Europe: The Final Countdown
March 19, 2019 3:50 AM   Subscribe

With 10 days until Brexit (perhaps), Britain's sovereign Parliament has taken back control. Speaker John Bercow has frustrated the government's plans to bring back the Withdrawal Agreement for a third meaningful vote, which can now only take place in this session on Parliament's terms. Although a majority of MPs voted last week against leaving with no deal and in favour of requesting an extension to Article 50, leaving the EU on 29 March remains the law of the land and the default position of Article 50, unless the latter is revoked or extended. Everything now depends on the European Council, the actions of Theresa May, and the unpredictable voting blocs of Parliament.

Bercow's ruling has sidelined attempts by May to secure the votes of the DUP for her third meaningful vote, although this was already looking unlikely.

Elsewhere, several dozen Leavers are solemnly trudging from England's northeast to London, having paid £50 a head for the privilege of being urged on by Nigel Farage at the outset before he pissed off and left them to it.

Having lobbied Labour against supporting last week's parliamentary vote on a second referendum for tactical reasons which may yet backfire, the People's Vote campaign is making its final push for its rally in London on Saturday 23 March. Will a massive turnout change the mind of the most stubborn Prime Minister in living memory?

All this, and so much more, in this week's instalment of our long-running series, as seen previously on MetaFilter. Stock up on some nibbles and join us for the final countdown.
posted by rory (979 comments total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
 
It looks like we're leaving
So this is farewell
But maybe we'll come back
To earth, who can tell?
There are too many people to blame
For losing ground
Will things ever be the same again?
It's the final countdown.

(With apologies to Europe. In both senses of the word.)
posted by rory at 3:54 AM on March 19 [95 favorites]


Bercow exposed the fact that the government was limping along, making the bare minimum progress necessary so as not to be completely motionless. And that holds not just on Brexit but in all areas of policy and government.

Of course, rather than admit that the emperor has no clothes, a large part of the media and many politicians are blaming Bercow, rather than their own eyes. Brexiters who had decried the Withdrawal Agreement as the worst deal known to man and who had sent it to two of the biggest parliamentary defeats ever, queued up to go on the airwaves to say that they were furious not to have the chance to vote in favour of it. What?!

What happened yesterday laid bare in microcosm all of the problems that beset politics in this country, and which need to be addressed root and branch before we can get anywhere. Patch up and move on just won't work.

The problem is that the government is led by the least flexible, least empathetic and most authoritarian PM I can remember (and that includes Thatcher—the "Iron Lady" could be remarkably flexible when it was politically expedient, and it was the loss of that ability that forced her from power).

We really are messed up. The Fintan O'Toole article linked in the last thread was spot on. We need to become a protectorate of the EU for a decade or so while we sort ourselves out.
posted by dudleian at 4:29 AM on March 19 [19 favorites]


The problem is that the government is led by the least flexible, least empathetic and most authoritarian PM I can remember

That's certainly a big problem but far from the only one. Decades of unaddressed anti-EU propaganda and a barely informed electorate are others.
posted by biffa at 4:35 AM on March 19 [14 favorites]


Of course, rather than admit that the emperor has no clothes, a large part of the media and many politicians are blaming Bercow, rather than their own eyes.

Tory MP Nick Boles calls May’s bluff: “Not sure what all the fuss is about. If the PM thinks she has a majority for a third meaningful vote, she will also have a majority for a motion to set aside the Speaker’s ruling on the Erskine May convention. If she doesn’t, no point making the attempt.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:36 AM on March 19 [36 favorites]


Bercow exposed the fact that the government was limping along, making the bare minimum progress necessary so as not to be completely motionless

It's like one of those funky coloured warped checkerboard illusion things. It looks like there's movement happening but when you check back it really hasn't changed at all.
posted by edd at 5:03 AM on March 19 [8 favorites]


There are many more clusters to this fuck than the PM. Brexit is a nightmarishly splitty matter for both the main parties, and that's before you even get to the general problems thrown up by trying to process a referendum result in a system based on (crown-in-)parliamentary sovereignty, not to the mention the Fixed Term Parliament Act keeping a zombie ministry in place and messing up the decisiveness the system is supposed to produce.

I still think Cameron and Osborne deserve the biggest proportion of our vitriol. (I think Aditya Chakrabortty has it right here: austerity, and the big lies behind it, is what won it for Leave, and it's still going on.)

Also, Bercow might well be a popmous, self-satisfied arse, but sometimes a pompous, self-satisfied arse is what you need.
posted by Mocata at 5:15 AM on March 19 [27 favorites]


Thanks for starting the thread, rory. (And a pre-emptive thank you for all those watching this chaos from the outside for not jumping in with "this is probably obvious to you Brits, but why doesn't somebody just activate the Queen bat-signal/form a new centrist party/modernise the weird lobby voting system/give Northern Ireland back?" There's always plenty of us happy to go on at length about UK parliamentary/political history on AskMe should you wish to ask over there.)

BBC News website leading with the Government's determination to bring back the deal for another vote anyway, through mechanisms as yet uncertain. Would surely at this point mean a vote to overrule Bercow's ruling rather than a substantial change to the deal, though. That does suggest the Government's convinced it can get enough Tories plus DUP over the line somehow, which seems wildly optimistic at this point.

This time yesterday the tactic seemed to be: large financial offering to Northern Ireland for the DUP, plus promising to fire Olly Robbins for the less reality-based Brexiteer MPs. That seems absolutely desperate to me and hardly a tactic guaranteed to turn a 145-vote defeat into a ringing victory. But given the number of MPs publicly raging at Bercow for not letting them change their vote on the thing they've already voted on twice because but of course they were always going to vote for it eventually, maybe not?
posted by Catseye at 5:15 AM on March 19 [21 favorites]


And of course should (Theresa) May get an extension past (the month of) May, then the UK will be obliged to participate in the European Parliamentary elections which will be a right shitshow.

Who does the well-intentioned Remainer vote for? Barely a handful of existing MEPs come from parties who have an active pro-Remain stance, so would the Lib Dems see a surge in England? Are they still a thing? Do they have enough candidates? Would there be any point if we're only supposed to be staying in for a few months after the elections anyway?

More questions and uncertainty to add to the pile.
posted by jontyjago at 5:15 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


::silently screams::
posted by Faintdreams at 5:18 AM on March 19 [12 favorites]


Another problem is the constitutional tradition that the current parliament can't tie the hands of a future parliament. That's pragmatic and sensible, but also a big problem in the current circumstances where political consensus has broken down.

May's behaviour has created a desert of trust that it makes it very hard for her to make deals (with the EU, with Labour leavers, with the DUP, with...), but even if she could make a deal the fact is that she's going to leave power sooner rather than later, and be replaced by a hard Brexiteer who is likely to instantly renege on those deals. It's an environment in which it makes no sense for anyone to compromise because there's a good chance they'll end up empty handed. That's poisonous for democracy.
posted by dudleian at 5:21 AM on March 19 [8 favorites]


If recent precedent is anything to go by, it's possible if not likely that the government will try to sidestep Bercow's ruling by voting to suspend standing orders. Which adds the risk of May losing another vote. Though there is the possibility of Corbyn whipping Labour into supporting such a move (to give the Tories enough rope, and/or some kind of Lexiteer accelerationism).
posted by acb at 5:37 AM on March 19


Has anyone done a deep dive into what, exactly, the end-game/profit is for the powers behind the Leave movement? Obviously, sowing discord in the populace and throughout the government is an obvious effect, but what is the big payoff here for the powers who were pulling the strings? Just grins and giggles watching a democracy tear itself apart? Or, is there another shoe that has yet to drop?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:52 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Europe: The Final Countdown

I've made a huge mistake.
posted by zamboni at 5:52 AM on March 19 [66 favorites]


Has anyone done a deep dive into what, exactly, the end-game/profit is for the powers behind the Leave movement?

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s “huge personal windfall” after Brexit
posted by Space Coyote at 6:08 AM on March 19 [8 favorites]


I'm seeing a theory that parliament has been planning all along to vote for May's deal but only at the absolute last moment for extraction of maximum concessions from May for and political cover. I don't have enough insight to say if that makes sense but it would appear to explain the freakout over Bercow's move in that it ends the game too early for the strategy to play out.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:10 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Crap that link is a sneaky pay-wall, here's a relevant excerpt:
The Leading Brexiteer [capital L, capital B] recently ridiculed the idea of the UK staying in the single market and customs union after Brexit, joining other Eurosceptics calling for a “clean” separation with the EU so the UK has the freedom to strike new trade deals.

Moves to create barriers to trade with the EU would force UK companies to strike up deals elsewhere, directly profiting companies backing the emerging markets.

That’s the huge personal windfall.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:11 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


There’s no paywall for FTAlphaville, but you do have to create a (free) FT account in order to read their stuff.

(FTAlphaville is great & absolutely worth your time.)
posted by pharm at 6:16 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Who does the well-intentioned Remainer vote for? Barely a handful of existing MEPs come from parties who have an active pro-Remain stance, so would the Lib Dems see a surge in England? Are they still a thing? Do they have enough candidates? Would there be any point if we're only supposed to be staying in for a few months after the elections anyway?

Based on their efforts on Twitter and elsewhere, I'd vote for Seb Dance and/or Claude Moraes in London, Catherine Bearder in South East England, Molly Scott Cato in South West England, Rory Palmer in the East Midlands, Neena Gill in the West Midlands, Alex Meyer in East of England, Jude Kirton-Darling in North East England, Julie Ward in North West England, Richard Corbett in Yorkshire and the Humber, Jill Evans in Wales, and Alyn Smith and/or David Martin in Scotland.

Northern Ireland is trickier as its MEPs reflect the unionist and republican divide and that alone will determine where many voters stand, but only Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson is a clear critic of Brexit; the UUP's Jim Nicholson is talking on Twitter about fixing the backstop so that the UK can leave with a deal, so he's no help.

Dance, Bearder and Smith have been particularly staunch and stalwart opponents of Brexit throughout. They're Labour, Lib Dem and SNP respectively: don't write off Labour MEPs if it comes to it, as they aren't slavishly sticking to Corbyn's Westminster line.
posted by rory at 6:17 AM on March 19 [36 favorites]


Thanks rory - that's genuinely very useful.
posted by jontyjago at 6:20 AM on March 19


Has anyone done a deep dive into what, exactly, the end-game/profit is for the powers behind the Leave movement? Obviously, sowing discord in the populace and throughout the government is an obvious effect, but what is the big payoff here for the powers who were pulling the strings? Just grins and giggles watching a democracy tear itself apart? Or, is there another shoe that has yet to drop?

Well, the desired outcome for ideological Brexiters - people like the European 'Research' Group and the disgraced former defence minister Liam Fox - is deregulation of finance, employment, environmental standards, consumer protections etc, on a hypercapitalist US model. A majority of the voters don't want those things, but I suppose the hope is that they could be persuaded to go along with them if the trade deals that'll be needed to refloat the economy after Brexit can be made conditional on that sort of stuff.

Beyond that, I don't think you need hidden movers pulling the strings behind the scenes to explain the shit we're in. The Conservative Party's internal fighting about Europe amd fear of losing older and/or more reactionary voters to UKIP; David Cameron's spectacular multi-stage screw-up (promising a referendum while assuming he'd end up in a coalition with the Lib Dems which would give him cover for breaking the promise; a complacent Remain campaign unwilling to monster the likes of Gove and Johnson for the sake of Tory unity; ideologically-driven austerity hanging over everything and making lots of voters want to give the establishment a bloody nose): that pretty much explains the whole shitshow. The slow-motion farce of the attempt to implement Brexit is more of a systemic crisis than a conspiracy with an engame in view.
posted by Mocata at 6:21 AM on March 19 [31 favorites]


There’s no paywall for FTAlphaville, but you do have to create a (free) FT account in order to read their stuff.
The FT's paywall is relatively soft. To get around it, search for the headline in Google (it has to be Google for some reason) and click the link. If the FT site sees Google as the referrer it lets you read the content.
posted by winterhill at 6:22 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


rory, did you mean this post to also be a Star Wars intro crawl because by god, it works
posted by BungaDunga at 6:29 AM on March 19 [129 favorites]


Based on their efforts on Twitter and elsewhere, I'd vote for Seb Dance and [...]

MEP elections in the UK (except NI) are based on party lists. You have to choose a single party to vote for, and you get no say in candidate priority.

I really hope there'll be an unambiguously Remain option that isn't the bloody Lib Dems.
posted by grahamparks at 6:41 AM on March 19 [4 favorites]


I prefer the NSK version.
posted by Slothrup at 6:52 AM on March 19


I just wanted to congratulate rory on the post title.

As for everyone else, good luck.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:52 AM on March 19 [8 favorites]


MEP elections in the UK (except NI) are based on party lists. You have to choose a single party to vote for, and you get no say in candidate priority.

Oh right, I'd forgotten that UK MEP elections use d'Hondt (we vote under a lot of different electoral systems in Scotland). Each party lists their candidates, though, so look for the list containing those people. Existing MEPs will be at or near the top of their party's list - that's how they got in last time.
posted by rory at 6:54 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I really hope there'll be an unambiguously Remain option that isn't the bloody Lib Dems.

Even though voting for Labour in a General Election would be a tough call for many Remainers right now, I'd hate to see someone like Seb Dance lose in an EU election because of Corbyn. He's been a model of principled, sensible opposition to Brexit throughout.
posted by rory at 7:08 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


For the rest of the day I'm going to have the lyric "We're heading for Venus (Venus)" in my head
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:27 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Britain's sovereign Parliament has taken back control

From where I’m standing it doesn’t look as if anyone is in control.
posted by Segundus at 7:28 AM on March 19 [6 favorites]


I really hope there'll be an unambiguously Remain option that isn't the bloody Lib Dems.

I'd take an all but single issue Remain party right now. Lib Dems or no.
posted by jaduncan at 7:57 AM on March 19 [6 favorites]


I really hope there'll be an unambiguously Remain option that isn't the bloody Lib Dems.

Renew is currently trying to make itself happen.
posted by ZipRibbons at 8:05 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]




And of course should (Theresa) May get an extension past (the month of) May, then the UK will be obliged to participate in the European Parliamentary elections which will be a right shitshow.

So in everything I've read about this I've seen lots of "the EU could offer an extension past the EU elections in May, which would require the UK to elect MEPs," but I haven't seen any explanations as to why the EU27 would ever do such a thing, given it would leave them with a bunch of MEPs intent on destroying the EU from inside the house. Which has me...concerned that this is maybe another one of those not-totally-realistic "possibilities" that have been a staple of this entire thing.

But I also periodically google "what is David Cameron up to" and the answer is never "being tar and feathered," so I assume the best is yet to come, generally.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:27 AM on March 19 [12 favorites]


Sky News Breaking: “The Information Commissioner's Office has fined 'Vote Leave' £40,000 after an investigation found it sent more than 196,000 text messages promoting the aims of the campaign ahead of the 2016 EU referendum and was unable to provide evidence recipients had given their consent”
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:49 AM on March 19 [7 favorites]


So in everything I've read about this I've seen lots of "the EU could offer an extension past the EU elections in May, which would require the UK to elect MEPs," but I haven't seen any explanations as to why the EU27 would ever do such a thing, given it would leave them with a bunch of MEPs intent on destroying the EU from inside the house.

Because an extension of 9 months or so (or longer) allows time for a referendum, generally considered to be the only politically possible method of cancelling Brexit altogether. Alternatively, it gives time for Parliament to stop saying no to everything and actually try and come to a consensus of what it does want, which if not a referendum is likely to be a softer brexit. Either of these outcomes is still preferable to having the UK crash out on bad terms, as nobody likes having an angry and poor neighbour with nuclear weapons.*

It's the stated goal of UKIP, Farage etc to destroy the EU from inside - they've already been trying for years - but there's also a lot of very motivated remainers in the UK right now, so it may well swing to a more pro-EU group than our current MEPs, given usually the only people that bother are protest voters. And the EU Parliament doesn't actually have that much power.

* Ironic hyperbole. Unless Boris Johnson comes to power, in which case we might nuke the continent by accident. Or if Michael Howard starts feeling his oats about Gibraltar again.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:03 AM on March 19 [7 favorites]




I really hope there'll be an unambiguously Remain option that isn't the bloody Lib Dems.

I voted Green in the last European election. The Green MEP that was elected in my region (SW England), Molly Scott Cato, makes rory's list, above. I would urge you to look into whether voting Green might actually get you what you want in your region. There are current Green MEPs in London and in SE England.
posted by biffa at 10:19 AM on March 19 [7 favorites]


Because an extension of 9 months or so (or longer) allows time for a referendum, generally considered to be the only politically possible method of cancelling Brexit altogether.

Right, but: there's no bill before parliament for a referendum, and even if there were there's no reason to think it would pass.

Alternatively, it gives time for Parliament to stop saying no to everything and actually try and come to a consensus of what it does want, which if not a referendum is likely to be a softer brexit.

Are you privy to a different reality than the one the rest of us have been observing?
posted by tobascodagama at 11:14 AM on March 19 [9 favorites]


I'm seeing a theory that parliament has been planning all along to vote for May's deal but only at the absolute last moment for extraction of maximum concessions from May for and political cover.

This has been my personal theory since the first time the deal was rejected by Parliament. It really was and is the only Brexit deal possible, so rejection was simply a game of brinkmanship. I fully expect May's deal to be approved by Parliament in the last few days before the (current or extended) crash-out date.
posted by rocket88 at 11:34 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]


The most irritating part of that potential outcome is the fawning coverage of May's great triumph and her inevitable smug victory lap, should it happen.
posted by skybluepink at 11:47 AM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Are you privy to a different reality than the one the rest of us have been observing?
There are 4 options, and only 4 (assuming a sufficient extension)
1) crash out with no deal
2) agree the WA as-is
3) change the political declaration on the future status (which the EU has indicated it's more than willing to do)
4) cancel Brexit

1) lost substantially, even with May deploying a three whip for no-deal. It was a narrow majority for refusing no-deal forever, but it's certainly not what Parliament wants right now. May still happen of course.
2) The WA lost, twice, by record breaking majorities. Even swinging the DUP and ERG to support it will likely not be sufficient, and Bercow has stopped another vote for now.
3) any change to the political declaration will have to be towards a softer brexit. At the moment it says very little at all, because the UK government can't agree with itself. The only way to bring other parties into agreeing the WA will be to add firm language to the declaration pointing us towards customs union and possibly single market membership.
4) withdrawing article 50 notification is not popular in Parliament. A 2nd referendum as an addendum to the WA is within 15-20 votes of passing.

If there's no extension at all, then only withdrawing article 50 notification or crashing out remains. Most everyone assumes we will crash out in that circumstance, though nothing is certain.

If there's a short extension, then it's basically crash out, pass the WA as is, or withdraw article 50. Withdrawing still seems unlikely, so it's May's prefered outcome to again place the WA up against no-deal, but this time with no chance of extension. The EU are not stupid, and know full well this is May's plan.

If there's a long extension, then there's time for a General Election, or a referendum, or time to negotiate changes to the political declaration. And May loses her pressure point of no-deal.

The EU do not want no-deal, but will live with it if it happens - they know the UK is far less prepared than they are.

I'm not sure they really care what other option happens, as long as one of them does. However, they will want to see evidence that May recognises the political reality she's in, and finally show some willingness to bend to Parliament. We have not had any serious exploration of any options except no-deal or the WA as-is. If Parliament is going to continue to only be offered no-deal or the WA, then there is no point exploring the other options and they might as well get crash-out over with.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:02 PM on March 19 [7 favorites]


Anyone who has any 'evens' left is going to want to look away about now...

@BBCNormanS: Looks like Govt shaping up to bring back meaningful vote anyway - and dare the Speaker to rule it out of order.
posted by Buntix at 12:19 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


I mean, Swamp Castle eventually stayed up.
posted by stevis23 at 12:26 PM on March 19 [12 favorites]


BBC: Brexit: Theresa May to formally ask for delay
Prime Minister Theresa May is writing to the EU to formally ask for Brexit to be postponed.

One ministerial source told the BBC the longer delay could be up to two years, amid reports of a cabinet row, but No 10 said no decision had been made.[…]

A cabinet source told the BBC that she plans to ask for a short delay to Brexit until 30 June, with an option of a longer delay.[…]

One ministerial source told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg there was "no agreement" around the cabinet table.

Another cabinet source said they were frustrated that the PM had not been clear about which delay option she would be arguing for.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:47 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


Via @JamesMelville she's also apparently scheduling the vote for the 28th of March.

There just aren't words for such a level of disingenuous malignant incompetence.
posted by Buntix at 12:50 PM on March 19 [8 favorites]


There just aren't words for such a level of disingenuous malignant incompetence.

It's called "conservatism".
posted by dng at 12:50 PM on March 19 [37 favorites]


Universities UK, the vice-chancellors’ body, ... had been under the impression that the government would create a national alternative to the Erasmus+ scheme to protect students in the event of no deal. ... However, there is no evidence of this happening. “As we understand it, there is no money on the table for an alternative scheme, and no work is under way in the DfE to prepare one.”
posted by rory at 1:07 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


BBC’s Norman Smith: “"I'm a simple soul" says a weary sounding @MichelBarnier to PM's proposal for short and long delay to Brexit.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:13 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


^ Michel Barnier is the brother of my former médecin traitant - the French equivalent of a GP.

Said monsieur le docteur retired a couple of years ago, and I think being a "simple soul" might just run in the family. He's now grown a natty little goatee, and I see him from time to time at the weekly market in the charming, unspoiled Alpine resort town just up the valley from where I live, carrying his baguette, choosing some of our renowned local artisanal cheese, or splashing out on some sea bass from the extortionate, though excellent, fishmonger's van.

I laugh (because you have to keep laughing somehow) when I try to imagine the phone conversations he might have with his brother.

"So, keeping busy then?"

"Ben, oui, mais madame m'enslave avec ses demandes; il faut que je négocie jusqu'au dernier centime pour avoir le foie gras que je veux, et de plus, c'est moi qui doit tout porter après avoir fait le deal. It's overrated you know, you should stick it out a few more years, bump up your pension fund a bit more; keep a healthy working distance from la tyrannte inflexible. Anyway toodlepipaurevoir mon frère, the Margaux's been open a while already, et ce filet de bœuf ne se cuisinera pas."
posted by protorp at 1:56 PM on March 19 [19 favorites]


Plaid, the SNP, the Lib Dems et al had a (delayed) meeting with Corbyn today to talk about a second referendum. Well, they wanted to talk about a second referendum - he, apparently, just wanted to talk about his vision for Brexit.

And then you read lines like "Johnson could face competition from Dominic Raab, Esther McVey, David Davis, Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom among the Brexiters when there is a leadership contest".

I cannot wait for the second Scottish indyref. Seriously, I want to cut myself free of the whole rotten mess and be a member of the slightly more eccentric, jovial and much-better-music'd Nordic country that awaits.

(BTW - UK peeps or those who can look like they're in the UK may enjoy the very good documentary about the first Indy Ref that's currently on the new BBC Scotland TV channel/iPlayer. )
posted by Devonian at 2:26 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


I don't understand why Remainers seem to think a second referendum would be a solution to the Brexit problem. There is no guarantee a referendum would result in a rejection of Brexit.

Besides, in the context of a parliamentary democracy, referendums are fundamentally undemocratic. The questions are typically vague or cynically disingenuous, but the result is that politicians can claim to represent the "will" of the people.

Which could mean anything.
posted by JamesBay at 2:58 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Superglad to hear of a better solution. I think we are all quite aware at this point that referenda may have some shortcomings.
posted by biffa at 3:14 PM on March 19 [20 favorites]


Pretty much no one thinks it's a guaranteed solution. And pretty much no one denies that it politically has other issues.

Just some people (myself included about 80% of the time) think it's about the best even vaguely realistic option there is.
posted by edd at 3:14 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


There is no guarantee a referendum would result in a rejection of Brexit.

There's (essentially) no possibility of a rejection of brexit by any other means.

(unless anyone believes Theresa May is going to revoke article 50 by next Friday)
posted by dng at 3:16 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why Remainers seem to think a second referendum would be a solution to the Brexit problem. There is no guarantee a referendum would result in a rejection of Brexit.

No, but Parliament has shown it doesn't have the will to stop it, so it's the best shot. It's much like the 2016 and 2018 US elections - the theory is Brexit passed by a relative low margin. The hope is some combination of people that voted for Brexit for the lulz have gotten bored with it, that some of the propaganda that pushed Leave has been unmasked and will have less effect, and that more disaffected voters that didn't bother to turn up to the polls last time will do so if given a second chance.
posted by Candleman at 3:24 PM on March 19 [13 favorites]


There is no guarantee a referendum would result in a rejection of Brexit.

No, but there's a possibility, and that's better than what everything else provides.
posted by Dysk at 3:40 PM on March 19 [8 favorites]


The government has thrown a potential £500m Brexit lifeline to 180,000 British pensioners in EU countries outside the UK who rely on the NHS to pay for their healthcare. Health minister Stephen Hammond has said the government is committed to covering all treatments that began before exit day for up to 12 months afterwards in the event of no deal.

Emphasis mine. So if you get sick in the next week and die within a year, no worries. If you get sick in two weeks and last for two years, not so good.
posted by rory at 3:56 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


They're morally depraved monsters. And we are about to be stranded here alone with them. I'm sorry to sound so bleak, but I don't see a way out of this mess. I agree that a second referendum is the only possible out, since she's never going to revoke Article 50, but I don't think we're getting that either. That bloody Fixed Term Parliament Act has screwed us.
posted by skybluepink at 4:09 PM on March 19 [8 favorites]


This has been my personal theory since the first time the deal was rejected by Parliament. It really was and is the only Brexit deal possible, so rejection was simply a game of brinkmanship. I fully expect May's deal to be approved by Parliament in the last few days before the (current or extended) crash-out date.

The problem with brinkmanship is that eventually someone makes a miscalculation on how crazy the other side is and the whole thing blows up in everyones faces. I think that's pretty much what is on track to happen here, since I'm not sure there will be the votes to pass the deal and I really don't think the EU will agree to an extension for an extension sake.

And the kicker is this if May deal passes, it is only the first round. This is just the transition deal for like 2 years for the island of Britain and all her territories except Northern Ireland (since Northern Ireland's backstop is indefinite). The final deal will be like 1000 times harder to negotiate and the EU will have even less of an incentive to not just turn the screws on Britain in the final deal if the British, especially if Britain's position on the 4-Freedoms, Ireland, et al remains insane. I don't really see Britain getting it's act together anytime soon.
posted by jmauro at 4:10 PM on March 19 [16 favorites]


Besides, in the context of a parliamentary democracy, referendums are fundamentally undemocratic. The questions are typically vague or cynically disingenuous

Not necessarily. For example Ireland can run democratic referendums quite successfully, because there's a framework from its Constitution and the Referendum Acts which lays out how a referendum should be prepared and run. One big deep cause (a necessary but not sufficient condition) of this gigantic clusterfuck is that the UK does not have a constitution which is fit for purpose, and far too much of this process has run under confusion of who can do what. That confusion probably has given May and her absurdly parochial and tedious Will to Power far too free reign.

But that's all by-the-by, because what's actually important is that underneath the fear, those of us whose lives are being turned upside-down work out if there's anything we can fight for. Myself, I haven't written off the possibility that we will get the chance to fight for a people's vote or a revocation in the next 10 days, but I'm also much afraid of the collapse that a no deal could cause.

Living in that uncertainty — either everything's going to get permanently much worse, or we'll need to spring immediately and forcefully into action to persuade people they must fight for politicians to save our country — is extremely exhausting.

But I think that we really really shouldn't write off the possibility of either a referendum or revocation. Because every time someone hears someone else say that it's not possible, they start to believe it's not possible. And the only thing making it impossible is that it's common knowledge that it's impossible.

TL;DR — Stop talking down Remain!
posted by ambrosen at 4:45 PM on March 19 [29 favorites]


We really are messed up. The Fintan O'Toole article ["Are the English ready for self-government?"] linked in the last thread was spot on.

This audio interview, between a Singaporean author of a book entitled The Future is Asian: Global Order in the 21st Century among others and a Radio New Zealand interviewer, carries a slight note of smugness that in contrast to the disarray of Brexit and Trump's US, one of the author's theses is that some far-flung former British colonies are now pulling off 20th-century British democratic technocracy better than the original and essentially that they and other Asian nations will resist and overcome China's attempts to extend its hegemony. The whole "Singapore on the Thames" bit is referenced, of course.

It's actually a pleasantly, relatively optimistic vision for a future for the world to be honest.
posted by XMLicious at 6:01 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


The problem with brinkmanship is that eventually someone makes a miscalculation on how crazy the other side is

Brexit reminds me of watching one of those WWIII telefilms from the 1980s, where people go about their daily lives as the radio or television reports on ominous developments in the background. Everything goes on as normal until the missiles start flying and the first warhead detonates overhead.

Or a bit like the Guns of August.

Firsthand look at sleepwalking into calamity.
posted by JamesBay at 7:45 PM on March 19 [9 favorites]


what is the big payoff here for the powers who were pulling the strings?

I'm sure this has nothing to do with it...
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:20 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


As others have said, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 has fucked things right up by detaching issues of confidence from the mechanism to trigger an election. Under the old conventions, the shitty deal might have passed, or it might have failed, but either way it would have been decisive.

If there's an extension granted that requires participation in EuroParl elections, it would be nice for it to coincide with a general election. Off-cycle, low-turnout elections, combined with the party-list system, created a platform for spivs like Farage and Dan Hannan who haven't been or wouldn't be able to win a UK parliamentary election.

The prime minister is... yes, morally depraved, in a pathological way. This is how she was as Home Secretary, and this is how she is now. She views politics in terms of defending her party against threats, and considers a lot of people her enemies.

And then you read lines like "Johnson could face competition from Dominic Raab, Esther McVey, David Davis, Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom among the Brexiters when there is a leadership contest".

The core competency of every Tory MP is to plot for the leadership. It's what they do. They've already moved on to the next leadership fight regardless of what happens in the next week and a bit.
posted by holgate at 9:14 PM on March 19 [4 favorites]


what is the big payoff here for the powers who were pulling the strings?

Nobody was pulling the strings. Promising a referendum was a splendid wheeze to stop votes haemorrhaging to UKIP (hey, it worked twice before). After that, it's all just a horrible stew of opportunism and self-interest. No mysterious cabal of villains (unless you consider Russian money being flung at every destabilizing element in the EU mysterious). Just the dull, quotidian evil of selfish minds.
posted by Leon at 9:38 PM on March 19 [13 favorites]


There's an interesting discussion to be had about whether it's time for a written constitution. Personally I'm against - it's like watching a particularly cheap and nasty sausage being made, but Parliament does seem to be doing its job, more or less.
posted by Leon at 9:41 PM on March 19


A constitution sounds wonderful, then you look at the US and the various zealots that defend the bible and constitution with equal vehemence and it's not so attractive. I can't imagine the US being able to change the more problematic bits of its constitution at this point and I'm pretty sure that's not a good thing, or how it was meant to work.
posted by deadwax at 9:58 PM on March 19 [7 favorites]


A long extension doesn't look particularly likely: Barnier tells May she must offer 'something new' to get long Brexit extension from EU; EU countries ‘really exhausted’ by UK and could block Theresa May’s delay, Germany warns -- instead, a 3-week extension is being discussed: EU Said to See Mid-April Date for U.K. to Decide Brexit Fate.

(Apologies if these were covered in the earlier thread; I looked but didn't see them.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:23 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


It's a really terrible time to be writing a constitution. We need to get into a vastly more politically sensible and settled state. And when we've done that the motivation for it might evaporate.
posted by edd at 11:38 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


Breaking: Government confirms they won't be asking for long delay.

I think this means we're crashing out.
The government will try to use the threat of No-Deal to get MV[N] through and will fail.
May will never revoke Article 50.
posted by fullerine at 11:51 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Yup. The EU required May to commit to something concrete to change the game for an extension past May, and she's doubled down on pass the WA as-is or crash out with a short extension.

The hope of crashing out in May or June means the Brextremists will likely now not vote for the deal.

Down to Parliament now. May will continue to try her hardest with the whip to block any votes on anything but the WA. The only remaining possibility of a better outcome I can see is for an amendment to the WA for a referendum to confirm it with remain as the alternative, ala the People's Vote plan - and they are VERY tight on numbers.

Though I wouldn't put it past May to vote against her own deal - again - in order to block that if it passes, and try again with Meaningful Vote 4, 5, 6...

Just when I thought May was finally admitting that she might have to look at alternatives with the votes on no-deal and an extension, here we are again with plan B being to keep trying plan A until we crash out.

Living in that uncertainty — either everything's going to get permanently much worse, or we'll need to spring immediately and forcefully into action to persuade people they must fight for politicians to save our country — is extremely exhausting.

It's the hope, that somehow, Parliament will manage to force May's hand, that we might get a chance to try and stop brexit only for it continually to be snatched away and faced with more running down the clock with massive damage to everyone and everything waiting at the end of it, or at best another decade of poisonous fighting with the EU over a trade deal. I've tried to just accept we're crashing out, but I can't help but follow every twist with tiny little bursts of hope that *this* time something will finally force a change, only to have it brutally snuffed out, over and over. It's beyond exhausting. And now we're likely to have several more months of it. *primal scream*
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:31 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Why would anyone in Brussels even bother to let her in the office? She has nothing to offer them for an extension. She'll fuck around for a couple of days and then come back to announce that as everybody knew, the EU will give them a short extension to implement shit if Parliament agrees to her deal. I can't imagine what she will get that makes it different in any way to dipshit vote 2.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:38 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


I agree a short extension means we face a decision between WA and No Deal: nothing else flies in that timescale. We saw increasing (but insufficient) Brexiteer support for the WA over the past few days, but there's no incentive for irreconcilables to come across now—they can get what they want by sitting on their hands.

The WA will only be passed if it gets sufficient non-Ultra Brexiteer and Labour votes (as opposed to Labour party support which will likely be unforthcoming).

How will the DUP vote when it comes to a choice between the WA and crashing the NI economy? Likewise does Labour want to be held (even partially) responsible for No Deal, when there's no chance of anything other than the WA (election, referendum etc)?

I think the "not yet" strategy of the People's Vote campaign just imploded (though I hope I am wrong).

The strategic question is not who controls what's happening now, but who controls what happens next. That's why I treat all the "Corbyn's played a blinder" stuff with derision. His tactics were OK, but his strategy did not exist. It looks like the future is controlled by the Brexiteers, either through their votes for No Deal, or because their creature will be elected to replace May, and will negotiate our future relationship with the EU.

As has been noted above, the fixed term parliament act was a really dumb idea (from the man with an almost limitless supply of dumb ideas) and makes the Prime Minister essentially into the T-1000.
posted by dudleian at 1:05 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


The FTPA was a Nick Clegg thing, not a David Cameron thing though? I mean it's clearly been a dumb idea but I wouldn't have immediately expected people to say Clegg had a limitless supply of dumb ideas.
posted by edd at 1:32 AM on March 20


No, Clegg had a limited artisanal selection of really high-grade bad ideas.
posted by entity447b at 1:40 AM on March 20 [9 favorites]


I'm ok with that statement. Getting into bed with the Tories first and foremost.
posted by edd at 1:45 AM on March 20


Although having said that I guess Clegg basically sacrificed his party for the good of the country rather than the total opposite of that, and it wasn't for much good, but still...
posted by edd at 1:47 AM on March 20


Stop talking down Remain!

You're right, it's important to keep acting as if a better outcome is possible even if it looks as if all is lost, to stop it becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even though my head says we're going to crash out in only nine days, and has for the past 8-9 months, my heart wants to hope that the outside chance is still possible.

I'm despondent that I can't make it down to London on Saturday for the march, for family reasons - feels like I really need to be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of like-minded people at this point, before it all goes south. I thought the PV campaign's lobbying against the vote last week was a tactical error, but that's no reason not to turn up: to go by the 23/6/18 march, there will be many other anti-Brexit groups represented there. The atmosphere on that march was brilliant; I hope this time there's still a feeling in the crowd that it could make a difference. If not to May, then perhaps to a Parliament that could yet force her hand.
posted by rory at 1:57 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


As has been noted above, the fixed term parliament act was a really dumb idea

If we assume that the 1st meaningful vote had counted as a vote of confidence, and May had still lost, then that would have triggered a general election. We'd be voting on that in the middle of April, give or take a week, with May still in charge until defeated but with no authority. Paralysis would be total while the clock ticked down.

Even assuming we could have snuck one in super quickly - and even snap elections usually take about 3 months - polling over the last couple of months indicates we would have ended up with another hung parliament with only a couple of seats changing hands so it would look pretty much like it does now. Whether May would survive another failed election, who the hell knows, but her replacement will be a brextremist, such as say, Johnson or Raab.

Given the tightness of the timescale, we can assume a short extension would have been asked for (and granted) for a GE to try and break the deadlock. The tories would still be promising changing the backstop, as that failed attempt wouldn't have happened yet. And with one of the extremists in charge, the tories wouldn't even be trying to pass a WA with the backstop, they'd be deliberately galloping straight for no-deal in June, and ignoring any attempt by Parliament to change course.

Or May would have passed the WA outright on the 1st go if failing would have toppled the government - the ERG and DUP backed her in a vote of confidence afterwards, don't forget.

I'm not convinced not having the FTPA would have left us in a much better position than currently, and it could easily have been worse.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:00 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I'm not convinced not having the FTPA would have left us in a much better position than currently, and it could easily have been worse.

I understand why you say that, but I want to believe that people rationally modify their behaviour based on circumstances. And I'd like to believe that the absence of FTPA would encourage a leader (especially one with a tiny minority) to be more conciliatory and consensual—and I can hear people's responses to that already :)

Also, upthread, apologies for confusing Cameron and Clegg. Not enough coffee this AM.
posted by dudleian at 2:21 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I'm despondent that I can't make it down to London on Saturday for the march, for family reasons - feels like I really need to be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of like-minded people at this point, before it all goes south.
I can't go - a family funeral on Friday and a general lack of 'spoons' to travel to London at present - but it's worth noting that if money is an issue for anyone various coaches are being funded from around the country. From this area, Patrick Stewart is paying for a bus. Also, if Patrick Stewart's Brexit Bus isn't a band name, it should be a band name.
posted by winterhill at 2:28 AM on March 20 [9 favorites]


Although having said that I guess Clegg basically sacrificed his party for the good of the country rather than the total opposite of that, and it wasn't for much good, but still...

Clegg sacrificed both for himself, for a brief taste of power... and a bungled referendum on a half-arsed voting reform that nobody really wanted. Which was mostly selfishness as well anyway, as it was a bid to make the Lib Dems electorally relevant.


If we assume that the 1st meaningful vote had counted as a vote of confidence, and May had still lost, then that would have triggered a general election.

Can't imagine May would've gone through with the three figures defeat if it had actually meant something.
posted by Dysk at 2:32 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I think this means we're crashing out.
The government will try to use the threat of No-Deal to get MV[N] through and will fail.


Wait, if it boils down to No-Deal or MV(N), won't there be enough Labour MPs willing to vote for the lesser evil?

And wasn't that essentially May's plan all along?
posted by sour cream at 2:46 AM on March 20


I think this means we're crashing out.

There are so many more opportunities for twists to this story, even just in the coming hours, that trying to come to conclusions about where it ends is mostly just a great way to drive yourself mad with worry.
posted by grahamparks at 2:55 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


As I understand it, we're in a situation where Parliament voted last week for the government to request an extension to Article 50. The motion was very clear - if the WA was ratified by 20 March then a short extension of a few months to put everything in place would be requested. If the WA was not ratified, a lengthy extension to sort out a different way forward would be requested.

Instead, May has gone ahead and requested just the shorter extension until the end of June without the option of the longer one. This means, in practice, that it's either the May deal rejected decisively on two occasions by Parliament or no deal, also rejected by Parliament.

People often rail against "unelected Brussels bureaucrats". But as someone who is neither a member of the Conservative Party nor a resident of Maidenhead, I didn't have even the slightest hand in electing the current PM. I did, however, elect my local MP to represent me in Parliament, which she has done by voting in favour of the extension and against no deal.

Whatever your views on Brexit, an executive going against the clear instructions of our elected representatives is a far bigger affront to democracy than asking people to vote again on Brexit itself now that more is known about the consequences. May is acting like a dictator - and in fact, through history dodgy referendums have been used by dictators to push through their desired changes. It's interesting how many times over the years the "will of the people" in some country or other has just happened to be the same as the thing the dictator wants to do.
posted by winterhill at 3:05 AM on March 20 [33 favorites]


That's what's had me gobsmacked, winterhill. She is blatantly ignoring the will of Parliament. She's just...carrying on, pushing her own agenda, even though it has been repeatedly shot down. She's been held in contempt of Parliament, and there has been no blowback. Why is she still in Downing Street? I mean, I know, this is all Tory party discipline and the DUP support holding up just enough to keep them in government, but it is horrifying to realise that's all it takes for a complete failure of a government in power.
posted by skybluepink at 3:19 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


various coaches are being funded from around the country

Coaches? Our local protest group's chartered a train, as well as 13 coaches. But they're all sold out.

There's still tickets on National Express. I'm trying to work out how many spoons I've got.
posted by ambrosen at 3:27 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Also, why should the EU accept the request for a short extension to try and force the twice-rejected Withdrawal Agreement through? They have been very clear throughout the process that an extension will only be granted if there is something materially new from the UK side. As this request is "I'm going to try and force MPs to vote for the WA again or else" it's nothing materially different from last time, so it's just prolonging the inevitable.

If I was on the European Council at this point, I'm afraid I'd be minded to decline the request on the basis that it's nothing new and not what the sovereign Parliament voted for. I'd also be minded to offer solely a longer extension instead.
posted by winterhill at 3:31 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


The EU still hasn't received the letter requesting an extension from May yet. Not as if we're in a hurry though, there's still 229 hours until we crash out!
posted by adrianhon at 3:38 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


As usual, the govt. are behaving as if they have far more agency than they do. They're treating the extension as something they get to negotiate with themselves and the rest of parliament, just as they did the WA. That even extends to the reason for the extension, which they seem to think can be whatever they decide it is, and the timing of the request, which they seem to think can be any time right up to the wire. This inability to separate their own internal negotiations from the actual negotiations that are supposed to be happening is why their EU counterparts just look on in horror and are, at this stage, just bemused commentators rather than having any real negotiation to do.
posted by pipeski at 3:52 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


The City isn’t waiting to enact contingency plans, the FT reports: UK to Lose *£1tn* of Financial Assets to Europe Due to Brexit.
Financial services companies have committed to move about £1tn of assets out of the UK into Europe as the industry triggers its worst-case contingency plans with no Brexit deal in sight, according to consultancy EY.[…]

Banks and investors are now being forced to finalise plans only days from the Brexit deadline, with London’s future trading relationship with the EU still in question after Theresa May failed for a second time to secure parliamentary approval for her deal last week.[…]

On Tuesday, US giant Citigroup said its new broker-dealer in Frankfurt was now fully operational and trading for EU clients instead of London, while Bank of America warned there was no going back on the $400m it had already spent leasing offices and moving people to Paris and Dublin.
Emphasis added, because that’s the conservative figure. Once Brexit hits, the figure will only increase.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:03 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


Emphasis added, because that’s the conservative figure. Once Brexit hits, the figure will only increase.
I don't want to be Dr Doom here, but even if we were to pull something out of the bag at this late stage and join EFTA in a Norway-type agreement - "remain in all but name" with single market and customs union membership - wouldn't that also be a drag on the economy?

It'd mean in the short-term companies not immediately pulling their stuff out of the UK but in the longer term when a Chinese or American company was looking for a European base, they'd more than likely discount the UK and go for a country that's a full EU member state.

An awful lot of people - especially the further from London you get - are likely to say "well, fuck those bankers, we didn't want them here anyway". But like them or loathe them, financial services make a huge contribution to the Treasury every year and losing that will mean yet more public service cuts for the North.
posted by winterhill at 4:10 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping the People's Vote march will replenish my spoons again, ambrosen.

Last October I marched with one other person. The scale of the event staggered and has buoyed me ever since. Seriously cathartic! This time I'm marching with that person plus seven newbies - and we've plans to meet up with more new protestors at the end of the route.

I assume the usual suspects will brush the event aside however many hundreds of thousands turn up ("Just a bunch of white middle-class what-nots", "Everyone was speaking Polish", "Soros' paid protestors", "Ya boo, 17.4 million!"), yet if this outpouring gives backbone to those waverers that we need to put their jobs on the line: resign, vote against or challenge this government in Parliament however they can, then it's all to the good.
posted by doornoise at 4:17 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Wait, if it boils down to No-Deal or MV(N), won't there be enough Labour MPs willing to vote for the lesser evil?

And wasn't that essentially May's plan all along?


That is May's plan. It's also her apparent belief that MV vs no-deal again will prompt the DUP and ERG to vote for the deal this time round, rather than try for no-deal again.

She needs 75 odd MPs to switch to supporting it compared to MV2. What *was* making progress for her was Parliament voting for the government motion promising a long extension if the WA wasn't passed sharpish - the WA vs a long extension is a very different proposition for brexiteers. So she may even lose some now she's not even attempting that. So her only hope is indeed a mass Labour vote for the WA vs no-deal, and that is a *massive* gamble. Because letting the government immolate itself while Labour gets to sit back and say that it had a credible plan, if only May had listened, has got to be super tempting for Corbyn. And it's not like passing the WA solves the problems, it just moves it down the road 21 months.

When things do go down the toilet, it's always the current government left holding the bag in the eyes of the public - witness Gordon Brown and the US finance system collapse, for example.

So May's plan is to rely on the opposition, who benefit from her failure, to back a plan they hate and have massively voted against, twice. Or her own ultras - who want no-deal - effectively voting against no-deal, plus some labour rebels willing to defy the Labour whip.

As has been pointed out before, she's basically playing chicken with a parked car.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:27 AM on March 20 [16 favorites]


May is acting like a dictator - and in fact, through history dodgy referendums have been used by dictators to push through their desired changes. It's interesting how many times over the years the "will of the people" in some country or other has just happened to be the same as the thing the dictator wants to do.

Maybe that's generally true, but May was in favour of Remain.

From a survey of all MPs before the referendum: 480 said they would vote Remain, 159 said Leave, 11 were undeclared. The political class overwhelmingly did not want to leave the EU.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:43 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


This is like watching people trying to play chess on a snakes-and-ladders board. Please, someone, stop me reading the news updates...
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:52 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Today’s Infographic: Brexit – next steps

(I've decided humour and heavy drinking is the only way I'm going to get through this)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:00 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Jonathan Lis in Prospect: Brexit has turned a self-inflicted national tragedy into a box-office global farce (published yesterday, so adjusting for inflation add 10% extra farce today).
posted by rory at 5:09 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Can I suggest that May, as a staunch Tory loyalist, was never likely to vote against Cameron's Remain campaign? Everyone assumed Remain would win handily and why would she risk her position?

I feel that vote did not reflect her personal views. With "Brexit means Brexit" and immovable red lines, from the start it seemed she was completely focused on pushing through her pet racist project of stopping FoM, despite the hit the country would take from the simultaneous loss of access to the SM and ending of the CU. If you throw in the potential profits her husband stands to make through his business interests, either no deal or her deal would be a win-win for the Mays.

She collaborates with the ERG and DUP because their common bigotry suits, just look at her record in the Home Office. All her hedging is because she's just slightly too smart to come out and say so.

My fear is, if it came down to a straight choice between revoking A50 to save the country or crashing out to end FoM, she'd go for the latter.
posted by doornoise at 5:10 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


George Osborne called Theresa May "the submarine" in the referendum campaign because she so rarely came to the surface. That doesn't suggest someone who whole-heartedly supported the Remain cause to me, it suggests trying to pick what she thought would be the winning side.

Let's not forget that only two months before the vote she was arguing to leave the European Convention on Human Rights "regardless of the EU referendum". That article has another revealing quote: "I do not want to stand here and insult people's intelligence by claiming that everything about the EU is perfect, that membership of the EU is wholly good, nor do I believe those that say the sky will fall in if we vote to leave."

It all suggests someone who was pretty lukewarm about the EU and figured it would be fine either way, which is consistent with everything we've seen since. And now she's got 2½ years of personal investment in Brexit Meaning Brexit and won't revoke A50 to prevent No Deal unless she's forced to. And maybe not even then. ("What, the letter didn't arrive in time? Oh dear. Yes, of course I sent it.")
posted by rory at 5:24 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


New Ian Dunt.

Conclusion: We are staring no-deal in the face
posted by Kosmob0t at 5:29 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Here's Theresa May's letter requesting an extension. By asking for a short extension to 30 June she's behaving as if her deal got through. Even by her standards, that's extraordinary. Surely she's in contempt of parliament again? Not that that helps us much.
posted by rory at 5:32 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Incredibly a genuine question: does she sleep at night? Like at all? Or is it more of a powering down?
posted by schadenfrau at 5:42 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


And a 30 June extension would presumably exempt us from the EuroParl elections?
posted by jontyjago at 5:43 AM on March 20


I think she might be a bit like a dolphin and sleeps half her brain at a time. Although instead of left and right hemispheres it's the evil hemisphere and compassionate hemisphere. And unfortunately only one of those has any motor control.
posted by edd at 5:45 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


It's the only move she can make to narrow the choices to A) her deal and B) no-deal Brexit. A long extension introduces c) no Brexit, which she is committed to avoiding.
posted by rikschell at 5:48 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


No way EU will agree to an extension until June 30. I believe its either end of May (right before EU elections) or a much longer extension.

Martin Selmayr has already pointed out that the EU would be setting itself up for a harmful Consitutional crisis. And why would it do that?
posted by vacapinta at 5:49 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


jontyjago: May made it very clear in the PMQs just now that she didn't want to participate in the EuroParl elections. I believe we could leave a bit after the elections take place, though, because the new members wouldn't sit immediately.
posted by adrianhon at 5:51 AM on March 20


Reuters (via Guardian): EU to insist short article 50 extension must end by 23 May, not 30 June as May wants, leak suggests.

I note that the £ plummeted immediately after that leak...
posted by adrianhon at 5:53 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


What’s the difference to (T.) May, though? Why didn’t she request 23 May?
posted by saturday_morning at 5:54 AM on March 20


And a 30 June extension would presumably exempt us from the EuroParl elections?

Actually, no. Why should it?

If the extension is until June 30, then you are still EU citizens. And as EU citizens, it is your goddamn right to participate in elections of the EU parliament. And the obligation of your country to make that possible.

Look at it this way: Say, you are a member of city A that is about to hold elections to city council. You announce that you will move to city B in a year. City A argues that in that case, you have no right to participate in the elections, since you'll be gone in a year anyway. Doesn't seem quite right, does it?

But for this very reason, an extension until June 30 is less likely to be accepted by the EU than one until prior to the elections.
posted by sour cream at 5:55 AM on March 20


The situation as I understand it is that the new Parliament sits on 1 July. If we were to remain members after that date, we would have to hold the elections.

These elections provide a convenient cliff-edge for those who wish to see a hard Brexit. If we haven't held the elections (which would be on Thursday 23 May in the UK under ordinary circumstances) we have to leave on 30 June under EU law. It means there's no chance of remaining.
posted by winterhill at 5:55 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


It means there's no chance of remaining.

As pointed out by grand poobah Selmayr himself in the twitter link posted by vacapinta above, there is the theoretical possiblity of a revocation of A50 in the time between May 23 and June 30 that the EU might want to hedge against.
posted by sour cream at 6:05 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


I no longer buy the idea that the UK taking part in the EuroParl elections would mean a flood of Brexit Party MEPs. Looking at the list of sitting MEPs yesterday reminded me of the problem with the 2014 elections: because most British people who were indifferent about the EU sat them out, the results were skewed towards Euroskeptic Tories and Kippers. If we take part in 2019, we could expect to see higher engagement and turnout, and results closer to the 50/50-ish split of the country. The UK would have more pro-EU MEPs, not fewer. And that's why May wants to avoid it at all costs.
posted by rory at 6:12 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I'm with Rory on this one - European elections have been historically under-attended for the same reason that the EU was considered "not an issue" all the way up to the referendum in 2016 - for most British people, the EU had a largely invisible impact on their lives - out of sight, out of mind. I don't think anyone could argue that's the case anymore.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:16 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


rory: Remember that the only elected office ever held by fringe racists like Nick Griffin was MEP. Apart from seats on a few local councils in particularly badly-affected areas (such as Kirklees and Stoke-on-Trent) the European Parliament was the biggest area of electoral success for parties like the BNP. That's what you get when you have a low turnout at elections.

Incidentally, if there was a European election this year, I'm not sure who I'd vote for. I'm a Labour member and I should vote for them - but their record on this particular issue over the past few years has been mediocre to say the least. I couldn't stomach the idea of voting Lib Dem but the consistently pro-European Greens might get my X.
posted by winterhill at 6:18 AM on March 20


There have been a few polls on how the UK would vote in a 2019 European Election and most agree there would be a huge jump in support for Labour and Tories at the cost of UKIP - here's one from Politico.eu.
posted by adrianhon at 6:21 AM on March 20


That's what you get when you have a low turnout at elections.

Definitely. But I don't think low turnout of Remainers will be a problem in this one, if we do get to take part.
posted by rory at 6:23 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


And a 30 June extension would presumably exempt us from the EuroParl elections?

Actually, no. Why should it?


I was simply presuming that May wouldn't be asking for a date that late (after the elections) if it meant participating.

That might also include a presumption of competence so make of that what you will..
posted by jontyjago at 6:33 AM on March 20


According to a tweet by Paul Sweeney MP: It looks like this is being taken out of the Prime Minister's hands. Emanuel Macron of France has said enough is enough, he will oppose any extension of Article 50 in Council tomorrow: from Le Point (in French)
posted by ambrosen at 6:50 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]




A knock-back on the extension means May will probably be able to force her deal through next week (possibly, tbh god knows what's going to happen)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:13 AM on March 20


The United Kingdom always had one leg in the EU and one outside.

All very convenient to rationalise where things have ended up, but other EU countries have had their Euroskeptic moments. What about Denmark? What about Italy, or Greece? What about the Dutch? Their opinions on the EU were almost as evenly split as British opinion in 2016 - it's just their good fortune that they didn't have a referendum on it that year.

It's a bit like saying "that bloke has one leg inside the balcony and one leg outside, so let's throw him over".

Theresa May is not the UK.
posted by rory at 7:15 AM on March 20 [17 favorites]


Macron’s spokesman said France is ready to veto any request for a delay that simply kicks the can down the road. on the Metro.

Passing the deal just became obsolete, because there is nowhere near enough time to get it through both Houses by the 29th, let alone the required supporting legislation. Unless it's passed damn quick and Theresa May can write a 2nd letter that's a damn sight better than her whinging bollocks published this morning (blaming everyone around her, let alone failing acknowledge she's the supplicant to the other 27) and ask again for an extension with significant majority for the WA in hand.

Other than that, um, May might decide to withdraw article 50?
Hope everyone's been stockpiling.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:24 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


...let alone the required supporting legislation.

I assume a request for a short extension, after the WA has been ratified, would be an extension for a specific, defined purpose and would almost certainly be approved.

So, if no extension is granted today that leaves the UK with the usual options:

Deal: Ratify the WA and get an extension to wrap things up.
Revoke: Always the sovereign choice of the UK.
No-Deal: Again, this would be an active choice given that there are the two preceding options. A choice by default.
posted by vacapinta at 7:44 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


There's also the referendum choice, or a general election, which may persuade the other heads of state that there's a specific defined purpose.
posted by edd at 7:50 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I've read the whole article romanb linked now, and it's fine, in the same vein as some of Fintan O'Toole's book Heroic Failure. But I get a bit antsy about historical analyses of UK attitudes to the EU that don't account for the fact that they're historical. Yes, Minister was made over thirty years ago. Things change. Generational attitudes change, as this referendum more than any other showed us, with its sharp dividing line at age 50, with those above it (in 2016) predominantly Leave and those below it predominantly Remain. Those below the line grew up with the EU, and came of age at a time when they could experience its benefits for study, work and travel - or just accept it as part of the landscape. David Cameron was under 50 in June 2016. Had he been 60, and a Remainer who knew that his peers were largely Leavers, would he have so blithely called the referendum?

Unfortunately, the referendum came just before the shifting balance of opinion in the overall population could have tipped it decisively for Remain. So I'm not convinced by this:

Let us suppose the Remain camp had won the referendum in 2016. How long would the UK have lasted in the EU, before fresh demands for Brexit would resurface? Two years? Five, maybe?

It's entirely possible that we would have been looking back on 2016 as the year of Peak UK Euroskepticism, with the chance of a repeat referendum receding further every day.

What I'm worried about now is that generational attitudes can shift again, and that the whole Brexit process is creating a new generation who'll ensure that we stay out for good. This awful story shook me yesterday, to think of the sorts of attitudes those kids are absorbing that would allow them to do that. This is going to take years to turn around.
posted by rory at 7:53 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


This awful story shook me yesterday, to think of the sorts of attitudes those kids are absorbing that would allow them to do that. This is going to take years to turn around.
And of course it was in Yorkshire. It's getting scary here in a way that I've not noticed on my frequent travels to other parts of the UK.
posted by winterhill at 7:55 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


George Osborne called Theresa May "the submarine" in the referendum campaign because she so rarely came to the surface. That doesn't suggest someone who whole-heartedly supported the Remain cause to me, it suggests trying to pick what she thought would be the winning side.

I think it's more simple than that, she knows she comes across badly whenever she meets normal people so she stays away from them. Especially if it looks like a no votes to be won, only votes to be lost situation.
posted by biffa at 8:01 AM on March 20


And of course it was in Yorkshire.

Can't help that S Yorkshire police have got to be the most useless in the country.
posted by biffa at 8:09 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


According to a tweet by Paul Sweeney MP: It looks like this is being taken out of the Prime Minister's hands. Emanuel Macron of France has said enough is enough, he will oppose any extension of Article 50 in Council tomorrow: from Le Point (in French)

Le Point, a right-wing paper, seems to be the only source and, even in that article Macron says nothing like 'Enough is enough'. That is Sweeney editorializing.

This is a bit more balanced HuffPost article just posted.
posted by vacapinta at 8:26 AM on March 20 [9 favorites]


I linked to European Spring in an earlier thread. I don't think I linked to Thomas Piketty: To love Europe is to change it. And for balance: The Folly of "Remain and Reform": Why the EU is Impervious to Change.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:27 AM on March 20


Le Point, a right-wing paper, seems to be the only source and, even in that article Macron says nothing like 'Enough is enough'. That is Sweeney editorializing.
Thank you! This is the sort of context I come to MeFi for. I had never heard of Le Point before today so I didn't know it was a right-wing rag stirring the pot.
posted by winterhill at 8:31 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


It's hard enough to keep up with our own right-wing rags.
posted by skybluepink at 8:33 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


France did say if may cannot guarantee acceptance of the existing deal they will not vote for the extension. So existing deal or no deal.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:34 AM on March 20


Above is from the guardian liveblog
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:35 AM on March 20


It's hard enough to keep up with our own right-wing rags.
Tell me about it. Our local paper is doing a good impression of Pravda lately, printing constant articles beseeching us all to vote for two ex-BNP men in May's local election to stop a "Sharia-town" being built in the local area etc etc etc ad infinitum. Every other article is about these two blokes and how they'll save the town from an influx of immigrants.
From Brexit betrayal to the race politics of local authorities like this, we’re in an existential fight for this nation’s soul. It’s that big.

And if you take the battle on folks – as Heavy Woollen Independents *** and *** intend to at the local elections in May – you’d better be prepared for the racial smears and the ‘far right’ insinuations of Labour’s rabid left attack dogs within Antifa and Momentum.
And so on.
posted by winterhill at 8:36 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Things change. Generational attitudes change, as this referendum more than any other showed us, with its sharp dividing line at age 50, with those above it (in 2016) predominantly Leave and those below it predominantly Remain. Those below the line grew up with the EU, and came of age at a time when they could experience its benefits for study, work and travel - or just accept it as part of the landscape.

More than a million people in the UK over age 50 have died since the Brexit vote two years ago. The vote difference in 2016 was a little over a million.
posted by JackFlash at 8:53 AM on March 20 [9 favorites]


Statement to the nation this evening at 10 Downing St - General Election/resignation? or just more of the same Maybot plodding on regardless?
posted by brilliantmistake at 9:02 AM on March 20


If it's like any other May statements, she'll just stand out there and repeat her lies more vehemently. There was that one snap election statement, but I'm pretty confident we're not getting that.
posted by skybluepink at 9:08 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Donald Tusk just said that the EU will only agree to a short extension if May's deal passes in the Commons by next week.

So, unless Labour suddenly switches to backing the deal, seems like it means no extension, and then no deal, next week.
posted by dng at 9:16 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


We should start a blame game sweepstakes over who she is going to try and pin it on. She could easily do that and ask for national unity behind her plan again, even in the same breath. Despite the obvious that the only national unity around has been against her plan.
posted by biffa at 9:17 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Seems I accidentally leaked May's speech yesterday.
posted by dng at 9:20 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


So, unless Labour suddenly switches to backing the deal, seems like it means no extension, and then no deal, next week.

Or she can use Tusk's statement to get the ERG, DUP and Kate Hoey on board.
posted by PenDevil at 9:20 AM on March 20


Why on earth would the ERG back the deal now? They can *smell* the crash out they so desire, it's so close. Kill the deal, they get what they want. It's going to take Labour issuing a three-line whip in favour of the current deal to pass.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:23 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Also, I think I may need to order one of these to get through next week.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:28 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Why on earth would the ERG back the deal now?

Hopefully some them still have holdings denominated in pounds...
posted by PenDevil at 9:36 AM on March 20


And for balance: The Folly of "Remain and Reform": Why the EU is Impervious to Change.

We're linking to the Lexit Network now? Christ alive.
posted by Dysk at 9:36 AM on March 20 [16 favorites]


How many people would be needed to bring London to a standstill to force some political action? Asking for a friend.
posted by crocomancer at 9:39 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


How many people would be needed to bring London to a standstill

Probably just one person with a drone's enough these days.
posted by dng at 9:41 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


As ever, if anyone wants to chat along with current events or whatever May does later this evening* then chat is open.

* we're in that stage where everyone thinks she's going to come out at 8pm and announce her departure, then she comes out and says "er, everything's fine, vote for my deal or else, trololol" and goes back inside.
posted by winterhill at 10:01 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Lewis Goodal: Revocation of Article 50 just became much, much more mainstream. I don't know if he's right, but I'm enjoying looking at the signatures on this new petition to revoke article 50 rolling onwards. I signed it. I don't know if it will do anything, but at this stage, I'm not sure what else to do...
posted by yankeefog at 10:02 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Despite the fact that the last response to a Government petition that I signed was outright insulting, I've signed this one.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 10:07 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


And for balance: The Folly of "Remain and Reform": Why the EU is Impervious to Change.
...
We're linking to the Lexit Network now? Christ alive.


I appreciate it! While I've seen a few leftists mention being pro-Leave in passing, this is the deepest dive into why exactly a leftist might feel that way. I'm not at all convinced by that article, but I'm really happy that someone posted it here!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:09 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


If your impersonal and uninvolved interest in the subject is legit, then it's not a difficult thing to Google. As it stands, it being offered as a legitimate "counterpoint" is not doing a lot to make foreigners in Britain such as myself feel particularly welcome here. There's something I'd a history of "well fuck you at the end of the day" lexit arguing in these threads on mefi over the past three years.
posted by Dysk at 10:16 AM on March 20 [14 favorites]


I'm not at all convinced by that article, but I'm really happy that someone posted it here!
Agreed. I don't feel personally offended by reading a political viewpoint I don't agree with, and I think it's kind of important to read stuff that's from outside my own echo-chamber. I'm happy to read pro-Leave stuff if only to get a better understanding of that side of the argument.
posted by winterhill at 10:17 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


SkyData poll:

Do you think the way the UK is dealing with Brexit is or is not a national humiliation?

Is 90%
Is not 7%
Don't know 3%

Which of the following, if any, do you think is most to blame for the UK government and the EU not being able to agree a Brexit deal MPs are willing to accept?

UK government 34%
MPs 26%
The EU 7%
All equally 24%
None of these 7%
Don't know 2%
posted by vacapinta at 10:21 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


I suppose we should be all over links to 4chan and MAGAhats in the US politics threads by that logic then.

People not personally affected by racism and xenophobia less bothered by it. Film at 11.
posted by Dysk at 10:31 AM on March 20 [15 favorites]


I suppose we should be all over links to 4chan and MAGAhats in the US politics threads by that logic then.
That's something of a leap, to say the least.

May I request that you don't assume anything about my own personal situation or post things like this addressed to me? You don't know me, I don't know you. Best to talk about the issue rather than the posters.
posted by winterhill at 10:32 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


You've repeatedly said in these threads that you're British. You're not the one being demonised or facing being thrown out of your home.
posted by Dysk at 10:33 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


[Folks, cool it. If you want a meta discussion about what links are allowed to stay at all in these threads, that goes in Metatalk. If you just want to express your distaste for a source, that's fine and already done.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:35 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


For a minute there I thought someone had posted a link to the Spectator. Now that is truly horrendous stuff.
posted by JamesBay at 10:38 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


BBC reported that one of the Westminster correspondents says May will call an election if MV3 doesn't win next week. Some sort of announcement due at 8pm.

Don't look at me like that. I merely report.
posted by Devonian at 11:08 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Still placing my imaginary bet on her coming out and saying more of the same.
posted by skybluepink at 11:12 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


BBC reported that one of the Westminster correspondents says May will call an election if MV3 doesn't win next week.

Why would she call a GE when a 2nd referendum will at least guarantee the Tories stay in power for a little while longer, while a GE does not.
posted by PenDevil at 11:12 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Oh God, 3 months of Tories and Corbyn competing on who can promise the best fantasy brexit? I think I've changed my mind on no-deal.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:17 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Maybe she plans to run her deal as a candidate for its own seat in Parliament?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:24 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I think the best thing that could happen tonight would be if May walks out of No.10, begins to talk and then her body suit breaks down in the style of (original and still the best) Total Recall, opening to reveal a miniature (but still muscular) Vladimir Putin at the controls.
posted by biffa at 11:30 AM on March 20 [18 favorites]


I think there's a slightly more than zero chance that May might want to fuck us all over on her way out the door, for our failure to appreciate her, but it's infinitesimal.
posted by skybluepink at 11:40 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Tim Shipman:
Vince Cable states that Corbyn walked out of meeting with May because the independent group were present
Glad Corbyn is taking this political crisis with all due seriousness.
posted by adrianhon at 12:37 PM on March 20 [19 favorites]


Vince Cable states that Corbyn walked out of meeting with May because the independent group were present

I saw this on Twitter and realized it was a beautiful day and I should just put my phone away and lie in the grass under the sunshine. So I did. After some rather vicious thoughts about how now is just the perfect time for performative politicking, well done Jezza.
posted by kalimac at 12:59 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


It's really hard to tell who's worse, May or Corbyn.
posted by Pendragon at 1:04 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Surely there’s enough tar and feathers for everyone
posted by schadenfrau at 1:06 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


YouTube live feed of Theresa May's statement at No. 10

She's 18 minutes late at time of this post.
posted by 3urypteris at 1:18 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


(that stream hosted by The Guardian, to attribute)
posted by 3urypteris at 1:24 PM on March 20


They've been saying 8.15 rather than 8pm for a while on twitter.
posted by biffa at 1:25 PM on March 20


20:30 now. TBH I'm half expecting May to resign.
posted by lawrencium at 1:26 PM on March 20


Vince Cable states that Corbyn walked out of meeting with May because the independent group were present

The FT’s Matthew Garrahan: "Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 on why he met Hizbollah: “you have to talk to people with whom you may profoundly disagree”"
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:27 PM on March 20 [25 favorites]


Corbyn has the same problem as May, that he’s so deeply a creature of the party that he’s incapable of rising above it.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:30 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Pigging hell, my train gets in at 8.37, I'm going to miss this if she doesn't pull her finger out. She's totally unreliable.
posted by biffa at 1:31 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Corbyn has the same problem as May, that he’s so deeply a creature of the party that he’s incapable of rising above it.

Both suffer from the perennial curse of the politician, of being creatures of their own vanity. That's all there is to it.
posted by tavegyl at 1:35 PM on March 20


Well that was a whole lot of nothing
posted by lawrencium at 1:41 PM on March 20 [7 favorites]


May: blows giant raspberry.
posted by Pendragon at 1:43 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Theresa is apparently angry at "politicians", seemingly oblivious to her own job title.
posted by winterhill at 1:43 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


"These terrible politicians are not your friend" says most senior politician.
posted by fullerine at 1:44 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


I only caught the last bit, which was just straight up nonsense gaslighting about what you told her you wanted and her determination to get on with it

But then the guardian’s single update from the beginning is this:
PM’s statement has started. It is “of great personal regret” that Britain is not leaving on March 29, she says.
So without even waiting for actual analysis I’m gonna go ahead and say it was more of the vacuous same?

This is traumatic from over here, good God.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:45 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


And I retract that bit about there being enough tar and feathers for everyone; it was only accidentally mocking. Evidently there is not enough tar nor enough feathers in the known world.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:47 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Guys, I think this might be my fault. Theresa May kept saying she was pursuing Brexit because it's what I want. I'm pretty sure I never said that but sometimes I do mumble. So sorry!
posted by yankeefog at 1:47 PM on March 20 [18 favorites]


Next time the PM is due to make a statement, the TV channels should call her bluff, ignore it and report on unrelated matters while she stands at the podium and talks to herself.

If she says anything of note, they can report on it afterwards. Otherwise, just carry on as if it didn't happen.
posted by winterhill at 1:51 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Between last month and this month, May seems determined to prove the aphorism "History repeats, first as tragedy, then as farce"

I honestly don't know whether to laugh at the pointless absurdity of it all and her complete lack of understanding of how much a fool she sounds, or cry because she's marching us right off the cliff in 9 days due to her total inability to do her job.

Worst. PM. Ever.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:56 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Wait, so ... ???

What happened? Did she really just say nothing new at all? Why did she even come out to give a statement?

(BBC Breaking News: Theresa May tells the British public "I'm on your side" and it's "high time" MPs made a decision over Brexit.)

Is this the implementation of the fabled Underpants Gnomes' Step 2?
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:57 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


She's acting as if she got the extension she asked for . Tusk has said "a short extension will be possible, but it will be conditional on a positive vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons." This is a fairly consequential difference of opinion.
posted by 3urypteris at 1:57 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Starting to really wish I’d saved a couple of episodes of Queer Eye because I need to be distracted and I’ve already had three bottles of beer.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:59 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


@IanDunt:
Sweet mother of Gid she is the most hapless ghoulish buffoon.

Fucking most useless shit I've ever seen.

... [sweary rant continues] ...
Replying to above, link quoting Merriam-Webster site @marie_mills:
Definition of gid
: a disease especially of sheep caused by the larva of a tapeworm (Multiceps multiceps) in the brain
posted by Buntix at 2:02 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


(I've not been a frequent user of the BBC news site, preferring to follow this stuff at a distance. So it is a bit of a novel experience for me to see history being written up in real time. This article currently just says:
Theresa May has appealed to the public over Brexit, telling them she understood they had had enough, and adding: "I am on your side."

Speaking from Downing Street, the prime minister criticised the actions of MPs, saying it is "high time" politicians made a decision on the next steps.
It's weird that they'd put just that stub online for the world to see, but maybe that really is the entire substance of what she said?)
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:02 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


It very much felt like they scheduled a statement for some break through, someone failed to comply with the (undoubtedly bulletproof) strategy, and she wound up writing that on the bus on the way in.

Never has so much time been wasted quite so embarrassingly.
posted by PeteTheHair at 2:03 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


I am not at all happy to have won my imaginary bet. She is the worst. I am tired of her gaslighting bullshit. She's eventually going to walk away with her life peerage and her immensely rich spouse into whatever passes for a lovely life to her, and I am just so tired right now I can't even work up a good sweary rant.
posted by skybluepink at 2:04 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


That was a really strange way to begin persuading MPs to do what you say.

So, she's resigned to a No Deal Exit then I guess?
posted by aramaic at 2:05 PM on March 20


Never has so much time been wasted quite so embarrassingly.

Well. Give it a minute.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:13 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Given that one hears that the MPs were only persuaded (by two votes) to reject the amendments that would have taken control of the House away from May by her promising to give them lots of exploratory votes on what they wanted - and then not giving them that - I'd say things will happen.

Hell, we've still got more than a week.
posted by Devonian at 2:15 PM on March 20


"She says the EU elections would be “bitter and divisive” at the time that the country needs to come back together."

"Come together or I will drive all of us over a cliff in three months" is a charming strategy
posted by BungaDunga at 2:19 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


"Come together or I will drive all of us over a cliff in three months" is a charming strategy
"If you kids don't stop arguing in the back I'm going to drive into that tree! You know I'll do it!"
posted by winterhill at 2:20 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Metafilter: Never has so much time been wasted quite so embarrassingly.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:26 PM on March 20 [6 favorites]


The thing is the country has come together twice this year, to vote her deal down by substantial majorities.
posted by biffa at 2:31 PM on March 20


It's more like how several people propose getting something different for dinner and are each defeated unanimously by the rest, while one screams madly that dinner means dinner, and if you don't all agree on what I want, we're all going hungry
posted by BungaDunga at 2:39 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


I'm repeating myself, my comment is basically the same as what I said 4.5 hrs ago, before May had spoken.
posted by biffa at 2:43 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


> Metafilter: Never has so much time been wasted quite so embarrassingly.

Metafilter: I'm repeating myself, my comment is basically the same as what I said 4.5 hrs ago.

Sorry, sorry...
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:45 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


So, she's resigned...

Drops phone, runs to fridge, opens champagne, pours in glass, picks up phone while waiting for fizz to settle

...to a No Deal Exit then I guess?

Pours champagne back in bottle, shoves cork back in, puts bottle back in fridge, puts head in fridge, slams door shut repeatedly...
posted by barnsoir at 2:46 PM on March 20 [23 favorites]


This petition to revoke Article 50 is doing huge numbers right now (60,000 in the last hour, 140,000 total), so while I'm certain it won't be cited as a reason for revocation coming in front of parliament, I think it's definitely another straw we can pile on the camel's back. And maybe with enough pressure from all sides, revocation can be made much more of an option.
posted by ambrosen at 2:46 PM on March 20 [9 favorites]


I signed it 4 hours ago and it was around 50k signatures. Now it's near 150k.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 2:48 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


[A few deleted. Folks general rule for Brexit threads, if you're not yourself in the UK please skip the dark-humor stuff; leave it to the people who are actually on the ground there.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:55 PM on March 20 [15 favorites]


Wes Streeting MP tweets: I’ve thought long and hard before saying this, but @theresa_may knows that MPs across the House are subjected to death threats - some very credible. Her speech was incendiary and irresponsible. If any harm comes to any of us, she will have to accept her share of responsibility.
posted by rory at 2:56 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


From the age of discord, from the age of solipsism, from the age of cynicism, from the age of duckspeak — greetings!

--excerpt from an electronic journal decrypted in 2219
posted by Fezboy! at 2:57 PM on March 20


Petition's getting roughly 14 signatures a second. It's over 160 K now.

14 signatures/second is a bit more that 8 entire "People's March for Brexit"s per minute.
posted by scruss at 3:02 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


I will laugh like a drain if Bercow blocks her bringing the WA back for a third time now.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:07 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


174k now.
posted by biffa at 3:10 PM on March 20


I signed it in the full knowledge that the government - Tories, yes, but also Labour - don’t give a flying shit about petitions. They never have and they never will. Even if it got 30 million signatures.

At this point I feel like a general strike is the only thing that would force the issue.
posted by adrianhon at 3:14 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


I doubt he would. If he blocked the vote, Bercow would the one holding the hot potato of blame for causing a no-deal Brexit. Even though he's about the last person responsible, it would be far too easy for the tabloids to come up with a "MAD COW BERCOW" headline and he'd be a marked man for the rest of his brief life.
posted by scruss at 3:14 PM on March 20


He already made clear he's planning to block the damn thing. She's the nuthead who's acting as if that's not the case.
posted by saturday_morning at 3:22 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


I'm fairly keen on the 3.5% of the population rule about how much it takes to topple an autocrat: 3.5% of the population on the streets, in sustained (i.e. several nights in a row) peaceful protest.

So 2 million people out on the streets every night next week? That would end up being pretty interesting.
posted by ambrosen at 3:23 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


And here's a cover of The Final Countdown by a miners brass band in full regalia. Performed against an abandoned industrial wasteland.

Also they're Polish, like so many everyday people in the UK are. And some who aren't: like the Romanian mother who was [CW pics/description of injuries] beaten up by teenagers saying things like “You Polish c**t, you deserve a lesson!”.

The original Brexit was many things, and a lot of lies to draw in the biggest crowd.

Now it's entirely xenophobic racists and sociopathic profiteers.
posted by Buntix at 3:36 PM on March 20 [10 favorites]


Her latest statement reads like she's trying to pivot into a poundland Farage.
posted by Dysk at 3:56 PM on March 20




FT:

MPs will on Monday make a fresh effort to seize control of the Brexit process from Theresa May by seeking to ensure the House of Commons votes on alternatives to the prime minister’s exit package.

Yvette Cooper, a former Labour minister leading efforts in parliament to try to prevent a no-deal Brexit, made a passionate appeal on Wednesday to Mrs May in the Commons to commit to so-called indicative votes by MPs on different Brexit options.


That story was before May's little love letter to Parliament, so I'd think fresh vim is on the cards. The petition is past quarter of a million now, btw.
posted by Devonian at 4:10 PM on March 20


MPs will on Monday

Monday is the 25th.

*monster noises*
posted by schadenfrau at 4:11 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Monday is the 25th.

Wait, so they're just going to take a long weekend?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:13 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


At this point I'm just going to sit and wait for the Trisolarans.
posted by randomination at 5:43 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


MPs don't sit in the House on most Fridays, as they go back to deal with constituency business. Just because there's a little crisis that doesn't mean you don't knock off early on Thursday and take a 3 day weekend as per usual, there are standards you know.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:00 PM on March 20 [9 favorites]


174k now.

Over 335,000 now. That's almost 15/second for the last 3+ hours
posted by scruss at 6:18 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


So it's the [imaginary] People against all of her Enemies, which now includes the House of Commons, the bastards.

The Westminster correspondents described it as a misjudgement. It wasn't. It was a judgement. It was a declaration of war on parliament, an attempt to direct public anger towards MPs, one of whom was murdered by a fanatical nationalist during the referendum campaign. The only way to bypass the Commons is to govern without it.
posted by holgate at 6:20 PM on March 20 [18 favorites]


Don't you think she looks tired?
posted by flabdablet at 6:33 PM on March 20 [17 favorites]


Interesting to watch the the petitions in support of the only possible outcomes at this point.

Leave (map):
Created 2018-10-07
Opened 2018-10-17
Signatures 369,782 and rising slowly

Remain (map):
Created 2019-02-14
Opened 2019-02-20
Signatures 351,169 and rising very very fast
posted by flabdablet at 8:26 PM on March 20 [8 favorites]


Since fifteen minutes ago:

Leave: 369,784
Remain: 352,183
posted by flabdablet at 8:41 PM on March 20


I've been following this from afar but WTF does "knife crime" mean in this incomprehensible mess?

That isn't even bothering to dog-whistle, right?
posted by sjswitzer at 9:10 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


One might observe that withdrawing article 50 is actually the only option for a delay that the EU can't block. Which would seem to unite both camps, since Leavers dislike EU control so much...
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 9:11 PM on March 20 [7 favorites]


One has.
posted by flabdablet at 9:15 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Christ. In just the last 60 minutes:
Leave has picked up 28 signatures, from 369,791 to 369,819, while
Remain has picked up 5,486 signatures, growing from 354,143 to 359,629 or 1.05% of the running Leave signature count.

At this rate it'll overcome the signature count for the Leave petition inside 3 hours. Surely this?
posted by MarchHare at 10:15 PM on March 20


> Surely this?

If that petition site actually accomplished anything, ever, it would immediately be gamed out of existence. Not even the Russians can be bothered to write bots to target it. That's how pointless it is.
posted by Leon at 10:53 PM on March 20 [12 favorites]


Three hours be buggered, it's just done it.

Leave: 369,870
Remain: 370,324

Also, "that petition site" is the official UK Government one, about which there are rules that make Parliamentary consideration of all petitions with over 100,000 signatures mandatory.
posted by flabdablet at 10:58 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Leave just passed Remain. 369k/370k.

186 hours until Brexit.
posted by Leon at 10:59 PM on March 20


"acting on" means "considered for a debate in Parliament". And not even in the chamber.

At this point, the only thing I can see tipping the scales is ambrosen's 3.5% gumming up London and refusing to go home.

185 hours until Brexit.
posted by Leon at 11:02 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Not even the Russians can be bothered to write bots to target it.

Might well be that somebody can. The signature rate of the Remain partition is remarkable given that UK citizens and residents are the only ones eligible to sign and that it's currently 6:20am in the UK.
posted by flabdablet at 11:19 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


6:26am, but the point is well made. Until about an hour ago it was picking up about 100 a minute. That's become about 319/minute in the last hour, and about 500/minute over the last few minutes (yes, I'm bored at work, it's closing in on 5:00pm, and the spreadsheet thread is moving slowly).

(Edited to say that the rate at which Leave is 'polling' is also increasing, from about .9 to 1.7 minute).
posted by MarchHare at 11:26 PM on March 20


If it is a bot, it's more creatively coded than the trivial one I used last year to counter-game this MSNBC opinion poll after seeing bot-like activity on that; the grouping of locales on the map is quite plausibly consistent with the map for this similar earlier petition.
posted by flabdablet at 11:53 PM on March 20


The signature rate of the Remain partition is remarkable given that UK citizens and residents are the only ones eligible to sign and that it's currently 6:20am in the UK.
That's just because 83% of the UK has been up all night worrying about Brexit
posted by fullerine at 12:12 AM on March 21 [14 favorites]


MarchHare: I have a feeling it was faster late last night. It's only slowed because people have generally been asleep. It'll rocket even more in the next couple of hours I reckon.
posted by edd at 12:13 AM on March 21


And it looks my brain is only starting to get moving itself now... never mind me.
posted by edd at 12:14 AM on March 21


Leon, I’m not sure where you’re getting that 185 hours from. The date the UK is set to leave the EU is 11pm on Friday 29th, which is 8 days and 16 hours from now, or 208 hours. There’s also a Twitter account that keeps track.
posted by adrianhon at 12:20 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Very possible, edd. I just had the two petitions open in seperate tabs, running some rough time stamped tallies from about 3 3/4 hours ago until about 1 1/4 ago, so can't speak to earlier averages. But certainly even 100/min was well up on the average for the elapsed time between when the poll opened and when I started watching.
posted by MarchHare at 12:47 AM on March 21


I just signed it, for whatever good it may do, and it was closing in on half a million when my signature went in. I don't have any faith it'll do any good, but it's literally all I can do right now, since our MP is a particularly awful Leaver, and contacting him will only get a pinch-lipped pious response that he knows what's best for us.
posted by skybluepink at 12:47 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Between the two, the Remain petition now accounts for well up over 56% of responses. Now of course it's not mandatory, it's entirely possible people responded to both, it's not binding, etc., ad nauseum. But still, 56% vs 51.9% should give one pause, right? Right?
posted by MarchHare at 12:55 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


adrianhon: First hit in Google tbh. 185+23=208... they're calculating to 00:00 on the day, not 23:00.
posted by Leon at 1:30 AM on March 21


560,000 now
posted by grubby at 1:31 AM on March 21


Now the fourth most popular petition ever, I think. All of the ones ahead of it are from the 2015-17 government, led by 4.1 million asking for a second referendum.

(which, amusingly, was started by a leaver who thought they'd lose)
posted by grahamparks at 1:57 AM on March 21


Over 600k now, and isup.me is reporting that petition.parliament.uk appears to be down.
posted by flabdablet at 2:05 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Yeah, 502 Bad Gateway from here.

Am I cynical enough to believe that the inconvenient petition/site has just been taken down until this all blows over? Yes I am.
posted by Dysk at 2:08 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


> Now of course it's not mandatory, it's entirely possible people responded to both, it's not binding, etc., ad nauseum. But still, 56% vs 51.9% should give one pause, right? Right?

Yes, but as always there is selection bias. I would argue (as devil's advocate) that the generation split that led to the result of the first referendum would skew the result of any online poll in the other direction.

Also: bots. I haven't looked at the client side implementation, but would suspect it is trivial to rig these in whichever way you want.
posted by lawrencium at 2:11 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


It's back! 619,320 votes and counting — but much more slowly than before.

Oh, it's gone again.
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:15 AM on March 21


And now it's going backwards... 619,197. Er...
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:20 AM on March 21


Can we deduce from this that the server is being hammered beyond the expectations of the IT department?

A petition! And on Saturday a demo! And, no doubt, there will be sarcastic placards. Looks like it's game over for the Brexit side.

(Yes, sorry, that was sarcasm. I'm English. That's how we deal with despair. At least it is in my family.)
posted by Grangousier at 2:30 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


I love that the demonstration has been scheduled for less than a week before Brexit day. Real good effort there.
posted by Dysk at 2:31 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


I think petitions.parliament.uk is probably either being crushed by unanticipated demand or its admins are fighting off a bot attack. I wouldn't reach for the explanation from government malice just yet, mainly because I can't imagine anybody in that government actually having the skills required to persuade their IT people to do that.

no doubt, there will be sarcastic placards

Best placard I've seen lately was this one from the recent School Strike 4 Climate in Melbourne. Pretty sure they wouldn't mind exporting it.
posted by flabdablet at 2:41 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


I can't help but find the petition shenanigans really fishy, and I don't necessarily mean bots.
posted by doggod at 2:41 AM on March 21


New Dunt. I hope he's planning to collect these in book form.
posted by rory at 2:46 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


It was back up with 643,445 votes, but now "down for maintenance"
posted by moody cow at 2:46 AM on March 21


A minute before going down, the front page of petitions.parliament.uk reported that Revoke Article 50 had got a whisker over 49,000 signatures in the last hour.

That's a heavier load than a Raspberry Pi in a disused lavatory should really be asked to deal with.
posted by flabdablet at 2:49 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Hey, how about we stop being dicks to GDS, who are arguably the most successful product of the last 10 years of the UK government.

It's been running at an order of magnitude larger than its previous peak load for over 12 hours continuously. It's understandable it's wobbly.
posted by ambrosen at 3:01 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Back up again, 657k signatures, no longer linked from front page.
posted by flabdablet at 3:04 AM on March 21


You're right, I apologise for my use of scare quotes
posted by moody cow at 3:05 AM on March 21


Leon, I’m not sure where you’re getting that 185 hours from. The date the UK is set to leave the EU is 11pm on Friday 29th, which is 8 days and 16 hours from now, or 208 hours. There’s also a Twitter account that keeps track.
I noticed last night while channel-hopping (yes, I was waiting for the May non-statement and flounce) that CNN have got a "BREXIT COUNTDOWN" ticker in the corner of the screen literally counting down the seconds.
posted by winterhill at 3:06 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


@NicolaSturgeon: "Of course, the logic of Theresa May’s assertion that Parliament’s indecision is frustrating the will of the people is to put the issue back to the people and let them decide. If she is confident that the people back her, what’s stopping her?"

Hard to argue with that logic.
posted by rongorongo at 3:10 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Hey, how about we stop being dicks to GDS, who are arguably the most successful product of the last 10 years of the UK government.
I just signed and it worked fine for me, no slowdowns or issues. I agree about GDS, the government online services have improved massively over the past few years, things like vehicle licensing and passports are much easier now. I applied for my student loan in a few clicks.

The map is very interesting - everyone who signs has to give a postcode. There are definite darker spots around some very, very predictable locations - Brighton, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, London. It gives the impression - unfair or not - of academics and techies getting into work this morning and signing.

If this thing is going to get traction and change the way things are going, then places many miles from those are going to have to get much more involved.
posted by winterhill at 3:17 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Also Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Canterbury and to a lesser extent, York. It's just clustered around population centres, which you'd expect.
posted by Dysk at 3:27 AM on March 21


I was looking at the percentage of constituents rather than raw numbers. Additionally, the map is split into constituencies which are all roughly similar in population.
posted by winterhill at 3:31 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Cambridge has been a particular hot spot from the outset - I mistook it briefly for London when I signed yesterday afternoon, I'm so used to London being the most prominent city in any heat map of the UK.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:32 AM on March 21


It'd be interesting to see the colour map by proportion of the population of each region.
posted by entity447b at 3:34 AM on March 21


I've never been to Cambridge! Cambridge and Brighton are the only significant UK cities I've never visited - and also the two main hotspots on the "remain in the EU" map, weirdly.

I'm not particularly interested in going to Brighton but there are a few things I'd like to visit in Cambridge some day. It's just so far away - you can fly to a lot of Europe cheaper than you can travel to somewhere like Cambridge from here.
posted by winterhill at 3:35 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]




It'd be interesting to see the colour map by proportion of the population of each region.

You can! There's a switch to change it to that, somewhere near the map. (I'm getting 502 Bad Gateway right now so can't tell you exactly where to look.)
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:41 AM on March 21


Here's a map with the constituencies the same size.
Thanks for posting that! It's a super interesting map, and also I didn't know ODI Leeds was a thing. I'll have to see if I can get to some of their stuff sometime because it fits in really well with my interests (and studies). Anyway, back on topic.
posted by winterhill at 3:43 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I was looking at the percentage of constituents rather than raw numbers. Additionally, the map is split into constituencies which are all roughly similar in population.

Shouldn't the two maps be roughly the same then? If the constituencies are the same population, then the raw numbers and percentages shouldn't meaningfully differ?
posted by Dysk at 3:45 AM on March 21


Petitions is down for maintenance

Now I have a tiny little grammar nazi in my head, screaming along with all the other voices.
posted by Grangousier at 3:50 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


If the constituencies are the same population, then the raw numbers and percentages shouldn't meaningfully differ

The map that ambrosen links to also has a tab for the populations per constituency, and there seems to be a range from 35 000ish (Shetlands and Orkneys, for example) to over 80 000 per constituency.
posted by scorbet at 3:53 AM on March 21


Manchester and Sheffield still stick out pretty clearly on the hex map (now that I've finally been able to get it to load) and York and Liverpool to a lesser extent. Overall I find the colouring here less clear to read. With the exception of Birmingham, it does seem that you can pick out all the larger cities as being comparative Remain hot-spots compared to their surroundings.
posted by Dysk at 3:54 AM on March 21


When Petitions came back up, Remain had well over double the votes for Leave. So there's that. If anyone's interested in any expression of public sentiment that didn't take place in June three years ago.
posted by Grangousier at 4:37 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


There's well more than twice as many signatures on the Remain petition as there are on the "no deal" petition: 756,252 vs 371,207. That's also well more than 1% of the UK's entire population (around 66 million)

That's extraordinary.

On preview: snap. And also, there must have been a lot of backlogged signatures, because Remain is now up to 768,307, while "no deal" is now 371,275.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:42 AM on March 21


This robot is helpfully tweeting out updates to the petition signature count so that people who've already signed can stop adding to the load on the server. (Sometimes the updates are "The petition site is knackered".) 779,710 and counting.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:52 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Great that there's a robot that watches the petition for you. Still doesn't solve the problem of that other robot that'll ignore it for you.
posted by edd at 4:56 AM on March 21 [25 favorites]


Meanwhile, Leave supporters are planning to drive very slowly on the M62 this weekend for some reason.

No one has told them that going very slowly is fairly normal on the M62.
posted by winterhill at 5:04 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Leave supporters are planning to drive very slowly on the M62 this weekend for some reason.

Is you formin' a facebook group on a criminal fuckin' conspiracy?
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:09 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, Leave supporters are planning to drive very slowly on the M62 this weekend for some reason.

"Ethel! Get the Morris Minor out of the garage! Finally there's a protest we can contribute too!"
posted by garius at 5:12 AM on March 21 [14 favorites]


They can have an M62 go slow if they want. If a no deal brexit happens we'll have a go even slower on the M2 and A2, and we won't even have to organise it. It'll just happen.
posted by edd at 5:14 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


> Meanwhile, Leave supporters are planning to drive very slowly on the M62 this weekend for some reason.

Remain voters should counter this by organising their own go-slow at the same place and time but slightly slower. I suggest 36.8 mph
posted by lawrencium at 5:14 AM on March 21


The choice of motorway is baffling. Why the M62? It's miles from the politicians in London or any particular hot spot for 'Remain'. They're driving very slowly through Brexit country on a Saturday lunchtime to protest, er, Brexit.

I suspect it was chosen simply because it's close to home for the 'protesters' and they don't have to get up too early or drive too far. As with many things to do with Leave, they're half-arsing it the patriotic British way!
posted by winterhill at 5:22 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


IIRC that stretch of the M62/M60 is also currently heavily under maintenance as they move to a managed motorway, to continue the Bradford -> Doncaster stretch, so it's restricted to 50mph anyway. At least it was when I visited the folks at Xmas.
posted by lawrencium at 5:29 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


EU: If we give you an extension, 22 May is your hard out. Europe's clearly not at all interested in having the U.K. around for the election process unless they're sticking around for good.
posted by MarchHare at 5:30 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


IIRC that stretch of the M62/M60 is also currently heavily under maintenance as they move to a managed motorway, to continue the Bradford -> Doncaster stretch, so it's restricted to 50mph anyway. At least it was when I visited the folks at Xmas.
I drive 'over the tops' quite a lot, and certainly last week there was no 50mph speed limit on the Pennine section. I really hate that bit of motorway - I feel unsafe on there in my little car.

Anyway, on a more serious note, the Guardian live blog is saying that the government - the government, not the Conservative Party - are paying for a Facebook ad showing the entirety of May's pointless speech last night. The ad has a picture of May with a large heading "Brexit: Let's get on with it" and the "I am on your side" quote next to it.

I object to the government (us!) paying for nakedly political advertising like this. Government advertising should be non-political public information - wear your seat belt, pay your car tax, lower your carbon footprint, whatever. It shouldn't be used to pressure democratically elected MPs or push political propaganda.

They specifically target Facebook for a reason - it has a very high proportion of fairly impressionable poorly-educated users who'll click on any old shite if it makes them angry.
posted by winterhill at 5:38 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


All very convenient to rationalise where things have ended up, but other EU countries have had their Euroskeptic moments.

I agree on that, and that the UK is not May. The current petition makes that clear. The other issue is the fact that the pro-EU sentiment that has become 'obvious' in the last couple of years within the EU, is, of course, a in large part due to the Brexit madness everyone's been hearing about. So, really we should be thanking the UK for saving the EU by showing us what being out of the EU means.

Nonetheless I think it's an interesting essay to get a sense of the mood in the EU. It's unfortunate but I believe this is the result of months and years of dealing with the UK negotiation team, which, I think we can all agree, was a horrible experience for everyone. There were months of the EU trying to stay above the insults*, and it clearly wore Team EU out to the point of Tusk's "special place in hell" remark — which, looking back on it, I believe was a turning point.

* clearly biased opinion.
posted by romanb at 5:42 AM on March 21


Today is the day I closed down my last contract with my last UK supplier for my business because who the hell knows what's going to happen next. I don't say it with relief, but sadness, because I've had great relationships and trips to the UK in the last 6-7 years. Personally, it feels like a chapter in my life is closing – I worked almost exclusively with companies in London and the UK when I started my business. Professionally, I have no idea if and when it will make sense to go back, but if I do, it will take years. Sorry for the negativity.
posted by romanb at 5:52 AM on March 21 [32 favorites]


Parliament will consider this for a debate
Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate


My father used to be in the civil service. If I asked him for something he would say "I'll give that serious consideration". It means "piss off".

Government will respond
Government responds to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures


This is true. They will respond. They will say "piss off".

Neither of these snarks are to be taken as an attempt to dissuade anyone from signing, by the way. We should all sign, even if only as a dismal assertion of our existence.
posted by Grangousier at 6:09 AM on March 21 [19 favorites]


Completely understandable steps, romanb, and I'm sorry you've been forced into that position.

dealing with the UK negotiation team, which, I think we can all agree, was a horrible experience for everyone

Indeed. Horrible for us to think of the UK being represented in the negotiations by bendy bananas like David Davis and Dominic Raab, too.
posted by rory at 6:10 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


If we give you an extension, 22 May is your hard out.

A long extension is still possible. It's just May's lies about 30th June being a possible deadline that the EU are categorically ruling out. It is disgusting that May is lying about this, but, yeah, unsurprising.
posted by ambrosen at 6:16 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


This is true. They will respond. They will say "piss off".

They already have. Leadsom says that until it gets 17.4m signatures they can ignore it.

So, game on...
posted by jontyjago at 6:22 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


One of the hateful things about this moment is that the focus on the immediate dangers of No Deal to supplies of food, medicine, and anything else that has to pass through Dover has taken attention away from the worst aspects of No Deal, which are that it throws the right of 5 million people to keep living in their homes into doubt, removes 65 million other people's right to freely live and work in 30 other countries, and puts 1.5 million people at risk of a return to civil war. It'll suck to be eating out of tins and paying through the nose for them, but all of that is far, far worse.

Brexit is the stupidest idea since radium toothpaste.
posted by rory at 6:41 AM on March 21 [23 favorites]


Leave supporters are planning to drive very slowly on the M62 this weekend for some reason

How hard would it be to set up Farage-branded toll booths and charge them 50 quid on every entrance ramp?
posted by flabdablet at 6:46 AM on March 21


The petition site does seem to be up better, but judging by my experience just now signing a different petition emails are struggling to get out fast enough, even if the pages are loading ok (receiving at gmail.com here).
posted by edd at 6:50 AM on March 21


Leadsom says that until it gets 17.4m signatures they can ignore it.

Over three years of Brexit, I've read some
Annoying things MPs have said, some
Ridiculous stuff,
But there's nowt like the guff
That gets spouted by Andrea Leadsom.
posted by rory at 6:51 AM on March 21 [22 favorites]




Signatures vs. time from ODI Leeds. Updated at 5 minute intervals to minimize load on petition.parliament.uk.

Pretty clear that it would already have easily broken the million if the site could keep up.
posted by flabdablet at 7:22 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Five thousand to go. The rate earlier on seemed to be 400 a minute, but people aren't at lunch any more, obviously.
posted by Grangousier at 7:49 AM on March 21


Booked a ticket down to London on the (National Express) coach for the march, which is really the last thing I feel like doing, but I know I'll regret it if I don't.
posted by ambrosen at 7:54 AM on March 21 [8 favorites]


A million!

They have to do what we want now.
posted by Grangousier at 7:54 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


When we get to two million, we're joining Schengen. Three million, we're in the Eurozone!
posted by adrianhon at 7:59 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Booked a ticket down to London on the (National Express) coach for the march, which is really the last thing I feel like doing, but I know I'll regret it if I don't.

Bit random, but if tomorrow goes like my Saturdays normally go, then I'll probably be propping up the bar in Bradley's Spanish Bar in Soho early evening.

So if anyone does come down for the march and ends up on the hunt for a drink later in the day while in central London, just send me a metafilter message or something.
posted by garius at 8:00 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


if tomorrow goes like my Saturdays normally go

Tomorrow is Friday.
posted by Grangousier at 8:03 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Tomorrow is Friday.

As we approach the brexit horizon, time elongates towards infinity and the whole of society begins the process of spaghettification.
posted by dng at 8:07 AM on March 21 [25 favorites]


Not my fault! I'm out of the office tomorrow, so already in weekend mode!
posted by garius at 8:11 AM on March 21


I refuse to rule out the possibility that tomorrow might, in fact, be Saturday.
posted by ZipRibbons at 8:13 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


They have to do what we want now.
It definitely feels like we're getting to the end of the road in a way that it hasn't previously.

Part of that is down to the inevitable passage of time, but part of it is because we're now starting to see the very small number of options crystallising as more people involved in the situation make their positions clear. Macron has said that it's a vote for the deal or it's a no-deal exit, for instance. There's no further negotiation to be had.

The deal is dead. It was barely twitching yesterday afternoon, but May's blame-everyone-but-me rant last night put the final bullet into it. Wavering Labour and Tory MPs have come down hard against May and her deal.

So, we're at a crossroads. The deal is gone. With it, May's short extension is gone. We can either leave the EU with no deal or we can remain in the EU - those are the two options available to the UK as a sovereign state. Public opinion is coalescing around those two options.

Remaining in the EU seems to have the momentum - the TUC and CBI are not natural bedfellows, so to see those two release a joint statement feels extraordinary - but we all know what happens when we presume common sense will win by default.

I can't get to London on Saturday. But I hope those who are going shout extra loud for me and all the rest of us from far-flung corners who can't make the trip for various reasons. The dominoes are starting to wobble - let's give them one last push.
posted by winterhill at 8:14 AM on March 21 [13 favorites]




In these circumstances, for her to choose No Deal would be the act of a dictator. It lacks any sort of mandate and would defy the clearly expressed will of Parliament. It would be an act from which democracy in the United Kingdom would take lifetimes to recover. And I do not believe she would do it.

I believe she would choose to put the question before Parliament. Thirty three long months after the referendum it would at last be ‘make up your mind time’ for MPs.


You believe wrongly there Jolyon. Nothing Theresa May has done in the last three months has suggested she has the mental flexibility to deviate from the path she is on. She just doesn't have it. And - as last night's speech shows - she's now in full Downfall mode too.

So she'll go with the dictatorial option. Wish it wasn't true, but it is.
posted by garius at 8:32 AM on March 21 [11 favorites]


Signed the revoke Brexit petition earlier this pm, still not got an email... though it says allow 24 hours...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:32 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Looks like it's working out to about 1000/minute, now. That's...a lot.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:38 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


So she'll go with the dictatorial option. Wish it wasn't true, but it is.
The only thing that might tip her back from the brink is her extreme loyalty to the Conservative Party. Does she really want to be the one who made them unelectable, potentially permanently? Does she want to be the last Conservative PM for decades?
posted by winterhill at 8:41 AM on March 21


Genuine question: Is that really a worry for May and the Tories so long as the alternative is Corbyn and Corbyn remains Corbyn?
posted by schadenfrau at 8:42 AM on March 21 [8 favorites]


Nothing Theresa May has done in the last three months has suggested she has the mental flexibility to deviate from the path she is on.

This - I think the only way revoke happens is if May is forced from office by a mass cabinet revolt caused by the dawning realisation that no deal will finish the Tory party. Of course the cabinet seems to be dancing to the tune of the Leadsom/Fox/Grayling axis of lunatic no dealers
posted by brilliantmistake at 8:43 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


She just doesn't have it

I'm sad to say I agree with this. Given a stark black & white choice between revocation and no-deal she will simply bleat something about "the will of the people" and pull the no-deal lever. Nothing in her behaviour in the last 2 years indicates she will do anything different.
posted by jontyjago at 8:44 AM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Quite so. Time for some MP with a shred of integrity to put up a private member's bill that makes revocation of A50 the law of the land.
posted by flabdablet at 8:47 AM on March 21


Same here fearfulsymmetry signed a few hours ago, no email back...have checked spam but no luck.
I wonder how many of us are in this situation?
posted by Wilder at 8:53 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Genuine question: Is that really a worry for May and the Tories so long as the alternative is Corbyn and Corbyn remains Corbyn?

This. If Labour were polling above the Conservatives she might, might stop and think - or at least be bullied into it by the Cabinet. But they're not. They've barely shifted the needle. See YouGov poll here.

Now you could debate why Labour's numbers aren't moving forever (and we all know there are at least two whopping great Elephants in that room) but the point is simply that they aren't moving.

If an election was called tomorrow, then on paper the most likely outcome is simply another Hung Parliament at-best, or a squeaky Tory majority.

Which is incredible when you think about it.
posted by garius at 8:57 AM on March 21 [12 favorites]


Is that really a worry for May and the Tories so long as the alternative is Corbyn and Corbyn remains Corbyn
I cannot imagine Corbyn survives past conference unless there's a General Election taking place or we're larping a Cormac McCarthy novel
BaggyPM by Christmas. Book it.
posted by fullerine at 9:03 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


No chance. Corbyn can lose as many elections as he wants and, as long as they're close, his hardcore local support won't desert him. The socialist state will always be just one final push away.

Sunk Cost Fallacy is in full effect now at a constituency level.
posted by garius at 9:08 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Sunk Cost Fallacy is in full effect now at a constituency level.

God forbid Labour party members have a leader that actually reflects their views.
posted by brilliantmistake at 9:23 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


God forbid Labour party members have a leader that actually reflects their views.

Are you suggesting Corbyn is that? He doesn't represent the majority of Labour members' views on the most significant political issue currently, namely Brexit.
posted by Dysk at 9:26 AM on March 21 [15 favorites]


Are you suggesting Corbyn is that? He doesn't represent the majority of Labour members' views on the most significant political issue currently, namely Brexit.

I take your point but the Labour movement is a somewhat unwieldy alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists and is not synonymous with Brexit.

Corbyn did not cause Brexit and has had very little agency as the Leader of the Opposition to do anything due to the way parliamentary democracy works in the UK. This has been an appalling government crisis and the level of hatred towards him in Brexit threads here is baffling.
posted by brilliantmistake at 9:39 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


We're knees deep in a Brexit thread, so I'm not really aiming to get into an argument here about Corbynism itself. But the question was whether Corbyn would survive as leader. I was pointing out that his leadership isn't coupled to his perceived electibility by the general public in the same way it has been for other Labour leaders.

It isn't. It's about whether his core support believe he can win an election. And they do, and will continue to do so - in part because they have an emotional attachment to that outcome that will only increase - so his leadership isn't (and won't be) at risk.

That's all.

Indeed there's an argument for saying that decoupling - or at least loosening - that link, which is very much a recent thing, is a good thing. Hell, if Ed Miliband hadn't stood down after one attempt, I think we'd be in a better (and more collegiate) place as a party all round right now.
posted by garius at 9:40 AM on March 21 [10 favorites]


Hell, if Ed Miliband hadn't stood down after one attempt, I think we'd be in a better (and more collegiate) place as a party all round right now.

I think that's true. I want to live in the sunlit uplands of PM Miliband's Britain.
posted by brilliantmistake at 9:52 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Somewhere, out there, there's a parallel universe where that happened. I'm so envious!
posted by garius at 10:01 AM on March 21


I don't think it's his electability which will do for Corbyn, I honestly think he's lost all but the most committed of his supporters based on his performance since the three line whip on the original Brexit vote. The only reason there isn't open revolt is that risking a crash out brexit was not worth the chaos of a Labour party leadership mess.

Post-Brexit that risk is no longer there.
posted by fullerine at 10:02 AM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Corbyn did not cause Brexit and has had very little agency as the Leader of the Opposition to do anything due to the way parliamentary democracy works in the UK

He was very much part of setting the political narrative that created the conditions we're in now, starting from calling for the immediate invocation of Article 50 straight after the referendum, through to his unwillingness to participate in cross-party talks this week. He has failed to be an opposition to Brexit on any way, instead sticking to a patently implausible position, to put it very politely.

the level of hatred towards him in Brexit threads here is baffling.

No it isn't.
posted by Dysk at 10:03 AM on March 21 [53 favorites]


Crossing everything that the next couple of weeks will spell the end of May (Parliamentary revolt pre-revocation), the end of Brexit (revocation), the end of the Tory party (ERG splits away), the end of this hopeless government (no confidence vote leads to GE) and the end of Corbyn (cheers for smashing May's majority - made all the difference, time to hand over the reigns though).
posted by doornoise at 10:09 AM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Whereas I'm dreading crash-out Brexit, May clings on, the ERG stay on board because they've got what they wanted so why risk Corbyn, and so do the DUP (since no backstop means no checks in the Irish Sea) and we just sort of stagger on as a zombie pariah state for a while.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:23 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


To be honest, my biggest issue with Corbyn in the last month or so has mostly been that he's not the right politician for the situation - just as Theresa May clearly isn't (to an even greater and more damaging degree).

For obvious reasons (to those who follow me on Twitter), I tend to have the House of Commons on in the background pretty much every day. Especially at the moment.

What becomes really, really obvious if you do that for any significant amount of time is which politicians are effective at the dispatch box, and can control the mood of their Parliamentary party and the House, and which ones can't. The sad truth is that neither Corbyn or May can do that right now, at a time when we need it most.

They're both capable of the odd decent scripted soundbite (which is the stuff that gets played on TV - more often for May than Corbyn, which is unfair I'll agree) but they can't organically... well... politik, which is really apparent after a while.

Indeed the situation that actually made that really, shockingly obvious was on Monday (I think. Or was it last Thursday? God the days blend into one at the moment) when May's voice was still gone and she had to sub in Michael Gove, while Keir Starmer was repping for the opposition because Corbyn wasn't in the House.

My God were they both light years ahead of their respective leaders in terms of rhetoric and MP management on the floor. To the point where I switched from audio-only to putting the video feed up on my second screen. It was mesmerising. Gove was the horrific, devious shit you expect a Tory leader to be, while Starmer was deflecting most of it and carefully taking chunks out him with well measured replies. There was none of the stulted, scripted just-make-whatever-point-is-on-your-piece-of-paper soulless crap that we've had to endure for the last two years. Or the pointless pettiness to each other.

And you could tell that everyone in the chamber knew it. The level of respect for both men, coming from both sides of the chamber was obvious. Not least Theresa May, who was sitting on the front bench visibly stewing as Gove made what was (in effect) a devious little opening salvo in his leadership push.

Hell, I dearly want the next Labour leader to be one of the many incredibly talented female politicians in the House (which sadly is unlikely for where they fall on the party spectrum) but if it has to be an oldish white male, I'd take Starmer now in a heartbeat

Honestly. Go and watch. Regardless of whether either man's personal politics is your particular cup of tea, it was awfully hard not to come away thinking that if they were genuinely both party leaders right now, then one way or another this whole mess would have been sorted by now. Whether through compromise or deft maneuvering on one side or the other.
posted by garius at 10:23 AM on March 21 [31 favorites]


As someone who voted Remain, Corbyn has been very frustrating to me.

I respect his ideological commitment to his ideas; he's been euroskeptic since the '70s, and continues to be so. But Brexit is the central issue of UK politics after 2016, and Labour under Corbyn has not opposed the government on this issue despite being the official opposition. Despite campaigning for the Labour leadership on the promise that he'd listen to members, who overwhelmingly support Remain.

I have not at all felt represented by Labour over the past 2 years.
posted by Fraxas at 10:25 AM on March 21 [20 favorites]


Petitions Committee on Twitter:
A lot of people have been asking about numbers. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people have been simultaneously viewing the petition to revoke article 50. Nearly 2,000 signatures are being completed every minute.

The rate of signing is the highest the site has ever had to deal with and we have had to make some changes to ensure the site remains stable and open for signatures and new petitions. Thanks for bearing with us.
posted by flabdablet at 10:32 AM on March 21 [7 favorites]


garius: Gove ... Gove ... Gove

(wet slapping noises) YoU cAlLeD?
posted by pharm at 11:20 AM on March 21 [19 favorites]


Just had a thought.

If the EU really wanted to kill No-Deal they could say Extension until May 22nd if WA goes through parliament next week but 12 months plus if it doesn't. That would certainly put a spanner in the ERG works kill the WA and possibly leave the door open for other options/players.

More of this chaos, but perhaps without Theresa May and the Brexiteer's threat of No-Deal involved.

May would obviously reject it, but it's a nice juicy decision-free option which could get a majority in parliament.
posted by fullerine at 12:05 PM on March 21


I should say, Macron grandstanding apart I think the EU genuinely want to avoid No-Deal.
posted by fullerine at 12:08 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I agree, but unfortunately according to the FT and Guardian it does not look as if the UK Government feels the same. For the first time in my life it feels like my safety is not in the hands of my own government, but an external agency...
posted by dudleian at 12:18 PM on March 21


If the EU really wanted to kill No-Deal they could say Extension until May 22nd if WA goes through parliament next week but 12 months plus if it doesn't. That would certainly put a spanner in the ERG works kill the WA and possibly leave the door open for other options/players.

According to the Guardian liveblog/Twitter, there's talk of end of the year as long as the UK agrees to hold EU elections in the relevant timeframe, assuming May's deal fails.

For the first time in my life it feels like my safety is not in the hands of my own government, but an external agency...

I don't know how old you are, but the EEC/EU has looked out for the interests of the people of Britain better than the UK government on more than one occasion over the past 40+ years.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:23 PM on March 21 [13 favorites]


If the EU really wanted to kill No-Deal they could say Extension until May 22nd if WA goes through parliament next week but 12 months plus if it doesn't. That would certainly put a spanner in the ERG works kill the WA and possibly leave the door open for other options/players.

They also fear giving May another year in charge - without Parliament having forced her hand by a clear margin to an alternative - will just be a continuation of the paralysis since November. A long extension with a clear and parliament-driven reason is still potentially possible, I think, but they simply don't trust May not to lie at every turn now, completely ensnared by the ERG as she is. I think they are also just fed up to the back teeth with the whole business, and want it resolved one way or another.

Asked when Juncker would lose patience with Westminster, he responded: “I didn’t even know I had this much patience.” EU diplomats have warned there is a growing sense in Brussels and some capitals that there is “nothing more to be done – we are finished”.

If the UK government will only contemplate the WA or no-deal, will not hold EU elections, and Parliament cannot force another choice, then the ultimatum is very clear - pass the deal now, withdraw article 50, or just piss off through the open door already.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:23 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


I think if May rejected the EU extension thereby "choosing" No-Deal it would mean loss of enough support to open the door to Parliament taking it out of her hands.

I think there's a non-zero chance she tries to ignore Parliament and crash out in that case but then we really will be into Queen Bat-Signal constitutional crisis time.
posted by fullerine at 12:26 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


For the first time in my life it feels like my safety is not in the hands of my own government, but an external agency...

I have an interest in human rights law and workers rights. For all of my life, I've been an EU national. I have read the ECHR caselaw. I'm terrified of what we'll be like when we don't have an external agency limiting the right wing during a recession.

I feel more European than British.
posted by jaduncan at 12:27 PM on March 21 [28 favorites]


Gonna have this on repeat all next week... Nottingham's finest, Scorzayzee - Great Britain
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:59 PM on March 21


Yes - my loyalties run Londoner, European, British, English.
posted by Grangousier at 1:03 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


If the EU really wanted to kill No-Deal they could say Extension until May 22nd if WA goes through parliament next week but 12 months plus if it doesn't. That would certainly put a spanner in the ERG works kill the WA and possibly leave the door open for other options/players.
Well lookee here:

@faisalislam:
EU27 moving towards unconditionally shifting the cliff edge to from next week to early May.

With decision to be made by April 11th on EP election participation the determining factor for longer extension.
posted by doop at 1:50 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]




From tracking of the petition data it has become obvious that the rate of signatures being added has in fact been constrained by the rate that the server can handle. Not by the number of people trying to sign.

Someone did the maths to work out how long it would take to get over 17.4 million signatures.

The answer was until some time after 29th March.
posted by automatronic at 2:33 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


Anyway, when we said that no deal is better than just remaining in the EU, this is not what we meant.
posted by ckape at 2:55 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


From the Guardian blog:

When leaders asked May what she was going to do if her deal was voted down, an official added that the prime minister replied that she was following her ‘Plan A’ of getting it through.

It was then the EU decided that “she didn’t have a plan so they needed to come up with one for her”, the source added.

posted by stonepharisee at 3:01 PM on March 21 [18 favorites]


> Someone did the maths to work out how long it would take to get over 17.4 million signatures.

The answer was until some time after 29th March.
According to the status bot the amount of signatures jumped from 1,5 to 2 million within two hours.
posted by farlukar at 3:27 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


The official EuCo declaration [pdf]: May 22nd extension if the deal is approved by the Commons; April 12th and "expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward before this date" if not.

I don't take the umpteenth "ministers have threatened to resign" reporting seriously any more -- it's just evening grumbling to the lobby correspondents -- but that gives just enough room next week for a no-confidence vote under the FTPA's 14-day ripening period. Or whatever other nonsense ensues.
posted by holgate at 3:46 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


The European Council has cut through May's bullshit:

If MV3 passes next week, UK has until May 22 to pass necessary legislation. If MV3 falls, new deadline of April 12 when UK has to decide to contest EP elections (= longer extension) or to have hard exit.

This prevents any risk to the EU that the UK will still be a member with the power to revoke A50 at a point too late to take part in the EuroParl elections.

Parliament has to amend the 29 March exit date that's enshrined in UK law, but as far as Article 50 is concerned, the new date is 12 April. But next week might be 22 May. Or ???

Sign that petition, folks.
posted by rory at 3:47 PM on March 21 [14 favorites]


Conclusion: the EU didn't blink.
posted by Pendragon at 4:02 PM on March 21 [9 favorites]


Conclusion: the EU didn't blink.

Take back control, etc. It makes next week decisive but not catastrophic. (Though it messes things up for manufacturers who've tried to plan JIT supply contingencies around next Friday.)
posted by holgate at 4:09 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Another Theresa May quote for the ages (as relayed by Vince Cable): The people voted for pain.
posted by rory at 4:12 PM on March 21 [8 favorites]


Adam Curtis had better be taking notes, I want to at least get a 3 hour cerebral documentary out of this mess.
posted by 3urypteris at 4:22 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Has she just turned into a Batman villain now, then?
posted by dng at 4:24 PM on March 21 [5 favorites]


No, a Cenobite.
posted by edeezy at 4:39 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Via the always delightful David Allen Green, I found this astute thread by Robert Saunders.

Corbyn & May have one big thing in common, which is at the core of our current problems: both draw their authority from a vote outside Parliament, & regard decisions by MPs that conflict with it as illegitimate. In a parliamentary constitution, that's a recipe for chaos.

For May, legitimacy comes from (her interpretation of) the referendum. So it was simply an irrelevance when MPs refused to endorse her deal. For Corbyn, "the mandate" comes from Labour members. So when MPs voted "no confidence" in his leadership, that, too, was an irrelevance.

Both leaders embody intellectual traditions dismissive of parliament: for May, an authoritarian populism that pits "the will of the people" against MPs; for Corbyn, a Bennite tradition that sought "a new popular democracy" to replace "parliamentary democracy as we know it".

The problem is that, in a parliamentary system, governing requires MPs to do things. The Leave vote or the Corbyn project can only be enacted by legislation. So MPs have to be beaten into line: by delaying votes, mobilizing the Cyber-Corbz, or unleashing The Canary/Daily Mail.

So the governing philosophy of both party leaderships makes the kind of assault May launched on Parliament yesterday, or the firestorm directed at Luciana Berger & co, a structural feature of British politics. Intimidating Parliament is now almost a necessary part of governing

That's why I respectfully disagree with those who deny that this is a "constitutional crisis". The British constitution is an amalgam of practices and assumptions, not just a set of institutions. And the assumptions of those who have to work the system have radically changed.

Our institutions are currently almost unworkable. If we want to fix that, we need major institutional change: either to the state, institutionalising the personal mandates claimed by leaders (perhaps in a directly-elected executive), or to the parties, restoring control to MPs

Politicians are trying to force a representative, parliamentary democracy to function like a plebiscitary, presidential system. It is an attempt that can only end in gridlock and constitutional conflict. We may be only in the foothills of a new and ugly political order.


It's helping me further understand how enormously damaging Theresa May's speech was last night, and how in the past year, she's been uninterested in cultivating authority through majority MP support because she's been cultivating other types of authority. Saunders also raises a great point about how much of May and Corbyn's most alarming behaviors have a shared corrupting element.

For better and for worse, this omnishambles is opening my eyes to how little I know, and how little most people know, about the many necessary gears of parliamentary democracy. A facile view of "the will of the people" has been used to justify too much ignorance, too much violence.
posted by facehugger at 4:39 PM on March 21 [33 favorites]


> both draw their authority from a vote outside Parliament, & regard decisions by MPs that conflict with it as illegitimate.
That's one of the problems and failure modes in Parliamentary systems that choose leaders by popular election (or by dictat from above), and something the Westminster System was evolved & intended to avoid.

It's curious - and more than a little suspicious, if one was inclined to think that way - that recent events the world around seem to have their basis in that exact failure.
posted by Pinback at 5:20 PM on March 21 [7 favorites]


Parliamentary petition now offline for just over an hour, according to UltraButt
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:42 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


May's brownshirts are attacking MPs now.
posted by flabdablet at 11:25 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


So it's a Brextension at least until April 12, probably May 22 or maybe even longer.

This is a typical EU compromise.
It balances the extreme positions held by France (along with at least Belgium and Spain) and Gerrmany (and others). Whereas Macron wanted the UK out unless the WA is passed by March 29, which would have been a slap in the face of the UK, Merkel vowed to fight for an agreement until the last minute, which possibly would have undermined European institutions if the UK doesn't hold elections but then withdraws A50.

So it holds the door open for one of its members without humiliating them while at the same time protecting the stability of Europe.

This compromise was agreed unanimously and found in a matter of hours by 27 heads of states of 27 (very) different countries. All those countries have their own vested interests, but they managed to set those aside in favor of the common ground. I think this is quite remarkable.

It gives me hope for Europe and makes me proud to be a European.
posted by sour cream at 11:48 PM on March 21 [50 favorites]


It gives me hope for Europe and makes me proud to be a European.

Me too.
posted by rory at 12:16 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


I've long thought that Labour's switch to selecting its leader via a direct membership vote was a serious wrong turn, and that the next Tory leadership battle will be disastrous for the same reason.

If MPs select their leader from among themselves, they'll be choosing the person they think is most likely to lead them to electoral victory. That means choosing someone who appeals not only to most of their members, but to the wavering middle of the general population. The far-left in Labour and far-right in the Tories can be ignored, because they'll vote for you anyway.*

If the party members choose the leader, the balance shifts towards the middle of their population. The bell curve shifts left for Labour, or right for the Tories. You end up with a party leader further to the left or right than most of the population can stomach: supporters of the opposing party will hate them, and the wavering middle won't be as tempted to vote for them either.

In the past few years we've seen the effect of this on general support for the Labour party: lots of party members still like Corbyn, but the general public overall don't.

The Tories dodged this in 2016 when MPs agreed among themselves on May before it went to a members vote (the party introduced membership votes for leaders in 1998, but it's been somewhat ameliorated by the ability of Tory MPs to decide the shortlist). For a while, May was someone who could appeal to the wavering middle. As Saunders shows, she's undermined that by trying to become the personification of the "will of the people", and Tory MPs are now in the same relationship to her as leader as Labour MPs are to Corbyn. But even if May goes, they'll be in the same boat if they end up putting two leadership candidates to a vote of their party members. We'll end up with a Tory leader far too right-wing to appeal to the majority of the British electorate. We can imagine how it will go: a moderate will be up against a Brexiter, and the far more Brexity Tory membership will vote for the latter.

*There's a caveat here about UKIP. After the 2014 EP elections, it seemed clear to Cameron that they were stealing the far-right flank of the Tory vote, and there was a risk of splitting the votes on the right in the next general election such that Labour could win under first-past-the-post. So he tacked right to head them off, by promising an EU referendum.
posted by rory at 12:23 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


In a few months Corbyn almost overcame a double digit deficit in a General Election. The narrative that he's the second coming of Michael Foot is because he's allowed his personal Euro-skepticism to influence his handling of Brexit and hidden it behind the disingenuous position of following the will of the people. This is the exact opposite of what he was elected leader to do. I think if he'd have stuck to his principles and gone full Lexit he wouldn't be leader but it would have been more in line with who he was percieved to be.

His selection was sound and I feel we (Labour) are in danger of overcompensating for Corbyn's faults by attributing them to where he came from and how he got here.
posted by fullerine at 12:44 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


So we have this to look forward to this weekend. If all of a half-dozen drivers carry through with this threat to drive slowly on the M62, the Beeb will probably give it more coverage than the Remainer march.
posted by skybluepink at 12:52 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


I've long thought that Labour's switch to selecting its leader via a direct membership vote was a serious wrong turn, and that the next Tory leadership battle will be disastrous for the same reason.

I agree. All governments are inherently coalitions, it’s just that in a FPTP system the coalitions end up being within the two main parties rather than between several smaller ones. If we had a PR system there could be a Corbynite/New Labour/Green coalition, and each party could be as narrowly-focussed and ideologically pure as it wanted. And the same for a Tory/UKIP/Orange Book coalition. But if you want to form a government under our current system it is inherently a big tent arrangement.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:55 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


Corbyn & May have one big thing in common, which is at the core of our current problems: both draw their authority from a vote outside Parliament, & regard decisions by MPs that conflict with it as illegitimate. In a parliamentary constitution, that's a recipe for chaos.

For May, legitimacy comes from (her interpretation of) the referendum. So it was simply an irrelevance when MPs refused to endorse her deal. For Corbyn, "the mandate" comes from Labour members. So when MPs voted "no confidence" in his leadership, that, too, was an irrelevance.


This seems like a real stretch to get a "both sides" conclusion out.

The Labour party was set up by trade unions to give the workers movement a voice in Parliament. For its first years the Labour party didn't even have individual membership. Convention votes have existed to bind MPs from the start. If there's a sudden crisis now, it's because MPs have decided now that they don't need to be bound by the rest of the party.

He also talks about the "no confidence" vote as if it's a real part of the Labour party constitution. The mechanism by which MPs can get rid of a leader is the leadership challenge. MPs were reluctant to invoke the official mechanism because they thought they would lose, which they eventually did. The "no confidence" vote was a pure PR exercise to embarrass the leadership. It's hard to see why getting rid of a leader outside of the rules would have been a great triumph for democracy, and why following the rules is so bad for it.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:39 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


It is interesting to think what would have happened if Labour had won a majority and Corbyn had gone all Soft Lexit as PM
and by "interesting" I mean soul-crushingly depressing.

It is genuinely heartbreaking to see him flounder, I had such optimism when he became leader.
posted by fullerine at 2:04 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


This seems like a real stretch to get a "both sides" conclusion out.

I agree that the vote of confidence by MPs wasn't the best example that could have been used to support the argument (though I think it's far from irrelevant). More germane is Corbyn's wish for party policy to be set by conference—especially as he can be confident that conference will endorse his views. It's policy by referendum within the party, and Corbyn draws the same corollary as May: as leader he is entitled to the support of his MPs to see that policy through, regardless of their personal beliefs, relevant expert knowledge, the interests of their constituents etc*.

I think it's undeniable that the leadership of both parties has shifted (possibly locally and temporarily) from representative democracy to delegate democracy. And I agree with the analysis that this trashes the current ways of getting things done, and constitutes a crisis.

I was, and still am, a strong believer in representative democracy, but its legitimacy depends on those representatives being any damned good. Confronted by an NI secretary who knows nothing, and is unwilling to learn anything, about the history of Ireland, a defence secretary who creates a major row with China on the eve of a UK trade delegation, a serial failure who signs a government contract with a ferry company that has no ferries, a foreign secretary who quotes colonial poetry when visiting an ex colony, a Brexit secretary who does not understand the importance of Dover for the UK's trade with Europe (and so on and so on), you can understand why "ordinary voters" think that they have just as good a grasp of matters as their representatives, who should do as they are told.


* The exception being when the rank and file disagree with him, for example over a second Brexit referendum, when he employs May-like strategies to stay falsely true to party policy.
posted by dudleian at 3:17 AM on March 22 [7 favorites]


The narrative that he's the second coming of Michael Foot is because he's allowed his personal Euro-skepticism to influence his handling of Brexit and hidden it behind the disingenuous position of following the will of the people. This is the exact opposite of what he was elected leader to do.

Yeah, if your whole shtick is being supremely principled, it doesn't work when you abandon those principles entirely on one key issue. Doubly so when that one issue overshadows and impacts all others, as brexit does.
posted by Dysk at 3:54 AM on March 22 [9 favorites]


So we have this to look forward to this weekend. If all of a half-dozen drivers carry through with this threat to drive slowly on the M62, the Beeb will probably give it more coverage than the Remainer march.
I just love how half-arsed this is.

"Where can we have our Leaver protest where it'll get noticed by those pesky Remainers?"
"Let's go down south to that London, it's full of Remoaner bastards, etc etc."
"Yeah, but we'd have to get up at seven. And it's such a long way. And the congestion charge is a tenner these days."
"Shall we drive a bit slower than normal through the roadworks past Rochdale?"
"Yeah, that's only ten minutes from my house, see you there."
posted by winterhill at 4:14 AM on March 22 [13 favorites]


I know! That's what makes it so bitterly funny. They're too fucking lazy to actually go to any effort at all. These are the people we're about to crash out of the EU to please.
posted by skybluepink at 4:50 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


It's genius, really. They run their protest through a roadworks. "Look how many people are slowing down in solidarity!"
posted by entity447b at 4:58 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


I know! That's what makes it so bitterly funny. They're too fucking lazy to actually go to any effort at all. These are the people we're about to crash out of the EU to please.
I've always been a moderate. I've always said that people who voted to Leave in 2016 had all kinds of reasons for their vote. Leaving the EU was never going to actually help them in anything, but there was a lot of misinformation and propaganda out there and we can't blame people for being misled. I was never someone who said Leave voters were all racists.

But anyone in these little Northern towns who, at this stage of the story, is still backing hard Brexit given all the information we've received in the past three years is obviously either really, really thick or has some kind of ulterior motive - financial gain, hatred of immigrants, stupid left-wing accelerationist views. Anyone still in favour of a crash-out Brexit at this point deserves to have the piss taken mercilessly and be told to their face what they are.
posted by winterhill at 5:01 AM on March 22 [15 favorites]


Solidarity from another one living in one of these little Northern towns, although we're working on moving to one of the big Northern cities ASAP.
posted by skybluepink at 5:02 AM on March 22


there was a lot of misinformation and propaganda out there and we can't blame people for being misled.

Can you not? Surely there is some duty as a citizen to critically consume what you are told before granting a democratic mandate to enact policy. Absent that, no democratic society can ever be responsible for voting for anyone.
posted by jaduncan at 5:05 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


Can you not?
No, I can't not. Unless a moderator says otherwise, I'm allowed to give my views.
posted by winterhill at 5:06 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


Can you not? Surely there is some duty as a citizen to critically consume what you are told before granting a democratic mandate to enact policy. Absent that, no democratic society can ever be responsible for voting for anyone.

Are you familiar with the right-wing press? A lot of these people read the shittiest papers every day and consider themselves well-informed.
posted by skybluepink at 5:07 AM on March 22 [12 favorites]


One of the most important political books of the last decade was "Ruling the Void" by Peter Mair, published 2013, which highlighted the collapse of political party membership, and the increasing disconnect between ordinary citizens and a class of professional politicians.

What's happened since then is that there's been a sudden resurgence in the size and activity of the party bases. Politicians who were used to a void have suddenly found an active and engaged party base there instead.

The immediate instinct of most politicians is: try to get the void back. The ultimate expression of that is The Independent Group: a political party without any base at all.

The two big positive things about Corbyn are:

First: he recognises a problem with the "centrist" economics of the last two decades (i.e. the state should privatise and outsource as much as possible, cut benefits as much as possible except for baby boomers) have failed. These policies are not delivering GDP growth, or wage growth, or productivity growth. We need an alternative.

Second: he is able to motivate and engage with a large movement of people passionate about politics.

No-one else on the political scene is offering either of these. If Corbyn goes, it's back to neoliberal economics and a political elite ruling apathetic or alienated masses. There is no "Corbyn, but Remain" option.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:07 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


Can you not?
No, I can't not. Unless a moderator says otherwise, I'm allowed to give my views.


Sorry that was unclear - by 'can you not' I meant 'can we not assign some degree of responsibility', not 'please shut up'.
posted by jaduncan at 5:11 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


3 million on the petition y'all.
posted by ZipRibbons at 5:12 AM on March 22 [8 favorites]


Three million in a country of about 66 million feels like the kind of tipping point where they can't just say "we're pressing ahead with the plan as before". We're getting close to 5% of the population of the entire country - that's remarkable in just a couple of days.
posted by winterhill at 5:20 AM on March 22 [6 favorites]


Between lunchtime yesterday and now 2.2 million signatures.
92000 per hour or
1530 per minutes or
25 per second
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:31 AM on March 22


Anybody found a bot tracking the crash-out petition as well? I'd like to see where it's at but I don't want to add load to the petition server.
posted by flabdablet at 5:32 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


fladablet, this one is, but I think ping frequency has gone down significantly sice it was barred from the petitions website last night.

Yeasterday it was every 5 secs, now it's unclear.
posted by doggod at 5:35 AM on March 22




doggod: I think flabdablet was after a bot tracking the 'competing' pro-hard brexit petition?
posted by edd at 5:38 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


I've had this open since yesterday - unclear how frequent it updates, but every now and then I go check it and it seems up to date
posted by motdiem2 at 5:42 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Damn that petition has hit 3 million.

I'm happy about the extension, but it does mean I'll be in the UK when BDay hits when I'd hoped to give the rubble time to settle before I arrived.
posted by Braeburn at 5:43 AM on March 22


Rafael Behr: The EU knows it, so do our own MPs – Theresa May is finished
The terms of the extension are not drafted for the prime minister’s benefit. They contain a message from the EU direct to the House of Commons. In crude terms: piss or get off the pot. If you want to leave with a deal, vote for the damned deal. If you are foolish enough to leave without a deal, do not blame us. Have a couple more weeks to think about it. But if you want something else, a referendum or a softer Brexit, work it out soon. And then send someone who isn’t Theresa May to talk to us about it.
posted by rongorongo at 5:43 AM on March 22 [10 favorites]


Yesterday reddit, being reddit, came to the conclusion that about half the signatures originated from outside the UK, and that this information was publicly available on the petition site. I don't have the spoons to go verifying, but in the event that this is accurate...

I know a lot of Brits live outside the UK (and that those Brits, in particular, might be heavily motivated to sign such a petition), but this does seem like a way they'll try to dismiss it
posted by schadenfrau at 5:47 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Yesterday reddit, being reddit, came to the conclusion that about half the signatures originated from outside the UK, and that this information was publicly available on the petition site..

Farage was on Today this morning saying the signers were all Russians trying to destroy our democracy which I assume is going to be the Brexiteer talking point going forwards. Astonishingly.
posted by brilliantmistake at 5:50 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


Yes, they're very much trying to dismiss it that way. Often linking to this story which is from 2016 (only a lot of the time they won't point that out) and which predates work described here to prevent or deal retroactively with fraud.
posted by edd at 5:52 AM on March 22


The data is pretty believable.
There are several signatories from outside the UK, but only in numbers that you would expect. (i.e. a few percent of the verified UK citizens living in those places) Funnily enough many british citizens who have taken advantage of freedom of movement don't want to lose that right. So you'd actually expect it to be a bit higher.

The petition site does do IP checking and data cleaning, so you can expect the number of signature to drop by a few percent here and there, because there probably is a small number of fraudulent signatures (because there always is).
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:55 AM on March 22


This compromise was agreed unanimously and found in a matter of hours by 27 heads of states of 27 (very) different countries. All those countries have their own vested interests, but they managed to set those aside in favor of the common ground. I think this is quite remarkable.

It shouldn't be, but it really, really is, isn't it?

It gives me hope for Europe and makes me proud to be a European.

Me too, and as an American it makes me kind of jealous.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:57 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


schadenfrau: the json feed is broken down by country. It's currently (2019-03-22T12:28:47.498Z) showing 1261367 from the UK. Country is, presumably, self-identified.

The weird thing is I can't figure out where the other 1.74m are coming from. France is showing 10k, US and Germany are showing about 4k each, Gib is showing 1300, but nothing that adds up to millions. I think their counts are broken somehow. Or I'm not understanding them.
posted by Leon at 5:58 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


"As of Friday morning, it seems that the constituency totals are no longer being updated at the source but the overall total is" - from https://odileeds.org/projects/petitions/?241584 so I suspect a lot of the data aggregation is just turned off for now.
posted by edd at 6:00 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


That could be it, but they're still adding an up-to-date datestamp. That's a bit sloppy.
posted by Leon at 6:01 AM on March 22


This Peston analysis is depressingly convincing. Although some parliamentarians have acquitted themselves well over the past couple of years, the Tory Remainers seem hopelessly disorganised and pusillanimous, and the Labour party seems determined to put party above country, even in these most desperate days.

The Conservative leadership is so despicable as not to deserve comment.
posted by dudleian at 6:04 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Here's the ODI Leeds mirror of the petition data for anybody who wants to look at the numbers for themselves.
posted by flabdablet at 6:07 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, back in the mists of yesterday when there were only 400,000 or so signatures on it and they hadn't yet had to cripple it to keep it working at all, it had IIRC 15 from Russia.
posted by flabdablet at 6:10 AM on March 22


I'm British / European but I haven't signed the Revoke petition because I've been living overseas for more than 15 years, which means I'm not officially allowed to vote in UK elections or referenda anymore.

My signing this just wouldn't be cricket, now would it?
posted by ZipRibbons at 6:10 AM on March 22


The petition numbers are available on Twitch, without burdening the servers.
posted by stonepharisee at 6:11 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Rules for qualifying for the petition are not the same as for voting. That's clear to everyone and it's perfectly good cricket to go along with them I would say.
posted by edd at 6:19 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


edd: yup, to confirm, timestamp has updated, counts have not.
posted by Leon at 6:24 AM on March 22


The explanation edd linked above on scaling the Petitions service following the EU Referendum gives some pretty solid clues about likely reasons why we're currently seeing inconsistencies between the total and by-country tallies. Basically it looks to me like the back-end database servers are flat-out just recording all the signatures and they've had to turn off updating most of the aggregates to give them a ghost of a chance of keeping up with demand.

However, they do say that each signature is one row in a database table, so as long as they don't lose any signatures they should be able to generate a set of consistent subtotals once the pace eases off a bit. Which I'm totally hoping it doesn't before crossing the Leadsom Threshold.
posted by flabdablet at 6:34 AM on March 22 [4 favorites]


Looks like the go slow for remain is getting at least a trial run anyway.
posted by edd at 7:02 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


anyone in these little Northern towns who, at this stage of the story, is still backing hard Brexit given all the information we've received in the past three years is obviously either really, really thick or has some kind of ulterior motive - financial gain, hatred of immigrants, stupid left-wing accelerationist views.

I disagree a little on this, as someone from a medium-sized Northern town who still has Leave-voting family there. I think a lot of those voters have essentially tuned out the ongoing clusterfuck, whether it's by deliberately sticking their heads in the sand or because the process and political machinations around it are detached from the day-to-day impact of a zombie government. They're not so much backing hard Brexit as oblivious and/or indifferent to its consequences. And I suppose you could call that "really thick" but it's not the same as eagerly demanding to go off the cliff.

It's become a taboo topic: I don't feel like I can tell those people to stock up on bog rolls, and a terrible part of me wants them to end up wiping their arses with torn-up tabloids.
posted by holgate at 7:39 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


Two of my Finnish friends were over in London last weekend and I asked if there was any talk of a "Finxit" and the response was, even by Finnish standards, a stone-faced "Not anymore."

We are literally a warning example to others.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:01 AM on March 22 [49 favorites]


Good to see Gove at least is working hard sorting out Brexit *squints* oh sorry, making a video to promote 'Pet Theft Awareness Week'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:12 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Grud on a Greenie.
posted by dudleian at 8:28 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


I've bumped into a few Leavers who are bored with the whole thing. They're tired of seeing it on the telly. So that's great, and doesn't incline me to share my bog roll hoard with them if we crash out.
posted by skybluepink at 8:53 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


I've bumped into a few Leavers who are bored with the whole thing. They're tired of seeing it on the telly.

I have an inlaw who voted Leave after thinking (without any research) on the day 'well, we could do with a bit of a change'. It was and is intensely frustrating.
posted by jaduncan at 9:19 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


> Rules for qualifying for the petition are not the same as for voting. That's clear to everyone and it's perfectly good cricket to go along with them I would say.

On which note: the petitions system is open to any British citizen or UK resident. You don't have to have been eligible to vote in the referendum to sign this.
posted by automatronic at 9:21 AM on March 22 [3 favorites]


I'm one of the people who signed the petition from overseas- I'm technically a UK citizen, though I have never lived there as an adult. Brexit materially affects my rights though- even if marginally.

I listed my real location though, so it's not like it couldn't be cleaned out if they wanted.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:23 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


I've had this open since yesterday - unclear how frequent it updates

Quick look at the source code suggests 5 seconds, which is faster than I'm happy to leave running.
posted by flabdablet at 10:09 AM on March 22 [1 favorite]


> I've had this open since yesterday - unclear how frequent it updates

Quick look at the source code suggests 5 seconds, which is faster than I'm happy to leave running.
Nota bene: the Brexit Petitions Count uses XHR from petition.parliament.uk
So it's not as bad as looking at the petition page directly, but still uses their resources.
posted by farlukar at 10:17 AM on March 22


Data point: just went to Asda and the bog rolls have already been raided. Good thing the guy from Wetherspoons keeps putting propaganda pamphlets through the postbox so I have something to fall back on.
posted by Acey at 10:19 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]


I just signed the petition a minute ago (I'm a British citizen, but I live in the US) and it was at 3,504,096 signatures then.
posted by minsies at 11:22 AM on March 22 [5 favorites]




I went and signed the petition just now. Looks like I'm #3,601,057, so about 100,000 in 45 minutes?

And the BBC explains why it is probably not just bot votes.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:03 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


the petitions system is open to any British citizen or UK resident

Thanks for this...I didn't know I could sign.

+1 from me!
posted by rocket88 at 12:09 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Holy shit, that Guardian piece. These clowns in charge of that scenario...holy shit.
posted by skybluepink at 12:09 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


It's alright folks, no need to worry any more, Uri Gellar is on the case
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:19 PM on March 22 [7 favorites]


I just signed, got the same number as Agent of Kaos about 15 minutes later. Maybe it isn’t trying to be so real time now. I got the email confirmation immediately.

And yeah, that Guardian piece. Just a complete clusterfuck by the same people who have made a career of calling Labour factionalized infighters. Fuck their shitty little souls.
posted by Rumple at 12:19 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


Secret Cabinet Office document reveals chaotic planning for no-deal Brexit

This section of Operation Yellowhammer is particularly dystopian:
The most important decisions in response to any potential crisis will be taken by the little-known European Union exit and trade (preparedness) subcommittee, which was set up in January, and is chaired by the prime minister.

That will have sweeping powers to intervene and order emergency measures, including mobilising the military, and getting rid of regulations if necessary, the document suggests.

“The committee will be available to take an overview of the situation and make any relevant decisions including on the following areas but not limited to legislation, identifying funding opportunities, allocation of national level resources (such as military, law enforcement or civil service resources, direction of government bodies and relaxation of regulations required at the ministerial level.”
Even more discouraging, the document allows that there are “likely to be unforeseen issues and impacts” of a no-deal Brexit that they can’t prepare for.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:29 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


What was that about faceless bureaucrats?
posted by tobascodagama at 12:33 PM on March 22 [9 favorites]


Maybe it isn’t trying to be so real time now.

They've slim-lined a bunch of stuff on the Rails app running it, the code's open source and on GitHub for anyone wanting to have a read of it.
posted by Buntix at 1:02 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


But anyone in these little Northern towns who, at this stage of the story, is still backing hard Brexit given all the information we've received in the past three years is obviously either really, really thick or has some kind of ulterior motive - financial gain, hatred of immigrants, stupid left-wing accelerationist views.

You massively over-estimate how much the average person engages with the news. The only newspapers in the UK with a circulation of over one million are the Sun and the Mail (and the Metro, which is free). The highest traffic goes to the Sun and Mail websites; the BBC is pretty much the only non-tabloid news source which has the same sort of reach, and it has not acquitted itself all that well in this. And so many people don't even have that level of engagement.

One of my friends tried to explain how worried they were about 'No Deal' to a Leaver relative; this relative genuinely thought that a 'No Deal' situation would just mean that we would stay in the EU, with all current arrangements until things were worked out. Friend started asking around, and found that among people who don't follow the news, this was pretty much the standard understanding.

This is, to many people, just a bunch of theoretical arguments that are so far above their heads that they just cannot engage with them. They were told that there would be more money for the NHS after Brexit, so they want Brexit so there will be more money for the NHS. You and I may know that this is total bullshit, but it's bullshit that is easy and memorable; truthful counters to the bullshit have been (because they are truthful) complicated. Life is shit for a lot of people because of austerity. They have been sold a way out. Like people who have already given their bank details to a Nigerian Prince, they don't want to know that this is all a lie, a con, and something which will make their life worse.
posted by Vortisaur at 1:43 PM on March 22 [37 favorites]


Gib is showing 1300

This is totally legit of course, Gibraltar population voted in the referendum and vote with SW UK in the European elections.
posted by biffa at 3:18 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


The other two reactions to the "No Deal" prospect I've gotten from people- not Brits, mind you, mostly European types here in the US- are

1) it can't be as bad as all that; even if it would be bad, "they" are probably just propagandizing

and

2) if it would be as bad as all that, "they" wouldn't let it happen anyway
posted by BungaDunga at 3:21 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


I'm so old I remember when "they" weren't going to let leave win the referendum.
posted by dng at 3:27 PM on March 22 [8 favorites]


To be honest, I'm beginning to think "they" aren't very good at their jobs.
posted by dng at 3:29 PM on March 22 [34 favorites]


~5% of citizens, at least. Turns out you can sign the petition from a non-U.K. IP. You just need to check a box declaring you're a British citizen, as my wife here in Australia (accurately) did yesterday.
posted by MarchHare at 3:37 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


it can't be as bad as all that

History is littered with examples of perfectly function modern (relative to the time) countries with a good standard of living and constant progress where it got bad.

Hell, a lot of the people seeking refuge here and terrifying the xenophobes with the thought that they may one day not be quite so privileged are from countries that were probably just as good to live in as the UK; but without the joy of semi-constant rain.

To cross the threads a little, 🝖growabrain* posted on the U.S.M.T. that [warning and apologies: Daily Mail] the polis are lurking pro-actively round Assange. It would be nice to imagine that this could be due to some sort of tip-off from Mueller as he's finished his report, and took the opportunity to grass up some related Brexit crimes to the UK authorities to help us out at the 10th hour. I mean it's almost certainly not, but we can dream.


* Nomenclature addendum: I was looking for a unicode symbol representing a filter to preface the user link, as an @ is pretty heavily signifier-grafted to twitter these days. That the closest I found in a five second search is a sort of funnel thing that just happens to be the alchemical symbol for horseshit is not intended as a diss on growabrain or metafilter in general.
posted by Buntix at 3:47 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


As a Dutchman, I'm dreading a no-deal brexit. It's going to be rough on our economy.
posted by Pendragon at 3:51 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


To cross the threads a little, 🝖growabrain posted on the U.S.M.T. that [warning and apologies: Daily Mail] the polis are lurking pro-actively round Assange. *
That DM article is from 2012. Is that intentional?
posted by winterhill at 3:55 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


> As a Dutchman, I'm dreading a no-deal brexit. It's going to be rough on our economy.
As a Dutchman, I'm dreading a no-deal brexit. It's going to restart civil war in Northern Ireland.
posted by farlukar at 4:06 PM on March 22 [23 favorites]


Hmm, the link he posted was actually to a video on the DM site, that doesn't have a date attached, and I didn't clock the date when I clicked through to the article.

So yeah, old news unfortunately, mea culpa.

Was really kinda looking forward to the slightest glimmer that weekend walker fucker Farage [@ByDonkeys], Assange, Banks, et al. would be facing some time in the hoosegow.
posted by Buntix at 4:14 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Are Bots Being Used in the Brexit Petitions? - YouTube (10:09)

U.K. teacher Phil weighs in. I think he underestimates how easy a bot network is to deploy, but he seems to be right in which direction those so inclined are pushing (they could potentially switch sides for maximum disruption, but their desirable outcome lies very heavily in one direction.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:52 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


From the wikipedia article on this Yellowhammer thing: "On 22 March confidential Cabinet documents on Operation Yellowhammer were obtained by The Guardian newspaper. The document warned that departments would have to work 24 hours a day for at least twelve weeks, without input from higher up in government."

That sounds like something from a Cold War era civil defense pamphlet, not a functioning government.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:12 PM on March 22 [16 favorites]


History is littered with examples of perfectly function modern (relative to the time) countries with a good standard of living and constant progress where it got bad.

I’m reading Love Thy Neighbor by Peter Maass, about the Bosnian War. I may have to stop.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:40 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


Gove at least is working hard … making a video to promote 'Pet Theft Awareness Week'

Is he worried he'll be kidnapped?
posted by scruss at 7:03 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


For those who want it, the Hyucking thread was succeeded by the Political Humorizing Thread.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:57 PM on March 22 [5 favorites]


That sounds like something from a Cold War era civil defense pamphlet, not a functioning government.
Beyond satire. Paraphrasing Neil from The Young Ones in Protect And Survive mode, "paint yourself white to deflect the blast Brexit".
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:52 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


Is he worried he'll be kidnapped?
More likely it's a poor phrasing or punctuation issue somewhere down the line.
This is Gove's pet "Theft Awareness" Week, not to confused with his pet "I spontaneously disgorged a strongly opinionated opinion about this in The Times once" Week nor his pet "suddenly cares about the environment whilst incidentally Empire Building" Week nor his pet "stab Cameron/Johnson/the nearest actual pet in the back" Week and not even his pet "I'm a ghastly, oily fish of a man, eat me twice a-" Week.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:06 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


After warnings from police to allow other drivers to pass, lead drivers of the brexiteer go-slow were stopped and prosecuted for 'careless and inconsiderate driving'.

Highways England tweeted: “There have been a few issues but nothing of any major impact and at present everything is running as usual.”

So about as competently organised as usual by brexiteers.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:00 AM on March 23 [9 favorites]


Good piece in the FT by former British diplomat Robert Cooper.

Petition is 50k shy of 4 million signatures now.
posted by rory at 1:18 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Dumbest protest ever. Getting the cops to give a serious response to anything outside of murder, forget it. But you slow down traffic on the motorway, and you are getting fined. They should've stuck to letting their dogs shit all over the pavement and parking on double-yellow lines and called it a protest. It would've been even lower-effort for them.
posted by skybluepink at 2:00 AM on March 23


Petition over 4 million now. If we were all to turn up at Downing Street we’d need 80,000 coaches.
posted by rongorongo at 2:34 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Where do I send my £50?
posted by flabdablet at 3:11 AM on March 23


The slows have started to catch on, by the way; crash-out petition now at 455k with a somewhat respectable rise rate.
posted by flabdablet at 3:14 AM on March 23


Good piece in the FT by former British diplomat Robert Cooper.
Same piece via an archive site so people don't have to dance around Google to read it.
posted by winterhill at 3:14 AM on March 23 [9 favorites]


Guardian: Labour deputy leader Tom Watson to address People’s Vote rally
Breaking away from the carefully crafted Brexit compromises promoted by the party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Watson will say he has “an explicit message for Theresa May: I will vote for your deal or a revised deal you can agree with my party. I will help you get it over the line to prevent a disastrous no-deal exit. But I can only vote for your deal – or any deal – if you let the people have a vote on it too. That’s why I’m proud to be marching. I trust the people I represent.” [...]

Watson’s remarks make him the first shadow cabinet figure to publicly back a compromise proposed by Labour backbenchers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, in which supporters would allow May’s deal to pass if it was subject to another popular vote.

Kyle hopes to put his amendment down on Tuesday, when May is expected to return her Brexit deal to parliament. Although the Labour front bench have repeatedly discussed the compromise proposal it is not certain the party will support it.
posted by ltl at 3:19 AM on March 23 [7 favorites]


Brexit ferry protest in Plymouth a no show rather than a go slow

"a "disappointing" turn out, which swelled from a crowd of eight to a throng of around a dozen, stood and waved a placard and a Union Flag
[...]
"I feel sorry for people having to to grow up in this country. I'm advising my kids to leave the country - to go to Greece or somewhere.""

Oh the irony.
posted by Dysk at 3:29 AM on March 23 [17 favorites]


Buzzfeed: Cabinet Ministers Are Plotting To Oust Theresa May As Even Her Fed Up Whips Say Her Brexit Deal Is Doomed "BuzzFeed News can reveal explosive details of an extraordinary showdown between the prime minister and her whips office. “It was like the Murder on the Orient Express.”":
Having endured months of frustrations with Downing Street in the least envied job in Westminster, chief whip Julian Smith assembled his team of enforcers to sit down with the PM and deliver their honest advice.[…]

May began with a boilerplate speech imploring her team to do all they could to find a majority for her withdrawal agreement, telling them the country wanted to move on and get the deal over the line so she could focus on her domestic agenda. It was too much for Paul Maynard, one of her senior whips, who spoke first in response.[…]

In what one colleague described as a highly emotional state, Maynard, who voted Leave, informed the PM in no uncertain terms that her Brexit strategy was doomed. She risked not only failing to deliver on the result of the referendum, but also destroying the Conservative party, Maynard said, according to two sources in the room.

“I think things are slipping away from us,” he went on, explaining his verdict that they would not be able to find the numbers for her deal to pass unless she made a public commitment to stand down. The pledge to quit should be made in the Sunday newspapers ahead of the vote on her deal, Maynard said.

May sat motionless for a few seconds, “taken aback”, according to a source, then replied: “Thank you for your honesty”, before moving the conversation on. But in the course of the next 15 minutes, her other whips offered similar assessments of the situation.
As for May’s restive cabinet, Buzzfeed reports, “In phone calls and meetings over the last two days, several of May’s most senior ministers discussed jointly telling her she has to resign if she cannot get her Brexit deal through the Commons next week. One cabinet minister told colleagues the PM has “days” left in Number 10.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:37 AM on March 23 [8 favorites]


Can Article 50 can be revoked after the Withdrawal Agreement is agreed?
So MV3 wins, May resigns and then 12-24 months of this with possibly Gove as PM.

There's always more and it's always worse.
posted by fullerine at 4:45 AM on March 23


Petition has just now become the most signed in UK history as well as the fastest.
posted by flabdablet at 4:50 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Keep it going, folks. Force the hideous Leadsom to be seen to be dismissing 18+ millions.
posted by flabdablet at 4:52 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


> Can Article 50 can be revoked after the Withdrawal Agreement is agreed?
What you get with a WA deal is a transition period, not a cooling-off period. Out is out.
posted by farlukar at 4:59 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


ECJ, 10-Dec-2018 (pdf):
In today’s judgment, the Full Court has ruled that, when a Member State has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, as the UK has done, that Member State is free to revoke unilaterally that notification.

That possibility exists for as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that Member State has not entered into force or, if no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, and any possible extension, has not expired.

The revocation must be decided following a democratic process in accordance with national constitutional requirements. This unequivocal and unconditional decision must be communicated in writing to the European Council.

Such a revocation confirms the EU membership of the Member State concerned under terms that are unchanged as regards its status as a Member State and brings the withdrawal procedure to an end.
If Bercow sticks to his guns on not re-debating unaltered bills that have already failed, a suitable private member's bill passed before 12-Apr would fulfil those requirements.
posted by flabdablet at 5:17 AM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Ranking the petition's signatories by constituency: livefrombrexit

(Looks at North Birmingham and adjacent West Bromwich constituencies.... shakes head.)
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:23 AM on March 23


Also, Mefi's Tom Watson - baggymp - is MP for West Bromwich East.
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:27 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


I thought I'd have a channel hop around our national broadcaster to get a flavour of the march.

Radio 4: bloke talking about energy bills and smart meters
Radio 5 Live: football crap, even though it's the international break and there's no Premier League today
Radio London: middle of the road pop music and a presenter reading listener emails about biscuits
BBC News TV: the Mueller report from the USA

Broadcasting at its finest.
posted by winterhill at 5:33 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


Those per-constituency numbers currently sum to about 3.9 million, so it looks like the issue with the aggregates not being updated is fixed again for the time being.
posted by flabdablet at 5:34 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Broadcasting at its finest.

The bizarro world has you covered.
posted by flabdablet at 5:40 AM on March 23


Meanwhile on LBC, here's O'Brien interviewing Oliver Norgrove, who worked for Vote Leave during the referendum campaign but says he would now vote Remain.
posted by flabdablet at 5:50 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


2) if it would be as bad as all that, "they" wouldn't let it happen anyway

One of the dangerous consequences of the detachment of parliamentary parties from their mass bases is that this belief in a "they" grows and grows. The trouble is that in a democracy, there is ultimately no "they" but the voters. "They" in the sense of MPs, senior civil servants, and the rest of what used to be called the establishment wouldn't let something like this happen, except when forced to do so by a referendum. Voters have spent so long comfortable that they now take peace and prosperity for granted, they assume that it's part of the background and that we can do whatever we want against that background.
posted by atrazine at 5:50 AM on March 23 [12 favorites]


In what one colleague described as a highly emotional state

I thought that was British journo code for drunk.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:33 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]


(Looks at North Birmingham and adjacent West Bromwich constituencies.... shakes head.)

Brum in general is still appallingly Leave, even leafy Edgbaston and student hive Selly Oak don’t rank too far up the national table. Added to the increasing protests against LGBT education in the city and this weeks attacks on mosques it’s very worrying here at the moment.
posted by brilliantmistake at 6:57 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


Looking at the live coverage of the march - there must be hundreds of thousands there! Kind of pissed off that the Guardian is reporting 'thousands' - their own livefeed shows a different story.
posted by doggod at 7:00 AM on March 23




I thought that was British journo code for drunk.
You might be thinking of the Private Eye-ism "Tired and emotional", which very much means drunk.
posted by Grangousier at 7:19 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Hooray, the BBC updated from their meagre 'tens' of thousands to 'hundreds' of thousands, which by my reckoning means they must at least be closing in on a million. (Source: me, remembering the shameful official undercount on the Iraq War demonstration.)
posted by skybluepink at 7:38 AM on March 23 [8 favorites]


This section of Operation Yellowhammer is particularly dystopian:

The GenXers who got to be traumatised as kids by Threads and who understand the foundations of Mitchell & Webb's "The Quiz Broadcast" are also the people who remember the fall of the Berlin Wall and take Brexit as a personal loss.

The contingency planning brings back how the Cold War manifested itself to the children of the 80s, and I'm sure that a lot of the civil servants planning it will be of that generation.
posted by holgate at 7:48 AM on March 23 [14 favorites]


The other thing that came across from the EuCo press conferences -- especially from Merkel -- is that EU27 leaders are very aware that the only thing Tory MPs are really good at is plotting against one another.

There'll be another weekend of selective chuntering to Westminster correspondents and furtive machinations and then we lurch into next week at the mercy of a pack of overgrown student debating society hacks.
posted by holgate at 8:03 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


My mother, who lives in the US, just asked me now 'what's Brexit?' That's not as bad as it sounds; I've been living here for 20-odd years, and her own life is so stressful, and filled with poor health, and my father's decline into dementia that she really doesn't have the spoons to follow anything other than the ongoing US nightmare, and then really only where it impacts her and people she knows (we have family and friends in Flint, MI, which should give you some idea). But the point is, I tried to write her an explainer and the whole thing just sounded more insane as I went on. I literally could not come up with a punchy couple of paragraphs to explain it, especially without descending into vile swearing. So I tried my best, but how the hell do you explain all the players and all the machinations, plus the weirdness of the Westminster system, how the EU works, what Article 50 is, how May is hanging onto power, the ERG, the Opposition, the Referendum itself, and why some people want another one, the garbage right-wing press, the Northern Ireland situation, tariffs, trade deals, and so on, and so on...this is all completely batshit and expecting anybody to get it, unless they are in the thick of it and paying very close attention, is practically impossible. I am about as informed as a reasonably intelligent person capable of critical thinking can be, and there's still stuff I don't know.

Because, you know, explaining the outcome of No Deal, and that we can, in fact, revoke Article 50, can only prompt the response, in a non-malevolent person, why don't you?
posted by skybluepink at 8:22 AM on March 23 [23 favorites]


The GenXers who got to be traumatised as kids by Threads

At least everyone dies in Threads. Now is like the madness from The Changes, except that Brexit has hundreds of Mr Furbelow wannabees eagerly poking that damn rock.
posted by scruss at 8:57 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


I just watched approx 20k pass me at Pall Mall in one hour, 1:45 to 2:45 we did some headcount calculations as the concentration of people did not change,if anything it got thicker. We moved away as we had two small ones in a double buggy, a friend wanted to come but was worried on her own she wouldn’t have it. So we did what any friend would do.

But that opened my eyes and I found myself chatting to Aoife from Ireland and her SAfrican husband with their 2 year old, and about 6 other couples with really little uns ( some are in my twitter feed) all exchanging tips about where was safe to stand, support, march with very small kids.

So along the route of the March there were countless numbers of others in our situation, just in the north of Pall Mall area near the Sofitel there must have been a few hundreds all dressed and carrying signs, some of their teeny kinds in adorable anti racist costumes. Multiply that along the route and with French media reporting 1 million, I would not be surprised.

But here’s the thing: I saw two groups pro-Brexit, 80% in gilets Jaune, and if one had reached 30 I’d be surprised. I also saw a few people in common, before March first group were kettled in by police as they stopped traffic in the road leading up to Shaftesbury Avenue from trafalgar Sq,
I believe the remains of that group were contained to the side of St Martins in the Field looking onto trafalgar Sp midway through. I took pics because they were so small, angry and sad, main focus was a poster suggesting their members had their children removed due to their beliefs and forcibly adopted !
posted by Wilder at 9:00 AM on March 23 [13 favorites]


Just stopping for a pint after listening to baggymp. Walked along side with stice rather than in the main body, and it was just solid all the way from the start point to pariliament square.
posted by lucidium at 9:28 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


There was a strange tiny contingent of Green Leavers handing leaflets out on the route. Some carried a picture of Corbyn - they wanted the "old style" pro-Lexit Corbyn apparently. I don't know who they thought he was now.

These were littering the floor and his face was being unceremoniously ground underfoot, with no conflict apparent between marchers and the GLs.

I find Green Leavers even more baffling than other Brexiteers. They want to somehow save the planet, but do so alone?
posted by edd at 9:49 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Well, the complete and utter destruction of the British economy will reduce greenhouse emissions. Maybe.
posted by weed donkey at 10:22 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Combined EU efforts have driven ambitious targets for CC emissions reduction. The EU has been the main driver for the development of renewables. I would go as far as to say that combined European efforts, led by pioneering work in Denmark, Germany and Spain, have meant the global development of wind and solar are at the stage they are now, since its pretty straightforward to make a case that they drove the demand to which China and other countries and their companies responded with supply and ongoing demand.

UK electricity generation has decarbonised by about 60% in the last few years. Tanking our remaining manufacturing industry might lower that further, and making more people unable to heat their homes might also contribute. On the other side if we no deal we may lose trade through interconnectors which is usually very low carbon and losing it may help eke out the life of remaining coal plants, which would no longer be subject to EU regs on closing down dirtier plants. Not sure what it would mean for the new nuclear fleet though I imagine EDF have made sure the contract is a locked-in financial black hole regarding Hinkley.

NI is at particular risk in terms of electricity supply in a no deal situation and may end up drawing additional power from the GB side rather than from ROI, also potentially pushing up coal usage.

So maybe/maybe not.
posted by biffa at 10:59 AM on March 23 [7 favorites]


BBC news report seemed to mainly asking the marchers 'isn't this just increasing division?" and included the choice line at the end of summing up the options... "and some say No Deal would be the best option"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:02 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


I marched, and strikingly didn't see a Tory from beginning to end. I'm unsurprised that official constituency banners were absent as it would be quite a thing to march against the pm, but where are the right wing Remain grassroots?
posted by jaduncan at 11:48 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]


I marched, and strikingly didn't see a Tory from beginning to end. I'm unsurprised that official constituency banners were absent as it would be quite a thing to march against the pm, but where are the right wing Remain grassroots?
Makes me think that there would be a huge political reward for Labour if they chose to own Remain.
posted by mumimor at 11:59 AM on March 23 [3 favorites]


I did see a couple of “Tories against Brexit” banners there, so they do exist.
posted by doop at 12:08 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Guardian now reports a million people on the march. The atmosphere has been incredible.

I did see some Tories and I was genuinely pleased they were there.
posted by crocomancer at 12:10 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


Do you mean people carrying signs that identified them as Tories, or have you developed some kind of Torydar?
posted by Grangousier at 12:12 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


There were a couple of young Conservative placards in front of me.
posted by antiwiggle at 12:20 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Young Tory signs - possibly same group antiwiggle saw + reports of others from reliable witnesses :-)
posted by crocomancer at 12:22 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


I mean signs that identified them as Tories, just like all the Lib Dem/Labour/Green party signs. I'm also glad to hear other people saw them.
posted by jaduncan at 12:23 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


(Sorry, I didn't mean that in a snarky way, by the way. Looking at it now, it could be taken that way. I, too, am glad there's a broader sympathy for sanity..)
posted by Grangousier at 12:33 PM on March 23


Makes me think that there would be a huge political reward for Labour if they chose to own Remain.

Is there a Tory in the UK who would vote for a Corbyn-led Labour party? I thought that underlying calculus of his support was he fires up the core lefty-Labour supporters at the expense of the centrist Neo-Libs and Blairites?
posted by Rumple at 12:34 PM on March 23


At the moment it looks like he fires up the Lexit tankies at the expense of the rest of the UK.

(Just found out a family friend's husband is one such Lexiter. He "regrets" his leave vote, but doesn't appear to have done anything about it since, and isn't too worried because he's got an Irish passport. Which...)
posted by schadenfrau at 12:42 PM on March 23 [11 favorites]


I did not see much support for Corbyn (as opposed to Labour) at the march. I saw a placard saying something like “MISSING PERSON: have you seen this man?” above a photo of him. Apparently he’s doorstepping in Morecambe today.
posted by doop at 12:49 PM on March 23




I did see a group marching just before the brass band as Tories against Brexit! Perhaps about 20 people%? I felt just my opinion here but a really small group
posted by Wilder at 1:14 PM on March 23


Lots of chants of "Where's Jeremy Corbyn?"
posted by crocomancer at 1:39 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


I did overhear a conversation: “there’s no alternative is there? you’ve got to stay in the Labour party and fight against Momentum.”
posted by dudleian at 1:49 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Tim Shipman, politics editor for the Sunday Times is claiming that a cabinet coup is under way to oust Theresa May as Prime Minister. You can go to his Twitter feed for more information, but the gist of it is that the cabinet is nearly unanimous in wanting her gone, but haven't agreed on a replacement. Lidington, Gove and Hunt are apparently the frontrunners.
posted by Kattullus at 2:36 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Lidington, Gove and Hunt? World's worst game of 'marry, fuck, kill."
posted by skybluepink at 2:40 PM on March 23 [19 favorites]


But quite a fun game of Drop in a Giant Meat Grinder, Fire Into Space, Dissolve In Acid.
posted by Grangousier at 2:43 PM on March 23 [13 favorites]


MetaFilter’s own baggymp got name-checked (am I using that right?) on Sveriges Radio in a short news report.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:43 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


I am such a fan girl now
posted by Bella Donna at 2:43 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


the gist of it is that the cabinet is nearly unanimous in wanting her gone, but haven't agreed on a replacement.

What about the Downing street cat
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:51 PM on March 23 [10 favorites]


I honestly don't know how they're going to force her out, though. She survived her No Confidence vote back in December. She's been through multiple career-ending moments in the months since then. She's stubborn and impervious to humiliation on a truly awe-inspiring scale. I suppose they could all quit the Cabinet, but other than that, I am kind of at a loss.
posted by skybluepink at 2:51 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


If they all quit the Cabinet, she'd go to Matalan, pick up some mannequins to fill the seats and talk to herself.
posted by winterhill at 2:55 PM on March 23 [6 favorites]


Anyway, getting rid of May wouldn't change the problem that the parliament doesn't support the WA and even if they could somehow fanfic something that they could agree on (they can't), the EU would say "what's this nonsense?"
posted by sjswitzer at 2:59 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


I honestly don't know how they're going to force her out, though.
In all seriousness, I'm the same. I don't know what process can be used to remove a sitting PM who doesn't want to go and can't be persuaded to resign. The Cabinet could all quit, but she'd be within her rights to just appoint a new Cabinet of yes-women and -men. There are still enough May loyalists on the back benches to fill the room.

Let's say the entire Cabinet agrees that, say, Gove is the man for the job for some reason. How does a Cabinet go about removing May and installing Gove?
posted by winterhill at 3:05 PM on March 23


A view from the side of the march. There was one lonely fellow with a "THE PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY VOTED!" sign, but he seemed effectively invisible. I saw an incredible, music playing, light up hat that had an animated plastic arse with stuff falling out of it on the back, I'm pretty sure I heard a little girl chanting "bollocks to breakfast!", and one person had an actual pitchfork.
posted by lucidium at 3:14 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


bollocks to breakfast!
That girl for PM, please.
posted by winterhill at 3:14 PM on March 23 [4 favorites]


They only really have the nuclear option of a full parliamentary confidence vote, and they are not going to be voting themselves out of power, now are they? I assume they're currently busy screaming in her face or something like that, and say what you will, Theresa May just doesn't seem to respond to that kind of thing. If she's willing to take the hit (and she has been willing to take just about any hit, no matter how humiliating) and she can scrounge up some back bench losers to technically fill out the cabinet, she's probably not going anywhere.
posted by skybluepink at 3:15 PM on March 23


Regarding a lack of visible Tories it's no wonder. It's the same problem I have with every march I've done for every cause.

It's fine and good if you want to march and fly your flag showing that your group showed up for that cause.

It's not ok to make other groups unwelcome and some speeches at the start and a lot of signs were great at that. It's the nature of a lot of marches to have a left wing bent, and don't get me wrong I'm left myself, but making groups that can help your cause unwelcome is not going to help you swing it.

I just wish messages weren't constantly pushed to a political slant they don't need and which only reduces support for the cause.

But this is getting too close to a derail.
posted by edd at 3:24 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]


They only really have the nuclear option of a full parliamentary confidence vote, and they are not going to be voting themselves out of power, now are they?
Some might question whether they're in power. In office, certainly, but they don't appear to have the basic power to push central planks of government policy (ie. the Brexit deal) through to the statute books.

I wonder whether some might feel like pulling the trigger on a General Election. Labour should be giving them a kicking in the polls at this point, but thanks to the inept leadership of that party there's a non-zero chance of an actual Conservative majority if an election is held now. That has to be tempting to the kind of scheming plotters who make up the higher echelons of our political parties.
posted by winterhill at 3:25 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Apparently May is fixated on being in power longer than Gordon Brown was. David Runciman mentioned this on the FiveThirtyEight podcast, and I've heard this elsewhere. May 29th is the day she equals Brown's number of days in office, so maybe she'll offer to resign on May 30th.
posted by Kattullus at 3:26 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Nice to know she does have a political passion aside from racism and xenophobia after all, I guess!
posted by skybluepink at 3:27 PM on March 23 [7 favorites]


Yep: "remain in power despite everyone hating me so I can beat the record of a guy who was battling severe depression" is quite the goal.
posted by scruss at 3:40 PM on March 23 [9 favorites]


Apparently May is fixated on being in power longer than Gordon Brown was.

That... is possibly the most pathetic ... genuinely pathetic, not a euphemism for poor ... political ambition I've ever heard of. Supremely self-centred yet at the same time dismally small.
posted by Grangousier at 3:50 PM on March 23 [18 favorites]


Theresa May has just passed the Prime Minister who was assassinated while in office, and before that the one who resigned after a series of heart attacks and died in 10 Downing Street before he could move out.

She's 36th on the List of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom by tenure, think of the humiliation of not being in the top 35.
posted by Kattullus at 3:51 PM on March 23 [3 favorites]


The thing is - even if they go for the full-on nuclear option of a no-confidence vote and General Election, is there anything stopping May from clinging onto the Conservative leadership through the election? The Tories' internal no-confidence mechanism isn't available for nearly a year because they shot off prematurely with their 48 letters.

Of course, with Mrs Strong and Stable in charge and a disastrously split party they would likely be heading to an election loss, but I can see her doing it.
posted by winterhill at 4:04 PM on March 23


The thing is - even if they go for the full-on nuclear option of a no-confidence vote and General Election, is there anything stopping May from clinging onto the Conservative leadership through the election?

The situation is utterly bizarre isn’t it? I’d imagine one logical conclusion would be the majority of Tory MPs resigning and forming a new party. They may even be able to sidestep the General Election if they could scrape a majority together after the no confidence vote with the aid of smaller parties.
posted by brilliantmistake at 4:58 PM on March 23


The Tory party coffers are probably a bit big to risk just starting a new party. Additionally if any party is obsessed with tradition and the party brand and its history it's them.
posted by edd at 5:00 PM on March 23 [2 favorites]


Very true, though I'd imagine the money wouldn't be a huge problem; there'd be plenty of rich donors springing up if the alternative is a Corbyn government. It's the boots on the street party machine that wouldn't survive.
posted by brilliantmistake at 5:41 PM on March 23


To everyone who managed to attend the march: thank you, so much, for going - I went on the last one, last year, and this year a friend handed out little EU flags for me, but I wasn't able to be there this time. Thank you for going. Thank you for standing up for those of us who couldn't be there. Thank you for making it even bigger than before.
posted by Quagkapi at 6:52 PM on March 23 [27 favorites]


I feel that a new election may be the only thing that can break the deadlock at this point. A similar situation in Australia - a PM who couldn't pass legislation but who couldn't be replaced through a vote of no-confidence - was resolved by the Queen's representative simply tapping the Leader of the Opposition for the job of PM, on the condition that he promptly call a new election.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:39 PM on March 23


scruss: "At least everyone dies in Threads."

Everyone does not die in Threads. They merely wish they had.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:18 PM on March 23 [12 favorites]


Conveniently enough, in this case the Queen could do the tapping directly, wouldn't even have to go through a representative.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:19 PM on March 23


Conveniently enough, in this case the Queen could do the tapping directly, wouldn't even have to go through a representative.

Which is why it won't happen. The independence of GGs is not the same as it was in 1975 because of 1975. (Point of reference: Stephen Harper's love of prorogation.)

The Tories' internal no-confidence mechanism isn't available for nearly a year

There are means beyond the rules. Though as someone said on the twitters tonight, it's a sad indictment of the current pack of Tories that they can't even pull off a Tory leadership coup. That's the price of admission.
posted by holgate at 10:36 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


The queen is not going to interfere in politics. She might be appalled, or she might be eagerly dreaming of crashing out, but we'll never know, and she's not going to go sticking her oar in, outside of vague comments about being nice to each other and tolerating each other's beliefs, as she gave in her Christmas speech.
posted by skybluepink at 1:27 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


I feel that a new election may be the only thing that can break the deadlock at this point.
A new election would be an awful idea at this point. No party has a clear majority in polling (for what it's worth) so we'd end up with either another hung parliament or a very narrow majority on one bench, probably Conservative.

Any election in the next few months would also have one issue hanging over it. Brexit is important, but we're electing a government for the next five years and there are so many other things that we need to address in this country apart from Brexit.

An election campaign would be single-issue and would act like a proxy second referendum on Brexit. The logical approach would be to have an actual second referendum on Brexit and, separately, a general election to decide who we want to run the country as a whole and where we want to be as a country beyond Brexit.
posted by winterhill at 4:02 AM on March 24 [9 favorites]


Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics... next week is going to be interminable, not least because I'll be checking the news every five minutes
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:04 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I did see a group marching just before the brass band as Tories against Brexit! Perhaps about 20 people%? I felt just my opinion here but a really small group

brass band woot
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:33 AM on March 24 [4 favorites]


An election campaign would be single-issue and would act like a proxy second referendum on Brexit. The logical approach would be to have an actual second referendum on Brexit and, separately, a general election to decide who we want to run the country as a whole and where we want to be as a country beyond Brexit.

You're very likely right, but Parliament isn't going to agree on anything like that. You know they're not. But at least in theory, you can have an election by Parliament failing to agree. That's the very slim thread I'm putting my hope on, that there's a way to navigate things so that matters are resolved, one way or another.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:59 AM on March 24


The illusionist Uri Geller has called on the British people to help him in his efforts to telepathically stop Brexit by sending their own telepathic messages to Theresa May’s mind, compelling her to revoke article 50.

Not just Britons! Me and my fellow countrymen will accept psychic help from all over the world! Target those thoughts!

+++ REVOKE ARTICLE 50 !!! +++ HOLD A REFERENDUM (SECOND CHOICE) !!! +++
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:02 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


You're very likely right, but Parliament isn't going to agree on anything like that. You know they're not.
Viewing from Australia evidently gives you a much clearer view of what's going on than the rest of us are privy to.

One thing that is certain is that in a situation like our current one, making predictions is useless. All we can do is wait and see what comes out of next week's mess.
posted by winterhill at 5:03 AM on March 24 [6 favorites]


Given that the petition counter is almost at 5 million(!!) it seems like it is time to have a serious conversation about the degree of transparency of such initiatives, the degree to which auditing is possible, and the confidence to be placed in a poll. That is surely long overdue. It would be barmy, but with the march yesterday reaching a million, and the petition reaching 5 million (!!!) the tory voices wittering about the voice of the people are about to be drowned out by the voice of a lot of people.
posted by stonepharisee at 5:06 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


The very word "conservative" carries with it connotations of conserving something - keeping things the way they are, avoiding wasteful moves, resisting change, avoiding novelty - hell - even keeping fruit for the winter in the form of jam. It is an especially attractive approach to life if one is favoured by the status quo. If there is a group in society who are proposing to upend everything with a big, chaotic revolution - then we might expect the people who are "conservative" small c - to be opposing them: conservative people don't want unnecessary change and, if change must happen - they want it to be carefully planned. Old fashioned Conservative Party members seemed to be like this: they might have dreamt about reverting to the glorious olden days - but they were pretty keen to avoid that if it meant damaging their business, depressing their shares, upsetting those terribly nice French people who run the village restaurant, causing Waitrose to run out of decent olive oil or creating tiresome queues that disrupt their Tuscan holiday.

So - my theory is that the Conservative party must still have a few people like this. They may be unlikely to hit the streets for anything other than protecting their rights to hunt foxes - but they are still there. No?
posted by rongorongo at 5:19 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Hey girl (march placard on twitter)
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:21 AM on March 24 [23 favorites]


Five million.

Meanwhile the woman who started it has been getting death threats because of course she has.
posted by flabdablet at 7:18 AM on March 24 [5 favorites]


Someone marched with a “Thank You Marina Hyde. We couldn’t get through this without you” sign, and I’m very here for it.
posted by zachlipton at 8:14 AM on March 24 [11 favorites]


Marina Hyde:
My husband just showed me this! Am lost for words, genuinely!
That surely counts as a national emergency.

MORE WORDS FOR HYDE, STAT
posted by flabdablet at 8:17 AM on March 24 [10 favorites]


The Tory party coffers are probably a bit big to risk just starting a new party.

Very true, though I'd imagine the money wouldn't be a huge problem...

Brexit Splits Deter Donors to Theresa May’s Conservative Party.
posted by rory at 9:56 AM on March 24


So - my theory is that the Conservative party must still have a few people like this. They may be unlikely to hit the streets for anything other than protecting their rights to hunt foxes - but they are still there.

It does, and Michael Heseltine has been the most vocal and eloquent of them, and he was there for the march:
“Walk tall. Keep the faith. Go back to your villages, your towns and your cities. Tell them you were here. Here, In parliament square. Outside the buildings that inspire parliamentary democracy. Fighting for our tomorrow. In peace. Secure. The bitterness and bloodshed of Europe’s past buried with its history.”

I have been opposed to Heseltine for as long as I can remember, so it's definitely a cold day in hell that I am both soundly agreeing with him and appreciating the actual leadership he's showing on this when senior politicians of all shades (honourable exceptions to Nicola Sturgeon and some others) are just failing.
posted by Vortisaur at 1:21 PM on March 24 [23 favorites]


I worry about what they cooked up at Chequers this afternoon. Brexit is increasingly looking like a remake of Downfall featuring Hyacinth Bucket.
posted by Grangousier at 3:50 PM on March 24 [11 favorites]


I was just thinking that I can't take shows like Yes, Minister or House of Cards seriously any more.

Sir Humphrey felt very strongly that Britain had to be part of Europe. How else were they to keep an eye on the French and stymie the Germans? Besides, it opened up so many opportunities for engagement and cooperation with their colleagues overseas, albeit at the cost of necessitating new officers to coordinate things and a great deal of travel to make sure that the UK's interests were thoroughly represented at every level. So it's now clear that Sir Humphrey doesn't exist. And if there's anyone like the ferociously competent psychopath Francis Urquhart, they've been keeping their powder very dry indeed.

I don't know what show might reflect the Brexit debacle best. The natural choice for cynical sadism and disaster would be Blackadder, but Rowan Atkinson's character was too frequently sympathetic. I think a TV analogy would have to be an amalgam: Fawlty Towers, but with the hotel run by the team from The Young Ones.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:36 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]


I think the satire and black comedy of the 80s seems appropriate, to go with the Cold War dystopia: Fairly Secret Army plus G.B.H., perhaps, with a dash of The New Statesman?

Anyway, there'll be the usual leaks from the cabinet meeting before everything moves back to the Commons for Indicative Vote (Maybe?) Monday.
posted by holgate at 8:31 PM on March 24


The Thick Of It invented "omnishambles". Do people just think Ianucci didn't take it quite far enough, or what? Because it looks fairly spot-on to me.
posted by flabdablet at 9:36 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]


Working Dog Productions have been mining this vein for years as well, first with The Hollowmen and later Utopia.
posted by flabdablet at 9:55 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I don't know what show might reflect the Brexit debacle best

I think The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin covers some of it, but mostly the absurdness.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:48 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Do people just think Ianucci didn't take it quite far enough, or what?

Thick of it was a satire on the Labour government, with the focus groups and attempted media spin. Malcolm Tucker (based in part on Alastair Campbell) as the enforcer kept incompetent minor ministers in line, somewhat, and implied a strong PM behind the scenes with a plan that idiots and chancers kept messing up.

Now the omnishambles runs from top to bottom, and the visibly incompetent are promoted to the highest levels - e.g. Boris "simply teaching people journalism"* Johnson, Liz "We import two-thirds of our cheese. That. Is. A. Disgrace." Truss, Esther "it is right that more people are... going to foodbanks" Mcvey, Failing “I don’t run the railways” Grayling, and the less said about the array of Brexit Secretaries or May herself the better.

The Thick of it is actually pretty hopeful - in the end it tends to work out. It doesn't go anywhere near far enough for the total clusterfuck collapse of this zombie tory party as a functioning government - unless it involves heaping yet more cruelty onto the most vulnerable, they can still manage that.

* British-Iranian Zaghari-Ratcliffe (who was actually on holiday) was summoned before an Iranian court hearing, where the foreign secretary’s comments were cited as proof that she was engaged in “propaganda against the regime”. She has currently been in jail for almost 3 years with no release in sight.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:25 AM on March 25 [8 favorites]


If I was forced to pick something that reflected how I feel about this whole business, it'd be Children of Men, but without Kee - the bleakness, the slow urban collapse, the total loss of hope, the inhuman treatment of refugees, the warring factions (though not literally, at this point), the general casual brutality of the state, the resistance more interested in fighting among themselves...
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:37 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


It doesn't go anywhere near far enough for the total clusterfuck collapse of this zombie tory party as a functioning government

That's obviously true, but only because reality itself from 2016 onwards has been penned by particularly brutal satirists whose work makes fictional satire essentially redundant; since the election of Trump in the US it's been essentially impossible to run an intensio ad absurdum that won't be topped by tomorrow's actual headlines.
posted by flabdablet at 12:45 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Just for fun - I am going to provide a cross-link to my post in Homo neanderthalensis' Fanfare post about the book "Rabid" .

- On reflection I am thinking that the decades of paranoia whipped up government and media in the UK - concerning the dire possibility of contracting the disease from some random cat or dog in (actually almost rabies free) continental Europe - may have played a part in shaping the voting intention of Brexit supporters of a certain age.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the UK government appears to have anticipated what to do about rabies in the event of a no deal as one of its priority targets for planning.
posted by rongorongo at 1:41 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


(I realise the conversation's moved on, but I've been in bed. The 80s series that I'm constantly reminded of is Whoops Apocalypse.) Although the current occupant of the White House appears not to have the intellectual acuity of Johnny Cyclops.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:52 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


The Telegraph's front page today is certainly beyond satire.
posted by vacapinta at 1:54 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


Oh god help us all, the Torygraph is trying to make it all worse by promoting Boris again. Because that's just what this situation needs, more Boris.
posted by skybluepink at 2:01 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Someone should tell him his people can go anywhere they like as long as they fuck off and leave us alone.
posted by Grangousier at 2:02 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Problem is, May is right (I say this as an ardent Remainer and someone who went on the People’s Vote march).

Her WA is a technical document, and there is nothing in it to object to—unless you want a hard Brexit or to overturn the result of the referendum. The only contentious part is the bit that says the UK can’t go on to negotiate a future relationship with the EU which undermines the Good Friday Agreement—which is why it is hated by the right wing Brexiteers because it effectively rules out hard Brexit.

May knows there’s a majority in the Commons for a soft Brexit and that neither main party dares come out against setting aside the result of the referendum. Hence her complete incomprehension as to why her WA does not pass.

Which on the one hand I agree with, and on the other hand I think “has she never met any humans?”

The problem is that the UK does not need a withdrawal agreement with the EU, it needs a peace agreement with itself—to reconcile the conflicting aspirations of the two halves of the UK. This is the issue that May (and to be fair almost all UK politicians) has spent the last 3 years pretending does not exist. The paralysis in parliament, the 4 million vote petition, and the huge march are symptoms of our refusal to face this reality. We’re now trying to do 3 years worth of therapy work in 2 weeks.

I don’t have high hopes, but if we don’t at least try to come up with some sort of livable-with compromise that (dis)pleases everyone, we are setting ourselves up for decades of civil strife.
posted by dudleian at 2:04 AM on March 25 [11 favorites]


Closing in on 5.4 million signatures as of this moment, which is cheering. I have no particular hope it'll convince the chuckleheads in Parliament to take it seriously, but still, at least millions of us are going on the record saying Brexit is madness.
posted by skybluepink at 2:08 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


his people can go anywhere they like as long as they fuck off and leave us alone

I'm sorry it's come to this, Mr. Johnson, but we're going to have to let you go.
posted by flabdablet at 2:09 AM on March 25 [5 favorites]


if we don’t at least try to come up with some sort of livable-with compromise that (dis)pleases everyone, we are setting ourselves up for decades of civil strife

Civil strife is a given at this point; the papers have seen to that. The only question worth considering now is whether the UK would be best placed to deal with that strife as an EU member or not, and the answer to that is obvious to anybody with more than two functioning brain cells to rub together.

In 2016, the dumbshits narrowly outnumbered the sane. It's 2019 now and quite clear that they no longer do.
posted by flabdablet at 2:32 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


I have no particular hope it'll convince the chuckleheads in Parliament to take it seriously, but still, at least millions of us are going on the record saying Brexit is madness.

WeeGingerDog sums up my feeling on this nicely:
"...But the fact that the petition is not going to sway a notoriously unswayable politician is not the point. The reason for signing is because silence equals complicity. It’s only by making your voice heard that you can register the fact that Brexit is not being carried out in your name. On Wednesday evening, Theresa May stood before a lectern and presumed to speak for you and for me. She has sown division and now claims consensus. She has pursued a Brexit in the interests of the Conservative party and now claims she’s acting for everyone. Speaking up means telling Theresa May that she doesn’t speak for us. Silence means that Theresa May can continue to delude herself that she is on the side of the people. Silence means you agree. Silence means you don’t care. Silence means giving Theresa May permission."

What is interesting here is that the sentiment "Brexit is not being carried out in my name - let's just can it forever - or at least we can agree how it might be done" is not just a desire for dejected remainers. Until 2016, the topic of the UK's relationship with the EU was something that few people cared about. Both remain and leave voters could be equally attracted to reverting to this state at present. The petition is about a way of doing this.
posted by rongorongo at 2:44 AM on March 25 [9 favorites]


Her WA is a technical document, and there is nothing in it to object to—unless you want a hard Brexit or to overturn the result of the referendum.

I completely agree. If you want Brexit, then you should accept her WA. Otherwise Revoke and forget the whole thing.

I've been sort of baffled by Remainers who call it "her terrible deal" as it is not a deal and it is only terrible because Brexit is terrible. It seems dishonest to me and also irresponsible as it lends some weight to those who believe that there is a better deal out there. This includes Labour.

Yes, you could make some changes to the political declaration but those kinds of things could be hammered out during the transition period. I can't see the EU denying the UK a softer Brexit if that is what it decides it wants.

So, Revoke and Remain. Or, get on with it and ratify the WA. Any politician telling you there are other viable options at this point is, frankly, lying to you and/or to themselves. Any election/referendum will just land you back at the same point.
posted by vacapinta at 2:49 AM on March 25 [14 favorites]


Her WA is a technical document, and there is nothing in it to object to—unless you want a hard Brexit or to overturn the result of the referendum.

The problem for anyone other than the brextremists is not the WA, but the political declaration that goes alongside it. It says basically nothing at all because the cabinet itself is split between the hardest possible brexit*, and a softer brexit inside the customs union proper/single market membership.

That problem needs to be resolved, and trying to do it after Brexit with the current government (or the hard brexiteer that will replace May) all but ensures complete paralysis and likely no deal at all in 21 months, or 33 months; thus the backstop will kick in, but nothing else.

This is defacto the hardest possible brexit compliant with the GFA, and will deliver a shock to the economy not dissimilar to crashing out now. The only advantage passing the WA has is preventing a totally hard border in NI in exchange for some checks in the Irish sea; and securing most of EU citizen rights in law, though with the ripe-for-later-problems 'settled status' system, and delays the shock - most people will think Brexit is 'settled' in the transition period, and the very hard brexit two years later will be a nasty surprise that they won't necessarily associate with the decisions that are taken now.

If you want anything other than very hard brexit, you have no reason to vote for the WA and political declaration as is, and between the crash-out and soft-brexit and no-brexit groups they comprise a sizeable majority in Parliament.

* I use hardest possible brexit to be one that only includes the backstop; crashing out ala WTO brexit will prevent any trade deal with the EU until the backstop is reinstated, the effects of which will be so bad that I assume that we will eventually be forced to agree to it on our knees. The brextremist MPs are the only handful that disagree.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:57 AM on March 25 [7 favorites]


They are still insisting that the only two options on the table are the WA and No Deal.
posted by winterhill at 3:02 AM on March 25


Am I right in thinking that "the hardest possible Brexit" necessarily means either the dissolution of the United Kingdom or a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? If so, is it more because they're incredibly anti-Irish and want those things, or just because they think it's a price worth paying?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:28 AM on March 25


More chaos is more better, I guess.
posted by farlukar at 3:37 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Yeah. A lot of them already made a lot of money on the initial chaos after the referendum vote, and there is even bigger money to be made in the event of a total crash-out. Plus, it gives the austerity ghouls even greater scope to destroy what little is left of the welfare state, and privatise the NHS.
posted by skybluepink at 3:41 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Also, as usual, they aren't thinking of the Irish at all.
posted by skybluepink at 3:42 AM on March 25 [9 favorites]


Am I right in thinking that "the hardest possible Brexit" necessarily means either the dissolution of the United Kingdom or a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? If so, is it more because they're incredibly anti-Irish and want those things, or just because they think it's a price worth paying?

Nobody's anti-Irish, they just don't think about Ireland at all. Irish culture's never had much of an impact on the culture of England.

Hard border, relying on the exact text of the GFA as justification is my guess. (It doesn't say much about borders because nobody thought we'd ever be this stupid - there are no "in event of giant meteorite" passages in the GFA either). But to be honest we're weeks away and as far as I know nobody's built any border infrastructure. At least initially, I'd bet on it being a free-for-all, and a who-blinks-first situation as to who builds the first infrastructure, UK or Ireland.
posted by Leon at 4:12 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Am I right in thinking that "the hardest possible Brexit" necessarily means either the dissolution of the United Kingdom or a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? If so, is it more because they're incredibly anti-Irish and want those things, or just because they think it's a price worth paying?

I probably should have used a different term above, maybe 'hardest feasible brexit'. But moving on, crash-out brexit, 'clean' brexit, 'WTO' brexit all basically mean we leave with no withdrawal agreement at all.

*That* means a hard border between NI and Ireland, as it also necessitates tearing up the Good Friday Agreement. The brextremists' solutions vary from seeing it as no harder than the border between London congestion charge Zones so just needs number-plate cameras (thanks, Boris), undefined magic tech for invisible enforcement, just not bothering to set up customs posts on the UK side (illegal under WTO rules, also green light for smuggling), or just return to the same border infrastructure that started the Troubles in the first place; in any event, it's hard to see how Ireland could avoid setting up border posts on a now hard EU external border. It could also easily trigger a border poll such that NI leaves the UK and joins Ireland.

For the Tory membership something like 80% of them agreed that losing NI was "a price worth paying" to get brexit. For the brextremists, it's a combination of being thick as two short planks, malicious lies that it'll all turn it fine (it won't), or that they will make a lot of money out of it, so who cares about the Irish.

That they're that willing or stupid enough to throw nearly 2 million UK citizens under the bus, along with Irish citizens (and the GFA allows for a *lot* of crossover between those two groups) tells you all you need to know about them.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:16 AM on March 25 [10 favorites]


Leon, it's a no-brainer as to who builds the first functional customs infrastructure on the border, though.

That would be the non-failed state.
posted by ambrosen at 4:17 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]




It's a bit of a jump from "8% hit to GDP" to "failed state".

Can we say "state that failed" instead?
posted by Leon at 4:50 AM on March 25


Got my polling card for the May local elections... I'm in a test area for voter ID. They are pretty generous with whats' acceptable (like the polling card plus a bank card) but still feels like then thin end of wedge to further gerrymandering
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:00 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


If you want anything other than very hard brexit, you have no reason to vote for the WA and political declaration as is

Respectfully disagree. Parliament has demonstrated no effective ability to "take control" of the leaving process from the government. Neither of the main parties will vote to revoke Article 50. The government is saying it will ignore any indicative votes. Add all of that together and IMO if you vote down the WA, you will get no deal. Not a referendum, not a soft Brexit, not to Remain: No Deal. If for no other reason than it is the default option, and any alternative will require substantial cross party cooperation to pass. Tactics for the Brexiteers are simple: run down the clock. Everyone else has to learn 4 dimensional chess whilst playing the game for the first time.

I devoutly hope and wish that I am wrong. Nothing would please me more than a hearty helping of humble pie, but I don't (yet) to see concrete evidence for an alternate view.

The tweets and declarations coming out of Brussels (S Weyand, Barnier etc) agree with me and all assume no deal—and I think that's an honest assessment, not an attempt to sway the UK.
posted by dudleian at 5:17 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Meaningful Vote III: The Final Conflict, tomorrow... probably
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:52 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Realistically, the Tory loyalists are following May so its WA or no-deal. Labour loyalists are no to WA and no to no-deal. Since the default is no-deal, that does make it the most likely outcome.

There are a couple of other possible outcomes though. Parliament did vote by a narrow majority for no no-deal under any circumstances, despite May 3 line whipping for no-deal. That *might* translate to a majority vote for withdrawing article 50 when all that's left is no-deal. May might even implement it in that case.

2ndly, Parliament gets another go at implementing indicative votes today. They failed by 2 votes last time, and 1 Tory has switched now, so that is probably their last chance to seize the initiative. If they do vote for it, there is also the possibility of a consensus around another course of action. Again, May may ignore it, we won't know until it happens.

But I think Labour voting for the WA/PD as is without a 2nd ref, in large enough numbers to overcome the brexiteers -and thus getting to share the blame for all that follows - just won't happen. Too much political advantage to blame the whole no-deal mess on the Tories at the next GE, I can't see Corbyn passing that up, particularly given he's a pretty hard brexiteer at heart himself.

Whether Parliament can finally pull their collective finger out, and whether May will accept it are unknown questions that'll be answered in the next couple of weeks.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:55 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Prediction: She's expecting MVIII to be shot down. Once Parliament has had its indicative vote, she can go back to the ERG, indicative vote clutched in cold dead hand, and say "supporting the WA is literally your last chance to achieve any kind of Brexit".

It fits the pattern: she throws all her weight against "vote for the WA or you'll get hard Brexit" then throws all her weight against "vote for the WA or you'll get Remain", hoping something'll eventually get shaken loose.

If Parliament gives her a clear decision in the indicative vote, I think it will, ironically, lead to the WA finally limping across the finish line.
posted by Leon at 7:07 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Just telling my parents how to sign the revoke article 50 petition
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:08 AM on March 25 [15 favorites]


Looking at this graph the petition is slowing down and looks on course to plateau around, say, 7 million. Which is still incredibly impressive.

It's much more interesting to me that there's no visible mass movement in support of Leave. For something that's supposedly the solemn will of the people, where is everybody?

It lends credence to the idea that very few people *actually* want to leave the EU, they just want to grumble about it in newspaper comment sections forever.
posted by grahamparks at 7:39 AM on March 25 [20 favorites]


Slope of the graph is also pretty flat when people in the UK are sleeping. You'd imagine Russian bots could run 24/7.
posted by daveje at 7:53 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Been watching the Commons live stream. May was May, as expected, but it's not only the SNP talking revocation any more; a couple of Conservatives have floated the idea that it's the only way that Parliament can actually guarantee that all the things it's already decided should happen will happen.
posted by flabdablet at 11:12 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


May seems to be making contradictory indications again. (I can't call them "contradictory statements", because that would imply that May stated something explicitly instead of forcing us to read the tea leaves again.)

According to Cabinet leaks, she seems to have finally accepted that No Deal is not a viable outcome for the country if we're going to have even the slightest chance of surviving as a United Kingdom including Scotland and NI.

According to what she said in Parliament, she doesn't intend to abide by the outcome of any indicative votes if they go against her original plan or the Conservative manifesto - so no Norway, no EFTA, no customs union, no second referendum or revocation.

How does she propose to reconcile these two incompatible intentions, given that if Parliament indicate their preference and May's government refuse to implement it, No Deal is what happens?
posted by winterhill at 11:22 AM on March 25 [4 favorites]


There is currently a petition running in the UK to Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU. I was interested to know which countries these votes were coming from. You can see the data below, which is based on the official data feed.
[via Twitter]
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:33 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]


That's 4313 Gibraltarians, or about 1 in 8 of the entire (ie not just voting) population.
posted by biffa at 12:17 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


How does she propose to reconcile these two incompatible intentions, given that if Parliament indicate their preference and May's government refuse to implement it, No Deal is what happens?

option A: She always says whatever lies will get her through the next hour without being ritually eviscerated in public by either the rabid brexiteers or the furious remoaners in her cabinet. Or cause a tory party split, whichever.

option B: she's a masterful practitioner of double-think after years honing it while listening to the DUP, able to hold two entirely contrary options in her mind at the same time, fully believing that both are true and valid simultaneously.

option C: She plans that whatever parliament votes for, she will demand a long extension from the EU, rantingly blaming Parliament for being bastards, the EU says non, then when presented with the WA again 5 minutes to no-deal, Parliament will of course go 'only kidding Miss, we were just teasing you' and will meekly pass the WA unanimously.

Hunt is clearly a C, given his plan at cabinet this morning.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:19 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Hunt is clearly a C
I C what you did there.
posted by winterhill at 12:42 PM on March 25 [14 favorites]


I simply can't hear "Jeremy Hunt" without my brain assuming the speaker is using Cockney rhyming slang
posted by BungaDunga at 1:22 PM on March 25 [7 favorites]


@peter_starkings
Jeremy Corbyn now has a lower approval rating than the Poll Tax at the time of the riots


Unconfirmed: when asked whether they'd rather have Jeremy Corbyn or a chronic fungal infection, a large proportion of respondents asked if they could have more information on the fungal infection's Brexit policy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:02 PM on March 25 [26 favorites]


How's May's approval rating?
posted by entity447b at 2:56 PM on March 25


Higher than Corbyn's apparently. Both in the shitter.

While you're on twitter, check why Grand Wizards is trending. For Fucking Real.
posted by biffa at 3:09 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


-39, so 14 higher than Corbyn. Yup. About as popular as John Major's average. In '97, Major was at a high point, -30, vs Tony Blair on +20, which obvs lead to a historical landslide for Labour.

Just waiting for Letwin's vote result; if it doesn't pass, we are literally doomed. Even if it does pass, we're still probably doomed, but it's going to be tight. Will the tory remainers fall for May's lies and false promises one more time, or at the last chance, show some backbone? I'm metaphorically hiding behind the sofa, waiting.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:10 PM on March 25


biffa, is it because: People are so quick to think the worst of the Tory hardliners, that's just the cross they have to burn?
posted by ambrosen at 3:11 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


It passsssed!!!!!! Holy Fuck!!!! Parliament takes control!
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:14 PM on March 25 [15 favorites]


Isn't the Letwin amendment simply providing a means for kicking the can a little further down the road each time, albeit slightly narrowing the provisions for doing that?
posted by Pinback at 3:29 PM on March 25


Yeah. At this stage, I'm too punch-drunk to think my way through exactly what this means. Tezza said the gov may ignore it all anyway, but if a majority of MPs get behind something I don't think that's hers to deny. Especially since she whipped against Letwin and three junior ministers resigned to vote for. Also, the main motion hasn't been voted through yet, and if that falls then everything resets - would seem unlikely, but these are odd times.

Very pleased to hear the march and the petition getting lots of airtime and speechtime. The data operation to lobby Leave MPs where the petition constituency data indicates their majority is in doubt. (Again, not entierly sure how that works, but a very data-savvy pal is quite excited by this, and if I had the time to dig in I surely would.)
posted by Devonian at 3:30 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Ahem. [british reserve re-engaged]

Government defeated by 27 votes, Parliament will now take control of the agenda to try and come up with a plan B. (assuming they vote the same again in a minute on the final vote)

Who knows if Parliament will come to a conclusion on Wednesday with votes on different options, but at least now there's some small chance they'll find a way out of this nightmare repeat of the withdrawal agreement vs no-deal. They've been discussing this evening ways to do it - likely a number of options on a single piece of paper, rather than sequential divisions so they can see what options are most popular. If it needs narrowing further after further discussion, then possibly doing it by transferable vote. 2nd ref may not be on there, as 'process' rather than end-result - increases the chance of tacking on a 2nd ref to whatever may be decided.

At any other time, any other PM, they'd have resigned by morning. She is, by any measure, leader in name only.

Parliament also just voted by 3 votes against having a vote 1 week before crashing out. Dammit.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:33 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Is it just me, or has Westminster become essentially a BB style reality TV show crossed with some sort of D&D fantasy football thing?

or yeah, as Devonian said

I'm too punch-drunk to think my way through exactly what this means.
posted by Buntix at 3:36 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


That's easy to answer, sigh.

DIVISSSSSIIIIOOOONNN!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:40 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


I'm literally slightly drunk (horrific day of plaster coming down and floorboards coming up with electrical fault being traced and Bakelite Edwardian wiring octopus finally being revealed, holy crap I really can't even) and came home to this. As I understand it, it's all non-binding, so the Maybot could possibly ignore it and keep trying, right?
posted by skybluepink at 3:40 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


I can understand why some Labour MPs would want to (or think they should) vote for Brexit, but why vote against Letwin (as 8 did)? Bewildered.
posted by dudleian at 3:41 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Of course, May can ignore the will of the house (if they come to one!). But ultimately, it's Parliament that's sovereign, NOT the government. If she rejects a solid conclusion that Parliament has come to despite her best efforts, then she risks a vote of no confidence that she loses, toppling the government.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:42 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Government defeated by 27 votes, Parliament will now take control of the agenda to try and come up with a plan B.

I just hope that plan B doesn't involve trying to renegotiate the WA.
posted by sour cream at 3:44 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


I just hope that plan B doesn't involve trying to renegotiate the WA.

Shutupshutupshutupshutup. They might hear you.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:45 PM on March 25 [14 favorites]


I have a very hard time imagining even the Tories who voted to take control from her (and good bloody riddance to that) voting to dissolve the government. I could be wrong! In the meantime, I am relishing the thought of how miserable she must be. It is small and petty and mean, but it's all I've got right now.
posted by skybluepink at 3:45 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Final vote is 27 votes for parliament saying 'our turn', same as the amendment.

As an aside - Oliver Letwin was a useless toady under Thatcher. Yet his speeches and points tonight were magnificent. Never thought I'd like him (he's MP for a nearby constituency) but man, good job tonight.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:51 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


I had a similar experience reading Michael Heseltine's op-ed in the Guardian earlier. Like, why am I suddenly appreciating Michael Heseltine* of all people? Brexit makes for some weird bedfellows, I tell you what.

*To be fair, when Thatcher wanted to punish Liverpool for being, well, Liverpool, by letting it go into managed decline, Heseltine told her to get bent, so he has these spasms of something approaching decency every now and again.
posted by skybluepink at 3:57 PM on March 25 [6 favorites]


Actually cheered aloud the Letwin amendment going through, but getting this weird feeling that we're unpicking stuff along the way that we'll rather later have stayed woven tight, see also the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. (real-time edit: DexEU just came out with snide commentary saying something similar but they can go resign themselves).

Not suggesting there are any magic answers. We're deep into a situation where there are no good resolutions and it's freaking me out. If we're really lucky our great-grandchildren will read about the nasty unintended consequences of the Brexit That Somehow Wasn't in their history books (plus they'll live in a fairer world and above water, while we're feeling hopeful).
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:58 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


On the odd chance the Parliament comes up with anything they agree on, the government will still have to take it to the EU for agreement (assuming they will do that?). The EU, to their credit, does not want to see a crash out but presumably they too have some red lines such as not leaving Ireland in a fix. I'm just not seeing this as even remotely like the beginnings of a solution.
posted by sjswitzer at 4:00 PM on March 25


Are they really discussing if Bercow insulted someone yes/no instead of something important ?

Shoot me...
posted by Pendragon at 4:00 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


@chriskeene:

Guy Fawkes: I’m going to blow up parliament
Letwin: hold my port
posted by Wordshore at 4:06 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


Idiot brexiteer said Letwin was setting himself up as jobbing PM, could the house hold him to account. Bercow slapped him down, then another whinged that Bercow wasn't nice - and Bercow said "I don't require any help from the rt hon gentleman. He wouldn't have the foggiest idea where to start. He was once a whip, he wasn't a very good whip....". Ouch. Obviously gammons in uproar, Bercow says he was only joking, happy to apologise.

Major constitutional change literally JUST happened, and Parliament descends into shouting about the speaker being mean to idiots saying idiotic things. Ah parliament, you totally useless wankers.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:06 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


Just in case you ever had a chance to forget what's really important to them.
posted by lucidium at 4:12 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


(The steamed hams specifically.)
posted by lucidium at 4:14 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


OMG, I just caught up on the Grand Wizards thing. Really? Really?
posted by skybluepink at 4:14 PM on March 25 [5 favorites]


but getting this weird feeling that we're unpicking stuff along the way that we'll rather later have stayed woven tight,

Paraphrasing Letwin; Parliament used to control its own timetable up until 1906, it was only after that that Government took over. Parliament managed for 300 years without the Government being in charge of what motions could come before the house, they still are every Friday (private members bills), letting them be back in charge for a single extra day - which Parliament is entitled to do, it is after all their House - is hardly the cats-and-dogs-living-together-mass-hysteria Government Ministers tried to describe it as.

What we are seeing is finally what should happen in a hung parliament - MPs making up their own minds. That's what Parliamentary democracy is supposed to be all about, not parties and whips and pseudo-presidential elections and PMs making demagogue speeches whipping up the frothing right against MPs doing their actual fething job.

Of course, certain Grand Wizards go particularly frothy in the Chamber when they lose, but c'est la vie, you get what you vote for. Anyway, time for bed.

Not a solution, not by a long way. But the only possible path to a solution that isn't hard Brexit or crashing out we're going to get.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:18 PM on March 25 [19 favorites]


Quite extraordinary howls of rage from Number 10, the ERG and unnamed cabinet ministers, plus dire predictions of the EU chucking us out because there's no way anything can be done in time. Meanwhile, says a Times journo on Newsnight, the civil servants minuting the Cabinet meetings are being particularly meticulous because they're turing into discussions of how to save the Tory party rather than anything to do with the UK. Which will play particularly well in the inevitable enquiry.

So if the hot takes of the Brexiters are anything to go by, they've just been thoroughly spanked and they're realising they're in a lot of bother.
posted by Devonian at 4:21 PM on March 25 [19 favorites]


I'm confused. Does the March 29th date mean anything at all now?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:28 PM on March 25


It does, but only until they vote to change it to April 12th (as per the EU declaration last week). Presumably if the vote fails on extending it, we crash out on the 29th.

I think the vote is going to be on Wednesday but I'm not entirely sure.
posted by dng at 7:05 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


The other consequence of the Letwin amendment is that giving backbenchers control of business, there's the potential to do the same again on Wednesday night, as long as the majority holds.

The near-term question for the government is whether to whip the indicative votes. Doing so would likely provoke more resignations -- congrats to the second-tier ministers who actually resigned instead of whining to their journo mates -- but allowing a free vote would make clear that the PM can no longer enforce cabinet collective responsibility, never mind party discipline. One option might be to whip for abstentions, which is what's been done on opposition days, with the aim of delegitimising the outcome of non-binding motions. That's still weak.

(skybluepink: Heseltine's done some genuinely useful work in recent years on regional reinvestment and industrial strategy. A kind of penance, I suppose, but he was never one for letting the regions rot.)
posted by holgate at 8:05 PM on March 25


On the odd chance the Parliament comes up with anything they agree on, the government will still have to take it to the EU for agreement (assuming they will do that?).

There are three courses of action that Parliament could decide on that require no further consent from the EU:

1. Support the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement and Political Statement, which the EU has already agreed will result in a somewhat orderly Leave by 22-May. Parliament has already voted twice not to do this, and there are procedural obstacles to putting a motion to do again in this session.

2. Crash out, either on 12-Apr or (if they don't get it together to adjust their own withdrawal legislation to reflect the terms of the EU's latest A50 extension) 29-Mar. Parliament has already voted that crashing out without a deal is unacceptable.

3. Revoke A50 and remain in the EU, possibly including putting that option to the people in a referendum first. Since the EU requires to be notified of A50 revocation in writing before 12-Apr to avoid a crash-out, if that's what they're going to do then they'd better get their skates on.
posted by flabdablet at 8:32 PM on March 25 [8 favorites]


I fell down a rabbit hole reading about Private Members' Bills and I came across this article about a lesser-known Royal prerogative to reject bills. I know it's old news but it may end up being an issue and I haven't seen it addressed:
Secret papers show extent of senior royals' veto over bills

AIUI the Queen would need to assent to any act revoking the UK's application to leave the EU, although no monarch has used that power for a very long time. But, apparently both the Queen and Prince Charles might stymie the bill at an earlier stage on the basis that it affects "crown interests". I suppose it's unlikely, because it would make a bit of a constitutional crisis, but who knows what might be going on behind the scenes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:01 PM on March 25


It does, but only until they vote to change it to April 12th (as per the EU declaration last week). Presumably if the vote fails on extending it, we crash out on the 29th.

I think David Allen Green has suggested that results in the kind of legal mess that has him clapping gleefully, but doesn't mean we crash out. We remain EU members on the 29th but then don't have the domestic legal framework in place to support that.
posted by edd at 9:25 PM on March 25




@Anna_Soubry - [Link to video footage ] "I am not interested in my majority... I will put my country & constituents first and foremost.. we come here to represent our constituents & do the right thing by our country... the right thing is to get this back to the British people"

The decision to put constituency majority, party allegiance and fears for personal safety behind a concern for the fate of the UK seems to be all too rare. Kudos to those MPs who are brave enough to do this.
posted by rongorongo at 12:08 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


It's very unlikely, Joe in Australia. Very, very, very unlikely. The HoW does not maintain their anachronistic status and lifestyle through provoking constitutional crises by flagrantly mucking about in politics. They can act like embarrassing idiots from time to time, but Brenda signs the bills and shows up in her fancy jewellery at the House of Lords, and reads the Speech, and stays in her lane.
posted by skybluepink at 2:07 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


Can people stop bringing the Queen into it? There's absolutely nothing to suggest that she's going to get involved in any way at all. It's fanciful thinking - I know a lot is very uncertain right now, but the one certainty is that Brenda is not involved in this - she isn't going to come out of her palace and veto the withdrawal act.
posted by winterhill at 2:12 AM on March 26 [15 favorites]


Especially not as the Queen is a Brexiter. A hotly denied, but IMO believable story reported everywhere from the tabloids to the BBC, is that she thinks we should just get on with it and doesn't see what all the fuss is about (this was 2 years ago). The remarks were made in private, off the cuff and off the record, but that didn't stop people present making political capital out of them (cough, cough, Gove).
posted by dudleian at 2:48 AM on March 26


Something that gets to me is the procession of No Deal MPs taking to the airwaves non-stop. I know this isn't exactly breaking news, but there's just something about very comfortable upper-middle-class women and men on nice salaries popping up on Radio 4 every afternoon to tell us all that No Deal will be great for Britain and they're right behind it that makes me feel a bit sick. They're people for whom the worst effect of No Deal would be Waitrose running low on parmiggiano reggiano rather than the loss of a job and potentially a home.

These people should be made to declare their financial interests. Some undoubtedly have an interest in UK economic chaos and a fall in the value of the pound. Some probably don't, but see No Deal as an adventure, an opportunity, a "let's pull out the plug and see what happens" moment of chaotic excitement because they're in a position where they're not going to lose their livelihood from it. Either way, very little makes me say this, but it makes me feel nauseous.
posted by winterhill at 3:08 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


Even worse, I think, is the appeal to the whole Blitz Spirit, and mucking in together, and this utterly grotesque nostalgia for the war. My late in-laws were children during the war, and lived through years of rationing after, and they were firm in saying it sucked.
posted by skybluepink at 3:24 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


Ian Dunt: MPs take control of Brexit: What the hell happens now? (Lots of detail there.)
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:39 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Sounds like Rees-Mogg is backing down. Meanwhile, as we're all screaming at each other about Brexit, some new mothers can't take their babies home, because they are too broke to have basic supplies for their care. Fuck Universal Credit forever.
posted by skybluepink at 3:49 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Something in that article really confuses me:

"Cllr Woodhouse said while 60-70% of people who get in touch are on Universal Credit, many people they help are suffering as a result of tax breaks..."

How would tax breaks directly lead to people suffering greater deprivation? Benefits or service cuts as a result of tax cuts, yes, but that's not "suffering as a result of tax breaks" is it?

(And yes, fuck UC, what an awful, unnecessary, and punitive system)
posted by Dysk at 4:19 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Ian Dunt: MPs take control of Brexit: What the hell happens now? (Lots of detail there.)

The initial idea expressed last night is to find if there is a majority for something else (a form of soft brexit, say) without May's withered hand trying to stifle debate through procedural tricks. There probably won't be initially, so the Commons can take control again later (possibly on Wednesday) to narrow down the shortlist, possibly via single transferable vote so MPs can express what they want if their favoured option doesn't win. That could well bear results, and Letwin with help from other skilled backbenchers such as Grieve will be in charge of deciding the approach.

Ultimately, this is all non-binding, and May has said she's going to ignore it. However, Dunt has an interesting quote I hadn't thought of:
"We will be relying on the government to reflect parliament's wishes in the first instance," Tory MP Nick Boles said last night on Newsnight, "but we won't be relying on it for long. If ultimately the government refuses to listen to what parliament has voted for, then we'll look to bring forward a bill, pass an Act of parliament, that will require the government to reflect parliament's wishes."

If Parliament decides to take control of the timetable to start passing legislation to force the government to comply then we are most definitely in Interesting Times. It's normally the executive (the government) that propose laws, and the legislature (parliament) that pass them (or not). But once the executive has so lost the plot that the legislature starts passing its own laws in a cross-party fashion, that really will be a radical new approach. And Parliament really will be sovereign in reality, not just in law. Since that's what the brexiteers were arguing they wanted back in 2016, it will be entirely appropriate that it will be their intransigence that might actually deliver it.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:24 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


Just had a thought in answer to my own question above: did they mean to write 'tax credit cuts' rather than 'tax breaks'? I just can't make sense of it any other way...
posted by Dysk at 4:43 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


That's how I read it - the families were probably previously on working tax credit or similar
posted by crocomancer at 5:02 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Or a break in tax credits, as UC has made it harder to get some credits/benefits you used to get, and reduced the value of others when you switch. The various Echo papers are basically left with a tea boy with a notepad for local reporting these days, due to the collapse in circulations, so I expect it's an error of that sort.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:04 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


It's the Liverpool Echo, which is generally an OK regional newspaper, and yes, their copy-editing can be a bit sloppy.
posted by skybluepink at 6:37 AM on March 26


What do voters make of Brexit now?

Spoilers: Everybody hates it and a majority want to stay in now.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:39 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Is anybody else morbidly checking the petition map to see how many other people in their Leave-voting constituency have signed? I am calling these signers "people who can have some of my loo roll."
posted by skybluepink at 6:47 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Everybody hates it and a majority want to stay in now.

Everyone thinks it has been handled appallingly and thinks we will get a shit deal. But the poll says the current vote split (54:46) is about the same as it was in the opinion poll the day before the actual referendum (55:45) so hardly definitive.

"people who can have some of my loo roll."

In the Venn diagram of my life, this is the smallest set.
posted by biffa at 6:57 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


Everyone thinks it has been handled appallingly and thinks we will get a shit deal. But the poll says the current vote split (54:46) is about the same as it was in the opinion poll the day before the actual referendum (55:45) so hardly definitive.

That said, this time Leave would also have to campaign for a known deal rather than a nebulous set of unicorn aspirations/sunlit uplands.
posted by jaduncan at 7:15 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Sure, but people are seeing this argued out across the press right now and its hardly shifting the positions as regards in or out. What additional arguments might we hear in another 3 month referendum campaign that isn't already under discussion?
posted by biffa at 7:21 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Even though my stepfather has changed his mind and now claims he was never for Brexit, he simply does not believe that things will be bad. He thinks the entire notion is absurd. Of course society will continue as usual. Of course there will be butter and bacon on his breakfast table, paper in the loo and medicine at the pharmacy. On the phone, I read out loud interviews with people from Waitrose, lorry drivers, civil servants, but he just won't believe it.
In spite of being someone who traveled the world doing business when he was active, he never understood international relations (it isn't as absurd as you might think, given the products he was selling which appeal to nationalists and warmongers)

If someone who is (now) for Remain feels that way, what do the Leavers imagine?
posted by mumimor at 7:33 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Various leavers saying that May's/other deal is worse than Remain.
posted by jaduncan at 7:33 AM on March 26


Hopefully we won't be stupid enough to hold another abstract Leave vs Remain referendum. It would have to be Remain vs Some Concrete Leave Proposal, and polling for any version of that shows a decent Remain win.

In other polling news, this data appears to show that a big chunk of people who voted Leave are now claiming not to have voted at all.
posted by grahamparks at 7:36 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


What additional arguments might we hear in another 3 month referendum campaign that isn't already under discussion?

It's not that there'd be additional arguments but that there'd be fewer. What people are seeing being argued out right now is still a swirling mass of uncertainty. May's deal? No deal? Something 2.0? Canada? If we end up with a second referendum, (I hope) it'll be what the first one should have been, a choice between two fairly well-defined alternatives: Remain on our existing terms, or Leave with this specific withdrawal agreement (or lack thereof). I'm not sure how much May's withdrawal agreement still leaves open (there's a limit to how much I can bear to read about Brexit), but at least it's narrowing down the options.

Signed, a Remainer who was really irritated in the runup to the referendum that the Leave campaign didn't seem willing to tell the public which of the various options being bandied about they were actually planning to angle for, and who has since been growing ever more horrified that they apparently still don't know.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 7:40 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


No-deal Brexit 'would require direct rule in Northern Ireland'
Sigh.
Remember all the pontification about how the UK can't understand how the EU is a peace project, somehow because it wasn't occupied by the Germans during WW2? (Just writing this out is such rubbish). What about the peace at home?
posted by mumimor at 7:47 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


In other polling news, this data appears to show that a big chunk of people who voted Leave are now claiming not to have voted at all.

*sheepishly removes "TAKE BACK CONTROL LEAVE 2016" sign out of window, replaces it with a sign reading "Don't blame me, I definitely didn't vote or anything, I promise, I mean what even IS voting?"*
posted by tobascodagama at 7:50 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


I agree that a second referendum will be much clearer. Leave won’t be able to claim to be all things to all people anymore.

But we can’t lose sight of the fact that the other reason they won was the lukewarm campaign run by Remain. Remain lost the PR battle hands down. And they did not have leaders with fire in their belly to compete with the likes of Farage, Johnson and Gove, who offered unicorns, sunlit uplands, and pots of gold. Pitted against those hucksters? George the-face-of-austerity Osborne, David smug-and-lucky Cameron and Jeremy 7-out-of-10 Corbyn.

In addition to which Remain did not have a single, coordinated campaign, unlike Leave. Labour (for good or ill) refused to have anything to do with the “Conservative” remain campaign. I don’t see that changing next time round.

Finally, as is clear from his reaction to date, a referendum is the worst possible outcome for Corbyn. He is an excellent campaigner, but has no ability to hide his true beliefs. His pro EU supporters will expect to see him pulling up trees on their behalf, not agreeing with leavers. That can only end in tears.

tl;dr if Remain wins a second referendum it will be despite, not because of the two main parties.
posted by dudleian at 8:19 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


I have a simple slogan if there is another referendum - "if remain wins you'll never have to listen to me talk about Brexit again."

I think I can secure at least a dozen votes via this method.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 8:31 AM on March 26 [17 favorites]


Jonathan Pie: Brexit: What's the f**k is going on?
Simple educational youtube video. With swearwords. Many swearwords
posted by mumimor at 8:42 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


@JoshuaLukeDavis:

I mean honestly, by this point a badger could stroll into the House of Commons, urinate in the middle of the floor triggering some obscure 16th century law meaning it is now in control of the country, and I wouldn't even question it.
posted by Wordshore at 10:47 AM on March 26 [33 favorites]


#TrustTheBadger
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:52 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


The Government has responded to the petition.

Warning: may raise your blood pressure.

I need a drink.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 11:38 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Get set for Brexit: Indicative Day – the one where the Grand Wizards turn on each other

The latest Marina Hyde, which is sublime even by her own high standards ... We are only in the second sentence when we get 'The Fellowship of the Ringpieces'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:40 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


> The Government has responded to the petition.

This response was given on 26 March 2019 ... by the Department for Exiting the European Union.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:50 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties, including the Opposition, who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.

Ugh. Yeah, the choice between Brexit or Brexit - truly democracy at work.
posted by vacapinta at 11:57 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


On the other hand:
Text of the cross-party proposition on Revocation versus No Deal which, if an active choice of No-Deal is not made then Article 50 is withdrawn immediately.
posted by vacapinta at 12:06 PM on March 26 [12 favorites]


Am I being a mug? I genuinely don't get this. The petition was obviously only ever going to be a fun distraction - it was always going to get a dull thud from Government. They invariably do, whatever the subject, unless it's to do with hanging paedophiles or similar stuff that plays well in the Sun.

But all the polling evidence suggests that Brexit is no longer the most popular option among the public at large. That would suggest that getting rid of Brexit would be a relatively popular option - it would result in a lot of moaning "below the line" on newspaper websites but on the whole would not be unpopular, particularly once the economic uplift from the end of the uncertainty was felt.

So why the laser focus from Government on making sure Brexit is shoved through, seemingly at any cost? Why the blank brick-wall refusal to countenance any softening of the plans - any customs union or EFTA membership, let alone revocation? It's obvious that Brexit is becoming less and less popular, so why are they so intent on making sure it happens and making sure no-one gets another say on the subject? If they are so sure it's the will of the people then why not confirm that in a second vote, which would - if they are correct - duly confirm Brexit? Am I being thick?
posted by winterhill at 12:24 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


> If they are so sure it's the will of the people then why not confirm that in a second vote ...?

The PEOPLE have SPOKEN, and must not be bothered again, even if many - nay, most - of them would like to revise their opinion? Once you have a result you always wanted (an excuse to kick out the foreigners and end freedom of movement), why mess with a good thing?
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:35 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


winterhill - no, you are not being thick. The referendum is being used as a smokescreen to push a hard-right agenda, that's all. By someone who was originally a remainer but by all accounts is a xenophobe. It's a smokescreen. Hence why, as others have pointed out, if Labour joins up with the SNP it's a "constitutional crisis" - presumably because a regional party shouldn't be able to dictate English laws - but going into partnership with the DUP to force NI and Scotland to leave against their will is "the will of the people". It's just naked populist authoritarianism at this point. By a leader who has no majority. With the entire world economy being held to ransom. It's astronomically reckless.
posted by Acey at 12:42 PM on March 26 [24 favorites]


So why the laser focus from Government on making sure Brexit is shoved through, seemingly at any cost?

Well, they seem very frightened that they might lose the British people's faith in democracy, and they appear to define "the British people" quite narrowly.

I guess the rest of us are over here under a banner reading "Citizens of Nowhere".
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 12:43 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


With the entire world economy being held to ransom.
Sorry, but no. That is a leave myth. The world economy will perceive a bump. And then it will recover.
The UK economy will suffer terribly, for a long time. Ordinary people will suffer.
Plenty of prominent leavers have already removed their personal fortunes and businesses abroad, they know.
posted by mumimor at 12:47 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


I'm sure I've said this before, but... the kind of power that people crave to really change things - whether it be to institute a socialist republic or a fascist dictatorship - isn't bestowed by the ballot box. It is seized during a crisis. That's what all the inexplicable participants want here - a crisis deep enough that they can declare a state of national emergency (which will allow them to do whatever they want). The important thing is to induce a state of fucked-upness so that you can suspend the rule of law.

Without wishing to be melodramatic, it's a run at a fascist coup. It would be an attempted socialist coup as well, that's what the Corbyn/Milne faction want, but let's be blunt, the chances of them getting out of the starting gate are nil.

The question is what happens next. All revolutionary ideologies are essentially millenarian: There's the revolution, then the takeover then everyone lives happily (or whatever) ever after. So it will fall to bits. Highly authoritarian regimes either fall into long-term torpor or burn out . Of course the relatively short time they exist in historical terms seem like an eternity to any poor bugger who has to live through them.

Has anyone mentioned Suella Braverman declaring war on Cultural Marxism yet?
posted by Grangousier at 12:54 PM on March 26 [20 favorites]


Mumimor - Fair enough, although global recessions have been caused by less in the past, and we are due for another either way. Let's not forget that practically nothing was done to rectify the causes of the last one. London, for now at least, remains a major part of the world financial system. The idea that we can smoothly extricate ourselves from the world economy is the real myth.
posted by Acey at 12:56 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Acey, this has been discussed at length before, so I'll be blunt: banks are already moving out of the city in anticipation of a crash out. Regardless of which of the options there are out now, passporting will go, and with that the core of the legitimate part of the city. Whats left is all the dirty tricks, and while I'm sure the Tories won't touch that, it is less worth without the legitimate part.
posted by mumimor at 1:39 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


That said, mumimor, Ireland will have a pretty big hit to growth due to Brexit (even with a deal, which isn't written in the headline).
posted by ambrosen at 1:50 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


All revolutionary ideologies are essentially millenarian

So we might be fascists or communists, but at least we'll have hats.
posted by biffa at 2:07 PM on March 26 [16 favorites]


That said, mumimor, Ireland will have a pretty big hit to growth due to Brexit (even with a deal, which isn't written in the headline).
Noone sane wants Brexit :-(
posted by mumimor at 2:14 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


In re May saying she wouldn't be bound by the Letwin process - Peston reports that the AG and the Cabinet Secretary have told the Cabinet that this isn't true. If May and the Cabinet fail to follow the path set out for them at the end of the indicative votes, then they will be breaking the Ministerial Code and the law.

Thus, if May doesn't have MV3 on Friday (which she wants) or if it doesn't pass, then that could be the last chance for any sort of Brexit at all, or at least any sort of Brexit that looks worth it to the Brexiters and the DUP.

The ERG are indeed melting away. The DUP are holding out. Thus, the chance of Remain may depend on the DUP remaining obstinate bastards.

Oh, and I have to say that "80 percent of voters voted for a Brexit manifesto in 2017" is one of the most fatuous and deliberately misleading statements of the whole mess, in a very strong field.

1. So multiple votes count now?
2. In no universe was there a leap from 10 percent majority to 60 percent majority for Brexit in the year after the referendum
3. The most you can say is that the manifestos accepted that the vote had gone a certain way, and that the electors agreed with that acceptance - not that they agreed with the result itself.
4. Brexit was a small part of the manifestos.

It's so fatuous the worts effect it has is one of mild annoyance, so there's that.
posted by Devonian at 2:49 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


Technically the will of the people is that Labour should be in power, given that electorate voted for them by a landslide in 1997. That's how it works right?

Being less facetious, it's a right wing populist dog whistle really. "The people" are usually conveniently and specifically delineated to include only those who support their agenda and exclude people of colour (say). Anyway a 52-48 split is nowhere near overwhelming consensus and it really doesn't make any sense to describe the winner as the collective will.

Especially given that there was no specific plan put forward by the Leave campaign and some unknown proportion was simply protest votes regardless of the issue. The fact that some Brexit ultras have declared May's deal "worse than Remain." This puts a lie to the whole vote being a simple binary. Really "leave" isn't a thing that could ever happen - because it's always the case that other agreements would be signed instead which those who voted "leave" might object to. For any specific plan less than 17m, potentially vastly fewer, would support it.

And when a judge has ruled that the result would have been annulled due to electoral fraud if it were not simply advisory. Which is ironic really.

Sorry if I'm splurging...
posted by Erberus at 3:05 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


May can talk about keeping manifesto promises - she dropped the manifesto promise of a dementia tax like a hot brick when it proved spectacularly unpopular with the tory base, reviving grammar schools got kicked into the long grass, scrapping free school meals (again, when it proved unpopular), scrapping the pension triple lock etc.

Manifesto promises are also only even valid IF the party wins power, so Labour can change their policies entirely. And that manifesto promises are cast in stone at all is laughable on the face of it, they are about what a party will probably try to do, not to bind it implacably as the situation changes. Immigration never seems to drop into the 10's of thousands, despite it being in the last couple of tory manifestos.

Though I'll admit, trying to make the country an economic basket case is one way to try and meet that one...

May's just proving, once again, she doesn't have the flexibility or skill to adapt to circumstances. And it's going to break her, and the tory party with it.

With regards the Queen; she meets the PM weekly. She's had what, 12? Of course she advises on upcoming significant legislation, particularly that which require crown consent because it affects crown property. That is part of her constitutional role, along with discussing major matters with the privy council. I'm sure she will advise something is a bad idea in private if she thinks that.

The bit people regard as whacky-doodle is that she's going to ride up the front door of the Commons on a white horse and spontaneously veto a government bill passed by Parliament, or worse nullify an existing Act that's she's already signed and passed into law, i.e. the existing EU Withdrawal Act 2018 that's got us set us to leave by law (deal or no deal) come March 29th; shortly to be amended by statutory instrument to April 12th. We had a civil war over whether the Crown could do that once already and the Crown lost, there is no way on earth this Monarch is going to start another one.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:08 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


In addition to all the good reasons why the Queen won't single-handedly end Brexit, there's also the thing that the EU said Article 50 can only be withdrawn as a result of a democratic process.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:16 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


With regards the Queen; she meets the PM weekly. She's had what, 12?

Yes, twelve different ones:
Churchill
Eden
Macmillan
Douglas-Home
Wilson
Heath
Wilson (again)
Callaghan
Thatcher
Major
Blair
Brown
Cameron
May
posted by Chrysostom at 5:52 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


May's just proving, once again, she doesn't have the flexibility or skill to adapt to circumstances. And it's going to break her, and the tory party with it.

I'm still inclined to think that the only circumstances that matter to her at present are that (a) she is the incumbent Tory leader and therefore the Best Person (b) internal party processes will not be able to force her out of that position until well after the whole Brexit shitshow has resolved provided only that there is never a long A50 extension (c) staying all robotically imperious Strong and Stable as the ERG chooks continue to decapitate each other plays better for her than them.

Endgame for her is seeing off or bringing to heel Johnson, Gove, Rees-Mogg and everybody else who ever plotted against her for the Tory leadership. She doesn't believe that any of them have the balls to prevent the agony she's been putting the UK through, she doesn't believe that an Opposition with Corbyn in charge will ever be able to mount a serious challenge to Tory rule regardless of how badly she fucks shit up, and the worst part of that is that she's probably right on both counts.

Raw blind unfettered bullheaded will to power is a good thing to a Tory as pure as May.
posted by flabdablet at 7:20 PM on March 26 [3 favorites]


as a result of a democratic process

Technically, it has to be decided in accordance with [the UK's] own national constitutional requirements. If the Queen revoking the article 50 notification were constitutional it seems that this ECJ opinion would not preclude it.

There would be no time to decide such a thing in court anyway. Either the revocation would be accepted by the rest of the EU or it wouldn't, and it would have to be decided very, very quickly- a "maybe they're in, maybe they're out" limbo would be horrendous.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:53 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


(unless some other body of the EU has said "nope, no revocations from Her Majesty" and I missed it, of course)
posted by BungaDunga at 7:55 PM on March 26


Not to belabor the point, but the justification for HM taking unilateral action is that Parliament has failed to pass the necessary legislation to have a sensible legal framework come Brexit day, not that she just thinks it's a bad idea. It very much falls within her authority and indeed her responsibility as it has been understood in modern times.

She can't and shouldn't act to override plain stupidity or any other legitimate legislation. It is argued that she should act when Parliament has failed to do its duty, which in this case would be passing the necessary enabling legislation for the Withdrawal Act to possibly be implemented at the time of withdrawal. (Passing May's WA would also suffice under this framework, since it provides for a transition period during which such legislation could be passed)

I'm not trying to open up a discussion on the propriety or wisdom of such a decision, only to correct an apparent misunderstanding of the argument some are making in favor of Royal action.
posted by wierdo at 8:39 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Parliament will debate this petition on 1 April 2019

See above re. impossibility of satire.
posted by flabdablet at 9:22 PM on March 26 [10 favorites]


The idea that the next few decades of British life will all come down to a Tory party leadership battle is simultaneously gruesome and inevitable. The Tory party needs to be destroyed because the ideological essence of Toryism is the deep belief in who should be in charge of the Tory party, and nothing else. (I say this having been exposed in my twenties to more people who are now Tory MPs than is healthy.)
posted by holgate at 9:40 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


[On that point: Marina Hyde was in the vicinity when Dan Hannan and Liz Truss (then a Lib Dem) and Nicky Morgan and Damian Collins (who turned out okay for a Tory) were on their bullshit, and that's simultaneously a testament to the brokenness of the Oxbridge politics-media establishment and how the people writing about British politicians remember them when they were doing exactly the same shit as adolescents.]
posted by holgate at 9:51 PM on March 26


how the people writing about British politicians remember them when they were doing exactly the same shit as adolescents

One of the most shocking things about getting older, for me, has been seeing the extent to which I could predict the behaviour of some of the worst arseholes who now occupy prominent positions in business and politics simply by recalling the things I saw them do as members of Student Representative Councils.

People can change but most don't much.
posted by flabdablet at 11:01 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


the ideological essence of Toryism is the deep belief in who should be in charge of the Tory party, and nothing else

That's fair, but only because the belief that Tories are entitled to rule, from which it follows that any period of non-Tory rule is merely an unfortunate temporary aberration, runs so deep that it doesn't even register as ideology.
posted by flabdablet at 11:11 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Am I being a mug? I genuinely don't get this. The petition was obviously only ever going to be a fun distraction - it was always going to get a dull thud from Government.

I agree there was some inevitability about the government's response. But the shear glibness of it - given the massive size and accretion rate of the petition still gives pause for thought. Enough people signed to fill about 9,000 chambers the size of the house of commons. They comprise a high percentage of the most politically aware voters in the country. Some of the petitioners would never dream of voting Conservative - and could thus be considered by the government as lost to them - but I suspect there were also many Tory voters and potential Tory voters buried in there too. To all these people the full form of the response is basically "We are going to debate this on April 1st - cause we have to - but we are telling you in advance that revocation is not going to be considered by us because of democracy - signed the exiting department". That is pretty remarkable arrogance.
posted by rongorongo at 11:27 PM on March 26 [10 favorites]


If you have access to iPlayer, be sure to check out Matt Berry’s new Road to Brexit, written by Arthur Mathews of Father Ted fame.
posted by rory at 11:55 PM on March 26


The government response is exactly what anybody could've expected. However, the Commons has just hijacked control of today's schedule from the government, set a precedent that they can do so, and has said they will debate withdrawal from Article 50 on 1st April in response to the petition. I don't anticipate miracles here or anything, but things are getting weirder by the minute in Parliament, and the government's ability to carry on unilaterally doing whatever it pleases without overall Parliamentary consent is, to put it mildly, in doubt.
posted by skybluepink at 12:33 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


Of course I expected a negative response to the Revoke A50 petition. It's the hardcore 'f--- you' tone that is the thing.

Also:
"British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties, including the Opposition, who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum."
IF YOU HAVE TWO MAIN PARTIES WHO BOTH SUPPORT THE SAME POLICY OF COURSE YOU ARE GOING TO GET THIS SORT OF RESULT YOU MENDACIOUS GITS.

I shall now take a moment to plug Punx 'Tory Scum' selection of t-shirts and tote bags.
posted by Vortisaur at 12:42 AM on March 27 [15 favorites]


Ugh, Andrea Leadsom on Radio 4, lying her head off, and when not directly lying her head off, dodging actually answering questions. All of the posh voices saying 'will of the people,' are freaking me out.
posted by skybluepink at 1:36 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


There's some Twitter speculation that the Maybot will self-terminate this afternoon.
posted by daveje at 1:45 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Well, that would certainly explain why Leadsom was dodging answering the question about supporting Theresa May as PM in the longer term.
posted by skybluepink at 2:01 AM on March 27


To all these people the full form of the response is basically "We are going to debate this on April 1st - cause we have to - but we are telling you in advance that revocation is not going to be considered by us because of democracy - signed the exiting department". That is pretty remarkable arrogance.

We are going to debate this on April Fools' Day because haw haw haw, and by the way get stuffed (shows roo fingers)
posted by flabdablet at 2:11 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented.

Every one of these petitions has resulted in a boilerplate reply from DExEU containing a line like this, but it completely undermines the Government's argument that as the referendum was advisory there's no need to overturn the result because of illegal campaign activity. They're effectively saying that the referendum was binding because of the Government's prior promise to implement its results, but if it was binding then the Electoral Commission's findings should mean that it gets declared void.

They're also implying that a statement by the Executive making the referendum binding overruled the express wishes of Parliament to make it advisory. I know that's par for the course in our modern times of total government domination to the point of contempt of Parliament, but it's worth reminding ourselves that it completely ignores and contradicts our Westminster system of parliamentary democracy.
posted by rory at 2:41 AM on March 27 [26 favorites]


It's almost as if all that harrumphing about constitutional difficulties with the Letwin amendment was not sincere.
posted by flabdablet at 2:47 AM on March 27


livefrombrexit.com... current front page data

England Signatures 4,619,102
Northern Ireland Signatures 123,867
Scotland Signatures 537,865
Wales Signatures 216,400

More signatures than MP's majority 228
More signatures than MP's GE votes 6

UK Signatures 5,598,637 (95.86%)
Overseas Signatures 241,706 (4.14%)

Percentage of UK electorate signed 12.47%
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:06 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


This introduction to a Tory MP by C4 journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy is just masterful... pity you'll never see the like on the BBC
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:17 AM on March 27 [12 favorites]


The numbers signing the petition are comforting, and the march was inspiring, but the non-response to both seems to confirm what I've suspected for a long time, which is that MPs have no real fear of facing serious consequences from Remainers. (And, mind you, I think they are probably justifiably physically afraid of some Leavers; you only have to look at poor Jo Cox to believe that.) Whether or not they were correct to assume there will be no electoral consequences remains to be seen, but what about our anger and sense of betrayal? It's as if, outside of the Remoaner stereotype, we barely exist to them.
posted by skybluepink at 3:19 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


The numbers signing the petition are comforting, and the march was inspiring, but the non-response to both seems to confirm what I've suspected for a long time, which is that MPs have no real fear of facing serious consequences from Remainers. (And, mind you, I think they are probably justifiably physically afraid of some Leavers; you only have to look at poor Jo Cox to believe that.) Whether or not they were correct to assume there will be no electoral consequences remains to be seen, but what about our anger and sense of betrayal? It's as if, outside of the Remoaner stereotype, we barely exist to them.

This is the drawback with being reasonable. You're attempting to negotiate with a whipped up mob.
posted by jaduncan at 3:38 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Parliament's options for an indicative vote are a mish-mash of impossibilities and unlikelies. I saw a tweet (which now I can't find) that predicted that the only option that would get through is (e), "reaffirms Britain must leave the EU", and that then we'll crash out on the 12th. I wouldn't bet against it.

Labour front-bencher Barry Gardiner has been busy on Radio 4 this morning.
posted by rory at 3:59 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Labour front-bencher Barry Gardiner has been busy on Radio 4 this morning.

Tl;dr: he's the more tactful version of Kate Hoey.
posted by jaduncan at 4:04 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


One thing I got sick of hearing over recent days was Labour and the Tories banging on about how various options were impossible because they went against their manifestos. Neither party won the 2017 election. The Tories are only in government with the support of an entirely different party. Their 2017 manifestos are obsolete.

You might as well say that Labour should be bound by the 1983 manifesto. Come to think of it, it seems to be already. That's the manifesto that Corbyn entered parliament on, and the one where Labour vowed to take Britain out of the EEC. The longest suicide note in history.
posted by rory at 4:12 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Speaking to the European Parliament, European council president Tusk said: “Let me make one personal remark to the members of this parliament. Before the European council, I said that we should be open to a long extension if the UK wishes to rethink its Brexit strategy, which would of course mean the UK’s participation in the European parliament elections. And then there were voices saying that this would be harmful or inconvenient to some of you.
Let me be clear: such thinking is unacceptable. You cannot betray the 6 million people who signed the petition to revoke article 50, the 1 million people who marched for a people’s vote, or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union.”
...
Shortly later in the debate, Tusk hit back. “Mr Farage, you have presented passionate arguments against a second referendum”, the former prime minster of Poland said. “But the truth is that the second referendum took place in 2016 because the first one took in 1975. And then a vast majority of the British public decided that the place of the UK was in the European economic community.
“No, it was you who thought three years ago that it was possible to organise a referendum to invalidate the the previous one, then please be consistent also today.”
...
It was noted by several MEPs that there were no Conservative party speakers in the debate. Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, mocked Farage for failing to stay on the Leave Means Leave march he had organised from the north of England to London. “I’m surprised to see you here, Mr Farage”, Verhofstadt goaded.

“I thought you were marching 200 miles in the leave campaign? How many did you do? Two miles. You remind me more and more of Field Marshal Haig in Blackadder, sitting safely in his London office – you in Strasbourg – while your people are walking in the cold and the rain.”
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:12 AM on March 27 [55 favorites]


It doesn't mean much now, because we're in the hands of our useless goddamn parliament, but I really appreciate Tusk acknowledging us. Somebody hears us screaming.
posted by skybluepink at 4:15 AM on March 27 [26 favorites]


On the manifestos; George Freeman MP replying to ‘what about the conservative manifesto?’:
Neither Cabinet, MPs nor Party Policy Forum ever saw or debated it. It was roundly rejected and widely agreed to have cost us our majority. Leaving the mandate in Parliament, not the Party. (As I wrote in @Telegraph the morning after). That’s why.
And Robert Saunders commenting on that:
"Manifestoism" - or the idea that voters backing Ken Clarke in Rushcliffe & Bill Cash in Stone were *really* endorsing every line of a document nobody read, & whose domestic agenda collapsed within days of its launch - is one of the sillier doctrines of modern British politics.
Ken Clarke in parliament:
"I‘ve just heard myself being reminded of the party manifesto which apparently I stood on and which is binding on me at the last election. I have never seen this document. It was produced sometime during the campaign rather obscurely. I read about it in the newspapers. No copy was ever sent to me. I never met a constituent who bothered to get a copy or to read it. It had one rather startling policy in it which was abandoned in about a day and played no further role. I think another myth is growing, a new constitutional convention,that when you stand for a party and get elected here, you‘re bound by some rubbishy document that somebody unknown in central office has produced and is meant to bind you for the next parliament.”
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 4:26 AM on March 27 [24 favorites]


Alan Smyth SNP MEP makes a passionate, and probably final, speech at Strasbourg
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:41 AM on March 27 [11 favorites]


One thing I got sick of hearing over recent days was Labour and the Tories banging on about how various options were impossible because they went against their manifestos.

Indeed - the whole point of representative democracy is to appoint a representative who can exercise their own judgement and make informed decisions for you based on the facts of the moment. This is magnified within a hung parliament with a minority government where parliament should inevitably have more influence over the legislative agenda.
posted by brilliantmistake at 4:41 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


Thank you rory, for pointing out that particular hypocrisy, which had escaped me.

Is there any phrase more insidious than "will of the people"? Any more transparently fascist? Perhaps this is just me, but it evokes the "triumph of the will", Nietzsche's "will to power", and by God it sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it.
posted by Acey at 5:50 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


I met by chance a couple from northern England visiting Berlin this weekend. At some point the conversation turned to Brexit. By the end of the night, it was just tears and hugs.

I've never had an encounter like that with strangers before. It's disturbing to see how this is affecting people, already.

Hang in there.
posted by romanb at 5:57 AM on March 27 [17 favorites]


Bloomberg writer Robert Hutton tweets: Jeremy Corbyn's spokesman explains that the party only supports a referendum on a "damaging Tory Brexit". If Labour takes power, he says, it will negotiate a better Brexit, which won't need a referendum.
posted by rory at 6:45 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Can we not do any more Queen derails? Freddie Mercury and Queen have more chance of stepping into the Brexit quagmire than Her Majesty the Queen.

Anyway, I've also read the same rumours about TM having decided to quit at some point in the near future. The Guardian live blog suggested that a particularly airy PMQs performance (that I didn't bother to tune in the radio for) was a sign that she'd made some kind of personal decision to go. I'm not following today's proceedings closely because I'm busy and because it's the sort of argue-the-toss exercise that will lead to no conclusive answers and will just produce more breathless reporting about a no-deal Brexit being closer than ever.

I was worried for a time that May quitting would just open the door for a hard Brexiter like Johnson or Davis to take the reins. But in reality, we've already got a hard Brexiter in Number 10. The big worry is that TM promising to bugger off on a set date later this year will allow the deal to squeeze through, and then we're up shit creek.
posted by winterhill at 6:55 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


First I saw Donald Tusk's speech and then Alyn Smith's, and then I teared up. I'm totally on the edge these days.
A thought: have we ever seen as much from the EU parliament as we are now. It's not like I've never seen anything from there, but I am getting a totally new impression of the institution. And I am pro EU, and never thought they were faceless bureaucrats.
posted by mumimor at 7:26 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


The faceless bureaucrats of the European Commission, all of whom have their faces, names, biographies, current work and a list of their responsibilities available to all on the internet.
posted by winterhill at 7:29 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


Time for the regular YouGov poll with Corbyn coming in an even more distant third in a contest against the worst Prime Minister in history.

Which of the following do you think would make the best Prime Minister?
Theresa May - 31%
Jeremy Corbyn - 19%
Don't know - 46%


Waiting to hear from Labour supporters how their current strategy is absolutely the right one.
posted by vacapinta at 7:33 AM on March 27 [17 favorites]


Waiting to hear from Labour supporters how their current strategy is absolutely the right one.
I'm a Labour supporter and I think the current strategy is bloody awful and they need to a) dump JC as leader and b) come down hard for Remain to salvage any electoral credibility whatsoever. Does that count?
posted by winterhill at 7:35 AM on March 27 [14 favorites]


Waiting to hear from Labour supporters how their current strategy is absolutely the right one.

I gather you are not hoping for a fight here on Metafilter, but wondering wtf Labour the party are thinking. Are these people out of their minds???
posted by mumimor at 7:36 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Sorry, let me rephrase that in a less fighty way:
If Labour are hoping to win the next general election, polls strongly suggest that they might want to consider re-evaluating their current strategy.
posted by vacapinta at 7:37 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


If Labour are hoping to win the next general election, polls strongly suggest that they might want to consider re-evaluating their current strategy.

Labour party policy has always been to avoid having to make any sort of decision whatsoever on the issue and hope Brexit will damage the Tories so badly that Labour wins by default. This policy papered over the deep splits between Labour MPs on the issue even while it has been unpopular with the membership.

This has absolutely run its course now I think - It'll be interesting to see whether whipping for the confirmative referendum today will cause the resignations from the shadow cabinet that have been threatened.
posted by brilliantmistake at 7:50 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


The only precedent for manifesto commitments binding parliament is the Salisbury convention that guides how the Lords handle them. Everything else is bollocks.
posted by holgate at 8:11 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


OK correct me if I'm wrong, but Labour currently opposes May's deal and supports having a public vote in opposition, with revoke on the ballot... but if, somehow, there's an election and they get into power that goes out of the window coz they have their own special brexit deal which they will then support?!

This seems somewhat insane as a policy.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:25 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]




May loses her final attempt to block today’s business. Bercow has selected motions B (Baron) D (Boles) H (Eustice) J (Clarke) K (Corbyn) L (Cherry) M (Beckett) O (Fysh).Game on. Debate until 7pm then votes.
posted by rongorongo at 8:28 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


B (Baron) - No Deal
D (Boles) - Commons Market 2.0 / Norway +
H (Eustice) - Just Norway
J (Clarke) - Customs Union
K (Corbyn) - Labour's magic deal - probably some sort of soft brexit
L (Cherry) - If nothing sorted and No Deal rejected with two days to go, then Revoke
M (Beckett) - Peoples Vote
O (Fysh) - Stand still for 2 years while we renegotiate

Also Berkow giving very strong hints that he would not allow MV3
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:50 AM on March 27 [13 favorites]


Does that mean the Malthouse Unicorn didn’t get selected?
posted by saturday_morning at 8:52 AM on March 27


Does that mean the Malthouse Unicorn didn’t get selected?
It looks like Bercow has gone for things that the UK can do unilaterally (such as No Deal or revocation) and things that the EU might be open to discussing (like a common market approach). Things that the EU has rejected (like the Malthouse rubbish) and things that are impossible (like "alternative arrangements") have not been selected, because what would be the point?
posted by winterhill at 8:54 AM on March 27 [11 favorites]


I find myself utterly astonished by the very idea of somebody in this process taking a sensible course of action for once.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:04 AM on March 27 [15 favorites]


So … trying to understand how the end result will look here. MPs can vote on each motion I believe. B looks unlikely and some others (D,H,J and K) look rather mutually exclusive - pick one or don’t pick any. L and M both seem pretty sensible for anybody who cares about stability or democracy - a brave parliament to turn them down. Will be an interesting day!
posted by rongorongo at 9:04 AM on March 27


L and M both seem pretty sensible for anybody who cares about stability or democracy - a brave parliament to turn them down.

I would call L "Avoid No-Deal" since it is the only way to do so. Faisal Islam has just called it "Revoke" which is one way of killing it.
posted by vacapinta at 9:08 AM on March 27


I was slightly wrong above. O is a Malthouse-style unicorn - it's "leave with no deal and then negotiate a preferential trade deal with the EU". Basically the decrepit "Managed No Deal" warmed over.
posted by winterhill at 9:14 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


O is Malthouse plan B - it's Fysh and Baker, both 'clean brexit' nutters. In the event of no-deal, The PM would ask the EU for the transition period, in return for the UK coughing up the money and securing citizens rights. I.E. the contents of the withdrawal agreement minus backstop, but without signing the WA, and after we crash out. EU have already said a billion times no transition without the WA, so just the usual fantasy of trying to find some sneaky trick for rewording scrapping the backstop.

Technically it's not the same as the other 'pass the WA once the backstop is replaced with floating unicorn rainbow farts watching the border' method that May wasted 2 months on. If May doesn't 3-line whip for it, it should be around the bottom of the popularity stakes.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:34 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


"leave with no deal and then negotiate a preferential trade deal with the EU"

Think this is basically what Boris was putting forward in his latest leadership bid / Torygraph column
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:36 AM on March 27


So … trying to understand how the end result will look here. MPs can vote on each motion I believe. B looks unlikely and some others (D,H,J and K) look rather mutually exclusive - pick one or don’t pick any.

I would be shocked if the voting ends without creating some sort of logically impossible paradox.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:43 AM on March 27 [16 favorites]


Oh well, no matter how things turn out at least London is getting a 100% Pure Evil Cyberpunk Giant DeathStar AdBall Sphere.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:45 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


It is not expected that a majority will arise today. What it will do is see how many support each. Further talks will happen, and then most popular will come back, possibly Monday, probably with transferable vote method so the least popular get knocked out until theoretically a majority can be found for one or more options that enough can live with even if not favourite option.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:48 AM on March 27


Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole is speaking now.

He says that "the only march I'm interested in is the march of my constituents to the polling stations to vote Leave in 2016".

Point one: do they have people who write this guff for them or do they make it up themselves?

Point two: I know Goole. A large, large proportion of his constituents are Eastern Europeans working in the farms and docks in the area. They didn't get to vote. Once again, the "will of the people" is "the will of white English people who voted Leave". Disgraceful speech from this MP.
posted by winterhill at 10:18 AM on March 27 [14 favorites]


From the Guardians live blog: May tells Tory MPs she will resign before next phase of Brexit talks
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:33 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Watching the live stream. OMG Kate Hoey is so relentlessly clueless.
posted by flabdablet at 10:35 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


I can no longer listen to brexiteers live any longer, the bullshit is piled so high I find my blood pressure goes to dangerous levels - so thanks to those putting up with the cobblers so I don't have to!
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:41 AM on March 27 [4 favorites]


From the Guardians live blog: May tells Tory MPs she will resign before next phase of Brexit talks

Unfortunately it seems to be contingent on her deal getting voted through; so basically just a bribe to the ERG types who presumably figure one of their own will replace her.
posted by Buntix at 10:46 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


And it's most likely a flat lie in any case.
posted by flabdablet at 10:50 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


@PaulBrandITV: BREAKING: PM’s exact words to Tory MPs. “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I had intended”.

That's not exactly a promise to resign.

@stephenkb: Look, what evidence do you have, other than her entire career, that she might go back on something she has only vaguely hinted at doing?
posted by zachlipton at 10:55 AM on March 27 [14 favorites]


Looks like it may be working, though, there's a couple of no-deal type tories tweeted that they'll now back her deal according to the Guardian live blog.

Guessing this means exiting on May 22nd with the deal (and presumably the 2 year transition period?) is looking more likely.

Meanwhile in the Scottish parliament

@BBCsarahsmith: Scottish parliament votes overwhelmingly to cancel Brexit. SNP, Labour and Greens all voted to revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit unless there is another referendum.

Admittedly this has zero effect on the process at Westminster, but does highlight the rift between the two parliaments, and suggests that independence is looking a lot more likely.
posted by Buntix at 11:04 AM on March 27 [10 favorites]


(Can I add Stephen Bush to our pantheon, along with Ian Dunt and Marina Hyde. He hasn't got the swearing or the jokes, but I find his morning dispatches from the New Statesmen very helpful.)
posted by Grangousier at 11:05 AM on March 27


> Oh well, no matter how things turn out at least London is getting a 100% Pure Evil Cyberpunk Giant DeathStar AdBall Sphere.

I see from that article that I wasn't the only one whose first impression of that thing was "the nuclear explosion in Akira."
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:08 AM on March 27


This ploy of May's is so patently manipulative that I am embarrassed on her behalf.

"I know I have screwed up this whole relationship, and I know you are telling me you want to break up with me, and you want me to move out. First, just do this one thing for me, and then I promise I'll go."

Ugh.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:10 AM on March 27 [8 favorites]


I was moved by this speech from a Scotland MEP.
posted by motdiem2 at 11:14 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Disgraceful but inevitable behaviour from May, essentially replicating what Cameron did almost three years ago: drop a political bomb in the room and then do a vanishing act.

I'm still dubious it will get through though.
posted by lawrencium at 11:22 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]




Scottish parliament votes overwhelmingly to cancel Brexit. SNP, Labour and Greens all voted to revoke Article 50 and stop Brexit unless there is another referendum.

Can we just disband and cancel English Labour, and instead extend Scottish Labour south?
posted by Dysk at 11:28 AM on March 27 [8 favorites]


The resignation 'promise' + threat of a softer brexit/no brexit has definitely pushed some ERG members to hold their nose and vote for it rather than keep holding out for crash out.

She's still got somewhere in the region or 20-25 hardline rebels, both ERG and remainers who've repeatedly said will not vote for the deal under any circumstances. Plus the DUP are showing no signs of bending to bribery this time yet. So that's 30+ labour MPs she needs to back it. She possibly could get about 15 that might go for it, as opposed to 3 last time.

So barring another unforseen shift she's still going to be quite a way short - she seems to be banking on more leave-seated labour MPs breaking ranks. And Bercow seems serious about blocking attempts to bring it back at all. So it's certainly more likely than before the extension, but still relatively low odds.

That all said, things are very much up in the air right now - depending upon how the indicative votes shake out, that could hurt her (if no-deal does better and revoke worse than expected thus costing her ERG types) or help her (softer brexit options & referendum do poorly so more pressure on soft-brexit Labour MPs to back it).
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:43 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


If you check out #leavealighton on twitter, you'll find that getting a bit weepy at Alyn Smith's speech seems to have been a common response.
posted by Vortisaur at 11:56 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


@easypoliticsUK:
Only the Brits would get hashtag #ruinafilmbyaddingupyourbum trending at a point of national crisis.

I LOLed at "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Up Your Bum" because I am thirteen.
posted by Wordshore at 12:13 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]


Can we just disband and cancel English Labour, and instead extend Scottish Labour south?

Why stop there? Just declare the Westminster parliament incompetent and have the UK governed from Holyrood.

The countries of the UK are a union of equals, right? So it shouldn't really matter which one takes the lead. That's what we're always told about Scotland being governed from Westminster, so I'm sure it shouldn't be a problem to go the other way round for a while.

We can just create some seats in Holyrood for "Englandshire", and let the Brexiteers run for them as the English Nationalist Party that they all clearly want to be anyway.

England can then vote to leave the UK and the EU and run its own magical unicorn borders through Berwick-upon-Tweed and Monmouth. Meanwhile the rest of the UK can retain open borders and freedom of movement with the EU. They're sure this would work in Northern Ireland, so it should be no problem for England, right?
posted by automatronic at 12:13 PM on March 27 [35 favorites]


Ok, the Hobbit, but the best one is clearly

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit Up Your Bum
posted by medusa at 12:22 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


The resignation 'promise' + threat of a softer brexit/no brexit has definitely pushed some ERG members to hold their nose and vote for it rather than keep holding out for crash out.

All of the principled opposition of those ERG zealots with leadership aspirations has been flushed down the shitter; the "will of the people" becomes 120,000 blue-rinsers deciding the future relationship based on which candidate is most beastly to Johnny Foreigner.
posted by holgate at 1:20 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]


Oranges are Not the Only Fruit Up Your Bum

Antman Up Your Bum was not where I had expected them to go with the series.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:39 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


I think I'm going to have to flag myself for this, but Herbie Goes Bananas Up Your Bum was, uh, interesting.
posted by ambrosen at 1:42 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


[Maybe enough on the bum titles, or they can go someplace else?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:43 PM on March 27 [6 favorites]


@faisalislam:
***** NEW via @skydavidblevins

DUP leader Arlene Foster tells @SkyNews her party “regrets” that it is unable to support the Withdrawal Agreement while it “poses a threat to the integrity of the UK.” #Brexit
So looks like May's deal is still probably toast.
posted by Buntix at 1:55 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Also more ERG members standing firm - Mogg and Johnson doing a 180 on their totally sincere principals at the chance to run for PM sooner, but conspicuous absence of followers. Also Mogg may come to regret saying the deal would make us a 'slave state' now he'll vote for it.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:09 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


DUP just said they're a no on MV3 so Mogg's support is no longer there.

Oh and no MV3 means May's not resigning, just after she said she's resigning.
We're fast approaching the point where her promises come pre-broken.
posted by fullerine at 2:13 PM on March 27 [8 favorites]


There's some Twitter speculation that the Maybot will self-terminate this afternoon.

May's most recent statement on the possibility of resignation was vague and noncommittal, certainly not binding.

She cannot self-terminate. We must lower her into the steel.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:15 PM on March 27 [32 favorites]


She’ll be back.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:19 PM on March 27 [8 favorites]


DId I hear correctly that we’re getting Approval Voting on the various options tonight, with some form of STV being reported on Monday?

Election system nerds are going to be having a field day!
posted by pharm at 2:30 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


@HolyroodLiam: So if I understand the situation, Theresa May doesn't have enough support to resign successfully.

Just so very, very, incredibly lacking in epts.


Seems the vote on the statutory instrument to change the date has gone through at least, so we've got a couple more months to stockpile.
posted by Buntix at 2:36 PM on March 27 [14 favorites]


So, according to the Guardian Liveblog, some Conservative MPs are in uproar because Speaker Bercow suspended parliament for a brief time without having the Mace of the House removed from the chamber. To quote SNP's Peter Grant:
Speaker suspends sitting & vacates chair while we wait for results of this evening’s votes - as he had said he would do.
Tory MPs object that the mace is still there.
They object by trying to raise points of order to an empty chair.
What a total shambles of a parliament.
posted by Kattullus at 2:38 PM on March 27 [11 favorites]


Indicative votes - MPs vote against all eight options.
posted by lawrencium at 2:44 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Nothing got more yeses than nos, but the second referendum got the most votes, followed by Kenneth Clarke's custom union proposal. Wow.

And both got more than May's Deal in the Meaningful Vote!
posted by grahamparks at 2:45 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


As expected.
posted by Pendragon at 2:46 PM on March 27


8 down, ∞ to go because stopping this farce is apparently not an option.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:54 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]




Apart from whatever we feel about this, what does such a demonstration of ridiculous incompetence do to the trust in /support for democracy in the UK?
posted by mumimor at 2:56 PM on March 27


8 down, ∞ to go because stopping this farce is apparently not an option.

That Doctor Who episode where they get stuck in a time-loop on a ship. Up all our bums for eternity.

Although to quote a wiser a political mind than my own,

@NicolaSturgeon: The first preference of @theSNP has always been to stop Brexit. If that’s not possible - and until relatively recently it seemed it wasn’t - we’d opt for soft Brexit over hard. But stopping Brexit is possible now and we voted tonight to give that the best chance.


Really, a second referendum seems the most sensible and legitimate choice (particularly with that recent poll suggesting that 60% of the uk would now favour remaining). It's bizarre that it's a thing to celebrate that the obvious choice is now a slight possibility.
posted by Buntix at 3:04 PM on March 27 [10 favorites]


MetaFilter: Up all our bums for eternity.
posted by automatronic at 3:11 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]


110 Labour abstentions on the revocation amendment. Majority against was 109.

Fucking Labour.
posted by daveje at 3:11 PM on March 27 [26 favorites]


Sidebar:

The $16m New York penthouse fit for a UK civil servant (Rupert Neate, Guardian)
Exclusive: Luxury apartment next to UN headquarters to be used by senior diplomat charged with seeking post-Brexit trade deals

The government has bought a $15.9m (£12m) seven bedroom luxury New York apartment for a senior British civil servant charged with signing fresh trade deals in a post-Brexit world, the Guardian can reveal.

The foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt oversaw the purchase of a 5,893 sq ft (574 sq metre) apartment as the official residence for Antony Phillipson, the UK trade commissioner for North America and consul general in New York. The apartment occupies the whole of the 38th floor of 50 United Nations Plaza, a 42-storey luxury tower near the UN headquarters in Manhattan.

... [It was previously] home to Nikki Haley when she served as the US ambassador to the UN until December 2018.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:18 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]


110 Labour abstentions on the revocation amendment. Majority against was 109.

I thought it was 268 ayes to 295 noes? WHich is both encouraging and infuriating.

Fucking Labour.

Yes, in a way, but this is only because we would like Labour to be better than the Tories. It's like the furore over Democratic Party antisemitism in the USA: it's pretty clear that there's more substantial tolerance of prejudice among Republicans, but we wish Democrats were better. Don't get me wrong - I think it is right to demand that Labour provide a coherent position in line with its basic values, but we mustn't give the Conservatives a free pass because "what do you expect". That's how you end up with Donald Trump Boris Johnson.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:28 PM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Well, the MP from the constituency just south of mine pointed out on Twitter that nobody in Parliament was expecting any of them to pass tonight. She really is OK, and I believe her on this. My own MP is so fucking appalling that I've adopted her and the other MP in the nearest constituency west of us to follow.
posted by skybluepink at 3:36 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Alex Wickham: Every motion loses

No deal loses 160-400

Common Market 2.0 loses 188-283

Efta/EEA loses 65-377

Customs union loses 264-272

Labour alt plan loses 237-307

Revoke A50 loses 184-293

2nd referendum loses 268-295

Managed no deal loses 139-422


So, uh...
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:36 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


> Indicative votes - MPs vote against all eight options.

So, to be clear, there is no majority in Parliament for *any* of the available options? But now they have had a show of strength for each of them, and are going to go through each of them in a single transferable vote method?

The critical fight, then, is who determines the order of those options - because this is the perfect situation for Arrow's theorem to take a turn in the spotlight. Who gets to set up the slate?

And - this beggars belief - what have Parliament been doing for the last TWO FUCKING YEARS, that this exercise is being conducted two DAYS before the original deadline?
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:36 PM on March 27 [17 favorites]


You’re thinking of the 2nd referendum amendment.

48% voted Remain in the original referendum, and a majority of the population now wants to stay, and Labour is still trying to pretend they don’t exist.
posted by daveje at 3:36 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


I'd say "What a fucking circus", but circuses are meticulously organized affairs.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:49 PM on March 27 [10 favorites]


"We knew nothing would pass, but at least now we know what is closest and we can work from there" sounds like a rational approach to dealing with a deadlock. It seems totally reasonable to me given the circumstances. And then I remember how many people in this debacle are completely comfortable with staring their entire country and the rest of the world in the face and saying the sky is plaid and it all breaks down again.

At some point, you have to be the sanity and honesty you wish to see in the world, but I'm not sure how that cuts through the inevitable arguments of "Your proposition didn't pass, either."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:02 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


It's always the worst-case scenario
posted by JamesBay at 4:08 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


Who gets to set up the slate?

Bercow. Current plan, though not confirmed yet, is they will vote on all of the options in round 2 at the same time again, but rank them by preference - least popular option gets eliminated and 2nd preferences reallocated, repeat until you have at least one winner. Given you only need a majority and are not angling for only a single option specifically, it's possible two (or more) options could have a majority at the end, such as say, pass WA + customs union, with a referendum on top.

There will be further talks so least popular options may not make it to round 2 on Monday at all (unless they're proposed by dicks, so no-deal will no doubt be on there again). Surprising that revoke 50 did so well considering it's against Labour policy and was previously considered not a popular option. It won't make it through as preferred position of the House, but there's a much better chance for it than I ever expected if it comes down to that or no-deal.

And - this beggars belief - what have Parliament been doing for the last TWO FUCKING YEARS, that this exercise is being conducted two DAYS before the original deadline?

May has been fighting tooth and nail the whole time to limit the Commons involvement at every step. It's only down to narrow earlier rebellions that Parliament even got a say on the WA at all. She's made promises to buy off rebels then reneged on them, repeatedly, put votes to the house then ignored the results she didn't like, whipped the party to support mad options just to buy herself more time, while running down the clock. The house didn't even get to vote on the WA until January. We're only at this point now as enough tory rebels have sacrificed their careers and friends because they finally had enough of being lied to by their own party leader and PM. Tribal loyalty runs very deep in the parties, you're often involved your whole life now, and for a normal MP following the rules, you're sacrificing a lot to rebel like this. Backbenchers have very little power individually, it's through committees and climbing the greasy ministerial pole that they normally get to do anything meaningful, and that's all gone now.

30 plus tories have turned their back on the party machine, the whips office, are getting real death threats and likely earning hatred following them from the rabid right wingers for life to force the votes to get here because they genuinely think the country is more important than their party or themselves. We can rightly say 'what took you so long?', but our real scorn should be reserved for those who are still nakedly only serving their own interest and still talking utter bollocks at the risk of the wellbeing of us all. They rebels are trying now, and that means finally a real chance that progress on a resolution can be made despite the dead hand of the PM and the nutters trying to stifle all alternatives.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:19 PM on March 27 [35 favorites]


Dunt: A People’s Vote just became much more likely.
About the 10th time today I’ve been glad of his explanation.
posted by rongorongo at 4:19 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


and Labour is still trying to pretend they don’t exist.

This is the dumbest aspect of it all. It's not new that Tories are kinda evil, vapid and dumb (Have we covered the whole wykehamist thing?), and that they get where they are through family money or cult-like toadying (even if the degree to which the current crop are is still shocking).

But Corbyn is managing to burn Labour to the ground at a time when socialism is not a dirty word anymore, but actually gaining mass acceptance, popularity, and traction.

He was happy standing on the stage at glastonbury (or wherever it was), imbibing the adulation of the radical youngs. But at the same time seems unable to hear what they're saying.

If he had, and if Labour were to start doing its actual job of supporting the working and disenfranchised they would clean up. They'd have a decade in the bag. But nooOOooooOOOOOo. He has to gallivant frivolously on what was apparently a solemn remembrance of a tragedy around a statue of someone the new blood of the party has never heard of.

If ever there was evidence that the real left we should be supporting these days are people like Mhairi Black and AOC, not those mired in the past.
posted by Buntix at 4:20 PM on March 27 [19 favorites]


For the record, here are the motions ranked in decreasing order of "popularity" (simply the share of Aye votes among all votes, based on the tweet linked above):

49% - Customs Union
48% - 2nd Referendum
44% - Labour Alt Plan
40% - Common Market 2.0
39% - Revoke A50
29% - No Deal
25% - Managed No Deal
15% - EFTA/EEA

If they're going to prune away some choices for Monday's vote based on today's results, I'd have to imagine they're going to prune from the bottom of this list.
posted by mhum at 4:22 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


> "49% - Customs Union"

So this is basically a plan to give the UK a deal similar to that of ... Turkey? Am I interpreting that correctly?
posted by kyrademon at 4:45 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


I was confused as to what the "Customs Union" plan is. Apparently it "requires a commitment to negotiate a “permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union with the EU” in any Brexit deal". So you could end up with May's deal, but lopping off the backstop and just committing to never leave the customs union.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:54 PM on March 27


And so... this would suggest that in a sane world (I do not mean to imply that the world is sane) the next logical step (I do not mean to imply that the next step would be logical) is that Parliament approves a plan whereby the UK remains in the Customs Union but not the Single Market, but the adoption of this plan is then subject to a nationwide vote?
posted by kyrademon at 5:01 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


That's the takeaway from the votes today on what could probably command a majority in the house, yes. Though it will have to shake out come Monday of course. May would have to adopt it as government policy and then go back to the EU before April 12th to agree a long extension to negotiate the changes and hold a referendum. Likely the permanent customs union would be added as part of the political declaration rather than change the WA and backstop, but it basically makes being in the customs union definitively part of the final status deal that gets negotiated during the transition. And it was one of the options on the table from the EU, so is known is already acceptable to them, unlike say EFTA membership, and they are OK with changing the declaration to head towards a more defined closer end-state.

Assuming May won't adopt it, the Commons will have to nab more time to pass an Act to MAKE May do that.

If their current numbers hold, they have the power to do it so May could conceivably fold - she did after all ask for an extension as instructed by the Commons, even if it was only to try and get more time to pass the existing deal. And this way, she could actually pass the deal with a couple of add-ons - and we get a public vote on the whole shebang with remain as the other option. A concrete withdrawal deal that secures the soft border in NI, gives a clear minimum end-state with the EU that ensures zero-tariff trade and the potential for a closer end state for services etc (ahahaha, assuming May's not involved in that bit) - versus remain and keeping all current benefits and voting status and free movement etc. A real choice between two deliverable options.

I'd prefer single market membership if we do leave (so the whole settled status bollocks goes away) but this way we have two clearly distinct options on a referendum. Still plenty of votes and potential for upsets between there and now, but the amount things have been shaken up since the Letwin vote passed in just a couple of days, there is genuine reason to hope now that we'll get another say.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:18 PM on March 27 [10 favorites]


I am going to cheer like a motherfucker if all this popular pressure, political organizing, and political maneuvering actually fucking squeaks it out at the buzzer, but I still think this is taking March Madness too far.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:09 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Does May (or someone else) have to go back to the EU to negotiate this customs union idea, or is it already an option that the EU has already approved but May ignored? Or would it likely require selling the EU on another delay for negotiations? It sounded like the door was already shut on that but I don't know what I might have missed in all this.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:22 PM on March 27


Man, if only somebody in the last two years had told people about this looming deadline
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:56 PM on March 27 [24 favorites]


49% - Customs Union
48% - 2nd Referendum
44% - Labour Alt Plan
40% - Common Market 2.0
39% - Revoke A50
29% - No Deal
25% - Managed No Deal
15% - EFTA/EEA


@NateSilver538: "This is like that scene from Wargames where the computer starts playing out randomly-named strategies dozens at a time and they all fail miserably before realizing that the only winning move is not to play."
posted by Rhaomi at 8:24 PM on March 27 [17 favorites]


Does May (or someone else) have to go back to the EU to negotiate this customs union idea, or is it already an option that the EU has already approved but May ignored? Or would it likely require selling the EU on another delay for negotiations? It sounded like the door was already shut on that but I don't know what I might have missed in all this.

It sounds like they would pass the same Withdrawal Agreement that May negotiated, but modify the "political declaration" that sets the intentions that the UK and EU have with respect to the two years of negotiations they're already planning on. They could also obligate the government to negotiate for the customs union during the transition period.

The WA does not actually set in stone the end-state relationship between the UK and EU; a "Customs Union" amendment to the political declaration would aim the UK at a customs union at the end of the transition period.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:28 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Does May (or someone else) have to go back to the EU to negotiate this customs union idea, or is it already an option that the EU has already approved but May ignored?

Absolutely No You-Know-What summed it up: the withdrawal agreement is locked down, but the political declaration isn't, and the EU27 has wiggle room there given that a customs union is more backstoppy than the backstop. Ratifying the WA sets up the transitional/implementation period.

However: making all of that subject to a confirmatory vote in the terms set out by the Beckett motion would require a long extension.
posted by holgate at 8:35 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


@NateSilver538: "This is like that scene from Wargames yt where the computer starts playing out randomly-named strategies dozens at a time and they all fail miserably before realizing that the only winning move is not to play."

I would like to point out that the WWIII scenarios are being played out sequentially. It's not "dozens at a time," it's just that the WOPR is very fast, and each scenario goes by quickly.

Also, they're not "randomly named," they're named for whomever the aggressor is and so forth. This is clear in the first couple ones we see play out fairly slowly (U.S. FIRST STRIKE, USSR FIRST STRIKE, NATO / WARSAW PACT, FAR EAST STRATEGY). Obviously, as we go further along, the names get a little fanciful, but theoretically TAIWAN THEATERWIDE is from a regional China/Taiwan starting point, etc.

[/WarGames pedantry]
posted by Chrysostom at 8:49 PM on March 27 [31 favorites]


One of those scenarios was English Escalation
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:55 PM on March 27 [17 favorites]


Ray Walston, Luck Dragon just beat me to English Preemptive.
posted by MarchHare at 8:57 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


I just watched the clip and I think I also saw English Thrust
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:03 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]




Also, also, also, didn't it turn out the real life launch code on the US nuclear football was just 000000000000 or something?

I watched and am pretty sure I saw FULL FRONTAL NICARAGUA but I might have blinked.
posted by Rumple at 10:40 PM on March 27 [4 favorites]


This is supposedly a complete list of the war games (wars gamed?):
For fans of the movie WARGAMES: a list of all the nuclear war scenarios stored in the W.O.P.R. computer.

It's quite remarkable that while there is ENGLISH ESCALATION and ENGLISH PREEMPTIVE, there is no "UK" or "BRITISH" scenario, let alone ones for SCOTLAND, WALES, and IRELAND. If I were doing the screens I'd definitely have put in a SCOTTISH SURPRISE or something, because of Trident.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:59 PM on March 27 [7 favorites]


It's quite remarkable that while there is ENGLISH ESCALATION and ENGLISH PREEMPTIVE, there is no "UK" or "BRITISH" scenario, let alone ones for SCOTLAND, WALES, and IRELAND. If I were doing the screens I'd definitely have put in a SCOTTISH SURPRISE or something, because of Trident.

Trident may be stored in Scotland, but it has always always been the English pushing the buttons. As Brexit has so viciously shown.
posted by Vortisaur at 12:12 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


She cannot self-terminate. We must lower her into the steel.

Seems to me that "I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I had intended" could as easily cover risking another general election as resigning. All she needs to believe in order to want to do that is that Corbyn's Labour has less of a chance at forming a new Government than May's Tories would.
posted by flabdablet at 12:27 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


The EU presently has a customs union agreement with three countries: Turkey, San Marino and Andorra. Incidentally, I have the feeling that the "customs union" vote would have gone much worse if it had been framed as the "Turkey" option as opposed "Norway" or "Canada". Somehow the connotations of "Norway" and "Canada" are much better, with good healthcare, freedom of speech and people in outdoor gear doing fun outdoor stuff. Which goes to show that framing is almost as important as substance, something that the Leave campaign understood all too well.

Also, a customs union covers goods, which make up a little more than 20% of the British economy, but has little impact on services, accounting for almost 80%.

Anyway, the EU is waiting for the UK to come up with an indication of where it wants to go. If there is a clear and credible(!) path to something, then the EU is willing to extend the deadline for a longer time. The fact that none of the ways ahead has garnered a majority isn't exactly helpful. The UK government can't, in all seriousness, go to the EU and say "this is our plan", when the UK parliament has just voted against this plan, indicative vote or not. So I guess this leaves the WA and No Deal for the time being. But we'll have to see how the EU reacts.
posted by sour cream at 12:43 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


framing is almost as important as substance, something that the Leave campaign understood all too well

If the entire Brexit process teaches anything, it's that framing leaves substance so far behind as to have disappeared from the rear view mirror.

Fully convinced that the failsafe motion (L) would have done much better than it did had some goon not decided to refer to it as the "revoke amendment".
posted by flabdablet at 1:01 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Trident may be stored in Scotland, but it has always always been the English pushing the buttons. As Brexit has so viciously shown.

The dead man's swtich for Trident is - and this does not appear to be a joke or anything - the broadcast of BBC Radio 4's today programme. If Trident were controlled from Scotland then radio 4's absence would not be missed for months - and sub commanders would probably have to wait until Sunday to see if Robbie Shepherd was still presenting Take The Floor.

Brexit features in the The Good Place as an example of the "weird behaviour" that daemon, Michael has unleashed by his interference with his well intentioned meddling with human affairs. Interestingly, his intervention is mentioned as causing the exist of England rather than the UK. Probably just a geo-political oversight by the writers - except viewers will know that the series has omniscient writers.
posted by rongorongo at 1:10 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


I'd say "What a fucking circus", but circuses are meticulously organized affairs.

Breathe normally. Prepare for mist.

posted by flabdablet at 1:21 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]




Last night I dreamed that the UK government made an ninth Harry Potter movie. It was called "Harry Potter and the Aztrjj578hg(*&bfwi4j" and consisted of clips from the previous movies and unrelated commercials hastily stitched together.

My dreams are not usually so... pointed.
posted by kyrademon at 1:48 AM on March 28 [17 favorites]


@Instituteforgov has another very useful diagram showing how the votes broke down
posted by Caractacus at 1:48 AM on March 28 [11 favorites]


Briefly summarised, Parliament doesn't want any part of a hard Brexit (although obviously, might get one anyway), but can't vote for a soft Brexit due to hard-core Remainers and can't vote for a Final Say due to hard-core Leavers.

Meanwhile, the final vote on May's successor, once their MPs have picked a short-list of 2, goes to the Tory membership, who lean about 70% towards the hard Brexit Ultras. So they get to pick who negotiates the details.
posted by Caractacus at 2:09 AM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Not directly related except insofor as he may be our next Prime Minister: Jacob Rees-Mogg, the European far right, and the Christchurch terrorist (the Canary).
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:09 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Yep. The Bruges Group of Tory Ultras one of whom was on about 'Cultural Marxism' the other day, had a bunch of booklets at the Tory conference according to Vice talking about stuff like 'The Great Replacement' which is a characteristic Generation Identity theme used by the Christchurch terrorist in his manifesto. So there's definitely some cross-over with their thinking.

... and per my post above, the Tory membership is very likely to pick one of the Ultras.
posted by Caractacus at 2:23 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


Watching the points of order last night after the votes were announced was so infuriating. The Tories were losing their shit and Bercow was (quite rightly, and with a kind of panache that I’ve come to admire) laying into them for being so petulant. And then the hypocrisy! The bile really rose in my throat when Vicky Ford stood up and whined about how mean the speaker was being to not let MV3 happen, saying that “many of my colleagues have indicated both privately and publicly that the conditions and circumstances therefore mean that they wish to change their mind” (emphasis mine). Normally I’d think this was pretty brazen and almost have to give her a bit of credit for being gutsy enough to say it out loud, but in fact I imagine it’s just bog-standard cluelessness, topped up with classic City entitlement Toff syndrome. Hansard here, if you’re not already nauseous.
posted by tractorfeed at 2:35 AM on March 28 [9 favorites]


Alexande Afonso's diagram summarising last nights indicative voting patterns makes everything much clearer!

I liked this, but wanted numbers:
- Yes to at least one of the soft Brexit options (excluding EFTA) = 289
- Yes to at least one of the soft Brexit options (including EFTA) = 317
- Yes to at least one of the soft Brexit options (excluding EFTA) or a public vote = 356
- Yes to at least one of the soft Brexit options (including EFTA) or a public vote = 384
- No to all three soft Brexit options = 236
- No to all three soft Brexit options and Efta = 209
- No to all three soft Brexit options and Efta and a public vote = 190

("Soft Brexit options" = Clarke, Labour or Common Market 2.0 motions)
posted by grahamparks at 2:43 AM on March 28


@sliderulesyou:

*I burst out of the time portal into a Covent Garden cafe on a warm May morning in 2014*

Ed: What?! Where did you-

Me: Put down the sandwich!

Ed: But I just-

Me: PUT DOWN THE SANDWICH!

(reference)
posted by Wordshore at 2:44 AM on March 28 [29 favorites]


The British media, as always, is making the dumbest possible reading of yesterday's votes. They're pretty much all running with the line that parliament voted against all of the available options, with almost none of them mentioning that this was a first step in gauging which options might eventually command a majority once the options with least support are taken out. It's not a hard concept to understand, nor is is particularly difficult to explain. As usual, the real journalism is confined to the fringes.
posted by pipeski at 3:27 AM on March 28 [19 favorites]


Looking at the breakdown of votes for the options I linked above, one could pose the question 'what has to happen for X to get a majority on Monday?' particularly in terms of who is ideologically committed to voting against and who might be persuaded.
posted by Caractacus at 4:35 AM on March 28


Bless me, but Bercow is brutal in that excerpt from Hansard:
I am well familiar with “Erskine May.” The House’s ownership of its Standing Orders is a matter of established fact, which has been of long-standing significance. As to what happens in the period to come, we shall have to see. I am extraordinarily obliged to the hon. Gentleman, and I do not mean it in any spirit of discourtesy, but he has not told me something that I did not know. I am deeply grateful to him, and I feel sure he is pleased that he has made his point.

[my emphasis]
Wow. That reply would be worthy of Jane Austen; it is a very sharp cut indeed.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:46 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


Bercow is fully knives-out if Hansard is anything to go by.

"I am grateful to the hon. Lady. That is an innovative thought on her part."
posted by entity447b at 4:50 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


The thing about Bercow is that he appears to believe that he is actually Brian Blessed. He can't quite do it but he does get close on occasion.
posted by flabdablet at 4:56 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


"I am grateful to the hon. Lady. That is an innovative thought on her part."

It was addressed to Kate Hoey, and she probably thought it was a compliment.
posted by daveje at 5:08 AM on March 28 [10 favorites]


Looks like there is going to some sort of vote tomorrow... but not MV3.. it's all a bit complicated and technical and will probably end in tears, but what's new...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:43 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


the vote on the statutory instrument to change the date has gone through at least

It's been a little overlooked in the focus on the indicative votes, but that vote on the statutory instrument was gobsmacking:

Less than HALF Conservative MPs voted for a Three Line Whip on extending A50 UK law legal date SI - something they were told would cause deep legal problems. Just 150 voted for, 93 against, rest abstained. Passed on Labour votes.

If this hadn't gone through, the UK would have been in an unholy legal mess after 29 March: we would still have been in the EU until at least 12 April, but reams of domestic legislation would been operating as if we'd left. It would have been even more self-sabotaging than a straight No Deal exit. And 93 Tories voted for that bizarre outcome, and 71 more couldn't be bothered to prevent it.

Kate Hoey and the DUP also voted for that particular piece of legal insanity.
posted by rory at 5:44 AM on March 28 [20 favorites]


@Instituteforgov has another very useful diagram showing how the votes broke down
Some observations about this data in the associated Twitter thread:
1. We can see just how partisan both of the main parties are at this point. For example just 1 Conservative MP (Ken Clark) voted in favour of the Labour plan.
2. The only 2 options which Tories voted for significant numbers were "No Deal" and "Standstill" - the two least popular options by overall vote.
3. On the "No Deal" option, approx 50% of voting Tories were in favour, 30% were against it and 20% abstained.
4. 28 MPs voted "No" to all the options listed. Hard to see why.
5. The Customs Union option would have had a majority for Yes if it were not for the SNP (who abstained because of its lack of rules on labour laws)
posted by rongorongo at 5:52 AM on March 28


4. 28 MPs voted "No" to all the options listed. Hard to see why.

Currying favour with Mother Theresa?
posted by flabdablet at 6:12 AM on March 28


Absent a backstop for passport control, doesn’t the customs union cause basically the same problems with the Irish border? Since it applies to goods, not freedom of movement.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 6:29 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


4. 28 MPs voted "No" to all the options listed. Hard to see why

One of those was my MP, 'Mad Frankie' Field. He's voting 'no' because he supports May's deal.
posted by Caractacus at 6:31 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


And Corbyn's response today to yesterday's chaos is to post an attack vid against the SNP relitigating the 1979 vote of no confidence and subsequent early general election...

Replying to the above, @NicolaSturgeon: Dear @jeremycorbyn - instead of talking about things that happened when I was eight years old, how about showing some leadership today? You could start by asking yourself why the polls show you still trailing behind the most incompetent Tory government in our lifetimes.
posted by Buntix at 6:34 AM on March 28 [46 favorites]


> Absent a backstop for passport control, doesn’t the customs union cause basically the same problems with the Irish border? Since it applies to goods, not freedom of movement.

I don't think so. Ireland is not within Schengen, but has a separate free travel agreement with the UK. travel between Schengen countries and either Ireland or the UK requires s passport.
posted by stonepharisee at 7:51 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


It makes the UK border with the EU impossible to secure without getting on the wrong side of GFA though.
posted by Dysk at 7:54 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


The EU has no interest in securing the border as long as the UK is in the customs union and Ireland is not within Schengen.
posted by parallellines at 8:21 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


"Theresa May must be the only leader in living memory who has tried to fall on her own sword and has managed to miss"
Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister's Questions
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:25 AM on March 28 [41 favorites]


The great Mary Beard asked her Twitter followers to suggest questions that future historians will ask their students about Brexit, and she got some very clever responses indeed. My favorite is probably "Brexit was lost on the playing fields of Eton." Discuss.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:25 AM on March 28 [23 favorites]


I've followed the Brexit threads from the beginning without commenting, but now I feel compelled to say:

Thank you, Rock Steady, for introducing me to the term "Schrodinger's Immigrant".
posted by Alex404 at 8:54 AM on March 28 [8 favorites]


The EU has no interest in securing the border as long as the UK is in the customs union and Ireland is not within Schengen.

The UK and Ireland both do though, unless they're both interested in adopting the other's immigration policy.
posted by Dysk at 9:02 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]


(And while Ireland is not part of Schengen, they are part of the single market, including freedom of movement of people. So that's the UK accepting FoM in practice at least, or securing that border or one in the Irish Sea.)
posted by Dysk at 9:04 AM on March 28


Spartans don’t hug it out. Except for Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker

The latest Marina - genius in a world gone mad
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:10 AM on March 28 [6 favorites]


So that's the UK accepting FoM in practice at least, or securing that border or one in the Irish Sea.

Not necessarily. It could mean that you can cross the border in Ireland freely, but if you want to actually do anything in the UK other than spend money or travel around, like see a doctor or rent a flat or work or study: papers, please. All it would take is just the slightest expansion of the Hostile Environment to encompass... everyone.
posted by rory at 9:23 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


From the Marina Hyde column:

Theresa May offered Tory MPs her pending resignation if her deal was passed, but the DUP trophy brides she spent a billion quid on have still declined to back it.

I am overcome and need to lie down. Perfection.
posted by kalimac at 9:45 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


So it sounds like May may try to pass just the Withdrawal Agreement without the Political Declaration. Barring something bizarre happening, it seems rather unlikely to succeed.

Although some of the Ultras will back it, trading their 'iron principles' for their own shot at continuing the Tories current string of 'Worst Prime Minster ever' achievements, it doesn't seem likely to win over anyone who doesn't want hard Brexit.

In fact the prospect of a 'blindfold Brexit' with Boris Johnson, Michael Gove or (probably an outsider) Mark 'Walt' Francois negotiating it, makes the prospect of buying a pig in a poke even less appealing.

This raises the question of what happens next in either case, which Donald Tusk has helpfully explained.
posted by Caractacus at 9:49 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


More Marina Hyde:
...breakfast television featured quarterwittery from Mark Francois. Of May’s deal, the ERG vice-chair declared: “I wouldn’t vote for it if they put a shotgun in my mouth.” Plenty more where that came from, no doubt. When you think of all the ball-gags that must have been worn by Tory MPs down the years, it really is a tragedy that one couldn’t be found for Mark.
glorious.
posted by Sauce Trough at 9:56 AM on March 28 [13 favorites]


In fact the prospect of a 'blindfold Brexit' with Boris Johnson, Michael Gove or (probably an outsider) Mark 'Walt' Francois negotiating it, makes the prospect of buying a pig in a poke even less appealing.

Particularly as if the agreement is passed and May is replaced by one of the ERG types they then have a couple of years to continually piss in the EU's chips just to sabotage things: potentially resulting in a defacto no-deal exit.
posted by Buntix at 10:04 AM on March 28


The line from Marina Hyde that bites the most: "I want to assure you that when the apocalypse has come [...] the one crackling radio in your resistance bunker will still be bringing news of Conservative party leadership contests."

Jeremy *unt launched his not-really-under-the-radar campaign today. I expect Grayling will dive in with a speech where he shows up three hours late at the wrong location. They have a spring in their step: plotting days are here again! They've all moved on as if the past three years of fuck-ups never happened.
posted by holgate at 10:05 AM on March 28 [5 favorites]


But fuck-ups don't happen to folks like Hunt and Grayling. As soon as the bad thing happens, they've moved on — it's someone else's fault then. The last three years have been little more than a few photo-ops for them
posted by scruss at 10:39 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


The British media, as always, is making the dumbest possible reading of yesterday's votes. They're pretty much all running with the line that parliament voted against all of the available options, with almost none of them mentioning that this was a first step in gauging which options might eventually command a majority once the options with least support are taken out. It's not a hard concept to understand, nor is is particularly difficult to explain.

To be fair, I have read a couple of comments here which also seem to indicate a lack of understanding of the two day procedure.
posted by Pendragon at 10:44 AM on March 28


Managed to leave work on time for once, so was listening to radio 4.

Had some brexiteer on talking about Friday's plan. Pass just the Withdrawal Agreement, so getting the automatic extension to May 22nd and securing the transition period so giving us a brexit bonus (barf), so they can get onto the difficult bit of agreeing the political declaration which might in extremis have to include a customs union, helpfully eliding that the PD also has to be passed by May 22nd, not in the transition.

Even the journalist figured out that meant the May 22nd deadline would be unmovable with no possible further extension as EU elections wouldn't have been held.

So that's the plan - get the brextremists to agree to the WA now while they're afraid of Parliament going for long extension/2nd ref, along with labour leavers who are fine with the WA but don't like the political declaration on the final destination - and completely nobble the chance of significant tweaks to the PD or a referendum or General Election and possibly even blocking revoking article 50. Then use the brick wall exit date of May 22nd to get the PD passed under the unmoveable threat of no-deal with help from Labour, possibly with a vague non-binding promise to look at a customs union that May's successor will no doubt rip up 5 minutes after sitting down in the big chair - and if it fails, then the brexiteers get their no-deal on May 22nd and either way, the Tory Party stays together.

Utterly breathtakingly cynical, and only works if you assume most everybody in Parliament is thick as pig shit and can't spot the obvious trap. Of course, he may well be right given the average apparent IQ of many leave-supporting backbenchers.

And for the kicker, when the interviewer brought up the many calls they'd had about Brexit Related Anxiety (the stress and sleeplessness caused by the conflict and uncertainty and distrust of the other side) the brexiteer couldn't help but laugh a little, as if he'd never heard anything more ridiculous.

Every time I think the well of contempt I have for these fuckers is near bottomless, they prove it can be dug down a few more feet.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:51 AM on March 28 [31 favorites]


Meanwhile, according to the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, .... a no deal is now “the most plausible outcome”, and that there is an urgent need to war-game the bloc’s response to it.

Apparently there is agreement among the EU27 that the response should be to (a) ask the UK to pay up that 39Bil and (b) implement the backstop in Ireland.
posted by sour cream at 11:29 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


Apparently it is not possible for parliament to vote on the WA in isolation - because the document references the PD within it. You can’t know what you are signing off on without checking the referred document.
posted by rongorongo at 12:17 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


On reflection, of course the WA references the PD. The people who drafted the WA are not complete morons. The PD isn't just a rider.

How on earth are they going to square that one, I wonder. With their superb legal minds, I'm sure they'll come up with something convincing.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:30 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


If the dust ever gets time to settle, it will become apparent to everybody in the Commons with the possible exception of Hoey that the only options actually available to them are (a) the deal (b) no deal (c) revoke; everything else requires Europe to do something it is highly unlikely to do and will therefore boil down to (b).

They have already definitively - not indicatively - ruled out (a) and (b).
posted by flabdablet at 12:31 PM on March 28 [7 favorites]


They’ve said they’ve ruled out no deal, but they haven’t legally done so, right? I’d say that it therefore isn’t definitive.
posted by edd at 12:35 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Absolutely No You-Know-What I agree with your analysis which chimes with that of Peter Foster. You don't have to be too bright to see the "trap" (though I agree with Foster that the trap is to ensure that MPs set against "No Deal" have to vote for a Statutory Instrument for holding EU elections—which is the only way we'll buy enough time for a non-May, non-No-Deal Brexit—thereby getting their hands dirty).

What I don't understand is how a not dumb person who would like to remain, but who above all wants to avoid No Deal, should act? I mean given the realities of the situation.
posted by dudleian at 12:36 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


rongorongo: "We can see just how partisan both of the main parties are at this point. For example just 1 Conservative MP (Ken Clark) voted in favour of the Labour plan."

But Ken Clarke was also the only Tory to vote against triggering article 50 in the first place, so I don't his vote yesterday is an indication of increased partisanship. He was on Hardtalk this week -- immensely charming man.
posted by crazy with stars at 1:14 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, according to the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, .... a no deal is now “the most plausible outcome”, and that there is an urgent need to war-game the bloc’s response to it.

And I was concerned my WarGames comment was a derail.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:18 PM on March 28 [12 favorites]


Mark 'Walt' Francois

Surely Mark Francois' nickname is 'Frenchie'?
posted by biffa at 2:28 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


Walts
posted by Caractacus at 2:35 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]






You should really click on fearfulsymmetry's link, because, remarkably, that quote only gives a taste of the slagging May was given by one of her own Cabinet.
posted by biffa at 4:59 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


I particularly like how, as the broadcaster reads the quote, whoever is offscreen is making increasingly concerned little "hrmm" noises
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:47 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


"Fuck knows, I'm past caring, it's like the living dead in here."

Remarkable as that entire clip is, the bit I found especially noteworthy is that the cabinet minister in question claimed May is the "sole architect" of this mess. If the UK crashes out and everything goes up in flames, I expect a great many Tories to repeat that line.
posted by duffell at 6:56 PM on March 28 [9 favorites]


"Fuck knows, I'm past caring, it's like the living dead in here."

Classic Malcolm Tucker.
posted by JamesBay at 7:13 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


Hmm. I never saw that movie, wish I had.
kevin mitchell @kevinmitchell50

Wonder if @theresa_may ever saw The quite The Rise And Rise of Michael Rimmer?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:22 PM on March 28 [2 favorites]


It's past the watershed, but I can't remember the word "fuck" being read out as a direct quote on a BBC news programme. (It must have been Gove, mustn't it?)

the bit I found especially noteworthy is that the cabinet minister in question claimed May is the "sole architect" of this mess

They've all moved on. I might sympathise with "one side thinks she's agreed to X, the other side thinks she's agreed to Y, then she does Z" except they had ample opportunity to oust her and instead chose to make her the scapegoat for three years of Tory incompetence, after which they can start afresh with a new era of Tory incompetence.

whoever is offscreen is making increasingly concerned little "hrmm" noises

That was Emily Maitlis with the ooh-nos, who had earlier dealt with Mogg. (The lighting on Mogg was, um, very 1930s.)
posted by holgate at 8:52 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


dealt with Mogg

That sounds like something you'd see a sheep farmer having to do on All Creatures Great & Small.
posted by flabdablet at 10:36 PM on March 28 [13 favorites]


Perfect summing up of today's proceedings from outside these septic isles:

"Sorry, not British so perhaps its me.

Your PM is asking the MPs to back a deal they all apparently hate....and the incentive for them if they do, is that she's going to quit and leave them to sort out the mess of a deal they never wanted in the first place.....am I missing something?

It's like saying I want you to help me unblock this toilet that I blocked and if you do..... your reward will be that I will bugger off to the pub and you can clean up all the shit that I have left behind.

Again, help me, am I missing something?"
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:50 PM on March 28 [6 favorites]


If you vote on a deal in the hopes it forces someone to resign, you're not voting on the deal but the resignation.
posted by PenDevil at 12:03 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


It's like saying I want you to help me unblock this toilet that I blocked and if you do..... your reward will be that I will bugger off to the pub and you can clean up all the shit that I have left behind.
The real reward is that she'll fuck off and stop blocking the toilet all the time.
The problem for us is she's a member of the Toilet Blocking Party and will be replaced by a toilet blocking zealot who's only goal in life is to block toilets.
posted by fullerine at 12:06 AM on March 29 [48 favorites]


the bit I found especially noteworthy is that the cabinet minister in question claimed May is the "sole architect" of this mess.

She's the sole architect of everything that's gone wrong since the referendum. But she had nothing to do with the lies and deceit that brought the UK to vote for this stupidity in the first place. She's just one of a large number of people who need to be brought to account.
posted by daveje at 12:44 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Organisations need to be brought to account, too. We have the BBC to thank for making Farage/UKIP relevant, by having them on Question Time and other programmes so frequently, instead of treating them like the Monster Raving Loony Party.
posted by skybluepink at 1:35 AM on March 29 [9 favorites]




Happy Brexit Day!

By my count, the German Car Manufacturers have 14 hours left today to order Merkel to order the EU to cave on all Britain's demands so that Brexit will go according to plan. I don't want to sound impatient, but they should really be getting started with that. What if she gets a cold and takes the afternoon off? The perfect Brexit might not occur tonight and then it might appear to the uninformed that Brexiters didn't know what they were talking about.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:22 AM on March 29 [22 favorites]


I was at Broadcasting House at midnight last night editing this with just a cup of cold tea and actual mice running around my feet. So please could you watch it. Thank you.

A summation of May's terrible terrible Brexit execution (and self-execution) using her own words set to some nice cheerful acapella music
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:28 AM on March 29




The BBC has a published a helpful (and depressing) chart on what might happen next.

As the chart nicely points out, to reach a deal, it is not sufficient to clear the WA today; it will also be necessary to secure approval for the political declaration. This seems to be unlikely, as the whole point of decoupling the WA from the PD was that there is even less agreement on the PD. Also, the position of Labour seems to be that they will not approve the WA without knowing (and liking) what's in the PD, so they seem to view it as a "package deal", meaning that it doesn't look good for the WA today.

The other timelines point to no deal and long extension, but the latter will, of course, only happen if the UK takes part in the upcoming elections. So if the UK wants to avoid no deal, then it might be a good idea to get started preparing for those elections ASAP. Also, it seems that April 12 is a real deadline, because the other EU states need to now how many MEPs they can elect (which will depend on whether the UK takes part in the elections or not). Maybe it can be extended by a few more days, but that's it.
posted by sour cream at 3:20 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Yes, passing the WA alone is not sufficient under UK law. From the EU side the WA is the legally binding part and the declaration is non-binding, but wanted by the UK as a roadmap to where we're heading towards after transition. At the moment, the declaration could almost be replaced with a blank bit of paper it's so vague.

So one option would be to pass the WA as is, then change the UK withdrawal act so that the requirement for the declaration is removed. Or negotiate changes to the declaration with the EU so Labour will back it.

But it assumes enough Labour MPs will back the WA with no idea what's going to be in the declaration, who's going to be negotiating it, or who'll be in change of following it up to implement the post-transition deal. As Starmer says, it's the blindest of blind brexits. And doing so buys only an extra month at the price of definitely preventing any further extensions.

Assuming it fails, which seems likely today, then all eyes turn to Monday, and what round 2 of the indicative votes throws up. April 12th is indeed a hard deadline - parliament either come up with a plan (of some sort) and commit to holding EU elections in May, possibly even have to pass a statutory instrument ensuring it*, and May ask's nicely for a long extension, or we crash out. A long extension to hold a referendum or general election would almost certainly be granted; it might also be possible to get one on the basis of 'fucked if we know what to do now, help?', but definitely chancy. If there's no extension, it's crash out or revoke at the last minute, as usual.

* If I understand commentary about it, passing a statutory instrument extending the date in the withdrawal act would also count, as that would mean existing UK law requiring an EU election in May would remain in effect; but it may be easier to pass a SI specifically ensuring the date of that election, and getting the EU's agreement to an extension rather than pre-emptively put one in the withdrawal Act 2018 without knowing how long for. Depends on scheduling, but the Commons will likely have to pass *something* EU election-related before April 12th to reassure the EU we won't renege.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:28 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


So, TIG is now a political party called Change UK ...

Is that abbreviated to "CHUK" or "CUK"do we know?

(Yes, I checked and the name is real, not some sort of alt-right troll)
posted by Caractacus at 4:59 AM on March 29


'Small Change'... you can have that one for free, tabloid sub-editors
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:07 AM on March 29 [7 favorites]


I don't get the push towards a customs union on its own, which came out as one of the more popular options in the indicative votes the other day. There's been an awful lot of talk about free movement of goods, frictionless trade and the like. I guess it's easy for some of our thicker MPs to imagine lorry-loads of widgets crossing the Channel.

But it feels like the services sector, which is the vast majority of our modern economy and employment, has been totally ignored for the entirety of the Brexit debate. Again, I don't know if I'm missing something, but is it really so difficult for them to understand that the more abstract concept of services being bought and sold across Europe is far, far more important to more people than the movement of goods?

Both are important, but the fact that the debate has been focused so much on goods and not services for three years feels like a massive oversight.
posted by winterhill at 5:42 AM on March 29 [14 favorites]


Change UK

Pretty underwhelming, badly researched and odd for a group whose whole raison d'etre is keeping the status quo. Interesting that they seem to have pinned all their hopes on the cash injection provided by getting a few Euro MPs.
posted by brilliantmistake at 6:17 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Again, I don't know if I'm missing something,
Nope.
but is it really so difficult for them to understand that the more abstract concept of services being bought and sold across Europe is far, far more important to more people than the movement of goods?

For this government, and MPs generally - yup, it appears it is. They can get their head round shortages of fresh vegetables, car parts and medication. Abstract financial and product services? *whoosh* over their heads.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:25 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


So, TIG is now a political party called Change UK ...
Is that abbreviated to "CHUK" or "CUK"do we know?


I assume it's pronounced "CHUKa"
(Though I note that he's still not the party leader)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:30 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


With mutterings about the government floating nine-figure "investments" in the constituencies of on-the-fence Labour MPs, it might be worth dropping a line to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
posted by holgate at 6:39 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


With mutterings about the government floating nine-figure "investments" in the constituencies of on-the-fence Labour MPs, it might be worth dropping a line to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.
Has anyone in NI noticed any improvements or investment in public services there from the £1bn bribe?
posted by winterhill at 6:43 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Has anybody called it Meaningless Vote 1 yet?
posted by fullerine at 6:50 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


The media are keeping pretty quiet about Farage's March for Leave arriving in London.

Has anyone seen any estimates of the number of marchers?
posted by ZipRibbons at 7:04 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Pretty underwhelming, badly researched and odd for a group whose whole raison d'etre is keeping the status quo.

What status quo is this? The Brexit means Brexit one where the UK has gotten increasingly closed, insular, and hostile to foreigners? Where public services are a distant memory?

They're cut from New Labour cloth. What they're about might've been the status quo a decade ago, maybe even five years ago, but it isn't the status quo now.
posted by Dysk at 7:10 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Has anyone seen any estimates of the number of marchers?

Presumably if it was more than a dozen the BBC would be all over it?
posted by Grangousier at 7:11 AM on March 29


In an uncharacteristically good tweet from Andrew Adonis, he's asked for suggestions for the title of Theresa May's memoirs.

It's looking like the WA bill's going to lose, FWIW.
posted by ambrosen at 7:24 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


I'm very happy to see Meaningful 3rd / Meaningless 1st voted down, so long as I can be sure that parliament will work its way through to a long extension rather than falling into the bear trap of No Deal. Leave or Remain, that's what we need. We didn't do the work necessary to leave as an intact society / economy over the past 2 years, and we need to go back and do it before we leave. Or decide to sod that for a game of soldiers.

Experience gives me no confidence that our MPs could organise a piss up in a brewery, let alone work together to avoid the bear trap and to organise the EU elections needed for the long extension. With lukewarm support from the government and the Leader In Name Only, that's not going to be easy.

This is the point of maximum opportunity for the No Dealers—vote down May, and then fight tooth and nail to prevent an extension, tipping us over the edge.

It is also, very obviously, the point of maximum opportunity for the men who would be king, as one by one those who have curdled the blood with their lurid descriptions of the WA's awfulness step up to the microphone and say "Nah, it's all right. I could vote for that." And I am sure one of them will go on to lead the Conservatives. It reminds me of Ahrendt: "instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness."
posted by dudleian at 7:25 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


DIVISION!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:28 AM on March 29


Watching Ian Dunt's Twitter feed right now is nerve-racking. Theresa May is giving just gave her closing speech for The Hunger Games: Jokingmay Part 1, doing her darnedest to tempt Labour Leave MPs into voting for something that would guarantee a Brexit dictated by whichever ghastly Brexiter succeeds her as Tory leader. And even if it does get voted down, there's still no guarantee it won't be No Deal in a fortnight.
posted by rory at 7:31 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Where public services are a distant memory?

It's really not worth arguing over a party that doesn't actually have any policies but you're looking for Anna "marvellous job" Soubry to bring back public services and end austerity? For Allen and Wollaston to grow a conscience about the welfare cuts they voted through? For Umunna (funded by Tory donors) to fight for the welfare state?

They all seem pretty solidly Cameron/Osborne socially liberal, economically conservative Tory from the rare public pronouncements they have made so far, an era of which the May government will be seen as the disastrous end point .
posted by brilliantmistake at 7:33 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Wes Streeting's intervention pricked the bubble somewhat, reminding any Labour waverers that they'd not only be voting to hand over control of Brexit to Tory PM Yet To Come, but also empowering that person in every other way on every other policy.
posted by holgate at 7:36 AM on March 29


I see the May government as substantially different to even Cameron/Osborne. Cameron/Osborne was turbocharged New Labour: austerity, and focus on the economy, but socially liberal. To say that this is not my preferred approach to government would be putting it lightly. But it is leagues ahead of the current lot: even more austerity, focus on racism and xenophobia (promoting it, not fighting it) and socially conservative.
posted by Dysk at 7:37 AM on March 29 [7 favorites]


286-344

May loses by 58 this time.
posted by zachlipton at 7:42 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Ayes 286
Noes 344
posted by rory at 7:42 AM on March 29


DIVISION!

The Noes have it. 344-286.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:43 AM on March 29


One thing that's clear: Labour MPs might have mixed opinions about Brexit and Corbyn, but apart from Kate 'DUP London branch' Hoey and a few old sods like Skinner, they've followed the party whip.

Mrs May appears to be very disappointed with how the Commons has treated her.
posted by holgate at 7:45 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


This is the point of maximum opportunity for the No Dealers—vote down May, and then fight tooth and nail to prevent an extension, tipping us over the edge.

Actually, the reason lots of the ERG were switching sides to support the WA today is that passing it would have No Deal more likely and remaining impossible. If it passed, the adjusted EU deadline would have become late May (whereas now it's April 12th). The government could have then pootled through the next month, passing the April deadline for participating in EU elections which would have meant the UK could not stay in the EU. Article 50 couldn't have been extended again beyond late May and the government would then have given parliament a choice between May's deal and no deal. But it might not have been May forcing her terrible deal down our throats; it might have been something even worse: a grassroots-elected headbanging Brexiter like Mogg who would have happily run us off the cliff edge.

This was a good result.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:47 AM on March 29 [8 favorites]


Josh Marshall tweets: With the Brexit situation, can the UN still do like Mandates for a mandatory power to oversee the UK until its ready for a return to self-government?

He's joking. I think. Right?

(Has any sitting government ever lost so many important - momentous - votes?)
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:51 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


and remaining impossible.

This is not true, revoking article 50 would still be possible.
posted by Pendragon at 7:53 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


This is not true, revoking article 50 would still be possible.
Sorry I wasn't clear, I meant politically not procedurally on that issue.

And regarding my point about passing May's deal being a path to a Brexit of the nutters, here's the plan from one of the horses' mouths.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:58 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Donald Tusk just called an EU Council meeting for a couple of days before crash-out day.

What might he have in mind? Providing an extension the Tories haven't asked for?

I seem to recall Tory leadership elections can happen pretty fast, so might it be a hard-Brexit PM by then?
posted by Caractacus at 8:00 AM on March 29


This was a good result.

Yes, it was good, in that the alternative would have led inexorably in that direction, but the risk of No Deal on the 12th is still there, until we have an agreed long extension or have pulled the handbrake, as Ian Blackford just put it in the House.

Still, there's now a much better chance that we'll get take part in the EU elections, and that's what the Brexiters (should) dread the most about the prospect of a long extension—because Remainers will take part in greater numbers than in 2014, which will mean that the balance of UK MEPs shifts away from the Tories and Faragists. And that will have as big an impact on the national conversation as the 2014 EP elections did (arguably, they're what brought us to this in the first place).
posted by rory at 8:01 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


What might he have in mind? Providing an extension the Tories haven't asked for?

Everyone assumes Theresa May won't actively go for No Deal, so an extension request is inevitable.

(and even if she does, a summit might be a good idea anyway)
posted by grahamparks at 8:15 AM on March 29


34 Tories voted against. If they'd voted for it, all other things being equal, then the vote would have been 320-310 in favour of the WA.

There were apparently 5 Labour votes for the WA. If they'd voted against it in the same scenario then the vote would have been 315-315.

And then Bercow would have had the casting vote.
posted by rory at 8:24 AM on March 29 [9 favorites]


that's what the Brexiters (should) dread the most about the prospect of a long extension—because Remainers will take part in greater numbers than in 2014
I can see both sides taking part in greater numbers. And thanks to the last few years I've stopped feeling remotely confident that things will go anything like how I might predict.
posted by edd at 8:30 AM on March 29 [8 favorites]


5,969,712
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:41 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


The problem in 2014 was that Tories and Kippers turned out much more strongly than other groups. It won't matter as much if they turn out strongly again so long as the pro-EU side does as well. Proportional representation will give them their fair share of MEPs, but no more.

There's even a chance that everyday Leavers (rather than diehards) will stay away from the elections, as they'll have bought the idea that we should have nothing to do with the EU. They won't all be thinking strategically about disrupting the European Parliament the way Farage and company do.

I'm not suggesting being complacent; we have to get out the Remain vote. But we shouldn't be defeatist about the prospect either. This could be our Blue-and-Yellow Wave.
posted by rory at 8:45 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


England Signatures 4,718,507
Northern Ireland Signatures 127,089
Scotland Signatures 550,664
Wales Signatures 221,269

More signatures than MP's majority 232
More signatures than MP's GE votes 6

UK Signatures 5,721,050 (95.83%)
Overseas Signatures 248,935 (4.17%)

Total UK Electorate signed 12.75%
Total UK Population signed 9.04%
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:47 AM on March 29 [6 favorites]


This was a good result.

I'm not so sure about that.

Any result other than No Deal now depends on the other EU member states.
Furthermore, two hurdles need to be cleared in order to avoid No Deal:

1) The UK needs to clear the way to participation in the upcoming EU elections; and
2) The UK needs to convince the other member states that there is a credible path to something other than No Deal.

Apparently, the time line is as follows:
There'll be an EU council meeting on April 10 (called today by Tusk), where May will have to convince the other 27 member states of her chosen way forward. The EU will then decide whether another extension is granted or not. But the UK government will need to lay out its plan before that, namely by May 8, to give the other member states some time to check them.

So April 8 seems to be the next deadline. If the UK doesn't propose a clear way out of this mess by then, then No Deal seems to be inevitable.

I suppose calling a general election might be one of the few ways out, but I don't know what the hurdles are for that.
posted by sour cream at 8:56 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Any result other than No Deal now depends on the other EU member states.

Article 50 can be revoked unilaterally.
posted by Dysk at 8:57 AM on March 29 [24 favorites]


But not to merely to gain time and only based on a similar democratic decision as that taken to invoke A50, which many think means a vote in parliament. My understanding is that there already was a vote in parliament the other day, where this was voted down. (Although, it is hard to keep up these days, so ...)
Edit: Ah, right, the vote the other day was just indicative (I knew I'm overlooking something), so yes, I suppose that revoking A50 is a theoretical possibility.
posted by sour cream at 9:03 AM on March 29


It can be revoked based on the constitutional requirements of the member state in question. Since Parliament is sovereign under British constitutional conventions that is what it would take. Parliament has voted against every option. They will vote on some of them again. Some of them already have had two or even three parliamentary votes. Revocation is not special in this respect, it can be voted on by Parliament again too.

And I did not have a temporary revocation for buying time in mind, exactly...
posted by Dysk at 9:06 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


Even if the votes the other day hadn't been indicative, they'd pretty much have to vote on at least one of them again, given that they ruled out every option...

And May has created precedent for voting on the same thing several times.
posted by Dysk at 9:09 AM on March 29


The EU is pretty unlikely to reject a further extension if the UK asks for one (which it will). Even if they did reject it, they would likely provide at least a short extension beyond April 12 so No Deal could happen in a more orderly fashion.

My understanding is that there already was a vote in parliament the other day, where this was voted down

No, the motion in the indicative vote was to set up an automatic mechanism demanding revocation if no deal was a few days away. That's quite different from a simple motion for revocation.

Even if the votes the other day hadn't been indicative, they'd pretty much have to vote on at least one of them again, given that they ruled out every option...

Various Tories tried to push this one when the results came in on Wednesday. Bercow was very clear that none of the proposals are considered rejected until the end of the Letwin process.
posted by grahamparks at 9:13 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


The EU will then decide whether another extension is granted or not. But the UK government will need to lay out its plan before that, namely by May 8, to give the other member states some time to check them.

And since May is completely incapable of formulating any such plan, they will not grant an extension.

My understanding is that there already was a vote in parliament the other day, where this was voted down.

There's that framing vs. reality thing again. The so-called "revocation motion" that failed to get a majority the other day was in fact no such thing; it was a failsafe motion that would require Parliament, if no agreement on Brexit had been achieved two days before the crash-out deadline, to vote at that time on whether or not to crash out, and if not then the failsafe would bind Parliament to revoking A50 to avoid doing so.

It was a perfectly sensible option that did no more than change the default result from no-deal crash-out, which everybody except the gurning wankers in the ERG and DUP (oh, and Kate Hoey) understands would be the worst possible result, to the status quo ante.

A straight-up motion to revoke A50 is not the same thing. It's a lot simpler to understand, for one, which given the quality of reasoning underlying some of the argument I've been watching over the last few evenings could well make a large difference.
posted by flabdablet at 9:15 AM on March 29 [11 favorites]


Various Tories tried to push this one when the results came in on Wednesday. Bercow was very clear that none of the proposals are considered rejected until the end of the Letwin process.

Yeah, but Bercow was ruling on this reality, not the hypothetical one I posited. If they hadn't been indicative, each vote would have constituted a rejection.
posted by Dysk at 9:15 AM on March 29


And since May is completely incapable of formulating any such plan, they will not grant an extension.

It's a matter of whether Parliament can form such a plan, isn't it? Please remember that for most people in this thread, this is our futures we're talking about before glibly dismissing our not unreasonable hope.
posted by ambrosen at 9:21 AM on March 29 [8 favorites]


A profile by Allison McCann in the New York Times of the guy who makes the most detailed Brexit flow charts and how he’s burning out.
posted by Kattullus at 9:25 AM on March 29 [12 favorites]




Scuttlebutt is that May won't push hard for No Deal because she doesn't want to go down in history as the PM that broke up the Union. No-deal crash out is not inevitable until it actually happens, we always have the possibility of the emergency brake of revoking article 50. Next step, see what the Commons can or can't form a consensus round on Monday; it may need a round 3 later in the week.

May has done a U-turn so many times now I've lost count. She just always pretends that the new course is the same as the old one, and nothing has changed. She allowed a vote against no-deal exit on March 29th, and a vote on an extension, both of which she followed. She weasels and loopholes her way through to try and twist it to her advantage, but the Commons is finally wise to her tricks and shouldn't give her any wiggle room any more.

I wouldn't bet against her trying for a meaningless vote 2, but if the Commons vote for a long extension with a plan and continue to vote against no-deal, I do believe she'll go to the EU with it, though obviously in the most graceless way possible.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:00 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


I would love to believe May gives a toss about anything except not going down in history as the PM who broke up her own party. I don't think she has any other considerations at all.
posted by skybluepink at 10:24 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


A profile by Allison McCann in the New York Times of the guy who makes the most detailed Brexit flow charts and how he’s burning out.

Well he is on chart 23.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:26 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


According to the article, he's done 27 and is working on number 28, so I suspect his naming scheme isn't completely consistent (or that's not the most recent one).
posted by Dysk at 10:30 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


I would love to believe May gives a toss about anything except not going down in history as the PM who broke up her own party. I don't think she has any other considerations at all.

Crucially, breaking up the Union is pretty much a failure purely in terms of the goals of the Conservative and Unionist Party.
posted by jaduncan at 10:44 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


And at that definitely not right wing extremist march in London today there's 2 Orange Lodge marching bands and Tommy Robinson rage-ranting on a stage.


@ByDonkeys: Day fourteen, the final day of the #MarchToLeave, and Tommy Robinson is addressing the crowd. Shameful.

@oliverjamesking: Leave demo goes full Belfast loyalist

@DawnHFoster: The Orange band playing the sash outside Westminster earlier have previously been involved in the Brian Robinson memorial in Belfast https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Robinson_(loyalist)

There also seems to be ~800 French far right types and a bunch of MAGAs along with the local FLA/Gammons.
posted by Buntix at 10:51 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Sure, but hasn't there been polling showing Tory party members are willing to cut NI loose in return for Brexit?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:52 AM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Sure, but hasn't there been polling showing Tory party members are willing to cut NI loose in return for Brexit?

The real issue is losing Scotland.
posted by jaduncan at 10:54 AM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Marina Hyde today: The Tory leadership contest: your handy idiots guide
Not safe for work if you click her links or someone reads over your shoulder, but what's new?

In my Danish radio, the Brussels correspondent said the general feeling in Brussels was that the crash is coming. No one wants it, which is why Tusk has called for a meeting, but no one has much hope left.
posted by mumimor at 10:56 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


There also seems to be ~800 French far right types and a bunch of MAGAs along with the local FLA/Gammons.

International cooperation is a wonderful thing.
posted by biffa at 11:02 AM on March 29 [4 favorites]


Sure, but hasn't there been polling showing Tory party members are willing to cut NI loose in return for Brexit?

Which could be part of the reason that the DUP are warning they might go for remain now.

@nicholaswatt: Nigel Dodds tells me the UK should stay in the EU if that was only way to preserve NI’s place in UK. ‘I would stay in the European Union and remain rather than risk Northern Ireland’s position. That’s how strongly I feel about the union.’
posted by Buntix at 11:02 AM on March 29 [7 favorites]


Sure, but hasn't there been polling showing Tory party members are willing to cut NI loose in return for Brexit?

The real issue is losing Scotland.


When polled they said they would be happy to see Scotland go as well

(Although I'm not sure they realised they would be losing the oil, whisky and tourism and gaining the trident submarines)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:09 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


When polled they said they would be happy to see Scotland go as well

The Tory leadership absolutely wouldn't.
posted by jaduncan at 11:12 AM on March 29


(not for any amazing reason, I'm just not sure they'd be able to take the reduction in national prestige)
posted by jaduncan at 11:13 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


(not for any amazing reason, I'm just not sure they'd be able to take the reduction in national prestige)

There's also that quite a few of the !$%!£'s own large driven grouse shooting [guardian] estates, and there's already a movement to reclaim the land [commonspace]. Figure that process would be accelerated under independence as they lose a lot of leverage.
posted by Buntix at 11:22 AM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Regardless of what you think of the DUP's policies and beliefs, they understand raw politics. Seeing Mogg and Johnson and Raab C. Brexit vote for the WA today in an attempt to shove May out of Number 10 shows that they are quite happy to fuck over NI for personal ambition and that the blue-rinse brigade would probably endorse them doing so.

So the DUP are gaming out both a Tory leadership change and a general election where, in spite of NI being NI, they'd have to justify their approach to voters in broader terms than "one billion pounds". The benefits of the confidence and supply agreement were tied to the prime minister being simultaneously weak and secure in her job, and all that's coming to an end.
posted by holgate at 11:31 AM on March 29 [7 favorites]


From @JamesMelville, a graph that actually lays out all the Brexit options in a comprehensive and easily understandable manner.
posted by Buntix at 11:42 AM on March 29 [5 favorites]


I like the first response, which maps out in a Venn diagram the supporters of Brexit at this stage.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:50 AM on March 29 [11 favorites]


I like the first response, which maps out in a Venn diagram the supporters of Brexit at this stage.

Is Nigel Farage a billionaire?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:54 PM on March 29


I think he's merely a millionaire. Not sure who pays for his private jet flights between Strasbourg and the UK.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 1:05 PM on March 29


Seems like the Brexiteer march may be turning nasty now...

@georginafstubbs: Treating the press like this has never and will never be ok. Ever. I’ve seen @Channel4News and @CNN on the receiving end today.

[vid of a journo being surrounded, shoved and harrassed]

Though thankfully they seem to be either outside Parliament or No. 10 (given it's a Friday and presumably there's going to be a lot of people leaving mosques round about now).
posted by Buntix at 1:23 PM on March 29


Since I haven't seen it here yet: Vote Leave has today dropped its appeal and related proceedings against the Electoral Commission.

"Vote Leave has today withdrawn its appeal and related proceedings against the Electoral Commission's finding of multiple offences under electoral law, committed during the 2016 EU referendum campaign."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:27 PM on March 29 [12 favorites]


According to the guardian, May is now looking for a fourth attempt to get her crap through parliament. My feeling is, if this was star trek, McCoy would have stepped in to relieve the captain of their command some weeks ago.
posted by biffa at 2:59 PM on March 29 [7 favorites]


I've decided to allow myself to feel happy today. I know there's much more to be done, but: today Brexit isn't happening. Today, we still get to be Europeans.

Ian Dunt on Twitter (whose Parliamentary livetweet threads have been keeping me informed and not-insane:)
We'll see. One thing though. Today was the day it was going to happen. If they'd had their way, we'd be leaving the EU in a matter of hours.

We're not.

Their grubby, cynical last-chance effort to force this thing through today failed. Now a longer extension is the most likely outcome.

People have kept on telling Remainers and critics of Brexit to shut up. They have mocked them, and slandered them as traitors, and ignored them. They've done it for nearly three years.

But today, we are not leaving the EU. If you win one battle you can a war.

Right I'm gonna write this fucker up.

Brexit Day is cancelled: May's final deception falls to pieces [politics.co.uk]

Everything you need to know about what the fuck happened today, the dirty shit they were pulling in the background, why it didn't work, and a tiny cautious bit of optimism for the future.

Don't forget to raise a cheer at 11pm tonight. The moment we were supposed to be out the EU, but will not be.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:27 PM on March 29 [30 favorites]


Hurrah!
posted by rory at 4:01 PM on March 29 [11 favorites]


Seems like the Brexiteer march may be turning nasty now...

The hooligan element was always going to get pissed up and look for a fight. I'm more worried by the language of the gobshite elements like Farage, Francois, and Darren "Crimes" Grimes: the "we will fight them on the streets with our votes" stuff. The "our parliamentarians will unleash anger not seen since the 30s but in a totally non-fascist way" stuff. A Rizla of plausible deniability.
posted by holgate at 4:03 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


According to the guardian, May is now looking for a fourth attempt to get her crap through parliament.

In that same article, they have a graph where she'll also try to pass it for a 5th time after EU elections.

May appears to be trying the rarely seen Jehovah's Witness approach to Government policy making - making it so you'll say yes to anything just to make her go away.

"Let me be clear, we are leaving the European Union on the 29th March 2019"

Nope. Happy staying-in-the-EU day, everyone.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:04 PM on March 29 [14 favorites]


According to the guardian, May is now looking for a fourth attempt to get her crap through parliament. My feeling is, if this was star trek, McCoy would have stepped in to relieve the captain of their command some weeks ago.

There is the theory of the moebius, where time becomes a loop
posted by dng at 4:15 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]




It's a Matrix 20th anniversary tribute act. The Architect presents two doors, to your left, ruination, to your right, we repeat this all over again.
posted by lucidium at 4:28 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Well, here we are, friends. It's gone 23:00 on 29 March 2019 and I can't help but notice that we are still living in a member state of the European Union. We still have free movement rights, our phones still work abroad and our passports are still... what even is that colour? No promise made by this government can hold any credibility at this point.

Increasingly screechy headlines on the front of the Mail and Express can't hide the fact that the hard Brexiters are on the back foot. The May deal is dead. No deal is not an option for this country. A customs union with the EU is a piss-poor, cowardly sop to the Leavers and gives us the worst of all worlds - being forced to fall into line with the EU with zero say over its rules and no free trade for services. There is only one option left - Remain, and consign this cynical far-right project to the dustbin.

There never was a "debate over the EU" before this ridiculous referendum, and this never was about the EU. Sane people outside the hard-right fringes of the Conservative Party didn't spend time debating EU membership seriously. This whole thing has been a right-wing plot to turn England into their low-tax, low-regulation fantasy land. Get rid of the EU, and you can get rid of workers' rights, universal healthcare, civil society. You can cut the Scots and the Irish loose - who cares about them anyway? England becomes the fascist fiefdom of the public school chums.

People are seeing through the bullshit. They're seeing the contrast between last weekend's good-natured People's Vote march and today's frankly menacing presence of Orange bands, football hooligans and Tommy Robinson. They're seeing how the Conservative Party, always on leadership manoeuvres, are playing a national crisis like a great game. They're seeing not a looming iceberg but death by a thousand tiny extra inconveniences - mobile charges, car insurance green cards, pet passports - and asking why we don't just stay in.

The Brexit house of cards is falling. People do not want it. The only way is Remain. Let the newspapers screech and the moaners on the online comment boards moan, and let the rest of us just get on with our lives, in the EU as we have happily been for many decades.
posted by winterhill at 4:50 PM on March 29 [45 favorites]


Tom McTague in Politico: How the UK lost the Brexit battle.

The postmortems are already being written.

A long but excellent review of how we got here.
posted by automatronic at 5:17 PM on March 29 [11 favorites]


Can we make an effort to put "Tommy Robinson" in quotes? As with "disgraced former defence minister", quotes have power.
posted by pipeski at 5:30 PM on March 29 [6 favorites]


Tom McTague in Politico: How the UK lost the Brexit battle.

With no consensus and no agreement, and no leadership, it seems as the UK will crash out on April 12.
posted by JamesBay at 5:52 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


It seems totally unlikely that May will ask the European Council for a longer delay on April 10. May has never, ever made the right decision. Why would she start now?
posted by JamesBay at 5:54 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Channel 4 has the chief backer of Fishing For Leave bang to rights.

Ugh. Apparently the US flag is now used as the kind of far right decoration that the confederate flag used to be.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:07 PM on March 29 [5 favorites]


From that excellent Politico piece:
France’s diplomatic establishment schools its officials in the idea of a “rapport de force” — the balance of power in any relationship. As long as the negotiations remained between Brussels and London, there would be no question who had the upper hand.
The irony of all this is that the negotiating prowess shown by the EU is a benefit of membership, and makes the most ardent Brexiteers resent it even more. The EU is a flawed institution that has made a lot of missteps over the past decade, but it defends high-wage high-standards service-driven economies from being undercut and shields small countries like Ireland from bullying.
posted by holgate at 7:23 PM on March 29 [24 favorites]




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