tory. As long as those she despises end up failing worse than she did, that's success.

In this case the conmen can be found in the ERG. They are the ones who are pulling the strings here, I'm afraid.

I suspect that May correctly perceives that they've managed to tie those strings around their own necks.

I can believe six impossible things before breakfast, but I draw the line at believing that Rees-Mogg, Johnson, Farage et al have a clue between the whole boiling of them.
posted by flabdablet at 12:39 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I am sick if hearing the Teresa May is doing the best she can. I have been hearing it from my parents and in-laws for months. If she was any good at this politics thing she wouldn't keep losing votes. Most people in parliament don't trust her now and anyone who ever worked with her at the Home Office didn't trust her before either. Part of the reason this is all going so badly is that May screwed over the ERG before on matters of Europe when she was Home Secretary. She told them she had their back and then stabbed them. I think it was about the European Arrest Warrant. The usual fudging language that makes things happen doesn't fly because they know she is untrustworthy. This is why they keep nailing her on the language of minor things.

And because she is crap at politics she can't get it through her skull that there is no pleasing them. But she wants to because the ERG are much closer to rank and file Tories than most of the Parliamentary Conservative MPs. She is always been suspicious of those who aren't Shire Tories. They are her base but they aren't much of the country and she isn't offering the rest of us much.
posted by DoveBrown at 1:29 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


@BBCNormanS: Understand the Govt will whip against Dromey/Spelman amendment to take No deal off table permanently

@DavidHenigUK: By far the most important Brexit event today (even above tariffs). This is the PM's attempt to regain control / give an avenue to her deal still passing. Opponents of no-deal have to coalesce around a position otherwise by operation of the law it's no-deal

So without the amendment, the vote is only a temporary rejection of no deal (insofar as you can even temporarily reject the thing that's going to happen automatically without actually taking some affirmative action to replace the automatic one, which you can't)?
posted by zachlipton at 1:36 AM on March 13


I suspect that May correctly perceives that they've managed to tie those strings around their own necks.

As Morris Berman said - "an idea is something you have; an ideology is something that has you". My invocation of super-smart ERG secret string pullers as conmen - is probably wildly over-flattering to them. But Brexit ideology itself can act in the same way. As somebody who voted for remain, May could have hindered leave voting MPs more effectively by saying "OK - so you guys won the referendum and I will sign Article 50 just as soon as you have completed a credible plan about what you want to happen - one that will be acceptable to parliament and to the EU".
posted by rongorongo at 1:43 AM on March 13 [12 favorites]


There's a limited number of possible Brexit options, with some variation and overlap. That has not changed in the years since the referendum. If you'd have asked any moderately informed person on the street in the EU 2 years ago, they would have been able to express that, and they did. The EU even made a list of possible arrangements for Brexit.

Neither May nor Labour nor the Tories get to make up their own version of Brexit. It's the remaining EU states. The final agreement has much more to do with EU politics than it does with the choices that May and the UK government makes — which, as an aside, makes it somewhat frustrating to see outside opinion sometimes not valued even here amongst MetaFriends because we don't understand insider UK politics.

May has no grand plan, she is just riding the waves and watching each fantasy version of Brexit sink, since nearly every proposal was full of holes from the outset. What's left is what's left.
posted by romanb at 2:12 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I do think that this is entirely an internecine battle in the Tory party that they've externalised onto the whole country, and May's entire purpose is to keep the party from splitting, so as much as I'd like to think she has a secret plan to scupper Brexit entirely, I don't think she's that smart, and more than that, I don't think she gives a damn about the welfare of the country itself. At this point, I think she has no idea what to do, so she's just going to stubbornly plow on with her bloody plan, because it's hers, and she still wants to keep the party together and hang onto power.
posted by skybluepink at 2:21 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


May could have hindered leave voting MPs more effectively by saying "OK - so you guys won the referendum and I will sign Article 50 just as soon as you have completed a credible plan about what you want to happen - one that will be acceptable to parliament and to the EU".

If she cared more about looking after the nation than she does about opportunistically fucking over the ERG shower, that's undoubtedly what she would have done. But I can think of no more effective way to maximize the egg on Boris Johnson's face than being seen to be trying to give him exactly what he says he wants and thereby giving him no choice but to keep being seen to want that in order to justify his endless whinging about how little support he's getting from that terrible woman, and I'm tipping that neither can May.

I'm sure May has it in her mind that the Tories are the party of the Sensible People Who Ought To Be Running The Country, because that's how conservatists always and everywhere see themselves. But it has to be apparent to any Tory who isn't a gurning loon that Jacob Rees-Mogg is Nigel Incubator-Jones, is therefore not sensible, and that he and his idiot mates must therefore be eliminated before they hurt the Party's prospects any further than they already have.

So I'm by no means attempting to suggest that May is doing the best she can to further the interests of the UK, because I agree that she really gives no actual fucks about that. I think she's doing the best she can to further what she sees as the interests of her own faction within the Tory party; and if there is any ray of hope in that view at all, it rests on the fact that the worst possible outcome for the ERG would be an unambiguous refusal by Parliament to let Brexit happen at all.
posted by flabdablet at 2:31 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


she is just riding the waves and watching each fantasy version of Brexit sink, since nearly every proposal was full of holes from the outset

The thing about that is that there has never been a proposal other than the one that Parliament has now twice rejected. "Brexit means Brexit" and "Take back control" and "The Will of the People must be respected" are slogans, not proposals.
posted by flabdablet at 2:35 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


When is today's frankly baffling vote against not having no deal or whatever it is?
posted by winterhill at 2:41 AM on March 13


> When is today's frankly baffling vote against not having no deal or whatever it is?

Quarter past who even gives a fuck anymore?

Actually at 19:00 UK time I think.
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:46 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


Is there anywhere with a summary of the past few days, because I just am not following it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:49 AM on March 13


I don't think the EU is in any mood to grant an extension. It certainly won't do so without a plan by the UK as to what it intends to do with that time.

The UK has the power to stop No-Deal by revoking Article 50. It has the power to continue with Brexit by backing May's Deal - the ONLY deal available. It even has the power to crash out if it wants to.

The UK does not now need the EU in order to exercise any of the options. It just needs to decide on one.
posted by vacapinta at 3:20 AM on March 13 [11 favorites]


May lost another vote in the House. That’s it really: nothing else has changed. We are still leaving the EU on the 29th March unless Parliament decides otherwise.

At this point Parliament can request an extension to the leave date from the EU (which they’ve said they’re minded to grant, but only if there seems some likelihood of it being a productive thing to do) or we can revoke Article 50 altogether and not leave, or we can crash out on March 29th. The choice between the latter two is the only thing (thanks to Gina Miller et al) that is actually within Parliaments power.
posted by pharm at 3:23 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


the worst possible outcome for the ERG would be an unambiguous refusal by Parliament to let Brexit happen at all.

That's their best possible outcome. I understand that the dolchstoßlegende* narrative has worked to motivate the right wing before, and just as this time it centres on the idea that the fantasy sunlit uplands would have been made available if only the mean liberals had shown moral fibre. This was literally Boris' plan with the referendum, no? Narrowly lose and be the head of the backlash.

*stab in the back
posted by jaduncan at 3:24 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


The thing about that is that there has never been a proposal other than the one that Parliament has now twice rejected.

That depends on your definition of proposal. Norway+, Norway++, Empire and Commonwealth 2.0, Switzerland, Canada+++, etc. were proposals. Sure, they were fantasies, but that's my point. It's the outsiders (the EU and the rest of the world) that determine which flavor of Brexit is possible, not May and Co.
posted by romanb at 3:26 AM on March 13


> I don't think the EU is in any mood to grant an extension. It certainly won't do so without a plan by the UK as to what it intends to do with that time.
There is certainly no appetite from the EU side for an extension in order to go back to Brussels with the dead deal and ask for changes to the backstop. The EU position has been crystal clear all along, in the face of endless wavering from the UK side. The deal is done and there is no re-opening.

There has to be a reason to delay exit other than "let's go round again". It's up to Parliament to agree on that reason, which on current form I hold little hope of them doing. They're very good at saying no to everything.
posted by winterhill at 3:30 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


> an idea is something you have; an ideology is something that has you

Nice
posted by Leon at 3:32 AM on March 13 [7 favorites]


It's the outsiders (the EU and the rest of the world) that determine which flavor of Brexit is possible, not May and Co.

It's both. That's what a negotiation is. I don't think anyone is confused about this except for some right honourable members, of course.
posted by Dysk at 4:25 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


The problem is there's basically 4 groups in parliament. The brexiteers who largely want no deal; Tory loyalists and labour loyalists who follow the respective whip, and soft brexit/remainers.

The only two pairings that have a majority are the brexiteers and Tory loyalists; and the Tory and labour loyalists. The 2nd pairing obviously is unpalatable to both sides up to now, thus May trying to get through with her loyalists and the brexiteers, and they stabbed her in the back what, 3 or 4 times now? But so far they've been enough to pass a confidence motion.

Labour loyalists plus remainers is not a big enough pairing to have a majority in parliament. And thus no 2nd referendum, or withdrawing article 50 amendment. And Corbyn isn't exactly enthusiastic for those options either, he didn't even mention them yesterday after the WA was defeated.

So you need something that can peel off enough Tory loyalists with remainer sympathies and Corbyn will whip for. Voting down no deal for now, yes, but you need something to replace it with to actually make it stick.

Will the Tory wets finally defy May in enough numbers to force her to ask for an extension long enough to actually achieve something other than try the WA for a 3rd time, I.e. beyond the EU elections?

We find out Thursday.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:36 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


It looks like Farage and Wigmore have collaborated with their Italian fascist MEP counterpart to make sure the required unanimity for an extension won't happen...

@carolecadwalla: Last week @arron_banks & @andywigmore went to Veneto, the heartland of Italy's Lega Nord. Today, the plan is revealed. The fascists have agreed to help Britain exit without a deal. Salvini will block an extension of article 50. We're fucked.
posted by Buntix at 4:55 AM on March 13 [13 favorites]


It's both. That's what a negotiation is. I don't think anyone is confused about this except for some right honourable members, of course.

The fundamentals are so poorly understood across the UK political spectrum that it's no wonder things are where they are today: confused, desperate, running out of time. It's not the kind of give-and-take negotiation that this comment implies.
posted by romanb at 5:05 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


The fascists have agreed to help Britain exit without a deal. Salvini will block an extension of article 50. We're fucked.

Revoke, then. I mean, it's that or accept that UK sovereignty is subject to approval from Italian fascists.
posted by Dysk at 5:06 AM on March 13 [32 favorites]


The fundamentals are so poorly understood across the UK political spectrum that it's no wonder things are where they are today:

This is not true, though. We're not exactly sending our best and brightest - that the current government doesn't understand something, and the papers pretend not to, doesn't mean that it isn't broadly understood.
posted by Dysk at 5:08 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Yeah, seriously. The only thing I can think of that remains on the table in response to this, other than May dragging out her deal for yet another vote, is to revoke.

I don't understand, though. None of these guys, as far as I can tell, have any governmental authority whatsoever. Can private citizens just go out and make foreign policy with impunity?
posted by skybluepink at 5:10 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


To what wierdo said above:

As a Canadian, I have to admit that I've daydreamed about nightmare political scenarios in my country and whether they might trigger the Crown, or her representative (a resolute Governor General) to buck convention and decide to act unilaterally to end the childish squabbling of politicians leading us into darkness...

And now, sadly, Brexit may definitively demonstrate whether the head of state is purely figurative from this point on, because I can't think of a better situation in which the Queen would have a moral right to act in the best interests of her people.

I hope for the sake of everyone in the UK and the rest of the EU that sanity prevails first.
posted by Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer at 5:25 AM on March 13 [6 favorites]


No, but remember, both the British Leavers and Italian Fascists are up to their necks in Putin's money; operating outside normal channels to ensure their paymaster's will is done sounds about right for those sacks of shit.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 5:26 AM on March 13 [19 favorites]


Daniel Boffey, The Guardian's Brussels Bureau Chief, on twitter

Michel Barnier has told senior MEPs this morning that there is no clear majority yet among the member states for any extension at all.

Carole Cadwaller on twitter

It's a done deal. Banks & Farage have sewn up Italy. Here's @patrickwintour pointing out same re Poland. Hungary's a no brainer. We will not got extension to article 50. MPs need to realise that today. It's a fantasy. And just 16 days till we crash out

Ian Dunt:

National breakdown: A glimpse of the vicious chaos of no-deal

I'll just be over here, quietly having a heart attack
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:03 AM on March 13 [8 favorites]


Further to Farage's Mission Fascismo:

Patrick Wintour, Guardian Diplomatic Editor: Number of Tory MPs went to see members of Polish governing party last week in Warsaw - broadly on same errand, namely to block Article 50 extension.

So that's British MPs colluding with foreign powers to thwart the will of the British Parliament. There's a word for that.
posted by rory at 6:04 AM on March 13 [24 favorites]


I did see several less alarmist people pointing out that it's extremely unlikely a sensible Article 50 Extension Request will be vetoed.

And remember that Salvini is Deputy PM of Italy, and there's no evidence Conte agreed. There is a conspiracy, but it's probably not a successful conspiracy.
posted by ambrosen at 6:21 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


Look, Carole Cadwalladr is a great journalist but this is verging on conspiracy madness. Banks went to Venice last week. Now he tweets oh hey Italy, block us extending Article 50 could you, grazie! And this is evidence of a grand fascist plan....?
posted by humuhumu at 6:28 AM on March 13


And now, sadly, Brexit may definitively demonstrate whether the head of state is purely figurative from this point on, because I can't think of a better situation in which the Queen would have a moral right to act in the best interests of her people.

The only form of government worse than Monarchy is no-kidding Fascism. We cannot pretend that Brexit was arrived at Democratically. It was a no-kidding, not-euphemism big-F Fascist Orwellian shit-show from the beginning. If Monarchy steps in to override Democracy before Fascism does, well, it's not a good thing. But it's better than folks starving in the streets and being murdered for their ethnicity. Because that's the thing driving the Brexiteers - to drive out all of the Foreigners who were born in Brittain (well, that and to discredit democracy in favor of oligarchy).

It's not like the Queen hasn't done her part to punch a Nazi before now...
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:32 AM on March 13 [8 favorites]


Oh god, I forgot Farage was still an MEP. He's been asking the European Parliament to refuse a delay and force us into hard Brexit. A few bumps in the road, evidently, but we'll all go our separate ways and it'll be super in the end. I am so fucking tired of that guy.
posted by skybluepink at 6:34 AM on March 13


In British English monarchy doesn't have most of the connotations it does in US English, and frankly, this is a weird, North America centric derail.
posted by ambrosen at 6:43 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]


Shouldn’t Farage be... talked to very sternly? And then sent away? That Johnson can only see Brexit in terms of his own political usage I take for granted but Farage... that he still has a say in anything... he is so transparently working against the best interests of the citizens of the UK.

This has been the most difficult part of both Brexit and Trump - or at least a missed opportunity: if the I.R.A. (The Russian org) can swing the vote for Trump, why can’t a similar group swing the vote against Trump/ against Farage/Leavers? There’s an asymmetry there I find hard to reconcile.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:00 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I heard a vox pop from the streets of London today on the radio and the anger and desperation in people's voices was hard to listen to. This is bad and it seems people are catching on to it.

About May and the remainer Tories in general. The default Conservative position, in the UK and elsewhere, is that things will work out in the end. This guides their stance on climate change, on racism, on dictatorships, on war, on poisoned rivers, etc. etc. They say to themselves and the rest of: "look at the past; in the end, things have worked out". Obviously, things have mainly worked out because people who weren't conservative worked them out, and before that happy end arrived millions of people died, but Conservatives ignore that part of history/reality.
I think May understands that the situation is bad, but deep in her innermost heart she strongly believes that things will work out in the end. And in a way, she is right. One day, after millions of people have suffered, there will be a new order in which the UK (whatever is left off it) will co-exist with the rest of Europe. And she, and other rich twits will be among those who have suffered least or even profited from the pain of others.

TLDR: May doesn't give a shit, but it's an ideological stance.
posted by mumimor at 7:07 AM on March 13 [16 favorites]


Look, Carole Cadwalladr is a great journalist but this is verging on conspiracy madness. Banks went to Venice last week. Now he tweets oh hey Italy, block us extending Article 50 could you, grazie! And this is evidence of a grand fascist plan....?

No need for a conspiracy when the official Leave EU Twittter account is publicly asking him to do it.
posted by PenDevil at 7:14 AM on March 13 [8 favorites]


They're conspiring, PenDevil. But that has nothing to do with whether or not the conspiracy will be successful. It seems extremely unlikely that it will.
posted by ambrosen at 7:18 AM on March 13


Carole Cadwalladr is a great journalist but this is verging on conspiracy madness

I prefer "Carole Cadwalladr is a great journalist and this is verging on conspiracy madness".
posted by flabdablet at 7:38 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


No need for a conspiracy when the official Leave EU Twittter account is publicly asking him to do it.

Who is the him in that sentence though? Salvini is not the PM so does not have the power to veto. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here...
posted by the long dark teatime of the soul at 8:00 AM on March 13


I don't understand, though. None of these guys, as far as I can tell, have any governmental authority whatsoever. Can private citizens just go out and make foreign policy with impunity?

They can ask other European politicians to take a certain stance, yeah. They are, ironically enough, all EU nationals with rights of political petition and expression.
posted by jaduncan at 8:02 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Salvini is not the PM so does not have the power to veto. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here...

The question I'd ask is if Orban's head can be turned. He's very close to Russia, too.
posted by jaduncan at 8:03 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Classic Marina Hyde today: As for what happens next, one Tory MP judged: “Fuck knows”. Welcome to Fuckknowsville. Population: us.
posted by rory at 8:31 AM on March 13 [9 favorites]


The six amendments tabled ahead of today’s debate on No Deal.

I don't really speak legalese, but b seems to be "Revoke article 50" and d seems to be "second referendum".
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:32 AM on March 13


The Speaker John Bercow has selected amendments a (Spelman) and f (Malthouse), so b and d are off the table for today's vote on No Deal. They could resurface in some form in the vote on extension tomorrow.
posted by rory at 8:59 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


if the I.R.A. (The Russian org) can swing the vote for Trump, why can’t a similar group swing the vote against Trump/ against Farage/Leavers? There’s an asymmetry there I find hard to reconcile.

Inciting division is easy; it's humanity's natural state. Inciting brotherhood is a bit harder.
posted by Leon at 9:15 AM on March 13 [5 favorites]


The End of the Cult of Sympathy for Theresa May (Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic)
After suffering a second crushing blow to her Brexit deal, Britons’ sympathies for the prime minister appear to be running out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:22 AM on March 13


The End? Ahahahaha. I don't think so.

There is a certain forelock-tugging mindset that admires the visible struggle of leaders who are put a lot of hours in but are, more importantly, fucking awful at their jobs. It is this admiration that leads them to say CEOs should be paid a hundred times or a thousand times that of normal workers, even if those same CEOs have no actual influence on the performance of the company.

I've seen this argument even amongst friends, who tell me, "well, she did the best she could have with this shitshow." Nope, I'm not going to give you that. She could have reached out to the other parties, she could have stood up to the ERG, she could have avoided holding an election that reduced her majority FFS! She could have held a series of indicative votes. She could have resigned back when the first meaningful vote was defeated. All these things, she could have done, but no, some will keep admiring her for slogging on by doing an awful, awful job.

The worst thing is how she simply berates all the other parties for not falling in line! That's not how this shit works. You're leading the government. It's your job to convince people. She can't even convince her own coalition!
posted by adrianhon at 9:43 AM on March 13 [29 favorites]


 The default Conservative position … "look at the past; in the end, things have worked out"

Mainly because in the long run, we are all dead. Things work out because the people who cared about issues at the time aren't around any more, and the current situation is assumed to be normal.

You can only tread on the cat until it turns on you.
posted by scruss at 9:47 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Jesus fucking Christ. Ruling out no-deal won today's vote... by 4 votes, 312-308.

308 MPs think No Deal brexit should be government policy.

We are truly, deeply fucked.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:28 PM on March 13 [13 favorites]


312-308 is too bloody close. That's 308 crazy fuckers who are willing to push us off the cliff.
posted by skybluepink at 12:29 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


BBC: MPs Vote to Reject No-Deal Brexit—MPs have voted by 312 to 308 to reject leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

Meanwhile, Guardian Brussels correspondent Jennifer Rankin reports on EU officials' mood earlier:
Sabine Weyand told EU ambassadors that decision to vote on Malthouse compromise - already rejected by Brussels umpteen times - showed that parliament was “divorced from reality”.

EU officials also seem astonished and disheartened that May has allowed a free vote on no-deal - negotiated so painfully with the EU. "Incredible" was the verdict of one source.

EU officials have now given up on short "technical" extension, although member states reserve right to be flexible. Germany especially does not want to close doors.

But don't underestimate how fed up many people are (fed up being the polite expression).

“There was a feeling [in amb meeting] ‘wouldn't it be better to have a dose of no deal to bring some sanity to the debate.”
Weyand also quoted what Dutch PM Mark Rutte said to Juncker: "Theresa May is like the Captain of the Titanic shouting at the iceberg to get out of the way and refusing to change course… then blaming the iceberg when the ship sinks".

Michel Barnier has told senior MEPs this morning that there is no clear majority yet among the member states for any extension at all.

Guardian: Why should EU extend Brexit talks – they're complete, says Barnier—Europe’s chief negotiator says Brussels will give no further assurances to the UK “Why would we extend these discussions?” Barnier asked MEPs in the parliament in Strasbourg. “The discussion on article 50 is done and dusted. We have the withdrawal agreement. It is there. President Juncker also said that there will be no further interpretations, no further assurances - we cannot go any further.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:30 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


312-308 was just for the amendment for trying to shove No Deal even further out of the picture. It's not that 308 were voting for no deal. That vote is coming (but a bit superfluous now as it's obvs going to pass)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:31 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


That was actually a whipped vote so people are thinking that ministers may have voted against the government and will have to resign
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:33 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Fucking BBC didn't make that clear. Which amendment was 312-308?
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:34 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


This just gets stupider by the minute. We effectively have no government.
posted by skybluepink at 12:35 PM on March 13


Malthouse amendment has been defeated 374-164
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:36 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Ian Dunt has a live thread of the votes going which will lay out what’s what: “all hell is about to break loose.”
posted by zachlipton at 12:36 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Well. And because of that 312-308 vote, the government is has done a 180 and is now whipping *against* the final bill -- a government motion! -- now that it doesn't have their exact version of ruling-out-no-deal.

This is pants-on-head madness.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:38 PM on March 13 [10 favorites]


Isn't that the one she stood up in Parliament yesterday and croaked out would be a free vote? Does she ever stop lying?
posted by skybluepink at 12:39 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Does she ever stop lying?

The amendment makes it a different thing they are voting on
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:40 PM on March 13


According to the guardian, the amendment makes it «  word-for-word the same as one passed by the Commons in January, after the first Brexit “next steps” vote. »
posted by motdiem2 at 12:43 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Fucking BBC didn't make that clear. Which amendment was 312-308?

The Guardian live blog is clearer that it's the Spelman amendment: "Theresa May has been defeated by four votes, because MPs have backed the Spelman amendment ruling out a no-deal Brexit for good by 312 votes to 308."

And it spells out the significance, not least of which is that it's non-binding (but so was the Brexit referendum).

BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg: "So... the main vote is now on whether UK can EVER leave the EU without a deal (because of earlier Spelman vote) - govt is now said to be trying to force its own MP s to vote against its own motion - frankly things so chaotic this could implode by mistake"
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:44 PM on March 13


Isn't *everything* non-binding, since they could just vote again and reverse?
posted by Chrysostom at 12:45 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I feel like it was a mistake for the EU to signal in any way, for any reason, an extension would be granted. Sure, they qualified it -- that it couldn't be just kicking the can down the road and so forth -- which is of course completely reasonable but they're not dealing with reasonable people. Brexiteers are deluded and so of course they interpreted this as "the EU will definitely grant an extension so we have time to get everything we want, plus a pony". Half of them believe this nonsense and the other half actually want a No Deal. If the EU wants to avoid a crash-out, they should have been unambiguous that it's May's deal or nothing. Anything less just encourages this absurd continuing delusion.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:46 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


Hoping for one of those massive punch-ups in parliament now, like they have in other crazy countries
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:48 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Ministers are abstaining, and apparently May is now voting for No Deal. This is a sick joke.
posted by skybluepink at 12:48 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


The Ayes have it! 321-278
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:51 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

@labourlordsuk: BREAKING: 3rd Govt defeat on #TradeBill today, as Peers vote 193-154 FOR @WilfStevenson -led, cross-bench backed legally-binding amendt (34) to #TradeBill that would not allow subsequent Act to commence in event of #NoDeal #Brexit Oppn. Maj. 39

If May is effectively voting for no deal and the trade bill can’t take effect if there’s no deal, then what happens?
posted by zachlipton at 12:54 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


She'll probably try to bring her withdrawal agreement bill back again. I am completely serious.
posted by skybluepink at 12:57 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


It's already hard to understand UK politics and I'm following it pretty closely as a next door neighbour but this shitshow with all kinds of different votes on weird amendments truly boggles the mind. Apart from Brexit being a stupid idea in the first place, what's happening tonight seems so totally unnecessary and missing the mark about what's really important at this stage or am I just not getting it?
posted by Kosmob0t at 12:59 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


It looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
posted by daveje at 1:01 PM on March 13 [17 favorites]


Guardian live blog: May tells MPs if they do not back Brexit deal soon, she will have to seek long article 50 extension
She says tonight’s vote does not change the fundamental problem; if MPs want to rule out no deal, they must vote for a deal, she says.

She says she has promised a vote on extending article 50. Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, will soon make a business statement confirming that this will happen tomorrow.

If MPs back a deal soon, the government will seek a short, technical extension of article 50.

But if MPs do not vote for a deal, and do not want a no-deal Brexit, there will have to be a longer extension. And that would rquires the UK to take part in the European elections.
Sky News (w/video): 'The PM has said it was her deal or no-deal, in the past 24 hours the House has rejected both' - But Jeremy Corbyn says extending Article 50 without a clear plan is not a solution. He says Labour has a 'credible alternative plan. Whether that is a permanent customs union, a public vote, or Norway plus.'
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:02 PM on March 13


NARRATOR: Labour did not have a credible alternative plan.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:04 PM on March 13 [47 favorites]


...and this is the parliament that Brexit hands back power to...

Could we perhaps have a referendum on keeping the EU but scrapping Westminster entirely?*





* Still hoping for an indyref2 for Scotland, but I mean the same, but for the whole of the UK. Mebbe have an English parliament in Manchester or something.
posted by Buntix at 1:07 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


But hey, this time Jezza did say something about a public vote…

Meanwhile, the EU Commission reacts, "We take note of the votes in the House of Commons this evening. There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal. The EU is prepared for both. To take no deal off the table, it is not enough to vote against no deal - you have to agree to a deal. We have agreed a deal with the Prime Minister and the EU is ready to sign it."
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:09 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


I though the idea of devolution to English Regional Assemblies/Parliament was stupid when it was proposed 15+ years ago. After watching the last 3 years of Westminster politics, I'd be happy with at least an English Parliament with matched devolved powers to Edinburgh, Stormont and Cardiff - and yes, I agree that Manchester would be the best place for it.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 1:11 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]




+1 on more devolution. I’m not an expert but it feels as if the UK is way more centralised than smaller comparable countries like Canada and Australia, where provinces have more autonomy over taxes and spending.

Interestingly, Mefi’s Own Tom Watson’s new Future Britain group says it’s for more devolution, although we’ll see whether that pans out.
posted by adrianhon at 1:15 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Guardian live blog: May will tell MPs to pass deal by next Wednesday or face long Brexit deal, Commons told

"The government motion tabled for tomorrow sets next Wednesday as the deadline for MPs to pass a Brexit deal. It says, if a deal is passed by then, the government will seek an extension of article 50 until 30 June. But if the deal is not passed by then, then the government will need a longer extension, requiring the UK to take part in European elections, the motion says."
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:16 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I keep writing a bunch of responses to all this, but I keep deleting them as the news keeps overtaking with more insanity.

So I'll just say I hope the UK Parliament gets a straight up and down vote to revoke the Article 50 notification. And of course, I hope that passes and is acted on. Go team "UK Remains"!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:24 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Can we just get the commons replaced with an extremely large mural of the emoticon shrug
posted by ominous_paws at 1:27 PM on March 13 [12 favorites]


Personally I'd like to see a colossal foot dropped onto it from space, to the tune of The Liberty Bell. That way we can still use it as a tourist attraction.
posted by Grangousier at 1:29 PM on March 13 [14 favorites]


It's as if it's the arse kicking world championship and the British team have shown up a leg short.
posted by scruss at 1:33 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


No they have the requisite number of legs, but they’re too busy kicking each other’s asses to compete.

Also there are no other teams.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:35 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


Worse, we have an extra leg, but it's continuously kicking ourselves up the arse...
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 1:36 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


One thing we can agree on: there is no shortage of arses involved
posted by ominous_paws at 1:38 PM on March 13 [23 favorites]


...and I think we’re all getting legless tonight.
posted by adrianhon at 1:41 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


May has lost not only control of the House, she proved she'd lost of control of her party yesterday. Today shows she's lost control of her Cabinet. Seriously, multiple senior ministers sitting out a three line whip?

For non-brits following along from home, a three line whip is where the government deploys all its pressure (via a group of people called whips) to get MPs of that party to vote a certain way. A minister, employed by the government not voting the way the whips office tells them to is normally an immediate sacking offence.

In short, May tried to pass a motion (a non-binding statement) which basically said her deal was better than no-deal. It was amended, just, to say parliament doesn't want no-deal under any circumstances. So May whipped her party to vote against the amended motion, in effect telling her party to vote FOR no-deal. Not only did she lose, a bunch of ministers, employed by the government, just effectively told May to suck it by sitting out the final vote.

In *theory* that means Parliament, at the last gasp, might actually force May to withdraw article 50 if the only other option is no-deal; and that May no longer can control enough remainers in Tory party to achieve well, anything they don't like.

Oh, and 164 MPs are either legally insane or outright bought and paid for, because they voted for something that literally does not and cannot exist (also known as the Malthouse compromise B amendment) in an attempt to force us to crash us out.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:50 PM on March 13 [27 favorites]


Alan White: how the hell is anyone supposed to report on this? we should all just go head to the Winchester, have a pint and let it all blow over
posted by Chrysostom at 2:02 PM on March 13 [14 favorites]


"how the hell is anyone supposed to report on this?"

Great question. It makes me worry that twitter will be the first, last and only draft of history.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:18 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


A minister, employed by the government not voting the way the whips office tells them to is normally an immediate sacking offence.

(Sorry - Yank here...) Does that mean just sacked/resign from the government, or from Parliament itself as well?

Because if they broke with the government's direction over this, then presumably they might personally be leaning "remain"? And you wouldn't want to lose potential remain votes in Parliament.
posted by dnash at 2:29 PM on March 13


Just from government, they’d still be an MP.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:32 PM on March 13


Out of the government, back to the "backbenches" in Parliament. You can't fire an MP*.

* Generally speaking. Technically, they can't even quit.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 2:33 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]




So, members of government are always MP's ? That's different here in the Netherlands....
posted by Pendragon at 2:39 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


Lords can be part of the government too.
posted by edd at 2:44 PM on March 13


A minister, employed by the government not voting the way the whips office tells them to is normally an immediate sacking offence.
Yup. In the midst of multiple breathtaking moments in British politics, this evening's utter breakdown of party discipline at all levels of the Conservative government is as astonishing as any of them.

Even one of the whips, Mike Freer, abstained from the 3 line whip. (There are rumours that he had 'permission', but on what grounds and whether that's merely a face-saving attempt to maintain the semblance of collective responsibility is as yet unclear.)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:55 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


For anyone else wondering: the "three line whip" means the matter is of the highest priority, and it is literally underlined three times in the party's circular to members. Whips - UK Parliament
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:00 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


In fact, Cabinet ministers don't have to be either MPs or in the House of Lords. From Wikipedia -

Occasionally cabinet members are selected from outside the Houses of Parliament and if necessary granted a peerage. Harold Wilson appointed Frank Cousins and Patrick Gordon Walker to the 1964 cabinet despite their not being MPs at the time. On 3 October 2008 Peter Mandelson, at the time of appointment not a member of either House, became Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and was immediately made a life peer. During the First World War, the South African politician Jan Smuts served in Lloyd George's War Cabinet without ever becoming a member of either house of the British parliament.

I think this is because ministers of the crown are technically appointed (and sacked) by the monarch - albeit on the advice of the PM - and that HM has the power to pick any damn person they like. In practice, it's almost, almost always MPs. But if HRH The Queen decided to sack the lot of 'em and appoint the members of this thread to the Cabinet, there's no constitutional barrier to it.

I do not seek power, but if called upon to serve...
posted by Devonian at 3:10 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


Fair enough if they don't sack half the cabinet but a whip defying a three line whip is hilarious.
Can one defy oneself?
posted by fullerine at 3:11 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


American here:

So, can somebody explain to me Labour's role in this? Specifically Corbyn?

I know a lot of people hate him for a whole slew of reasons, but it seems so weird he's just... not mentioned much during all of this.He's not a dunce and would appear to be one of the most powerful politicians left as the Tories continue to self-immolate today.

What's he hoping for? What's his angle?
posted by lattiboy at 3:29 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Corbyn has very little power to do anything, as he doesn't have the votes in Parliament. He's also been extraordinarily indecisive, because he wants to leave the EU but his party overwhelmingly wants to stay. Thus, he has made little impact on events.

To be fair, events have mostly involved the Tory party tearing itself apart - so why does he need to do anything? - and doing enormous damage to the country in the process - ah, that's why.

Corbyn has decided not to act in effective opposition to Brexit, so he's been largely ignored.
posted by Devonian at 3:36 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


[Quick note, it's pretty late in the day on Brexit stuff and Americans showing up here have basic questions, it's better to do a little outside reading. Fine if people want to answer but let's not get derailed from the more knowledgable discussion people have been having.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:42 PM on March 13 [17 favorites]


To be fair, it is quite difficult to read up on Corbyn coming from outside. I wonder if anyone could make a Corbyn post? I'm probably too angry and not British enough to take it on myself.
posted by mumimor at 3:45 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


@LobsterMitten: I have done a fair amount of outside reading, but Corbyn is practically impossible to read about without an avalanche of wildly contradictory polemic takes coming at you........... OK, after reading my own comment I totally get why you don't want this subject to come up in this thread now.
posted by lattiboy at 3:53 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


Well, to be fair, does anybody really understand all this Brexit stuff ? It's all a big fucking omnishambles if you ask me...
posted by Pendragon at 3:53 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]




Jesus, that Ian Dunt article. It's just clusterfuck upon clusterfuck isn't it?

And after all this it looks like she's going to try and push her fucking deal through again.
posted by jontyjago at 4:07 PM on March 13


Omnishambles .... That's all it is now........
posted by Pendragon at 4:10 PM on March 13


Corbyn is not a fan of the way the EU project has turned out, run by the neoliberal technocrats in Brussels, dominated by German bankers. What the German bankers have done to Greece and Spain is monstrous. And Spain actually was running a budget surplus before the financial crisis, unlike Germany. But the German bankers had to be bailed out for their reckless lending so brutal austerity for Spain and Greece had to be.

The UK is less susceptible to this pressure since it isn't tied to the Euro, but it doesn't mean than the EU technocrats don't have other ways of abusing the public.

So I think Corbyn favors a pan-European project, just not this neoliberal one.
posted by JackFlash at 4:12 PM on March 13 [5 favorites]


What's he hoping for? What's his angle?

Oh boy. I'll give it a go. I'm not a Corbyn fan when it comes to Brexit, though, so this might be a *touch* biased.

Corbyn is basically a longstanding member of the hard left who's spent most of his Labour career doing not much. After Tony Blair et al, Labour members got rather fed up of the old centrist 'can't really tell Labour apart from the Tories' party, and there was a big influx of younger members who voted Corbyn in as leader in a bit of a shock, (pre-brexit referendum), after Labour lost the general election in 2015 to thrice-be-damned-smarmy-fuckwit Cameron and the tories.

Something like 90% of Labour members (i.e. ordinary people who pay money to receive the newsletters and vote on Party leader) are remainers, including all of those shiny new young people. Around that same percentage of Labour Party MPs are remainers, or at most soft brexiteers, i.e. so soft you wouldn't even know we'd left.

Corbyn and his key advisors have been anti-EU for 30 years, and he generally comes across as pro-brexit, though he supposedly voted for Remain.

To square this circle, there was a vote at the Labour party conference to work out how to handle it.
1) seek a general election and when Labour wins, Corbyn becomes PM, and worry about what happens next after that
2) Since Labour don't have the numbers in Parliament to force a general election (this is why they're not the government, after all) if calling for a GE fails, then try to get a better-than-staying-in amazeballs Labour super-soft Brexit
3) if that doesn't work, for some unknown reason, then try for a referendum with remain as an option.

In theory we've been at step 3 for a while, and Corbyn occasionally acknowledges this. He mostly though spends his time still calling for a general election, or saying the Labour plan for Brexit is much better than May's (it's mostly fantasy wishlisting that the EU will kill off in about 5 minutes flat), so we should do that. When kicked under the table, he sometimes remembers to mutter that a referendum might still eventually be Labour policy, but not right now, because obviously the answer is a general election where everybody congratulates him on becoming PM, and it'd be a great Brexit.

So most of the time, Corbyn can effectively be ignored, and the one stating actual Labour policy is Keir Starmer, Labour's Brexit spokesman. And the heavy lifting is being done by backbenchers, not least Yvette Cooper, a previous Minister and previous shadow Home Secretary. She stood against Corbyn for Labour leader and lost, and has been on the backbenches since.

Corbyn has to go along with his party on votes like this, i.e. vote against no-deal, because otherwise by the next week you'd probably be able to fit the number of Labour MPs who hadn't quit the party in a taxi. But his heart really isn't in it, which is why he comes in for so much flack from people who wish he'd actually oppose Brexit with some of the same vigour he shows on, for example, piss-poor government handling of social issues, drastic cuts to social services etc etc.

A leader of the opposition who actually put his back into opposition on Brexit might have meant we weren't 2 weeks from crashing out before Parliament (3/4 of whom voted Remain) showed the first stirring of trying to stop it. But we'll never know, because we're stuck with him until this all plays out.

It's often said now that May is the worst PM we've ever had, while Corbyn is the worst leader of the Opposition. And Parliament is about as popular right now as performing root-canal surgery on yourself with a rusty spoon. Which is why the UK *might* look a bunch of enthusiastic idiots who don't know what they voted for, being led by spivs and wankers into the biggest self-inflicted catastrophe in our history, but trust me, it's entirely accurate.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:13 PM on March 13 [54 favorites]


I'm not going to flag anyone, and I'm not going to repeat what I have written about Corbyn before, but I will repeat that we probably should have a separate Corbyn post, or just ignore him entirely and eat some ice cream while we wait for the apocalypse.
posted by mumimor at 4:21 PM on March 13 [4 favorites]


It looks like things have got so low that my MP has somehow found a sliver of backbone and voted against the possibility of a no-deal, resigning as a minister in the process.
posted by biffa at 5:10 PM on March 13 [6 favorites]


I don't even know what the motion meant. I mean, I really appreciate Ian Dunt's crib notes, but what does this mean?
That this House rejects the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement and a framework for the future relationship.
If no deal is achieved, and Parliament does not stop the Article 50 process, then the UK will inevitably leave the EU without a deal. Ruling out a no-deal Brexit doesn't mean anything without an affirmation that you're choosing an alternative. It's like, "if you step out of the plane, and you do not open your parachute, you will hit the ground." You can't say "OK, I am ruling out hitting the ground." You have to actually decide to either not step out of the plane, or to open your parachute once you have left the aircraft. So what the dickens is Parliament doing? And why did May even decide to bring her motion up for a vote?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:53 PM on March 13 [9 favorites]


Forget it, Joe. It’s Brexit.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:05 PM on March 13 [25 favorites]


It's what happens next that matters. If nothing happens, then yes, the UK crashes out at the end of the month - this motion doesn't stop that happening by itself. But the House has said that it doesn't want this to happen, and May has to find a path that complies with this wish. So, there'll be a motion extending A50, withdrawing A50 (unlikely), re-presenting May's deal, or (perhaps after another defeat) proposing a referendum. This wouldn't be the case if this motion hadn't been brought.

May brought the motion because if she didn't, numbers of Cabinet ministers would have resigned. That's why they could abstain and not get sacked.

It looks that May is trying a reversal of her previous tactic - my deal or no deal - by saying it's now my deal or no Brexit (or a very delayed one, which is an obfuscated way of saying no Brexit; the EU wouldn't go for a long delay without a target either of another referendum or a much softer Brexit guaranteed at the end).

Incidentally, as mentioned in Dunt's piece, Bercow has the power to prevent May bringing her deal to the House again - there's a clear rule against repeated bringing defeated motions in a sitting. He probably wouldn't do so this time, but could well say 'no more' after that.
posted by Devonian at 6:10 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


Not sure how I feel but there's a reasonable argument that Brexit is sufficiently grave a matter as to warrant Yet Another Bloody Vote. Perhaps any 4th+ votes on the May Deal should take place only if Parliament first votes to allow the vote. A vote on re-re-revoting on the vote, that's just stupid enough for this whole situation to actually happen.

Slightly apples and oranges, yet can't help note that MPs continually being called upon to vote on the same question until they give the right answer is apparently democracy, but asking the people again is somehow beyond the pale.

Separately, I'd somehow failed to connect Ian Dunt oft-cited commentator with the chap who usually talks sense on the Sky News Tomorrow's Papers roundup. He needs a better photo for his blogging/byline.

When the votes and wrangling were going on today (read: yesterday now) all I could feel pressing down on me was something that's been said repeatedly by people in different ways in these threads before, that the Original-ish Sin of Brexit (notwithstanding decades of Tory headbangers/"Bastards"/MaastrichtMaastrichtAgincourtMaastricht/etc) is that it was a question which required a government with a majority to put whatever the result was into action. But since it was just a referendum, the people making the promisebuses had no power to enact their policy even if they won. Good job there was no danger of that happening, otherwise you'd have really shafted every single one of us all forever, Mr Cameron.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 7:01 PM on March 13 [11 favorites]


So May whipped her party to vote against the amended motion, in effect telling her party to vote FOR no-deal. Not only did she lose, a bunch of ministers, employed by the government, just effectively told May to suck it by sitting out the final vote.

You boys are going to keep smoking those things until the packet's all gone. And here's another carton of them in case you still haven't passed out and thrown up before then.
posted by flabdablet at 10:27 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


the people making the promisebuses had no power to enact their policy even if they won

There's the same problem with Parliament voting on what the deal ought to be, (including "there shall be no ‘no deal’). The time for any negotiation has been squandered and the government was never in a position to dictate terms to the EU. The mess is May's responsibility both because she accepted it and because she contributed to it, but in a way I still feel sorry for her. Barring a last-minute fit of sanity the UK will crash out of the EU with no deal and no real preparation for it; and May will be blamed for not squaring the circle by discerning what an incredibly divided Parliament actually wanted and imposing it on the EU.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:33 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


Leaving the EU was her brief. The issues caused by rejecting Single Market membership, Customs Union membership, ECJ jurisdiction and her attempt to leave the ECHR? All of those are based on red lines she chose to impose, and those red lines are absolutely what has pushed us to this point. That is, ultimately, all on her.
posted by jaduncan at 11:43 PM on March 13 [30 favorites]


A vote on "Government should make no further preparations for No Deal" would be interesting about now. Just to see if their money really is where their mouth is.
posted by Leon at 1:01 AM on March 14


...dominated by German bankers. What the German bankers have done to Greece and Spain is monstrous.
This is probably getting off-topic, but French banks were much more exposed to Greek debt than German and the vast majority of that Greek debt to Germany was held by a state-owned development bank, not commercial banks. The pressure in Germany to demand structural reforms in exchange for bailing out Greece was thus more widely political than the result of bankers dominating the Bundestag.

Whatever one's view of the Greek financial crisis, blaming 'German bankers' for how it panned out reminds me of Brexiter claims that the German car industry would demand Merkel offer the UK a no-tariff deal. It's projecting a simplistic view that both distorts German politics and neglects the rest of the EU.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:23 AM on March 14 [23 favorites]


Incidentally, as mentioned in Dunt's piece, Bercow has the power to prevent May bringing her deal to the House again - there's a clear rule against repeated bringing defeated motions in a sitting.

This realisation has triggered something of an epiphany for me.

It isn't just a rule against repeated motions for bills, but also amendments - bills or amendments which are substantially the same as ones already considered and defeated in a parliamentary session can't be brought before the House until next session. This session of Parliament runs until the summer.

We've seen amendments in recent days to the effect of "this House revokes A50" or "this House requires a People's Vote", and Bercow hasn't scheduled them for consideration. I think now it's because he doesn't want to see Parliament shoot its bolt too early. If an amendment on revoking Article 50 gets voted down, the rules of the House mean that it can't come back in time to have an impact.

Parliament needs to wait until the last desperate days, when all sides have lost all hope, before voting on such a motion, to give it the best possible chance of succeeding. This is going to go right down to the wire.
posted by rory at 1:33 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


It isn't just a rule against repeated motions for bills, but also amendments

Presumably though that only applies when the thing it is amending is also materially the same? The Spelman amendment last night was word for word the same as January's.
posted by the long dark teatime of the soul at 1:53 AM on March 14


This is maddening. It's already been humiliation after humiliation, so how much worse would just withdrawing Article 50 be? This is a rhetorical question, obviously, but ffs, they're already a joke, and last night was just one more disgraceful performance.
posted by skybluepink at 2:17 AM on March 14


Presumably though that only applies when the thing it is amending is also materially the same? The Spelman amendment last night was word for word the same as January's.

Good point. God knows, then. We're getting to the point where "going down to the wire" and "proceeding with all possible haste" are indistinguishable, because there's so little time left.
posted by rory at 2:23 AM on March 14


Personally I'd like to see a colossal foot dropped onto it from space, to the tune of The Liberty Bell. That way we can still use it as a tourist attraction.

Can a sovereign state be sectioned for its own protection?
posted by acb at 2:54 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


It's already been humiliation after humiliation, so how much worse would just withdrawing Article 50 be? This is a rhetorical question, obviously, but ffs, they're already a joke, and last night was just one more disgraceful performance.

If May is half the operator I think she just might be, that very question is being given serious consideration by many many MPs about now.

What she appears to be doing is just bull-headedly trying the same thing - putting her WA deal up for a vote - over and over and over, apparently expecting a different result from last time. But the thing is that although everybody calls this her deal it isn't, not really. It's merely the closest thing that the EU would ever conceivably accept to the parcel of demands made by Nigel Incubator-Jones et al.

Every one of the red lines that makes the WA toxic to anybody who is not a prize-winning Upper-Class Twit is the result of May pushing, as best she can, to be seen to be representing the position of those who are. It's my belief that she knows - would have to know - that (a) none of the UCTs have any fucking clue about Europe whatsoever (b) the only WA the UCTs would ever support is one the EU could never agree to (c) the WA she's ended up with would leave the UK worse off on every metric if actually implemented (d) Parliament is currently too frightened of voter backlash to revoke A50 outright but (e) it remains perfectly obvious to anybody who does have a clue about Europe, among whom I'm sure she includes herself, that staying in it is the only sane thing for the UK to do.

She's never been a Leaver, not really; that pudding-head Cameron painted her into a corner where being seen to be a Leaver was her only politically viable option. So what she's doing is seizing every opportunity to associate the Brexit brand with chaos, dysfunction and lunacy; and people just keep on giving her those opportunities, which is why she was chuckling in Parliament the other night and why she really, really doesn't give a shit what people are saying about her. She's being attacked from all sides but the attacks are coming from people she doesn't respect, and she's a Tory so creating impotent rage in people with less power than she currently wields is ambrosia for her.

I don't think she's primarily motivated by Remain being good for the UK per se. I think she's motivated by always having been fully aware that Leave is the pet project of arseholes she'd rather not be forced to work with, and I think she's trying to get her own way - her actual own way, not what the Party or the polls say it ought to be - by winding a majority in Parliament up into such a state of abject terror at the obvious consequences of doing anything but revoking A50 that MPs simply get past caring what their constituencies will think of them for doing so. She can't be seen to be whipping people in that direction so instead she needs to get them frightened enough to risk ignoring the whips, and on recent evidence that plan has got every chance of succeeding.

The Good Enough Just So Story that will be successfully peddled to the majority of low-information Tory voters is of May as the gutsy leader who tried and tried and tried and tried again to implement the vaunted Will Of The People but was ultimately prevented from doing so by those dastardly Europeans and that terrible little man Goldstein Corbyn. That this is completely at odds with reality matters not a whit to those people, and nor will the farrago of further bald-faced lying that May will need to do in order to prop it up. Listen to any of them on O'Brien if unsure about that point.

And Brexit is a toxic brand right now. Everyone would be happier if the word Brexit were never to appear in the media ever again. Once A50 does get revoked, Brexit has about as much chance of coming back from the grave as Indyref 2.

Either that, or I never really got past the Denial stage and she's just a fucking idiot. Hard to tell.
posted by flabdablet at 3:26 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Sorry to say, I'm about 99% in believing she's just a fucking idiot, albeit one hamstrung by her party full of fucking idiots, but in my infrequent, wild, bursts of false hope, I have entertained a similar theory.
posted by skybluepink at 3:31 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


“May is cleverly giving Leave enough rope to hang itself and saving Britain's place in the EU” sounds like a variant of “Donald Trump is a brilliant 11-dimensional chessmaster”; a sort of pareidolia, mapping intention onto randomness.
posted by acb at 3:39 AM on March 14 [23 favorites]


Who is Nigel Incubator-Jones?
posted by winterhill at 3:40 AM on March 14


It's a reference to an 80s comedy character, who was a somewhat dim toff. In this context, I'd imagine it's referring to Mogg and/or Johnson.
posted by jaduncan at 3:43 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, buried under the Brexit kerfuffle...

Lord Steel says he believed Cyril Smith abuse claims but did not act
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:14 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


All she's doing is trying to keep the Tory Party together in one piece. Euroscepticism was always a Tory issue, Brexit is a Tory issue, the referendum took place purely to help resolve Tory Party divisions, her red lines are all Tory Party tropes. She'll sacrifice the country's economy and its standing in the world, and happily preside over a divided country, so long as at the end of the day, the Tory Party stays together.

She made no attempts whatsoever to engage the other side of the house in discussions before triggering Article 50, or involve them in the Brexit negotiations. She's made no attempts to find consensus with the 48% of the electorate who voted Remain. Even now, she's doing nothing to build cross-party support for her deal. Her entire strategy is focussed on bulldozing her own MPs into supporting her deal before she drives the country over the no-deal cliff. The Tory Party is the only thing that matters.

There's no 11th dimensional chess being played here. It's sheer desperation at this point.
posted by daveje at 4:22 AM on March 14 [27 favorites]


Who is Nigel Incubator-Jones?

I'm sorry to be difficult, but Nigel Incubator-Jones was a character in the *1970* Monty Python skit "Upper Class Twit of the Year," which appeared in s1e12. All of the Twits in the competition were spectacularly, catastrophically dim toffs who could not successfully complete events such as walking in a straight line or jumping over a fence all of three matchboxes high.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:31 AM on March 14 [12 favorites]


The proposed amendments to today's government motion are on pp. 7-11 of this PDF. No indication yet which of these Bercow will select. Amendment (b) on pp. 10-11 seems likely to be one of them, though.
posted by rory at 4:35 AM on March 14


I always discount that 'actually May is a political genius and is just looking this bad on purpose to get her secret way eventually' due to the fact that if she was a political genius she would have done better in the last election and not thrown her majority away. May be, given the opinion polls at the time, calling the election wasn't a bad move but following it up with the worst campaign I can remember, certainly was.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:37 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


> Her entire strategy is focussed on bulldozing her own MPs into supporting her deal before she drives the country over the no-deal cliff.
My reading of the whole situation is that today's motion is designed to force Brexiter MPs (the ERG, DUP etc) into voting for her deal next week.

It's all very well for them to vote down the deal on technical objections to the backstop if the alternative to the deal is their beloved No Deal Brexit. If the alternative, as it seems it will be now, is a lengthy extension to A50 and potentially no Brexit then it's far more likely that they'll bite their tongue and vote the deal through.

This is possibly the worst way ever to push through legislation of such importance. This scheming and plotting is wholly inappropriate. But that's where we are - Brexit is coming, probably in June.
posted by winterhill at 4:39 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


What she appears to be doing is just bull-headedly trying the same thing - putting her WA deal up for a vote - over and over and over, apparently expecting a different result from last time.

Sometimes appearances aren't misleading.
posted by Dysk at 4:39 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


If May is half the operator I think she just might be

With all due respect, you're the only one here who is working on this hypothesis, and I think you may be less familiar with May than most of the people disagreeing with you.

It's harder to understand the workings of idiots than it is of master strategists, because you have to factor in so much randomness. But this is floundering idiocy on May's part.

This increases the cognitive load of both the spectators from afar and the people who want to know how much their lives are going to be fucked up in the next few months. But please consider who might be under the most mental and emotional strain here.
posted by ambrosen at 4:44 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


She didn't really even campaign, outside of carefully-selected safe venues. She freezes when she's called on to interact with anybody without a script. Remember her disgraceful behaviour after the Grenfell tragedy? How many times has she been interviewed, and when asked a question she doesn't want to answer, simply keeps repeating her memorised talking points? That's how she got the Maybot nickname. She's pushing on with her deal because it is, in effect, her memorised talking point. Being stubborn is her only skill, as far as I can tell.
posted by skybluepink at 4:46 AM on March 14 [13 favorites]


Being stubborn is her only skill, as far as I can tell.

Remember reading that she takes on a task then tries to see it through, come what ahem may. That's why she so obsessed with immigration even now - it was her 'task' whilst at the home office and she is still trying to do it.

Also don't forget she's a vicar's daughter - half the time I think she thinks she's on a god-given mission and won't be swayed because of it (and why her set-backs are obviously, visually, so devastating for her)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:03 AM on March 14


fearfulsymmetry brings up the crucial point, which is that she called a general election and lost her majority. Remember that she triggered Article 50 at a time when her majority was small enough that an awkward squad of Remainers or hardcore Brexiteers could cause trouble for her.

Her thinking was clearly that she had enough of a lead in the polls that a snap GE would increase her majority sufficiently that she would have the numbers to whip her MPs and push through any deal she wanted. And to be fair, it was a reasonable strategy, given that she had a lead of around 20 points.

So here we are. A weak PM leading a minority government. Her problems are entirely self-inflicted and she deserves no fucking sympathy at all.
posted by daveje at 5:12 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


From the Guardian blog,

[Some cabinet ministers] refused to vote against the motion ruling out a no-deal Brexit for good.

Aside from the actual political complexity, that's a quadruple(?) negative semantically, which makes me think that maybe the whole deal yesterday was an attempt by May to let the hardline brexiteers know she couldn't fail to disagree with them less.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 5:14 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Can’t wait to see the epic conclusion of the MVU (Meaningful Vote Universe) on 29th March.
May: I know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you’re right… yet to fail nonetheless.

Dread it… Run from it… The Meaningful Vote arrives all the same.
posted by adrianhon at 5:14 AM on March 14


We shouldn't dismiss the idea that Theresa May is obsessed with immigration because she's a gigantic racist, as well as because of dedication to duty from her time as home secretary.
posted by ambrosen at 5:39 AM on March 14 [27 favorites]


Being stubborn is her only skill, as far as I can tell.

There's also her utter charmlessness when dealing with other leaders:

Evening Express: Sturgeon Told She Was ‘Not Bright Enough’ to Understand Brexit Deal
Scotland’s First Minister was told she “simply wasn’t bright enough to understand how good [Theresa May’s Brexit] deal was” in a meeting with the Prime Minister, MPs have heard.

Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell told Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee the incident happened the last time he and Nicola Sturgeon met Ms May.[…]

Mr Russell said: “When I met the Prime Minister with the First Minister to discuss what we thought we might be discussing, and indeed this was what was being said publicly, we would discuss compromise positions.

“What we actually heard was an explanation of why we simply weren’t bright enough to understand how good her deal was. Obviously she wasn’t either because her deal changed.”
And I recall Angela Merkel mentioning that May lacked any kind of human warmth in their meetings—she made no effort to make a personal connection and launched straight into talking points.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:52 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


It's all very well for them to vote down the deal on technical objections to the backstop if the alternative to the deal is their beloved No Deal Brexit. If the alternative, as it seems it will be now, is a lengthy extension to A50 and potentially no Brexit then it's far more likely that they'll bite their tongue and vote the deal through.

The Brexiters may expound on how much they would like to Brexit - they may talk about how very much aligned they are with their leave-voting constituents and they may remind journalists about just how upset everybody will be if they don't get their way. But these are the same people who campaigned for "leave" in the hope of achieving a near loss and then looked pretty worried when they won. The driving seat is not a comfortable position for dreamers. If they really want Brexit at all costs then it behoves them to back May's deal despite its many imperfections. But if they are not so sure being seen as responsible for the mess is a good idea - there is always the option of saying that they are holding out for an impossible to achieve agreement with the EU, talking about how outraged their are that A50 was rescinded, and then returning to the safe obscurity of the back benches.

We shall see how that plays out. Personally, I am happier to believe in the story of the insincere Brexiter than I am in the theory of the expertly hidden competence of the Prime Minister.
posted by rongorongo at 6:01 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Yeah, ‘expertly hidden competence’ is a key part of most conspiracy theories. This competence is so well hidden that even they can't find it.

May reminds me of Major Bloodnok from the Goon Show, described as the brains behind the Suez crisis.
posted by scruss at 6:59 AM on March 14 [3 favorites]


We shouldn't dismiss the idea that Theresa May is obsessed with immigration because she's a gigantic racist, as well as because of dedication to duty from her time as home secretary.

There are various stories of people within the Home Office pushing back on issues such as May counting PhD students as immigrants (and this eventually became a public issue). I cannot really imagine being too racist for the Home Office, but there we are. She had a long tenure there, and it definitely became harsher during her stay. That, again, was her choice.
posted by jaduncan at 7:01 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]




MPs to vote on second Brexit referendum for first time

Not currently being whipped for by Labour, and the People's Vote think it's the wrong time for it. But we'll see.
posted by jaduncan at 7:08 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Not currently being whipped for by Labour

BOOM

^ sound of my head exploding from frustration.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:15 AM on March 14 [8 favorites]


I'm actually buying the explanation that this is not quite the moment for a second referendum vote in the Commons. I'm not happy about it, but if they have any hope at all at getting it through, it's going to be nearer the end. It sucks, but the votes aren't there yet.
posted by skybluepink at 7:39 AM on March 14


I can understand waiting to put it forward. But if it has been put forward, why not vote for it?
posted by vacapinta at 7:47 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Amendment (b) on pp. 10-11 seems likely to be one of them, though.

I'm relieved to have been wrong about that.

A Labour MP writes in the Guardian about why she opposes a second referendum. This line struck me:

It is playing with fire to suggest we can settle the defining question of our age, affecting every aspect of our lives, communities and the future of the planet, through a referendum that large numbers passionately believe is illegitimate.

Large numbers passionately believe that the first referendum result was illegitimate, thanks to Vote Leave's and Leave.EU's actions, but most MPs seem to think that result is "settled".
posted by rory at 7:53 AM on March 14 [14 favorites]


Both the Peoples Vote and the Best For Britain campaigns for a second referendum have said that they don't want MPs to vote for this second referendum amendment today. This vote needs to be focused on getting the delay. Making this vote about a second referendum could backfire if it scares MPs about being branded "traitors" or whatever, and so rejecting the delay.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:55 AM on March 14


But a vote is the reason for the extension. Asking for an extension by itself is a fruitless effort.

I'm not a PV advocate anyways but more of a Revoke-Art50-now type and yet even I feel that the second referendum advocates are being betrayed here.

I suspect its because the IND folks proposed it and so it's back to politics as usual instead of doing whats best.
posted by vacapinta at 7:59 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Not currently being whipped for by Labour, and the People's Vote think it's the wrong time for it. But we'll see.

Well yeah, you know, no rush.
posted by duffell at 8:02 AM on March 14 [13 favorites]




The problem is that not supporting a second referendum looks terrible to its rank-and-file supporters, regardless of the supposed political consequences.

Now, perhaps the People's Vote team don't give a shit about their supporters and think they can sort this out with MPs alone, but I for one would like them to go down fighting in EVERY SINGLE VOTE, if only to give strength to their supporters. I certainly don't want to see Alastair Campbell being the voice of the movement, FFS.
posted by adrianhon at 8:03 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Seems to me that although their objectives are diametrically opposed, the PV campaign is using exactly the same tactics as May.

You know that there's no majority for what you want (otherwise why delay?), so you run the clock down in the hope that enough naysayers are driven over to your side by desperation when they realise that it is the only option left on the table that they are prepared to choke down.

It's realpolitik, but it's hardly edifying.
posted by dudleian at 8:14 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


Nothing has been even slightly edifying about British politics for a long time, it's just people are actually watching the sausage get made now because the potential consequences are so devastating for so many.

There desperately needs to be root and branch reform, but God knows when it'll actually happen or how we'll get there.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 8:39 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


At the risk of crossing the streams:
Trump criticises May’s handling of Brexit, saying he is surprised 'how badly' it has gone
In Washington, during a photocall with the Irish prime minister, Leo Varakdar, the US president, Donald Trump said that he was surprised “how badly” Brexit had gone. “I think it could have been negotiated in a different manner,” he said.
Tl;dr: nobody knew Brexit could be so complicated.
posted by jaduncan at 8:44 AM on March 14 [9 favorites]


Extended: glib man is glib in a remarkably infuriating way, again.
Trump said Brexit was “tearing countries apart”. He said:
It’s a very complex thing right now, it’s tearing a country apart, it’s actually tearing a lot of countries apart and it’s a shame it has to be that way but I think we will stay right in our lane.
He criticised May’s handling of Brexit, saying he was “surprised how badly it has all gone”. He said:
I’m surprised at how badly it has all gone from a stand point of negotiations but I gave the prime minister my ideas of how to negotiate it, she didn’t listen to that and that’s fine but it could have been negotiated in a different manner.
Trump, of course, was a supporter of Brexit.

He said he thought Brexit would have to be delayed. He said:
I think they are probably going to have to do something because right now they are in the midst of a very short period of time, at the end of the month and they are not going to be able to do that.
posted by jaduncan at 8:46 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


At the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt talks about how Farage's real purpose is to "try to destroy the European Union from within", and Farage sits there nodding approvingly. This was never about the UK taking back control for him, or about getting out before the EU collapses. It's about bringing about the collapse one of Europe's main means of achieving peace and prosperity.
posted by rory at 8:54 AM on March 14 [26 favorites]


In case anyone's left wondering how bright UK parliamentarians are, here's a tweet from the Honourable Member for North Cornwall (Conservative) with a practical proposal to fight knife crime, which is the other extremely urgent distractioncrisis facing Britain.
Every knife sold in the UK should have a gps tracker fitted in the handle. It’s time we had a national database like we do with guns. If you’re carrying it around you had better have a bloody good explanation, obvious exemptions for fishing etc.
posted by ambrosen at 9:13 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


Trump, as a non-UK and non-EU politician, can frankly keep his nose out.

Although, he's so unpopular here that if he keeps speaking in favour of Brexit it could easily sway people to the Remain side of the argument.
posted by winterhill at 9:16 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Every knife sold in the UK should have a gps tracker fitted in the handle

...running off a battery that lasts forever because the electrolyte is made from unicorn tears.
posted by flabdablet at 9:18 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Once A50 does get revoked, Brexit has about as much chance of coming back from the grave as Indyref 2.

About that.
After the 2014 vote, it seemed to be that pretty much every sensible Nat in Scotland (I am not counting the saltaire-chewing cybernats or similar fringe) felt that was it for a very long time. Conversations were along the lines of whether it would be twenty or twenty-five years before the next indyref.
Then Brexit happened.
It's not just Nats that feel betrayed, but people who wanted to stay in the Union. Indyref 2 is back on the agenda - it feels like the question is getting to "how soon is practical" as much as anything else.

As an aside, everyone was really sure that there was so much rage about the trams in Edinburgh that it would be more than a decade before any extension could even be considered. But today, only five years after they opened, the extension to Leith has been approved. I don't know why this makes me think that indyref2 is going to happen, but it does.
posted by Vortisaur at 9:22 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


a tweet from the Honourable Member for North Cornwall (Conservative) with a practical proposal to fight knife crime,

Scott Mann, majority 7,200

Can we bring in some rule where MPs can be sacked if they turn out to be complete blithering idiots?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:52 AM on March 14


She didn't really even campaign, outside of carefully-selected safe venues.

The tell is that whenever you see a photo of her "meeting the people" they're all over 60. Almost like they've been wheeled out of the local Conservative Club.
posted by Leon at 9:53 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Trump: "I’m surprised at how badly it has all gone from a stand point of negotiations but I gave the prime minister my ideas of how to negotiate it, she didn’t listen to that and that’s fine but it could have been negotiated in a different manner."

This was back in July. This is the advice Trump gave May: "“He told me I should sue the EU — not go into negotiations. Sue them,” May said in an interview with the BBC.

Art of the Deal master negotiator says don't negotiate, just sue. It is unclear on what grounds or even what mechanism one would use to sue the EU, but there it is.

So at least we know May is not quite as dumb as Trump. So you've got that going for you.
posted by JackFlash at 10:02 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


I'm going to miss shouting 'DIVISION!' along with Bercow (everyone does this, right?)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:03 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Labour all sat on the benches to abstain for the people's vote amendment
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:04 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


It annoys me to no end that I don't actually hate Bercow. I should; he's a Tory bastard, but he's slapped the government down a couple of times, and it was refreshing.
posted by skybluepink at 10:06 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I should; he's a Tory bastard, but he's slapped the government down a couple of times, and it was refreshing.

He appears to be a genuine believer in doing the job to protect the interests of backbenchers and the House over the executive, and regardless of my views on his general political stances I have to give him a good deal of respect for resisting pressure from the government to not do so on many occasions.

He's egotistic, but has a robust enough ego to do the job effectively. I'm not sure any currently possible replacement would be as good.
posted by jaduncan at 10:12 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


In fairness to the People's Vote lot they've substantially ramped up advertising very recently. They might think it's premature before that's had any effect that could have filtered through constituents and to the MPs themselves.

But yes, it's all feeling very late of course and putting things off any more doesn't immediately seem to me to be the best idea.
posted by edd at 10:13 AM on March 14


"Asking for an extension by itself is a fruitless effort."

This seems backward and unlikely to work: the EU says an extension is acceptable given reasonable justification, Parliament says let's ask for an extension and then we'll come up with an excuse for one.

I guess we'll find out if this succeeds. It's arguably a political necessity to do it this way because "not driving off the cliff" is something they might be able to agree upon whereas what to actually do instead is as controversial as ever.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:14 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Wollaston amendment calling for a People's Vote voted down 334-85, with most Labour MPs abstaining.
posted by rory at 10:19 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


He appears to be a genuine believer in doing the job to protect the interests of backbenchers and the House over the executive, and regardless of my views on his general political stances I have to give him a good deal of respect for resisting pressure from the government to not do so on many occasions.

That's very much my take on him; thank you for putting it into words.
posted by skybluepink at 10:19 AM on March 14


Wes Streeting MP via twitter:

"Alongside other leading supporters of a people’s vote, I am abstaining on TIG amendment. This statement alongside other colleagues explains why. We hope that our supporters outside Parliament trust our judgement and trust that we’re doing the right thing for the right reasons."

Tweet with open letter explaining that it's about timing.
posted by tractorfeed at 10:23 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Labour Member of Parliament for Ilford North in Essex, Wes Streeting posted an open letter on Twitter on why many pro-PV Labour MPs abstained.

Text of the letter is as follows:
We are deeply committed to securing a People's Vote.

But to win that vote, we need to win a vote in the House of Commons.

The best chance of that is via the so-called Kyle/Wilson amendment, which isn't being voted on today.

The official People's Vote campaign has said this isn't the right time. And we're supporting Peter Kyle MP and Phil Wilson MP in abstaining on amendment (h) too.

That's because we know amendment (h) won't pass today and we need to bring colleagues who have concerns about a People's Vote with us as we move towards voting for Kyle/Wilson.

We will have the opportunity to vote for Kyle/Wilson and to secure a People's Vote in a matter of days.

On this occasion, we are therefore agreeing to abstain on amendment (h) today to give us the highest possible chance of securing a People's Vote via the Kyle/Wilson amendment.

In addition, if amendment (h) passes today it has been confirmed that this will knock out the amendment from Hilary Benn MP securing the extension to Article 50 that we must win today.

Some of us have campaigned for a People's Vote before the campaign even came into existence. Many of us have broken our party whips to get this far.

We hope our supporters outside of the House of Commons today trust our political judgement so that, together, we can win the votes required to secure the People's Vote we all want.
Any errors in the transcription are mine alone.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:27 AM on March 14 [10 favorites]


Having read that I can understand the thinking - especially as, with 20/20 hindsight, even whipping the rest of Labour would have led to a lost vote anyway.

Still, a shocking fuck-up by the Remain/Peoples Vote supporting MPs generally to have this happen at such a critical time.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 10:29 AM on March 14


We hope our supporters outside of the House of Commons today trust our political judgement

Because its been all good so far.
posted by biffa at 10:32 AM on March 14 [11 favorites]


a shocking fuck-up

Because its been all good so far.

Can we please not do this? In the first case the amendment was tabled by former Tory and now "TIG" member Wollaston and chosen by the speaker. PV people and many Labour MPs were not happy about it.

And in the second case it seems a bit glib to paint all MPs with one sarcastically damning brush.
posted by tractorfeed at 10:37 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


That's because we know amendment (h) won't pass today and we need to bring colleagues who have concerns about a People's Vote with us as we move towards voting for Kyle/Wilson.

Can someone explain the logic on this?

(My MP Ruth Cadbury abstained, supporting this letter. She's generally doing the right things by me and I'm sure understands the way things are going better than me so I'm not critical of this choice, but I don't follow the logic. Although logic is of course the last thing that seems to help when trying to grok politics lately.)
posted by edd at 10:39 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I think they're playing chicken, basically. It's one of the few outs that exist -- putting it to the people -- and with the Remain march coming up, they are probably hoping for an enormous turn-out to focus the minds of waverers. I could absolutely be wrong, but I can't think of what else it could be.
posted by skybluepink at 10:42 AM on March 14


The problem 2nd ref has is they need enough tories to vote for it over and above labour leaver votes against it.
320 votes is what you need to win IIRC, and 334 just voted against - so it was lost no matter what. Just not enough tories willing to vote for it in a straight up/down vote at this point.

The plan is an amendment (Kyle/Wilson) to meaningful vote: Tokyo Drift, which would allow the WA to pass, but only if confirmed at a referendum with remain as the 2nd option. They supposedly have the numbers to pull this off. We shall see.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:42 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Can someone explain the logic on this?

One key reason is they want to pass the Benn amendment, and if the TIG passed then Benn wouldn't come up for a vote (which is going on right now).
posted by tractorfeed at 10:44 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Benn's amendment fails by two votes
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:54 AM on March 14


Fucking hell. They are going to keep spinning their wheels. This is an unmitigated disaster and she is going to bring her lousy bill back again, when she should be waiting for the removal van.
posted by skybluepink at 10:54 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Ugggg. Benn amendment just lost, by two votes. That's the one that allows Parliament to take control of the timetable to try out some indicative votes - so parliament can decide what it is actually for. Possibly a critical pre-requisite for the EU to grant a lengthy extension, and it lost on a knife edge.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:55 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]


If the final amendment (J) passes then it gives Bercow the power to block her from bringing it again. Normally when a question has already been voted on in the current parliament it can't be brought back until a new parliament is sitting. Amendment J would codify this and make it much less likely that May could blackmail her way out of this. MPs heading out to vote now on Corbyn's weaksauce Amendment E. Then J is up next.
posted by tractorfeed at 10:58 AM on March 14


May had to promise indicative votes to buy off rebels - so they'll still probably happen - but they'll be under May's control for timetable, and content. And she rather has form for underhanded tricks when Parliament lets her do that. Tory rebels, yet again failing to rebel and letting May piss all over them.

Vote on J will be the final key vote; May stop May bringing back the deal at all, which would
a) be hilarious
b) screw over May's dirty backstabbing plan to try one last time to use the extension vote to weasel a win for her deal
c) thus require tory rebels to have a spine.

After Benn, and all the previous fucking votes where they chickened out, I'm not hopeful.

Oh, and of course MPs need to vote for the goddamn extension, but that in theory is a free vote now Benn is defeated so should pass easily.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:01 AM on March 14


Then J is up next.

Or not... The amendment was not put up for a vote..
posted by Pendragon at 11:13 AM on March 14


Here's a positive thought: despite the EU saying they wouldn't give us an extension if we asked for one without a good reason, they will if Theresa May asks, since she doesn't really want one despite having to ask, and the EU will take pleasure in annoying her by agreeing to it.
posted by edd at 11:16 AM on March 14


Guess they were afraid they didn't have the numbers, and failing on J makes it harder for Bercow to just block the 3rd vote on the WA - he still has the power to block May just bringing the same motion over and over. Probably wouldn't have worked anyway, as new font and spacing, change a word or two in the preamble, and it's not the 'same' vote. Would have been amazingly funny though.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:16 AM on March 14


That does make sense. The rule about blocking repeated attempts at the same vote is clear, though - from the Amendment (J) that was pulled (emphasis mine):

notes that Erksine May states that a motion or an amendment which is the same, in substance, as a question which has been decided in the affirmative or negative during the current session may not be brought forward again during that session

I don't think the re-pagination and font change would allow for it to be claimed as different, in substance.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:20 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Strictly applying Erskine at this point would rule out pretty much everything, as it feels like everything has been rejected in an amendment at some point now. So blocking the withdrawal agreement: beyond the thunderdome vote would also potentially require blocking 2nd referendum vote and god knows what else. Ultimately, the rules of Parliament are what Parliament decide they are, and if Bercow thinks it has a chance of clarifying the will of the House, he's not going to stop it, whatever 'it' is.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:25 AM on March 14 [5 favorites]


It annoys me to no end that I don't actually hate Bercow. I should; he's a Tory bastard, but he's slapped the government down a couple of times, and it was refreshing

The Conservative Party is not the SS; membership of it is not, in itself, a crime against humanity.
posted by acb at 11:25 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


Oh, and asking for an extension passed 412 to 202. Now the official policy. How long an extension is asked for, and why, still to be decided. Christ, what a fun two weeks we're gonna have now.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:28 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Corbyn: "And I also reiterate our support for a public vote...."
You fucking fucker.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:30 AM on March 14 [24 favorites]


Ladies and gentlemen, the honorable Jeremy “The Real Fight Starts Now” Corbyn
posted by acb at 11:33 AM on March 14 [6 favorites]


I have nothing constructive to say or to ask, but as the latest result comes in, I just want to offer you all a hug for having to continue to live through this.
posted by sldownard at 11:33 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


If you took a fish straight out of the water. A trout or something. And you dropped that flapping, gasping fish onto a snare drum. It would still have better timing than Jeremy Corbyn.
posted by Grangousier at 11:41 AM on March 14 [22 favorites]


The Conservative Party is not the SS; membership of it is not, in itself, a crime against humanity.

There are people sleeping on the streets of my very neighbourhood right now. There are children so hungry they can't pay attention in school. Austerity has gutted my town, and so very many others. They don't have to be the SS for me to hate them. What they are is quite bad enough.
posted by skybluepink at 11:44 AM on March 14 [44 favorites]


> "It's not just Nats that feel betrayed, but people who wanted to stay in the Union. Indyref 2 is back on the agenda"

When Indyref happened, if I had been able to vote, I would have voted against it.

If it comes up again, I will almost certainly be able to vote, and I will almost certainly vote for it.

And the reason would be the same on both counts. I want to live in the EU.

> "... the extension to Leith has been approved."

(Well, an extension would make it actually useful, rather than an extremely extremely extremely expensive version of the 100 bus, so ... good.)
posted by kyrademon at 12:12 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Perhaps they can call the Leith extension the “Independence Line” or something to that effect?
posted by acb at 12:17 PM on March 14


Leith voted to remain by one of the highest percentages in the UK. And they were - I believe- the most “yes” leaning part of Edinburgh in the 2014 referendum. Way back in 1920, they voted to break free from Edinburgh.. It is that sort of place. Tram passengers may yet need a passport to reach the end of Leith Walk.
posted by rongorongo at 12:56 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Dunt's latest: Britain pleads to extend Article 50: This is one of our darkest hours
There is a stark reality to what happened today. Britain accepted, formally, that it could not leave the EU on March 29th. But making that decision does not secure it. We are no longer in control of our own destiny. Only the EU can decide whether to accept the request. We are now at the mercy of others. This is what Brexit has done to what was, just a few years ago, one of the most powerful countries in the world.
...
This is not the most likely outcome. Chances are, they'll offer a extension on the condition that it is quite long and contains a set idea of what will take place to change the situation. But let's be clear what this means. We are no longer the ones who decide what happens to our country.

In just over two weeks we face the most severe economic and political event of our post-war history. And our ability to prevent it is not up to us. It is up to foreign leaders, from other countries, with their own domestic agendas.

Not so long ago, we would have thought this was impossible. But after just three years of nationalist political leadership, that is the status of Great Britain. It is a stark moment of humiliation. There are many more to come, unless we pry the wheel from them.
posted by zachlipton at 2:48 PM on March 14 [23 favorites]


Can we please not do this? In the first case the amendment was tabled by former Tory and now "TIG" member Wollaston and chosen by the speaker. PV people and many Labour MPs were not happy about it.

Not being glib. It was a statement from a Labour MP asking us to trust their political judgement. Their judgement and performance as the opposition has been utterly contemptible over the last two years. They haven't opposed shit and can barely even manage a poll lead over one of the worst led governments we have ever been cursed with. Jeremy Corbyn is not the Messiah, he is a useless sack of shit who may get take us out of Europe. His weak support for Remain helped give a majority for Leave and his half arsedness adds to the risk that we will end up out. So basically screw not doing this.
posted by biffa at 3:04 PM on March 14 [17 favorites]


Jeremy Corbyn has been elected by the broader Labour membership, not the MPs. It's been fairly clear a lot of them - even those who didn't break away into TIG - aren't exactly delighted with him either. But they feel they're better off working in the party regardless. That doesn't make them responsible for all of Corbyn's failures.
posted by edd at 3:11 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Sure, we've had all those Labour strong voices crying out for rationalisation of bus services. They've really had their heads in the game. They've all been terrified of losing their seats even though they know that their constituents will be screwed by Brexit. They all sat in the house and made a point of not voting today. I hope voters remember that they're not the only ones who can do that.
posted by biffa at 3:25 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


Certainly Jeremy Corbyn is not the Messiah; he is in fact a very naughty boy.
posted by runincircles at 5:38 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


I cannot believe I’ve never read Dunt before. Is he always this good, or is he rising to current events? It’s the kind of writing usually reserved for people who have years to write political histories, and he’s publishing in real time.
posted by lattiboy at 6:39 PM on March 14 [7 favorites]


On the second referendum amendment:
The People’s Vote campaign, the largest of the various cross-party organisations calling for a fresh vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union, called on MPs to abstain, as did the Labour party. Both organisations had slightly different reasons: the People’s Vote campaign believe that they can only succeed if MPs are faced with a straight choice between a no deal exit and a fresh referendum, while the Labour leadership know that a whip in favour of a fresh referendum would result in resignations from the Shadow Cabinet and frontbench, and fear that it would doom their electoral hopes into the bargain.

In the event, 43 Labour MPs broke the whip, with 25 voting for the amendment and 18 voting against, and the amendment was heavily defeated, with 334 votes to just 85.

This shouldn’t need saying but if 334 MPs vote against a measure, it doesn’t matter what the other 316 MPs do, as 334 is a majority. Whether Labour MPs abstain or not, there is not a majority to be found in this parliament for a second referendum...

Seconds after Wollaston’s amendment was defeated, TIG sent out an email to their supporters that “Labour’s Leaders Let You Down”, adding that it was thanks to Labour’s decision to abstain that the amendment did not pass. The other anti-Brexit parties did so almost as quickly.

Again, to repeat: there are 650 MPs in the Commons. To win a majority you need half of that plus one, i.e, 326. 334 is more than 326 so regardless of whether or not the Labour party’s official line had been to abstain or not. It is not true that the abstention caused the amendment to pass.

But it is a well-worn tactic of parties who are running against the system – which TIG, with their repeated refrain that “politics is broken” and that all three major parties have failed, are explicitly doing – to pretend otherwise and an even older tactic to use parliamentary votes to get your opponents to occupy positions are somehow uncomfortable for them.

No-one really thought there was a serious hope or prospect of the vote passing tonight regardless of how Labour whipped, and the reality is that the big aim was for the SNP, Plaid Cymru, TIG, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens to get their hostile leaflet out of this, to better take votes off the Labour party.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:06 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


In just over two weeks we face the most severe economic and political event of our post-war history. And our ability to prevent it is not up to us. It is up to foreign leaders, from other countries, with their own domestic agendas.

TAKE BACK CONTROL
REVOKE ARTICLE 50

Bus, please.
posted by flabdablet at 10:50 PM on March 14 [5 favorites]


while the Labour leadership know that a whip in favour of a fresh referendum would result in resignations from the Shadow Cabinet and frontbench, and fear that it would doom their electoral hopes into the bargain.

We know that there aren't the numbers for a referendum on a straight vote - it requires more tory rebels than are currently willing to stick their neck out, so the PV campaign are trying to do it in a way that gives the rebels enough cover. As we've seen repeatedly, tory europhiles are willing to make the right noises in the run up to key votes, but when May offers a fig leaf of a fake concession they scurry like rabbits back to the party line. And yes, like May, that requires some dirty politics to try and get your way.

Yet the labour party also has to lance this boil. Official labour policy from conference is to back a 2nd referendum now, and has been for a while. If shadow cabinet members aren't willing to back that, then they should resign or be sacked. Abstaining from this vote is a technicality that frankly the public at large neither care about or are going to make their subsequent vote about - Labour is 'to blame'* for us not leaving yet, and you see that as a good thing or a bad thing. What it does do is discourage your most fired-up supporters, who *really* want a 2nd chance, they already suspect it's not what the the Labour leadership want, and will fight for. And those activists are the ones who will be most ardent in winning such a campaign if it does happen, and for Labour as well.

It simply looks weak to refuse the fight, and gives TIG a free stick to beat Labour with. For Corbyn to stand up and claim that he backs a 2nd referendum mere minutes after whipping the party not to vote on one shows a most incredible brass neck.

* It's because of the brextremists why the deal hasn't passed yet, but they always get a free pass thanks to the right-wing press, and will shortly get a 3rd chance to fall in line.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:54 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


This shouldn’t need saying but if 334 MPs vote against a measure, it doesn’t matter what the other 316 MPs do, as 334 is a majority

But thats only with hindsight! I'm not sure what to do with the logic in the argument except to compare it to:
"I know I didn't run to save that child falling off a cliff but mathematics now shows I would not have reached him in time, so its ok that I just stood there."

Then to go on and accuse the other parties, including the Greens of playing dirty politics. I can't bear the hypocrisy here.
posted by vacapinta at 2:08 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


No-one really thought there was a serious hope or prospect of the vote passing tonight regardless of how Labour whipped

Labour voting for or against triggering Article 50 in early 2017 would have made no difference to whether it passed given the composition of Parliament at that time, but the fact that most did vote to trigger has had a lasting impact on how the party's Brexit stance has been perceived. Corbyn intended that, because he wanted to keep Labour Leavers on board, but Remainers were watching too.
posted by rory at 2:18 AM on March 15 [11 favorites]


This could now go many different ways.

May holds MV3 next Wednesday, the ERG opposition caves and it gets through. This still feels unlikely - the ERG can cling onto the thought that A50 will take effect by automatic operation of law if they can frustrate all other paths. The EU grants a short extension to pass the necessary UK legislation. The process of passing that legislation could still go wrong in myriad ways, landing us right back in crisis territory in May.

MV3 doesn't get through. May asks the EC for a long extension, which is granted, and we face two more years of this pre-Brexit phase, with the EU elections in May 2019 becoming a battleground between Farage's Brexit Party and a Remain camp in disarray. Getting out the Remain vote in those elections would be crucial.

MV3 doesn't go through. May asks the EC for a long extension, which is denied. The final week before the 29th is an unbearable crisis, which ends with Parliament voting emergency legislation to withdraw A50, a PV now being impossible because there's no extension possible. The EU elections in May 2019 are still a disaster. There's a good chance of a vote of No Confidence in May's government succeeding, which could mean a General Election in May or June. In this atmosphere, first-past-the-post would deliver chaotic results. We could end up with a Hard Brexit government that immediately retriggers A50.

MV3 doesn't go through. May asks the EC for a long extension, which is denied. The final week before the 29th is an unbearable crisis, which ends with Parliament failing to vote through emergency legislation to withdraw A50. (Given the unpredictability of the votes this week, I wouldn't be sanguine about this.) We crash out.

One might think that if MV3 failed and the EU denied an extension that Theresa May should feel compelled to implement the logical implication of the votes against her deal and against No Deal and withdraw Article 50, but I don't think she'd do that without an explicit direction from Parliament. Given her past form, there's even a chance she would ignore such a direction.

Anyone acting as if No Deal on 29/3/19 has been averted is being premature. Even if we dodge the bullet in March, we might face it again in May.

Doo-doooo, doo-dooo.
posted by rory at 2:32 AM on March 15 [15 favorites]


Robert Peston tweets:

I asked one of 15 Tory MPs who defied May by voting for Benn/Letwin/Cooper amendment, which was probably the surest route to avoid no deal Brexit, why more of his colleagues who hate no deal didn’t join rebels. “They are morons - genuinely not bright” he said.
posted by Devonian at 2:32 AM on March 15 [20 favorites]


The right wing Brexiteers have a vision for Brexit. It is abhorrent, but it coherently exploits the “opportunities”: remove workers rights, environmental protections, regulations and tariffs to reduce costs and boost the economy (at the cost of killing a lot of it off—mass manufacturing, sheep farming etc). Apply the turbos by becoming a high class offshore tax haven.

Brexit was always an Alt-right wet dream. Few on the centre left see any upside in it. And even if the parliamentary Labour party believed in Lexit, they couldn’t sell it to the electorate because that would alienate the remain voters they are reliant on for an election victory.

The actual Labour plan is to minimise the damage of Brexit, but that plan is an implicit criticism of the leave voters they are reliant on for an election victory—so they don’t push that narrative either.

In short, Labour is a vision vacuum. They are hamstrung. Their inability to offer a vibrant alternative to the government horror show is what’s driving a lot of people on these threads nuts (not least me).

Labour have some good policies, but 99% of them would be easier to implement as a member of the EU, or would be unaffected by our membership. They don’t answer the question “how do we make a success of Brexit”, they ignore it. Which is fine while no one is asking that question, but when things go awry with Brexit (as seems almost certain) Labour will need a vision to put up against the right wing Global Britain bollocks. What will Labour offer the electorate? Beats me.

The inability to talk honestly about the problems we’re facing, much less address them, shows that we have a failing political system. We need both main parties to fall apart so we’re forced to address that fact. I’m sure both parties want to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, take a look around to see if anyone noticed (we did) and walk away whistling, pretending they didn’t just face-plant. But I think change is inevitable, and if we delay it, the resolution will only become more painful.
posted by dudleian at 3:42 AM on March 15 [15 favorites]


The fundamental problem is that the only thing that Parliament has actually voted *for* is to kick the can even further down the road. Not for any specific reason, only because it postpones the eventual decision. They've voted against May's deal, against a second referendum, against no deal. Yesterday they also voted against taking control of the process.
posted by daveje at 3:51 AM on March 15 [6 favorites]


Again, to repeat: there are 650 MPs in the Commons. To win a majority you need half of that plus one, i.e, 326.

No you don't. Or well, to win a vote, you just need more votes than the other option. Abstentions are a thing.

It also ignores that Sinn Fein have 7 of those seats, and do not take them. So am absolute majority is already down to 322. There's also a vacant seat, and the Speaker, who doesn't vote. And so on.

Long story short: no, you don't need to find 326 votes for a majority on any given issue.
posted by Dysk at 3:54 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


I've seen so many comments to the effect of "well Labour couldn't win the vote for a referendum anyway, so might as well abstain" which is absurd to me. If it makes no difference, why not vote for it? Why not let your party have a free vote? Why not do anything other than the insanity that is whipping against a thing then claiming you support it? After all, the Tories had it down anyway* so why the fuck not?

*(This is shitty logic - you don't know how a vote will go until after the fact. Always turn up and vote your position, just in case it would have made the difference.)
posted by Dysk at 4:02 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


*(This is shitty logic - you don't know how a vote will go until after the fact. Always turn up and vote your position, just in case it would have made the difference.)
I agree. I grew up in a town that's elected Conservatives with whacking 10k+ majorities since the stone age. It would have been very easy on election day to stay at home. Instead, I went down every election and voted Labour because it was important for me to at least register that I wasn't happy with the local MP and reduce her majority by one.
posted by winterhill at 4:10 AM on March 15 [10 favorites]


I have to reluctantly concur with the abstention strategy from yesterday. As I've just pointed out, MPs are currently incapable of making any kind of positive decision, and are finding it very comfortable to vote against. And it was obvious that an initial vote on a second referendum vote would not have succeeded.

If Labour had allowed a free vote, or - perish the thought - tried to whip their MPs into supporting it, then it would still have failed. This would have been a much more severe setback to the cause of a People's Vote than yesterday's vote turned out to be, because it would have allowed opponents to claim it was some kind of meaningful vote. As it was, it permitted MPs to retreat into the relative safety of voting against it, so no-one really knows what a real vote would have generated. The IG introducing the vote yesterday was a complete screwup, along with rejecting the Benn amendment.

A genuine vote on a referendum can only come up once the other alternatives have been decisively taken off the table. That includes May's deal, and we're not there yet.

Parliament is still repeating the same mistake. They assert their independence by voting against May, and then refuse to take responsibility and ownership of the problem. They can't do that forever.
posted by daveje at 4:31 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


With regard to the Conservative Party in general, my experience has been that they've definitely become weirder over recent years.

For years, my home town's MP was a typical wealthy unambitious safe-seat Tory, happy to do relatively little and take the salary. Her husband was MP for the next town up the road, she got into trouble a few times for telling racist jokes, she was a fairly unpleasant and venal character but did spend at least some time on local community issues and would always get back to you if you contacted her - with a personal letter, not a standard spiel. The pair of them got embroiled in the expenses scandal and stepped aside.

The "new" MP since 2010 is a completely different bag of rocks. She is a hard-right evangelical. Much of her Parliamentary time is taken up with anti-abortion issues and she consistently votes against LGBT rights. She takes most of her political cues from the local evangelical church - it's said that they joined the local party en masse to get her selected - and not much gets done in town without their say-so. She doesn't give a shit about the town or local issues - she just constantly bangs the drum against abortion in particular. My mum wrote to her recently about a local issue and got a form letter back about how Brexit will give us all great opportunities. The letter was nothing to do with Brexit.

That seems like the direction the Conservative Party have gone in. They used to be a centre-right party whose policies I couldn't possibly support, but whose MPs often had their hearts in the right place and cared about representing the towns they came from. Nowadays, they're a motley, disparate bunch of wingnuts with their own personal hobby horses (like outlawing abortion, or hard Brexit, or bringing back hunting) and very little in the way of party cohesion or care for the local communities that elected them.
posted by winterhill at 5:29 AM on March 15 [24 favorites]


View from the continent (EU27): One potential problem with extending A50 to June 30 is that the UK does not seem to be making any preparations for taking part in the elections for the European Parliament. This makes the following scenario possible: UK requests extension to June 30 and EU27 agree. No substantial progress is made. In the last days, the UK panics and revokes A50 (possibly justifying it by saying that No-Deal and No-Brexit are the only two options remaining and No-Deal was taken off the table), resulting in the UK staying in the EU but without members in the EU parliament. The risk for this happening might not be very large, but considering the general volatility of the situation and the size of the monkey-wrench this would throw into EU parliamentary affairs, the EU27 might want to hedge against it. One way to do this might be to allow a short-term extension only until prior to the elections (around May 23). Maybe this is also the reason why Tusk is advocating a longer extension now, which would, of course, require the UK to take part in the EU elections.
posted by sour cream at 5:46 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


winterhill: If that's who it sounds like then you have my very deepest sympathies. I could barely imagine a worse MP.
posted by edd at 5:58 AM on March 15


I could barely imagine a worse MP.
Fiona Bruce isn't my MP now, but she is my parents' MP and she represents the town where I grew up. Was it her you were thinking of?

My current MP is the fairly ineffectual Tracy Brabin of Batley and Spen.
posted by winterhill at 6:02 AM on March 15


A genuine vote on a referendum can only come up once the other alternatives have been decisively taken off the table. That includes May's deal, and we're not there yet.

If defeating it comprehensively in the Commons twice doesn't take it off the table, nothing short of crash-out No Deal already having happened will.
posted by Dysk at 6:21 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]




If defeating it comprehensively in the Commons twice doesn't take it off the table, nothing short of crash-out No Deal already having happened will.

No? Nightmare scenario for Theresa May: her deal being rejected again next week, then the EU signals that it's not interested in an amendment that only goes to the end of June for no good reason, ie, telling the UK to fuck right off, because it's tired of this crap.

Then the options shrink really rapidly.
posted by daveje at 6:43 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]


winterhill: It sounded rather like Dorries, although I guess there's a few with broadly similar views around.
posted by edd at 6:44 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


No? Nightmare scenario for Theresa May: her deal being rejected again next week, then the EU signals that it's not interested in an amendment that only goes to the end of June for no good reason, ie, telling the UK to fuck right off, because it's tired of this crap.
We can already hear the sound of ladders being erected as the ERG prepare to climb down.

Their principled objection to the backstop lasted only as long as the alternative to the deal was their beloved hard Brexit. Now that the alternative is delayed Brexit, it's all fine, we've looked at it again and what was all the fuss about?
posted by winterhill at 6:54 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


"Nightmare scenario for Theresa May: her deal being rejected again next week, then the EU signals that it's not interested in an amendment that only goes to the end of June for no good reason, ie, telling the UK to fuck right off, because it's tired of this crap."

No one seems to be expecting this, but I can't see how it's not inevitable unless Parliament and May come up with something better than "we're not yet dressed".

I am deeply puzzled why this isn't seen as an obstacle, given that all 27 heads of state and governments would need to agree to an extension, no exceptions, there's been explicit signaling from the EU that an extension can't merely be a stalling tactic, that they don't want the elections to be a forum for Farage's mischief, and the only options available are this deal, revoke Article 50, or no deal. They've said that a general election is a good reason for an extension. Or a second referendum. Maybe even some apparent and undeniable change indicating that MV3 would very likely go through, given a short extension to get the ducks in a row. Something. But I'm not seeing anything about making one of those things happen. It's an underpants gnome plan start to finish. I just don't get it.

"Their principled objection to the backstop lasted only as long as the alternative to the deal was their beloved hard Brexit."

Also the Article 62 nonsense. Maybe it's the case that (if) a long extension implies more opportunity to revoke Article 50, or the Article 62 fantasy gains traction, somehow the ERG will embrace May's deal. But that implies that those who have been the most reckless will suddenly become cautious. How likely is that?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:23 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


No? Nightmare scenario for Theresa May: her deal being rejected again next week, then the EU signals that it's not interested in an amendment that only goes to the end of June for no good reason, ie, telling the UK to fuck right off, because it's tired of this crap.

Then the options shrink really rapidly.


She brought her deal back for a second defeat. She's going for a third. If that fails, what exactly is indicating that number four isn't what's on her cards?
posted by Dysk at 7:50 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]


I can certainly imagine her wanting to try it again, but she's had two crushing defeats so far. Bercow still has to rule on MV3, AFAIK. If it's allowed and she's defeated again, Bercow could well rule that MV4 doesn't happen.
posted by daveje at 8:11 AM on March 15


A short delay - even for the most clearly articulated reasons - is a significant risk for the EU because - should the UK screw up their exit plans in some way - the EU would be left with a member state that had not held elections - and thus an invalid parliament. It sounds like a very unlikely concession to be granted by all the remaining states.
posted by rongorongo at 9:29 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]


A biologist friend of mine is one of Dorries' constituents. He refers to her as 'the MP of the first quartile', and duly notes those who think it's a compliment.
posted by Devonian at 9:30 AM on March 15 [15 favorites]


Two weeks until a possible No Deal, and we're all having to twiddle our thumbs for five days until MV3 to see what fresh hell awaits us.

Meanwhile, here's some fresh Dunt:

Many of the arguments against a People's Vote rely on warnings about damage to public trust in politics. But the spectacle of hypocrisy we're being treated to right now does that more effectively than a hundred referendums ever could.
posted by rory at 9:58 AM on March 15 [11 favorites]


I know this is off topic, but I'm excited to say I got offered a place at university. Next step is to blag my way onto the University Challenge team to fulfil a lifelong ambition... ?!
posted by winterhill at 11:25 AM on March 15 [28 favorites]


Scumbag College?
posted by Leon at 11:58 AM on March 15 [8 favorites]


Marina Hyde might be the only good thing about this hideous mess. "The territory we’re in is not so much The Will of the People as The Won’t of the People."
posted by Otto the Magnificent at 12:16 PM on March 15 [13 favorites]


Marina Hyde might be the only good thing about this hideous mess. "The territory we’re in is not so much The Will of the People as The Won’t of the People."
Already that first paragraph: The past few days have been like watching the Cuban missile crisis re-enacted by the Teletubbies.
posted by mumimor at 12:23 PM on March 15 [15 favorites]


Marina Hyde might be the only good thing about this hideous mess. "The territory we’re in is not so much The Will of the People as The Won’t of the People."

It's not every day that I get to claim that I gazumped Marina Hyde.

Me: 1. Hyde: 147.
posted by rory at 2:41 PM on March 15 [4 favorites]


Next step is to blag my way onto the University Challenge team to fulfil a lifelong ambition... ?!

My advice, based on experience, if team selection is based on a written quiz and they ask you to be honest anchor Google, cheat.
posted by biffa at 4:12 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]




U.K. teacher Phil: Arron Banks - The Shadow Behind Brexit - YouTube (13:49)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:00 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]


Couple of new polls :
Survation have topline figures of CON 35%(-5), LAB 39%(+3), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 5%(nc). Fieldwork was on Friday, and changes are from mid-February.
YouGov have topline figures of CON 35%(-5), LAB 31%(nc), LDEM 12%(+1), UKIP 6%(+3). Fieldwork was Thursday to Friday, and changes are from the start of March.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:20 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]


Ian Dunt is also the regular UK correspondent on ABC Radio National's Late Night Live.
posted by flabdablet at 7:50 AM on March 16


If you're not following the March for Leave on Twitter, you should be. It's ball (and ovary) achingly hilarious how badly it's going down. By the time they got to Hartlepool they were fifty people strong. Farage fucked off by coach after an hour. The snark, it overfloweth...
posted by Devonian at 8:27 AM on March 16 [9 favorites]




This (video on linked tweet) captures the March for Leave mood perfectly,

@ByDonkeys: Watch to the end, sound on. It’s just tragic #MarchToLeave
posted by Buntix at 10:07 AM on March 16 [6 favorites]


I do admire the Led by Donkeys folks. This is the Brexit picture of the year.
posted by vacapinta at 12:12 PM on March 16 [9 favorites]


“You keep lying, when you ought to be truthing. And you keep losing, when you ought to not bet. You keep saming when you ought to be a changing. What’s right is right, but you ain’t been right yet”.
Caught this verse of the old Nancy Sinatra /Lee Hazelwood song in a cafe - and thought it seemed apt for a certain senior politician.
posted by rongorongo at 1:15 AM on March 17 [1 favorite]


A quite devasting profile of Theresa May in Der Spiegel. Some choice quotes:
"She is mean. She is rude. She is cruel. She is stupid. I have heard that from almost everyone who has dealt with her"
she irredeemably miscalculated which Brexit the British parliament would ultimately be willing to vote for. May could have known from the beginning that a majority would only vote for a soft exit and that she would have to establish a close future relationship with the EU. But to do this, she would have had to compromise with the opposition. She did the opposite.
For Theresa May, the Tories were always more than just a group of people with similar political beliefs. ... Companions of hers claim May married twice -- once to Philip and once to the Tories. ... May's life is the party.
posted by daveje at 3:38 AM on March 17 [16 favorites]


The damage for the UK of all this is done,” added Lamberts, [a Belgian MEP on the parliament’s Brexit steering committee and] a self-confessed anglophile. “It is huge. I wish all those who talk about global Britain well. They will be mincemeat at the hands of the likes of Donald Trump and will be snubbed by those who used to be their colonies. How long this damage will last, I don’t know. I suppose it depends on whether the lunatics stay in charge.”
posted by dudleian at 3:54 AM on March 17 [17 favorites]


From Bloomberg news, a short video about the financial windfall of the night of the referendum. Of special note is Farage's role.

The Big Brexit Short
posted by From Bklyn at 6:23 AM on March 17 [3 favorites]


Had a look at the March to Leave route... closest it gets to me is about 30 miles, bit too far to go for a jeer / punch up
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:19 AM on March 17


Dutch PM compares Theresa May to Monty Python limbless knight (Daniel Boffey, Guardian)
Mark Rutte says he admires her resilience and blames political posturing for Brexit impasse

“Look, I have every respect for Theresa May,” Rutte said in an interview with the Dutch broadcaster WNL on Sunday. “She reminds me occasionally of that character from Monty Python where all the arms and legs are cut off but he then tells the opponent: ‘Let’s call it a draw.’ She’s incredible. She goes on and on. At the same time, I do not blame her, but British politics."
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:28 AM on March 17 [9 favorites]


The trouble with not quitting as a character trait is that while sometimes it is really useful for getting you through the blackest of days and getting across a finish line, at other times you are just flogging a dead horse. Knowing when to quit is the real personal quality to have, not never quitting. And I say this as someone who has flogged a fair few dead horses in my time.
posted by biffa at 11:40 AM on March 17 [16 favorites]


#MarchToLeave / #GammonballRun on Twitter today:

77 marchers (including press) begin, but Where's Nigel?

And then...

Today the #gammonballrun is trudging soullessly from Hartlepool to Middlesbrough. This is the published route, via Middlesbrough’s iconic Transporter Bridge. (1/4) ...

Can you guess what happened next?
posted by Quagkapi at 1:35 PM on March 17 [3 favorites]


Couldn't they have just said "march means march" or voted against getting wet or something? That way they wouldn't have needed a bridge.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:55 PM on March 17 [9 favorites]


Can you guess what happened next?
Without opening the link, my guess is that the Transporter Bridge was closed as it is Sunday.
posted by winterhill at 2:15 PM on March 17 [12 favorites]


Looks like I was right from the link. The Transporter Bridge is amazing and a fascinating thing to go and see if you're in town, but not if it's a Sunday.

Also, I know the area reasonably well. The map on the Twitter page shows their route - when they planned it, did they realise they'd be walking through a bleak, deserted industrial landscape past a nuclear power station, a chemical works and a place that breaks up old oil platforms? That area around Seal Sands is beautiful in its own dystopian way, but not the place to gain a mass audience for your protest.
posted by winterhill at 2:31 PM on March 17 [10 favorites]


The trouble with not quitting as a character trait is that while sometimes it is really useful for getting you through the blackest of days and getting across a finish line, at other times you are just flogging a dead horse.
I don't see the deal as dead and May has a decent chance of getting it across the finish line with the ERG starting to see it as the safest way to guarantee Brexit and the DUP being offered all sorts of inducements.

There's still hope because a lot of these people are fanatics, but this week is as dangerous as any we've had so far.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:01 AM on March 18 [4 favorites]


Over the weekend, Hammond as much as admitted they're bribing the DUP (again).
posted by skybluepink at 2:09 AM on March 18


@jamin2g [video]:
Do you want to leave the EU?

Corbyn: I want to have a serous relationship with the EU.

That’s not what I asked.

Corbyn: I know it’s not what you asked but it’s what I’m trying to help you say.

#Ridge
Just useless.
posted by zachlipton at 3:21 AM on March 18 [13 favorites]


I don't see the deal as dead and May has a decent chance of getting it across the finish line with the ERG starting to see it as the safest way to guarantee Brexit and the DUP being offered all sorts of inducements.

It's crazy that this is a statement that can meaningfully be made. It's been defeated twice, by all rights that should be it for this parliament.
posted by Dysk at 3:49 AM on March 18


Brexit Yoga is a brand new flow straight out of Europe .
posted by chavenet at 4:41 AM on March 18 [5 favorites]


It's crazy that this is a statement that can meaningfully be made. It's been defeated twice, by all rights that should be it for this parliament.

Of course, but this is what happens when you have a PM that's incapable of change or compromise - just keep trying the same thing and expect everyone else to change position to make it happen.

The ERG and DUP want no-deal in preference to this deal, so voting down the deal previously was the obvious choice when crash out is the default option on the 29th. Now Parliament has voted against backing no-deal under any circumstances and for requesting an extension, that changes the calculus for them - a long extension opens up a real possibility of another referendum and/or a general election.

But we're still set to crash out on the 29th by UK and EU law, and avoiding that for a time is entirely down to the other EU states, along with whatever conditions they decide to attach. If we stay in for long enough to hold EU elections, then that leads to the nasty possibility of UK MEPs swinging well to the hard-right, so Farage will be the least of their problems. It only takes one state leader to veto, and we'll crash out.

It's a classic prisoner's dilemma for the DUP/ERG - voting for the deal almost certainly ensures a long-term hard brexit, but doesn't extricate the UK from the EU entirely. Not voting for it means they still might get a crash-out brexit if there's no extension (or only a short one) but at the risk of no brexit at all.

May has a majority of 4, and 3 labour MPs voted for the deal 2nd time around. Some pro-EU tories will rebel against it also, and likely more anti-EU labour MPs will vote for it as they did the 1st time. Which way the DUP goes is crucial; if they vote against, it'll definitely fail, if they vote for it they will bring a big chunk of the ERG along too.

There's no way to know what the combination of ERG diehards, Labour anti-EU rebels and Tory pro-EU rebels will come out to be - there's enough margin there for either outcome.

Personally, I think there will be enough ERG MPs hoping for the extension talks to go poorly who will vote against it causing it to fail for a 3rd time, but I think it will be close.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:54 AM on March 18 [3 favorites]


A week and a half away from no deal now. It's fucking terrifying.
posted by dng at 5:13 AM on March 18 [5 favorites]


All of the above is true, but ought to be irrelevant. The deal has been voted down - twice! - and so it ought not to be brought before this parliament again.
posted by Dysk at 5:14 AM on March 18 [4 favorites]


The deal has been voted down - twice! - and so it ought not to be brought before this parliament again.
She only has to be lucky once. We have to be lucky always.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:15 AM on March 18 [16 favorites]


The way it looks, I think it would be amazing if we were lucky ever.
posted by Grangousier at 5:22 AM on March 18 [10 favorites]


She only has to be lucky once ignore all parliamentary convention on the matter.
posted by Dysk at 5:27 AM on March 18 [2 favorites]


She only has to be lucky once ignore all parliamentary convention on the matter.
posted by Dysk 24 minutes ago [+] [!]


Isn't it Bercow's job to uphold parliamentary conventions?
posted by From Bklyn at 5:56 AM on March 18


In an otherwise not-very-revelatory CBC article “There's nothing funny about the economic effects of Brexit”, I discovered that:
  1. Nigel Farage is Trollface (tw: actually a picture of Nigel Farage)
  2. Full Frontal: A Brief History of Brexit for Americans makes about as much sense of the situation as anyone could.
    (extra points to Amy Hoggart for the accent-othering call out)
In short: Brexit mean Brexit, shite means shite.
posted by scruss at 5:56 AM on March 18 [2 favorites]


Isn't it Bercow's job to uphold parliamentary conventions?

Ought to be, yes.
posted by Dysk at 6:01 AM on March 18


Bercow was asked about this last week and said he'd rule on it only if forced. According to this "verbal alterations" may be enough to allow it, so it's more complicated than the same motion being repeated.

A week and a half away from no deal now. It's fucking terrifying.

The betting odds on this are 6 to 1 against. I think the political consequences of a country vetoing an extension at this point are too great, even if they might otherwise want to.

(Although Malta or someone getting drunk and deciding "Let's do it and be legends" can't be ruled out)
posted by grahamparks at 6:15 AM on March 18


When the public doesn’t like what’s happening and wants to vote again, it’s an affront to democracy, thwarting the will of the people, erodes faith in government, shame on you for suggesting such a thing

When the government doesn’t like what’s happening and wants to vote again, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by saturday_morning at 6:18 AM on March 18 [8 favorites]


Recent events tend to explain (NB: not justify) May's authoritarian bent over the past 2 years. She knew hard Brexiteers would make it very difficult to get the Withdrawal Agreement through parliament, hence her otherwise inexplicable stubbornness in fighting against the Gina Miller case which contended that parliament had to agree to the WA.

Likewise her desire for sweeping executive powers to amend legislation ad lib to support Brexit: she knew parliamentary trench warfare would make it impossible to get the necessary changes made fast enough by consent.

Finally, calling that election was perfectly rational because she knew the irreconcilables would make it almost impossible to pass the WA. Everyone goes on about how she threw away a functioning majority, but the WA went down to the biggest and the 4th biggest (?) defeats in history: she needed a majority of a hundred or more, not a handful, to get it through—which is what a 20% poll lead would have given her. The gamble did, and still does, make sense, even with hindsight.

I'm not excusing May, just saying that I think she had a good idea of how things were going to go right the start, and she's been desperately searching for a solution ever since.

The one thing it never occurred to her to do was look for a consensus. I understand why people are calling for this and agree it is the best idea, but it flies in the face of current circumstances. Descriptions of May's "style" even from her own closest colleagues, let alone the EU negotiators, suggests this is waaaay outside her range. Combine this with the centuries old tradition of adversarial politics in the UK, and with Labour relaunching itself as a true left party that has given up on fudge and triangulation, and it was almost certainly doomed.
posted by dudleian at 6:44 AM on March 18 [8 favorites]


I think the political consequences of a country vetoing an extension at this point are too great, even if they might otherwise want to.

What would those consequences be exactly ?
posted by Pendragon at 7:05 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Unlike our lot, other countries have every reason to stay on reasonable terms with the EU, which means behaving as rational actors. If they were minded to use their veto they'd have flagged it up already and the statements we've heard from the EU leaders about the extension would be clear that it was at risk of veto from whichever countries.

Secondly, any country vetoing at this point would force a no deal Brexit and have big negative consequences for both the EU27 countries and for their own citizens in the UK.

Thirdly, the best use of the veto is as a threat to get something in return. Unless I've missed something, have any countries made threats along these lines?

That's my view anyway. You may disagree.
posted by grahamparks at 7:48 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I could kinda see Spain making a(nother) play for Gibraltar. Or at least threatening to until the last possible second.
posted by aramaic at 7:54 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


What would those consequences be exactly ?
There is a half-naked man in a residential street screaming abuse and rolling around in his own excrement. He has swallowed poison, but seems unwilling to drink the antidote in the vial clutched in his hands. His neighbours, a mix of decent people and... well, not so decent people, are standing around watching him shaking their heads and hoping he'll snap out of it and save himself.

Some of the more reprehensible characters prefer chaos in the neighbourhood and would be happy for the poison to take effect, but even the most antisocial of them are not about to wrestle the antidote away from a shit-smeared man in front of everyone. Better to let events take their course and stay well back.

In other words, why forever associate your country with the toxic brand of Brexit Britain? Right now, every EU government is enjoying the opportunity to appear calmly and sensibly governed by comparison with the UK.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:16 AM on March 18 [5 favorites]


When dropping a colourful metaphor into a thread on a sensitive topic, perhaps it is best to consider first whether said metaphor actually adds any clarity to the discussion.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:44 AM on March 18 [14 favorites]


MV3 has just been ruled out
posted by lawrencium at 8:53 AM on March 18 [5 favorites]


Isn't it Bercow's job to uphold parliamentary conventions?

John Bercow just gave a statement to the commons essentially saying he won't allow a third vote on May's deal, under these conventions (with a couple of caveats that don't rule it out completely).
posted by dng at 8:54 AM on March 18 [6 favorites]


I really want to know what would constitute a substantial change in the bill. He left just a tiny bit of room there, but I also don't think the EU is going to change it in any meaningful way, so who the hell knows what May will do now.
posted by skybluepink at 8:56 AM on March 18


I think Bercow has over-extended himself here and he is wrong. I basically agree with Jo Maugham on this.
Yes, Parliamentary time should not be wasted but this seems like an extraordinary time to be binding Parliament on what it can or cannot do based on a rule from 1604.
posted by vacapinta at 9:01 AM on March 18 [3 favorites]


Parliament is happy to bind themselves based on a meaningless vote by a bunch of idiots in 2016 so I think Bercow is totally in line with the times.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:07 AM on March 18 [28 favorites]


I think Bercow has over-extended himself here and he is wrong. I basically agree with Jo Maugham on this.

He said the convention had been confirmed again many times, including in 1864, 1870, 1882, 1891 and 1912. “Indeed, Erskine May makes reference to no fewer than 12 such rulings up to the year 1920,” he said. “One of the reasons the rule has lasted so long is that it is a necessary rule to ensure the sensible use of the house’s time and the proper respect for the decisions it takes."

It is still up to parliament to decide; as I understand it if they do want to vote *again* on the meaningful vote, they can override the speaker with a vote to disregard his ruling.

Also, about fricking time.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:41 AM on March 18 [16 favorites]


You know, I was just thinking how what this situation needed was more chaos.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:56 AM on March 18 [12 favorites]


Good on Bercow. Why should May be allowed to disrespect the rulings of Parliament and ignore precedent by repeatedly tabling the same rejected deal? Informed comment suggested that she didn't have the numbers for a win on MV3, even with the DUP and the more opportunistic members of the ERG on side.

May's sole plan seems to be: apply the thumbscrews to Tory ditherers, chuck out a few plum committee jobs here and there, few development grant bribes to Labour malcontents and threaten no deal / no Brexit depending on who you're talking to; schedule vote; lose; repeat until you cross the line sometime in December? Meanwhile, mass exodus of business; lives on hold; growing anxiety, resentment and anger on all sides.

She CANNOT keep trying to feed Parliament the same terrible Schmexit deal. Much as it goes against every fibre of her being, she needs to start working on compromise, whether that's a people's vote of her deal vs remain or erasing some of her red lines.

If she won't move, then May needs to step aside. She is the impediment here, not Bercow - who is one of the only people in the House doing their bloody job.
posted by doornoise at 10:12 AM on March 18 [8 favorites]




May, in theory, should now take the request for an extension to the EU council meeting on Thursday. She was rumoured to be doing this (and delaying MV3 till next week) anyway, so she could come back with a long extension to beat the brextremists into submission with. What she will ask for now, and what the EU answer will be, and how she will try and twist into that getting parliament to support her deal - and how to even get it to a vote - nobody can possibly know right now.

I've been assuming for a while it would be a crash-out, but I can't even guess what the situation will be on March 30th now, it's simply too volatile with too many actors. What it is, is mostly out of UK hands.

Vote Leave slogan: "let's take back control". They couldn't have been more wrong if they'd put it on a bus.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:13 AM on March 18 [3 favorites]


Called it.

Now let’s see what the EU allows for an extension.
posted by daveje at 11:15 AM on March 18 [1 favorite]


My guess is that the EU will allow an extension beyond June (or perhaps even beyond May 25) only on the condition that the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections.
posted by sour cream at 11:18 AM on March 18


Ian Dunt has just written up today's drama. Bless that man.
posted by vacapinta at 11:28 AM on March 18 [16 favorites]


"My guess is..."

You don't have to guess. This has been clearly stated by the European Commission: "If the UK is still a member of the EU during EU parliamentary election, they will have to take part in it."
posted by tractorfeed at 12:02 PM on March 18 [7 favorites]


Dutch PM Mark Rutte: Open to delay, but need to know what British want. "If they want a delay the British need to explain how they plan to ensure a different outcome.”
posted by Pendragon at 12:08 PM on March 18 [3 favorites]


"If they want a delay the British need to explain how they plan to ensure a different outcome.”

Hasn't that been the EU's stance all along: that an extension has to be more than just kicking the can down the road, but needs to include some real action plan to prevent a crash-out? They don't want a no-deal break in 2 weeks, of course, but they want months more of indecisive dithering and panic and then a no-deal break even less.
posted by jackbishop at 12:15 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


For anyone else who was puzzled, Erskine May "is considered to be the most authoritative and influential work on parliamentary procedure and the constitutional conventions affecting Parliament" and not to be confused with Theresa May.
posted by exogenous at 12:24 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


Was anyone confusing Erskine May with Theresa May? I didn't see that anywhere.
posted by winterhill at 12:27 PM on March 18


I always picture Erskine May as a 1930s writer of detective fiction, with a smoking jacket and a sardonic expression. Or possibly a venerable actor of the same vintage.
posted by Grangousier at 12:28 PM on March 18 [6 favorites]


"Ermine May" is obviously Theresa wound in Royal robes, above criticism and to be obeyed at penalty of beheadment. Dunno who this "Erskine" character is, maybe a lesser provincial cousin.
posted by 3urypteris at 12:33 PM on March 18


There were a few jokes about Erskine May being an ancestor of Philip going around Twitter earlier in the day.
posted by skybluepink at 12:35 PM on March 18


Erskine May 1, Theresa May 0

(Andrew Adonis on twitter)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:42 PM on March 18


My guess is that the EU will allow an extension beyond June (or perhaps even beyond May 25) only on the condition that the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections.

The resultant protest vote would be a thing to behold. UKIP holding 50 UK seats. Just great.
posted by Leon at 12:59 PM on March 18 [7 favorites]


The resultant protest vote would be a thing to behold. UKIP holding 50 UK seats. Just great.
Well, maybe. I haven't checked across Europe, but here in Denmark the anti-EU parties are failing dramatically. It also seems that in spite of the gilets jaunes, France is going to remain pro-EU. It's like people have begun to realize how stuff actually works. Compare Farage's ridiculous march for whatever with the remain demonstrations. At the referendum, people voted for change, whatever that might be. Now people know much better what is going on.
I'll admit that at this point it is all guesswork, but it does seem a lot of people are learning from the Brexit disaster.
posted by mumimor at 1:20 PM on March 18 [9 favorites]


I have to imagine it's going to motivate Remainers to vote as well, should it come to us having EU Parliament elections. Part of the reason we are in this ghastly mess is that turnout in EU elections has historically been very low. A whole lot of voters never took it seriously at all.
posted by skybluepink at 1:26 PM on March 18 [5 favorites]


Thomas Erskine May. And in a snippet of bright news in our postapocalyptic political hellscape, the 2019 edition of his book is going to be published on Parliament's website and therefore freely available to all for the first time in its history.

I am convinced that a) Theresa May's actions can all be best understood if you see her as the authoritarian she is and always has been, and b) the reason she gets away with this is that we mentally picture authoritarian leaders as charismatic and manipulative. Nope, turns out they can just as easily be bland and ineffective. For her it's a natural consequence of the personality traits people have kept remarking on throughout all this mess: she does not listen, she does not compromise, and she is incapable of any kind of mental flexibility.
posted by Catseye at 1:44 PM on March 18 [12 favorites]


> France is going to remain pro-EU

I wish I could share that optimism , but I don’t think this round of eu election is going to be overwhelmingly pro EU - my hope is that the pro EU people across parties might be a slight majority, but even that seems hard to achieve.

> If the UK is still a member of the EU during EU parliamentary election, they will have to take part in it.

My understanding is that the UK has to send euro deputies, but how they select them is up to them. They could decide to appoint them, or renew the mandate of the current deputies - it doesn’t have to be an election.
posted by motdiem2 at 2:03 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


also, recommend this Twitter thread for why 1604 is a particularly interesting year in terms of Parliamentary precedents, including that one (first sitting of Parliament under James VI and I).
posted by Catseye at 2:03 PM on March 18 [4 favorites]


Over on Twitter, Liam Fox was pleased with the continuation trade deal he's signed with Norway and Iceland in the event of No Deal (Guardian Liveblog). So Andrew Mueller on Twitter took his triumphal phrase and added it to the “Christ, what an asshole” list:
I am now seized by the realisation that you can use "This is on top of the agreement we’ve signed with Liechtenstein" as a caption to literally any photo ever taken.
posted by ambrosen at 3:35 PM on March 18 [13 favorites]


[A few comments deleted; sorry for the late delete, people really didn't care for the short jokey article presented as fact.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:17 PM on March 18 [1 favorite]


I have to imagine it's going to motivate Remainers to vote as well, should it come to us having EU Parliament elections. Part of the reason we are in this ghastly mess is that turnout in EU elections has historically been very low. A whole lot of voters never took it seriously at all.

It's been one of my pleasures, asking Leavers who said the EU was 'undemocratic' how they voted in the EU elections. Second only to sending them links to the contact pages and mugshots of the 'faceless bureaucrats'.

More seriously, nobody knows what's happening in Parliament tomorrow. There are several orders more of unpredictability in how the nation would vote in an EU election or a People's Vote. However, I can say with some certainty that there are lots of Remainers who are gagging to get out there and campaign. And the 'This is SUCH AN OUTRAGE I'm never going to VOTE AGAIN" is absolutely a thing that Leavers say. But they're very, very angry and it's hard to tell what they'd actually do or not do when they calm down.

We are, what, ten days from crashing out of the EU with no deal, the one thing that a majority in Parliament clearly doesn't want. It is by this stage highly likely - if just from demographics, as I've said so often - that the country doesn't want to leave at all. It'll be a shitshow whatever happens, but I would far prefer the shitshow where we're still in the EU to the one where we're not. ..

And that's still possible.
posted by Devonian at 5:42 PM on March 18 [8 favorites]




This one's getting a bit unwieldy, so I've made a new thread.
posted by rory at 3:51 AM on March 19 [12 favorites]


No milk and cookies, but cheers, mates - it's the final countdown.
🍻
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:54 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


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