The morning after not leaving the EU the night before
March 30, 2019 12:23 AM   Subscribe

Still in, Grandad. 11pm on March the 29th 2019 passed by, and Conservative party machinations and war continue. Over 6 years since first announced by David Cameron, nearly 3 years since the referendum ("voting to remain ... is the best decision") and 2 years after article 50 was invoked, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland remains in the EU. In the week gone by, many peacefully walked through London, a much smaller crowd threatened, and an appeal was dropped. In the worst remake of Groundhog Day, after the latest rejection Theresa May of Downing Street (somehow still - NSFW - PM) looks to hold a fourth vote on her deal, or perhaps an election. What now? A second day of indicative votes on Monday, and the 12th of April is the new/next 29th of March.

Brexit is mind-bendingly complex, irrational, emotional, ever-changing, involves many people and organisations, and greatly affects the lives of millions. New to these threads? Maybe read some previous ones first, and avoid “Hey, why doesn't the UK just...” and hot take comments.

Some of those previous Brexit threads:
* (March 19th 2019) Europe: The Final Countdown
* (March 7th) Breaking Point
* (February 18th) “We’re just going to wing it really; there’s not much more we can do.”
* (January 21st) Meet the new plan, same as the old plan
* (January 10th) The Neverending Brexit Endgame
* (December 11th) Unexpected item in the bagging area
* (November 14th 2018) The light at the end of the "tunnel" is a Eurostar
* (October 11th) The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train)
* (September 20th) Liars
* (July 25th) Beyond the optimism of " There will Adequate Food Supplies"

(posts tagged with Brexit)
posted by Wordshore (805 comments total) 83 users marked this as a favorite
 
Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU petition. Currently 5,983,544 signatures.

England Signatures 4,728,951
Northern Ireland Signatures 127,433
Scotland Signatures 551,901
Wales Signatures 221,800

More signatures than MP's majority 233
More signatures than MP's GE votes 7

UK Signatures 5,733,834 (95.83%)
Overseas Signatures 249,730 (4.17%)

Total UK Electorate signed 12.78%
Total UK Population signed 9.06%
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:34 AM on March 30 [18 favorites]


Bugger. Not for the first time, the thing where you craft a post and, within five seconds of it going live, you realise you missed something out.

As it neared six million signatures, the Revoke Article 50 petition (as mentioned by Donald Tusk) generated a negative response from the UK government. It will be debated on Monday.
posted by Wordshore at 12:35 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]




So, we're now down to the following options.
No EU Election Options
1. MV4 Passes leave on May 22nd
2. Nothing passes revoke/no-deal coin toss on April 12th
3. May Resigns, Gove/Boris/Moggy runs down the clock to crash out on April 12th

EU Election options.
1. May Resigns, crash out attempted No Confidence motion passes General Election.
2. MV4 Fails May asks for 12 months extension for reasons
3. CU 2.0 Indicative Vote gains majority 12 month extension to implement non-brexit brexit.
4. People's Vote gains majority 12 month extension to run that. I think remain wins a People's Vote if one of the choices.

If the UK had to choose a gengo name my vote is for "Fuck Knows"
posted by fullerine at 12:59 AM on March 30 [8 favorites]


Dear Wordshore, love your craft work. Please keep calm and carry on.
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:01 AM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Thank you, Wordshore, this is a work of art.
posted by mumimor at 1:18 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Gordon Brown’s Guide to Writing a Sympathy Card, cartoon by Stephen Collins.
posted by Kattullus at 1:23 AM on March 30 [18 favorites]


Thanks Wordshore, great work.

So, um, yeah... Monday.

Oh god I'm tired.
posted by rory at 3:02 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]




Sayeeda Warsi has just announced that she's promised the party CEO to shut up about Tory Islamophobia for one month.

I wonder if there's some Brexit-related reason for shutting her up on a subject where she's been pretty effective so far?

We've just had the unpleasant spectacle of white supremacist thugs assaulting reporters etc last night in Whitehall and their leaders screaming Islamophobia stuff over the mic in response to last night's vote.

Some of the key pro-Brexit Tories have shared platforms and benefited from the same racist propaganda as some very nasty white power organisations. For example Rees-Mogg sharing platforms with Generation Identity leaders (the same one the Christchurch terrorist donated to)

I can't help wondering if Warsi has been asked to shut up because the Tories think the far-right pressure for the kind of Brexit they want is going to get nastier in the next few weeks and they're trying to look like they have clean hands or something?
posted by Caractacus at 3:33 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]


I think Gove, Johnson and Mogg are too canny to take the poisoned chalice. I think the dangers come from Leadsom, Grayling, or Javid. Hunt probably has the same wariness that Gove et al may have.

But then my predictions are woefully out at the best of times. And these are certainly the worst of times.
posted by edd at 4:04 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


What I don't understand is all the talk about a General Election. As I said in another thread I can't see the Conservatives agreeing to commit electoral suicide by campaigning under the LINO. And given the fixed term parliament act May can't unilaterally call an election, she needs a 2/3 majority.

A conservative leadership contest followed by a GE seems even less likely and more insane. A leadership contest with the huge field of runners and riders, followed by a GE is going to eat a third, maybe even a half, of a long extension—especially if a governing coalition has to be formed after the GE. A leadership contest without a GE, I could believe.

The GE seems to be another May scare tactic to get her team onside—especially as the vote yesterday showed that if she can gather just over 80% of the Conservative refuseniks, she can drag the dead donkey of the WA across the finish line.

I was going to ask why the MSM wasn't questioning the "Election is Coming" narrative, but the answer is obvious: it's more entertaining than discussing the real issues, and it fits with their politics.
posted by dudleian at 4:05 AM on March 30 [8 favorites]


Brexit Analogies I've enjoyed but cannot find the sources through google for most of them so a few are paraphrased.

1. Brexit is like a roundabout (traffic circle) where about 49% of the people wanted to get off at the first exit (Remain), and the leftover 51% was split between 17% each for exits 2, 3, 4. So instead of just listening to the actual cohesive majority, Britains have been driving around in circles for 2+ years. -Unknown.

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

Now, Theresa May was initially against building a submarine out of cheese, obviously. Because it’s a completely insane thing to do. However, in order to become PM, she had to pretend that she thought building a submarine out of cheese was fine and could totally work.

"Cheese means cheese," she told us all, madly. Then she actually built one. It’s shit. Of course it is. For God’s sake, are you stupid? It’s a submarine built out of cheese. - Hugo Rifkind via twitter.

3. Brexit was the ultimate catfish. Just because you swiped yes on the photos of the the supermodel doesn't mean to need to sleep with the swamp monster who actually showed up. - Heavily paraphrased from unknown.

4. Brexit is like trying to buy a car off of gum tree (Think craigslist.) Someone posted photos of a brand new BMW for an impossible price. You verbally agreed to come check it out and buy it if everything looks good. Except when you show up it's just a photo of a BMW glued to an old wagon and now the seller is pissed off that you don't want to buy it. -Paraphrased and butchered heavily.
posted by Telf at 4:07 AM on March 30 [79 favorites]


I wonder if there's some Brexit-related reason for shutting her up on a subject where she's been pretty effective so far?

The prospect of continued embarrassing criticism before/during a possibly imminent general election campaign?
posted by jaduncan at 4:25 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Eurostar passengers stranded as trespasser with St George's flag halts trains

There's a Brexit metaphor for you: ordinary peoples' lives fucked up because of an opinionated, probably mentally unstable tosser with a flag.

Something I've been thinking about recently - Brexit isn't actually popular. They keep waving referendum statistics at us, but whatever the technical result, in fact there are enormous numbers of people who will dislike wherever we end up. And something that weakens the fascist/ERG/Little Timmy Robertson/EDF position is that, basically, they're not very nice and people don't like them very much. I wonder whether that doesn't count for a lot more than people think. People are actually a lot nicer than one might think from looking at England today, a lot closer to the 2012 Opening Ceremony and Paddington films than a Little Timmy Robertson rally.

I don't know what will happen, but so much that's been done so far has revolved around gaming the system and seizing control of things like the Today programme or Question Time (and there's very little doubt in my mind that that's precisely what happened). I have a growing sense that actual public opinion, though inchoate, is very different from the veneer of opinion that the media represent. I wonder how, or whether, that will manifest.
posted by Grangousier at 4:31 AM on March 30 [42 favorites]


basically, they're not very nice and people don't like them very much. I wonder whether that doesn't count for a lot more than people think.

Femi Oluwole made some decent points along these lines yesterday when reporting from the Leave rallies and following up on his observations.
posted by rory at 4:38 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Worth highlighting the deselection of Dominic Grieve last night (as in the "war" tweet in Wordshore's post) by local Conservative party members, who are instead backing an ex-UKIP member who's been a Conservative for only a year. Grieve is one of a handful of key players who have preserved what hope we have of a tolerable outcome to this mess, as architect of the requirement to hold a Meaningful Vote on the final deal. (The others are Gina Miller, whose legal challenge secured Parliament's role in the process, and Jolyon Maugham QC and the group of MEPs and MPs whose victory at the ECJ confirmed the UK's unilateral right to revoke A50.) That's why diehard Leavers in the party hate him, of course.
posted by rory at 4:54 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]


While I appreciate the praise for Wordshore and his work here I have to say with some sorrow that given the topic and personalities involved there is really shockingly little horsefucking in this post.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:55 AM on March 30 [13 favorites]


It's also worth watching carefully what's happening with the DUP. They seem to be coming to the conclusion that no achievable Brexit can preserve the union, and that if they have to choose they'll choose the union over Brexit. The Tories may finally have to face up to the reality of life as a minority government. Amazing to think that we might end up being thankful for the DUP.
posted by rory at 4:59 AM on March 30 [18 favorites]


Eurostar passengers stranded as trespasser with St George's flag halts trains

The Daily Express will probably laud him as a ”Have-A-Go Hero” showing ”True Brit” in sticking it to Jacques, Fritz and Leszek the Plumber or something.
posted by acb at 4:59 AM on March 30


basically, they're not very nice and people don't like them very much. I wonder whether that doesn't count for a lot more than people think.

Absolutely: I was heartened, a couple of minutes ago, to hear a gentleman in his 70s in the local café speak of "that horrible UKIP man... can't remember his name". People often accuse our older citizens of looking backwards, but surely this is a vision of the future we can all get on board with.
posted by howfar at 5:06 AM on March 30 [11 favorites]


A future in which I've forgotten that horrible UKIP man's name is one I eagerly await.
posted by Grangousier at 5:09 AM on March 30 [42 favorites]


The Union Flag still flies outside the European Parliament... hope it's there for a good while longer (or gets replaced by The Saltire)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:11 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Brexit Analogies: (sorry saw it on IG last night and can’t find it now to link)
Brexit is like when you’re in a club with your mate and he says it’s shit let’s go somewhere else, only you leave and then realise he doesn’t know where else to go that’s better, and now the club you left won’t let you back in. The UK is standing in a kebab shop at 2am arguing about who’s fault it is.
posted by billiebee at 5:16 AM on March 30 [99 favorites]


> Femi Oluwole made some decent points along these lines yesterday when reporting from the Leave rallies
… in which he actually states that “normal” leavers want to leave the EU because of UK domestic issues.
Great.
posted by farlukar at 5:20 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Well, to be fair to them, the presence of unrepealable human rights laws is largely a domestic issue.
posted by acb at 5:25 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]



While I appreciate the praise for Wordshore and his work here I have to say with some sorrow that given the topic and personalities involved there is really shockingly little horsefucking in this post.


have you been reading the news in the uk .... ?
hint
the uk is the horse
posted by lalochezia at 5:41 AM on March 30 [21 favorites]


"that horrible UKIP man... can't remember his name"

Nigel Fromage?

Seriously, anybody who has not already read the build a submarine out of cheese thread needs to go and do that. Outstanding work.
posted by flabdablet at 5:48 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


in which he actually states that “normal” leavers want to leave the EU because of UK domestic issues.

I haven't had a chance to watch the video (non-video-friendly context), but it's worth mentioning that people voted Leave for all sorts of reasons, many of which actually had very little to do with Europe. There was a degree of people using the vote as (to steal from John Harris on the Remainiacs podcast) a big button with Fuck Off written on it. The ironic effect of that will be to exacerbate the things that they were protesting against, but that doesn't seem to change the willingness to use exactly the same means to protest against them.

And that's the other thing: the almost half the vote who opted for Remain did so because they wanted to remain - either because they liked Europe or it was the status quo or it was the lesser of two evils for them - whereas the Leave vote was much more highly fragmented - some people voted Leave to get more money for the NHS, for example, others because it was the racist thing to do - and while this has been presented as a mandate for a particular far right set of policies, it really isn't, and while it can be gamed to achieve a particular set of political results there's really no predicting where those political energies will go next. It reminds me of the political equivalent of those mortgage-backed securities that caused all that trouble ten years ago - the good and the worthless all bundled up together and presented as not at all toxic and liable to explode.

(Yes, I do like repeating myself over and over. I find it very calming. Why do you ask?)
posted by Grangousier at 5:58 AM on March 30 [31 favorites]


from the old thread:

 No deal is not an option for this country

It very much is, and given the blundering of all the national political parties, is the likely outcome unless something gargantuan and clever happens. Remain isn't the default, despite it being the only sensible option.
posted by scruss at 5:59 AM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Worth highlighting the deselection of Dominic Grieve last night (as in the "war" tweet in Wordshore's post) by local Conservative party members

Nick Harkaway: “Grieve is - predictably - facing deselection by a local party furious about Brexit (he lost a confidence motion by about 50 votes - these are the margins we’re talking about). This is where a General Election becomes weird right now. Top layer: party numbers might not change much - hard to say. Second layer: Brexit choices could shift within parties. But…Third layer: how tired are people of party political shit? Could we see Grieve fighting as an independent and picking up votes from across the board? Thing that would be shit: HoC party lines don’t shift, but HoC gets Brexitier because tiny numbers in local parties boot out Remain MPs.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:00 AM on March 30 [3 favorites]


Here's my Brexit analogy .... the Brexit election was like the elephant in the story of the 3 blind men and the elephant - you know the one, one finds a leg and thinks it's a tree, another the tail and thinks it's a whip etc .... in the Brexit election the voters all chose a different Brexit from each other .... which why we're where we are now - with a likely majority against Brexit and lots of minorities feuding over what sort of Brexit they want
posted by mbo at 6:23 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


This morning, the Danish PM was on a radio show, mainly pretending to be a jokey dad type, but when it came to Brexit, his tone changed. In a way it was interesting, because normally I really hate the man, for good reasons, and suddenly you could hear that there is actually a serious person in there who respects the fundamentals of governing.
Anyhow, he he didn't say much about process that we don't know, except that a young PM from one of the 27 had used swearwords at May and demanded an explanation for the whole mess, which he found hilarious (she didn't give a meaningful reply). And then he blamed the British parliamentary system, which encourages MPs to chose party over country. He claimed that in any other European country in the middle of a national crisis, the very first instinct would be to reach over the aisle for a common ground and a national compromise. He also reminded us that Cameron's reckless gamble, that started all of this, was an internal Tory power play. I'm guessing this is what the 27 heads of state are talking about, I don't think he would say anything out of line.
Oh, and though he acknowledged Brexit will cause some disruption of the Danish economy, he wasn't worried about it. Even though he is from the pork and fish party (Venstre).
posted by mumimor at 6:50 AM on March 30 [29 favorites]


They seem to be coming to the conclusion that no achievable Brexit can preserve the union, and that if they have to choose they'll choose the union over Brexit.

Like rory, I've been thinking about this. The benefits of the confidence-and-supply agreement are fading for the DUP -- and won't carry over to the next Tory leader -- and the potential costs of direct rule and a border poll are rising. A billion quid doesn't cover that. But they don't want Corbyn the Provo-hugger in charge. How that translates into action is the big question.

There was a degree of people using the vote as (to steal from John Harris on the Remainiacs podcast) a big button with Fuck Off written on it.

And British voters had become far too comfortable using EuroParl elections for that purpose because the main parties didn't treat them seriously enough.
posted by holgate at 6:54 AM on March 30 [8 favorites]


... the Leave vote was much more highly fragmented - some people voted Leave to get more money for the NHS, for example, others because it was the racist thing to do - and while this has been presented as a mandate for a particular far right set of policies, it really isn't, and while it can be gamed to achieve a particular set of political results there's really no predicting where those political energies will go next.

That's an interesting point. It looks to me like a system of forces that work together to create a malefic feedback loop. There are a lot of different processes in play but for example, the following ones seem to me to be important.

Austerity has caused widespread misery for many of the less privileged segments of society in the UK and many people are getting desperate and ready to try anything but 'more of the same' Pushing that big 'Fuck Off' button evidently appealed to a lot of people in this situation. These people aren't necessarily racists but may have stopped trusting in the status quo because it's so badly let them down. Once people stop trusting 'official' reality, many alternatives are on offer to them, but even 'official' reality is now also tainted with white supremacist ideological material.

Far right movements have persisted from the 30's through to the present day. They had a bit of a resurgence in the UK in the 70's but only recently have the conditions emerged for them to thrive across the developed world. They are attracting direct and indirect investment from a variety of sources and many of their key themes are being normalised in politics and media.

In particular, a ton of money is being spent on generating Islamophobia by various groups in Europe and the US. Large sections of the mainstream media seem entirely happy to help them do this. The Murdoch media, the Mail, Express and Telegraph all seem quite comfortable pushing this agenda and even the BBC is often at least complicit.

London and associated offshore territories are a key venue for money-laundering and tax avoidance, making any possibility of EU legislation to inhibit this, a threat to the oligarch class and those who profit from servicing them. Their political representatives are happy to exploit white supremacist movements and the racist propaganda that they thrive on.

The 'mainstream' right is also quite happy to exploit white supremacist themes in pursuit of their personal and ideological goals, e.g. getting to be Prime Minister, more privatisation and austerity, removal of any remaining employment and human rights laws that they and their class find inconvenient etc. A no-deal or hard Brexit managed by pretty much any of the likely Tory leadership candidates would suit them just fine.

This in turn is likely to make all but the most privileged segments of society more desperate, leading to positive feedbacks.
posted by Caractacus at 7:29 AM on March 30 [33 favorites]


In the above, I don't think I sufficiently emphasised that I don't think that neo-fascism is the only direction available to or taken by people who have been shafted by Austerity. I doubt very much it's popular.

It's just the one that's getting a lot of media promotion and one that's potentially very useful to various bad actors.
posted by Caractacus at 8:01 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


And given the fixed term parliament act May can't unilaterally call an election, she needs a 2/3 majority

Why would Labour not vote for an election? They did in 2017.
posted by Automocar at 8:21 AM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Everyone remain-minded raised a toast last night at 11pm. We raised a glass to it over dinner.
Huge respect to the crew that have worked "round the clock" since August 2017, to ensure that at 11pm tonight Big Ben can deliver a slow clap.
We're in Extra Time, folks. Let's make this count.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 8:25 AM on March 30 [18 favorites]




So ... will the UK participate in the EU elections?
And if yes, does this happen automatically, by default (because all those responsible know what to do), or does it require another vote in parliament (which might fail) or some action by the UK government (which might not happen)?
I didn't see any coverage on this particular issue, so I assume that it's no particular problem, but then again, maybe everyone just assumes that it's Someone Else's Problem.
posted by sour cream at 9:50 AM on March 30


Everyone remain-minded raised a toast last night at 11pm. We raised a glass to it over dinner.

My partner made a point of playing “Ode to Joy” at 11pm as I was watching Newsnight.
posted by pharm at 10:07 AM on March 30 [9 favorites]


Nice use of the full range of single-digit ‘meaningful vote’ hashtags.
posted by davemee at 10:16 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


So ... will the UK participate in the EU elections?

That's the €1000 question.

Currently, various UK laws implements EU law to hold EU parliament elections, which would happen, likely on May 24th. However, Parliament have also passed the Withdrawal Act 2018 which will repeal that law on April 12th.

So just an extension to the exit date in the UK withdrawal law would solve the problem, right?

Well, the wrinkle is May is currently refusing to actually hold them; people actually have to do the physical jobs of running them, and some of that involves central government e.g appointing regional officers. Should the law still be in effect in May, the gov would be in breach of the law to not hold elections and would almost be certainly be sued in the courts.

The other problem is that the Withdrawal Act 'activation date' would have to be extended past May 22, but what date do you write instead? Just ask the EU, right?

Thing is, the EU may well not believe the UK will actually hold EU elections when May is resistant and the Commons hasn't actually voted on it specifically. So there may need to be a specific vote on holding the elections if we haven't left yet; and even then, May would need to actually agree to implement it before the EU will grant an extension. There's all sort of scope for horrible breakdowns with contempt of Parliament flying around in there, government being sued yet just fighting them off until April 12th and it all becomes moot...

Basically, we need the Commons to agree to something that needs a long extension, May agrees to extend the withdrawal agreement and hold elections to have time to do that, then the EU state leaders need to agree to a suitably long election to actually do that, when Macron and others are getting increasingly hardline.

Plenty of places that could all fall down horribly with a resistant PM deciding she just won't do it, or the EU just having had enough and giving us no more rope - or Parliament just falling over its own feet on Monday.

No stress, eh.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:40 AM on March 30 [16 favorites]


Brexit is like when you’re in a club with your mate and he says it’s shit let’s go somewhere else, only you leave and then realise he doesn’t know where else to go that’s better, and now the club you left won’t let you back in.


Well, except that you only got as far as the club doorway and the club would let you back in, the bouncer is there holding the door open for you in freezing wind and rain and saying "fuck me, kids, I'm not going to stand here with the door open all night" and the two of you are standing there arguing about if you should put your coats on before you go outside or just go back in.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:57 AM on March 30 [55 favorites]


Oh, and one of you is trying to make the point that you don't actually have coats.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:58 AM on March 30 [40 favorites]


I'm still trying to make up my mind if "I'll resign if you accept my deal" was really dumb, really smart, or really desperate.

I'm a USian who's been coping with Trump by watching UK shows, especially THE LAST LEG. At the beginning of the season they noted that they were set to have their season finale happening at the very minute the UK left the EU, and had things planned to acknowledge that, but as time wore on they realized it wasn't gonna happen - so when a viewer mentioned her birthday was the same day, they leaned hard into "we aren't doing the Brexit thing today" and turned the whole last bit of the show into a birthday party for her, with celebrity guest music number, a cake, and a team of stagehand carrying her around on a litter. They also asked other viewers what they were celebrating that same day and gave them shout-outs, and even discovered that one pair of viewers were having their wedding reception and the show sent them a cake.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:37 AM on March 30 [10 favorites]


Decadent Tories
Thatcherism, then, put money onto the table of a big constituency. Not everybody of course – as miners as industrial workers knew too well. But enough to be a serious (if in my view mistaken) economic project.

Contrast that with her epigones today. What material offer are they making?

None. All we have are a handful of trade deals of minimal effect with small countries, and Johnson’s message, “fuck business.” The Tories are silent on questions such as how to kickstart productivity and real wages. In place of Thatcher’s offer of material betterment, we have nationalist fantasies. As Phil Burton-Cartledge has been saying for months, the Tories are a decadent party.
[Further reading: “Fuck business”; the CBI writes a letter with the TUC to tell the Tories to respect citizen’s rights; The Eccentric Billionaire Theory of Politics.]

At some point in the not too distant future, we’re going to need to have a serious talk about what to do about the Tories.

It should by now be very obvious that the UK can’t afford the Conservative Party in their present incarnation. They got us into this mess. Brexit has always been an outgrowth of a internal party squabble, the current deadlock is the result of another internal party squabble, and in the longer term their disasterous economic stewardship immiserated millions and laid the groundwork for the vote to go the way it did. They can no longer credibly claim to be a party representing business interests - or anyone’s economic interests at all, really - and are now only concerned with pleasing their rabidly rightwing membership through slashing the state to the bone, delivering Brexit at any cost, and straight up racism. They’re going to happily destroy the country and usher in a resurgence of actual fascism, of the sort last seen in earnest in the 70s. They call themselves “conservatives”, but in fact they’re radical ideologues. And, like all ideologues, they’re dangerous.

At this point, it isn’t just a question of how to wrest power from them, or even how to lock them out of power for as long as possible. The question is “how can the Tory party be dismantled, and are there any useful parts worth keeping?”

Britain remains a fundamentally right-leaning country, and rightwingers tend to be underrepresented in parliament, because Labour has inbuilt electoral advantages (I’m not complaining, mind). There is definitely a need for a centre-right party to represent that large constituency.

But there’s no reason that it should be the present-day Tory party.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:30 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


There is definitely a need for a centre-right party to represent that large constituency. But there’s no reason that it should be the present-day Tory party.

Had the Liberals not merged with the Labour offshoot the Social Democrats in the early 80s, they'd fit the bill nicely.
posted by acb at 12:37 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


I mean, in economic terms, New Labour also fit the bill. (And they certainly dabbled in social conservatism, too - the Home Office was full of complete shits even before May arrived.)
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:54 PM on March 30 [6 favorites]


My recollection is that Tories started using austerity as a PR theme in 2010, but that many of the key policies were already in place under New Labour, who also continued to support such policies at least until 2015, when Harman whipped the party in favour of the Tories austerity-intensifying Welfare Bill.
posted by Caractacus at 1:16 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


The main point is that the EU got the blame for austerity. I mean, there is no doubt that the EU reacted to the bank and housing crisis with austerity measures, but the UK government went way beyond the demands and intent of the EU. And sold it to the public as EU demands. Look at today, even the Greek government is totally aligned with the rest of the 27. I personally believe we needed a New Deal, not austerity, and we needed to clean up the banks, not save them. But reality is that the UK went further than asked for or needed.
posted by mumimor at 1:33 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


"My recollection is that Tories started using austerity as a PR theme in 2010, but that many of the key policies were already in place under New Labour, who also continued to support such policies at least until 2015, when Harman whipped the party in favour of the Tories austerity-intensifying Welfare Bill."

And on preview:

"...but the UK government went way beyond the demands and intent of the EU."

Yeah, that's what I remember. It especially didn't make sense because the UK isn't in the monetary union.

I don't think it was just the Blairites. As an American very intetested in the European response to the 2008 financial crisis, I wasn't surprised at the German intransigence on austerity (because of its unique economic history of "ordoliberalism"), but I was very surprised at the near-unanimity on the policy correctness of austerity in the UK. Then, as now, I regularly read the UK version of the Guardian, and at that time I was also particularly interested in other UK media coverage of fiscal and monetary policy, as well as paying close attention to UK-related threads here as a barometer of left-leaning British opinion on austerity.

And the way I remember it is that, unlike in the US, there was almost no doubting the wisdom of austerity as a policy response to the crisis and recession. Almost everyone, even here, seemed to agree that excessive spending contributed to the crisis and that austerity would resolve it. The arguments were about who to blame. Osborne was more extreme, but certainly within the consensus.

Aside from the commonsensical appeal of the "household budget" fallacy, I attributed much of the nearly-unquestioned embrace of austerity on the notable degree to which the finance sector dominates the UK economy. Their interests will always be in austerity policy, as it inherently benefits the rentier class.

That said, Brexit blindsided me because I'd become convinced that UK economic discourse had essentially been captured by the City of London -- which surely would see Brexit as inherently in conflict with the UK's rise as a global finacial center.

I think now that because I'm an American, I didn't understand the degree to which that rentier class of the financial sector overlaps/influenced by the Eton/Oxbridge types. But I'm still struggling to understand the larger cultural context.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:12 PM on March 30 [18 favorites]


Well, the wrinkle is May is currently refusing to actually hold them;

She might not *want* to hold the elections, but being a robot technocrat she has no problem doing whatever is procedurally required to get out of the latest corner she's painted us all into.

Currently there are only two* scenarios that don't require elections:
- Deciding to go full on No Deal.
- Going for a new Political Declaration (with a Customs Union or whatever), agreeing it with the EU, getting it through parliament and committing to leave on May 22, all by roughly the end of this week.

(* three if you think a straight up MV4 on the existing deal could happen and be passed. Which, seriously...)

Neither seems likely. And if they haven't by, say, next weekend, she'll have no choice but to ask for a long extension, with elections, either to do whatever comes out of the indicative vote process or to hold a General Election. However grumpy some countries may be about it, I don't think it'll be refused.

So I kind of disagree with your post - us holding EU elections is now politically the default option, because it would take a dramatic intervention for us not to end up on that path.
posted by grahamparks at 2:15 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


> The GE seems to be another May scare tactic to get her team onside—especially as the vote yesterday showed that if she can gather just over 80% of the Conservative refuseniks, she can drag the dead donkey of the WA across the finish line.

I will be absolutely stunned if there is a GE. May's threat of one is completely empty, she knows the Conservative party is utterly fucked should that happen and Conservative MPs know this as well. She is using that to try to convert the last few no voters to turn, which would possibly drag the WA over the line if (and *only* if) the current non-Conservative Yes voters stick to their position - which is unlikely if the the line is the WA or a GE.

At this point a GE would be a single issue with the Conservatives standing on full fat Brexit, Labour on half fat Brexit, and everyone else on continental Brexit (i.e. no Brexit). That would lead to a three or even four part coalition government for the next parliament. IMO a very good thing, but it ain't gonna happen unless May really decides she wants to bury the Conservative party.
posted by lawrencium at 2:50 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. sour cream, we've talked with you about this. Stop posting in Brexit threads, period. I'm giving you a one-day ban.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:59 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


And the way I remember it is that, unlike in the US, there was almost no doubting the wisdom of austerity as a policy response to the crisis and recession.

This isn't how I recall it. There wasn't much opposition in most mainstream media, but it was hard to have a discussion about it without someone pointing out (quite correctly) that the deficit was at a historic average or lower, and that austerity was an ideological rather than necessary project.
posted by Dysk at 3:18 PM on March 30 [12 favorites]


Britain remains a fundamentally right-leaning country

I'm not sure if I agree with this statement; if you had preferential voting instead of the gob-smackingly awful FPTP, the Conservatives would virtually disappear as a political force overnight. Certainly, compared to Australia, the UK is much more left-leaning, despite the relative equivalence in conservative vs Labor govts we've both had.

And the way I remember it is that, unlike in the US, there was almost no doubting the wisdom of austerity as a policy response to the crisis and recession

Gosh that's certainly not my recollection, I recall tonnes of questioning and doubt around the wisdom of austerity. People (rightly) held up Iceland as the example (they could have used us here in Aus, too), and rightly so, as Australia didn't go into recession and Iceland bounced back waaaaaay faster than the UK or virtually any other European country.
posted by smoke at 3:27 PM on March 30 [11 favorites]


Yeah, the only access I had to the opinions of real people was here. It may be the case that there were a significant number of austerity critics here on MetaFilter, but that my impression and memory are skewed because I was surprised to find anyone left-of-center accepting the rationale of austerity. I am certain that even media outlets like the Guardian were notably credulous about the supposed self-evidence for the need for austerity. It made a huge impression on me at the time. It's been years, though.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:31 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


In the above, I don't think I sufficiently emphasised that I don't think that neo-fascism is the only direction available to or taken by people who have been shafted by Austerity. I doubt very much it's popular.

It's just the one that's getting a lot of media promotion and one that's potentially very useful to various bad actors.


Almost nobody wants fascism if it's branded as fascism. That's why fascists re-brand with something else and talk it up under its new name and logo and people fall for it. Usually it's done with all the same racism, but that's already got plenty of built-in denial. We're seeing it all over the world.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:32 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


The question is “how can the Tory party be dismantled, and are there any useful parts worth keeping?”

Safely dismantled. Cameron saw UKIP nibbling away at the Tory right buttock and used the promise of a referendum and a Crosby/tabloid smear campaign against Ed Miliband to eke out an unexpected majority in 2015. And now kipper entryists are taking over local Tory associations and calling Dominic Grieve a traitor.

The fundamental problem with current English Toryism is that unlike the Thatcher years of tax cuts, privatisation and discounted council houses, Tory policies are not good at making new Tories. They are stuck trying to cling on to the Tories they have, whether that's blue-rinsers or entryists from further right.

At the same time, Scottish Tories are already a de facto independent centre-right party -- Ruth Davidson has stayed well away from the Brexity nonsense -- which is why they're the main opposition party in the Scottish Parliament.
posted by holgate at 4:14 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


Speaking of Scotland, I thought this tweet from Nicola Sturgeon so completely eviscerated Corbyn it was almost unfair.
posted by Leon at 4:47 PM on March 30 [8 favorites]


The reason you're not hearing anything from Ruth Davidson is that she's on maternity leave, which may indeed help keep some of the mud off her but she turned from Remain and embraced the Brexity nonsense the minute the result was in.

The Scottish Tories are the only party to wholeheartedly support Brexit in the Scottish parliament and their Westminster MPs have all gone along with it so far. A key reason the Scottish Tories are doing so well despite her being out of the picture is the shambles which is Scottish Labour who have tried Corbyn-style fence-sitting which has pleased no-one. They've kept dropping back in the polls as a result.
posted by Flitcraft at 5:25 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


Sturgeon’s “eviscerating” tweet notwithstanding, the most recent UK poll has party support at
LAB 41
CON 36
UKIP 7
LIB 7
OTH 9

It also has 40% support and 38% opposition to a second referendum
posted by moorooka at 5:48 PM on March 30


Corbyn's ratings on Yougov's 'who would make the best prime minister' poll are 19% to May's 31% with 'Not Sure' a runaway winner at 46%. At this stage, people aren't voting Labour so much because they like him but because the first past the post system puts them in a desperate position in England. Split the vote and let the Tories in, or vote for a party led by someone who leans towards Lexit and the mythical 'jobs first Brexit'.

It's not a reflection of any genius on Corbyn's part that Labour are managing to poll ahead of a Tory party which has taken omnishambles to a new and incredible level. It's a reflection on how poor the electoral system is.
posted by Flitcraft at 6:17 PM on March 30 [5 favorites]


A tweet I saw earlier pointed out that May calling a no confidence vote against herself and losing would truly be peak Brexit. And it's far from unthinkable...
posted by Devonian at 7:03 PM on March 30 [31 favorites]


At the same time, Scottish Tories are already a de facto independent centre-right party -- Ruth Davidson has stayed well away from the Brexity nonsense -- which is why they're the main opposition party in the Scottish Parliament.

I think the same calculus about whether "remain" my be superior to "leave" applies to the Scottish Tories, just as it does to the DUP. For Scotland, any outcome other than "revoke", will trigger a demand for an Indyref (because the SNP were elected in this manifesto, because all Scottish constituencies voted to remain and because the Scottish Parliament voted to have an IndyRef to offer Scots an alternative to any "leave" plan. Since the chances of Scots voting "Yes" to independence are worryingly high under such circumstances - from the perspective of Unionists - any Conservative PM will resist this demand with all their might - but there are constitutional limits on their ability to do so.

For Scottish Tory voters - the preservation of the union matters more than anything else and logically this should lead to a firm rejection of any possibility of "No Deal" by their MPs. Theresa May often talks about the importance of The Union - but polls show Conservative party members in England would sacrifice Scotland and NI for Brexit - so there is a clear contrast between supporters of the same party north and south of the border. So far Ruth Davidson (before her maternity leave) and the other Scottish Tories have all backed the PM on her WA. Now that this looks like being toast - and with "No Deal" looming ever more prominently as a possibility - it will be interesting to see where they go. If the Scottish Tories are ever to be envisaged as a "separate party" it is because of their devotion to the union rather than any difference on social policies.
posted by rongorongo at 10:53 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


A tweet I saw earlier pointed out that May calling a no confidence vote against herself and losing would truly be peak Brexit

I'm still mildly worried the british MEPs could veto Britain getting an extension. Presumably they could? Obviously it would be bonkers, but entirely within keeping.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:53 PM on March 30


It's not down to the MEPs is it? I mean the last extension wasn't so why would a further one be?
posted by edd at 11:11 PM on March 30


Corbyn's ratings on Yougov's 'who would make the best prime minister' poll are 19% to May's 31% with 'Not Sure' a runaway winner at 46%. At this stage, people aren't voting Labour so much because they like him but because the first past the post system puts them in a desperate position in England. Split the vote and let the Tories in, or vote for a party led by someone who leans towards Lexit and the mythical 'jobs first Brexit'.
I think it's increasingly obvious that a non-Corbyn Remain focused Labour Party would win a sizeable majority in any GE. The problem being is that the second he resigns the Tories would exploit the chaos to force throgh MV4 and the GE would never come.

Even if a GE was called, safely resigning before it is run would take more political skill than he has. I suppose if he went all grandad Jez stepping down for the good of the country about it then the impact would be reduced, but he's not going to do that and nobody trusts the centrists not to be cocks about it and the left wing not to sulk.

Things may have got out of hand.
posted by fullerine at 11:30 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]


I think it's increasingly obvious that a non-Corbyn Remain focused Labour Party would win a sizeable majority in any GE.

I don’t think this is obvious at all. Current polls do not show majority support either for remain or for a second referendum. There’s little evidence of a large constituency of remain-focused voters who are withholding support from Labour due to Corbyn’s leadership, nor of any alternative Labour leader who would actually increase rather than reduce the party’s current level of popular support.
posted by moorooka at 12:14 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


polls show Conservative party members in England would sacrifice Scotland and NI for Brexit

The feeling I got from the polls was that there are at least some people for whom losing Scotland and NI from the Union would make them more likely to support Brexit. I.e., that there is a not-insignificant group of people who'd rather be in the EU, but if they're offered the chance to kick the Celts again, they'll go for that instead.

Gibraltar, on the other hand, would probably be a deal-breaker.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:44 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


John Curtice has a recent post linking lots of current public opinion data, which I've seen spun online in rather different ways to what he's actually saying. What I find most striking about it is his suggestion that many Leave and Remain supporters have become so passionately entrenched in their positions that those positions over-ride party loyalties and hence constitute a disruptive force against the current system.

This is consistent with what I think I've been seeing among friends and on social media. To the point where I think they'll continue to be polarised for years to come. Which leads me to speculate, that under first past the post, the major party which has best survived this disruption is the likely winner when a GE finally does get called.
posted by Caractacus at 12:50 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


That reading is also quite consistent with the results of the indicative vote last week, where the Ultras for Leave and Remain made it impossible for any compromise to get a majority, usually by voting against their own 'host' political party.
posted by Caractacus at 12:57 AM on March 31


I keep reading phrases like this one from the New Yorker: "the U.K.’s border with the Republic of Ireland—which, after Brexit, would be its only land frontier with the E.U."

Do Gibraltar, Akrotiri and Dhekelia not count because they're overseas territories?
posted by Kattullus at 1:54 AM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Which leads me to speculate, that under first past the post, the major party which has best survived this disruption is the likely winner when a GE finally does get called.
Here is Alexandre Afonso's modified "Brexit Archipelago" chart showing how voting split by May's deal and by indicative vote. He has now added party breakdown to his visualisation. The two clusters are 1) No Deal/Unicorn and 2) Soft Brexit/People's Vote/Revoke - there are very few Labour people in the former and very few Conservatives in the latter.

It strikes me that the Tories would have to move quite a lot further to embrace a broadly popular electoral stance than Labour would. This, of course, before considering FPP weirdness and leader characteristics.
posted by rongorongo at 2:07 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Katallus: according to Wikipedia, although Akrotiri and Dhekelia are British Overseas Territories they aren't part of the European Union. But I had to check; it's amazing how many edge cases UK sovereignty has. For instance, the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey (i.e., the Channel Islands) aren't British Overseas Territories: they're Crown Dependencies. What will happen to them upon Brexit? Fsck knows, it's supposed to be part of the agreement but apparently people have been too busy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:27 AM on March 31 [8 favorites]


I'm still mildly worried the british MEPs could veto Britain getting an extension. Presumably they could? Obviously it would be bonkers, but entirely within keeping.
Quick point of order, as it were - it's the heads of government of the 27 other EU member states (aka the European Council) who get to veto any extension. The UK, as an EU member, gets to take part in other European Council business but has to leave the room when Brexit is discussed.

The current British member of the European Council is Theresa May.
posted by winterhill at 2:32 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Last update: a minute ago

Revoke and remain petition: 5,999,930 signatures

source
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:55 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]




I still think the petition is pissing in the wind. I can't think of a single occasion when one of those petitions has led to any meaningful change rather than a Government "we are not considering that" response, but I'd be happy to be corrected. It's a fun distraction but it's not going to do anything. They'll go into a back room and cursorily 'debate' it for a few minutes.

There's also the issue that pro-Brexit campaigners and Leavers can quite credibly dismiss the petition as a 'metropolitan' thing. The mass numbers of signatures and high percentages have come out of the same old traditionally Remain-leaning cities - Bristol, Brighton, Edinburgh and affluent parts of London are at the top of the table while the likes of Barnsley, Hartlepool and Walsall are propping up the league. I live in constituency #588 on percentages at time of writing.

If there is to be a second referendum, that has to change, otherwise I fear we are in for another 'shock' victory for Leave. The concerns of people in Redcar are just as important as those in Reading. Idiotic rhetoric about immigration and foreigners has to be combated, and there has to be a positive case for EU membership taken to the Northern and Midlands regions and pushed hard against the racist fairy tales of UKIP and friends which still dominate the public discourse in these places.

The Leave victory was a surprise to me, but having lived and worked in a "Leave Area" for some years now it wasn't as much of a shock as it was to many. I just don't want to see another one.
posted by winterhill at 3:21 AM on March 31 [6 favorites]


What will happen to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man on Brexit?

Their governments have been taking a keen interest. And they definitely want their complicated arrangements as non-EU members respected.

But this is the kind of detail that's interesting if you're looking at it as an intellectual problem, rather than a fundamental challenge to your security. I mean, at least it's not fundamentally wrong, like a lot of the analysis of the Labor, sorry, Labour Party above.
posted by ambrosen at 3:31 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


It's a bit of a bellwether issue, though, isn't it? Sovereignty is the most fundamental thing about Brexit - at least, that's what the Leavers say. If they haven't really addressed that, why should they pretend to have any credibility when it comes to economic or customs issues?

Ah, who am I kidding. They haven't sorted out residency issues affecting literally millions of people; why should the destiny of a few hundred thousand islanders make a difference.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:00 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


There would be two possible outcomes of a second referendum now; a narrow leave win or a narrow remain win

I wonder, though. The first referendum asked voters, "Is the Brexit deal you hope we'll get better than remaining?" A second one would ask, "Is the Brexit deal we actually have better than remaining?" I don't know how much you can predict about the closeness of the second question based on the closeness of the first.

Looking at the data that Caractacus posted, 66% of Leave voters think the current deal is a bad one. That's 11.5 million people who voted Leave but don't like what they got. There's a wide range of possible outcomes for a second referendum, depending on how many of those 11.5 million are willing to hold their nose and vote for May's deal.

Just to be clear, I'm not arguing that a second referendum would unquestionably be a clear Remain majority. I'm just saying it's one of several entirely possible outcomes.
posted by yankeefog at 4:01 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


I still think the petition is pissing in the wind. I can't think of a single occasion when one of those petitions has led to any meaningful change rather than a Government "we are not considering that" response, but I'd be happy to be corrected. It's a fun distraction but it's not going to do anything.

I beg to differ. I think the petition already has done something.

Since June 2016 the 16 million remain voters have been effectively invisible in the media narrative. The petition has had huge effect in showing that yes, in fact, we are still here and have not just slunk away to "get over it".

And it has shifted the Overton window. By panning the media camera out to bring revocation back into the frame, it has put a confirmatory referendum back into the middle of the picture where it looks like the moderate option that it should always have been, not fringe lunacy.

The official government response to the petition, and whatever nominal debate occurs tomorrow, were never the point.
posted by automatronic at 4:38 AM on March 31 [43 favorites]


I hope I didn't miss this up thread, but this Guardian Article on May seems fair and accurate.

Theresa May was dealt the worst of hands and has played it spectacularly badly

...It became her self-defined mission to “make a success” of Brexit by delivering on the referendum result while mitigating damage to the economy and without splitting her party. She has failed in each one of those objectives. The original withdrawal date has been scrubbed. Business leaders are tearing out what remains of their hair about Brexit blight. The Tory party is so vividly divided that it could be heading for a terminal split. Even promising to sacrifice herself wasn’t enough to get her withdrawal agreement through parliament at the third time of asking. The “safe pair of hands” has piloted Britain into extremely dark waters...

The article goes on to enumerate specific mistakes made along the way. The author, Andrew Rawnsley, attempts to be fair but critical of her choices. Also seems conscious not to use gendered criticisms.

No one accuses her of being lazy or trivial. After the essay-crisis, seat-of-the-pants style of the Cameron premiership, the Tory party thought it would do better with a serious swot. One of her few friends once told me that Mrs May approached Brexit as if the country had set her a piece of fiendishly difficult homework. The downside of this doggedness has been inflexibility. When Ken Clarke described her as “a bloody difficult woman”, she embraced the label as a compliment. During their days in government together, Nick Clegg used to call her a “one-eyed politician”, by which he meant that she did not have the imagination to find creative solutions to problems...

...The problem with the Conservative party is not Mrs May. The problem with the Conservative party is the Conservative party. The problem with Brexit is not Mrs May. The problem with Brexit is Brexit.

Anyway, it's a good read.
posted by Telf at 4:38 AM on March 31 [12 favorites]


But I had to check; it's amazing how many edge cases UK sovereignty has. For instance, the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey (i.e., the Channel Islands) aren't British Overseas Territories: they're Crown Dependencies. What will happen to them upon Brexit? Fsck knows, it's supposed to be part of the agreement but apparently people have been too busy.

A lot of the much-vaunted “English Pragmatism” (typically contrasted with French dirigisme or German Idealism) is the cultivation of entangled ambiguities, should they prove useful in the future. The odd constitutional arrangements of the UK (which is not a federal system, though has bespoke devolution agreements for some parts), a legal system based on precedents rather than codified law, and indeed, one of the world's longest tax laws (all the better for the great and good to be able to find loopholes in) are examples of this.
posted by acb at 4:59 AM on March 31 [5 favorites]


The concerns of people in Redcar are just as important as those in Reading.

It goes both ways. If you look at the last few years, it's Reading that's been ignored, while politicians have been falling over themselves to appease Redcar.
posted by Dysk at 5:08 AM on March 31 [17 favorites]


The mass numbers of signatures and high percentages have come out of the same old traditionally Remain-leaning cities - Bristol, Brighton, Edinburgh and affluent parts of London are at the top of the table while the likes of Barnsley, Hartlepool and Walsall are propping up the league.

This is why I think it's important to address Leavers concerns about austerity / economic disparity by engaging around concrete policies (which given the state of the official media, means engaging door-to-door and via social media conversations) rather than on the terms of the mass media and their racist friends. Look at stuff that's working right now through the lens of Brexit.

For example, a concrete examination of the likely impact on Brexit on the success of policies like those represented by the Preston Model

EU regulations act as friction on initiatives like that (see the later part of the link) but they don't actually prevent them from succeeding altogether. Preston and similar local authorities have done the grind work of getting things through. Some flavours of Brexit might actually facilitate that kind of positive policy, but a no-deal would almost certainly see such local authorities getting sued by multinationals and outfits like Serco / Crapita for being anti-competitive in trying to repatriate profits locally.
posted by Caractacus at 5:16 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Brittany Ferries' no-deal Brexit ferry crossings start

It's costing £46.6m ... too late to cancel apparently
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:20 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


So I kind of disagree with your post - us holding EU elections is now politically the default option, because it would take a dramatic intervention for us not to end up on that path.

I think you may have missed option 3. May dismisses whatever comes out on Monday as incompatible with the Tory Party manifesto, as would holding EU elections. She goes to the EU and asks for a short extension on April 10th until May 22nd anyway to 'finish implementing the WA', but pointedly refuses to ask for a longer one.

Thus repeating the plan evident on Friday; temporary alliance with the brexiters to kill the options of negotiating a softer brexit or 2nd ref or GE. She only has to hold out until April 12th; beyond that point, the EU will definitively reallocate the UK's seats and there's no spots for UK MEPs to be elected to, thus making it dramatically harder to hold EU elections in May. And without EU elections, no possibility of a further extension.

Once that's done, it's the same old plan - pit her 'no-deal or bust' backbenchers vs Labour and dare the latter to vote down the WA yet again or get no-deal. Every time she's done a vote she gets more switchers; she's only got to convince 30 more MPs to back it in the following month and she can drag that battered corpse over the line after all. She clearly thinks Labour will blink rather than be blamed for all the negative consequences of no-deal (which will be the press narrative) - and if they do trigger revoking article 50 instead, again they get blamed for denying the sunlit uplands of brexit, and we all know how potent a 'stabbed in the back' myth can be.

In either event, she gets to blame Labour with the help of the press instead of the ERG and DUP, and keeps the fragile alliance in the tory party together. And she clearly cannot contemplate any possibility of doing anything other than pass the WA.

The commons are going to have to reunite solidly behind a plan, probably a 2nd referendum, and include a substantial number of Tory remainers, quite likely including senior cabinet ministers - enough to force through a statutory instrument extending or eliminating the leaving date in the EU Withdrawal Act 2018. The threat of, or actual doing of that prior to April 10th may well be the deciding factor - particularly if the DUP actually start talking more explicitly about backing revoking article 50 than allowing her deal or no-deal, which was implied by Dodds the other day.

Another way they might kill that plan is actually to hold MV4 and have her lose by a significantly bigger margin than on Friday - as long as she's getting closer, she's clearly not going to give up.

Or the EU leaders might finally decide to screw May over entirely on the 10th and only offer her April 12th or a year's extension to sort ourselves out; I think she'd be forced to take the latter as she knows as well as they do that we're nowhere near prepared for no-deal two days later. That will require a substantial amount of mercy for the UK population though if we haven't got a solid commons majority for a plan B; the last thing they want is another year of chaos with no resolution at the end of it.

Or something else out of left field. There's been far too many unexpected twists in this saga to rule out something mad like not holding EU elections but allow us to appoint interim ones from MPs temporarily, May suddenly having a 10 minute burst of sanity before the brexiteers get hold of her again, or Corbyn ruling out supporting brexit of any kind lead by the tories, or direct rule from the UN because we're clearly a non-functional state. Frankly, we are most clearly in 'not even God knows what happens next' territory.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:45 AM on March 31 [11 favorites]


I beg to differ. I think the petition already has done something.

To elaborate on this, as well as the effects on the media narrative, remainer morale, and the Overton window (which dictates what’s politically feasible), the march and the petition both provide politicians with cover to vote for non-insane outcomes. “I think it’s clear from the overwhelming reponse to the petition...” or “The petition received X signatures in my constituency...” or whatever.

Beforehand, with remain voters having been relatively silent (and with little to no representation in the national press) it was difficult for MPs to fight accusations of being un-democractic by voting for outcomes that didn’t lead to Brexit, however damaging the alternatives were. Those cries of “betrayal!” will continue, of course, but at least MPs will now be able to point to something that suggests they’re the ones responding to democratic concerns - and concerns from today, not three years ago.

The petition isn’t going to stop Brexit, only MPs can do that. And if they’re going to stop Brexit (or at least mitigate the damage), they need to be given room to manoeuvre in the terms that matter to them - public opinion, the media narrative, polling, etc. Remainers need to provide them with that space. Hence the march, hence the petition.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:40 AM on March 31 [27 favorites]


She goes to the EU and asks for a short extension on April 10th until May 22nd anyway to 'finish implementing the WA', but pointedly refuses to ask for a longer one.

We know they’d immediately say no to this, because they know she doesn’t stand a chance. If she did this they’d do what they did last time and offer her something else entirely to what was asked for.
posted by grahamparks at 7:07 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Current polls do not show majority support either for remain or for a second referendum.

Polls giving the respondent the choice between remain and generic leave (which, in reality, means "whatever special magic unicorn Brexit is in your head") as opposed to a specific leave plan are intentionally misleading shit that are worth less than the paper they are printed on.

You'll note that in polls asking people to choose between remain and any specific Brexit proposal, leave always loses. I'm sure you can draw your own conclusions about what could cause these seemingly (but not) contradictory results..
posted by wierdo at 9:48 AM on March 31 [19 favorites]


Further to the Scottish subthread -- I didn't know how long Ruth Davidson's maternity leave lasted, and I'm glad for her and her family that it's still ongoing -- there's a report in the pro-independence The National that the Scottish Tories might form a new party if Boris Johnson becomes leader of the UK party. It's thinly / anonymously sourced, but Scottish Tory Westminster MPs -- most of whom picked up their seats from the SNP in 2017 -- must be pretty nervous about a snap election.

while politicians have been falling over themselves to appease Redcar.

Yes and no. The council tax rates in Reading and Redcar are essentially identical, but the housing stock is obviously very different and Redcar & Cleveland Council is a lot more strapped for cash thanks to the rising costs of social care. So it's a bullshit appeasement, and Redcar MP Anna Turley isn't shy about pointing that out.
posted by holgate at 10:00 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


She goes to the EU and asks for a short extension on April 10th until May 22nd anyway to 'finish implementing the WA', but pointedly refuses to ask for a longer one.

AIUI, there is absolutely no way, under any circumstances, that the EU accepts a short extension at this point. They want to allocate seats ASAP, and they can't do that if Britain's status remains up in the air during a period between seat allocation and the election of the European Parliament. If they, as you propose, zeroed out the UK's allocation while giving an A50 extension to May 22nd, they are totally putting their own asses on the line: revocation of A50, which the UK can do unilaterally, would make them a member state with no representation, and that would be an administrative nightmare for the EU (it would suck for the UK not to be represented, of course, but it would suck in ways which would be deeply damaging to the EU's mandate). No matter how unlikely the EU may think an eleventh-hour revocation of Article 50 is, that would be basically the worst possible scenario for them and they want to make sure it doesn't happen.

Now, TM could promise the EU that Britain is really no-we-mean-it leaving on May whateverth, but (a) it is increasingly clear that she isn't in control of the process to nearly the degree she claims to be, and (b) the UK has spent the last 2 years doing the maximally inconvenient thing for the EU, so why would they stop now?

Basically, a short extension is all downside for the EU, AFAICT. They have absolutely no reason to accept such an offer.
posted by jackbishop at 11:21 AM on March 31 [7 favorites]


So it's a bullshit appeasement, and Redcar MP Anna Turley isn't shy about pointing that out.

Yeah, my comment was specifically talking about brexit, it inherited the framing from the one out was responding to. It is totally worth noting that a lot of places outside the major cities and South East aren't doing great, but that is mostly down to decisions made before the last two years - brexit has been consuming all the political oxygen.
posted by Dysk at 11:22 AM on March 31 [3 favorites]


But also, I was in a Pret in Reading in early February and the jovial retired white man on the next table was expressing complete confidence in Mrs May, and bullish indifference to the idea that there was anything to worry about re: Brexit. The two women he was with (family members, I assumed) did not show dissent, either. There's a lot of wealthy people in wealthy parts of England who are happy to let people who've already been let down take the blame for the xenophobia that they also support.
posted by ambrosen at 11:51 AM on March 31 [9 favorites]


When considering who to appease, you need to consider who you actually stand any chance of appeasing.

The Leave campaign went in promising the easiest trade negotiation ever, a great deal, all agreed before any legal departure would be started, and then £350m a week to the NHS while the unicorns dance through the rainbows in the sunlit uplands.

As all that evaporated and unravelled in the following three years the people who made those promises have steadily worked down the checklist of the Narcissist's Prayer. They never said that. And if they did, they didn't mean it like that. And if they did, well, they would have got it right if they'd been in charge. And if they wouldn't, well, it's only because it's all been sabotaged by those treacherous Remoaners. Anyway it will take 50 years to have a benefit and meanwhile will hopefully be adequate food. But we'd never have gotten into this mess in the first place if you'd only listened to the poor downtrodden northern rural white working class voters more. So really, at the end of the day, it's your fault -- and at last, we come to the last line of the prayer -- so you deserve it.

We've spent three years trying to appease these people, but the truth is that they will never be satisfied. You know damn well that even if they got the no deal, no backstop, WTO bollocks that they insist 17.4m people really voted for, they would be making up new excuses immediately for why it's all going badly and it's all someone else's fault for stabbing them in the back.

You cannot appease these people. You will die trying. Go back and read this comment from R. N. Thomas Pynchon and understand why.

This is the Big Lie in action and we are falling for it again and again and again.
posted by automatronic at 12:44 PM on March 31 [44 favorites]


You'll note that in polls asking people to choose between remain and any specific Brexit proposal, leave always loses. I'm sure you can draw your own conclusions about what could cause these seemingly (but not) contradictory results..

Even in those polls Remain beats the specific leave proposal but still doesn’t reach 50% support due to a large number of “undecideds”. And it doesn’t matter that polls demonstrate that what people want makes no sense, the point is that they suggest that even if Remain were to win in a second referendum it would likely be by a small margin and this would be far from the end of the matter; this irrational population isn’t going away and an aborted brexit will be powerful fodder for a toxic nationalism. Unless there’s reason to believe that the result of a second referendum would be an overwhelming Remain win then I think the risks probably outweigh the benefits, and that’s before even considering the matter from the perspective of the rest of the EU which may be better off without this dysfunctional member
posted by moorooka at 2:16 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


if you'd only listened to the poor downtrodden northern rural white working class voters more.

I'd be really interested to see what your recent experience of life in Northern England is.
posted by Caractacus at 2:19 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I'd be really interested to see what your recent experience of life in Northern England is.

I live in Scotland, so I'm quite familiar with the government not giving a fuck what we think, ta.
posted by automatronic at 2:22 PM on March 31 [8 favorites]


Jacob Rees Mogg approvingly quotes the far-right German AfD party

Here's a really good analysis of the 2017 German elections and the role of the AfD.
posted by Caractacus at 2:27 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


I was in a Pret in Reading in early February and the jovial retired white man on the next table was expressing complete confidence in Mrs May

Is this like the Brooklyn hipster bar full of whispering Trump supporters?
posted by acb at 2:31 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


If May thinks she can trust the DUP she's out of her mind. They will put Union above all and they definitely don't trust her.

Also do Leavers really not realize that the majority of UK immigrants are Commonwealth and former Empire and that Brexit won't change that at all?
posted by fshgrl at 2:35 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


Unless there’s reason to believe that the result of a second referendum would be an overwhelming Remain win then I think the risks probably outweigh the benefits

As someone whose ability to stay in this country might depend on the outcome, I couldn't disagree more. The toxic nationalism is already here. You think Brexit will make it go away? Every road from here includes toxic nationalism. There is no reason to knee jerk in fear, giving the nationalists what they want, it won't make them go away. Might as well do the sensible thing, then.

(I mean really, I'd prefer revocation without a referendum, but I'll take revocation after one if that's what's going. Unless you have really good reason to be able to guarantee a Leave win, I see little to no downside if the alternative is, well, Leaving. Might as well try.)
posted by Dysk at 2:59 PM on March 31 [36 favorites]


Just out of interest, how many of Umberto Eco's criteria do we think is being met in the UK by:

The mainstream media

The Tory party

Far right fringe parties
posted by Caractacus at 3:10 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


So I can I assume from your reply that you have no current experience of life in Northern working class areas?

You would be very close but not quite correct. Meanwhile I would guess from your replies that you take issue with my qualifications, as it were, to use the line that you quoted.

To that extent, I feel you might be partly misinterpreting me, because my point there was to bemoan the way in which both politicians and the media use this sort of language - which I am imitating and exaggerating there - to throw the presumed or cherry-picked concerns of those areas around as a cudgel, and as a means to direct blame to others, whilst doing little or nothing to actually give the people living there a meaningful voice or address their real problems.

I apologise nonetheless, because I see that my post was far too clumsy and probably merely perpetuated this pattern.

But I firmly believe that we must not lend credence to lies and fantasies just because they have already taken hold among people whose needs have been neglected and who are looking for solutions. If we give that inch, another will be taken, again and again, until we get to the sort of situation we are in today. That point is made very forcefully, in my view, in the comment from RNTP that I linked to.

For what it's worth, I lived in a port town on the Humber for a while. It was several years ago and for less than a year, but I hope I learned at least something from that time; I left with some anger at the fate of the commercial waterways there, amongst other things.
posted by automatronic at 3:29 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


The toxic nationalism is already here. You think Brexit will make it go away? Every road from here includes toxic nationalism.

Accepting the referendum result offers a chance of neutralizing the issue and moving forward, denying the result at this point means the cycle will never break, and why should the other member states have to put up with a continuing source of bitternesss and uncertainty? It may not be very realistic but I think that the best outcome would be to let Scotland stay in the EU as an independent country, let Ireland be reunified, then maybe after a generation has passed let a humbled England+Wales revisit the issue in the knowledge that they are merely an ordinary country and not an imperial power.
posted by moorooka at 5:40 PM on March 31


...all at the expense of the Brits that didn't vote Leave, nevermind the EU citizens living here.

Bet that accelerationism looks like a good idea from the other side of the world, but it sure as fuck doesn't from here.
posted by Dysk at 5:49 PM on March 31 [43 favorites]


(And that's before we consider how the burning resentment and bitterness will only fester in a post-Brexit Britain that hasn't - now can't - address the actual underlying issues, and the longer term consequences that can have both domestically and internationally.)
posted by Dysk at 5:51 PM on March 31 [11 favorites]


Accepting the referendum result offers a chance of neutralizing the issue and moving forward, denying the result at this point means the cycle will never break

Not at all convinced that the correct way to deal with toxic nationalists is to give them what they want.

I would much rather deal with ongoing grumbling toxic nationalism than just lie down and offer my face to its boot.
posted by flabdablet at 5:56 PM on March 31 [46 favorites]


Not at all convinced that the correct way to deal with toxic nationalists is to give them what they want.

I mean, I'm just an American viewing this from the outside. But I'm seem to recall that there's an historic UK PM whose name is forever associated with that approach not working.
posted by stevis23 at 5:58 PM on March 31 [24 favorites]


Also, anybody who thinks that Leavers motivated by Whitehall having given no shits about them for far too long will be "neutralized" by decades of living with the economic consequences of Leaving really really needs to think that through more carefully.
posted by flabdablet at 6:04 PM on March 31 [17 favorites]


Hmmm:
Theresa May is being advised by constitutional legal experts that she can ask Queen Elizabeth to refuse to grant royal assent to (soft) Brexit legislation put forward by Parliament.
References an article in The Times, which unfortunately is behind a firewall.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:36 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Accepting the referendum result offers a chance of neutralizing the issue and moving forward, denying the result at this point means the cycle will never break, and why should the other member states have to put up with a continuing source of bitternesss and uncertainty?

I am European. I will always be European at heart, even if that right is stripped from me by obscenely rich right wingers trying to pursue a offshore tax haven economy and damn everyone else. My French wife and children will remain European in law even if I am not. There are millions of us over here. What is the European Union for if it's not for protecting the human rights and wellbeing of its citizens?

The 2016 referendum - which in itself overturned the first one in 1975 - was won illegally. A court already decided if it hadn't been only advisory, it would have been nullified. Accepting that 2nd terribly run referendum, that was full of lies, won't solve anything at all.

It may not be very realistic but I think that the best outcome would be to let Scotland stay in the EU as an independent country, let Ireland be reunified, then maybe after a generation has passed let a humbled England+Wales revisit the issue in the knowledge that they are merely an ordinary country and not an imperial power.

Yes, I can safely say this is not realistic if you think that slamming up a hard border in Ireland leading to an eventual reunification would happen entirely peacefully given the past, well, few hundred years in Ireland; and that somehow an England consumed by toxic nationalism 30km off the coast of France and having a land border with potentially several EU countries (Gibraltar/Spain, Northern Ireland/Ireland, Scotland/England) will just disappear and cause no more trouble for the EU. Toxic rightwing nationalism and xenophobia has to be fought at every level and their lies beaten, not given in to.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:37 PM on March 31 [27 favorites]


Toxic rightwing nationalism and xenophobia has to be fought at every level and their lies beaten, not given in to.

This works. And it would be a great pity to see the results of that work nullified by elected representatives every bit as determined to deny the people the right to change their minds as to uphold their own.
posted by flabdablet at 8:07 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


Professor Mark Elliott, "Professor of Public Law & Deputy Chair of the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge" has something to say about that article in The Times:
[...] any Government that advised the Queen not to grant royal assent to a duly enacted Bill would not only be playing with political fire — it would be subverting fundamental constitutional principle. As such, if any Government were ever foolish enough to furnish the Queen with such advice, she would be constitutionally entitled — and required — to disregard it.
It's well worth reading.

My own view, for what it's worth, is that a government which has financial bills passed against its own wishes ought to resign. To call upon the Queen to refuse assent to such a bill would amount to saying that Parliament has lost the confidence of the Government. That would be a very unwise step, as bad as anything from the reign of Charles 1st, and under such circumstances I feel that the Queen would be well advised to ask Her Loyal Opposition to form a new government.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:28 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


It doesn't neutralise the issue because, to put it bluntly, a lot of the people who voted Leave will be dead and a lot of people who have businesses and work prospects and personal relationships turned upside-down, or are denied the possibilities of EU-member citizenship, and who feel robbed of part of their identity... will still be around. Feeling the same way as someone feels when their home is robbed.

It is, on a smaller and less important scale, the same political dynamic as climate change. The people who denied the long-term consequences won't even be around to take the long-term blame; in the short term, Leave voters who suffer from Brexit will get the same amount of sympathy as ardent climate change denialists whose beach houses are washed away. That in itself toxifies national politics.

[I'm reminded of the anecdote about a young person arguing with his father about the economic consequences of Brexit and being told that if all goes to shit in the UK, he could go to Germany like the lads in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet in the Thatcher years.]
posted by holgate at 9:13 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


I wrote a long comment on this article in the Guardian before I realised it was an April Fool's day prank.
There's something really fucked up about a news outlet trolling the world like this, at this time.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:51 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


I apologise nonetheless, because I see that my post was far too clumsy and probably merely perpetuated this pattern.

No worries. I was too quick to take exception, for which I also apologies.
posted by Caractacus at 10:53 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Accepting the referendum result offers a chance of neutralizing the issue and moving forward, denying the result at this point means the cycle will never break, and why should the other member states have to put up with a continuing source of bitternesss and uncertainty?

Why should Remainers have to accept the 2016 referendum result when the anti-EU loons obviously didn't respect the results of the previous one and have been working since 1975 to reverse it.
posted by PenDevil at 11:07 PM on March 31 [10 favorites]


> It may not be very realistic but

here it comes...

> let Ireland be reunified

Do you remember the process of the Good Friday Agreement being negotiated? Because I do, I was growing up there while it happened. There's a reason why it took years and years of painful and unpopular negotiation with people who would cheerfully have seen me or my family shot in the streets, and there's a reason why it does not simply consist of the phrase "woo yay let's reunify".

By all means let's get into the details and likelihoods of various outcomes, but glossing over the complexities of this sort of thing is exactly what got us into the whole Brexit mess and it's not going to be any help getting us out.
posted by doop at 11:30 PM on March 31 [54 favorites]


Accepting the referendum result offers a chance of neutralizing the issue and moving forward, denying the result at this point means the cycle will never break, and why should the other member states have to put up with a continuing source of bitternesss and uncertainty? It may not be very realistic but I think that the best outcome would be to let Scotland stay in the EU as an independent country, let Ireland be reunified, then maybe after a generation has passed let a humbled England+Wales revisit the issue in the knowledge that they are merely an ordinary country and not an imperial power.
posted by moorooka at 5:40 PM on March 31 [+] [!]

Okay. Let's take this apart point by point.

First major problem with 'accepting the referendum result' is there is no single method of leaving the EU which has majority support amongst leave voters, let alone the entire electorate. Just look at the reaction to the idea of a Custom's Union with the EU from some strands of leave voters - "it's not what we voted for". You get a linked reaction to No Deal from people who wanted EFTA or similar. Let's over-simplify and say they're each half of the leave vote. You accept a close relationship with the EU, and you have 74% of voters who are annoyed (48% Remain and 26% No Deal Leavers). You accept no deal, and you have 74% of voters who are annoyed (48% Remain and 26% EFTA/EEA Leavers).

Second point is that even if we leave the issue is going to be a massive source of bitterness and uncertainty going forward. The problem point is the acceptance of trade offs in negotiating trade deals or other relationships. Say we end up negotiating a trade deal with Australia and New Zealand. You're going to get farmers screaming about betrayal, a narrative that our politicians are selling them down the river, and then a competing one that consumers are being denied the benefits of leaving.

Third one is the "let Scotland stay in the EU". I know we covered this a lot over the time of IndyRef, but there is a cat's chance in hell that Spain will allow that. They know if Scotland is able to do that, there will be more agitation from the Catalans. Scotland would be a new country having to go through the ascension process, with all that involves, and it will create a second land border between rUK and the EU. With Northern Ireland you're talking about the extremely messy re-imposition of border infrastructure which disappeared decades ago. With Scotland I don't even know when there was last a border with England.

On that point we've got to the extreme glossing over of a large part of the population of Northern Ireland and Scotland who do not want to be Irish/independent. "Let Ireland be reunified" appears to ignore the fact that there's people whose main choice of elected official is "will crash the devolved legislature rather than govern locally". The troubles weren't just Nationalist paramilitaries against British soldiers, there were Loyalist paramilitaries as well. At the moment, there's a hard won peace where Northern Ireland is this half way house between being British and Irish.

Oh, and those Catholic/Protestant Nationalist/Loyalist tensions in Northern Ireland? Guess which other part of the UK has a history of conflict between the two groups.
posted by MattWPBS at 1:58 AM on April 1 [11 favorites]


glossing over the complexities of [e.g. The Good Friday Agreement] is exactly what got us into the whole Brexit mess

But how are people meant to comment if they have to understand the complexities of the UK "constitution", the Irish constitution, the EU constitution, the dynamics of the main UK political parties, the security of EU & EEA citizens in the UK & UK citizens in the EU & EEA, the English class system, Northern Ireland sectarianism, Scottish independence and the near subsumation of Wales as another version of "Northern" England?

I guess the answer is "substantially less hubristically", but where's the fun in that?
posted by ambrosen at 1:58 AM on April 1 [17 favorites]


Oh, and today Parliament is going to try and figure out what the fuck to do with the largest constitutional change in decades, while the Government considers whether to bring a rejected deal back for the fourth time, the ruling party decides if now's the best time for a leadership contest, and 6m+ people seem to be ignored completely.

April fool?
posted by MattWPBS at 2:00 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


April fool?

So the same as the last few years, then.
posted by Dysk at 2:21 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


With Scotland I don't even know when there was last a border with England.

Ooh! Ooh! It ceased with the Union of the Crowns on August 24th, 1603, although this was merely a personal union of the Crowns of Scotland and England in the person of James VI & I, of Scotland and England respectively. The two countries were technically distinct (ignoring the temporary commonwealth during the Interregnum) until the Acts of Union, which took effect on May 1st, 1707, but as James VI & I put it in 1604:
What God hath conjoined let no man separate. I am the husband and the whole isle is my lawful wife; I am the head and it is my body; I am the shepherd and it is my flock. I hope therefore that no man will think that I, a Christian King under the Gospel, should be a polygamist and husband to two wives; that I being the head should have a divided or monstrous body or that being the shepherd to so fair a flock should have my flock parted in two
So: polygamy bad, therefore no border from the date of accession of James VI to the English throne, I hope that is clear.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:43 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


Caught a bit of Countryfile yesterday and they have decided to start a series of items on how Brexit might/will effect the agricultural sector of the economy. They started by going to this massive pig farm in Yorkshire (think was 75 000 pigs / 900 new piglets every week) run by three sisters. Their dad, who I think started the business, voted Remain but they all voted Leave. When asked they said they thought it would make British people 'more patriotic' and thus they would buy more of their pork. They seemed to have ignored the fact, explained in the program, that because basically British people don't consume all of the pig equally - we eat more bacon than we do pork chops - you'll always have to export; at the moment mainly to Germany.

Now they are visibly terrified at what Brexit - especially a Hard/No Deal Brexit - will do to their business, basically wiping it out with cheap imports. I gather that due to EU regs and support they are able to have a high standard of welfare which other countries don't have (one of the sisters had had some sort of grant/scholarship that had enabled her to travel the world seeing pig farming in loads of other countries).

You can think, well that's three tory/leave idiots, tough shit. But I imagine that business employs more than just the three of them.

And that's just one business in one sector... start thinking about that sort of thing affecting the whole country and its' somewhat worrying.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:55 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


So: polygamy bad, therefore no border from the date of accession of James VI to the English throne, I hope that is clear.

And the UK constitution and future of the UK is a silly pub quiz question. Right.

FWIW, there's very little that would be difficult about setting up an England/Scotland border, as anyone who's travelled much between England and Scotland would know. There's 2 rail lines, 2 major A roads, 3 smaller A roads and a handful of back roads.
posted by ambrosen at 2:58 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


And the UK constitution and future of the UK is a silly pub quiz question. Right.

I'm getting a bit tired of the trivia crap about obscure history and the Queen. There's a lot going on now that merits discussion and while historical context is useful I don't feel that bringing up James VI etc is particularly helpful at this point. The poster's personal interest appears to be the monarchy, which is fine, but not relevant here.

I'd also like to see no more posts about "why don't they just...?" especially when that "just" is "just re-unify Ireland".
posted by winterhill at 3:13 AM on April 1 [21 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry I have a friend whose parents were sheep farmers until their recent retirement. The business was on the knife edge of profitability, and any sort of hard or No Deal Brexit is going to tip that industry over the edge. And it's not just "Tory idiots" that will be affected—the farmers maintain all those lovely stone walls in the Dales that we all enjoy and bring in the tourists. If the sheep and the farms disappear, so will a lot of what English people think of as the traditional English countryside.

That's nowhere near as important as the mass loss of jobs and rise in racism and prejudice, but it's yet another aspect of the Brexit anti-dividend that Leave campaigners were (and still are) allowed to bullshit over by the media. So good on Countryfile for getting there—if 3 years late.

Gove promised sheep farmers protective tariffs, but I'm not convinced that will happen if push comes to shove; it will mean more expensive food, when one of the touted Brexit benefits was cheaper food, plus we have a lot of people reliant on food banks.

This is another entry in the laundry list of Brexit losses the Conservatives have promised to make good, but add up all the promises to science, manufacturing, the universities, farmers, the regions etc etc etc and you have a fistful of bouncing cheques.

I know, for example, that the universities have been told they are safe, and I know they don't believe a word of it. Anyone other than ferry companies thinking the government is going to bale them out of Brexit-related financial problems is fooling themselves badly.
posted by dudleian at 3:56 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


For what it's worth, I'm interested in reading relevant posts from anybody who knows what they're talking about. That includes interesting historical sidenotes, like James VI's justification for the union of England and Scotland. I wouldn't want the whole thread to be that, but I really appreciated it as a brief side note along the way. It doesn't have to be a big derail unless we make it one.
posted by yankeefog at 4:04 AM on April 1 [27 favorites]


Third one is the "let Scotland stay in the EU". I know we covered this a lot over the time of IndyRef, but there is a cat's chance in hell that Spain will allow that.
I agree with you almost completely, MattWPBS, but I think if/when the UK leaves the EU, the circumstances are so exceptional that Spain may be convinced to change its mind.
But that's a detail. The main point is that the situation is way beyond fucked up, and for some reason a huge part of the English population and a majority of the politicians haven't understood the immensity of it yet. It is so frightening, it's like the beginning of the was in former Yugoslavia.
posted by mumimor at 4:13 AM on April 1 [9 favorites]


Also worth pointing out that agriculture across the EU is the biggest beneficiary of EU funds, with the CAP accounting for ~38% of the total EU budget, around €410bn in the period 2014-2020. So agricultural areas voting leave, as many did, could be argued to be cutting their own throats.

However, I am not sure I agree with dudleian that a tory government wouldn't help out the sector though. It is essentially its base.
posted by biffa at 4:25 AM on April 1


how are people meant to comment if they have to understand the complexities of the UK "constitution", the Irish constitution, the EU constitution, the dynamics of the main UK political parties, the security of EU & EEA citizens in the UK & UK citizens in the EU & EEA, the English class system, Northern Ireland sectarianism, Scottish independence and the near subsumation of Wales as another version of "Northern" England?

The need to be across this kind of thing in order to make anything even vaguely resembling an informed decision is exactly why representative democracy has (in theory) a better chance of making good decisions than direct democracy does.

As James O'Brien so frequently points out, when doing your job requires you to be familiar with these things it becomes your responsibility to inform yourself about them, but this is a responsibility not shared with the public at large. It's completely unreasonable to expect everybody to be a policy wonk but it's also a complete dereliction of duty for blithering idiots like Johnson and Davis and Gove and the odious Mogg to fail to be.

For Kate Hoey, whom I watched in gobsmacked disbelief as she denounced her fellow MPs for sneakily plotting to make Brexit seem complicated instead of simple, no words could be adequately scathing.
posted by flabdablet at 4:30 AM on April 1 [21 favorites]


I am not sure I agree with dudleian that a tory government wouldn't help out the sector though. It is essentially its base.

Have you met Tories?

The overwhelming majority of Tory voters vote Tory not because the Tories have ever done anything good for them, but because their families and neighbours have always voted Tory, Labour and its supporters are The Jumped-Up Rabble That Doesn't Know Its Place, and voting for Labour is therefore an act falling somewhere between treasonous and unthinkable.

Tories essentially invented style-over-substance politics.
posted by flabdablet at 4:35 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


I have met tories. I am also aware that many of them are landlords and have voted to stop landlords having to make houses fit for human habitation. That a way above average number of tory MPS went to public school and send their kids to public school while also maintaining tax breaks for public schools. I can't find a stat for how many tory MPs are landowners but I'm prepared to guess it might be a few and moreso for their lords. If they aren't landowners I bet they know quite a few farmers personally and will be influenced to support them, since what comes around goes around when it comes to financial support.
posted by biffa at 4:50 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


4:30pm is when they're debating the response to the petition to revoke, in Westminster Hall. Obviously we can't expect much, but it'll be interesting to see what happens.
posted by ambrosen at 5:01 AM on April 1


We thought business was its base too, but business turned out to be eminently fuckable. I don't think most of them know who their base are any more, beyond the nutters screaming in their faces. The rest of them are the screaming nutters.

One thing they could try would be to reconstitute the cabinet as per early June 2016 - Cameron, Osborne et al - and pretend the whole thing had been a dream. Weirdly, I don't know that that would be any less likely to work than any other strategy.
posted by Grangousier at 5:30 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


Grayling threatening to resign if the government accepts a custom union. You should have resigned a dozen times by now, you incompetent bellended fucktrumpet.

Also aren't April Fool's jokes supposed to be over now it's past 12? I know they've put a lot of work into this one, but surely May should be revealing the last three years have all been a prank that got out of control by now.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:01 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


therefore no border from the date of accession of James VI to the English throne, I hope that is clear

There is a border, because the law is different on the two sides of the border. For example, if you are detained under mental health legislation in England and then run into Scotland, that detention has no legal power whatsoever; the same applies going in the other direction. You may be then detained under the legislation of the country you are in, but the law from the other side of the border has no power. Transferring detained patients requires a formal legal process which effectively switches the detention at the border. That's just an example, but there is most definitely a border for a number of legal purposes.

I know this is not the same as a border with customs and passport checks - but the Northern Ireland border doesn't have them either. So basically the Ireland/Northern Ireland and England/Scotland borders are extremely similar at the moment.
posted by Vortisaur at 6:10 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


They seemed to have ignored the fact, explained in the program, that because basically British people don't consume all of the pig equally - we eat more bacon than we do pork chops - you'll always have to export; at the moment mainly to Germany.

Likewise with fishing: a lot of the ugly/weird fish and seafood goes to continental Europe because in spite of telly chefs encouraging people to eat eels and scallops, the UK market is all about cod and haddock and prawns.

I gather that due to EU regs and support they are able to have a high standard of welfare which other countries don't have

Like I said in the last thread, the entire point of the single market in goods is to create a regulatory regime of developed economies with sufficient clout to prevent a race to the bottom against large low-standards / low-wage producers like the US and China. (Australia / NZ have higher standards, but they also have a fuckload of empty space.) The CAP has its problems, and there's plenty to be said about the treatment of seasonal farm workers in the UK, but in geographically small countries where agriculture is tied to landscape and culture -- especially things like upland sheep farming -- the protectionism of the single market is about preserving the externalities.
posted by holgate at 6:16 AM on April 1 [12 favorites]


The Conservative party had allegiances, for example to business and farmers, which were significantly based on self interest—Conservatives were either business people/farmers themselves, or relied on their money and votes to get elected. I had problems with those allegiances in the past, but at least they made the behaviour of the party predictable and stable.

The party is implicitly screwing over business wholesale with Brexit, and some members (Johnson by name, Johnson by nature) have been brutally explicit about it.

Although Gove has been raising the flag for farmers and fishermen, there are lots of people in cabinet, not least Hammond, who are willing to cut them loose—not because they don't care, but simply as a matter of vital triage if we No Deal.

The Brexit Cons' unpredictability, instability, and willingness to scorch the earth on which they stand is breathtaking. Forgive me for saying it, but an old-style Conservative party with a functioning connection to reality would make a far better fist at resolving Brexit, and keeping Remainers / lefties happy, than the current bunch of floaters.

I think this realignment of the Cons needs to be understood if we're to have a hope of working out where the party is going next. I caught flack in an earlier post for saying that May might well not get her wish for a GE because that would require a 2/3 majority in parliament. People took it for granted that her party would vote with her (and of course Labour would) so what was the problem? The problem is that (as reported in many Sunday papers) lots of Conservatives would vote against May on that one. As things stand she's more likely to get an election by engineering a vote of no confidence in herself.

We're through the looking glass here people.
posted by dudleian at 7:02 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Arguably the revolutionary strain of the Conservative party goes back to Thatcher.
posted by Erberus at 7:21 AM on April 1 [4 favorites]


The Conservative party had allegiances, for example to business and farmers ...

The total number of farm owners in the UK is 126,000. They employ 1.5% of the work force. Seems like a rather small constituency with undue political weight.

On the other hand there are almost 6 million business owners.
posted by JackFlash at 7:38 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


One number that's surprised me a lot today is that 74% of the UK population were in favour of Freedom of Movement in the latest Eurobarometer survey.

Which is wildly inconsistent with Brexit polling, of course. It's as if there's no informed consent to Brexit.
posted by ambrosen at 8:17 AM on April 1 [10 favorites]


74% of the UK population were in favour of Freedom of Movement

I'll be honest, I struggle to believe that. It is the single Brexit red line that cannot be crossed and a major factor for (I'm guessing) the majority of Brexit voters.

Maybe people hear "Freedom of Movement" and assume it means "Freedom of *My* Movement" and don't equate it with the dreaded I word.
posted by jontyjago at 8:30 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I'll be honest, I struggle to believe [74% of the UK population were in favour of Freedom of Movement]. It is the single Brexit red line that cannot be crossed and a major factor for (I'm guessing) the majority of Brexit voters.

Apologies if I'm speaking out of turn (US citizen), but my recollection is that while "Leave" did eke out a narrow win in the referendum with 51.9% of the vote, the actual percentage of the population of the UK that represents is (coincidentally) about 26% (adjusted for people who live in the UK but cannot vote and people who did not show up to the polls, as they too are part of the population of the UK).
posted by tocts at 8:38 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Maybe people hear "Freedom of Movement" and assume it means "Freedom of *My* Movement" and don't equate it with the dreaded I word.

I've seen comparisons (don't have them to hand), but that wording is the absolutely key point. If it's phrased as a reciprocal right, people are in favour of it.
posted by MattWPBS at 8:40 AM on April 1 [13 favorites]


Indicative votes are now underway today.

Business motion passed 322-277, government trying to stop it again and losing. They apparently don't get that kicking up a fuss every time just diminishes whatever authority they have left.

Motions today are:
C (Clarke) - Customs Union
D (Boles) - Common Market 2.0
E (Kyle) - Confirmatory Ballot
G (Cherry) - Safeguard against No Deal
posted by MattWPBS at 9:01 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Parliament has approved a business motion that ensures that the indicative vote process continues. Bercow has selected the following motions to be considered: C, Clarke (Custom Union); D, Boles ("Common Market 2.0", ~Norway-Plus); E, Kyle (People's Vote); G, Cherry (Revoke A50 if No Deal). None of the hard Brexiter ones.
posted by rory at 9:01 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Ian Dunt is on good form in his current thread

"Alright we're off. Another day of spirit-sapping emotional disintegration awaits."

----
@EmmandJDeSouza
This is important. On March 7th the UKG changed the definition of an EEA citizen to exclude those who are also British.

They have alao stated that "as a matter of law" the people of Northern Ireland are British by birth.

NI born Irish citizens will not be considered EU citizens
[docs and further explanation on thread]

Don't 100% understand the ramifications, but seems like the takeaway is that it's giving the Good Friday Agreement concrete boots and dumping it at sea.

----
At least...

@Ekklesia_co_uk: Today new #EU #tax regulations are in effect in the #UK. That means tax dodgers are being forced to pay more tax, and it is now harder for them to hide. Which is one reason why many of Leave's multi-millionaires (including MPs) want the hardest possible #Brexit, of course.
posted by Buntix at 9:13 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


Yes, the NI-born Irish citizens stuff is huge. I think it relates to the cases where NI-born people have been able to bring in non-EU spouses when they would have had a harder time if they'd been treated as UK citizens alone: Emma de Souza's case was a key one there. So the Home Office is trying to close that door, I suspect, separately to Brexit, but in a way that heads off this "loophole" post-Brexit. But in doing so they do seem on the face of it to be in breach of the Good Friday agreement - and weeks ahead of schedule.

I'm not sure yet, but I think this would also screw things up for British-born kids who are born as dual nationals of other EEA countries too, so that when they're in Britain they'll be treated as being only British.
posted by rory at 9:29 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


"Don't 100% understand the ramifications, but seems like the takeaway is that it's giving the Good Friday Agreement concrete boots and dumping it at sea."

For those who don't know, the Good Friday Agreement gave citizens of Northern Ireland the right to choose British or Irish citizenship, or both. When both countries were in the EU, this was largely not a problem. But if the UK leaves the EU and insists that people born in Northern Ireland who exercised their treaty rights to be Irish citizens are actually now British citizens, people who, for example, married someone from outside the EU using their Irish passport and EU family immigration procedures is fuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. Or other horrible permutations of having the UK unilaterally change your citizenship from the EU-country citizenship you're entitled to, to British citizenship, because of where you were born and in contravention of the Good Friday Agreement.

I'm friends with a lot of folks who study the Good Friday Agreement and there's a LOT flying around about this right now -- I'm not sure it's 100% clear yet that this is the correct interpretation, but definitely a lot of people are afraid it is the correct interpretation, and it would be bad fuckin' news.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:30 AM on April 1 [27 favorites]


Maybe people hear "Freedom of Movement" and assume it means "Freedom of *My* Movement" and don't equate it with the dreaded I word.

To be honest, the two are fairly distinct in many European countries. That is, there is a right-wing that says Europeans=OK, Non-EU=immigrants. The UK is odd in that it completely confuses the two and packages them up together. There's definitely a class of Leave voter, the worst kind, who voted Leave thinking that would help to get rid of all those brown people.
posted by vacapinta at 9:31 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Don't 100% understand the ramifications, but seems like the takeaway is that it's giving the Good Friday Agreement concrete boots and dumping it at sea.

As far as I understand it, one of the key things from the Good Friday Agreement is that citizens in Northern Ireland can decide if they're Irish, British or both, and have the passports and rights to match. What they seem to be trying is to say is that they will consider British-born Northern Irish as Irish, but not as European. I'd suggest that trying to split apart different elements of someone's citizenship is not going to go down well with the Northern Irish, the Irish government or the European Union.
posted by MattWPBS at 9:35 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Hahaha. Apparently there were some climate change protesters flashing from the gallery. Peter Kyle, in trying to distract his fellow MPs from the disturbance, has mentioned the "bottom line" the "naked truth" and a "cheeky comment".
posted by Rock Steady at 9:42 AM on April 1




This [the Northern Ireland citizenship question and its implications] is one of the reasons I remain profoundly unconvinced it's possible to "Brexit" without either exiting the Good Friday Agreement or separating Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom, and there's a tiny little rage-man in my head who has been shrieking at Theresa May's government for the last 2+ years about how YOU HAVE NO FUCKING PLAN FOR DISENTANGLING THE COMPLEX OVERLAPPING TREATIES AND NEEDS IN NORTHERN IRELAND AND THE GFA EXPLICITLY REFERENCES THE EU YOU CANNOT JUST WISH THIS AWAY WITH A MAGIC WAND.

In the appalling omniclustershamblefuck of Brexit generally it gets shunted aside a lot, but I don't see a solution here that doesn't involve exiting the Good Friday Agreement, removing Northern Ireland from the UK, or treating Northern Ireland as a separate and subsidiary unit that's more like Isle of Man (or something, I'm sure there's a better comparison) than a constituent part of the UK. All of those options are alleged to be unacceptable, but what other option is there? It remains shocking to me that May's government has totally failed to address this honestly (although I do realize that is, like, just how May's government works -- dishonesty and misdirection and wishful thinking).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:45 AM on April 1 [24 favorites]


Obviously the climate change protesters wanted to disrupt the last-minute session on Brexit (No Deal deadline: less than a fortnight away!) rather than any of the countless sessions of meaningless bullshit that parliament get up to.

*slow clap*
posted by Dysk at 9:56 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


I suspect it's my prejudices talking, but it reeks of a certain kind of radical-left animal-activist lexity type, the whole setup.
posted by Dysk at 10:00 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


David Lidington has written to the Electoral Commission authorising contingency spending for the European Elections in May: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/chancellor-of-the-duchy-of-lancasters-letter-to-the-electoral-commission-1-april-2019
posted by MattWPBS at 10:06 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


people born in Northern Ireland who exercised their treaty rights to be Irish citizens

It's even more than a treaty right given that it was subsequently incorporated into the Irish Constitution (with the later exception for children of non-Irish parents). And yes, it's impossible to untangle. Within days of the referendum you had DUPers like Ian f'in Paisley Junior telling their constituents that if they wanted an "EU travel document" -- that is, an Irish passport -- they should get one.

Typically, nation states handle dual citizenship by treating other citizenships as irrelevant for most things (other than, say, security clearances or national security exclusions) while making clear that consular protection may not be available in countries where someone is also a citizen. But NI is not typical, its atypicality is guaranteed by treaty, and an entire generation in NI has grown up with the right to an augmented cultural identity instead of a reductive one.
posted by holgate at 10:07 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


Honestly, at this point, I am starting to think that what most Leavers who don't stand to profit financially by us leaving the EU really want is to see Remainers lose.
posted by skybluepink at 10:44 AM on April 1 [14 favorites]


Labour will be whipping for all the motions tonight save Joanna Cherry’s, on which they will abstain.

If we crash out because of this, many of us will be abstaining from voting Labour.
posted by rory at 11:03 AM on April 1 [25 favorites]


I read something about Angela Merkel meeting with Leo Varadkar to push the Republic of Ireland to come up with a concrete plan for securing the NI border in the case of a crash out. Can the ROI even do that? Wouldn't it then be violating the Good Friday Agreement?

If that's the case, I can't really think of a solution other than having to do customs checks for anything moving from the ROI to the rest of the EU at ports. As I understand it, it's permissible to secure borders between countries within the EU under exceptional circumstances (I think Austria did this to stem the flow of migrants from Syria at one point), so would that be legally possible? Leaving aside practical considerations, like somehow having to figure out what originated in the UK vs. the ROI.

Of course that would be totally unfair to Ireland, essentially it means the UK would be exporting much of Brexit to Ireland. Just trying to get a sense of what would be possible in the case of no-deal Brexit.
posted by borsboom at 11:09 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Labour will be whipping for all the motions tonight save Joanna Cherry’s, on which they will abstain.

This seems crazy? Yeah, I know, most of this fiasco is crazy, but still. Is there a strategy behind this? Is it "get something over the finish line into 'yes' so no one can claim we don't agree on anything?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:34 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Do I understand correctly that, if one or more motions get a majority tonight, it's still up to May if they will be implemented ?
posted by Pendragon at 11:37 AM on April 1


Do I understand correctly that, if one or more motions get a majority tonight, it's still up to May if they will be implemented ?

Yes, the ball goes back to the Government's court, however Parliament can pass a binding act if May ignores them.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:43 AM on April 1


And Parliament has already pre-booked Wednesday to start the process if necessary.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:46 AM on April 1 [7 favorites]


The Labour front bench has a perverse attitude towards SNP-sponsored motions/amendments, even if they have cross-party support. Plenty of backbenchers will do a Corbyn and ignore the whip.
posted by holgate at 11:46 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]


This seems crazy? Yeah, I know, most of this fiasco is crazy, but still. Is there a strategy behind this?

My guess is that they want to get a majority for some sort of soft brexit through today, without the media narrative about that getting poisoned by a vote for a motion which would just be misleadingly summarised as "revoking A50" because basic nuance is beyond us at this point.

The comments from Keir Starmer were very much "yes but not yet", so I reckon Labour are thinking to back this motion - or something like it - during the next day of House-takes-back-control business, having got today's majority in hand.
posted by automatronic at 11:47 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


What happens if all 4 get a majority?
posted by fullerine at 11:50 AM on April 1


I think only the "Customs Union" and "Common Market 2.0" (god, I hate that name) are not independent of the others - and if the Customs Union passes and then CM2.0 also passes, I think CM2.0 take precedence since it includes a customs union anyway.

2nd/Confirmatory referendum and no-crash out insurance are independent of actual Brexit deal/ongoing relationship strategy.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:54 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


What happens if all 4 get a majority?

Two of the motions (E (Kyle) - Confirmatory Ballot and G (Cherry) - Safeguard against No Deal) could be implemented in conjunction with any plan other than crash-out no deal. A third, (C (Clarke) - Customs Union) can be implemented in conjunction with a range of plans, and Clarke's said that the fourth (D (Boles) - Common Market 2.0) subsumes his motion. So all 4 could be implemented jointly, although pigs will fly first.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:56 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Whipping for having revoke as the default will likely trigger a raft of lexiter frontbench resignations so they can vote against it; Labour leadership presumably want to avoid that so they can keep the narrative on parliament backed softer brexit vs gov failure to pass anything. Dealing with no-deal is next week's problem (from their point of view, as opposed to us terrified passengers on this broken rollercoaster)
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:01 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


The Labour front bench has a perverse attitude towards SNP-sponsored motions/amendments

Essentially they have been acting as if they are in opposition to the SNP, not the Tories, since the start of the first indyref.

Which is as bizarre and self-destructive as their refusal to compromise on their attempting to get some form of Lexit.

If they'd been willing to co-operate with the other centre-left parties, and approach Brexit with the actual interests of the country in mind (and quit with the 'regretful' anti-immigrant stuff) they'd have the next GE tied up, with a mandate large enough to actually do some of the stuff they plan for the post Brexit sunlit uplands.
posted by Buntix at 12:10 PM on April 1 [12 favorites]


Best thread on the naked climate change protest as it happened.
Two nudists appear to have glued their hands, and possibly buttocks, to the security glass. Police using some kind of spray to try and loosen them
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:04 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


I think only the "Customs Union" and "Common Market 2.0" (god, I hate that name) are not independent of the others - and if the Customs Union passes and then CM2.0 also passes, I think CM2.0 take precedence since it includes a customs union anyway.


The BBC appears to be saying this is not the case. CM2.0 does not include the CU, though it notes that there would need to be some fudge over the NI issue.
posted by biffa at 1:21 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I like this account from David Anderson (who is apparently Lord Anderson of Ipswich KBE QC, and putting all that in your Twitter bio is frankly just rude to those of us who use it for dumb quotes), who happened to have been visiting the gallery with his daughter
Best bit was when the fellow supergluing his hand to the plate glass kept apologising for impeding our view of proceedings. #averybritishprotest
posted by zachlipton at 1:36 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Also, I'm guessing the Maureen McGovern - "The Morning After"/The Poseidon Adventure reference was deliberate. So thank you very much Wordshore for that horribly apt earworm :P

(It really doesn't help that it's doing perfect mashup battle in my brain with previously stored earworm Molotov - Gimme Tha Power).
posted by Buntix at 1:36 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


All no...
posted by Pendragon at 2:06 PM on April 1


The DUP appears to be opting for nihilism.
posted by kyrademon at 2:10 PM on April 1


I wouldn't exactly call DUP nihilism a new thing, kyrademon.
posted by ambrosen at 2:12 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]


Did Nick Boles just quit the Tories ?
posted by Pendragon at 2:14 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Nick Boles crosses the floor in what was a quite touching moment.
posted by fullerine at 2:15 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


The numbers:
Customs union 273 - 276 - LOSES
Common market 2.0 261 - 282 - LOSES
Second ref 280 - 292 - LOSES
No deal prevention 191 -292 LOSES
The number of non-votes is interesting to me. This should be the vote totals for each proposal:

Clarke: 549
Boles: 543
Kyle: 572
Cherry: 483
posted by zachlipton at 2:18 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


b3ta.com notes that Jacob Rees-Mogg's family crest does something interesting a-la mad magazine (warning: naughty word!)
posted by lalochezia at 2:23 PM on April 1 [14 favorites]




Well, fuck. I have no idea what happens at this point, then.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 2:26 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Don't worry, nobody does.
posted by Pendragon at 2:28 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


What? Everything failed again? What are y'all doing?

Why are we all doing this to ourselves.
posted by Justinian at 2:28 PM on April 1


Customs union 273 - 276 - LOSES
Common market 2.0 261 - 282 - LOSES
Second ref 280 - 292 - LOSES
No deal prevention 191 -292 LOSES


This was another "indicative vote" round, yes? So is this just going to winnow things down to two options, presumably Customs Union and Second Ref as the two with both the highest number of "Yes" votes and the closest margins of failure, to be voted on again tomorrow or Wednesday?
posted by tobascodagama at 2:29 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


It seems as there is basically no majority for any thing when voted for positively, so at this point I think they have to just all rank what they don't want to have happen in order of what they would least like to have happen, then pick the overal loser of the competition to be thing to not happen as the winner. :-|
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:30 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


Mostly it's the Fixed Term Parliament Act, in our case. We cannot shift this useless government, although hey, with Nick Boles giving up in disgust, that's another one off her cobbled-together majority.
posted by skybluepink at 2:31 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


The Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell has explicitly said that Spain would not veto an independent Scotland from joining the EU, so long as it secedes legally. The previous foreign minister said the same thing.
posted by Flitcraft at 2:32 PM on April 1 [16 favorites]


Why did the No Deal Prevention option lose by such a large margin? (Sorry if this is a stupid question)
posted by trig at 2:35 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Labour didn’t whip for it, perhaps because they seem to think they’re the SNP’s opposition rather than the government’s opposition.
posted by adrianhon at 2:36 PM on April 1 [11 favorites]


I do wonder what the outcome would be if questions of party loyalty were taken out of the picture. Is the House genuinely so divided or, if there was no party political bullshit, would they pretty quickly be able to cobble together a majority for something?
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:37 PM on April 1


Labour abstained from the No-Deal option because either they're childish idiots who refuse to vote for an SNP option or they wanted to focus everyone on People's vote.

Or both probably.
posted by fullerine at 2:38 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Thanks (just realized it after I posted...)
posted by trig at 2:39 PM on April 1


@Lewis_Goodall: 24 Labour MPs voted against a confirmatory referendum. It lost by 12 votes.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:40 PM on April 1 [13 favorites]


That's two Grantham MPs in a row that have left the Conservative party
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:48 PM on April 1


One Grantham is an accident. Two Granthams is a coincidence. Three Granthams? Enemy action.
posted by adrianhon at 2:50 PM on April 1 [10 favorites]


The DUP appears to be opting for nihilism.

The stated position of the DUP is for the Brady amended WA, which the EU has already said is a non-fucking-starter. The implicit position of the DUP is for Jesus to come flying in on a pterodactyl to perform a miracle.

Labour didn't whip for the Cherry motion; the Tiggers voted against the customs union / CM 2.0 motions; Barclay crowed that the WA had more votes than any of the motions without mentioning that the frontbench was whipped not to vote on them. What an absolute clusterfluster.
posted by holgate at 2:57 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


I think May is going to try and persuade the cabinet tomorrow to go for No Deal (after the letter today signed by 170 Tory MPs).
It's obvious that the Tory party are now almost fully controlled by the Brexiters.

Barring mass resignations from the party by 30 or so Remain leaning Tories the only way out of this now is vote of no confidence.
posted by fullerine at 2:58 PM on April 1


Bunch of children. Every time you think Parliament is actually going to take responsibility and make a decision, they back away from it.
posted by daveje at 3:00 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


the only way out of this now is vote of no confidence

That's not even a way out under the FTPA if the PM doesn't resign and instead sticks it out for 14 days.
posted by holgate at 3:03 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there would be some sort of perverse consistency if May simply stonewalled into No Deal proclaiming "look at what you made me do"
posted by fullerine at 3:07 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I am wondering, though, what happens if May literally loses the numbers she needs to keep her working majority in place? How on earth can they go on if they literally do not have the numbers, confidence or no confidence vote?
posted by skybluepink at 3:09 PM on April 1


Doesn't matter, there's no functioning government any longer.
posted by daveje at 3:11 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


I'm not seeing how non-confidence would change anything. Barring active action, it's hard brexit, is it not? The EU has made pains to point out that not wanting hard exit doesn't stop hard exit.
posted by Bovine Love at 3:12 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


The MP for my workplace has somehow managed to go from seeming to be rabid on no deal to voting for CM 2.0 tonight. Either I misunderstood his prior position or he doesn't know what he is doing.
posted by biffa at 3:16 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


Not sure Corbyn can say he's really actually exhausted all other options until Wednesday, when the Commons has had another go at its own process. If he then moves and wins a no-confidence motion, any rational PM would subsequently go to the EU and ask for a longer extension on the grounds that an election was likely to happen soon.

This being TM rather than some hypothetical rational PM, I'd expect there to be two weeks of pissing about trying to form a new government while we "accidentally" crash out of the EU.
posted by doop at 3:19 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


The day's Dunt: Circular firing squad: Puritanism sees Remainers and Soft Brexiters destroy each other. He's not thrilled with anyone:
Self-inflicted defeat. Puritanism over pragmatism. The cancer in the Brexit movement now fully on display among those who oppose it.

The germ of this failure was in Remain and Soft Brexit organisations from the very beginning, when Norway supporters would attack People's Vote campaigners for being naive and People's Vote campaigners would accuse Norway supporters of being traitors.

The vast majority of Remainers and Brexit critics do not think like this. They will take whatever looks most achievable at the time. People's Vote if possible, Norway if it isn't. Try and get your ideal outcome, but make sure you can always opt for a least-bad one if that fails.
And while I see his point, it still seems like Brexit is an entirely self-inflicted disaster. This seems to liken no-deal to an impending hurricane—it's coming no matter what, so it's really moronic for everyone to stand around arguing about the best evacuation route instead of being pragmatic. But in this case, where there's also the option of just choosing to not have the hurricane (and, for the fanatics, still the hope of choosing not to evacuate and cheering on the hurricane to hit as hard as possible), I can see why the appetite for pragmatism isn't quite there.
posted by zachlipton at 3:40 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]


It's equal parts essay crisis mentality and fatalism and exhaustion from having debates that should have taken place two-plus years ago at haste, against a self-imposed deadline.

There will almost certainly be Cabinet resignations tomorrow.
posted by holgate at 4:00 PM on April 1 [6 favorites]


I'm intrigued as to what Philip Hammond is thinking, what with him being extremely quiet and a lot less stupid than the rest of them.
posted by ambrosen at 4:03 PM on April 1 [2 favorites]


No one comes out of tonight looking good barring Ken Clarke maybe who at least looked like a grown up in a room of children. The amount of idiocy and pig headedness on all sides is breathtaking, first time I’ve really believed no deal is where the whole thing is heading.
posted by brilliantmistake at 4:04 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Does anybody even notice cabinet resignations any more? It's not like being a moronic non-entity is any bar to high office at the moment. They just roll out another arse licking fuckwit from the crypt.
posted by biffa at 4:08 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


*counts*

Have there really been 39 cabinet resignations over the past couple of years? (I'm getting 29 over Brexit, with the other 10 being for sexual misconduct, perjury, etc.)

And more coming.

Yeesh.
posted by kyrademon at 4:34 PM on April 1 [5 favorites]


Let's say that the Commons eventually gets a majority in favour of something. Doesn't it still need to pass the House of Lords? Does anyone know how long that would take (e.g., is there some sort of quick measure for emergencies) and whether it might be stymied there?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:59 PM on April 1


This being TM rather than some hypothetical rational PM, I'd expect there to be two weeks of pissing about trying to form a new government while we "accidentally" crash out of the EU.

No Deal doesn't match Theresa May's personality at all. It would have been the easy way out for her for a long time, and she hasn't taken it, because whatever her other faults, she knows it would be even more of a disaster than the current shitshow.

She's desperate to be the person that takes Britain out in a controlled manner, preferably without destroying the Tory party in the process. An extension might lead there; a snap election might lead there; No Deal certainly doesn't.
posted by grahamparks at 5:16 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


Also from the Ian Dunt article:
In a bizarre turn-around, only the Labour party acted with any pragmatism. It was still not ready to support the Cherry amendment, but it did swing behind Boles' motion. It was the first time the party had backed a specific single market proposal - a crucial moment in its evolution on the issue. They also whipped in favour of Clarke and Kyle, despite reservations in the party against a referendum.
...
It wasn't to be. Everyone else, apart from arguably the SNP, acted like zealots, unable to even lend their support to other options. They were engaged in a mass act of self-harm. There was no excuse for it at all. They were not limited to one vote. They could select as many options as they liked. And still they could not support one another.

People's Vote MPs in Labour, the Liberal Democrats and The Independent Group - an organisation literally based on the principle of working together across tribal divisions - refused to back the customs union or single market motions. It was an insane way to behave. They were failing to reduce the damage of Brexit in a desperate attempt to operate a 'last man standing' strategy which was arrogant before and now started to look downright irresponsible.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:26 PM on April 1 [7 favorites]


Longish read from the LRB on the history and purpose of British parliamentary democracy. There's plenty in here that I instinctively disagree with, but it's food for thought.
It is hardly surprising that political stability has been seriously jeopardised by the economic strains of the last decade – the global financial crisis, and the austerity, asset bubbles and generational inequality that have followed. Meanwhile terrorism and immigration flows have forced attention onto borders and questions of national security. The Brexit movement involves, among other things, a Powellite revolt against immigration, a neoliberal hostility to the big Continental state, and a kind of sub-political, traditionalist provincial patriotism. It obviously owes much to the perceived failure of politicians to address recent economic, cultural and constitutional tensions. There are sensible debates to be had about the wisdom of some EU policy aspirations and whether a continent-wide body so light on democracy is beneficial or even sustainable. But not all of these sentiments are held with equal fervour. What gives the Brexit cause its passion and staying power seems to be an animus against the remoteness, self-interestedness and unaccountability of the modern political class, and a feeling that taxpayers’ money should be spent only on causes demonstrably beneficial to national wellbeing. Brexit may eventually be found unfeasible, but it would be unwise to pretend that these underlying concerns don’t need addressing.
The author particularly decries the increasing lack of democratic accountability since MPs started using "advertising techniques and ... the constant repetition of tabloid-style slogans", (which gets some enthusiastic nodding from me) but is quite sympathetic to the idea that parliament is doing well in taking plenty of time to deliberate (!), and that the British people seems uninterested in "the language of free markets" and unenthusiastic about "maintaining free movement of people", while supportive of "maintaining as close and ‘frictionless’ an economic relationship with the EU as possible", which, OK; but those things all come as one package unfortunately. So there's no getting around that, however long and hard MPs think about it.

Anyway, I think the author makes a load of very sensible and interesting arguments and then draws a variety of bonkers conclusions, but it's still an interesting read and well worth a look, especially for the historical context offered.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:10 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


No Deal doesn't match Theresa May's personality at all.

Amateur psychology only gets you so far, but Vince Cable's description of her saying "the people voted for pain" fits a different profile. The people voted for Brexit, she's going to give it to them one way or another, and then she's going to tell them that they got what they wanted.

On resignations: one side of the Cabinet is going to walk. If it's Leadsom, McVey and the disgraced former defence secretary Liam Fox, then maybe it's not off the cliff. If it's Hammond and Rudd, stop what you're doing and buy up all the corned beef and bog roll.
posted by holgate at 9:41 PM on April 1 [4 favorites]


"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." - HL Mencken
posted by Rumple at 10:59 PM on April 1 [9 favorites]


Have there really been 39 cabinet resignations over the past couple of years? (I'm getting 29 over Brexit, with the other 10 being for sexual misconduct, perjury, etc.)


That's 39 minister resignations, 10 were in the cabinet. There are about 120 ministers including all the junior ones, so May has lost about 1 in 3
posted by biffa at 12:16 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Blogger James Kelly points out that the margin size by which the various indicative votes were lost does not correlate in an obvious way with their prospect of getting through in any Wednesday repeat. He also points out that the governments effective majority is now just 6 - and he speculates about May 23rd for a combined General Election and EU parliament vote.
posted by rongorongo at 12:27 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Is the missing piece, the core reason nothing is getting through, because TM can't rally the troops to the fight? Is it that plain? At some point, won't someone have to stand up and say, "OK, this way to the exits! Move calmly and quietly and this'll all be over in a jiff." And lastly, as it is obviously not Corbyn, who's waiting in the wings to tie a bow on all this (whether to rescind Art.50 or push through the MV)?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:46 AM on April 2


The MP for my workplace has somehow managed to go from seeming to be rabid on no deal to voting for CM 2.0 tonight. Either I misunderstood his prior position or he doesn't know what he is doing.
I have very little confidence in most MPs, even those at ministerial level. They don't often give the impression of being anything more than ineffectual middle-manager types promoted way beyond their capabilities. When their utterances are unfiltered by the media - for example on Twitter - they tend to be fairly inane and often nonsensical. I recall a recent incident where an MP tweeted that there should be GPS trackers inserted into all knives, for instance.

There are very few intellectual giants among our Parliamentarians, and many who give the impression that they last read a book or spent time discussing anything other than party politics 20 years ago. It's a huge failure of the system - the pathway from private school to Oxford University to parliament is not producing great political minds.
posted by winterhill at 1:44 AM on April 2 [13 favorites]


rongorongo: he speculates about May 23rd for a combined General Election and EU parliament vote

That would be the most sensible way to hold the general election, but if reports of May desperately wanting to stay in office longer than Brown are true, she has to survive until May 30th. What I'm saying, there could be shenanigans.

Apropos of nothing, it's deeply unfair to this historical moment that there is no MP named Sean Hannigan.
posted by Kattullus at 2:26 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Andrew Adonis on twitter says David Lidington has written to local electoral registration officials yesterday telling them to get on with planning for Euro elections on 23 May

Make of that what you will
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:32 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Someone in "the other place" has done some graph theory and preferential voting geekery to interpret the results of the indicative votes so far.

I'm not qualified to evaluate whether their methods are any good, but their key result is that Kyle's confirmatory referendum motion is the Condorcet winner, which means it would defeat any other motion in a pairwise ballot.

Even if they're wrong, it's nice to see people trying to crunch this data.
posted by automatronic at 2:32 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


The confirmatory referendum is in addition to whatever other things are decided, isn't it? I'm not sure it makes sense to describe it as "defeating" the other motions.
posted by entity447b at 2:39 AM on April 2


I guess - and this is just a guess - that if the motion passed was the confirmatory referendum on its own, then the referendum would be May's WA and PD v Remain.
posted by winterhill at 2:41 AM on April 2


The confirmatory referendum is in addition to whatever other things are decided, isn't it? I'm not sure it makes sense to describe it as "defeating" the other motions.

It does in this context, because the exercise tests whether it would win in a pairwise vote, i.e. if MPs had to choose either this motion, or one of the others as their only choices.

Granted, that's not a particularly useful question for this motion, nor for Cherry's revocation failsafe.

The ordering of the other motions describing actual Brexit options goes Customs Union, Common Market 2.0, May's Deal. I don't know if the method means that this ordering may be skewed by the inclusion of the "add-on" motions, but it aligns with the intuitive ordering from how much each failed by.
posted by automatronic at 2:54 AM on April 2


Has there been any talk of the House of Commons forming a Committee of the Whole House like the House of Lords uses to hash things out?
posted by Kattullus at 3:27 AM on April 2


There's not a lot to indicate many of the right members in the Commons are willing to rise above party political squabbling, unfortunately.
posted by Dysk at 3:46 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


I have an inkling of what it must feel like to be taken hostage. This is like being trapped with an irrational person playing with explosives. There seems no way to influence them nor any way to know what they might do. All I can do is fear the worst.

I'm in Scotland, right at the end of many national supply chains. The shops are still full of food, I wonder when panic buying will set in? And why, in 2019, should I even have to think that?

I can only hope that Brexit flags the end of the Conservative party as an electoral force for decades. Roll on IndyRef 2, whatever happens, the UK's credibility and influence is now well and truly fucked.
posted by epo at 4:26 AM on April 2 [6 favorites]


Light relief filter: /r/ordah — a sub-reddit for parliamentary discussion and a whole lot of 'ORDAH', 'Mister Speaker...', and 'My Honourable Friend...', as well as parliamentary motions — was created yesterday off the back of a load of mucking around in /r/Europe. It's like watching the House of Commons live but without the existential dread.
posted by ZipRibbons at 4:27 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


I find the parlamenter fetishism so bizarre, especially at a time when parliamentary conventions are playing no small part in creating and furthering the hole we're in.
posted by Dysk at 4:33 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Dysk - on a rational basis you're completely right; on the other hand I think a lot of people find some sort of comfort or reassurance in the fact that people are still engaging with the quaint old traditions and indulging the image of English politeness and fair play, when (particularly when) all the evidence is that reality looks completely the opposite.

From what I can see the major problem is not parliamentary traditions so much as the fact that TM has completely ignored them and has been heavily assisted in doing so by the FTPA. I've pretty much lost count of the number of things this government has breezed through that would have led to an instant and ignominious end for any other government.
posted by doop at 4:45 AM on April 2 [6 favorites]


From what I can see the major problem is not parliamentary traditions so much as the fact that TM has completely ignored them

It's both. Everything about the UK Parliament - FPTP, the two-party system that discourages meaningful cooperation and encourages bullshit tribalism, the physical layout of the space with two sets of opposing benches, etc, etc - is contributing to this problem. I see the more aesthetic bollocks - the put-on archaic language, norms, conventions - as being part and parcel of all this, and part of insulating Parliament from actual reality, by reducing it to a form of play-acting for everyone involved.
posted by Dysk at 4:50 AM on April 2 [6 favorites]


Oh sure, I'm certainly not going to dispute that there's plenty of blame to go round, here
posted by doop at 4:57 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


I’ve been feeling less amused by whimsical performative Britishness more generally recently. It all starts with jokes about passive-aggressive politeness and tea, but the end-point is Jacob Rees-Mogg offering zingers about Wykehamists in the House of Commons.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 5:03 AM on April 2 [31 favorites]


It all starts with jokes about passive-aggressive politeness and tea, but the end-point is Jacob Rees-Mogg

Exactly this! It's not that the parliamentary schoolyard antics (PMQs is the worst thing in politics) have been the acute issue of the last few years (that's May, obviously) but that it created the conditions that led to the last two years.
posted by Dysk at 5:08 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


When all this is over, the Fixed Term Parliaments Act has got to go, or at the very least be completely rethought.

The shenanigans that used to go on before the FTPA, with the constant threat of a snap election any time the government were doing well in the polls, were tedious and unhelpful - they led to a persistent focus on short term media "wins" at the expense of long term strategy and sustainability.

But this headless zombie government is so much worse.
posted by automatronic at 5:31 AM on April 2 [15 favorites]


Boris Johnson is going to emerge from all this as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Mark my words.
posted by delfin at 5:50 AM on April 2 [16 favorites]


Johnson would certainly put something in the bishopric
posted by scruss at 5:53 AM on April 2


I am rapidly wearying of the great British art of piss-taking. It's something I am guilty of myself, to a fault, but goddamn, my sense of humour is running dry. The nauseating Rees-Mogg Wykehamists jab in the Commons was my breaking point. There is nothing funny about a bunch of toffs snarking at each other while we circle the drain.
posted by skybluepink at 6:39 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


We've been circling the drain for years, since at least before the 2008 financial crash.

Things need to change in the Commons. Look at parliament buildings around the world - you don't have to go far, just to Edinburgh - to see how things could be. A seat for every member, a table for your notes or laptop, mics and a sound system, electronic voting buttons, wi-fi, a semi-circular layout that encourages debate and dialogue rather than yah-booing at your mates across the floor. It's ridiculous that we don't have enough space in Parliament for all MPs on busy days and that they're packed onto the benches like sardines.

It ought to be in Birmingham or Manchester or Newcastle. It's amazing that they're spending literal billions on doing up the old dump when they could spend less on a new building elsewhere that's fit for a modern democracy.

But maybe that's the point - we've never been a modern democracy.
posted by winterhill at 6:52 AM on April 2 [24 favorites]


A seat for every member, a table for your notes or laptop, mics and a sound system, electronic voting buttons, wi-fi, a semi-circular layout that encourages debate and dialogue rather than yah-booing at your mates across the floor.

Sure, but the US has all that and its chambers are essentially empty vessels. Maybe the mistake is to think that what happens on the floor of the chamber matters? The backbench select committees have done the work across party lines in nondescript rooms -- the Brexit committee knew the score, Damian Collins's DCMS committee has been on the ball -- but not enough of that breaks through into policy. That's about more than architecture.
posted by holgate at 7:16 AM on April 2 [12 favorites]


The Executive Power Project:
What Ekins and Laws suggest, in effect, is getting the monarch to thwart Parliament in the interests of the executive. At the level of principle, this is little short of monstrous. It invents for the 21st-century executive, out of the archaic form of the monarch’s ‘negative voice’, a power to veto legislation. They invoke a principle that the law should not be changed until both the government and Parliament have agreed that it should be. There is no such principle. The claim confuses the normal with the norm, how legislation is typically passed with the rules that govern the process: whether or not a statute is proposed by government is immaterial.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:40 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


A more modern physical structure to Parliament isn't going to solve all its problems on its own, clearly, but it is still worth doing as a part of a package of reforms. Better facilities for women and parents, better offices, etc., would also be welcome.
posted by adrianhon at 8:17 AM on April 2 [7 favorites]




So: after a 7+ hour meeting, the Cabinet is being kept incommunicado in 10 Downing Street until May does a podium thing. Everything is fine.
posted by holgate at 9:39 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


I suppose if she wanted to avoid no deal making a statement saying it's no deal just before Parliament has an opportunity to stop that would be a sensi... oh fuck I just realised she's going for MV4 isn't she?
posted by fullerine at 9:53 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


There’s no way this isn’t MV4.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:53 AM on April 2


Gossip is (according to the Guardian livestream) that it's MV4 vs one of the alternatives. And that she might be moving on some of her red lines, though of course not freedom of movement. (I don't know that I can believe the moving on red lines thing. Is going back on her word or being completely rigidly unflexible more May's brand? WHO CAN SAY.)
posted by kalimac at 9:58 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Which possible red line could she move on without losing the ERG? Oh well, I guess we'll find out. Expecting a stitch up.
posted by doornoise at 10:02 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Theresa May's podium statements are always:
a) half an hour late because fuck you, Britain
b) completely and utterly content-free rehashes of "my deal is the only way to leave the EU with a deal blah blah"
posted by winterhill at 10:04 AM on April 2 [8 favorites]


Also, she lies all the time! She's not even a good liar, but being the stubborn soul she is, she keeps plugging away with the lies.
posted by skybluepink at 10:11 AM on April 2


Theresa May's big plan after seven hours of cabinet is to:

a) Sit down with Jeremy Corbyn.
b) Hold indicative votes.

Idiot.
posted by MattWPBS at 10:13 AM on April 2 [10 favorites]


(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Meetings truly are the practical alternative to getting shit done.
posted by lawrencium at 10:15 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


> Theresa May's big plan after seven hours of cabinet is...

To do what anyone competent would have done 6 months before triggering A50?

Excellent.
posted by PeteTheHair at 10:15 AM on April 2 [19 favorites]


Is there somewhere I could wager a few quid on another Corbyn walkout?
posted by flabdablet at 10:16 AM on April 2


Throw her an anvil, Jezza.
posted by skybluepink at 10:17 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Skipping MV4 and daring Corbyn to say no to the WA is cleverer than usual.
Corbyn's gonna say no instead of rinsing the Tories for all he can get because of course he is.
posted by fullerine at 10:18 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Plan B: Let's blame Corbyn.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:19 AM on April 2 [8 favorites]


Precisely. She's looking to shift the blame. This is a bad faith move.
posted by skybluepink at 10:20 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Fully expect Corbyn to blunder into the rather obvious trap
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:20 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


> Plan B: Let's blame Corbyn.

The statement did feel a lot like trying to deflect the blame towards the opposition should a GE be called in the next month or so (I still don't believe that will happen). I suspect a lot of the 7 hour meeting was coming up with how they can un-fuck themselves if they do go for the GE gamble.
posted by lawrencium at 10:20 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Fully expect Crobyn to blunder into the rather obvious trap

Come on, Seamus will have a cunning plan.
posted by MattWPBS at 10:22 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


After trying to scrub to a three min speech in two hour live broadcast on mobile... My immediate impression is that she is offering literally nothing new. Her suggestion is: there’s a short extension and Corbyn agrees to the WA agreement part of her deal and whips Labour to agree to it (ie MVn+1) - remember the WA has been overwhelmingly rejected twice by parliament when paired with the PD, and once on its own - in exchange for which massive concession... the two of them will agree on various forms that the PD (which guides the future relationship) could take, the parliament votes on those alternatives and the winner is taken to the EU. That doesn’t sound super enticing to me! Let’s see whether Corbyn agrees. Shame that an emergency seven-hour cabinet meeting could only produce... that.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:23 AM on April 2


Corbyn should agree to the WA with a confirmatory vote and a revoke rather than no deal safety net.
May will go for that and it will fracture the Tory party or refuse and ruin them in the next GE.
posted by fullerine at 10:23 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


I think not inviting anyone else - ie the SNP - to thrash out an agreement will have ... interesting.... repercussions
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:24 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Oh for pity's sake. I know you all hate him, but I'm not convinced he's entirely stupid.
posted by skybluepink at 10:24 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


David Allen Green @davidallengreen
So strange - when Cabinet ministers do not have their phones, all their "friends of" disappear too, at least from politics reporting.

Perhaps those "friends" are little people living in the phones, like Tamagotchi or Pokemon?

Perhaps these virtual "friends" will die unattended?
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:25 AM on April 2 [8 favorites]


I know you all hate him, but I'm not convinced he's entirely stupid.

Well it's either that, or his actions mean he is actively callously racist/xenophobic, so if I were a supporter, I'd definitely be content with him being considered stupid.
posted by Dysk at 10:31 AM on April 2 [5 favorites]


If you need a moment of slapstick and levity: Live footage of the UK leaving the EU
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:34 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


I am not a supporter. I am just saying this is an obvious bad faith move.
posted by skybluepink at 10:34 AM on April 2


@IanDunt

This is a profoundly dangerous moment.
May is requesting an extension past April 12th - but not past May 22nd. That puts us in the danger zone. Past the point of Euro election participation where no further extension would be possible.
That is the May deal vs no-deal territory. The words about working with opposition and indicative votes are welcome, but look past that at the actions she is taking.
My instinct is that this is a trap. When that statement started, I was impressed by the tone and the content. But the giveaway is at the end, when she says withdrawal bill must be passed by May 22nd.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:35 AM on April 2 [24 favorites]


I am just saying this is an obvious bad faith move.

You're suggesting this will stop the fellow who whipped his party to vote with the Tories against all judgement and sense so many times I've actually lost count?
posted by Dysk at 10:39 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's kick-the-can and share-the-blame, especially if it means an election soon after.

At least we got to see Larry the Cat hanging out.
posted by holgate at 10:43 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


I am not a supporter. I am just saying this is an obvious bad faith move.

I mean, it is and it isn’t.

On the one hand, it looks a lot like a last-ditch attempt at a compromise, not out of any recognition that it’s necessary, but to spread the blame anywhere away from the Tories.

On the other, assuming that the PD options were to be fairly agreed between May and Corbyn (huge assumption, given her track record of sitting down for discussions with other party leaders...) then this would tick a lot of his boxes, at least judging by the stance he’s taken for much of the three years. Brexit with different red lines, a triumphant return to Brussels with a magical Labour Brexit, etc.

It’s more party-over-country stuff from May, but it contains what might come as a genuinely tempting offer to someone else who enjoys a bit of the old party-over-country, too.

I’m curious to see the Labour response.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:44 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


Corbyn may (and has often, let's be real) skip over the details and agree to the May's trap, if he was only operating instinctively (running away from Chuka Umunna ugh).

Over the past few weeks, however, we've seen Starmer dragging Corbyn to the right path inch by inch. Regarding Brexit, Starmer and his staff are certainly not entirely stupid, and I have faith, quickly vanishing faith, mind you, that he's going help the party think deeply about this new development, and that he'll be one of the few that will drag everyone out of this mess.
posted by facehugger at 10:51 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


You're suggesting this will stop the fellow who whipped his party to vote with the Tories against all judgement and sense so many times I've actually lost count?

OK, I'm done for now. Probably best I step away for a couple of hours.
posted by skybluepink at 10:51 AM on April 2


The Westminster correspondents are still hanging out at Number 10 while the livestream's on, and one on the phone said "yeah, she [presumably a female minister on the Brexity side] just said they discussed it for seven hours. Nobody's resigned yet, though, have they... but she's [the PM]'s totally pissed off her right wing." So there's that.
posted by holgate at 10:53 AM on April 2


This very helpful chart of indicative votes by party raises the obvious question of exactly which party is supposed to be "compromising" in terms of what they'll accept at this stage.
posted by zachlipton at 10:53 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


The EU negotiating team aren't stupid. They'll be able to see this for what it is - a transparent attempt to drag the Article 50 extension out to May (the month) without holding European elections. As Dunt says, it then gives May (the PM) exactly what she wants - a cliff edge on 22 May and a binary choice between her deal or no deal.

When the extension to May is requested, the EU can respond in kind. European elections and an extension to next year, or no extension.
posted by winterhill at 10:56 AM on April 2 [13 favorites]


IF Yvette Cooper's Revoke rather than No Deal bill goes through tomorrow it effectively eliminates the Brexiteers from the equation and it's May/Corbyn Deal or No Brexit.

You can see that "IF" from space mind.
posted by fullerine at 11:01 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


Whether Cooper's bill goes through is not the only "if".

Jo Maugham QC, who has been involved with several of the Brexit-related legal cases, has been highly unimpressed with the drafting and thinks it's full of loopholes, of exactly the sort that May has been expert at cynically exploiting to run down the clock.

He is proposing an alternative bill - based on the Cherry motion - after having literally spent the day crowdsourcing improvements on Twitter.

This is the sort of shit that happens when you try and run a three year process in a few days.
posted by automatronic at 11:15 AM on April 2 [15 favorites]


Brexiters promised a newly virile independent UK
and they have delivered
a complete cock-up.
posted by srboisvert at 11:16 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


@mutablejoe
trying to look on the brightside, Chris Grayling being stuck in a room for seven hours with no phone has probably saved the country millions
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:22 AM on April 2 [21 favorites]


He is proposing an alternative bill - based on the Cherry motion - after having literally spent the day crowdsourcing improvements on Twitter.

He hasn't bothered to stop to consider why the Cooper bill is relatively simple - and especially why it contains no mention of revocation. My assumption is that it's to make it palatable to the widest cross section of MPs.

So what he's done is crayonista the perfect bill that doesn't stand a chance of passing.
posted by grahamparks at 11:35 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


Corbyn agrees to meet.
"We will meet the prime minister. We recognise that she has made a move, I recognise my responsibility to represent the people that supported Labour in the last election and the people who didn’t support Labour but nevertheless want certainty and security for their own future and that’s the basis on which we will meet her and we will have those discussions."
Moggy's ERG are on the back foot.
"This approach to government is an unsuccessful one and it also lacks democratic legitimacy. People did not vote for a Corbyn-May coalition government – they voted for a Conservative government, which became a confidence and supply with the DUP.

This is a deeply unsatisfactory approach. It’s not in the interests of the country, it fails to deliver on the referendum result and history doesn’t bode well for it."
posted by fullerine at 11:52 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


So, if I understand it correctly:
- The EU says the deal must be passed as is or not at all
- May is asking for an extension to work out a compromise.

.... but the EU is not accepting a different bill, so what could be negotiated in the compromise? Or is this entirely about the PD part, which the EU doesn't care as much about?
posted by Bovine Love at 11:54 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


It is entirely about the PD—according to May.
posted by dudleian at 11:57 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Dunt: No.10 statement: Look out for Theresa May's no-deal trap
It all sounded so reasonable. A realistic timetable. Cross-party cooperation. It was like a whole new prime minister. But then came the dangerous part. She got to that bit in her statement where, if you were looking hard enough, you could see the tactical sleight of hand.

"The government would then bring forward the withdrawal agreement bill," she said, referring to the domestic legislation enacting the deal with Brussels. "We would want to agree a timetable for this bill to ensure it is passed before the 22nd of May, so the UK need not take part in European parliamentary elections."

And that's when the alarm bells started ringing. That is the bit that will define if this is a real attempt to turn the page on how she approaches Brexit or another cynical trap based on deception.
...
This strategy would be intended to get the UK into the danger zone - that window of time between April 12th and May 22nd when no further extension of Article 50 are possible. Then she could do what she has always wanted to do and force MPs to pick between her deal and no-deal.

There is evidence for this too. Just look at her proposal for the first extension of Article 50, in which she outlined two time periods, but then only asked the EU for the shorter one. You would, let's be frank, be mad to trust her.

The decency and acceptability of May's strategy hinges on the meaning of that sentence. If she requests a long extension but intends to get the deal done quickly, it is perfectly honourable, truthful and sensible. If she only requests the extension until May 22nd, it is a trap. Neither MPs nor Brussels should allow her to spring it.
Dunt tweeted "I've tried to write it as fairly as possible," and that certainly comes through in the text, which makes the relief of the "be mad to trust her" line pop out even more.
posted by zachlipton at 11:59 AM on April 2 [13 favorites]


Moggy's ERG are on the back foot.
"This approach to government is an unsuccessful one and it also lacks democratic legitimacy. People did not vote for a Corbyn-May coalition government – they voted for a Conservative government, which became a confidence and supply with the DUP.”


The “people voted for a minority government with the DUP, not a coalition government with Labour!” argument is very funny indeed.

Also, “on the back foot” might be better characterised as “spitting feathers”:

@lewis_goodall
Just talked to two ERG MPs. Angry doesn’t quite cut it.

“This is serious stuff. She has fucked our party. She is fucking brexit. She is fucking the country.”

“She is getting this through off the back of opposition votes. What is the point of being the government? This is all about her rotten legacy and she doesn’t care what she screws in the process, including the public interest and party she goes on so much about.”

And a note for any cabinet minister with leadership ambitions: “if any of them stay in that cabinet longer than tonight then every single one of them abandons all hope.”

But crucially neither of them had a clue how to stop her.
Aw, lads. My heart fucking bleeds for you, hahahaha.

(Everything is still terrible, to be clear. I’m just excited about seeing a picture of Rees-Mogg without that shit-eating grin for once.)
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:01 PM on April 2 [11 favorites]


I've sat through the speech three times, because I hate myself. As far as I can tell:
- Talk to Corbyn and work out a PD and put it to the House.
- If that fails, indicative votes on other options.
- All of the above to be done by April 10th to be taken to the EU summit.
- Ask for an extension to pass the WA confirming the PD.
- No EU elections if the WA is passed before May 22, but she was vague on if that would be the extension date she'd be asking for next week.

The whole thing is bonkers and full of holes, but this is my best understanding of it.
posted by grahamparks at 12:05 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I think the meeting being proffered this evening was a mistake from May because it leaves tomorrow open for the possibility of really taking No Deal off the table. If Parliament can manage to do that then May's leverage disappears.
posted by fullerine at 12:07 PM on April 2


Moggy's ERG are on the back foot. "This approach to government is an unsuccessful one and it also lacks democratic legitimacy. People did not vote for a Corbyn-May coalition government – they voted for a Conservative government, which became a confidence and supply with the DUP."

What an absolute crock. What are these people doing as MPs if they don't understand how parliaments work? They're still in denial about being a minority government, almost two years after the election.

The people very clearly didn't vote for a Conservative government, and the only reason we have one is that DUP MPs found it more palatable and convenient to support May than Corbyn.
posted by rory at 12:09 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]


The last few years really have brought home how toxic the party system can be.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:14 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


So what he's done is crayonista the perfect bill that doesn't stand a chance of passing.

I doubt you're wrong - but at the same time, if the Cooper bill doesn't get the job done, we're fucked.

It seems abundantly clear right now that the cabinet have agreed they're prepared to let No Deal happen if Parliament doesn't pass the WA. That's what took them 7 hours - it sure wasn't spent writing her speech. They have now shifted their focus to making sure they can blame it on Labour.

Even if Corbyn had the capability to weave his way perfectly through that trap, and even if the press weren't just going to lap that shit right up, it won't matter. They're resigned and committed to the outcome now. The alternative for all of them is worse. And all they have to do to make it happen now is run down the clock.

The only thing that can disarm that is if Parliament pushes through a legally binding measure that is watertight enough to actually stop them. Any loophole that's left will be exploited.
posted by automatronic at 12:15 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


This strategy would be intended to get the UK into the danger zone - that window of time between April 12th and May 22nd when no further extension of Article 50 are possible. Then she could do what she has always wanted to do and force MPs to pick between her deal and no-deal.


Given that crashing out without a deal is the worst possible option and everyone is at least saying that they want to avoid it, ending up with a vote that actually voted for something might be an improvement even if people think it is some hideous scheme plotted by May. Who, to be honest, like the rest of them, seems really terrible at having a long range plan that isn't just 'well let's try this thing again!' rather than being some sort 5 dimensional chess player.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:20 PM on April 2


I don't get the trap thing.

I have a very low opinion indeed of how May has handled this, but I think her behaviour shows she does not want no deal: she's had a number of plausible opportunities to fold if she wanted, and every time she's stepped back.

Sure, she wants to use the threat of No Deal as leverage over the non crazies, but that's a Wile-e-coyote trap with a huge buzzing neon sign over it blinking "TRAP" on and off. Like it's a trap, but it's a trap she doesn't want anyone to walk into. That sort of trap.
posted by dudleian at 12:26 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


It is sadly not the case that "everyone is at least saying that they want to avoid" crashing out. Some idiot from the ERG didn't like the IV options last night and scrawled "WTO Brexit" on the ballot paper. I was a bit grumpy at the LDs, TIGs et al refusing to budge on some of the at least less bonkers brexit options, but then I had a look at the voting breakdown and it was just this sea of Tories voting "no" to everything, and I find it really hard to see that as anything other than voting for crashing out. There are people in parliament who actively think that this is a great idea and we should do it and all the fuss is just fearmongering.
posted by doop at 12:27 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


From the EU's point of view, isn't this a suggestion that places them in legal jeopardy? If they grant an extension until May, and the UK were to withdraw Article 50 (e.g. because of the proposed anti-no-deal proposition), then the EU is legally malformed. They are in the EU but not represented. Isn't it axiomatic that the EU will not place themselves in legal jeopardy?
posted by stonepharisee at 12:29 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


The “people voted for a minority government with the DUP, not a coalition government with Labour!” argument is very funny indeed.

Misrepresenting the meaning of a vote result is, if nothing else, entirely within character.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:37 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Isn't it axiomatic that the EU will not place themselves in legal jeopardy?

The EU have already avoided any possibility of this, by giving an unconditional extension only until April 12th. There is a conditional extension to May 22nd if the deal is passed before April 12th.

They will only grant any other extension if the UK holds European elections.
posted by automatronic at 12:38 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


I have a very low opinion indeed of how May has handled this, but I think her behaviour shows she does not want no deal

I think that when Theresa "the people voted for pain" May looks at all the options available, "no deal" looks increasingly rosy. Yes, she absolutely prefers her own withdrawal agreement to no deal, but no deal is a close #2, magnitudes more preferable than any other option. The way that she's brought the country to millimeters from the cliff over and over again suggests that she is much less afraid/revolted by no deal than anyone with any bit of sense. She plays it like a bargaining chip because that's all it is to her, a bargaining chip. And when the country does start falling over the edge, I can see her leading the fall with grim satisfaction.

After all, the people voted for pain.
posted by facehugger at 12:43 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


The "trap" thing is an extrapolation of her saying at the end that she reckons if everything works out we could leave on May 22nd and not hold the elections.

But she was very vague on what she'd be going to the EU to ask for. She must know that to get any sort of extension she very likely has to commit to elections, but spelling that out in the speech would have been a huge distraction.

And to end up in the trap Parliament needs to find a solid majority for the PD (and in principle, the WA) in the next few days and the EU has to agree to putting us - and themselves - in that trap. Not bloody likely.
posted by grahamparks at 12:52 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


It is sadly not the case that "everyone is at least saying that they want to avoid" crashing out.... There are people in parliament who actively think that this is a great idea and we should do it and all the fuss is just fearmongering.

That is correct. Their theory is that No Deal chaos is essentially a bluff, and the EU will just continue the border status quo while we keep negotiating.

I think this underestimate things. First, the EU doesn't have to switch on All Border Controls at once. They can selectively and gradually apply pressure by introducing more and more checks, applying more and more regulations. Apart from anything else, that's a terrible position to be in when negotiating.

More importantly, when it comes to highly integrated just-in-time supply systems, nobody can predict what the effects of introducing new controls will do. Business Z knows that they rely on a supplier Y, but they don't that Y relies on X and X relies on W and so on. People keep going on about toilet paper but the real problems are more likely to be something indirect. E.g. it turns out that milking machines rely on a critical valve from the EU and nobody realises the problem until domestic milk production collapses and then the cows start to die from mastitis and then the shortage lasts until the herds can be brought up to strength or else UK milk production just stops forever. It's the unknown unknowns that we should be most worried about.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:55 PM on April 2 [13 favorites]


Moggy's ERG are on the back foot.

So I'm fairly sure this must have been mentioned here before and I missed it. But Jacob's pater-dearest quite literally wrote the book on how to profit via disaster capitalism.

Not in anyway ambiguously, it's actually fecking called Blood in the Streets - Investment Profits in a World Gone Mad
Reminiscent of the bestselling The Great Depression of 1990, Blood in the Streets is a groundbreaking book that offers a bold new approach to crisis investment and shows readers how to reap investment profits during financially uncertain times.
The all-caps, above the title, paperback cover blurb is: "THE BOOK THAT PREDICTED THE CRASH OF '87 TELLS YOU HOW TO MAKE MONEY DURING AN AGE OF ECONOMIC CRISIS".

Seriously, just like Boris with his *incoherent posh mouth noises ensue*, I suspect that Mogg's Little Lord Fauntleroy persona is massively exaggerated to hide that fact that he, like Boris, is just a greedy hyper-capitalist psychopath bent on profiting from the collapse of the UK in the same way the Russian oligarchs did when the USSR went wholesale.

Also suggesting an amendment to the well known phrase: "When people tell you who they are, write a book clearly illustrating in great and exact detail who they are, continue to both repeatedly show and tell you who they are. Believe them."
posted by Buntix at 1:00 PM on April 2 [30 favorites]


And to end up in the trap Parliament needs to find a solid majority for the PD (and in principle, the WA) in the next few days and the EU has to agree to putting us - and themselves - in that trap. Not bloody likely.

I think there's several traps being talked about at once here.

There's a suggestion of a trap for the EU where the UK causes some legal limbo, which is implausible - the EU has not and will not agree to anything that could expose them to this.

There's a trap for Parliament, where by April 12th, they are all forced to vote on May's Deal vs No Deal just as she has always wanted - unless there is a cast iron measure passed to prevent this. Cherry's motion would cut it, but I'm not convinced that Cooper's bill will be enough - it leaves too much room for further stalling.

And there's a trap specifically for Corbyn, where whatever he does May will "win" - he either agrees to back the WA on some conditions, ceding political victory to her, or else the Tories get to blame him for forcing No Deal by refusing to compromise.

The latter two traps do not require Parliament or the EU to agree to anything.
posted by automatronic at 1:20 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


The biggest trap of all is believing a single thing that comes out of her mouth. Witness, for just one example, all her statements that Parliament had to decide what it did want instead of the WA, then whipped against the indicative votes every time to try and stop them happening at all.

I absolutely believe her intent is to get us into the period between April 12th and May 22nd without agreeing to hold EU elections so May 22nd becomes an unextendable no-deal deadline.

We just have to hope the EU won't give her that option, but also won't just slam the door on us April 12th if all this maneuvering achieves nothing before then.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:42 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


What exactly do we think May might offer Corbyn? The May Deal again? What red line is she likely to be willing to erase to make a deal? Any? Because her record so far doesn't suggest a lot of flexibility. That's why people think it is just trying to draw Corbyn into a share of the failure, or to sign up or maybe just to get him to come off the fence and take a position that some people won't like.
posted by biffa at 1:43 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


I realize the purpose of these tweets is to yell at May, but even Boris Johnson gives away that the game here is to blame Corbyn and Labour for whatever happens:
It is very disappointing that the cabinet has decided to entrust the final handling of Brexit to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. It now seems all too likely that British trade policy and key law making powers will be handed over to Brussels - with no say for the U.K.
posted by zachlipton at 1:59 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


What exactly do we think May might offer Corbyn?

I doubt she has even thought about it. Probably absolutely nothing.

I’m hoping someone is going to keep very detailed notes for the public inquiry.
posted by brilliantmistake at 2:01 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


I can't believe that I am arguing for May, because I agree with every word people are saying about her total inflexibility, her strategy of submarining, her inability to give a clear answer to any question etc etc.

But I believe that she has just kissed off her cabinet. I don't think they are at all keen on her talking to Corbyn.

There are potential bear traps for Corbyn in engaging with her, and he almost certainly can't come out of any engagement (or any failure to engage) unscathed. But I think May is desperate, and the country needs a non no-deal outcome—and as people have pointed out, all the no-dealers need to do is run down the clock.

Anyone wanting a more constructive outcome has a lot of hard and painful work to do. They will need to compromise and that will leave them open to being slammed by their critics—Boles is just a taster. I admire the bravery of anyone willing to do that.
posted by dudleian at 2:10 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]


What exactly do we think May might offer Corbyn?

For that matter, what would Corbyn even want that isn't already in May's WA?
posted by tobascodagama at 2:13 PM on April 2


For that matter, what would Corbyn even want that isn't already in May's WA?

A general election.
posted by PenDevil at 2:18 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


But I believe that she has just kissed off her cabinet. I don't think they are at all keen on her talking to Corbyn.

Of course, it’s quite possible that she’s doing this for entirely cynical, bad faith reasons; but that also her cabinet are all even stupider and even more focused on the short term than she is. Like, Boris or Gove having a cry about something is emotionally satisfying, but it doesn’t mean that the thing they’re crying about is Good. You have to watch out for “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” thinking in this scenario because they all implacably hate each other and yet also they’re right to, because they’re all unspeakably terrible.

Anyway, here’s a good thread about how cross-party consensus is quite unlikely to emerge from Corbyn and May’s meeting of minds. Some extracts:
Problem 3: Changes to the Future Relationship declaration are not legally binding. And even Labour MPs who were keen on facilitating Brexit now know that once May goes a hard Brexiter will very likely be in charge for Phase 2 of the negotiations.

So Johnson, Rees Mogg, Gove et al - whoever it may be - can rip up the Declaration on the Future Relationship and start again.

Is there an alternative to this? Yes, John Major proposed it:

It's a National Unity government. But... Problem 4: hell will freeze over before Jeremy Corbyn enters a coalition government with the Tories. It. Aint. Going. To. Happen. Ever.

So that creates a paradoxical situation: a Labour leadership inclined to 'deliver Brexit' to implement the referendum result finds itself in the situation where the only way they can bring down the govt and force new elections is... by refusing (de facto) to "deliver Brexit"
posted by chappell, ambrose at 2:54 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]


UK Polling Report has a bit on the problems with agree/disagree statements and how they relate to Brexit questions:
...decades of academic research into questionnaire design suggest people are more likely to agree with statements than to disagree with them, regardless of what the statement is (generally referred to as "acquiescence bias")...

If you asked if people agree that "The NHS needs reform more than it needs extra money" then people agree by 43% to 23%. However, if you ask if people agree with the opposite statement, that "The NHS needs extra money more than it needs reform", then people also agree, by 53% to 20%.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:48 AM on April 3 [20 favorites]


Sounds like the solution to all this is a second ref asking for people to agree that revoking article 50 is the way forward.
posted by Dysk at 2:52 AM on April 3 [7 favorites]


Isn't that why they changed the original 2016 referendum question? When it was first announced, it was something like "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union? Yes/No". It got changed to "Remain/Leave" because the Leave campaign were unhappy with being the No campaign.
posted by winterhill at 2:57 AM on April 3


Just think, if Cameron and pals had stuck to their guns on the wording, none of this would have happened, most likely.

Obviously better still if they'd not done the referendum nonsense, but they didn't even have the good grace to try and fix it in their favour.
posted by Dysk at 3:01 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Of course they managed to find a satanist to interview in Grantham

That independent MP mentioned in the last line was an extremely dodgy character... one day I must get around to writing a dark history of Grantham
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:11 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


The wording of the referendum question was decided by the Electoral Commission, who agreed that the original question was slanted and changed it. (Source: Tim Shipman's books, can't remember whether it was "All Out War" or "Fall Out".)

It does sometimes get assumed that Parliament or the Government can just write whatever second referendum terms they like, but under the law the Electoral Commission controls referendums and could change the wording, or potentially even the options.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:13 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]




The Electoral Commission comments on proposed referendum wording. It is up to the government to decide whether or not to actually go with their recommendations. Cameron's government went with what the EC advised, but it was only advice.
posted by Dysk at 3:24 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


Direct quote from the EC chair:

"Whilst voters understood the question in the bill some campaigners and members of the public feel the wording is not balanced and there was a perception of bias. The alternative question we have recommended addresses this. It is now for parliament to discuss our advice and decide which question wording should be used.”

(Emphasis mine)
posted by Dysk at 3:26 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


The wording of the referendum question was decided by the Electoral Commission, who agreed that the original question was slanted and changed it. (Source: Tim Shipman's books, can't remember whether it was "All Out War" or "Fall Out".)

Yep - they did a consultation and research done in September 2015. Reading the responses it does seem Leavers considered the original question biased against them. However UKIP also considered the word Remain biased and wanted "be":
The neutral formulation is "Should the United Kingdom be a member of the European Union?"
And a few groups (including Mencap) wanted Remain to be called "Stay". Imagine your alternative reality insults now.

the Leave campaign were unhappy with being the No campaign

I'm delight to have learned today that "Leave.EU" was founded as "The Know" a few months before this decision.
posted by grahamparks at 3:32 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


There are so many pop songs with Stay in the title or lyrics, the campaign would have written itself.
posted by winterhill at 3:34 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


Clearly it should have been a referendum on Let's Stay For Another vs. Nah Mate I'm Going Home.
posted by automatronic at 3:51 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


According to the Guardian live blog, May has spent much of PMQs on her usual scripted, robotic digs at Corbyn - he'd crash the economy, he prefers to listen to the Russians over our own intelligence services, he's a terrorist sympathiser, etc.

Not the words you'd expect of someone who needs to sit down with Corbyn and hash out a deal to get Labour votes later today.

(I long ago stopped listening to PMQs on the radio. Such a robotic yawn-fest from both.)
posted by winterhill at 4:32 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


That sounds like a combination of (i) trying to appease her critics on the right of the party, (ii) hoping for another Corbyn walk-out which she can spin against him, and (iii) a complete inability to understand how other humans work. So May as usual, in short.
posted by pipeski at 4:39 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Brexit has turned British politics into a zombie horror movie. Ian Dunt in the Washington Post.
posted by rongorongo at 7:02 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


Does anyone criticising the Cooper bill, May reaching out to Corbyn etc etc, have a viable plan for how we avoid No Deal?

I accept your criticisms of those initiatives, and I accept that in a sane world we would not have got into the situation that we're in, and that rational, reasonable solutions (like revoking A50) should be available to us (but they're not—at least based on recent votes in the commons, and the position of both main parties).

Given the situation we're in, the actors we have, and the splits in support we know from the votes to date in the House of Commons, how do we get to a non ideal, but not catastrophic outcome? Not what should happen, but what can happen, and how?
posted by dudleian at 7:49 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Junker’s poured cold water all over the short extension / trap idea, so it’s a choice between “pass something in the next week and a bit” vs. no-deal on 12 April vs. extension until March 2020.

Feel free to append a muttered “god help us all” to the end of any or all of those options.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:12 AM on April 3 [9 favorites]


I'm still pinning my hopes on the idea that once the clock has run down to the point where the only options available to Parliament are crash out or revoke A50, which it seems to me is where things are headed, there will be enough residual if sleep-deprived sanity left on the back benches that revocation squeaks through.
posted by flabdablet at 8:20 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


Not what should happen, but what can happen, and how?

A year long extension for a general election seems the only thing realistically possible that will hold off No Deal as that looks like the only thing the EU would accept bar the WA being voted through.

It'd depend on May sacrificing the Tory party though so don't hold out too much hope.
posted by brilliantmistake at 8:21 AM on April 3


Labour confirms it wants to end freedom of movement [Labourlist]
Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesperson has confirmed that it is Labour policy to end freedom of movement once the UK leaves the EU.

The 2017 manifesto, For the Many Not the Few, began its section on immigration with the statement: “Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union.” It added: “Labour will develop and implement fair immigration rules.”

After PMQs today, in which the Prime Minister cited ending free movement as an area of agreement, the Labour leader’s office said that this pledge remains party policy and that Labour supports “fair rules and reasonable management of migration”.

For some reason the whole xenophobia thing is not popular with (now ex) labour supporters, at least judging by some almost all of the replies on the @LabourList tweet linking their article.
posted by Buntix at 8:31 AM on April 3 [20 favorites]


The way I have explained this to American friends is that ending FoM is the equivalent of building Trump's wall - pursuing a mad goal to appease the racists/xenophobes. Except in the UK both major parties think it is a good idea and have it as their policy goal.
posted by vacapinta at 8:44 AM on April 3 [21 favorites]


For the Many Not the Few ... Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union.

Doesn't get more doublespeak than that.
posted by romanb at 9:14 AM on April 3 [21 favorites]


I imagine I'm not the only person who cannot read that pathetic bollocks catchphrase without my brain automatically changing it to "for the many, just not for you"
posted by Dysk at 9:28 AM on April 3 [16 favorites]


Though it's also an ever-shrinking 'many'. Maybe they should just change it to "for some".
posted by Dysk at 9:31 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


For the first time in 25 years, the Speaker has had to exercise his casting vote, breaking a 310-310 tie in favor of the Noes. This vote means that the Government will have control of the business of Parliament on Monday, instead of the backbenchers' proposed indicative votes.
posted by persona at 9:35 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I've held for some time the improbable view that Jeremy Corbyn should be thrown out of Labour for breaking the rules. In this case, the Labour Party Rule Book says in chapter 1, clause IV, part 3:
Labour is committed to the defence and security of the British people and to co-operating in European institutions, the United Nations, the Commonwealth and other international bodies to secure peace, freedom, democracy, economic security and environmental protection for all.

He's just not cooperating with Europe to give freedom to all. Let alone give economic security to all and all the rest of that, of course.

And yes it's a view that will almost certainly never be realised, but it can be quite entertaining when you start arguing it with a certain type of person.
posted by edd at 9:36 AM on April 3 [8 favorites]


It looks like the fix is in, because I see vanishingly little chance to avoid what follows now.

May will make a show of seeking an extension until May 22nd, which the EU will refuse because she will rule out holding European elections as unacceptable. Their refusal will then be used to blame the EU for all that happens next.

With that pressure in place, Corbyn will agree to May's deal, subject to a customs union bolted on as Labour's demand, some meaningless waffle about workers' rights in the Political Declaration, and May's resignation. There will be no further referendum.

Everybody involved "wins". Corbyn gets his sodding election, and will claim victory for having got the Brexit he wanted. May gets her deal through, and will blame all its flaws on Labour and the EU. Freedom of movement ends, which will please the bulk of the bigots. The hardcore loonies will whinge about having ceded some control on trade through the customs union, but who cares - the backstop was most of the way there already and none of this was ever about economics. The rest of us get to avoid no deal and will be told to be thankful for it.

The debate and vote will be the greatest parliamentary drama in history, and both leaders will hemorrhage vast factions of their MPs, but it won't matter - a majority will be forced to let the National Deal through, against the threat of No Deal on the 12th if they don't, with no prospect of an extension.

Then, with the whole thing a fait accompli, we plebs will get a round of leadership contests and a General Election for who gets to be king of the ashes.

Fuck the UK to hell.
posted by automatronic at 9:40 AM on April 3 [34 favorites]


Basically, Corbyn is proudly and eagerly not just walking, but practically leaping into May's 'trap' with great enthusiasm.
posted by Dysk at 9:44 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Do you have some inside information, Dysk? Because what I'm reading suggests that we don't actually know very much about the strategy that Labour are likely to put together in this unique scenario.

Strikes me instead that Corbyn is instead making sure not to give the Tories the previous easy win of "he walked out", "he refused to engage". At the moment, he's giving his best adult-in-the-room impression and various journos are clutching at straws from vested interests within the Shadow Cabinet.
posted by doornoise at 10:54 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I know that he just committed to ending FoM. That'll go down well with future generations of voters.
posted by Dysk at 10:56 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]


[Quick suggestion as the omnishambles goes on, if people mainly want to primal-scream, as always that can go over in the state-of-the-world-is-fucked venting thread. And I know the topic has been bubbling for some people, but if anyone wants to have a meta discussion about "how much doom is too much doom in these brexit threads", probably best to make a Metatalk about that question specifically.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:01 AM on April 3 [6 favorites]




There is also, of course, chat for general "live reacting to things going on right now" like Commons debates and votes. I find it preferable to cluttering up the thread with "oh my god what just happened" type stuff, but each to their own.
posted by winterhill at 11:13 AM on April 3


Yup, got it, thanks 3urypteris.

So Seumas Milne (a.k.a. "Jeremy Corbyn's spokesman") has been briefing journalists with an outright no to FoM. I wonder if Starmer was onside with that message. So many differing ideas coming out of the Labour party at the moment - almost an exact mirror of the Tory disarray. Whips have given up on both sides.

I feel the Shadow Cabinet meeting tonight is where Labour really has to pull its finger out if it wants to survive as a political force in this country. Corbyn needs to decide where his priorities lie.
posted by doornoise at 11:24 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Just looking into that Labour List site - wasn't sure if it was an official UK Labour site and therefore the anonymous briefing on FoM was now acknowledged policy - but, no, tis an independent one-woman-show and simply parrots news about Labour gleaned from the usual forums.
posted by doornoise at 11:35 AM on April 3


> Labour confirms it wants to end Freedom of Movement ta da
The pensionados in Alicante are going to love that
posted by farlukar at 11:55 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]


What I don't understand is how people like this (Guardian article) are not in prison. They seem to be breaking laws left right and center in numerous countries and practicing corruption at the highest level. I do not understand how stuff like this can go down with zero consequences.
posted by doggod at 12:10 PM on April 3 [9 favorites]


Me either, doggod.

Could be that disaffected Tories hold the key to eventual prosecutions. Nick Boles, newly of his very own designation of Progressive Conservative, no longer gives two shits:

[Twitter] "I am no longer a member of the Conservative Party. So I can be blunt where previously I might have been discreet. The PM’s head of communications Robbie Gibb is a hard Brexiter who wants to destroy the PM’s new search for a cross party compromise. The media should be honest about the briefings they receive from that quarter. And the Prime Minister would do well to tell Mr Gibb to get back in his box - or go back to the BBC."
posted by doornoise at 1:38 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Labour confirms it wants to end Freedom of Movement ta da

It's Corbynism in one country, innit comrade?

I can't say I'm surprised: it's been clear for a long time that Corbyn is a Lexiteer, and he's spent a lifetime cosying up to "revolutionary" nationalists. Still, there must be many people who sang the Internationale with him who feel personally betrayed.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:07 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


Still, there must be many people who sang the Internationale with him who feel personally betrayed.

I have no doubt this is true. But, as ever, the question is: what are they going to do about it?
posted by tobascodagama at 2:17 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Hang on, hang on, before folks start beating the anti-Corbyn drum. I know he's not the sharpest tool in the box, and I know he's not the most inspiring of leaders, and I know he has given far too much credence to his "spokesman" minder Seumas Milne (Labour's answer to Robbie Gibbs, the person who ACTUALLY briefed journos on that FoM story and who is well known for remoulding Labour policy in his own image) before we start down on the well-worn track of isn't he useless / untrustworthy / narrow minded / allotmented / bearded / etc, can we look at what he's actually done over the last week or so.

Not two days ago he was whipping his party to support the indicative votes for Common Market 2.0 (including FoM) and a People's Vote. If either of those had got over the line - well, who knows. And I wish that he'd done similarly for Cherry's option. But not exactly the actions of someone completely intransigent.

Also, what do you mean by "cosying up to revolutionary nationalists"? Are you repeating the smear that he supported acts of IRA terrorism? And just loves Gazan rockets? Because he didn't. And he doesn't.
posted by doornoise at 2:36 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]


Not two days ago he was whipping his party to support the indicative votes for Common Market 2.0 (including FoM) and a People's Vote.

At least two Labour front benchers broke that whip and are still in his Shadow cabinet.
posted by PenDevil at 2:39 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Not two days ago he was whipping his party to support the indicative votes for Common Market 2.0
I think there's a certain resentment about the rest of the last three years.
posted by edd at 2:46 PM on April 3 [12 favorites]


Labour confirms it wants to end Freedom of Movement ta da

That's nice. But it also wants a customs union & single market access. As has been re-iterated approximately ninety kajillion times by the EU, that's a no go. So which does it want more? I am deeply tired of the only things that parliament are able to state with any confidence that they definitely want are things that do not, and cannot exist.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:47 PM on April 3 [18 favorites]




Brexit: MPs back delay bill by one vote (BBC)

"The bill, put forward by Labour's Yvette Cooper, was passed by the Commons in just one day. . . However, it will need to be approved by the Lords before it becomes law. It would also still be for the EU to decide whether to grant any extension."

I guess taking one single day to pass legislation that doesn't do anything is technically an improvement.
posted by 3urypteris at 4:03 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


From the article:
[Tory brexiteers] expressed frustration at the highly unusual process of a bill - the first stage of enacting a law - clearing all stages in the Commons in a matter of hours, rather than months.

Yes, because there's plenty of time to spend months on this, that is a sensible position, well done.
posted by Dysk at 4:08 PM on April 3 [10 favorites]


The other day Anna Soubry plus various People's Vote folks, post-second-indicative-votes-defeat, were talking of combining one of the soft Brexit ideas with a confirmatory referendum and putting that to a vote. Ken Clarke pointed out that by doing so, you'd be reducing its chances of passing, as you'd have people opposed to that particular flavour of Brexit against it AND people opposed to any kind of new referendum.

I think Cooper here is starting from a point of something that she thinks will pass. Once you have your majority hooked into that, I think the theory is that you'll be able to get them to come along for the ride, as you get closer to your desired position. It's politicking. Not very satisfying when you're desperate for some kind of relief.
posted by doornoise at 4:16 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Other messages from Labour on today's talks, from Telegraph correspondent Anna Mikhailova:

Senior Labour source telling me today's talks did not go as well as initially thought: 'May offered nothing today. Unless tomorrow's talks change the narrative it seems to be a waste of time.'

Labour source told me the option of a confirmatory vote was raised 'multiple times' in the Corbyn-May meeting.


Telegraph not usually sympathetic to Labour's position. So who's briefing on this and why? Is this the start of throwing May under the bus?
posted by doornoise at 4:21 PM on April 3


The EU Council have made abundantly clear that an extension past the April 12 deadline (that they unilaterally granted) requires 1) UK participation in EP elections and 2) a new way forward, some kind of plan to get the UK to some kind of end state. Parliament passing, by one vote, a bill saying "we want an extension" while voting down every conceivable path out of this mess multiple times does not inspire confidence.
posted by 3urypteris at 4:24 PM on April 3 [14 favorites]


I think the EU should (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ by just granting an indefinite extension.

This, if the last months are any indicator, would effectively cancel Brexit, as without the crash out pressure, nobody would agree on a deal.
posted by Marticus at 6:14 PM on April 3 [14 favorites]


An indefinite extension on the condition that the UK notify the EU when it wants to unilaterally end the extension. And this advance notification should be - oh, I don't know - let's say two years.
posted by vacapinta at 7:06 PM on April 3 [24 favorites]


All going swimmingly on the “preparations for a no-deal Brexit that could happen in less than a fortnight” front, I see:

BBC: Some drugs 'cannot be stockpiled' for no-deal
The health service has been unable to stockpile certain drugs in case of a no-deal Brexit, potentially putting patients at risk, documents show.
Confidential NHS England files - seen by BBC Newsnight - suggest supply chain issues mean some drugs used to treat conditions like epilepsy and bipolar disorder "cannot be stockpiled".
Potential shortages would have "a significant impact", documents say.
Wow, might have been handy to have some advance warning of that, rather than a last-minute leak! Still, not to worry if you have epilepsy - it should be pretty easy to steal what you need.

Guardian: Police amass 10,000 officers in preparation for no-deal unrest
Hall said police would not guard supply chains for medicines and food because those responsible had enough time to put plans into place and police feared being stretched too thin. Ports would be expected to “police” any queues themselves with uniformed police officers on standby if crimes were committed.

Hall said: “This is where our push has been back to those sectors, those parts of government and private sector. It’s your responsibility to look at your individual supply chains and you should not be looking to police to come in and supplement to keep your supply chains running.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:16 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Telegraph not usually sympathetic to Labour's position. So who's briefing on this and why? Is this the start of throwing May under the bus?

I would imagine it’s exactly the same person who briefed that things had gone swimmingly immediately after the meeting. Afterwards you get in a room with your team, debrief, have a think, and come out with a more considered view based not only on the meeting, but how it played in the media and with your party. The confirmatory vote comment was clearly aimed at (potential) Labour voters who were distraught when it seemed as if it had not been raised in the meeting.

I don’t know about throwing May under the bus, the bus has been driving backwards and forwards over her for months.
posted by dudleian at 11:37 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


The HoC is a perceptron, and the problem to be solved is XOR. Combining options keeps breaking it.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:43 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I don’t know about throwing May under the bus, the bus has been driving backwards and forwards over her for months.

To be fair, she's been quite heavily involved in quite a lot of that driving.
posted by flabdablet at 11:59 PM on April 3 [7 favorites]


@ Nick Boles"I am no longer a member of the Conservative Party. So I can be blunt where previously I might have been discreet. The PM’s head of communications Robbie Gibb is a hard Brexiter who wants to destroy the PM’s new search for a cross party
Here is an interesting profile about Robbie Gibb - the man who apparently wrote May's "Its all parliament's fault" speech from a couple of weeks back.
posted by rongorongo at 12:22 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Gibb was also the former head of BBC Westminster which means he was in charge of a large number of it's political programming, if you're still wondering why Nigel Farage was the most booked guest on it's flagship shows.
posted by PenDevil at 12:29 AM on April 4 [11 favorites]


What does last night's legislation actually do? As far as I can tell from reading about it, if passed through the Lords it will oblige the Prime Minister to request an Article 50 extension but doesn't specify a date. The PM can choose a date. The date of the PM's choosing is likely to be 22 May, which is what she was planning on doing anyway - so where are we now that's different to where we were at the start of play yesterday?
posted by winterhill at 1:00 AM on April 4


It's a step, not a destination. Insist on a 2 year extension and in the febrile atmosphere of Westminster it would have got voted down in a heartbeat. The adults are trying to calm and saddle a wild, and badly spooked horse.
posted by dudleian at 1:26 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


This is so stupid. Just revoke it. It's the one unilateral move we've got left, and it's slipping away. We're already mired in a massive national humiliation. We're subject to mockery (deserved) and our economy has already taken a hit. Basic services are either gone, about to be gone, or targeted to be gone. Gone, like the EU's patience. Gone, like the years May pissed away. Gone, like my spoons. Gone, like just about everything except this awful government.
posted by skybluepink at 1:43 AM on April 4 [21 favorites]


The text of the bill as it has now gone to the Lords is here.

The PM can choose a date, but she can't just choose and act on it, she has to put her choice as a motion to the House of Commons. The House can then seek to amend that.

The EU can also propose a date. If they do, the PM must put that in a motion to the House too.

None of this stops the PM stalling, or addresses what happens when the EU offer is subject to conditions, i.e. European Elections. This is what Jo Maugham is so worked up about, as are Joanna Cherry and others.

We will now see what the Lords do with the bill. They can amend it before it goes back to the Commons.
posted by automatronic at 1:48 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


On balance, if someone put a two-year extension in front of me I think I'd vote it down, too.

We can't extend this beyond the end of this year or it'll drive me to take up drinking. It's already done measurable harm to the economy and to our national well-being. It's been all-consuming politically for three years now and we've not done anything else or made any measurable progress as a country. We're fiddling around with Brexit while the economy stagnates, life expectancy falls and child poverty rises.

We need to either revoke Article 50 and Remain - which would be my strong preference - or Leave on good terms. What we can't do is kick the battered can any further down the road while the will-they-won't-they uncertainty and constant arguing continues to consume the nation. The plaster needs to be ripped off and we need to go in one direction or the other.

As for another referendum, god no. I've really gone off the idea. Can anyone really countenance the prospect of another six or more months of that? Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Tommy bloody Robinson hogging the airwaves as the puppets of Steve Bannon? Just Remain or Leave.
posted by winterhill at 1:52 AM on April 4 [8 favorites]


The problem with "let's just get it over with so we have certainty", winterhill, is that the Leave options on the table still entail either massive uncertainty, or life changing consequences, for the lives of millions of people - including EU citizens in the UK, UK citizens in the EU, and very much in particular all of those in Northern Ireland, who are all concerned with a whole lot more than whether you decide to take up drinking.
posted by automatronic at 2:01 AM on April 4 [19 favorites]


Once again, people are talking to me as if I'm a Leave supporter. I am not. I don't know why I need to make it so clear, but here it is in big, fat letters: I may be a Northern gobshite from a shithole Northern town but I do not support Leave.
posted by winterhill at 2:03 AM on April 4 [11 favorites]


I assumed nothing about what you support and my comment has nothing to do with that.

The attitude of "just get on with it, I'm bored" is toxic, wherever it's coming from.
posted by automatronic at 2:14 AM on April 4 [19 favorites]


I get where you're coming from, winterhill. I am personally just so Brexit-weary at this point the thought of going through a confirmatory referendum is beyond dispiriting. But Brexit, however it's resolved, is not going to go away. I wish it would. The fallout is going to be hideous no matter what happens. Nobody is just going to shut up about it. If the Brexiters get what they want, everything goes to hell, and they're going to be emboldened to do worse, probably to immigrants (am one of those myself, and even though I'm not a targeted immigrant, I still feel for anybody who has to deal with the monstrous Home Office, and freelance persecution by bigots) and other perceived outsiders. If the Revokers win, the Brexiters are never going to stop carrying on about it. Our garbage media is going to keep giving these bastards a platform to continue stirring shit endlessly. Nobody seems to fear political blowback from Revokers/Remainers, but they probably should. (Political, I emphasise, which is probably why we aren't feared. Leavers have already shown themselves quite ready to engage in physical violence.)

I'm pretty sure we're screwed by Brexit for some time to come, leave or remain. My exasperated cry to just revoke the damn thing is based in believing that if we do so, we're going to suffer fewer consequences in material ways while we continue screaming at each other. Damage limitation is the best thing we can hope for.
posted by skybluepink at 2:18 AM on April 4 [24 favorites]


On balance, if someone put a two-year extension in front of me I think I'd vote it down, too.

Whatever your intentions, in practice that would probably be a vote for No Deal.

It's all hypothetical since we're not MPs, but yeah, nobody is voting for referendums or extensions because they want the process to take longer, but because the alternative is horrific.
posted by Dysk at 2:36 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


And personally, I'd take another two years of uncertainty over certainly getting my right to live here curtailed before that. Not all certainty is good.
posted by Dysk at 2:44 AM on April 4 [11 favorites]


Ian Dun't summary of yesterday's votes in parliament. As others have pointed out above - we are at a point where any prospect of avoiding no-deal and achieving a long extension - are still sitting at the end of a long chain of "if"s - but his take is that the prospect of no deal has now reduced to some extent. He is optimistic. Hope he's right!
posted by rongorongo at 3:04 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


The hard core Brexiteers are never ever going to shut up until they get what they want - a 'clean' Brexit with no customs union or anything like etc. Eventually they might be ignored as the mainstream moves on but they will never shut up about it.

Also, believe it or not, this is just the easy part... if we leave we're going to have thrash out all the economic and financial arrangements, with Europe and elsewhere. Brexit is going to be around for years.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:13 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


Revocation is really the only way to get rid of brexit immediately. Yeah, there'd still be the brexiteers to deal with, but brexit itself would be irrelevant, and there's be no dragging on of anything other than xenophobic outrage. Any other option sees UK politics necessarily tied up with the whole project for a lot longer still.
posted by Dysk at 3:28 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]


I do see us struggling to get to revocation without a referendum though. It's not the most awful option, and it's by far the most practical and probable way to a revocation (which is the best option).
posted by edd at 3:35 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Oh I agree. It doesn't have to be this way, but parliament is made up of the clueless monkeys it's made up of, so it might be the only way to convince them. But yeah, if you just want this to stop, revocation (however that's arrived at) is the only option that even has a hope of achieving that.
posted by Dysk at 3:42 AM on April 4


The problem with "let's just get it over with so we have certainty", winterhill, is that the Leave options on the table still entail either massive uncertainty, or life changing consequences, for the lives of millions of people - including EU citizens in the UK, UK citizens in the EU, and very much in particular all of those in Northern Ireland, who are all concerned with a whole lot more than whether you decide to take up drinking.

Theresa May's deal already offers pretty strong rights for EU citizens already in the UK (presumably insisted on by the EU). A customs union keeps the border open in Northern Ireland, as does the backstop. Either signing Theresa May's deal, or most of the indicative vote options, would solve the greater part of those problems immediately.

A second referendum keeps the uncertainty going until the referendum is over. The referendum might not even be won by Remain, potentially leaving Northern Ireland and EU citizens in the UK even worse off. A no-deal Brexit doesn't help either of those issues.

Time is short, there's a significant chance we could fall into a no-deal Brexit while chasing the perfect Remain option.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:52 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Theresa May's deal already offers pretty strong rights for EU citizens already in the UK

Which is fine if you aren't one of the many people who fall through the cracks in that system. Not so fine if you are.
posted by Dysk at 4:02 AM on April 4 [7 favorites]


The referendum might not even be won by Remain, potentially leaving Northern Ireland and EU citizens in the UK even worse off.
I can't see a referendum containing a harder Brexit option than the May deal. It'd look quite likely to be that or something softer vs revoke. So a lost referendum wouldn't leave them worse off.
posted by edd at 4:10 AM on April 4


Theresa May's deal already offers pretty strong rights for EU citizens already in the UK

The people who arrived on the Windrush had pretty strong rights too. They'll tell you much Theresa May and her ilk can be trusted with this.
posted by automatronic at 4:20 AM on April 4 [28 favorites]


At very least, the hypothetical of another referendum ought to make it impossible for those who fought the first one on the Leave side to deny what they said in 2016 about customs unions, single market access, etc. Dominic Cummings' tactical ambiguity no longer applies.
posted by holgate at 4:51 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


And one further thing, before I put this thread down for a while:

Time is short, there's a significant chance we could fall into a no-deal Brexit while chasing the perfect Remain option.

Why is time short?

Even if you accept that the deal took a long time to negotiate and the outcome wasn't blaringly obvious from the moment she set out her red lines, she had the thing ready to take to the House in November, and refused to for months.

So time is short only because this whole process has been deliberately slow-rolled, to force anyone and everyone who might disagree with May's sacred Red Lines - none of which were on the referendum ballot - to choose between her deal or no deal, against an impending deadline.

And the EU is fully prepared to offer a long extension.

So time is short only because she will refuse to accept holding European elections, elections which would give her own citizens the representation they are legally entitled to as members of a union which the UK has not left yet.

And that is not by some accident or bureaucratic detail. The UK has not left because those same citizens, via their chosen representatives - elected after the referendum - have disagreed with the withdrawal she proposes.

They have done this through the full and correct democratic process, and they have done it three times.

The length of this process, that so many would now like to "just get over with", and the pressure that means "we don't have time to find a better option", are situations entirely of her making. She has done this deliberately, in the full knowledge that doing so would drive people to those positions and make them accept her deal, based on red lines that none of them voted on.

And here we all are, falling for it.
posted by automatronic at 4:55 AM on April 4 [45 favorites]


I met a young friend who was an ardent Remainer at the weekend. He shook me to my boots by saying the UK should Brexit as soon as possible with No Deal.

His logic was that our news media, politicians, parties, and processes (e.g. FPTP, FTPA) have shown that they are not fit for purpose, and that there is a majority of English people who are egregiously exceptionalistic and have neo-imperialist views that won't work for a small island in a connected, climate-affected world. We need to do some serious work on ourselves, and the sooner the better.

I realise that No Deal would have a huge effect on people's lives, livelihoods and health, including commenters on this thread. I don't mean to discount that suffering in any way when I say that I can see his point. Revoking A50 feels like the real world equivalent of hitting the reset button in a Sci Fi story. That's never satisfying because it means nothing gets resolved, and boy do we have stuff to resolve.
posted by dudleian at 5:27 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure how No Deal resolves anything either? If the UK's political institutions aren't fit for purpose, that seems like a good reason to stay connected to the EU institutions, not to put every aspect of our fate in the hands of the failed establishment.

The reset switch gives us the opportunity to try again at fixing the mess. Letting everything go to hell isn't generally a good solution to anything.

Accelerationism sucks and doesn't work.
posted by Dysk at 5:31 AM on April 4 [36 favorites]


Revoking A50 feels like the real world equivalent of hitting the reset button in a Sci Fi story.

Whereas No Deal is Charlton Heston hitting the other kind of button in Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
posted by biffa at 5:37 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Yeah, subscribers to the conspiratorial thinking that "the Establishment would never let true Brexit happen" are already primed to incorporate the effects of a no-deal exit into that theory and assign the blame elsewhere. When Prophecy Fails is the point of reference here, but at this point what matters on the ultra side is the ability to weaponise betrayal.
posted by holgate at 5:45 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


The people who arrived on the Windrush had pretty strong rights too. They'll tell you much Theresa May and her ilk can be trusted with this.

I don't trust authoritarian racists with much of anything.
posted by jaduncan at 6:45 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


It seems to this across-the-ponder that the current lockup centers around the fact that neither Labor nor Tory believe they can afford to *not* deliver on Brexit.

I'm as anti-accelerationist as the next incrementalist squish, but it does seem like there's no way to delay or muddle through and hope the fever goes away. Maybe the only way forward is the awful consequences of no-deal discrediting the nostalgic exceptionalism and xenophobia for good.

(But yeah, accelerationism sucks because it's even more likely that the awful consequences of no-deal put the exceptionalists and xenophobes even more firmly in charge. (IOW, Lexit my ass.))

Anyway, good luck. Here's to better days.
posted by whuppy at 6:47 AM on April 4


The people who arrived on the Windrush had pretty strong rights too. They'll tell you much Theresa May and her ilk can be trusted with this.

With the Withdrawal Agreement (or similar) written into law, EU citizens rights are protected by the law. Under a no-deal, Theresa May (or Boris Johnson, or Jacob Rees-Mogg) can do whatever they like. So a no-deal involves putting a lot more trust in Theresa May and her ilk.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:48 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Again, the Windrush immigrants had perfect theoretical rights of residence. It's just that due to the lack of evidence they sadly had to leave, so sorry etc. One can get a lot done by malicious administration.
posted by jaduncan at 6:50 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Some new polling on No Deal from YouGov:
Only 25% of people would consider a No Deal Brexit to be a positive outcome. Twice as many (50%) would see it as a negative...

If the European Union refused a further extension, and Britain was faced with a stark choice between Remaining or No Deal, then by 44% to 42% people would prefer to leave.

However, while other options remain on the table, it would be wrong to say 44% of people support No Deal yet.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:57 AM on April 4


Maybe the only way forward is the awful consequences of no-deal discrediting the nostalgic exceptionalism and xenophobia for good.
No deal is not a way forward in any sense. The consequences for some people are just too awful, and it's not necessarily going to be the nostalgics and xenophobes that are going to get hit the worst. They won't accept the blame for it when it goes horribly horribly wrong and will never shut up as a result of it.
posted by edd at 6:57 AM on April 4 [10 favorites]


Apparently the Commons has had to be suspended due to a torrent of water flooding in from the roof.

Insert metaphor here.
posted by brilliantmistake at 7:05 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there is no way that the way to combat racism and xenophobia is to appease the racists and xenophobes.

With the Withdrawal Agreement (or similar) written into law, EU citizens rights are protected by the law.

Parliament is sovereign and cannot bind future Parliaments. A right guaranteed by UK law is only guaranteed as long as the government/Parliament want it on the books.
posted by Dysk at 7:06 AM on April 4 [5 favorites]


Parliament is sovereign and cannot bind future Parliaments.

Sure. But cancelling the Withdrawal Agreement would also void our trade deal with the EU, causing massive economic disruption as we suddenly entered no-deal territory after all. The agreement is also overseen by the Joint Committee and the European Court of Justice, not just the UK courts.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:14 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


With Theresa May stepping down and likely one of the Brexit crazies taking over from her, I don't see that as at all outside the realms of possibility over the next handful of years.
posted by Dysk at 7:18 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


At this point, the xenophobes and racists will be angry regardless of the outcome - either because we revoke A50 and remain, or because "Brexit wasn't done properly" (because it can't be done "properly" - as has been pointed out, the problem with Brexit isn't May, or Corbyn, or even the ERG - the problem with Brexit, is Brexit).

If we're going to have to put up with their bellyaching anyway, let's go for the option that doesn't cause even more economic damage than has already been done, and doesn't screw over a huge number of people when FoM is ended.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:24 AM on April 4 [18 favorites]


The WA is terrible. It just is. (Most of) Parliament isn't simply rejecting it out of spite. What it does to Northern Ireland in itself is reason enough to reject it. Promises and (ugh, this word) Reassurances mean nothing once the ultras end up in the driving seat, which they almost certainly will once May is gone. "Better than No Deal" doesn't mean it isn't an utter disaster, and the ultras are drooling in anticipation of what they're going to do once they get their hands on the next phase. They are coming for immigrants and we are scared. I can't trust my settled status to this lot, and EU citizens living here have even less reason to trust. They deliberately fucked over the Windrush immigrants, people so deeply integrated into British society for so long that forcing them back to where they came from was effectively rendering them homeless in a foreign country where their original ties, in many cases, were long dead. This is the kind of thing we can expect in the future if this isn't stopped or somehow softened dramatically.
posted by skybluepink at 7:28 AM on April 4 [9 favorites]


Just to clarify: Yes, by all means fight for Revoke tooth and nail! Do not appease the worst elements of human nature!

Maybe my belief that getting Brexited good and hard can cure England's poisonous exceptionalism is just some pollyanna glass-half-full spin on how awful No Deal's going to be. My sincerest apologies if it came off as "means justify the ends". (I'm also the naif who thinks the Unionists in NI might soften over the generations when they realize how one-sided their sentiment is.)
posted by whuppy at 7:32 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


With the Withdrawal Agreement (or similar) written into law, EU citizens rights are protected by the law.

Only those that can prove "settled status" will have any rights, and that's dependent on successfully using a buggy app and digging up five years of paperwork. It might work fine for people who've held a solid white collar job and not moved around too much, but anyone whose situation is even vaguely complicated is going to find themselves begging for their rights from the creators of the Hostile Environment.

Obviously, No Deal will be even worse, but the original claim that everything will be dandy under May's Deal (or any Brexit that doesn't retain full FoM) is ignoring the number of people who are going to be fucked over one way or another by this.
posted by grahamparks at 7:36 AM on April 4 [12 favorites]


Getting Brexited good and hard isn't going to make the Brexiters throw up their hands and say, welp, we were wrong. They will blame it on the EU, the rest of us, and the magical unicorn that didn't arrive because of the EU and the rest of us. Humility isn't their style.
posted by skybluepink at 7:42 AM on April 4 [27 favorites]


Apologies if it's been linked already, but here's the debate that resulted from the petition.
posted by Acey at 8:51 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Getting Brexited good and hard isn't going to make the Brexiters throw up their hands and say, welp, we were wrong. They will blame it on the EU, the rest of us, and the magical unicorn that didn't arrive because of the EU and the rest of us. Humility isn't their style.

Yes, the stab in the back myth has worked before.
posted by jaduncan at 9:02 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


I can't imagine anyone doing it, but I wish someone in parliament would suggest revoking article 50 in order to take back control of the planning* from the EU. Begging Brussels for extensions and having the PM run back and forth between Parliament and the EU for all decisions is ridiculous.

*lol
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:10 AM on April 4 [5 favorites]


The WA is terrible. It just is.
Is it really so bad? As far as I understand, it basically covers the UK paying outstanding amounts to the EU and setting up a transition period during which not much changes while the real details are hashed out. And there's the backstop to ensure that those details must include a solution to the Ireland border or fall back to a default of the UK staying the customs union (something Theresa May asked for, since having only NI stay in the customs union was not acceptable to her, and to which the EU only very reluctantly agreed).
posted by borsboom at 9:46 AM on April 4 [4 favorites]


Dunt on the Withdrawal Agreement (Nov 18) is scathing enough, I expect.
posted by edd at 10:09 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Thanks, edd! That was exactly the piece I was trying to find. I should've guessed it was by Ian Dunt.
posted by skybluepink at 10:14 AM on April 4


I'll leave it to you to guess if I googled "May withdrawal agreement" along with either "site:politics.co.uk" or simply a judicious selection of swear words...
posted by edd at 10:20 AM on April 4 [5 favorites]


The ERG talk of vassalage is overblown in the case of the UK, but it is not at all hysterical when you apply it to Northern Ireland. It is about to accept laws which it does not have any democratic means of refusing, amending or overturning. This is intolerable, on the most basic possible notion of democratic theory.

This is part of Dunt's why he hates the agreement in the link listed above. Because it at some point severs - according to him - the territorial integrity of the Union while giving the EU and Ireland too much power, casting the UK into 'vassalage' because it forces it to realize the Good Friday Agreement is a thing that needs to be honoured (and was actually voted on, you know).

The level of belief that Dunt has that the EU is really just hanging around to pound the UK into the ground once the transition period starts is very high. And his belief that the Irish Republic is also trying to intrude on the democratic processes of the UK seems also high, as high as some of happiest and most offensive Brexiteers.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:36 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]


Led by Donkeys have started projecting their messages onto the White Cliffs of Dover. This one is particularly apt.
posted by rory at 3:25 PM on April 4 [11 favorites]




A modest beacon of hope flickers to life in the middle of the endless Brexit crepuscule: An anonymous piece in the Guardian highlights a "positive significant change in civil service culture".

"Many of my fellow Yellowhammer colleagues are in their 20s – I’ve heard a rumour that the Brexit surge of civil servants has lowered the average age of some departments by five years or more. More of them are black and minority ethnic, more live with disabilities, and thanks to a lot of brilliant campaigning more are watching out for each other’s mental health."

"They’re also determined that their work on no-deal planning – in the increasingly likely event that no-deal never happens – can be used again, in whatever phase comes after this one."
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:51 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


Guardian: Donald Tusk is pushing the EU27 to offer Theresa May a one-year “flexible” extension to article 50... The UK’s nominal last day would likely be 10 April 2020.

Wouldn't they need to convince Macron et al that Parliament isn't just going to dick around for another year?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:03 AM on April 5


May asks for an extension until 30th of June.
So the new plan was once again the same as the old plan.

She's not right in the head.
posted by fullerine at 1:05 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


So they have to take part in the EU elections on the 23rd May and then any MEPs elected resign a month later?
posted by PenDevil at 1:07 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Well, at least it gets us over the line for the EU elections. I mean, yeah. Kind of pathetic in terms of raising any hopes for a way out of this mess, but it's better than nothing.
posted by skybluepink at 1:17 AM on April 5


The EU have already said no to this date when she asked for it last time.
posted by fullerine at 1:21 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


Also, wow: We do not deserve a friend as good as Donald Tusk.
posted by skybluepink at 1:21 AM on April 5 [13 favorites]


A smart move by Tusk this morning to get ahead of the narrative by floating the flexible year-long extension, even though not yet agreed by the Council. He beat May to the newsrooms, so reports on her request will include reference to the EU alternative.

It will make it harder for May to play the EU as the unreasonable ones for rejecting her proposal.

It may also help put some pressure on any dithering EU27 leaders to agree to the plan.
posted by automatronic at 1:34 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


Donald Tusk has had the most incredible life. He founded an illegal pro-democracy magazine in communist Poland and went to jail for his work with Solidarity. He was Poland's longest-serving democratic prime minister, and on his watch the Polish economy grew by almost 20% when the rest of Europe was suffering the effects of the global financial crisis. He's written best-selling books on the history of his hometown of Gdansk, lived in hiding during a period of martial law in the early 1980s, earned his living as a manual labourer and as a breadseller, and was instrumental in introducing a free press in Poland after communism.

He's about the best person you could hope to have fighting your corner, and a living refutation of Brexiters' attacks on the EU as an institution of faceless bureaucrats.
posted by rory at 1:43 AM on April 5 [50 favorites]


But did he run through fields of wheat annoying farmers?
posted by fullerine at 1:57 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Labour retained Newport West in yesterday's by election. So that will mean the government now has one less vote and the opposition has another, (it's a bit meaningless to talk about 'majorities' at the moment with a significant chunk of each party voting against the whip)

The Guardian makes a bit of a fuss over the reduced turn-out - which is low, but not exceptionally low for a safe seat by election. Although the fact that both of the main candidates apparently campaigned mainly on local, non-Brexit, issues is interesting.

(Political wonks might be interested to see the SNP still going - in I think their third incarnation - with a mighty 202 votes. No sign of Indie Group / Change)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:59 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I see how an empty seat that previously had a Labour MP staying with Labour is one less vote for the government? Surely it still has the same number of votes.
posted by edd at 2:06 AM on April 5


For anyone else who wondered for a moment if the SNP has been trying its luck at UK-wide electoral domination, fearfulsymmetry means the SDP.
posted by rory at 2:07 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


I looked Donald Tusk up when this nonsense all started, and was super impressed by him, which is no small part of the reason I was moved to tears when he acknowledged the Remainers and called us Europeans. Even when it feels futile, knowing one of the good guys is on your side is a comfort.
posted by skybluepink at 2:08 AM on April 5 [14 favorites]


edd: the Tories still have the same number as before, but Labour have one more now that the seat is filled.
posted by skybluepink at 2:08 AM on April 5


Surely it still has the same number of votes.

Not in the period after Paul Flynn died and before Ruth Jones was elected, i.e. 17 February through yesterday - at least in relative terms. Quite a few consequential votes then... including some real nail-biters over the past couple of days.
posted by rory at 2:10 AM on April 5


Yeah, think of the tie Bercow had to break. Would not have happened, either way.
posted by skybluepink at 2:11 AM on April 5


For anyone else who wondered for a moment if the SNP has been trying its luck at UK-wide electoral domination, fearfulsymmetry means the SDP.

yeah, typo there, Sturgeon's not standing candidates south of The Tweed, more's the pity.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:22 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Donald Tusk has had the most incredible life
One more detail from the article you linked to mentions the type of manual labour that Tusk did when in hiding involved “specialising in work at high altitudes with the aid of climbing equipment.”

May would have been well cautioned not to get into a game of chicken with a fucking steeplejack.
posted by rongorongo at 2:22 AM on April 5 [22 favorites]


Rees-Mogg complains about the extension keeping the UK stuck under EU domination by listing ways the UK has power in the EU.
posted by PenDevil at 2:23 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


This is not the venting thread, but I am very tired of the thoughts of Jacob Rees-Mogg. In a better world, the only question he'd be considered qualified to answer is "How do you take your tea?"
posted by skybluepink at 2:31 AM on April 5 [12 favorites]


The Guardian makes a bit of a fuss over the reduced turn-out - which is low, but not exceptionally low for a safe seat by election. Although the fact that both of the main candidates apparently campaigned mainly on local, non-Brexit, issues is interesting.
The turnout wasn't much better than in our 2016 Batley and Spen by-election which only had one serious candidate. I turned out for that one mainly to make sure the right-wing headbangers all lost their deposits.
posted by winterhill at 2:33 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


A smart move by Tusk this morning to get ahead of the narrative by floating the flexible year-long extension, even though not yet agreed by the Council. He beat May to the newsrooms, so reports on her request will include reference to the EU alternative.
I'm not sure May really thinks she's going to get the June extension. She literally put the exact date to them before and it was rejected. It's like putting your card in the cash machine again after it was declined and expecting it to magically get approved.

The game, if May is intelligent enough to have one, is surely to request the date in the full knowledge that the EU will say "nope, a year extension with election participation or you can sod off next week". She can then claim to the ERG and friends that she did her best to avoid a long extension and EP elections but the horrible EU forced her hand.

Incidentally, as I understand it from the European Council the other week, the 22 May date is dead, is it not? The extension to 22 May was contingent on the UK ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement by 29 March, which didn't happen. I've just noticed very recent references to that date in the news.
posted by winterhill at 2:54 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Nope. The extension to May 22 was contingent on passing the WA by April 12th.
posted by stonepharisee at 2:58 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


I am very tired of the thoughts of Jacob Rees-Mogg. In a better world, the only question he'd be considered qualified to answer is "How do you take your tea?"

I'm not sure he's qualified to answer that.

The answer would be "milk and two sugars" and then when you bring him it he'd complain that the people voted for cold water.
posted by automatronic at 3:40 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


Pedantically, the extension to May 22nd was dependent on passing the WA by March 29th, which is why we that silly last minute Meaningless Vote 3 on that date.

Unless I've missed something, the idea that we would still be able to get a short extension by passing the WA by April 12th seems to be a figment of various commentators/politicians' imaginations.

May 22nd is still Theresa May's stated ambition, although it requires a load of things that have failed to happen in the last three years to suddenly happen.

But we'll definitely not be having the same conversation here in 12 months time. Definitely.
posted by grahamparks at 3:52 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


But we'll definitely not be having the same conversation here in 12 months time. Definitely.

Hey, I've already got my next twelve Brexit megathread titles worked out, unless Wordshore or another poster beats me to the punch.
  • Leave's on Track, Eurostar Derailed
  • On the Nationalism Express
  • We're All Going on a Summer Holiday, by Cliff Edge and the Brexits
  • Deal or No Deal? No Idea. (Not Ideal.)
  • Here Comes the General Election
  • The Four-Dimensional Hung Parliament
  • Tory Circular Firing Squad Makes Francois PM
  • Happy Xmas (Brexit is Over) (If You Want It)
  • The UK's Twenty-Twenty Lack of Vision
  • The UK's Mental Health Crisis
  • The Final Countdown (2020 Remix)
  • Francois Requests Three-Day Extension, European Council Grants 99 Years
posted by rory at 4:30 AM on April 5 [29 favorites]


Unless I've missed something, the idea that we would still be able to get a short extension by passing the WA by April 12th seems to be a figment of various commentators/politicians' imaginations.

You haven't missed something.

The wording is clear and specific:
THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL,

Having regard to the Treaty on European Union, and in particular Article 50(3) thereof,

Whereas:

...

(7) According to Article 50(3) TEU, the Treaties are to cease to apply to the withdrawing State from the date of entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

...

(9) On 21 March 2019, the European Council agreed to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons in the following week. If that is not the case, the European Council agreed to an extension until 12 April 2019 and indicated that it expected the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward before 12 April 2019 for its consideration.

(10) This extension will have the consequence that the United Kingdom will remain a Member State with all the rights and obligations set out in the Treaties and under Union law. If the United Kingdom is still a Member State on 23-26 May 2019, it will be under the obligation to hold the elections to the European Parliament in accordance with Union law. It is to be noted that the United Kingdom would have to give notice of the poll by 12 April 2019 in order to hold such elections.

...

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

In the event that the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons by 29 March 2019 at the latest, the period provided for in Article 50(3) TEU is extended until 22 May 2019.

In the event that the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons by 29 March 2019 at the latest, the period provided for in Article 50(3) TEU is extended until 12 April 2019. In that event, the United Kingdom will indicate a way forward before 12 April 2019, for consideration by the European Council.
The WA was not approved before 29 March, and that means that 12 April is the day that whatever happens is going to happen. Either the UK "indicates a way forward" before 12 April, or the treaty making it a member of the EU ceases to apply on that date per clause (7) above.

Clause (10) above could come into effect in two ways: either the "way forward" includes a withdrawal agreement acceptable to the EU (i.e. identical to what's already been negotiated) and the EU grants a further extension to the A50 withdrawal period to allow time for the provisions of the WA to be put into effect, or the UK unilaterally revokes A50. In either of these cases the UK must participate in the European elections and give notice of the poll by 12 April.

May 22nd is still Theresa May's stated ambition

As has already been well established, Theresa May is fucking delusional. There is no way that an orderly exit could possibly be negotiated per the terms of her WA in ten days.

The 22 May deadline was conditional upon something happening which did not happen, and is therefore now completely irrelevant. Cue floods of media thinkpiece authors and assorted Leave fucknuckles all talking it up it as if it still meant anything to divert attention from crash-out day being next fucking Friday.
posted by flabdablet at 4:48 AM on April 5 [11 favorites]


Sorry, my small bad: I believe that the WA, if accepted, would supersede the treaties currently keeping the UK as a member of the EU rather than requiring a further extension to the A50 withdrawal period.

So one way or another, the UK has to make up its mind by next Friday. Either it unilaterally revokes A50 by then and stays in, or it hobbles itself by committing to a hitherto-unacceptable negotiated withdrawal process whose timeline is essentially under EU control, or it kneecaps itself by doing nothing.
posted by flabdablet at 5:04 AM on April 5


Can someone reassure me that we won’t reach a position on 12 April where the EU says the UK is now out, but the Prime Minister and UK government insist we’re still in? That couldn’t happen, could it?
posted by Segundus at 5:12 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Oops, my other small bad: April 12 to May 22 is forty days, not ten. Point stands though: it's nowhere near enough time to negotiate and implement everything in the WA.
posted by flabdablet at 5:14 AM on April 5


That couldn’t happen, could it?

That could happen.
posted by rory at 5:30 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


But it seems unlikely that the PM and Government would be insisting that, unless they'd sent an emergency revocation at the last minute. More likely that Parliament would be falsely assured that they'd averted No Deal when actually they hadn't. But even then, they'd surely be alerted to that fact by the EU. But it could all come too late to legislate in time to make a difference - for example, if Government controls the schedule of the House and prevents it sitting, or the Lords filibuster us over the cliff, or some such. This is all assuming that the EC doesn't go with Tusk's proposal, and also rejects May's request of a 30 June extension - which I think is unlikely if only because it could make the EU seem responsible for No Deal.

Hopefully, though, the EC accepts Tusk's flexible extension, and all these possibilities become irrelevant. Then there's no possibility of No Deal, only leaving with a Deal or revoking, until we all meet here again in April 2020.

So it all now hinges on the EC accepting Tusk's proposal, and Theresa May in turn accepting their offer of a flexible extension rather than her preferred 30 June 2019. If she rejects their proposal, then she will be actively choosing No Deal. And that, I suspect, still has a greater-than-zero chance of happening.
posted by rory at 5:46 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Then there's no possibility of No Deal

I should amend this: there would be no possibility of accidentally leaving with no deal. Now that we're past the two-year mark, it's possible at any point for the UK to terminate its agreement to the extension of Article 50 and intentionally leave with no deal. It could happen today, if enough MPs suddenly took leave of their senses.
posted by rory at 6:01 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Hopefully, though, the EC accepts Tusk's flexible extension, and all these possibilities become irrelevant. Then there's no possibility of No Deal, only leaving with a Deal or revoking, until we all meet here again in April 2020.

The EU do not, in any way, want to be seen as kicking the UK out of the union. I think the only way No Deal happens now is if May decides to consciously go for it next week and burn the country on the altar of Tory party unity which I wouldn't rule out because its her but she does appear to be distancing herself from the loonier Brexiteer fringes.
posted by brilliantmistake at 6:20 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


I won't stop feeling apprehensive until No Deal is dead and buried. We've seen reports of how some medicines for treating epilepsy can't be stockpiled against the threat of no deal, which puts those who depend on them at risk. Half a million people in the UK have epilepsy. Even if only a fraction of them depend on these particular medicines, and a fraction of those would suffer life-threatening effects if they didn't get them, that still suggests thousands of lives are at risk.

I wish we could just insert a number every time someone talks about leaving with No Deal as being worth the disruption. "We should just intentionally cause 112 people to die." "It's worth the short-term sacrifice of 112 people for the long-term gain of 748 further deaths." "The will of the people is for 112 people to die." "We didn't vote for a deal that would allow 112 people to live, we voted to leave."
posted by rory at 6:25 AM on April 5 [12 favorites]


Just finished watching the petition debate. Virtually no Conservatives bothered to show up and most left before speaking; such contributions as they did make were entirely the same old beep boop I am a Maybot talking points.

Catherine McKinnell's summing-up speech was impressive.
posted by flabdablet at 6:36 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


For exactly the same reason rory, overstating the likelihood of No Deal shouldn't be done lightly.

I think No Deal on April 12th is exceedingly unlikely as things stand. We can't quite rule it out, but I don't think any sober assessment of how things might pan out over the next few days includes Theresa May rejecting whatever extension the EC offers.

I also don't think we have the option of leaving without a deal unilaterally except at the end of the Article 50 period (including any extension). Certainly there's no mention of it in the relevant text.
posted by grahamparks at 6:37 AM on April 5


Seen a tweet by former UKIP MEP Roger Helmer that he's just going to write 'BREXIT' across his ballot paper for the forthcoming local elections... and I urge all true Brexiteers to do likewise!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:39 AM on April 5 [9 favorites]


The end of the Article 50 period is next Friday, unless the European Council unanimously and the UK agree to extend it (see clause (7) above). So in practice, all the UK Government needs to do in order to leave without a deal unilaterally is fuck about unproductively until after next Friday, which it does seem more than capable of doing.
posted by flabdablet at 6:43 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


I think No Deal on April 12th is exceedingly unlikely as things stand.

I definitely wouldn't use a word like exceedingly in there either. Certainly there is likely to be a majority in the EC for a year's flextension or the like, but it's not a majority vote - it only takes one EU leader to veto an extension and we crash out. Should Parliament still have no actual plan on April 10th apart from May's 'keep trying to pass the WA' there are people in the room who will be tempted to just pull the plug and get on with dealing with the other issues facing the EU rather than wasting yet more money and effort trying to give May more time with no visible prospect of progress.

I don't think it's the most likely outcome, but from the various noises coming from several member states - not least France - it's definitely still on the table as an outcome.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:47 AM on April 5 [1 favorite]


So in practice, all the UK Government needs to do in order to leave without a deal unilaterally is fuck about unproductively until after next Friday

Sorry, my last paragraph is a reference to "Now that we're past the two-year mark, it's possible at any point for the UK to terminate its agreement to the extension of Article 50 and intentionally leave with no deal" - i.e. mid extension, which I'm fairly certain is bollocks.
posted by grahamparks at 6:50 AM on April 5


For anyone who is curious, Paul Flynn*'s majority in his last election in Newport West was 5,658. Ruth Jones' majority is 1,951 from this last election. Here is a Guardian snippet in the latest Brexit live feed with some analysis on that particular election. Seems that some of the smaller parties (mainly Plaid Cymru and Ukip) have eaten into the dominance of the Labour and Tory parties in that area. It seems like the Brexit fiasco may be hurting both of the major parties.

*Yesterday, I started reading Paul Flynn's book How to be an MP: Leaning the Commons Knowledge to better understand the role of backbenchers in Commons. Pretty interesting so far, as well as entertaining.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 6:51 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


It's nice to see in the results of the Newport West by-election that the bottom two parties are Democrats and Veterans and For Britain, two dodgy far-right operations. More concerning to see the increasingly far-right UKIP coming in third.
posted by winterhill at 6:59 AM on April 5


Ohhh, gawd, reading down deeper into that analysis, the next story up is that Nigel Farage is planning on standing in the EU elections with his new hate party. We are never going to be rid of him.
posted by skybluepink at 7:00 AM on April 5


Certainly there's no mention of it in the relevant text.

If the UK has the power to revoke A50, I'd say it also has the power to withdraw its agreement to the extension of A50, even in the extension period itself. I'd be happy to be wrong about that, but I don't think it likely that the EU would or could force the UK to sit out the entire 12 months if we intentionally decided to leave with No Deal after two or three.

All it would take is a general election with a Labour party losing too many Remain voters and a Tory party going full ERG, and first-past-the-post could deliver us a No Deal parliament.
posted by rory at 7:01 AM on April 5


That fascist Rees-Mogg is doing wonders for the UK's reputation.

Although his own MEP speaks up for him.
posted by vacapinta at 7:47 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


Mixed responses to extension proposals in EU circles. It's too early to assume anything is in the bag.
posted by rory at 8:47 AM on April 5


> Ohhh, gawd, reading down deeper into that analysis, the next story up is that Nigel Farage is planning on standing in the EU elections with his new hate party. We are never going to be rid of him.

Would that mean he gets two pensions?
posted by Leon at 8:59 AM on April 5


In shock news which nobody saw coming, talks between Labour and the Tories seem to have broken down.

Mainly due to May's approach to compromise being "we can't change the Withdrawal Agreement, and we won't change the Political Declaration".

Apparently her offer was one which Labour ruled out a while back - the existing deal, but with a commitment to Parliament shaping the future deal, and a guarantee on worker's rights.

Brilliant. Back to indicative votes it is then.
posted by MattWPBS at 9:28 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


Theresa May negotiating in bad faith. Shocking. May carries on being every bit as rigid, unimaginative, and dishonest as she's proven herself to be every step of the way. Oh, and she got to piss away some more time.

I honestly don't knock Labour for trying here, though. What else were they going to do?
posted by skybluepink at 9:41 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Apparently her offer was one which Labour ruled out a while back - the existing deal, but with a commitment to Parliament shaping the future deal, and a guarantee on worker's rights.

It's also worth noting that the context of the Tory leadership election means that anything that isn't legally binding means nothing. A Brexiteer PM isn't going to care what May said.
posted by jaduncan at 9:45 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and Labour are apparently extremely suspicious as there's been no major resignations after the 7 hour cabinet the other day.

Faisal Islam: Labour sources separately highly suspicious about the total lack of Cabinet resignations that would be expected if PM serious about softer/ CU style compromise

May's really hoping if she thinks anybody is going to trust her now.
posted by MattWPBS at 9:54 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


It's also worth noting that the context of the Tory leadership election means that anything that isn't legally binding means nothing. A Brexiteer PM isn't going to care what May said.
This is the main reason the cross-party talks were never going to work. May shot herself in the foot by promising to quit once the withdrawal agreement had been passed. Any agreement between the Labour party and May wouldn't last a change of Tory leadership - we'd get a hard-right ERG Brexit under Gove or Johnson, helped through by Labour votes. I can't see any Labour MP with an ounce of intelligence letting that one happen.
posted by winterhill at 9:56 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


Even being legally binding may not help if there's another GE and the Tories get in with an ERG leader as no parliament can bind a future one. Any agreement could be rescinded or reversed.

This is a pleasing map, (and I wonder what the cut-off age is after which the Tory party just pretty much evaporates...).


@https://twitter.com/ElectionMapsUK/status/1114139815405076480
How a General Election would look if 18-24's only were allowed to vote:

Seats || Votes

LAB: 541 || 55.0%
SNP: 56 || 4.5%
LDM: 25 || 14.0%
SF: 10 || 0.9%
PLC: 4 || 0.7%
DUP: 4 || 0.4%
CON: 3 || 14.5%
IND: 2
GRN: 1 || 2.0%
UUP: 1 || 0.4%
ALL: 1 || 0.4%
SDLP: 1 || 0.3%
posted by Buntix at 10:04 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


This is a pleasing map, (and I wonder what the cut-off age is after which the Tory party just pretty much evaporates...).
I'm not sure it's a cut-off age as much as certain life events that turn people into Conservative voters. Not all of these 18-24 Labour voters are going to be lifelong Labour voters. I don't have data to back this up, but I have a hunch that buying a house might be one thing that pushes some people into starting to vote Conservative. People tend to vote Tory if they're concerned about house prices, for instance.

That's bad news for the Tories as more people rent into their 30s, and it explains why they have several policies aimed at increasing home ownership and are remarkably not-bothered about tenants' rights and the welfare of renters. It's undeniable, though, that the demographics are against the Tories as they are against the Republicans in the US. It's unlikely that we'll see regular Tory governments by the time I'm in my 50s. (I'm currently 33.)
posted by winterhill at 10:52 AM on April 5 [7 favorites]


winterhill: "It's undeniable, though, that the demographics are against the Tories as they are against the Republicans in the US."

Unlike in the US though, where political preferences formed in early adulthood seem fairly stable, historically in the UK people really do get more Conservative as they age: Ageing and generational effects on vote choice. While it's certainly possible that decreasing homeownership might affect this trend, I wouldn't pin my hopes on it.
posted by crazy with stars at 11:08 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


One of the favourite topics of my solidly Labour A-level sociology teacher (ca. 2000) was cooing that Tories were literally dying and so was the party. That worked out.
posted by grahamparks at 11:14 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


To be fair, we've only had a Conservative majority government for two years since 1997. The other two Conservative governments have been a coalition with the Lib Dems and the current hung parliament. They don't seem to be able to scrape together big majorities like they have in the past - but then, neither do the other lot.
posted by winterhill at 11:17 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


Ageing and generational effects on vote choice

That paper paints a fairly bleak picture for the Tory party as it's showing quite the decrease overall in time for the cohort coming of age at the time of the election, particularly given the data that it's ~15% for the current 18 to 24 cohort.
In 1987 around three quarters of the oldest cohort coming of age in the early 1930s were estimated to have voted Conservative compared to less than half of those in the youngest cohort that came of age in the 1980s. If we were to imagine that someone coming of age in 1910 were still alive to vote in 2010, we would predict that they had an 80 per cent chance of voting Conservative compared to only 40 per cent for someone that came of age in 2000.
The trend towards the upcoming generations being less conservative seems to outweigh the trend they found of people becoming more likely to vote conservative as they grow older.
So if we take the average of the three panels that estimate maximum ageing effects, we arrive at a 0.38 per cent increase in Conservative voters per year, and the average of the minimum ageing effects is only somewhat lower at 0.32 per cent per year. These may not sound like very large effects, but over the course of a lifetime they add up. Even if only the minimum estimate is correct, the difference between 20 and 80 year olds is nearly 20 percentage points.
Those figures would suggest that the 15% with the current coming-of-age cohort would only translate to 35% by the time they're in their eighties.

Admittedly this doesn't help us right now if they take the rest of us down with their last gasps, as they seem intent on doing.
posted by Buntix at 11:41 AM on April 5 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure it's a cut-off age as much as certain life events that turn people into Conservative voters.

Which are no longer happening to the same degree. Sam Gyimah this week:
The biggest obstacle to the future of the Conservative Party is that they don’t appeal to the young, he says. For the Party, “young” is now “below 47”. “We need to find new voters,” he says.
This goes back to austerity under the coalition: Tory governments are really bad at creating new Tories.
posted by holgate at 12:32 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]


Hey, I've already got my next twelve Brexit megathread titles worked out, unless Wordshore or another poster beats me to the punch.

Not from me; the County Championship started today and that takes much of my attention until late September (especially with both the World Cup, and The Ashes, happening during it). I'll check in when it's over, to see if May is still trying to get her deal through - I've added tags for meaningful votes 11 to 15 as it's a long summer.
posted by Wordshore at 2:56 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


One of the favourite topics of my solidly Labour A-level sociology teacher (ca. 2000) was cooing that Tories were literally dying and so was the party. That worked out.

Could still happen, with the main question being whether they take everyone else with them.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:18 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


I've added tags for meaningful votes 11 to 15 as it's a long summer.
Given Donald Tusk's idea of a 'flexible extension' which can be ended as soon as the UK ratifies the WA, it looks like you could well be right. It means that during the extension period we'll have endless Meaningful Votes over and over again until the WA scrapes through on a fluke, probably by 1-2 votes.

The extension needs to be for a fixed period - say, until the end of June 2020 - to enable the process which should have happened over the past two years to happen on a reasonably long time frame. If a way forward can be agreed over the next year, the UK can leave in an orderly fashion in June 2020. For example, if all parties can agree on something by the end of this year, we'd have until June to properly prepare for leaving on a known date. I don't see the harm in that, although it would have been better to have done it during 2017-18 instead of pissing those years up the wall.

The idea that the extension can be ended immediately by the passing of the WA means that the current rushed pace will be maintained by those wishing to leave ASAP and we run the risk of leaving with a rushed-through dud deal just to please the hard core Brexiters. An unknown exit date also continues the uncertainty, which has been weighing down on everyone for years now.
posted by winterhill at 3:47 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Being a pessimist, I think the extension (in whatever form it takes) is far from being a sure thing. It seems like Germany wants to give the UK the most leeway but some countries (centered round France) are truly fed up with the whole charade.
posted by Kosmob0t at 4:41 AM on April 6


And 10 minutes after my comment here I'm reading this blog-entry.
posted by Kosmob0t at 5:01 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]




Is it really too much to ask that everyone involved in pushing Brexit should be banned for life from the EU if it goes through?
posted by Buntix at 5:46 AM on April 6 [8 favorites]


People are paying a lot of attention to Rees-Mogg's tweet, probably too much.

As things stand, he has no power in the UK. He's a back-bench MP. Even if he somehow became Prime Minister, he'd still be unable to do a great deal of damage in the EU institutions which work on consensus rather than allowing one country to veto and spoil things.

He (or whoever is behind his Twitter account) posted that tweet knowing it would cause a "fuck 'em, let 'em crash out" response from various EU figures. He wants a crash out. Can't they read it in that context?
posted by winterhill at 5:48 AM on April 6


I think they are reading it as a deliberate fuck you, they just aren't in our position and so aren't invested in ignoring large parts of the Conservative political establishment.
posted by Dysk at 6:02 AM on April 6


Like how it's easy for teachers and other third parties to be all "he's just looking for attention" about bullies, but the targets have no reason to consider that or think it important.
posted by Dysk at 6:03 AM on April 6 [13 favorites]


It's not Rees-Mogg per-se, but the attitude behind it. The EU leaders know that he's a blowhard know-nothing, but there were also 160 MPs that voted for immediate crash-out in the first round of indicative votes. They also know May has been utterly crippled (well, more so than her limited talents would allow) by trying to appease her ERG wing and nutty base. At least some of them are thinking that when May finally resigns or topples - possibly caused by having to take part in EU elections for a long extension - then the next PM will be almost certainly be a full on swivel-eyed brexiteer or an idiot in hock to them.

And they're thinking - do we really want them as full members for another year with all the risk that entails? Us staying in already costs EU economies with business uncertainty, citizens are paralysed with uncertainty about their future, and dragging that out for another year has got to be unpalatable. Then you add in the brexiteer wrecking faction getting hold of the reins of a full member and the ability to fuck over EU planning, including the budget? We're getting dangerously into the territory where it might be better for *them* to just call it quits on trying.

As I said somewhere upthread, I think there is a definite risk of a long extension not being offered, particularly if May refuses to ask for one to try and appease her ERG nutters. If there's a concrete plan for a general election or a referendum, or even a decent majority coalesces behind some form of brexit, then there's a plan the EU can work with and an end goal is in sight. But dragging out the complete clown show of the last 3 months for another year has a cost, and clearly the patience of some EU leaders is running out - and it only takes one to veto.

The only bright side is that 'pulling a Rees-Mogg' might end up being the catchphrase for being a complete dickhead to your best friends, so there's that.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:10 AM on April 6 [11 favorites]


The only bright side is that 'pulling a Rees-Mogg' might end up being the catchphrase for being a complete dickhead to your best friends, so there's that.

This brexit short from the Guardian makes good apt use of various Brexiteer names.

'Permanent Sunshine' by A.L. Kennedy, performed by Scott Reid.

"Faraging", and "Bojo'd" are a couple of good ones.
posted by Buntix at 6:31 AM on April 6 [3 favorites]


And the more I think about it, you can also take a particularly cynical realpolitik view that the only way out of this is to give the British what they voted for and their most prominent politicians are clamouring for. Government and Parliament has been acting this entire time like the opinion of the EU countries don't matter, it's only the British internal battle that counts.

So no-deal crash out after a couple weeks notification to get ready on the EU side; followed by 20 mile tailbacks in Kent leading to food shortages, an NHS on its knees from medical and staff shortages with the death toll rising, garbage overflowing the waste tips because it can't be shipped to the EU, a fast collapse of sterling and sharp rise in prices for everything will concentrate minds tremendously and prove once and for all how much shit the brexiteers were shovelling. And definitively slap down hard the anti-EU sentiment in their own countries.

Then after 6 months the brits come back crawling on their knees for a deal, and as already pointed out by the EU, it will look very much like the Withdrawal Agreement does now, but this time the ERG are a busted flush and the attitude of Parliament may be very different indeed when it turns out the EU won't put up with their shit forever.

It does carry its own risks though of hardening British hearts and cementing the opinion that it's all the EU's fault, which is a distinct possibility with our media.

I just have to hope to God that it doesn't come to that, and they're not that cruel.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:38 AM on April 6 [8 favorites]


> a distinct possibility with our media.
p > 0.999 because “but sovereignty”
posted by farlukar at 6:55 AM on April 6


> He (or whoever is behind his Twitter account) posted that tweet knowing it would cause a "fuck 'em, let 'em crash out" response from various EU figures. He wants a crash out. Can't they read it in that context?

Standard technique. I'm reminded of Priti Patel's comments about Irish Famine a few months back.
posted by Leon at 9:20 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Geoffrey Cox recites some poetry and wearily notes that there ought to have been a better plan to untangle 45 years' worth of integration with the EU. No shit, Sherlock.

The problem facing EU27 leaders in seeking a way forward for a long extension is that anything from London that breaks the impasse is also likely to change the shape of the UK government, either through a new Tory leader / PM or by provoking a general election. At the same time, any decision the EU27 makes next week is also likely to change the shape of the UK government. So while Mogg's provocation doesn't have any power behind it now, there's no guarantee six months ahead, and you could hardly blame Macron and others if they want separation from a Tory leadership election.
posted by holgate at 10:38 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Face the facts, Labour leftwingers: Lexit is dead
Owen Smith (Labour MP)
posted by mumimor at 12:01 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


The "Theresa May buys holiday home in Ireland" story was apparently an April Fool.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:06 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]




Harriet Lane: For me, fear about drug supplies is real. I could go blind

Also, The Independent Group, with possibly the worst acronym of any UK party, is reportedly attracting many prospective MEP candidates and hopes to gain its first seats in the event that the UK ends up participating in the European elections.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:25 PM on April 6


From Theresa May's speech last night:

"The longer this takes, the greater the risk of the UK never leaving at all. It would mean letting the Brexit the British people voted for slip through our fingers. I will not stand for that."

I find it hard to see this as anything other than outright admission that she knows Brexit is opposed by an increasing majority, and yet she is determined to ram it through anyway.
posted by automatronic at 3:22 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


It's always worth noting that May uses people as a rough synonym for Tory voters.
posted by jaduncan at 4:11 AM on April 7 [8 favorites]


I feel like we've been hearing that speech about once every two weeks, and that she'll continue to give that a variation on that speech every two weeks until forever, given the chance. The only difference is that the threat has moved from 'no deal' to 'no deal or maybe remaining'. The problem is that once your bluff has been called, and called again, the threat of 'my way, or something much worse' diminishes to something rather pathetic.
posted by pipeski at 4:15 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


It's always worth noting that May uses people as a rough synonym for Tory voters.

Actually, I suspect she uses it as a synonym for "members of the Tory Party" - about 124,000 people as of a year ago. People who vote for the Conservative Party aren't quite as rabid as the membership. May has a laser-sharp focus on the people who she believes are worthy of her concern. There aren't very many of them, they're mostly elderly and a lot of them are as mad as a bag of ferrets on PCP.
posted by Grangousier at 4:50 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


I see May's cunning trap is basically an unconcealed hole in the ground with a sign saying 'THIS IS A TRAP' next to it. And even Labour have not managed to step into it yet.

I've seen it confirmed elsewhere by the SNP but May's negotiating tactic remains just saying: 'No... you are just not seeing how good a deal this is' over and over again as if speaking to a young child or a golden retriever.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:54 AM on April 7 [10 favorites]


I feel like we've been hearing that speech about once every two weeks
It's notable that no-one appeared to notice that May was making a speech about Brexit last night. She's proclaimed that she is going to address the nation to great fanfare and then spouted a whole load of nothing so many times that we've all stopped paying attention.

People just aren't listening to her any more - at this point she could probably stand at the lectern and announce No Deal on Friday and half the country wouldn't notice until it had happened. Gone are the days where we'd break off radio broadcasts for an address from the Prime Minister, because we know she has nothing to say.

It is baffling that she'd be so set on pushing Brexit through when there's concrete evidence that it's no longer what the majority want. I'm no fan of a second referendum because the first one was incredibly toxic where I live and contributed to an actual death, but I'm equally no fan of ramming Brexit through on what's likely to eventually turn out to be a margin of a couple of votes in the Commons.
posted by winterhill at 5:01 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


I'm confused - did she actually make a speech? The transcript appeared on the website around midnight last night so my working assumption is she just drunkposted it after one too many sherries when there was no one around to stop her.

Her description of what she thinks the key areas of Brexit are are terrifying:
The fact is that on Brexit there are areas where the two main parties agree: we both want to end free movement, we both want to leave with a good deal, and we both want to protect jobs.
Nothing positive, only keeping the foreigns out.
posted by grahamparks at 5:31 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Also from the May 'speech':
The referendum was not fought along party lines and people I speak to on the doorstep tell me they expect their politicians to work together when the national interest demands it.
When was May last on anyone's doorstep? This is such a weird document.
posted by winterhill at 5:53 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]


It's also worth noting that the hard-line Brexiters of the ERG are now reduced to contradicting almost everything they've said, but nobody much seems to care about them either. JRM is saying that we have the power to do a great deal of damage within the EU and we should, but he will now agree to a deal that removes all that power and turns us into a vassal state. Stilted nonsense in jodphurs, even by his own standards, but is what happens when your assumed privilege stops working and nanny's not listening to you.
posted by Devonian at 5:55 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


It's also worth noting that the hard-line Brexiters of the ERG are now reduced to contradicting almost everything they've said, but nobody much seems to care about them either.
They over-stated the stuff about the backstop because their aim was a no-deal Brexit. The likes of Rees-Mogg don't give a stuff about Northern Ireland, it was a convenient excuse to vote down the deal because they wanted a crash-out Brexit above all else. They hoped that by repeatedly rejecting the deal they'd get us to 29 March with no agreement.

Now that they can see that it's no longer the May deal vs no deal but the May deal vs no Brexit, they have come to a miraculous Damascene conversion on the backstop issue. They've looked at it again and it's all okay after all, did we say vassal state and make allusions to treason? Wasn't us, must have been someone else, etc. I wouldn't buy a used Toyota off them.
posted by winterhill at 6:06 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


I'm not sure they think peasants should be allowed their own cars.
posted by Grangousier at 6:13 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Don't underestimate the gullibility of the average voter, I know two people that are otherwise intelligent that still think he knows what he's talking about because he does it calmly in a plummy accent and sometimes chucks a latin phrase in.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:25 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


I see May's cunning trap is basically an unconcealed hole in the ground with a sign saying 'THIS IS A TRAP' next to it.

he knows what he's talking about because he does it calmly in a plummy accent and sometimes chucks a latin phrase in


Oh God that is what this feels like — Monty Python does Wile E. Coyote.

As usual it’s both smarter and crueler than the American version.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:40 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


The fact is that on Brexit there are areas where the two main parties agree: we both want to end free movement, we both want to leave with a good deal, and we both want to protect jobs.
Nothing positive, only keeping the foreigns out.


Is she wrong, though? Doesn't Labour's alternative Brexit proposal also involve ending FoM?
posted by tobascodagama at 7:47 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]




'Permanent Sunshine' by A.L. Kennedy, performed by Scott Reid

"You made me a refugee where I was born"

By George Square in Glasgow, Chummy challenges our political affiliations and explains how England's treatment of Scotland has turned him into a survivor.

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:05 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]




Brexit cannot break the Iron Triangle
At the start of any project, I would draw this diagram. It’s called The Iron Triangle because it has three points, and describes an absolutely unbreakable rule: you can only have 2 things from the Iron Triangle.

Never all three. All three is impossible.

I would show this to the client, and ask: which of these three things do you want to sacrifice.

Price. Quality. Schedule.
...
We have no option now but to ask “the client” to choose what to sacrifice. And “the client”, in this case, is the Leave-voting public. We’ve tested to destruction the theory of delivering three mutually incompatible things, and all we’ve found is that it’s impossible – which we knew from the start, but kept on pretending. And now we’ve got even less time and money than when we started, and the question still needs to be faced. The difficult conversation with the client must happen.
...
A People’s Vote could specifically ask voters to choose:

Leave the EU now, based on Theresa May’s deal (sacrifice Quality)

Postpone Brexit to give us more time to prepare (sacrifice Schedule)

Leave at once with no deal ([harming the economy] sacrifice Price)

Remain in the EU (decide the project is pointless if it doesn’t deliver those impossible promises, and cancel it)

There’s no avoiding this. The decision about the Iron Triangle will happen, whether you vote on it or not. Either we have another referendum and the public decides, or Parliament makes the decision, and you end up feeling cheated.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:16 PM on April 7 [11 favorites]


The decision about the Iron Triangle will happen, whether you vote on it or not.

There should be a formal name for the logical error of using logic against an argument that has never been about the facts. We've had any number of serious reports about the critical shortages of food and medicine, the loss of export markets, and the general societal collapse that will be caused by Brexit. But it's no good; its proponents don't care; they view any attempt at reason with suspicion, as if we were trying to talk a child into abandoning a sweet. At best there's some hope that a slightly higher percentage of Britons would now oppose Brexit, and vote that way in a new referendum. But that's by no means conclusive: they might simply insist that they can vote themselves out of any bad consequences and we're just trying to cheat them. What can you do with such people?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:38 PM on April 7 [7 favorites]


"I was a strong Brexiteer. Now we must swallow our pride and think again
----
If we are to leave the European Union we want a sensible Brexit. There’s no chance of that just now."

Peter Oborne
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:16 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


Peter Oborne has been a heretic for a while from Conservatism as actually practiced. That doesn't diminish his contribution, but it does illustrate how little it overlaps with the actual Tory party.
posted by holgate at 10:25 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Ah. OK. Right. Thanks.
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:14 PM on April 7


Peter Oborne has been the only "good" Tory for a long time now.
There used to be a lot more of them
posted by fullerine at 11:34 PM on April 7


A People’s Vote could specifically ask voters to choose:
A people's vote, confirmatory referendum, whatever you want to call it needs precisely two options - Leave (probably with the May deal) or Remain. The idea of choosing between four options as this writer seems to be suggesting (May deal, postpone, no deal, remain) would mean the future of the country decided by a minority that happens to be very slightly bigger than the other three minorities.
posted by winterhill at 11:34 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Peter Oborne has been the only "good" Tory for a long time now.
What about Ken Clarke or John Major? I am no fan of the Tories, but those two have been fairly sensible during this whole debate. They are, of course, drowned out and outgunned on the airwaves by the loud and brash Liz Trusses of this world, but they are there.
posted by winterhill at 11:36 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Today I learnt there's a 13 mile section of the M20 which has a semi-permanent contraflow in place right now so the other side is ready to hold queueing lorries whenever Brexit hits. Because apparently it could go to shit quicker than they could put temporary measures in place.
posted by grahamparks at 12:35 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


The time to decide is coming - by Weeginderdug
- Scottish independence supporting blog post is notable for its description of Theresa May's weekend video. Also looking at what either a long A50 delay or no-deal would imply in terms of potential Scottish Government tactics.
posted by rongorongo at 1:18 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


My bookmarks have this book review by Peter Oborne of Tom Bowyer's book on Jeremy Corbyn. Bear in mind Peter Oborne doesn't like Jeremy Corbyn.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:25 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Whether Oborne is representative of mainstream Conservatives or not, that's a pretty extraordinary article - the kind that you wish and hope that a Brexiter might come to their senses and write. As an overview of all the key points against Brexit it could almost have been written by a longtime Remainer. There are only a few wrong notes for me: one (as others have noted) is his assertion that Theresa May's hands had been tied over immigration, which also begs the question of immigration being a problem in the first place; another is the suggestion that stalling for a year would resolve any of the fundamental contradictions that he's identified; another is that the EU is "not democratic" as if it's meant to be the top level of government of a superstate, rather than a vehicle for a managing an international treaty with a supporting bureaucracy and a democratic assembly to confirm its binding directives; and the last is this:

Many who voted Leave have a deep – perhaps the deepest – understanding of the communities where they live; and in some of these, everyday life has been spoiled for many by policies imposed on them by a pro-European Westminster elite: policies they never voted for.

That, in fact, is the key paragraph that marks him out as a Brexiter for me. It implies that 16.1 million voters didn't have "a deep – perhaps the deepest – understanding of the communities where they live", that Scots don't know Scotland, Londoners don't know London, and Mancunians don't know Manchester; it suggests that "policies imposed ... by a pro-European Westminster elite" are somehow undemocratic, when Westminster has imposed its policies on the rest of Britain for centuries, and if we consider the UK a democracy then that's how it works; and it implies that "everyday life has been spoiled" in Leave communities by EU policies, which is either a novel take on all of their EU-funded science projects, community centres and roads, a tiresome rehash of 1970s and '80s debates about the Common Agricultural Policy and fisheries, or a sop to people who can't possibly be "closet racists" but feel that their new neighbours spoil their lovely towns and villages.

Nevertheless: he acknowledges that the economic damage we're seeing is real and unprecedented and all because of Brexit; he acknowledges the catastrophic risks of no deal; he acknowledges that the promises of 2016 have utterly failed to materialise; he acknowledges the terrible risk to the British union itself; and he acknowledges that the growing evidence of illegality by the Leave campaign makes the entire exercise completely untrustworthy. And that makes him a rare Brexiter indeed.
posted by rory at 2:28 AM on April 8 [18 favorites]


A people's vote, confirmatory referendum, whatever you want to call it needs precisely two options ... [otherwise it's] decided by a minority that happens to be very slightly bigger than the other three minorities.

Yes, definitely, with first past the post voting. I just thought this piece was interesting for its "iron triangle" framing, and the insight that this is, essentially, NOT a binary choice. And in some ways all the problems are because the reduction of it to a binary "leave or remain" question on the original referendum created an illusion of conensus among people who don't actually agree about which tradeoffs are worth making to get "leave" as an outcome. Everything has followed from that.

What if the original referendum had included these four options and asked voters to rank them, instead?

Even if some form of "leave" would still have won (which seems petty unlikely) the situation would be vastly better because then Parliament would know what the people wanted them to do.

The whole mess is because there really wasn't a majority for "leave" in the first place. There were, as you say, substantial minorities supporting different kinds of "leave" and the architecture of the question made it seem like they all agreed, when really they want incompatible things.

If there is another "nonbinding" referendum, it seems to me that it would only really settle the question of what the people want if it allowed multiple options and ranking.

(Also I notice that a soft "Norway" option/Lexit is not on this list of options, and maybe it should be, or maybe that Congress under the heading of a higher "quality" Brexit that would take longer to negotiate).
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:33 AM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Just a point of order - I don't think "Lexit" could be on any referendum because it conflates two issues. One is leaving the European Union, but the other is a style of government (in this case, left wing). You can't have a referendum on whether you want a left-wing government, you'd need an election for that.

Unless we have slightly different interpretations of the term Lexit, of course. I interpret it as a hard Brexit that allows a left-wing government to implement policies that they think might be difficult under the EU's single market rules.
posted by winterhill at 2:51 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


"Lexit" is not possible under a Tory government, even if you feel it's possible or meaningful in other contexts. (I don't.)
posted by Dysk at 2:55 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


I have no desire to see a "Lexit" either, Dysk.
posted by winterhill at 3:53 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I was responding to the same comment you were!
posted by Dysk at 3:54 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I am just using "Lexit" a shorthand for the softer Brexit that Corbyn and presumably some Labour supporters would like to see. It could potentially be another option on a hypothetical list of possibilities for people to rank. To clarify what people think "Leave" means and what they are willing to trade off.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:40 AM on April 8


"Furious toby jug" Mark Francois is at it again, I see — demanding an "indicative vote of no confidence" in Theresa May, apparently to sabotage her attempt to get a further article 50 extension.
posted by ZipRibbons at 5:22 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


"Furious toby jug" Mark Francois is at it again, I see — demanding an "indicative vote of no confidence" in Theresa May, apparently to sabotage her attempt to get a further article 50 extension.
Francois and Andrew Bridgen have been doing the rounds of the lunchtime TV and radio programmes. They're using a line about 80% of Tory party members being in favour of Brexit and "many of those being in favour of No Deal". It's pretty desperate, last-ditch stuff from an outmanouevred faction.
posted by winterhill at 5:49 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]




"Furious toby jug" Mark Francois is at it again, I see

I happened to see this article about the 77th Brigade today . The brigade was set up in 2015 to conduct psychological warfare and media manipulation -and the government spokesman for the operations appears to have been one Mark Francois.
posted by rongorongo at 5:52 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


@Christina Pagel from UCL has done some analysis on the latest YouGiv poll relating to Brexit. Shows that "No Deal" is the least preferred outcome overall, that leave voters are more worried about leaving with the WA than they are by no deal and that support for no deal increases amongst those who declare themselves to be financially more secure.
posted by rongorongo at 7:15 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


OMG... is that slight glimmerings of hope that I feel. That's the worst.

Cheer up: The worst Brexit dangers are fading away
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:16 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


I am just using "Lexit" a shorthand for the softer Brexit that Corbyn and presumably some Labour supporters would like to see.
I don't think you're using the term Lexit in the same way as most other people use it. It's not a position I agree with, but I understand it comes from the position that EU single market membership prevents left-wing policies from being enacted in the UK. For instance, there's a theory that EU state aid rules prevent renationalisation of the railways.

When people refer to Lexit, it specifically refers to a hard Brexit coupled with a left-wing government that can go forth and create a socialist utopia free of the shackles of the neoliberal EU institutions etc etc. It's not something anyone can vote for even as an option on a ranked ballot, because it's such a nebulous concept.
posted by winterhill at 8:48 AM on April 8 [14 favorites]


As a direct outcome of Brexit (though talks have been going on for ages): European nationalists form alliance for elections (BBC)
European nationalist parties have announced an alliance, with the aim of changing the balance of power in the European Union.
Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party announced the venture on Monday at a news conference in Milan.
He was joined by Germany's far-right AfD, the Finns Party and the Danish People's Party - fellow nationalists.
They are campaigning in the European Parliament elections on 23-26 May.
Competing in different countries, they plan to form a parliamentary group - the European Alliance for People and Nations - to challenge the power of centrist parties.
Earlier, the faceless bureaucrats (hamburger) were a bit worried about this coalition, but it doesn't seem they can agree on anything but xenophobia. And look at this:
"We want to reform the European Union and the European Parliament, without destroying them," he said. "We want to bring radical change."
said Jörg Meuthen, from AfD. Before Brexit, a coalition of right-wing nationalists would have wanted their own referendum and exit. Now everyone knows that is ridiculous.

These people are still dangerous, and apart from the Danish Peoples' Party they are surging. But maybe we can find some solace in the huge fall of the Danish Peoples' Party: at the last local and EU elections they were huge, and they envisioned a bright future for themselves. But they have overreached, been corrupted, and also failed at governance where they were included, since it is impossible to govern while being a protest party. (I guess that is what we are seeing within the Conservative party in the UK now).
posted by mumimor at 10:07 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


it is impossible to govern while being a protest party.
When the BNP were at their zenith and had seats on local councils, they quickly lost them again when they were back up for election. Turns out fascists are terrible at getting the bins sorted.
posted by winterhill at 10:12 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


I am in the US right now, getting ready to fly back to NL where I live.

When I checked in to Delta/KLM it said that based on my submitted passport (UK) it did not appear I have sufficient rights to reside in NL!!! That was a shocker. I am guessing their systems were programmed for Mar 29?

Anyways, my boarding pass is marked as "Verify Passport" so I have to talk to an agent at some point and convince them of some arcane extension or in my case, show them the letter from the Dutch government to persuade them I can return to where my wife is, to where I live.

In any case, this is how it feels to have your rights stripped away.
posted by vacapinta at 10:20 AM on April 8 [62 favorites]


And the Scottish/Danish family who happened because I left Glasgow in 2002 has now moved to Denmark. They had no clarity over whether they could stay.
posted by scruss at 3:07 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


The brigade was set up in 2015 to conduct psychological warfare and media manipulation -and the government spokesman for the operations appears to have been one Mark Francois.

I've never felt safer from big brother influence.
posted by jaduncan at 3:13 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


From BuzzFeedNews: The EU Wants The UK To Approve The Brexit Deal This Week Or Face A Long Delay

Apparently Buzzfeed has gotten their hands on a memo:
"It lays out two scenarios for an extension. In the first, Brexit would be delayed until May 22 if MPs approve a withdrawal agreement before this Friday, April 12 — the date currently scheduled for Britain’s departure from the EU. The additional time would allow for ratification of the agreement.

But that is highly unlikely given the current state of play at Westminster. The memo says that if a withdrawal agreement is not passed by Friday, the 27 leaders will be asked to consider a 9- or 12-month extension, until Dec. 31, 2019, or March 31, 2020. The purpose of the additional time, the memo says, would be to give the UK the space it needs to complete its domestic decision-making process and find a majority for a deal."
posted by soundguy99 at 3:16 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Faisal Islam tweeted earlier that the EU elections are now locked and loaded:

the official Order that means it is now the law that the European Parliamentary elections take place on the 23rd May 2019 - made by Lidington under the not yet actually repealed section 4 European Parliamentary Electuons Act 2002


And the Cooper-Letwin bill gpt royal assent, which means... well, May has to ask for an extension, which she's doing anyway. But it's good that it passed, and that the ERG attempts to scupper it got extremely short shrift and voted down by massive majorities.
posted by Devonian at 3:37 PM on April 8 [10 favorites]


Right, everyone keep stockpiling, or if you haven't started then get to it!

If there's one thing guaranteed to stop it raining, it's being prepared for rain.

Also, it stockpiling may be the only thing keeping the economy afloat at the moment.

So pile that stock!
posted by asok at 4:05 PM on April 8 [10 favorites]


I've got the snotty nose/cough bug currently doing the rounds so my Brexit bog roll stash has already proven invaluable.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 4:35 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


And the Cooper-Letwin bill got royal assent, which means... well, May has to ask for an extension, which she's doing anyway.

More significantly, it means that when the EU say "no, you're not having June 30th, that's stupid, our offer is 9-12 months", she is supposed to have to take that back to the Commons and put that counter-offer to a vote, and not be able to just unilaterally decide that it's unacceptable to her so the UK won't agree to it.

Of course, this is Theresa May we're talking about, and the Act doesn't explicitly specify when she has to do this by -- so we should assume that she will just sit on the counter-offer, and go ahead with scheduling yet another vote on her deal on Friday, at which point it really will be her deal vs no deal.

I mean, what's the House going to do, find her in contempt? Because the consequences of that for her in December, after being literally the first in history to be found in contempt of Parliament, were that she had to say sorry and promise to do the right thing -- in a few days' time.

Bercow could refuse to allow MV4 on Friday because it's a re-run, but that's easily averted by tossing in some token change -- and even if she refuses to do that, is Bercow really going to force no deal by blocking the vote? I don't know if I see him going through with it, even though by strict adherence to procedure he'd be right to do so - fiat justitia ruat caelum and all that.

Or would the House rebel and, faced with No Deal vs May's Deal, actually override the government and push through a motion to revoke Article 50 instead? I can't see the majority being found to do so.

No, I still think we end up with her shitty deal at the end of this week, and if we don't it will be only because May finally actually changed her mind about something.

What a thing to hang the future of a country on.
posted by automatronic at 5:28 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


@IanDunt
I am quite desperate for a long extension, mostly because it would at least allow me to know when I might be able to take holidays.

If we could just have some sort of overall timetable for the rest of the year that would be very helpful indeed and good for the mental health of political journalists please and thank you.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:38 PM on April 8 [7 favorites]


More significantly, it means that when the EU say "no, you're not having June 30th, that's stupid, our offer is 9-12 months", she is supposed to have to take that back to the Commons and put that counter-offer to a vote, and not be able to just unilaterally decide that it's unacceptable to her so the UK won't agree to it.

Apologies, I was incorrect about this. The Lords actually removed this bit from the bill before it became law, so in fact the whole exercise really was completely useless after all.

We're fucked.
posted by automatronic at 8:15 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Or would the House rebel and, faced with No Deal vs May's Deal, actually override the government and push through a motion to revoke Article 50 instead? I can't see the majority being found to do so.
The problem May's deal has in getting through is that it doesn't please anyone, on either side. It doesn't please the crash-out Brexiters because it includes some form of actually talking to the EU rather than building a Faraday cage across the Channel. And it doesn't please the hard core Remainers because it involves leaving the EU. In between, there are a couple of hundred May loyalists who would vote for the deal no matter what.

The indicative votes process didn't teach us much, but the kernel of information we did glean from it is that there's nothing close to a majority in the Commons for no deal. The various options that involved no deal, managed no deal, Malthouse shitting rainbow unicorn no deal etc were by far the least popular. MPs will vote for self-preservation. An MP who has to go back to her Tory shire town and explain why everyone's kids are now unemployed and living back at home and petrol is £2.40 a litre isn't going to be an MP much longer. The options closer to soft Brexit or Remain were much closer to getting over the line, because the wrath of a few old folk on newspaper comment boards or radio call-ins is much easier to withstand, especially since all the polling evidence shows that Remain now has the majority in much of the country.

I genuinely don't think MPs are going to push that button. I think that apart from a few hard-liners, they'd rather push the 'emergency stop, revoke' button than the 'no deal' button.

Also, can the words "we're fucked", "we're screwed" etc get a bit of a rest? It's not great for anyone's mental health to read them over and over - there's another thread for general ranting/venting type stuff.
posted by winterhill at 11:37 PM on April 8 [19 favorites]


I think she is going to torture us up until the very last moment in service of her precious deal.
posted by skybluepink at 12:57 AM on April 9 [1 favorite]


...and then Article 50 is revoked.
posted by rhizome at 1:03 AM on April 9


That's the best case scenario, for sure. Even if that does somehow happen, which I am not betting on, I personally am going to be a basket case for some time after. This ongoing trauma isn't good for anybody who doesn't sell newspapers, let alone those of us with anxiety disorders.
posted by skybluepink at 1:09 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


It's amusing that the deal is now universally known as the Prime Minister's Deal.

It was always the Government's deal, with the DfExEU in charge of negotiating it. It has David Davis' fingerprints on it. It has Dominic Raab's fingerprints on it. But as soon as it was inked and it became clear that it was unpopular, it wasn't the Davis deal or the Raab deal or the Government deal, it was the PM's Deal, the May Deal.

They all know it's going to fail, so they want one name indelibly attached to it when it does.
posted by winterhill at 1:10 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


According to the Guardian live blog, Leadsom is convinced that the Germans will agree to... re-open discussions on the backstop and Withdrawal Agreement.

Leadsom:
If we could get the prime minister’s deal over the line because the EU have decided to support measures on the backstop, then that would be the best possible outcome.
What planet are these people on? Do they watch the news?
posted by winterhill at 1:53 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


I don't know, but it's pretty clear they don't believe anyone else does.
posted by entity447b at 1:56 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Britain is in a grimmer state than I can ever remember
Polly Toynbee
The mood has turned nastier since I first visited the Big Help Project food bank in Knowsley, Merseyside, two years ago. Back then, the Brexit poison hadn’t seeped so deep. But now, when the call goes out for food donations to feed its 10,000 clients, things have changed, says Peter Mitchell, the project leader. “I get people asking, ‘Is this food for British people?’ I never used to hear that, never. It’s hideous, it makes my blood boil.”

How does he reply? “I say this food is for hungry people.” He sighs heavily. “Brexit did this. It gives permission to copy Farage and Trump, to say things they never used to say.” He points to the rising racism in football, with a coconut thrown at a black player over the weekend. “It makes you despair. Brexit is doing this to us”.

Knowsley, which is among the UK’s poorest constituencies, is one of the hardest hit, with half of its council budget cut. The project’s 10 food banks are “thriving”: Mitchell observes the irony. This social enterprise now provides debt advice, a credit union, food and furniture shops, moses baskets of baby things for new mothers and a housing co-op. With 125 volunteers playing their part, this feels like a beleaguered community at its best in the face of terrible adversity. But Mitchell, a Liverpool councillor, despairs of new attitudes in the wake of Brexit. “I see society changing before my eyes, empowering the worst. This is the end product of Thatcher’s 1980s, where individualism has won out over collectivism: it’s all me and mine; a selfishness that comes from that idea that the private is better than the public. Politically? Apathy reigns.”
posted by mumimor at 2:19 AM on April 9 [16 favorites]


Leadsom:
If we could get the prime minister’s deal over the line because the EU have decided to support measures on the backstop, then that would be the best possible outcome.
What she says is related to the forthcoming leadership election, not reality. It's the 'if we'd done what I said' manoeuvre.
posted by jaduncan at 2:29 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


I genuinely don't think MPs are going to push that button. I think that apart from a few hard-liners, they'd rather push the 'emergency stop, revoke' button than the 'no deal' button.

Oh, that's for sure. But revoke or no deal is not the choice they're facing - as long as the deal's still on the table, that's the easy button to press. Easier still if Corbyn acquiesces to it based on some changes tossed in this week.

And there is no simple "emergency stop, revoke" button for them to push. To really make that happen against the will of the Government, someone would need to organise the whole process of seizing control of the business of the House again, moving a bill requiring the Government to revoke, and getting it through the Commons and the Lords. I can't see that happening again by Friday. There was just barely a majority to do it for the Cooper-Letwin bill, which was far less controversial to the point of being completely ineffective. Joanna Cherry's efforts to introduce a revocation failsafe - not even an outright "go ahead and revoke" - didn't even get close to a majority. Too many MPs are still terrified of being seen to overturn the referendum result.

So unless May actually changes course from the "my deal or no deal" strategy that she's been steamrolling along with for months, then on Friday we end up with a vote on just that. All that needs to happen is for the EU to refuse a short June 30 extension, which they've already done, and for May, or any of the EU27, to reject a long one.

Parliament managed to scrape a majority for "we want more time", but the EU have been absolutely clear that this can only be given if there is a clear majority for a specific path forwards. And we still have none.
posted by automatronic at 2:37 AM on April 9 [8 favorites]


So unless May actually changes course from the "my deal or no deal" strategy that she's been steamrolling along with for months, then on Friday we end up with a vote on just that

In shepherding terms: the majority of PMs as well as the EU 27 are holding open the gate of a pen that denotes a relatively safe outcome - a long extension to take part in EU elections and then do whatever else. However the sheep we are trying to herd also has the option of jumping off the cliff instead (or of leaving a last minute manoeuvre to avoid the cliff to a moment so late that it falls anyway). We are, of course, dealing with an especially unpredictable and stubborn sheep in this analogy.

However, as well as being stubborn, May is also cowardly - and this could be a key motivator. Choosing "No Deal" (or being the one in charge at which it is allowed to happen) is a not just an insane option - but also a brave one. It involves starting down the will of a parliamentary majority, the EU, her advisors in Whitehall, many of her MPs as well as about half of her cabinet.
posted by rongorongo at 3:45 AM on April 9


Theresa May's cowardice (and yes, I totally agree she is cowardly) is a bad thing to rely upon, though, because she primarily seems to fear the ERG headbangers and the knuckle-draggers in the shires.
posted by skybluepink at 4:04 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


In shepherding terms, May the sheepdog is trying to drive the sheep into a position where they can either go into the pen she wants them in or go off the cliff.

I don't think there's any question of her choosing the cliff. She'd be going into that situation with confidence that enough of the sheep would go where she wants them to to avoid the cliff. And I think she'd be right.

Expecting MPs to force revocation means expecting that the herd of panicked sheep, rather than going into the pen, will suddenly design and construct a bridge to an island full of wolves.
posted by automatronic at 4:12 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


so you're saying this stubbornness, this intransigence and repeated presentation of the negotiated deal, is 8-dimensional (or at least 2-dimensional) chess? What about the indications that May was scared of splitting the Conservative party?
posted by Fraxas at 4:21 AM on April 9


"Theresa May's cowardice (and yes, I totally agree she is cowardly) is a bad thing to rely upon, though, because she primarily seems to fear the ERG headbangers and the knuckle-draggers in the shires."

That's certainly my strong impression.

The EU is going to deny her request for a short extension but offer a long extension. I expect that even the long extension will cause some grumbling among the 27. Even so, I think they'll offer it.

Then, incredibly, it will completely be May's decision. If she's truly more afraid of the ERG than anyone or anything else, she'll just continue on the same path she's been on. Maybe she believes she can blame Labour for not finding a compromise, even though that's a fantasy...and so she'll continue on. To the cliff's edge.

Yet only a small minority want No Deal, so one would think there'd be overwhelming pressure to accept the offer of a long extension. If she refuses and the worst happens, it's hard to imagine that she wouldn't be judged very, very negatively by history.

So, even though she's stubborn and fears the "ERG headbangers and the knuckle-draggers in the shires", there's hope that in the end reason and self-interest will prevail. Right?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:29 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


If there's a long extension, she surely goes. At that point nobody will care what May's view is on anything.
posted by jaduncan at 4:32 AM on April 9


He points to the rising racism in football, with a coconut thrown at a black player over the weekend. “It makes you despair. Brexit is doing this to us”.

I hate this framing. The racists are responsible for their own racism. The racists are doing this to you. Brexit has, as mentioned earlier in the article "given them permission" but they are still responsible for their own bigotry.
posted by Dysk at 4:41 AM on April 9 [19 favorites]


If there's a long extension, she surely goes. At that point nobody will care what May's view is on anything.
This is the danger zone for those of us who would prefer to remain. When May goes, it doesn't take a political clairvoyant to work out that one of the ERG headbangers will be elected leader of the Conservative Party by all the ageing nutters in the shires who make up the "grass roots". At that point, anything agreed with Labour and anything that is not legally binding (such as the PD) is for the shredder. The EU negotiators and European Council know that. The Labour Party (hopefully) know that. The people know that.

Once there's an ERG-er in Number 10, that's when the difficulty comes. It's very easy to stand on the back benches or on the airwaves of LBC shouting about treason. It's much harder to then say "this WA that we've been screaming about needs to pass to get Brexit to happen". It's anyone's guess what will happen when one of their own is asking them to vote for the deal.
posted by winterhill at 4:51 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


I doubt an ERG tosser would whip for the WA. They'd be in a position to get the No Deal crash out of their dreams, and ask they have to do is... nothing. Doing nothing useful for nine months is within the capabilities of even the most swivel-eyed of tories.

Arguably it's all they know how to do.
posted by Dysk at 4:59 AM on April 9 [8 favorites]


it's hard to imagine that she wouldn't be judged very, very negatively by history.


Pretty sure that sheep has already sailed...



New video campaign ad,

@Boris4Britain_
I am proud to be running for the Tory Leadership when May's deal passes and she steps down. It's #BorisForBritain - because I've earned this.

http://www.borisforbritain.com
[satire, I think, like 99... at least 95% sure]
posted by Buntix at 5:14 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Whoever wins the Conservative leadership battle will be wearing wolf's clothing, but there's a chance it might be a sheep*. Plenty of erstwhile Remainers (e.g. Hunt, Javid) are repositioning themselves as ERG headbangers. And some Leavers are repositioning themselves as having a passing acquaintance with reality (e.g. Gove).

That's why I don't think the WA is necessarily dead. Any new (sensible) leader will try to move the discussion on: "pass the WA and you can trust me to deliver a Brexity ongoing relationship with the EU".

The big worry is Johnson. He's gone full ERG, but even more importantly he is lazy, arrogant, and has no head for detail—challenged by reality he will double down rather than change, learn or work hard.

It sounds dumb to say, but I don't think the EU and Labour will find it hard to agree an acceptable WA and a future negotiating process with the May version of the Tories. The hard problem is to avoid having what they've painstakingly agreed repudiated by a new Tory leader (regardless of whether they are a pragmatist or a headbanger).

I can't see how that can be done—but that could be my limitation. If I were Labour I'd insist on a people's vote. That would tie the government's hands to a particular course of action, and it might trigger a general election which would (I can dream) offer the electorate a choice between different types of Brexit, including None.

* I realise it's all relative and lots of you strongly dislike these people (and with good reason), but that's not the point I'm trying to address.
posted by dudleian at 5:54 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


[satire, I think, like 99... at least 95% sure]

Scroll to the end:
THIS MIGHT
NOT BE A
JOKE

If Labour MPs vote for May's Brexit Deal, even if the Labour party secure some changes, they'll be firing the starting gun on a Tory leadership election which will likely end up with Boris as PM. He'd then have the opportunity to do all of the above.

This website and campaign is trying to remind Labour MPs not to vote for any Brexit deal. It will only end in misery.

Our Future, Our Choice (OFOC), a group of young people campaigning against Brexit, is running this campaign. If you want to support us you can by donating to our crowdfunder.
posted by flabdablet at 6:23 AM on April 9 [8 favorites]


I can't see how that can be done—but that could be my limitation. If I were Labour I'd insist on a people's vote. That would tie the government's hands to a particular course of action, and it might trigger a general election which would (I can dream) offer the electorate a choice between different types of Brexit, including None.
If there's a change in Tory leadership again, then there needs to be a general election and Labour need to campaign on a Remain ticket. I haven't been in favour of a GE up to now but we've already allowed the Tory membership to decide on one PM for the rest of us, and look who we got.

The country should be given the choice to reject the Conservative Party as a government rather than allowing them to anoint another PM through their own private processes. There has been a Tory in Number 10 for nine years now (although only with an absolute majority for two of those years) and we do need a change, or at least the opportunity to make a change.
posted by winterhill at 6:34 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]




no one is there to greet her

According to the Guardian's live feed, she was three minutes early, and ran inside while Merkel was still coming down the stairs. They came back outside for a photo-op (shown in an earlier update; in which they seem a little more cheerful).
posted by confluency at 6:52 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


There must be a German word for the feeling of disappointment when events that seem to confirm your biases turn out to have a much less satisfying explanation.
posted by pipeski at 7:16 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


I've been listening to RTÉ Radio from Dublin in the car a little more instead of BBC Radio 4 lately. It makes a nice change. They don't give endless airtime to the bloviating Brexiters like the BBC all too often do, and you get a lot more of the EU's perspective on the various negotiations and issues, stuff that is often sidelined here in favour of yet more spittle-flecked rants.

It's nice to get out of the Westminster bubble - a lot of the rubbish spouted on Today and PM just isn't that important, it's the politicians scheming among themselves, politicians broadcasting to other politicians rather than to us. And sometimes, RTÉ spend time not talking about Brexit!

It is on Long Wave 252 if anyone has a car radio that's as much of a museum piece as mine.
posted by winterhill at 7:35 AM on April 9 [8 favorites]


The BBC's flagship news programmes really have been terrible throughout this entire process, haven't they? I am somebody who normally spends a fair amount of time listening to Radio 4 on the set in my kitchen, and it's reached the point where I can't stand it, and switch off immediately when the news comes on. I never used to resent paying the licence fee, but I know our new one is going to land on our doormat in a couple of weeks, and I am going to have to grit my teeth when I pay it.
posted by skybluepink at 7:48 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


They came back outside for a photo-op (shown in an earlier update; in which they seem a little more cheerful).

Yes, it's all there in the video of the tweet I linked to. May rushes in, journalists and photographers hurry after her, then they all scurry back as May and Merkel dash back outside for an unconvincingly enthusiastic handshake for the photo-op. It's still a comic cock-up.

Speaking of cock-ups, Brexiteer MP Mark Francois seems to have made a rare ass of himself this morning at a Bruges Group meeting, in which he threatened the European parliament with a mob of anti-EU UK MEPs in the coming election: "My message to the EU: If you try to hold us in, you will be facing perfidious Albion on speed." He then quoted Tennyson's "Ulysses" at length (video).

Business Insider's Thomas Colson has posted highlights from this wholly loopy press conference.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:49 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Mark Francois just came out of nowhere, it seems to me. I usually keep pretty close tabs on perpetually-apoplectic right-wingers, but until he started his present meltdown, I completely missed him. It's like he suddenly realised that to make this even more horrible, what we really needed was a raging arsehole so obnoxious that only he could do the job.
posted by skybluepink at 7:56 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


I find it astonishing that talking shit about your own country and telling everyone that they shouldn't have you as a close trading partner because you're untrustworthy has become a valid strategy for conservative politicians. This is considered patriotism now?!
posted by confluency at 7:59 AM on April 9 [17 favorites]


Fascism always involves ruining your own country first.
posted by dng at 8:48 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


I saw a passing reference on Twitter to Francois quoting Ulysses, and it seemed like an unexpectedly sophisticated (and unexpectedly Irish) choice. Tennyson makes a bit more sense than Joyce, I guess, although I’m not convinced he’s completely appreciated the nuances of the poem.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 9:20 AM on April 9


Debenhams has apparently gone into administration.

Where's the Brexit link, you ask? Well, I have my car insurance through them. I thought I'd better check to make sure there was going to be a continuity of service so I'm not driving around uninsured.

Turns out that Debenhams car insurance is a rebadged product from one Eldon Insurance Services Ltd, owned by arch Brexiter and general all round villain Arron Banks. I've been unknowingly funding the twat for two years.

I won't be renewing.
posted by winterhill at 10:32 AM on April 9 [12 favorites]


On the upside, Mike Astley lost something like £150 million on Debenhams! (BRB, checking own car insurance company, due to renew this month.)
posted by skybluepink at 10:36 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Also, PSA for everyone, check your car insurance. Eldon Insurance Services was in the smallest of small print on mine and I genuinely thought my insurance was through another firm. In fact, when I first signed up with them two years ago, I'm sure it was - I think they've quietly changed it in the interim.
posted by winterhill at 10:48 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Mark Francois just came out of nowhere, it seems to me.

He tore up that letter from the CEO of Airbus. Then he had that staring contest with Will Self. The media loves a clown - Boris has shown that you can go from “obscure joke of a backbencher willing to appear om HIGNFY” to “foreign secretary and serious leadership contender” just on the strength of name recognition and being a bit OTT.

Mark Francois and the Celebration of Stupidity
Stupid, borderline xenophobic and about as well advised an advert for ‘Global Britain’ as curling out a turd on Merkel’s front doorstep but nevertheless, Mark Francois had established himself.

Granted he’d established himself as a bolshy simpleton with about as firm a grasp on reality as a seal attempting to hold onto a lubricated ferret, but media outlets didn’t care a jot. Good TV is good TV and, in a post Big Brother world in which acting a tit in front of a gawping nation guarantees you a portion of stardom, Mark Francois was suddenly everywhere.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:50 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


With a guest appearance in the Indie's sketch The Tories' own research is telling them young people are not stupid enough to vote for them anymore -
[T]he hitherto unknown and noisy Mark Francois, who appears to have been incubated inside Brexit itself and is now feasting upon it, like an especially rotund bluebottle and a giant dog turd... Speaking behind a lectern with a picture Margaret Thatcher affixed directly at his groin, Francois had a message for the European Union. “If you try to hold us in against our will, you will be facing Perfidious Albion on speed!” he growled, his chins and midriff uniting in a brief tremolando of furious anger.

That is the strategy now, to scare the European Union into kicking us out early, with threats of acting like tiny children, mucking up their budgets and their elections, vetoing their policies.

A once great country, reduced to an international laughing stock by a political party that’s emerging into a world in which there’ll be no one left who’s stupid enough to vote for them anymore.
posted by Grangousier at 11:01 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Andy Zaltzman's bit about Francois on this week's Bugle made me feel a lot better, I can't recommend it enough. The whole show is worth a listen but the excerpt from the Mark Francois diaries I linked there is particularly good.

7 PM. Ordered a take away just so I could tell the delivery driver I had a meal in 2016 so why is he bringing me food now?
posted by Acey at 11:44 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


The only delight I take from this is that Francois's name really is pronounced /frong-swa/ when I was expecting him to have anglicized it to something like /frank-oys/. That, and he was in the Toy Army too.
posted by scruss at 11:55 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


The many many Tory leadership hopefuls are mostly keeping quiet and plotting, and that leaves lots of space for backbench buffoons like Francois to fill.

There must surely be cabinet resignations in the next couple of days, yes?
posted by holgate at 1:07 PM on April 9


EU rejects Theresa May's bid for short delay to Brexit
Britain’s membership likely to be extended to 31 December after PM fails to sell her plan in dash to Paris and Berlin
posted by roolya_boolya at 1:45 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


It was originally said of another Tory MP, but Mark Francois is living proof that a pig's bladder on a stick can be elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament.
posted by daveje at 2:37 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Especially here in Essex.
posted by dng at 3:06 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Wait, the Bugle is still around?
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:33 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Yup, this was ep. 4104.

It's been going for all of the last 74.92 years of the Brexit process.
posted by Buntix at 4:10 PM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Rafael Behr asks "Is Brexit still worth it?"
...As the article 50 countdown has neared zero, politics has been consumed by the question of how to avoid the worst outcome, with contradictory accounts of what that means: no deal, a referendum, a Corbyn government, Boris Johnson in No 10. A cacophony of partisan calculations has drowned out more essential questions that need revisiting three years since the Brexit decision was first taken. What does it really achieve? What does it cost? Is it still worth it? There isn’t a clear Labour or a Conservative answer to those questions, which is why May and Corbyn seem to prefer politics when it is about something else. But the questions won’t disappear. If they are not asked in another referendum, they will be asked by subsequent generations, amazed that we went ahead without one.
posted by rongorongo at 2:39 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


There isn’t a clear Labour or a Conservative answer to those questions, which is why May and Corbyn seem to prefer politics when it is about something else. But the questions won’t disappear. If they are not asked in another referendum, they will be asked by subsequent generations, amazed that we went ahead without one.

This.

Because both main parties are split on Europe, we have spent 3 years failing to have a rational, public debate about the pros and cons of leaving, and the pros and cons of the different options.

We're now (sort of) having that debate, but in private between the main parties, with the voters excluded.

SMH
posted by dudleian at 2:54 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Rafael Behr asks "Is Brexit still worth it?"

something something mumble betteridge mumble
posted by flabdablet at 4:21 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


58 hours to go, and we still don't know if we're going.
posted by rory at 5:12 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


58 hours to go, and we still don't know if we're going.

I find it more impressively horrific that in a 3 year process we are having cross party talks in the last fortnight.
posted by jaduncan at 6:16 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Or, alternatively, in a 4 year process we're having cross party talks three quarters of the way through.

Or, in a 3 year process, a few weeks after the process ended.

When you say "cross party", of course, I immediately think of Francois. He's very cross indeed. And the fucker can talk, that's true.
posted by Grangousier at 6:25 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]






9 questions about Brexit you were too embarrassed to ask (Jen Kirby, Vox)

Despite the headline, it's a reasonable explainer/summary/overview of the whole thing.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:11 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I know it's ahead of discussion, but the interviews from the Politico live blog don't seem to indicate much consensus. The larger/longer established member countries seem to be fairly predictable, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the newer members are like WILL STOP NOPING FOR € in the background. Hey, if it works for the DUP …
posted by scruss at 10:25 AM on April 10


Losing our European Commissioner doesn't seem particularly great. We're still going to be a full member state, paying our dues and abiding by European laws so we should get a seat around all tables except those where Brexit (and only Brexit) is being discussed.

Nothing in Article 50 says that during the notification period you lose certain rights.
posted by winterhill at 11:09 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Nothing in Article 50 says that during the notification period you lose certain rights.

I take your point but, based on the trash talk from the Conservative party (especially the ERG), I don't think it will find any support among the 27.
posted by dudleian at 11:21 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


BBC News Live reporting on Theresa May's address to the EU27:
... The prime minister signalled she was open to accepting a longer Brexit delay, so long as it could be cut short. And EU officials are describing her performance as "more solid than usual". They say she spoke for just over an hour before leaving the room to let them decide on the length of a Brexit extension and on whether they would attach conditions to a second Brexit lag. However, the officials also say Mrs May still lacked "many specifics", adding "leaders have many questions."

... There is a disagreement between the French and German leaders at the summit as to the length of the Brexit extension they would be prepared to allow.
I'd make a crack about "taking back control" but it just makes me sad.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:07 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


. And EU officials are describing her performance as "more solid than usual".


I read this as "were pleasantly surprised that she didn't try and schedule another parliamentary vote on her deal during the meeting".
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:38 PM on April 10 [12 favorites]


So much control.
It seems the EU27 are doing everything they can to help, but May, her government and Parliament are simply not able.

I heard that the Commission has budgeted for compensation to EU farmers and fishermen in case of a hard Brexit, or other forms of unruly Brexit. So I set out to google to see if I could find something more substantial, and here it is. I wonder if the UK government has set aside aid money for the UK producers who will be hit in case of a hard Brexit? I can't find anything specific.
While searching around, I found this little detail on the Danish Agricultural Agency's website:
For eksempel, ved import af cheddar fra alle tredjelande skal du ansøge om forhåndsgodkendelse inden 1. april 2019 for at kunne søge om importlicens for kvoteåret 2019/20.
Meaning:
For example, when importing cheddar from all third countries, you need to apply for a pre-approval before 1st of April 2019 in order to be able to apply for an import license for the quota year 2019/20
It's just a tiny detail, but there are literally tens of thousands of such details. I suppose that the big importers here have made the applications in time, so we will still get English cheddar and UK dairies will still have an income, but I also know from experience that when you have to do a new task many times in a big organisation, mistakes will be made.
posted by mumimor at 3:00 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


When I joked last Friday about Mark Francois ending up as the next prime minister, I didn't expect that the Telegraph would seriously propose it a mere five days later.
posted by rory at 3:10 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Tomorrow's Metro is running the black hole photo on the front page with the headline WHAT BREXIT LOOKS LIKE FROM SPACE. It's sure what it feels like from down here.
posted by automatronic at 3:15 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


I wonder if the UK government has set aside aid money for the UK producers who will be hit in case of a hard Brexit?

I grew up on a hill-sheep farm, and an ever present reality was that the EU subsidies and money for set-aside (land) were the only thing keeping the business going. Same for pretty much all upland farms in Scotland. Suspect that most of them will just finally go under if Brexit goes through.

The odd thing is that they are/were a core tory voting constituency (unlike the urban areas that, apart from the orange lodge types, mostly slant way to the left). It seems like there has been a real sea-change in the tory party as a whole recently that has divorced them entirely from their roots in land ownership and then manufacturing, where they had to pay some token support to those involved in working both, to just being the party of particularly vapid quick-fix nihilist neoliberalism.

For reference:

Scottish farms face losing millions in subsidy after Brexit [Grauniad 28 Jul 2016]
Pro-Brexit campaigners insisted during the referendum campaign that all agricultural funding would be protected, as Westminster would equally redistribute the £350m a week it would allegedly save from no longer funding the EU.
Michael Gove accused of breaking Brexit pledges to Scottish farmers [Grauniad 5 Oct 2017]
The Scottish government said , had refused to guarantee that £700m in funding for the country’s vulnerable hill farmers, forestry industries and crofters would still be paid out after Brexit.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s rural economy and connectivity cabinet secretary, said there was a striking contrast between Gove’s pledges to protect the £3bn in subsidies for the mainstream farming industry until 2022 and his vague stance on all other rural funding
It's worth noting that Gove/Cameron et al. already actually outright stole £160 million of EU funds designated for Scottish farmers and allocated it elsewhere.

Michael Gove admits Scottish farmers will not receive £160 million lost convergence funding [Scottish Farmer magazine].
SCOTTISH FARMERS have lost the battle over their unpaid ‘convergence’ cash, with Defra secretary, Michael Gove, finally admitting that they would not see any of the disputed £160m EU top-up that was awarded to Scotland but allocated elsewhere in the UK by David Cameron’s administration.

During an evidence session where Mr Gove was questioned by the Scottish Parliament’s rural economy and connectivity committee, he admitted that ‘mistakes had been made’: “That money has been allocated and is in the budgets of the various governments of the devolved administrations and we must respect the decisions of the coalition government.

“I cannot call back money which has been spent or has been in budgets that have already been allocated,” insisted Mr Gove. “What we are not doing is clawing money back but what we are doing is being aware that good arguments were made at the time and we will, in good faith, honour the integrity of the individuals who made those decisions at the time.”
On one hand it's going to make Scottish independence a certainty.

On the other it is going wipe out an entire culture pretty much overnight (unless the independence happens before the end of the Brexit process).
posted by Buntix at 3:42 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


The result of a nationwide referendum has been overturned for the first time in modern Switzerland's history. The poll, held in February 2016, asked the country's voters whether married couples and co-habiting partners should pay the same tax. Voters rejected the proposal, with 50.8% against and 49.2% in favour. But the supreme court has now voided the result on the grounds that voters were not given full information, and the vote must be re-run. The information provided to the electorate was "incomplete" and therefore "violated the freedom of the vote", the court ruled.

Wouldn’t it be terrible if we were like Switzerland?
posted by rory at 3:56 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


HALLOWEEN!

@spectatorindex EU accepts Brexit extension till 31st of October

I mean, seriously, Writers?
posted by Buntix at 3:57 PM on April 10 [9 favorites]


It's better than spoiling another Christmas.
posted by rory at 4:15 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Don't worry, I bet they do that too.
posted by dng at 4:19 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Hope Parliament has enough time to change the exit day in UK law again before 11pm Friday.
posted by rory at 4:25 PM on April 10


I grew up on a hill-sheep farm, and an ever present reality was that the EU subsidies and money for set-aside (land) were the only thing keeping the business going. Same for pretty much all upland farms in Scotland. Suspect that most of them will just finally go under if Brexit goes through.

One thing are the EU agricultural subsidies, another the immediate damage from Brexit as lined up in this report. Will the UK compensate/aid UK farmers as they struggle to manage the fallout, as the EU has promised they will do for EU farmers? I can't find anything.

Lets all hope that the EUP elections show a strong force for the UK remaining and against nationalism all across Europe.
posted by mumimor at 4:37 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Hey, remember when it was early December, and we were all in agony awaiting the first Meaningful Vote on May's deal, which ended up not happening that month? That was only four months ago. If we have six more months of this, we're not even halfway through the end of the beginning.
posted by rory at 4:41 PM on April 10 [15 favorites]


HALLOWEEN!
So: I am thinking about my stockpile: a couple of boxes filled with stuff like rice and soup cans - plus toilet rolls, of course. And considering if there is anything which might have expired by that point.

And then I am looking at how it must be for businesses who have gone through the cost of doing this on an industrial scale - and who must absorb the cost of doing this again for an October deadline - or for any point between now and October.
posted by rongorongo at 11:07 PM on April 10 [12 favorites]


Tusk: Please don't waste this time.

Me: Looks at May and tries not to cry.
posted by skybluepink at 11:16 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


.... Silver Brexit!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:24 AM on April 11 [1 favorite]


SchoolTeacher Phil burns the midnight oil to tell us why a compromise length extension is so pointless.

- in brief, it is neither short enough to frighten the UK government into action - nor long enough to be able to implement anything like a clean election or referendum (assuming the referendum included any outcome other than "remain"). Parliament - for example - is set to start using the time Tusk told it not to waste, with an Easter holiday until April 23rd.
posted by rongorongo at 1:58 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


Here, Ian Dunt is starts out saying the same thing but then concludes with saying that despite the downsides of this extension, Remain is getting the upper hand partly due to it.
posted by Kosmob0t at 2:05 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


It is enough time to hold a 2nd ref, just, if they decide quickly and cut a few corners. Obviously, they won't.

However, how many times did May say we were leaving on March 29th, absolutely, definitely, 100% certain? Hundreds. This isn't a mini technical delay, it is a solid 6 months past that. So now we've established that the leaving date can be extended substantially it leaves the door wide open to another extension if Parliament have already decided to hold a 2nd ref or GE. The EU, with the exception of France, really don't want no-deal. And even Macron bowed to the rest in the end, though with the compromise of 6 instead of 9 months.

So my two biggest fears, that Macron would refuse to allow an extension without a plan, and May would refuse to accept a longer one have both proven unfounded, thankfully.

And the longer this goes on, the greater the pressure to sort it out via a General Election or referendum. Going into a GE with an utterly splintered party and a distinct possibility of handing power to Corbyn makes that a tough pill to swallow for May. And the tories simply have no way to force her out until december; even a vote of no confidence might not do it, and then they risk Corbyn. So a 2nd ref 'forced' on May by Labour could well end up being her way out of this paralysis. Particularly if the EU elections return a far more 'remain' set of MEPs.

And the view of May being outside the room again while this critical decision was made for us is just another little taste of what things will be like outside the EU. 'Taking back control' indeed.

In any event, I'm shattered from staying up last night reading and watching. This is just incredibly draining just not knowing whether we're crashing out or not in a couple of days, with all the personal family consequences of that. I think I'm going to need to take a break for a few weeks, try and stop obsessing with it for a while - I'm pretty sure my coworkers are fed up of talking about it by this point!
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:27 AM on April 11 [12 favorites]


Militias, chaos and starvation: Britain 10 years after Brexit

The dark genius of Jonathan Meades
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:59 AM on April 11 [5 favorites]


I think I'm going to need to take a break for a few weeks, try and stop obsessing with it for a while
I think that's what our MPs are doing. They're using the first few weeks of the "don't waste this time" extension to take their customary long Easter break, and I'm sure they'll burn away a couple of months of the extension on their summer recess. They have more holidays than students.

Something that strikes me is that this whole saga has produced one of the biggest pro-EU movements in the whole of Europe. Most French, Germans, Dutch have a meh attitude to the EU. We have a million people on the streets of London marching in favour of it waving the EU flag - I'm sure that fact is not lost on the European Council. That energy isn't going away, whatever happens. If we leave, the campaign for re-admission starts.

This extension isn't great, though. At Macron's insistence, it gives us yet another No Deal cliff-edge that we now (as individuals and businesses) have to waste time and money preparing for. The cynical Northerner in me wonders if that wasn't more than a little self-interest from Macron rather than principled opposition to the extension - uncertainty for business in the UK means potential benefits for the faltering French economy.
posted by winterhill at 3:31 AM on April 11 [3 favorites]


I think Macron has enough domestic problems of his own to deal with, and is probably resentful of all the bloody time wasted on Brexit. It's nice to have a little bit of breathing space, but I still don't see how Parliament pulls its finger out on time. As always, would be delighted to be wrong.
posted by skybluepink at 3:35 AM on April 11 [6 favorites]


Whatever parliament is doing with the time, there's no reason for us to waste it - it can still be used to build momentum behind revocation and/or a second referendum as the brexit bandwagon falls apart. The first thing would be to convince people to get out and vote in the EU elections for someone who's not UKIP or Conservative.

Note: I am a diogenous individual who has no idea how you would go about that. But for people who do have such an idea, while parliament is on their hols would be a perfect time.

Yes, I invented the word diogenous.
posted by Grangousier at 3:46 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


You know, when all this is over, all the regulars on these threads should get together to celebrate or commiserate depending on how it ends. It's been going on for so long that I feel like I know you all!

If we end up remaining, I'll come to a town like London or Brighton or Cambridge. If we end up leaving, everyone has to come to Barnsley. ;)
posted by winterhill at 4:20 AM on April 11 [23 favorites]


If we end up leaving, everyone has to come to Barnsley. ;)

Depending on how exactly we end up leaving, a bunch of us might have to meet up in Paris or somewhere instead.
posted by Dysk at 4:29 AM on April 11 [17 favorites]


Remember Theresa May had a two-year parliament in expectation she would have Brexit done by now? Well, her two year parliament expires this summer. ... Theresa May's deadline isn't October. Her deadline is summer recess at the end of June. [Twitter thread]

Some reassurance on my question above about changing the exit date again in UK law: a minister can make the necessary changes today or tomorrow without it having to go back to Parliament. Hope they remember to.
posted by rory at 6:00 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


It is the tea interval on day one, Worcestershire are 215 for 2, and Daryl Mitchell has scored a century and is in the frame for an (overdue) call up to England for the Ashes. Splendid. But, with sudden dismay I realised just now that, with a Halloween cliff edge, Westminster will be frantically arguing over Brexit again at the end and after this current County Championship and summer of epic cricket is over. *big sigh*

If we end up remaining, I'll come to a town like London or Brighton or Cambridge. If we end up leaving, everyone has to come to Barnsley. ;)

I've been to Barnsley. The first person there who spoke to me told me he was going to stab me if he saw me again because I wasn't wearing a red poppy. I'm not going back to Barnsley.

Would Bergen (disclaimer: my current long-term goal) be a possibility? It's in the EEA (but not the EU), stuff works very well there, the scenery is spectacular, the food great, and there's a nice little railway that goes to a place giving a great view of the city. Point against, in fairness: even though Bergen is not as expensive as Oslo, it may not suit heavy drinkers unless rich, though.
posted by Wordshore at 7:49 AM on April 11 [9 favorites]


I have been to Bergen, and am taking questions at this time.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:10 AM on April 11




> TV fans delighted as Brexit renewed for another season.

If we had these Brexit threads over on FanFare, at least they wouldn't expire (as quickly).

So ... what happens now?
(Aside from everyone buggering off to Easter breaks, I mean.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:33 AM on April 11 [2 favorites]


So ... what happens now?

Parliament finds other things to do until mid-October and then recommence running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
posted by jackbishop at 10:54 AM on April 11 [12 favorites]


Not sure how sustantative this is/will be, but

@MarcusJBall
Boris Johnson has just been prosecuted by my legal team and I for allegedly lying to the public about UK spending on EU membership during the referendum.

We will go public with case developments when the courts permit us to. See my Twitter profile for details.



The Swiss really just trolling here...

Switzerland to re-run referendum because “voters were not given full information” [thelondoneconomic.com]
Switzerland has overturned a nationwide referendum after it was found that voters were not given full information.

The Swiss, who run numerous referendums to dictate government policy, held the poll in February 2016 to decide whether married couples and co-habiting partners should pay the same tax.

Voters rejected the proposal, with 50.8 per cent against and 49.2 per cent in favour.

But the supreme court has now voided the result on the grounds that voters were not given full information, and the vote must be re-run.
posted by Buntix at 12:37 PM on April 11 [15 favorites]


UK stands down 6,000 no-deal Brexit staff - after spending £1.5bn

Shouldn't they still be prepared? Or does someone know something we don't? Or is it just me?
posted by mumimor at 3:00 PM on April 11 [9 favorites]


I think the point is that this was apparently a bluff that failed and if you lost 1.5 billion quid bluffing in poker, the people backing you (in this analogy, the taxpayers) would perhaps be right to look askance at you.

There was no need for the bluff. If you try to imagine yourself with moderately sane political parties: after the referendum, everyone could have agreed that a no-deal Brexit was such a stupid idea, on a par with launching the UK’s trident missile system at itself, that it could be completely ruled out. With that out of the way, we could have saved 1.5 billion pounds by e.g. agreeing that the eventuality was so destructive that immediate revocation of A50 would take place the day before any crash-out Brexit. No reason for that to be controversial, and there you go, 1.5 billion saved at a stroke. (Of course, that still leaves the other 60 billion lost as a result of the vote. To avoid that loss, you’d need hypothetically sane parties from an earlier point in history.)
posted by chappell, ambrose at 3:55 PM on April 11 [20 favorites]


@AnaOpp: My German might be very basic but this headline is hard to disagree with.
posted by Wordshore at 9:24 PM on April 11 [12 favorites]


I think the point is that this was apparently a bluff that failed and if you lost 1.5 billion quid bluffing in poker, the people backing you (in this analogy, the taxpayers) would perhaps be right to look askance at you.

Victor Hugo told us (ish) "Nothing succeeds like an idea whose time has come": that select class of concepts which propagate as rapidly, pervasively and inevitably as an incoming tide. When we awaken ,the morning after an invading idea has arrived, will we be happy or not? Sometimes, idea will have arrived because it is sensible and innovative; sometimes it will have arrived in a flurry of irrational mania. We can look at our new LED lightbulbs a year on and be happy; we may choose to forget about the fidget spinner and badly translated tattoo.

But what about ideas whose time has gone? How do they fail just a rapidly? Even in the very best light - Brexit seems to fall into this category now. We don't know how to implement it, we don't agree why to implement it, we are now aware it has severe side-effects - and , nevertheless, it is incredibly costly to pursue. Like many iffy proposals - notably the kind that are hawked by con-men, Brexit was kept buoyant by a looming and hyped deadline: like it or not we would be out by 11:01pm on April 29th 2019. Or failing that... really-really soon afterwards. That's the date by which the cheque from the Nigerian Princess would surely arrive in the post. And if we did anything to get in the way of the implementation we would be in the valley of doom called "No Deal" - there'd be incriminating photos of us posted to everybody we knew!

But March 29th date, and its follow up Inshallah, have come and gone without incident. The sun rose, birds are tweeting in the trees and we are still in the EU. We find ourselves in a cooling off period. Con-men know such moments are the mortal enemy of bad ideas. So is Brexit like a boat that has been brought in by the tide and yet left serendipitously stranded in a rock pool where it can survive the ebb? Or is it about to vanish as rapidly as it grew - returning "EU Membership" to the kind of arcane politics-nerd talking point that it was until 2016?

My prediction, as well as hope, is for the latter.
posted by rongorongo at 2:44 AM on April 12 [12 favorites]




Led By Donkeys sure are good at generating publicity for themselves.
posted by grahamparks at 4:39 AM on April 12 [3 favorites]


Guardian tech columnist Alex Hern writes about his misgivings about Led by Donkeys, including the fact that some of the tweets they post on billboards are not actual tweets.
posted by vacapinta at 6:17 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


Good, because hopefully that brings more money in for just about the only remain ad initiative that seems to be competently run since this whole shitfest started.
posted by biffa at 6:17 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


If their goal is to give hardcore remainers LOL images to share amongst themselves, then I agree they're doing a great job.

If their goal is to nudge leavers or waverers towards switching sides then I don't know what the fuck they're doing. As Alex Hern says "I have deep reservations about the effectiveness of a campaign which often just reprints leave propaganda and expects the ridiculousness of it to be self-evident to people who aren't already deeply marinated in Twitter irony."

It's not that there's zero value in making Remainers feel better about themselves, but it's fish-in-a-barrel compared to talking to Leavers.
posted by grahamparks at 6:44 AM on April 12 [7 favorites]


Led by Donkeys beat the Brexit Party to a certain URL.

Would be nice if we could beat them to organised political resistance, but there it is.
posted by the long dark teatime of the soul at 7:07 AM on April 12 [6 favorites]


'some of the tweets they post on billboards are not actual tweets'

I wasn't aware that any of the quotes they presented started life as 'actual tweets', AFAIK it was just a way of presenting the fool ass comments that these charlatans blurt in a visually consistent and striking way.

In other news, what has twitter done to the English language? SMH
posted by asok at 3:37 PM on April 12 [5 favorites]


It's a technique that raises a few questions about truth in the media, about framing and suchlike. Presenting something as a tweet when it wasn't does seem like a shorthand, as asok expained above. It's deceptive in a strict sense, but I suspect most readers, if told that something was said in an interview, and was not a 'true' tweet, would not view the quote itself with any great suspicion. It's not like you need to make this shit up. I'm not going to shed any tears when the targets of these ads are individuals whose relationship with the truth is considerably more problematic.
posted by pipeski at 4:01 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


One of the complaints is that most people don't even use Twitter and so will automatically filter out billboards that look like the Twitter UI? Is he postulating that old conservative people don't use Twitter because they know about it and reject it? I'd be incredibly surprised if that was a thing - my bet is that said Brexiter demographic sees these just as a funny graphic design linking a headshot + name + quote.

And wow, I get shit for not believing Leavers have two brain cells, but even I have never considered that they might not be smart enough to "get" the message behind these quotes?

"There is no plan for no deal, because we're going to get a great deal." - @BorisJohnson

"There will be no downside to Brexit, only a considerable upside."

"Taking back control is a careful change, not a sudden step - we will negotiate the terms of a new deal before we start any legal process to leave." - @vote_leave
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:22 PM on April 12 [3 favorites]


It's deceptive in a strict sense...

If it wasn't a tweet, they always have language at the bottom that says "They didn't tweet it, they actually said it." Along with info about where.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:45 PM on April 12 [13 favorites]


And wow, I get shit for not believing Leavers have two brain cells, but even I have never considered that they might not be smart enough to "get" the message behind these quotes?

It's not just about how smart you are, but about how informed you are. If you aren't following what's going on with brexit at all - and a significant portion of the country aren't - and you're inclined to be sympathetic to some brexity arguments, it's not hard to see how you could read something like "There will be no downside to Brexit, only a considerable upside." or "There is no plan for no deal, because we're going to get a great deal." as perfectly reasonable.

And if you have heard otherwise? Well, there has been a concerted effort to discredit a lot of reality as "Project Fear" over the past several years - even here on mefi! That will have stuck for some.

Finally, you have to remember that all of these statements were naked bullshit when they were first made too, but people believed them. Why wouldn't they now?
posted by Dysk at 2:13 AM on April 13 [10 favorites]


Yeah. These statements are only slam dunks* if you already buy into the narrative that Brexit is a shambles and it’s the fault of the politicians who lied beforehand. If you’re bought into any of the many counter narratives (EU betrayal, remoaning MPs, both sides suck, no deal will be fine, etc) they’re meaningless.

(* in so much as a slam dunk incriminating quote from a politician has ever persuaded anyone of anything)
posted by grahamparks at 3:29 AM on April 13


There are plenty of people on the pro-Brexit side (see every single BBC vox pox which ends with some gammon exclaiming 'We should just get on with it!') who see any delay, any problem, any downside to be the fault of the Remainers/EU/'Establishment' and it would all be perfect if it wasn't for them and they just got behind Leaving... the stuff that the Donkey people are doing won't change that attitude, if anything it will harden it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:08 AM on April 13


It's def preaching to the choir. What it will do for those in the middle...? Well, I'm not sure.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:09 AM on April 13


So what? If anyone has any better ideas of how to engage leavers, they're free to start their own campaign. I for one, as an EU immigrant, am very happy about these very public statements. Everything else in the public sphere has turned into a nightmare. I avoid BBC like the plague now and keep my eyes focused straight ahead when passing a newsstand to avoid all the hate. The government has now started to put up the their own billboards reminding me it's time to apply for 'settled status'. These billboards at least make me want to stay in this country and get engaged, if only to make sure that the people glibly espousing nonsense disappear from politics and power as soon as possible.
posted by cerbous at 5:22 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


So what?

So a grassroots campaign full of uncommented statements by Boris Johnson on how excellent he sees/saw things going is not making it less likely that we get a BoJo premiership. There's a lot of people for whom the current leadership is the problem - May was a remainer after all, etc. A real brexiteer like Johnson could make a right success of it, he wouldn't drag it on like this. Whatever their intent, Led by Donkeys are doing an amazing PR campaign for him. It's polarising, but the people laughing at these billboards were never going to vote for him anyway.

Seems unlikely? Remember this is the man who got to mayor of London on being a charismatic right-wing buffoon. And London isn't exactly renowned for falling harder for the right-wing crazies than the rest of England.
posted by Dysk at 5:58 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Whatever their intent, Led by Donkeys are doing an amazing PR campaign for him.

One of the things I keep thinking about is how you could have easy-to-understand (at a gut level) billboard ads for the advantages of the EU which don't rely on either a. derision for leavers or b. TELLING people why it's good to remain. Basically, a lot of what I've seen so far tells people why it's good - which addresses the intellect, not the emotions, and relies on people accepting one set of info over another, or some highly emotional - and beautiful - outbursts re. the ability to travel/ work throughout Europe. For someone who is not that fussed about gap years in Europe etc., that is not going to be compelling.

For all the talk of 'Project Fear', I haven't seen many ads - if any - which convey, at an instinctive level, how disastrous this could end up being, either. Not to mention anything about the many positives of staying. I think one of the reasons is because they are more difficult to explain, and that the more obvious slogans - such as 'stronger together' - have been overused in all sorts of contexts.

I haven't been to the UK in a while and maybe such snappy, easy to comprehend ads are out there, but from what I've seen & what friends and family are reporting there seems to be a bit of a crisis of imagination in this regard.

I am curious about what people here think. What kind of stuff could you imagine would be good billboard material for targeting soft leavers and people on the fence specifically?

One I could think of that is more 'Project Fear' than 'The Joys of Staying' is something like foreign medical worker saying 'I've saved xxx number of lives in xx number of years working for the NHS. But no more - I'll have to go'. Or some such. Many, many people, and then big ones with group photos going 'We've etc.'
posted by doggod at 6:46 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


UK Polling Report has a post on some recent voting intention polls.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:31 AM on April 13


Surely the point of the Led By Donkeys billboards is to galvanise the Remain vote, which is by now polling in the majority. I remember walking around Amsterdam on Referendum Day and being amazed at the number of young British studenty types blithely wandering about while their future was being decided for them. I somehow managed not to question any of them on it. But after that shock I was prepared for the result.

If LLbD can convince some of those twerps to stick around and vote Remain should romp home. And incidentally, if you can craft a billboard that will undo decades of anti-EU propaganda then chapeau, mon vieux, chapeau.
posted by AillilUpATree at 10:16 AM on April 13


I remember walking around Amsterdam on Referendum Day and being amazed at the number of young British studenty types blithely wandering about while their future was being decided for them.
Postal voting exists.
posted by winterhill at 10:28 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


The entire point of Led By Donkeys is to call out the combined hypocrisy, idiocy and incompetence of Brexit leaders using their own words - hence the name of the group: Led By Donkeys.

Other groups deal with more more substantive claims - Our Future Our Choice, The 3 Million and such. Painfully missing from the groups responding being the Labour Party, who now have to continue to mumble on about some "Jobs First Brexit" (just don't mention it in Swindon) because no one wants to admit that whipping MPs to vote for Article 50 was a colossal mistake.

Imagine a Labour Party with Corbyn in full throated roar demanding that the youth take action against those in power who are robbing them of their future, whipping up the activist base in Leave voting Labour constituencies to counter the lies spewed by Farage - it would be a helluva lot better than the current Labour enabled shuffle of the edge of a cliff.
posted by PenDevil at 10:55 AM on April 13 [17 favorites]


Postal voting exists

Thanks Sherlock. These were city-break types. Ask me how I know.
posted by AillilUpATree at 11:07 AM on April 13




So uh, we're really just twiddling our thumbs for a couple weeks?
posted by lucidium at 9:10 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


@RealNatalieRowe

LET ME REMIND EVERYONE. I was at a Party in the early 90’s where #BorisJohnson came up to me making Monkey noises and tried to hand me a Water Melon. If you think that’s he’s fit to be PM then you’re as much of a racist PIG as he is
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:51 AM on April 14 [18 favorites]


If you want to get insanely fucking angry, have a read of this article about the Home Office cracking down on supposed “sham marriages” and the intrusive powers they use.

Fucking fash - abolish the Home Office, throw the lot of them in their own “detention centres” and salt the ground after them. This needs to happen, like, yesterday if we want to avoid living in the future predicted by Children of Men.
Couples and lawyers described wedding ceremonies being interrupted so that the Home Office could question people about their sex lives, an official finding a nude picture on a person’s phone and showing it to others in the room, and dawn raids carried out to check if couples were sharing a bed.

In one case, a couple were told their relationship could not be genuine because they were wearing pyjamas in bed. In others, people have been detained for months after being wrongly accused of entering into a sham marriage.
...
One couple, Qasim, 29, from Pakistan, and Debora, 33, from Portugal, were asleep at home when they were raided by four officials in January 2016. “We were questioned separately about our relationship and then Qasim was arrested, taken away and locked up in detention for four months before the Home Office finally accepted that our relationship was genuine,” Debora said.
...
Another couple who sought permission to marry were told their relationship would not be investigated, only to have their wedding ceremony interrupted by officials, according to a statement submitted to their lawyers and provided to the Guardian.

The statement said the couple were taken into separate rooms and asked about their sex lives, including details about sexual positions and contraception. The woman was so distressed that partway through the interview she refused to answer any more questions. The Home Office officials then halted the ceremony and declared the marriage to be sham.

The couple, who are still together, were so humiliated that they did not tell their reception guests that the marriage had not been permitted to go ahead, instead continuing with the event and pretending to celebrate.
Scum. Absolute fucking scum.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:02 AM on April 14 [36 favorites]


the Home Office cracking down on supposed “sham marriages”

Rather concerning: my partner's been living over in Israel doing research for her Phd in dolphin gossip, she fell for and married a Jordanian guy last year, hoping to have him move back with her now that she's finishing up the research phase. Honestly wondering if trying the legal route would actually be a mistake, as it's essentially just grassing yourself up. Well, until Scotland becomes independent anyway, which I am guessing could only be a couple of years now.

In better Boris news: Boris Johnson could lose his seat as voters under 50 abandon Conservatives [mirror]
Research conducted by new Conservative supporting thing tank Onward has suggested that Mr Johnson's Uxbridge and South Ruislip is "vulnerable".

Their analysis suggests that a Conservative seat is vulnerable lose if the ratio of younger voters, under 40, rises above 1.1 for every older voter over 60.

According to the think tank in 2017 the 'tipping point age' – the median age at which a voter is more likely to vote Conservative than Labour – was 47 years old.

But it has increased in the last two years to 51 years old.
posted by Buntix at 12:13 PM on April 14 [6 favorites]


Leave.EU have been fined £60,000 for further breaches of campaign spending laws, on top of the previous £120,000.

I'm sure these hefty fines will deter anyone thinking of injecting £8.4 million of laundered Russian money into any future campaigns!
posted by automatronic at 6:00 AM on April 15 [13 favorites]


This seems to be the full Electoral Commission report with the following findings:
  • As a non-designated campaigner, the referendum spending limit imposed by section 118(1) and Schedule 14(1)(2)(c) PPERA on Leave.EU was £700,000. Leave.EU reported spending of £693,094, which is £6,906 under the spending limit. Leave.EU failed to include a minimum of £77,380 in its spending return, which meant that it exceeded its spending limit more than 10%. The Commission is satisfied that the actual figure was in fact greater, given the failure to report an appropriate proportion of the cost of services provided by Goddard Gunster. The responsible person for Leave.EU authorised those expenses to be incurred by or behalf of Leave.EU. The Commission is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that she knew or ought reasonably to have known that the expenses would be incurred in excess of the spending limit.
  • On 28 April 2016 in its pre-poll transaction reports, Leave.EU reported the receipt of three regulated transactions from Mr Arron Banks totalling £6m. These were the only reported sources of funding for Leave.EU’s referendum campaign. Leave.EU did not report these transactions correctly. The dates the transactions were entered into, the repayment date, the interest rate and the provider of the transactions were all incorrectly reported. These transactions were also incorrectly reported in Leave.EU’s referendum spending return. While the repayment date and interest rates were correct in that return, the date the transactions were entered into and the provider were not. Variations to the transactions were also not correctly reported.
  • Leave.EU paid for services from the US campaign strategy firm Goddard Gunster that should have been reported in its spending return but were not. Those services from Goddard Gunster were paid for before the regulated period started on 15 April 2016, but Leave.EU made use of them during the regulated period. Accordingly, a proportion of the cost of services from Goddard Gunster should have been included in Leave.EU’s spending return. The Commission cannot, on the available evidence, quantify the exact proportion of this spending which should have been declared.
  • Leave.EU failed to include spending of £77,380 in its referendum spending return, being fees paid to the company Better for the Country Limited as its campaign organiser.
  • Leave.EU failed to provide the required invoice or receipt for 97 payments of over £200, totalling £80,224.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:54 AM on April 15 [10 favorites]


Brexit: how it came to this
How May miscalculated the Brexit numbers game

A Guardian summary of it all. Nothing new to hardened Brexit-thread followers, but it's nice to see it all summed up like this.
It made me think about a thing, drawing on personal experience: May has throughout as been acting as a person in bad faith. Not in the sense that she didn't/doesn't want Brexit to happen, though that is probably true as well, but in the sense that she knows it can't happen the way the Brexiteers have promised, and for some reason she won't say that out loud. (Well the reason is that she puts the party over the country, we know that).
The natural thing to do after the referendum would have been to call everyone relevant in for a national conference, to sort out the facts and to find a politically solid solution across party lines and devolved parliaments. If she had done that, Corbyn's antics would have looked ridiculous, as would the ERG. DUP would be irrelevant.
By keeping everything secret and within a closed circle, she has alienated everyone. By singlehandedly trying to solve a problem that she already knows can't be solved, she has put herself in a completely hopeless situation. But from her narrow perspective, doing the right thing is not an option. Lying seems necessary, and perhaps even noble to her, in this situation.
I can't figure out what she thinks she is trying to achieve, and maybe she can't either.
Once I spent nine years trying to negotiate a deal with a political organisation who were lying to us as well as to their own members. For years I couldn't figure out why, it made no sense. Then we decided to follow the money and analyse their very messy accounts. It turned out they were heading towards bankruptcy. They had been for all the years, slowly, but when we did the analysis it was going very fast. And instead of dealing with it, they were lying. When I told the members at the annual assembly, the leadership screamed at me, and told people I was lying. It didn't end there, and though there was a solution, there was never a reckoning. And I can recognize the weirdness I dealt with for years when I look at May.
posted by mumimor at 12:37 AM on April 16 [21 favorites]


Biometric enrolment for American citizens seeking to move to the UK has been suspended for more than two weeks because the British government missed a payment to the Department of Homeland Security, according to sources familiar with the bureaucratic glitch.

The Windrush scandal was a forgetting of sorts too, combined with official indifference to people's fates. It really makes me wonder about anything else the Home Office may have forgotten, and the consequences for the people affected.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:44 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


This is a bit peripheral to Brexit, but this article The strange death of Tory economic thinking has a theory that the shift in power from the Treasury to the Home Office (May's old department) has had an influence on government.
The Treasury's tools are economic nudges: here a tax change to push people along the demand or the supply curve, there a tweak to regulations to change incentives. It can't directly command armies of employees to do its will; like the Pope in Stalin's maxim, the Treasury has no battalions. The corridors of the Treasury are permeated by a fear--even an expectation--of unintended consequences...

The Home Office, by contrast, hardly thinks economically at all. As Will Davies pointed out early in the PM's tenure, it's a department dedicated to keeping good people safe and to keeping bad people in check. It has lots of employees it can get to do things directly, and these employees preside over impressive, solid things like prisons and border posts. It appeals to strong emotions like patriotism, community spirit and fear. It deals with victims and with wrong 'uns. Not for the Home Office the nuances and nudges of the clever, pale young men and women at the Treasury. The Home Office doesn't do incentives: it Cracks Down, it Tightens Up, it Sends a Strong Message...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:59 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]


How Brexit ruined my life

A poem from Ireland (just the one swearword I think)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:45 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]




I added Don't Forget The Driver to FanFare... while it might not be quite the 'first post-Brexit comedy' it was billed as, it's definitely in the same car park. It's also very good.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:12 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Britain's electoral watchdog has rejected The Independent Group’s choice of logo for next month’s planned European poll.

Vote for the Tig Notaro party!
posted by tobascodagama at 12:18 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


In case anyone else is going to be voting for an MEP for the first time (yes, I'm one of the people who's always seen voting in general elections as a civic duty but never worried about the rest) and is as unfamiliar with the term "D'Hondt" as I am, here's an explanation on the European Parliament Liaison Office in the United Kingdom's website of how voting works in European Parliament elections, and here's a map of the constituencies with the number of MEPs each elects. I haven't worked out yet how many crosses we each get to put on the ballot paper, and I'm still worried that the Remain vote is going to be more split than the Leave vote, but I'm comforted that it's not as dire a situation as it would be in a general election.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 12:34 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


New Statesman: The European Elections could be painful for Remainers:
The D’Hondt voting system used in British elections for the European parliament combined with voting for MEPs on a regional basis does penalise smaller parties. The Liberal Democrats only received 1 seat out of 73 in 2014, even though they got nearly 7 per cent of the overall vote. As a result, if the Remain vote splits badly, it is conceivable that the total seat count for the Remain parties combined may only be a few seats, which will not look good compared to the double figures that Farage will get.

A very good question is why the anti-Brexit parties have not cooperated. It would be difficult to choose just one of the three parties to stand in each district, but it would not be impossible. Without this cooperation, tactical voting is unlikely to prevent the anti-Brexit vote being split three ways in each England region. It would seem these parties think it is more important to fight among themselves than unite in sending a clear message on Brexit.
Politics.co.uk: Polling analysis: The full extent of Britain's division brutally revealed
Hard Remainers and hard Leavers have not changed their minds. There does however seem a shift in sentiment among Left Wing Leavers with a quarter them now ranking Remain as their top preference and also among Sovereignty Remainers. Leave voters who have changed their minds mostly voted Labour in 2017 while changing Remain voters mostly voted Conservative. This means that as Labour has become more Remain, the Conservatives have become more Leave.

But are voters still changing their minds? Not really...

Warnings about No Deal have been steadily increasing in volume and intensity for the last six months – but while they seem to have put the fear of god into most Remain voter types, they are not impacting on Leave voters.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:20 PM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Britain, Take A Bow

Britain, Take A Bow is a generative artwork that sequences vignettes of British life, captured by a collaboration of filmmakers and artists across the UK, as we hurtle towards Brexit...

Each 'play' is a unique experience - no two viewings will ever be the same
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:10 AM on April 17


Twitter summary: Channel 4 News investigation reveals how Arron Banks' pro-Brexit group Leave EU faked a migrant-crossing video and appeared to have staged photos of migrants attacking women in London.

Full version: How pro-Brexit group Leave.EU faked migrant footage

I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but I'm somewhat surprised by quite how terrible everyone involved in Leave EU was. It's just knowingly driving racism through utterly false propaganda, and it's plainly born out of the far-right.
posted by jaduncan at 1:21 AM on April 17 [10 favorites]


After reading "The strange death of Tory economic thinking" article linked by TheophileEscargot above, I'm beginning to think that my comparison/analogy between the UK Government and the small political organisation I was dealing with is more to the point than I originally thought. When I wrote it, I was just thinking of the weird lying. Now I'm thinking that there is weird lying to cover up an economic catastrophe that could have been avoided.
Because my family and friends all live(d) in London or the South-East (and Edinburgh), I wasn't much aware of the real economic situation in Northern England. Following the news, I was aware that the Coalition and then the Tories had taken austerity to unnecessary extremes, and I was aware of an explosion of homelessness, but I hadn't seen much about the consequences. I was much more aware of the racism, partly because of my stepdad and his rabid wife, and partly because there was more reporting.
Already Cameron's promise of a referendum played into the lie that the EU, and specifically Merkel, was the real culprit behind austerity, and it worked because people aren't informed, and they don't notice stuff. The reality was and is that the economic policy was a terrible failure, and that the right-wing press and the government were blaming the foreigners rather than dealing with the problem. There were and are similar situations all over Europe, but different political and media structures mean that they are dealt with in different ways, not least that they are actually dealt with. The situation in the former East Germany is dire, but Merkel isn't pretending it isn't, or blaming the Polish immigrants.
Macron isn't doing well with the Gilets Jaunes, but he is addressing the issues with nation-wide town hall meetings.
Now Brexit is a huge distraction, not least because Corbyn keeps indulging in his Lexit fantasies instead of coming up with something like the American Green New Deal (which I think will be a platform for some European parties for this election).
What the UK has in common with the small political organisation is that their political structures make it hard to hold the leadership accountable, and that the electorate is under-informed. You'd have thought people would have noticed that the NHS and many other aspects of British life are dependent on immigrants, but minds don't work that way.
"Home Office thinking" is much easier for most people to relate to than "Treasury thinking". An other thing I think they have in common is that the leaderships are actually ignorant of the economic realities they are lying to hide. I mean, they know there is something bad they are somehow responsible for and it must be hidden, but on a basic level, they don't get what that bad is and how it could be dealt with because their own, personal thinking is "Home Office thinking". Apart from lying, this leads to magical thinking, to hoping that things will change if one repeats the same thing enough times, or that some wizard will come and wave a wand to make the bad stuff go away.
posted by mumimor at 1:35 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]


Why Labour's leader has to perform a Brexit balancing act

Inside story of some of Labour's Brexit journey (which, of course, ain't over yet)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:49 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Sky News has this worrying analysis of the difference between focused Brexiters and vague / divided Remain campaigns.
"Remainer readers may dislike Mr Farage - they may dislike his style, his rhetoric, his approach - but he cannot be faulted for his appreciation of strategy.

If his opponents don't up their game - and fast - he will beat them, just as he did before."
Also, "Electric Farage". There's an image to conjure with.
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:12 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


From the Guardian article:

"Stephen Kinnock, who has worked with Powell’s common market group, said: “We could potentially be tipping over into a culture war.”"

Man caught in typhoon worries it might start drizzling soon.
posted by Dysk at 2:50 AM on April 17 [10 favorites]


That article is an incredibly depressing read.
posted by mumimor at 2:54 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


A lot of the political near future seems to hinge on who splits worse.

In the European elections, will the Brexit Party/UKIP split be more damaging than the Lib Dem/Green/Change UK split?

In the next Parliamentary election, will the Conservatives lose more votes to the minor Leave parties than Labour loses to the minor Remain parties?

Paradoxically that means that worse might be better and vice versa.

If Change UK campaign very effectively and attract lavish funding, they might attract enough Labour votes that the Conservatives can get a majority even under a hard-Brexit leader.

If Nigel Farage's Brexit Party campaigns very effectively, that might suck away enough Conservative votes to give Labour a majority. The more Leave votes are committed elsewhere, the more it's to Labour's advantage to keep their Remainy base happy with a second referendum instead of targeting Leavers.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:57 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


If Change UK campaign very effectively and attract lavish funding, they might attract enough Labour votes that the Conservatives can get a majority even under a hard-Brexit leader.

There's a really really simple way for Labour to completely undermine TIG (and the Lib Dems, and the Greens) and steal their thunder, but the Guardian article makes it clear that a lot of the Labour leadership (including Corbyn) are ideologically committed to trying to compete for UKIP's voters instead.
posted by Dysk at 3:02 AM on April 17 [14 favorites]


Instead of endless negotiations with British leaders like Corbyn or Johnson who despise Europe, we need to put all our energy to #RenewEurope! - Guy Verhofstadt

I guess if you insist that Corbyn does not hate Europe, you have to at least admit that there is a perception problem here.
posted by vacapinta at 5:05 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


Sky News has this worrying analysis

Sky News is part of Lord Moloch's empire, and as such has a vested interest is spreading gloom and depression amongst those opposed to Moloch world domination.

The Murdoch crime family really are cartoon villains at this point and need to be explicitly treated as such.

"Electric Farage". There's an image to conjure with.

Sounds like a misprint in the instructions for a cheap Chinese door opener.
posted by flabdablet at 5:21 AM on April 17 [8 favorites]


If Change UK campaign very effectively and attract lavish funding, they might attract enough Labour votes that the Conservatives can get a majority even under a hard-Brexit leader.

If Nigel Farage's Brexit Party campaigns very effectively, that might suck away enough Conservative votes to give Labour a majority. The more Leave votes are committed elsewhere, the more it's to Labour's advantage to keep their Remainy base happy with a second referendum instead of targeting Leavers.


This is why first past the post voting normally leads to a two party system. Because it's counter productive to split. Because the only way to win is to team up with everyone who even vaguely agrees with you, and so smaller parties stick together to form larger ones until only two are left.

Because it's fricking stupid and undermines your long term goals to divide yourself and your voters into a bunch of small parties, none of which can get a plurality in a single-member district with a first past the post electoral system.

Like all economic and and socio-political "laws," Duverger's law assumes rational actors, which is why they are not as reliable as the laws of physics. But every time I check in on UK politics these days I am shocked how sustained the irrational behavior is. It's like you've temporarily suspended gravity over there and things are falling every which way but down.

[/rant]
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:29 AM on April 17 [6 favorites]




Brexit Party leading in EU Parliament polls
Ah, it's the good old 27 % crazification factor, handily all in one party.. Except UKIP are still there, and any number of crazy Conservatives.
posted by mumimor at 7:44 AM on April 17


Carole Cadwalladr's new TED Talk: Facebook's Role in Brexit—and the Threat to Democracy "Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters -- and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election -- Cadwalladr calls out the ‘gods of Silicon Valley’ for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past?"
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:02 AM on April 17 [10 favorites]


Carole Cadwalladr's new TED Talk: Facebook's Role in Brexit—and the Threat to Democracy

Ooooof. Do not read the comments.
posted by duffell at 9:16 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Part of the problem is that the traditional measures of political success (those that can be encapsulated in a single figure where a high value is bad / good and a low value the opposite) no longer work. For example we have levels of unemployment that we would have thought paradisiacal in the Thatcher years. We haven’t found modern replacements for these outmoded stats which are equally simple, and broadly accepted.

In the past no one pretended that having 4 million people unemployed was a good thing, so the news media could hold politicians to account on an objective (or at least universally accepted) basis, and were confident in doing so.

With a changing world, and especially Brexit, we have politicians who cannot agree which way is up and which way down—meaning that critical media are necessarily seen as partisan: there is no generally accepted reality against which politicians can be judged.

That’s why news media and analysts retreat into evaluating policies depending on whether they further or harm the interests of the party proposing them (a common theme to a lot of the newspaper articles linked). This, at least, can be objectively if imperfectly measured by opinion polls. It says news, but actually it’s a sports report.
posted by dudleian at 11:38 AM on April 17 [12 favorites]


Fearfulsymmetry's UK Polling Report link seems to bear out the earlier New Statesman warning.

That YouGov poll has the Brexit Party leading on 27%, Labour 22%, Tories 15%, Green 19%, Lib Dems 9%, UKIP 7%, Change UK 6%. That's a comfortable lead for Nigel Farage's party.

If the minor parties were combined, both Brexit+UKIP and Lib Dem+Green+Change UK would be on 34%. The minor Remain parties don't have less support than their Leave equivalents, but when they're so divided, getting actual representatives from their votes is a problem.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:28 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


That YouGov poll has the Brexit Party leading on 27%, Labour 22%, Tories 15%, Green 19%, Lib Dems 9%, UKIP 7%, Change UK 6%. That's a comfortable lead for Nigel Farage's party.

Assuming that's how everyone voted, the East of England which is a 7 seater would go: 2 Brexit Party, 2 Labour, 2 Green, 1 Tory. This would a massive improvement from last time: 3 UKIP, 3 Tory and 1 Labour.
posted by DoveBrown at 2:04 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


Yeah, but it won't go that way in EoE, it didn't last time. UKIP were opinion polling around 27% across the UK but, as you say, got 3 out of 7 in EoE, which was with a 34.5% of the votes. Any reason to think that will have changed since?
posted by biffa at 3:07 PM on April 17


Ian Dunt: Remainers are making a pig's ear of the European elections
It's a Proportional Representation system, so it's better for small parties than first-past-the-post - the winner-takes-all system we use in general elections. But it isn't that good, because the seats are so small. The North East, for instance, returns just three MEPs. A party would need to get over 25% of the vote to secure a candidate. Even the South East, which returns ten MEPS, requires a party to get over 9.1% of the vote before it secures a candidate.

These graphs by Lewis Baston... show just how punishing this could be for small Remain parties...

A two-way split in the Brexit ranks allows them to still return loads of MEPs. A four-way split in the Remain ranks does not. The Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK could easily get none or just a handful. The SNP votes will be treated as a Scottish national phenomenon disconnected to Brexit. The narrative writes itself: Brexit parties triumphant, Remainers destroyed, proof that Britain wants MPs to get on with it. It's nonsense, but that's how it'll get written up...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:19 PM on April 17 [6 favorites]


The results of the European elections will inevitably be taken as a proxy for a second referendum. If the overwhelming winner of the EP elections is a party called The Brexit Party, then what can you conclude as a European observer, as an American observer, as the UK govt, but that the UK does really want to leave and that it remains 'the will of the people'?

I felt hope about the new extension but this is rapidly diminishing for me. A raft of new MEPs whose main motivation is to disrupt the EP and be mini-Farages is likely to move the EU in the Macron direction rather than the Tusk direction and strengthen the case for booting the UK out as soon as possible.
posted by vacapinta at 2:05 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]


Another reason the Brexit Party are getting such a good response is that most people don't pay very much attention to the news or politics, and so they respond to what they see. The BBC have been giving as much positive PR as possible to Farrago's New Jam, and the frog-man himself, so it's unsurprising that people are for it, in much the same way they'd be excited about a heavily trailed drama about... I don't know, alien lizards or something.

On the other hand, the anti-Brexit parties seem to have been swept up in a frenzy of vanity.

It's amazing how we can repeat the mantra "We're Fucked" over and over, and each time it's true, and each time it's true in a different way. It's a fractal zoom of fuckedness. I was promised flying cars and airships and SPACE in the future, and all I got was an infinite set of variations on fuckedness. I want to take this future back to the shop and get my money returned.
posted by Grangousier at 2:39 AM on April 18 [12 favorites]


It's all in a name.

The Brexit Party. To paraphrase the old advertisement, it does what it says on the tin. It cuts through the noise. You know what you're getting when you vote for The Brexit Party.

Change UK. What do they want to change? Are they left or right? Are they for or against Brexit? If you haven't been following political news like a hawk for the past few months, you're likely to have never heard of them and their name tells you little.

For all the misplaced Led By Donkeys crowing about the Brexit Party domain name (seriously, who on earth types a domain instead of searching these days?), Change UK don't appear to have a website, at least not one that appears on Page 1 of Google.
posted by winterhill at 2:42 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


The Domain Name
Remain.org
Is For Sale!

Shall we buy it?
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:46 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


It’ll be $1000s. You could sell it on later though.
posted by pharm at 6:33 AM on April 18


I want to take this future back to the shop and get my money returned.

It's just pinin' for the fjords.
posted by flabdablet at 11:19 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Ah, they give a lovely, baroque feel to a continent.
posted by Grangousier at 1:10 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Britain will have its second referendum – at the EU elections on 23 May
Its Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian and at first I was irritated because of everything we've discussed above, but he's actually quite realistic and practical about it all after the first paragraph. I'll be sending this to my relatives.
posted by mumimor at 1:26 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Nigel Farage has near-total control of Brexit party, constitution suggests

You know who else set up a party constitution with almost complete control by one man as a leadership principle?
posted by jaduncan at 10:08 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


Geert Wilders.
posted by farlukar at 2:21 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Jeremy Corbyn?
posted by Grangousier at 2:23 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Ian Paisley?
posted by ambrosen at 2:41 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


The Conservative Party that exists in Jacob Rees Mogg's rich fantasy life?
posted by Grangousier at 3:08 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Screaming Lord Sutch?
posted by Wordshore at 3:12 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Definitely Screaming Lord Sutch.
posted by Grangousier at 3:16 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


The Home Office is cruel and incompetent – it is time it was abolished

Owen Jones' somewhat agitated tone perfectly matching the topic, there. I think he's right. There should properly be prosecutions, though I don't know what for.
posted by Grangousier at 3:23 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


@ElectionMapsUK
EU Referendum Voting Intention:

Remain 58% (+4)
Leave 42% (-4)

Via @ComRes, 16 Apr.
Change w/ 17 Mar.

Biggest remain lead in 3 years.
posted by Buntix at 10:47 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


I don't think there's going to be a second referendum. The disasterous showing for the "remain" parties in the EU elections will see to that.
posted by fullerine at 11:50 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Having endured the past few months in Brexit, how are you feeling about the prospect of the European elections campaign? Please rate your satisfaction on a scale of one to the survivors of the USS Indianapolis.

Only remainers could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like this

Marina Hyde, back on form

But don't dispair yet! Lord Buckethead has returned to defeat Farage and just needs help in getting the deposit sorted.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:46 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


I hope Lord Buckethead has the brains to not actually split the vote because he's not going to steal Farage's seat because European Parliament constituencies are multi-member proportional. He was great in 2017, but that'd be idiocy now.

And I don't care how badly Remain parties are polling, it's five weeks out, and there's all to fight for. The Brexit party chucklefucks will very likely mainly not turn out, they could easily split their vote between UKIP and the Brexit party, they could get confused between the two and say "fuck it, vote Tory". Some of them may even be the mythical Labour Brexit voter, but no matter how hard he tries, Corbyn will never attract the Labour Brexit vote, because they are the people who vote for councillors who are indistinguishable from Arron Banks except for a red rosette and the fact that they're in a slightly dilapidated Victorian town hall.

So yes, let's see some support to being engaged with Remain parties. Let's see us fight for candidates who want to remain, and write to them in support and keep up the fight for another 5 weeks.

It's plenty of time for the idiotic dyspeptic hateful Leave parties to totally implode, and we want them to do this. Quietly, and embarrassingly, if possible.
posted by ambrosen at 5:03 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]


I will definitely be hoping (and fighting) for the best in the EU elections, but I fear that Marina Hyde has put her finger on it. May is correct when she says that in 2017 80% of people voted for a Brexit party. No major party has tried to put forward a coherent remain narrative. The Lib Dems are a busted flush and struggle to get any airtime given the shit show that is happening in parliament. I have a lot of respect for Caroline Lucas, but a party with one MP isn't going to be able to lead the charge.

As Hyde says, there is no coherent Remain party, just a lot of competing factions. It is a sign of just how badly Brexit is going that, despite this, support for remain is growing.

Leave doesn't have a coherent policy / leadership either, but since leave is essentially destructive that doesn't matter: you don't need much of a plan to knock something down.

Remain is constructive and is a much harder sell, and more in need of coherent policy / leadership.

That's why I am worried about the EU election.
posted by dudleian at 10:50 AM on April 20 [9 favorites]


In today's Grauniad, Mefi's own baggymp, Tom Watson...

Labour can’t defeat Nigel Farage by sitting on the fence
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:01 PM on April 20 [4 favorites]


Remain is a simple idea, a single idea and an obvious idea.

Leave is - what? Nobody knows, even at this date. There are the 'clean break' angry people, for whom nothing is more important than their own anger. There are the 'the people said leave, so we must, but we can't totally screw things up' group, which can't decide among itself where on the spectrum to settle - because the best Brexit is no Brexit, and they're trying to bring logic, and it's just inherently stupid.

Brexit has imploded under its own contradictions, as it was always going to do. Three years of this shit, and where are we? a 60:40 split for Remain. It doesn't need leaders, it needs a referendum.
posted by Devonian at 9:16 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]


Christ, WOULD SOMEONE JUST START A PARTY CALLED "THE REMAIN PARTY", JUST FOR THE EU ELECTIONS, IMMEDIATELY, PLEASE? I'd vote for it. Everyone I know would vote for it. We'd vote for it if had exactly ONE stated position, "the UK should remain in the EU". Period.
posted by kyrademon at 10:37 AM on April 21 [9 favorites]


Wouldn’t that just make the collective action problem worse? Unless this Remain party is actually a centralized place to learn about strategic voting to make sure as many MEPs as possible get elected from the four (?) parties with remain in their platform...
posted by nat at 12:44 PM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately at this point a Remain party would just cause the XKCD standards problem -- just one more Lord Buckethead. I think collating information about strategic voting is just about the only thing there's still time for.

In semi-related news, I was delighted to discover that in my own country of birth (in whose EU elections I am allowed to vote; yay!) all the pro-EU opposition parties actually managed to get their shit together in time and form a coalition. A pity that I discovered this while reading an article providing it as a counter-example to the situation in the UK.
posted by confluency at 1:12 PM on April 21 [8 favorites]


BBC: Theresa May to face grassroots no-confidence challenge
posted by Chrysostom at 9:06 PM on April 22


You can tell the holidays are over. I put the radio on over lunch to find the airwaves once again packed with MPs exhuming the corpses of the Brady Amendment and the Malthouse Compromise, telling us all how those dead horses are the way forward to Deliver Brexit etc etc. I'm not sure they are being entirely serious.
posted by winterhill at 5:46 AM on April 23


This from the Guardian gets to the heart of what's worrying me.

May can only survive as leader of the Conservatives if she can convince people she can get her WA though parliament. No one seems to believe she can do that, and the party is edging ever closer to kicking her out.

If the Conservatives have a leadership contest, the Guardian says that: "it is hard to imagine anyone [replacing her] on anything other than a platform saying they would embrace no-deal if the EU refused to offer better terms." But any significant EU concession would be an act of folly and self harm, undermining the single market, and setting a dreadful precedent for future trade negotiations with the UK.

Assuming the new PM sets the controls for the heart of the sun, stopping no deal will require a monumental effort—far greater than last time because (for all her bluster) May didn't actually want no deal, so MPs were pushing at an open door.

It reminds me of the movie cliche: we need to be lucky all the time; no dealers only need to get lucky once.
posted by dudleian at 6:38 AM on April 23


> May can only survive as leader of the Conservatives if she can convince people she can get her WA though parliament

Holding her next vote a few days before the local elections should concentrate Conservative MPs' minds pretty effectively.
posted by Leon at 9:46 AM on April 23


Nicola Sturgeon is making a statement on Brexit and Scottish Independence in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow ahead of the SNP conference this weekend. Could be nothing, could be... interesting.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:52 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]


Change UK's new logo looks like a placeholder for a real logo (to be fair this is probably because it is a placeholder for a real logo), and their two names smooshed together next to it are a bit Don't Dead Open Inside. This is about as eyecatching and memorable as the IT Crowd's new emergency number. :/
posted by confluency at 2:45 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


It's so disappointing that TIG didn't turn out to be the full-on Remain party that it very briefly looked like it might be.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:48 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


So far I think we've seen at least two of the Remain vote-splitting parties insisting that it's absurd to suggest that they're splitting the vote because of course everyone is going to vote for them and not for those other poseurs.

Does not bode well.
posted by confluency at 2:55 PM on April 23 [7 favorites]


I think the vote share and turnout are more significant with respect to a second referendum than the actual number of MEPs elected.

The polls generally show that not many people have changed their referendum vote, but people who didn't vote last time lean to Remain, giving Remain a small poll lead.

The optimistic Remainer interpretation of that is that new young Remain voters are now eligible to vote, whereas elderly Leave voters have departed, giving Remain an advantage now.

A less optimistic interpretation is that Remain is heavily dependent on young people and those least likely to turn out. Since the previous referendum had a very high turnout, the next one is likely to be lower, with the voters skewing older and more Leave than last time. Also last time the Government and both major parties campaigned for Remain: next referendum that advantage may be the other way round.

If there's a high youth turnout and a high vote share for the minor Remain parties, that's a good sign for a second referendum, however those votes are divided.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:58 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]


I dispute that a Remain polling lead of ten points plus is small.

On what basis would turnout in a fresh referendum be lower? Anyone who didn't vote in 2016 on the blithe assumption that Remain would win, plus a couple of million 18-20-year-olds who were too young to vote in 2016, will have every incentive to turn out now. If turnout is lower because some 2016 voters can't be bothered with it all now, I'd argue that favours Remain, not Leave, because Remainers are very bothered by the prospect of Brexit.

Last time the major parties campaigned in a lacklustre way for Remain against an overspending Leave campaign promising the moon on a stick. This time you'd have a government divided against itself, with the official line being a Leave deal that nobody wants, against a broad Remain coalition with majority popular support. I don't think it's straightforward to weigh one scenario against the other, but I don't see it as giving Leave an obvious advantage.
posted by rory at 5:00 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


Nicola Sturgeon is making a statement on Brexit and Scottish Independence in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow ahead of the SNP conference this weekend. Could be nothing, could be... interesting.

Interesting then... announcement that the SNP are going for IndyRef2 before the end of the current Scottish Parliament term (that's May 2021)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:53 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


(Should add that's if Brexit goes ahead)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:59 AM on April 24 [2 favorites]


That also neatly increases pressure on the Tories - unionism and Brexit seem increasingly explicitly contradictory goals.
posted by jaduncan at 6:36 AM on April 24 [3 favorites]


Also in contrast to Brexit, Sturgeon was explicitly reaching out to the other leaders from the get go to get input on what a future independent Scotland would be like and also announced having an Independent Assembly for the same task.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:08 AM on April 24 [5 favorites]


On what basis would turnout in a fresh referendum be lower?

Turnout at the last referendum was 72%, higher than in any other referendum, and any general election since 1992. Regression to the mean suggests the next one would be lower, also there may be a degree of Brexit fatigue. On the other hand EU flag and symbol sales are way up since the referendum: if that indicates a surge in EU enthusiasm we'd presumably see it in the EU elections.

Overall Remain spent £19,309,588 and Leave £13,332,569. The overspending by Leave.EU we discussed above was £77,380, not that significant to overall spending.

Another factor is the government's official leaflet which went to every household in the country and apparently made voters 3% more likely to vote Remain: next time the machinery of government is likely to be mobilised for the other side.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:49 AM on April 24


You're ducking the point there, TheophileEscargot. If the reason for lower turnout is Brexit fatigue, I would argue that favours Remain, because the people turning out will then be the ones who actively want to make it go away.

The government's official leaflet wasn't the Remain propoganda it's been made out to be. (I kept it, and looked at it again recently.) It presented both sides of the arguments, not just one. If it made people more likely to vote Remain, maybe that's because thinking about the issues in a dispassionate way rather than a heated Facebook-propaganda way has that effect.

You say that Leave.EU overspending wasn't that significant; the Electoral Commission found that the overspend was at least that much, not only that much, and referred the responsible person for the campaign to the police. And let's not forget that Vote Leave funnelled an amount equivalent to almost 10% of its allowable limit through a single person only days before the referendum so that it could keep spending up to the last minute, after Remain had stopped advertising because it had reached its own. Not that significant, bollocks (to Brexit...).
posted by rory at 8:35 AM on April 24


That does elide the £625k that Vote Leave paid to Darren Grimes, that was immediately paid onward to AggregateIQ to cover Vote Leave's bills in excess of their £7m spending limit - and AIQ are up to their necks in the social media targeting scandal.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:36 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]


On posting (should have previewed), what rory said.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:37 AM on April 24


That does elide the £625k that Vote Leave paid to Darren Grimes, that was immediately paid onward to AggregateIQ

I think that one was overturned on appeal.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:09 AM on April 24


I think that one was overturned on appeal.

I don't think so, unless we're talking past each other about different law breaking? (Genuine question, not sure I've got a grasp on just how dirty the various Leave campaigns were).
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 9:30 AM on April 24


Also in contrast to Brexit, Sturgeon was explicitly reaching out to the other leaders from the get go to get input on what a future independent Scotland would be like and also announced having an Independent Assembly for the same task.

To those who follow Scottish politics, Nicola Sturgeon's promise (link to speech) to hold an indyRef should the UK be involved in any kind of Brexit - will not come as a surprise. To do so was a 2017 manifesto promise by the SNP and was later also a notion approved by the Scottish Parliament. Accordingly, the SNP and Scottish Government have had a mandate for a second indyRef for some time - and if they were to fail to take advantage of it, they would be in deep trouble with both supporters of independence as well as with the wider set of Scottish remainers.

But her strategy of reaching out to collaborate with her political opponents is masterful political trolling as well as being strategically wise. If May had arranged any kind of reaching out to the opposition parties to find the best solution to Brexit - then there is every chance that a reasonable solution could have been found and that we would be out of the EU by now. It is failure to do this that has done so much damage to both the Conservative and Labour parties - but there are too many bridges burnt to fix that now. She also reframed the expression "getting on with the day job" - from something her opponents push as a complaint whenever indyRef2 is mentioned - to being the carrying out of her top priority job: preventing damage from Brexit.
posted by rongorongo at 11:12 AM on April 24 [8 favorites]


TheophileEscargot, your link of September 2018 about a prospective appeal is overturned by my link (on the words Vote Leave) of 29 March 2019 about how Vote Leave dropped their appeal. Nothing was overturned.
posted by rory at 11:36 AM on April 24


Steve Bullock cites Remainers in the Labour party as 'useful idiots' including Adonis, former Remainer and PV advocate now towing the Labour line on 'respecting the referendum' and 'getting on with the job' and all that. How depressing.
posted by vacapinta at 12:31 PM on April 24


TheophileEscargot, your link of September 2018 about a prospective appeal is overturned by my link (on the words Vote Leave) of 29 March 2019 about how Vote Leave dropped their appeal. Nothing was overturned.

Well OK, that takes the Remain spending advantage down from £5,977,019 to £5,249,639 then.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:39 PM on April 24


The important part, TheophileEscargot, is that Remain's spending was legal. Leave's overspend was not.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:41 PM on April 24


Oh, and the vast majority of the Leave spending came straight from one man, Aaron Banks, who both abused Eldon Insurance's databases, and can't or won't explain where the ~£8m actually came from. The same guy who had multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador, denied them, and ended up getting a really great deal on a Russian diamond mine.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:44 PM on April 24 [3 favorites]


The important part, TheophileEscargot, is that Remain's spending was legal. Leave's overspend was not.

Remain's spending was illegal too.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:51 PM on April 24


Oh, and the vast majority of the Leave spending came straight from one man, Aaron Banks, who both abused Eldon Insurance's databases, and can't or won't explain where the ~£8m actually came from.

Lord Sainsbury spent about 8 million too on the Remain side.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:59 PM on April 24


OK, I retract my earlier statement. More clearly:

The official Remain campaign's spending wasn't fully documented and they were fined £1.25k for not turning in the correct paperwork. In addition, Lib Dems were fined another £18k for the same fault, so <£20k overall.

Leave's spending was illegally coordinated to get around specific spending rules and just one of the parties involved (Darren Grimes/BeLeave) was fined £20k, and another (Vote Leave) was fined >£60k.

Both-sides-ism is usually bullshit; in this case it's particularly egregious.

On preview:
Lord Sainsbury spent about 8 million too on the Remain side.

And did he abuse data held by his private companies to help Remain? Did he hold meetings with the Russians and then deny it afterwards? Are there questions about where he got that money from?
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 1:02 PM on April 24 [10 favorites]


TheophileEscargot, what are you hoping to achieve here? Are you a Leaver who's come here to show the Remainers in this thread that we're making much ado about nothing over Leave's criminal overspending in the referendum? You're echoing the Leaver line that we've seen hundreds of times over the past few years. Or are you just trying to show how scrupulously evenhanded you are? Because if the latter, you should be open to revising your position in the face of fresh evidence, not engaging in whataboutery.

And I do mean fresh evidence, because you seem not to have known that Vote Leave dropped its appeal against the Electoral Commission fines for, let's point it out again, funnelling an amount equivalent to almost 10% of their total allowance through a single man days before the referendum so that they could make the most of the crucial final days when many waverers typically make up their minds. An overspend which the High Court heard "very likely" won them the referendum. An overspend which saw people involved referred to the police. Was Britain Stronger in Europe referred to the police in relation to its £1250 fine for incorrect spending returns? Were the Lib Dems referred to the police for failing to submit correct spending returns?

Maybe you're not that bothered about spending limits, and think that they should be abolished anyway? But that can't be the case, because the (significantly smaller) fines for Remain seem to perturb you. (On which, what Nice Guy Mike said.) But maybe that was just a bit of rhetorical repartee, and you don't care about spending limits - may the deepest pockets win. What a shining example of democracy that would make us.
posted by rory at 1:40 AM on April 25 [15 favorites]


rory, I think you're missing the point a bit here. I'm not talking about the moralities of the campaign, but the practicalities of the campaign.

If you look above, the point I was originally making was that turnout and vote share at the European elections is potentially a useful guide to the outcome of the second referendum.

You then started talking about how "Last time the major parties campaigned in a lacklustre way for Remain against an overspending Leave campaign", which seems to imply that Leave had a spending advantage which would not exist in a second referendum. In fact, it was Remain that had a spending advantage. The Leave overspending just reduced Remain's advantage from £5,977,019 to £5,249,639. So, there's no particular reason to think that spending will affect the second referendum campaign differently to the first.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:09 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Let's go back to your own figures, TheophileEscargot: Overall Remain spent £19,309,588 and Leave £13,332,569.

The figures on that page show that most of that Remain advantage was from party spending by Labour and the Lib Dems: that would be the lacklustre campaigning by the major parties that I mentioned before. (There were reports after the referendum about how significant numbers of Labour voters had thought that Labour backed leaving, so how effective can their party campaigning have been?) You raised that government leaflet as giving Remain an advantage, too, and yet half of the government at the time were campaigning for Leave, so the public's thoughts about "what the government thinks" would not at all have been clearly with Remain.

If we're going to include party campaigning as part of the overall balance sheet, why not also include media campaigning? How much did the Daily Mail contribute during the campaign? What was this Spectator cover worth? What about all the hours of airtime that the Beeb gave to Farage? What about private blog posts and random tweets by ordinary members of the public? None of that appears on the Electoral Commission's balance sheet.

If we want to talk about either side having an advantage, we need to look at more than just the reported amounts spent by a narrowly defined group participants; we need to look at how the whole Referendum was conducted. But spending does matter if there have been serious breaches by the official campaigns, and that's my point: on that page you linked, Vote Leave reported £6,675,566 and Britain Stronger in Europe £6,679,165, but we now know that Vote Leave's figures should also have included £675,315 shown against Darren Grimes, which is all but £701 of his reported spending in the campaign.

If Remain had won the referendum by 51.9% to 48.1% and it was now clear that Britain Stronger in Europe had been up to that sort of dodginess, what do we imagine that Nigel Farage and Jacob Rees-Mogg and the rest would be saying about it now?

there's no particular reason to think that spending will affect the second referendum campaign differently to the first

This is what I was taking issue with. There's every reason to think it would. I'm not saying it would be better for Remain, but it would affect it differently.

I'd be happy to keep discussing how it might play out differently - which is what I was trying to do in my initial reply to you - but I'd urge you to think again about the line you're taking on the first referendum, because it's a close facsimile of the dismissive response of the government to this evidence of serious breaches of electoral law, breaches which call the very legitimacy of that first result into question. We're being dragged out of the EU on the basis of an illegitimately secured Leave victory.
posted by rory at 7:47 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


Here's a PDF of that government leaflet, by the way. It's worth a fresh look. This was "Project Fear" in early 2016; today, it's a factual account of what's happened in the years since, and the prospects facing us now - if anything, an underestimate of what awaits us. And even though it makes clear that the Government believed that "a vote to remain in the EU is in the best interests of the people of the UK", it's a long way from the blue-and-yellow-flag-waving propaganda it's been made out to be by Brexiters since.
posted by rory at 7:48 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


That takes a rather simplistic view that every pound spent over the entire campaign had equal effect, which is simply bollocks. As rory pointed out, that last-minute timing where waverers make up their mind is critical.

Take a look at this graph (in case that link doesn't work, it's the top graph on this page at the Economist.

Take a look at the sharp uptick in Leave and the sharp drop in Remain at the end of May / beginning of June 16. Now take a guess when exactly Remain ran up against their spending limit and cut advertising. Also guess when exactly Leave pumped their excess spending into targeted social media advertising (putting aside the questions over how they got the targeting data). You can argue that Remain didn't do a good job of pacing their spending, and I'd probably agree with you, but that would have been predicated on the idea that Leave would actually stick to their legal limits. Which they didn't.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:48 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


rory: I'm using the offical numbers from the Electoral Commission.

You sometimes seem to trust those numbers, when they're your source for breaking spending limits. Then other times when they don't suit your purpose, you don't trust them.

You're then making a bunch of qualitative claims that the Leave pounds counted for more because of their timing, and the Remain pounds counted for less because of "lacklustre" campaigning, and the Daily Mail and the Spectator should count as campaign spending (presumably the Remain media was lacklustre too).

I thought we might be able to have a reasonable discussion about the quantitative spending data from the Electoral Commission. But there's definitely no way we can have a meaningful debate about those kinds of qualitative claims. So let's call a halt to this.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:31 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Finally.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 8:39 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]




On that topic, a German documentary just came out: Democracy under attack - was Brexit bought?

Personally, even if the referendum had been legally fought, my opposition comes from the moral reasons that TheophileEscargot dismisses above. Leave has promoted the worst xenophobia and racism. It is the natural outcome of blaming others, the outsiders, for your domestic problems. Regardless of how it started, it is an immoral cause, built upon years of blaming others by some of the most irresponsible, far-right enabling, weak, hate-filled press out there.

Anyone supporting Brexit has to hold their nose pretty tightly to be on the same side as Farage and his ilk and going against pretty much all the academics, naturalists, internationalists, human rights people I have ever met. In short, it is opposed by everyone I respect.

Labour not opposing the result of an illegally run, advisory Tory referendum is them either being unwilling patsies to the far right or them falling into a deep moral hole. You do not fight for equality on the back of a policy of exclusion, otherwise you are no better than the founders of the US writing down fine words about the equality of men while their slaves toiled outside.
posted by vacapinta at 2:32 AM on April 26 [14 favorites]


Anyone supporting Brexit has to hold their nose pretty tightly to be on the same side as Farage and his ilk

And "ilk" is exactly the right word for what Farage has. Farage's ilk is the ilkiest ilk that ever ilked an ilk.
posted by flabdablet at 2:40 AM on April 26 [5 favorites]


Farage and Extinction Rebellion: two politics of protest, only one has a future
Gary Younge, The Guardian

I think the opinion expressed in the headline is important to remember. We own the future. We need to be angry with the people who are trespassing on our property. I'm not even young, but I am the mother of young people, and soon to be the grandmother of a young person. I want them to be able to live peacefully on a non-toxic planet.

The rest of the opinion is good too.
posted by mumimor at 2:50 AM on April 26 [10 favorites]


Anyone supporting Brexit has to hold their nose pretty tightly to be on the same side as Farage

I think most of them smilingly have their arm round his shoulders, posing for a selfie. A significant portion of brexiteers fundamentally agree with the worst hateful shit out of Farage's mouth, rather than supporting brexit in spite of it.
posted by Dysk at 4:02 AM on April 26 [9 favorites]


A significant portion of brexiteers fundamentally agree with the worst hateful shit out of Farage's mouth

...and, just like Farage, they've been huffing the fumes of that shit plus ciggie smoke and beer fumes for so long that they can't smell it any more, and just think it's "free speech" and that anybody who disagrees with it could only be doing so in order to oppress them.
posted by flabdablet at 4:10 AM on April 26


And "ilk" is exactly the right word for what Farage has.

See the image of Farage stood next to his ilk!

I imagine the Ilk as a large ungulate creature, about the size of a moose. Immensely shaggy, mud-dwelling, with an appalling, unmissable stench and a well-deserved reputation for having no nutritional standards at all - it will eat literally anything and consume it joyously. The creature upon which all other creatures look down.

And it's burning with shame at having to stand next to Farage.
posted by Grangousier at 4:12 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


Dunno. It would be for sure, if it were anybody else's ilk. But this is Farage's ilk. It doesn't really do shame.
posted by flabdablet at 5:43 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Immensely shaggy

or would be, but for mange.
posted by flabdablet at 5:46 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


Dunno. It would be for sure, if it were anybody else's ilk. But this is Farage's ilk. It doesn't really do shame.

And he’s ilking it for all it’s worth.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:04 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


YouGov: Should Scotland be an Independent Country?

Yes: 49%
No: 51%

Interesting...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:39 AM on April 27




And it's burning with shame at having to stand next to Farage.

"Then the ilk got up and slowly walked away..."
posted by howfar at 5:07 AM on April 27 [3 favorites]


On further reflection, and recalling the Gammonball Run, I'm seeing Farage's ilk as a far less commanding presence than a mangy, shaggy, putrescent, moose-sized and indiscriminately omnivorous beast would be; more cold and wet and blue and mossy and fluffy and scared and onion-like.
posted by flabdablet at 11:39 AM on April 27 [2 favorites]


England and France: a tale of two coastlines.
On the eve of D-day’s 75th anniversary, with Brexit looming, how do those on either side of the Channel feel?
posted by adamvasco at 6:04 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


European election polling:
YouGov... CON 13%(-4), LAB 22%(nc), LDEM 7%(-2), BREX 28%(+5), UKIP 5%(-1), GRN 10%(nc), ChUK 10%(+2)...
Opinium... CON 14%(-3), LAB 28%(-1), LDEM 7%(-3), BREX 28%(+16), UKIP 3%(-10), GRN 6%(nc), ChUK 7%(+3)
Survation... CON 16%, LAB 27%, LDEM 8%, BREX 27%, UKIP 7%, GRN 4%, ChUK 4%...
Looks like the minor Remain parties are splitting the vote fairly evenly between each other.

Ian Dunt: Week in Review: An equal opportunities disaster zone.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:52 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Ian Dunt: Week in Review: An equal opportunities disaster zone.
Ian Dunt has a great insight into Westminister politics - but less so for events happening elsewhere in the UK. We might note that SNP started the selection process for its EU election candidates back in January. Just in case they should be needed.
posted by rongorongo at 4:15 AM on April 29 [3 favorites]


So, forgive my foreigner ignorance, but: what's the plan now?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:44 PM on April 29


From what I can tell, everybody's just waiting for the EU elections to use as a proxy for the Will of the People.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:26 PM on April 29


Local elections on Thursday -- the biggest one in the cycle, I think -- so there'll be postmortems and punditry on Friday about What It All Means.
posted by holgate at 5:28 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


Tom Newton Dunn
Excl: Theresa May becomes first Tory leader in 185 years to face a grassroots vote to oust her. PM was told today that an association chairmen's petition has succeeded and Emergency General Meeting will be triggered in June (1/3)
[link to the awful Murdoch rag that he writes for intentionally excluded]

Another unwanted record for May: the 1st time in Conservative Party’s 185 year history (since its foundation in 1834) that members have forced an EGM to discuss the leadership. Date will be set after local elections, with 28 days notice. Expected early-mid June (2/3)

May has been invited to address the EGM of 800 senior activists, which is likely to become a humiliating public trial, coming just after the twin local and euro elections drubbings. Vote will be non-binding, but losing it will be very hard for PM to survive (3)
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:28 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]


what’s the plan now?

Who knows? May keeps looking for ways to get her WA through the Commons, but can’t find one. There are noises that the compromise talks with Labour are getting somewhere, but I can’t make sense of those. Labour backing Brexit with the prospect of an ERG prime minister to replace May and sans a confirmatory referendum (as hinted by Long Bailey) would take lumps out of the party.
​​
​​Likewise for the Conservatives: a drubbing in the local elections, followed by an extinction level event in the EU elections, then the election of a hugely polarizing new leader, also likely splits the party. At best they continue the May stalemate—but if some of the party leave (as has been threatened) they have to call an election, and seem almost certain to lose badly. Labour are voted in and try to negotiate their leftist cake-ist vision with the EU, with the same success as May, and to the fury of a significant minority of their young and metropolitan supporters. (My cynical guess is that Labour has decided their best chance of winning is by winning fewer, but more evenly spread votes, and burning city votes where they have majorities of tens of thousands in the hope of winning in more marginal areas. I mean, who are those young idealists going to vote for, the Tories? The Greens are a possibility, which is the reason (imo) Labour has come out strongly on climate change. It will be interesting to see if their interest is deep and sustained).
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​​tl;dr I have no clue. If anyone else does, I’m all ears.
posted by dudleian at 12:18 AM on April 30 [3 favorites]


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