And what rough beast, its hour come at last...
July 22, 2019 6:04 AM   Subscribe

... slouches towards Westminster to be born? Well, probably Boris Johnson. He'll find plenty on his plate when he arrives, so let's have a new Brexit thread up and running in time to greet him.

As the temperature rises, both literally and metaphorically, and a heatwave rolls in, so too do the pre-emptive ministerial resignations, with Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan the first to jump. David Gauke and Philip Hammond are lining up behind him. Meanwhile amongst the commentariat, Leave voters are no more impressed with Johnson than Remainers. And then there's the general public, an unspecified but reasonably substantial number of whom Marched for Change at the weekend. Alas, not that you need reminding, neither the commentariat nor the general public nor even the Cabinet have any real say in who's to be anointed Prime Minister this week... that's down to the Conservative party membership, a group so set on achieving Brexit at all costs that they'd literally sacrifice the country (and the party) to do so. I believe this angst-ridden Twitter bot speaks for us all.

To end on a positive note, though, as a software developer I'm delighted to learn that a bit of can-do spirit is all you need to solve even the most intractable of technical problems. I look forward to my first "Needs more optimism!" QA bounceback.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature (97 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
From the 'can-do' article: “If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border

Pretty sure there was a spot of friction on re-entry, Boris. You can't drop a spacecraft through all those layers of atmosphere without encountering resistance, just as you can't drop a country out of the EU without anyone being inconvenienced.

I apologise for my optimism failing the country at this point just because every technical expert says the border cannot be fixed this way in any reasonable timeframe and the EU aren't going to budge, but then Johnson was never one for details. Witness: garden bridge, that pesky woman stuck in Iran, £350m per week, etc.
posted by humuhumu at 6:17 AM on July 22 [12 favorites]


Sadly relevant Stewart Lee.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 6:26 AM on July 22 [8 favorites]


So, uh.

What happens now?
posted by kyrademon at 6:27 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Vote of no confidence to make Johnson's stint as PM the shortest in history?

(Although that would unleash a wave of instability second only to Brexit - either Deal or no Deal - itself, especially if it were Johnson vs Corbyn vs some unspecified Remain-Alliance)
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:39 AM on July 22


kyrademon: Who knows? Boris has promised the moon on a stick to all comers in order to get what he’s always wanted. No Conservative MP actually believed him, but they’re so petrified by the polls & the likely effect on their careers of not voting for him that they went ahead and did it anyway.

One possible outcome is that the 'no way, no how' anti-Boris MPs will be prepared to vote against their own party in a VONC but the opposition are not convinced that such a vote would be their best option right now so it might not happen.

If it were to happen & the government lost then we have a couple of weeks to try and put together some kind of government of national unity (because I can’t see said rebellious MPs being willing to vote for a Corbyn led government) or else we fall straight into another GE. The Labour leadership doesn’t want the latter right now, because they’d have to pick a side on Brexit & they’ve spent the last few years desperately trying not to do that in order to keep their voter coalition together. The Labour leadership would much rather stick the Conservatives with the immediate consequences of Brexit & then go to the polls with it done.

More likely Boris will flail around for a few weeks trying to avoid the same set of dilemmas that May skewered herself on; at some point he’s going to have to pick which of the lies he told in order to get elected to turn into truths. Who knows what happens then? His verbal pronouncements suggest he’s dumb enough to walk us off the cliff of a chaotic Brexit at the end of October, but on the other hand the civil service have a couple of months to dump their ever growing pile of briefing papers on his desk. Who knows what he’ll do? That’s the joy of a Boris premiership - total unpredictability & lack of seriousness.

Meanwhile Iran is impounding our ships in the gulf & chunks of the US government are itching to go to war. Again.
posted by pharm at 6:39 AM on July 22 [11 favorites]


Probably this (MeFi’s own cstross)
posted by prismatic7 at 6:39 AM on July 22 [16 favorites]




The hard-Brexit headbangers' newest red line is abolishing the Irish border backstop (which itself was a compromise to allow a Leave-ruled Britain to detach itself as far as it wanted from the EU as long as the rights of Ireland are maintained). Which means that either they don't have a clue what they're talking about or they're sufficiently vainglorious to believe that they can reconquer Ireland or at least force it out of the EU.

And no backstop is not merely difficult, it is an actual logical impossibility. If one has adjacent areas A, B, C and D, it is impossible to have no border between A (the EU minus Ireland) and B (the Republic of Ireland), B and C (Northern Ireland), and C and D (Great Britain) whilst maintaining full isolation between A and D (i.e., no hated customs union, all the chlorinated chicken you can eat). Even the wing-growers' wildest fantasies, of microscopic drone-swarms on the blockchain bathing the whole of Ireland in millimeter-wave radar and tracking every molecule to seamlessly ensure its provenance and appropriate customs protocols or similar techno-onanistic bullshit, were they to exist, would not allow this circle to be squared, because It. Is. Impossible.

The thing that concerns me that, given the murky connections between Russian interests and Brexit and the lurch towards no-deal and Britain essentially becoming a rogue state, would some actors close to Johnson be preparing to learn from Putin and use Donetsk/Crimea-style tactics to force Ireland out of being a functional EU member.
posted by acb at 6:50 AM on July 22 [16 favorites]


And no backstop is not merely difficult, it is an actual logical impossibility.

Yes, this has been driving me mad since the outset. There's literally no possible solution to the problem! The first time someone said "Er - what about the Irish border...?" everyone in the room should have stared at each other in horror and started trying to work out how they were going to break the news to the voters that they'd accidentally offered something that no government could possibly deliver. And yet.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:56 AM on July 22 [12 favorites]


Probably this (MeFi’s own cstross)

(Holy moly, I was pondering a Boxing Day-to-New Years visit to London with the kids but now.... Yikes. I mean, I know it's hyperbole and speculation, but still.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:02 AM on July 22 [5 favorites]


As the only thing Boris cares about is Boris (and being PM is simply a nice chapter for his biography and eventual speaking tour) he'll want the gig for as long as he can have it. The best way to do that is avoid a general election. Doing that includes the option of cancelling Brexit. Doing a 180 (highly on brand for Boris) will kill the Tories' chances in the next election but it could keep them in power longer in the immediate short term.

You know things are going well in a democracy when your best hope for a non-catastrophic outcome is that the PMs self-interests align with that outcome.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:07 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Sure, Boris is perfectly capable of ditching Brexit if he thinks that’s his best personal option. Can’t see that happening personally - it would cut off all that lovely attention he’s getting from the Brexiteers for a start, but you never know.
posted by pharm at 7:11 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


Does anyone else get the feeling that many of us come at these issues as rational participants in a discussion that is in fact an insane game played by ostensibly elected egos who are in fact the creatures of an increasingly insane--and certainly bloodthirsty--elite?

Some of the comments contributed here seem sensible. This situation does not seem sensible. What is happening in the US and UK has not resembled 'sensible' for a few years.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:13 AM on July 22 [41 favorites]


Also, we know that, even if Brexit attains its final Juche-with-British-characteristics form on his watch, Boris Johnson will personally be just fine.
posted by acb at 7:14 AM on July 22 [6 favorites]


Just say no to crate painting.
posted by ouke at 7:43 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Probably this (MeFi’s own cstross)

Oof - we're on a plane to the UK next week. I'm hoping we get to see the sights before civilisation crumbles. (But then again, we're spending most of our time in Cornwall and Wales, so civilisation may vary....) The Queen passing away has been a dread black trump in most of our vacation contingency discussions.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:45 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Just a reminder to posters here, especially those outside the UK, please do not be flippant about the national disaster people are facing. It is not a laughing matter or a conversation starter for people who are facing shortages of medicine, extreme nationalist rhetoric, deportation, etc. That your potential vacation plans may be impacted is of concern to you, but this may not be the greatest place to share those concerns. Hugs all around.
posted by rikschell at 7:51 AM on July 22 [66 favorites]


dread black trump

If only...
posted by aeshnid at 7:57 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


The only hope now is that Boris has a massive ego and no principles.

One of the ERG lunatics would crash us out and think the consequences were worth it. I wonder if Boris has it in him to let that happen.

The whole thing is very Guns of August, not many people wanted it to go like this. Certainly 52% didn't vote for a crashing no-deal outcome. And yet, the forces of politics being what they are, this is where we have ended up.
posted by atrazine at 7:58 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


From the article linked in Charlie Stross's blog post:

He activated the narcotic weakness within the English for eccentricity – especially potent when it is suspected that the eccentric in question may one day be the leader of the gang. All too often one heard the words “that’s just Boris being Boris”, as if his singular character conferred upon him a special kind of impunity. But it wasn’t his character that did that. It was his fellow hacks, who indulged him for year after year, through controversy after controversy – because he was part of what was still largely a brotherhood.

A casual survey of who is allowed to be eccentric - either in celebration or with an indulgent sigh - while still be quietly acknowledged as a vicious, racist, sexist bully will tell you almost everything you need to know about the British media and its relationship with the British ruling class.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 7:58 AM on July 22 [15 favorites]


Pretty sus that the U.K is finally putting a gay man on the currency right before that currency becomes worthless
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on July 22 [19 favorites]


Just a reminder to posters here, especially those outside the UK, please do not be flippant about the national disaster people are facing.

The UK and Ireland, because the inability of the UK to decide what it wants beyond that it wants it all and its former colony's stability and economy should not interfere with its wishes, is also a thing that will severely affect Ireland. Which had no say in this entire mess, but gets very much to also live with it.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:03 AM on July 22 [30 favorites]


what is the deal with obviously incompetent blond white men becoming leaders of major economies lately?
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:06 AM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Certainly 52% didn't vote for a crashing no-deal outcome. And yet, the forces of politics being what they are, this is where we have ended up.

There are two possibilities:

a) this is a colossal Greek tragedy, a clusterfuck of compounded hubris, miscalculation and random misfortune, propelling the UK towards catastrophe entirely through the vagaries of fate, or

b) this is a carefully coordinated putsch, planned in minute detail with each potential waypoint charted ahead of time to guide Britain from EU membership, through the imaginary sunlit uplands of just-like-before-only-without-polski-skleps and towards the concealed goal, an outcome that would have been unfathomable in 2016 to all but a handful of operators, and is going to plan
posted by acb at 8:10 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


what is the deal with obviously incompetent blond white men becoming leaders of major economies lately?

Well, there is the hirsute-brain-slug hypothesis.
posted by acb at 8:11 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I can't see how shortages of food or medical imports happen. We'd just allow imports. Exports would crash to a halt, big recession, but imports? We'd just scrap all the rules and regulations in desperation, and other countries would make a profit, no? What am I missing?
posted by alasdair at 8:11 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


If we scrap all the rules, what's to stop some spiv from repackaging a bunch of weedkiller as antibiotics and making a killing (metaphorically and literally), in the way that the criminals who sell cocaine cut with carcinogens do? And in that case, what proportion of life-saving drugs imported into the post-No Deal UK will be what they are claimed to be?

Bonus question: what are the chances that those who brought us to No Deal will also have a stake in any such predatory cash-ins?
posted by acb at 8:14 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


[General note: if you live in the US and are confused about Brexit generally or individual points specifically, please google/read previous threads/carefully read the links and comments in this one rather than asking people to stop their conversation to educate you. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:28 AM on July 22 [19 favorites]


I'm sorry, I'll try again.

Brexit happens, and food and medicines pile up at the border. On our side, we can't export to France or Ireland because they will not let us.

But the food and medicine piled up in France and Ireland is being kept out of the UK by... the UK. So it seems to me we could just.... let it in?
posted by alasdair at 8:30 AM on July 22


“If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border”

The Apollo programme was not a triumph of can-do spirit over logic and planning. It was so planned that they almost invented a new way of running programmes. No programme before it had ever been so tightly planned and no machine so complex had ever had to work.

The entire Apollo programme is the antithesis of Boris Johnson.
posted by atrazine at 8:37 AM on July 22 [60 favorites]


I can't see how shortages of food or medical imports happen. We'd just allow imports.

Who's going to sell anything to the UK with the Pound in a freefall?
Alternately, who in the UK will be able to import anything if the Pound is in a freefall against other currencies?
posted by Thorzdad at 8:40 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


alasdair, you’re assuming a rational actor in charge - and if there’s one constant in this three-years-and-counting mess, there is certainly not anything like a rational actor in charge
posted by prismatic7 at 8:42 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I am not an expert in international trade so please everyone feel free to correct me, but from what I understood: if we unilaterally decide to let in everything from the EU, then by WTO rules we would have to let in everything from everywhere, which would be bad.
posted by adrianhon at 8:49 AM on July 22 [7 favorites]


There are two main shortage risks. One is the immediate unpredictable aftermath of a no-deal Brexit. It's quite possible that all ports will suffer confusion and delays to a catastrophic degree, causing spiralling systemic chaos for weeks. The second risk is that, while that's happening, the bottom falls out of the economy, causing massive disruption to supply chains as everyone works out how to do the basic business of feeding people etc in this new situation.

TL;DR - the risk is that all the incredibly complicated economic and technical systems that invisibly supply our every need are so thrown off balance by multiple shocks that they basically fall apart for a period of between a few weeks and a few months.

That's before the long-term effects of the economic disaster start to take hold, of course. Shortages in that context would be much more annoying and depressing than actually dangerous, but they'd still be a world away from our current abundance.
posted by howfar at 8:50 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Who's going to sell anything to the UK with the Pound in a freefall?

The EU. It's not going to roll over and let the UK prance off on a unicorn, but I doubt it's interested in or desires people dying from a lack of necessary medicines or food as it sits next door. Ireland would also presumably end up allowing NI residents to access its system to some degree, rather than have it descend into chaos and having a sudden influx of population from it.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:51 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Okay, depreciation, food getting more expensive - I can see that, definitely. Poor suffer most, as always. That's not what I think of as "shortages" though, and whilst I know I am showing my privilege with that statement, the rise of food banks and increased poverty under austerity is not described as "shortages" either. Shortages is empty shelves, not more-expensive food.

If the idea we'll have shortages relies on Boris deliberately preventing food getting to supermarket shelves... well, that sounds about as likely as, I don't know, Corbyn sending it all to Venezuela.

Don't get me wrong. Brexit is a terrible idea. I am against it. I voted against it. But it's austerity-level bad, not World War Two bad, right? Another shit policy that will make us poorer, but not actually a zombie apocalypse?
posted by alasdair at 8:53 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


But the food and medicine piled up in France and Ireland is being kept out of the UK by... the UK. So it seems to me we could just.... let it in?

Sure. Can you identify how many of those 10,000+ trucks per day entering through Dover are carrying food and medicine? And more pertinent, which ones? Right now, those trucks don't need much processing - apparently about 2 minutes each - but if you throw open the gates to just food and medicine, how do those trucks get to the front of the queue past the others? How do you know that they're only carry food and medicine, or if they're carrying them at all, and not something else? Now you're back to inspections, and more delays.

The alternative, to throw open the borders to everything, and let all those trucks through? Well, you're instantly going to run into the congestion of trucks heading the other way, which the French certainly aren't going to allow you to just roll through without their inspections (the ferry companies have already said they'll not transport any vehicles without appropriate paperwork to France, so there's some nice queues throughout Kent). And now you've opened the floodgates to incoming traffic, you're straight into the problems of quality control outlined by acb above, and the trade issues, especially open borders to EU means open borders to everyone, outlined by adrianhon.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:53 AM on July 22 [11 favorites]




The other thing about trucks coming from the European mainland is that they have to do the return journey, too. And that surely involves them having adequate paperwork to get on a ferry from England.
posted by ambrosen at 9:18 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


If the port of Dover is clogged with queues of empty lorries awaiting clearance to enter France, Britain may have to be supplied by pallets airdropped on large parachutes, as is sometimes the case with disaster areas.
posted by acb at 9:22 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


And another thing about supply coming from Europe is the demand coming from Britain - demand not in the form of people who want and need things, but rather those with the money to pay for those things. With the pound plummeting, it doesn't matter if the UK needs canned goods from France; French businesses will have very little incentive to send them over when they can trade with other EU nations with more powerful currency and less paperwork.
posted by dazed_one at 9:30 AM on July 22


And not to pile on, but (in the short run especially) freight traffic can have positive feedback effects. Normally, with traffic, if a route gets more difficult, people make different choices. So things balance out, there's a negative feedback there. But since freight shipping is so efficient, it is usually a small percentage of the cost. So (until the shipping costs rise very substantially) you can get positive feedbacks that can really spiral.

Say you're a medical supplies manufacturer in Stuttgart who ships to a warehouse somewhere in the London area. The UK market needs two shipments a week, on Tuesday and Thursday. So the truck drives from Stuttgart to London on Tuesday, back on Wednesday, back to London on Thursday, and back on Friday. (In reality, it's probably a different for-hire truck each day, and they return to different locations.) Post Brexit, there's huge queues at the border. So you send a truck on Tuesday, and instead of coming back it spends Wednesday in a queue at Dover. On Thursday morning, you still have to make a shipment, so you send a second truck, and it adds to the queue along with the first truck. Once a few weeks have passed, you might have three or four trucks stuck on the return journey for every truck you send. And it's not one company with one truck, it's thousands.

Eventually, you start charging a lot more to compensate for the extra shipping costs, and the UK just starts doing without, or finding an alternate plan. But in the short run, the traffic can really pile up.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:34 AM on July 22 [11 favorites]


“If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border”

these brexiteers need to get the history of computing out of their filthy mouths, because the history of computing is the most interesting thing in the world and they don't deserve it.

the core rope memory used in the apollo vehicles wasn't "hand-knitted." it was woven on an industrial scale by textiles workers from factories in central massachusetts. most of these workers were black women. i am glad that the contributions to space exploration made by these workers are finally being recognized, but i am completely disgusted that they are being perverted in the service of propping up brexit.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:49 AM on July 22 [47 favorites]


The gist is that the UK is about to take a complex and fairly seamless system and throw a wrench into it. The EU can try and alleviate this a bit and here are some of the Brexit preparedness notices, but the fact remains that the country is remarkably about to impose drastic economic sanctions on itself.

New checks and borders have to appear because after Brexit the UK can no longer guarantee its standards. Trucks bringing in imports may be waived through but they still have to be checked on the way out so that gums up the entire logistics of the system anyways.

Vital food and medicine may not be able to get through. Of course many people will work hard to try and avoid this but it remains a real risk here. The UK stopped being a country that could feed itself quite a while ago, relying today on 48% of its food as imports.
posted by vacapinta at 9:55 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Boris Johnson, being a US citizen, when bringing up the Apollo mission, presumably got his countries mixed up?

You can't just "We can do this like we did Apollo!" at any problem you come across, especially when all you "can do" is "attitude".
posted by romanb at 9:56 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


But the food and medicine piled up in France and Ireland is being kept out of the UK by... the UK. So it seems to me we could just.... let it in?
As others have suggested above, the EU's border is a factor too. Our frictionless trade with the EU is due to our membership in the EU, which is obviously going to stop on Brexit day. I'm guessing there will be a whole lot of confusion about the rules when that happens, with disagreements about what rules apply, and the interpretation of those rules. People may be told one thing on departure and another on arrival, with a whole lot of disagreements and negotiations and recriminations and "What the hell am I supposed to do then?"s slowing things down, on top of the actual border checks themselves.
Britain may have to be supplied by pallets airdropped on large parachutes, as is sometimes the case with disaster areas.
67 million people. Emergency airdrops would be a bucket against the tide.

I worry that during the worst of it we might need rationing, and not get it due to the political embarrassment that would cause.
posted by swr at 10:12 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Up here in Finland, now that we've taken over the presidency from July 1st for the next 6 months, there's been an eerie silence on this topic but lots and lots on climate change and sustainability. Its not going to go away you know, ostriches.
posted by Mrs Potato at 10:28 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


(the ferry companies have already said they'll not transport any vehicles without appropriate paperwork to France, so there's some nice queues throughout Kent)

So of course Kent's MPs, acutely aware of the damage a no-deal Brexit will do to the county, are all doing everything in their power to prevent it, right? For instance, last week they all voted in favour of blocking prorogation? Nope. Twelve out of the sixteen are in that big blue block of Againsts; three more (all Conservative) abstained, and only the sole Labour representative voted For.

Of course, the constituency that will be the most directly affected is Dover, whose MP has some other pressing concerns right now.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:42 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Rory Stewart, two hours ago: "Getting a little confused with people asking whether I’ve resigned. I made that announcement 8 weeks ago - when I said that because of our differences on Brexit and prorogation, I wouldn’t be able to serve in a Boris Johnson cabinet...🤔"

On the other hand, Sir Alan Duncan has just resigned as Foreign Office minister in order, abortively, to try to force a Commons debate on whether MPs support a Boris Johnson government. "I have very grave concerns that he flies by the seat of his pants, all of sort of haphazard and ramshackle. There's no personal animosity of any sort. I think he's going to smack into a crisis of government."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:29 AM on July 22


Its not going to go away you know, ostriches.

You know, across the herring pond, here in NL, my main (dutch language) news feed only mentions Brexit twice in the headlines: that there might already be a recession in the UK because of brexit and that the EU is putting aside a handful of billions of euro to help Ireland in case of a no-deal brexit.

The continent sure looks like an ostrich farm right now...
posted by DreamerFi at 11:50 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


Unless, the EU has decided that its going to firmly face the future and deal with this nonsense only in October? Let me sieve through some headlines.
posted by Mrs Potato at 12:17 PM on July 22


Boris Johnson has always wanted to make it to the top, and he's almost there. The man who helped Brexit pass will now likely have the job of delivering it. But it's possible that even he doesn't know what he wants to do. Europe is in for a turbulent autumn. ~ Spiegel.de

It could just be everyone's resting up in the summer hols...

nothing else that isn't a syndicated headline from the UK press
posted by Mrs Potato at 12:26 PM on July 22


I'm not sure what the EU is supposed to do, exactly, given that the UK government doesn't even fucking know what it wants and would reject any putative offers as more unilateral meddling from globalist bureaucrats. First step in getting help is acknowledging that you have a problem, and the UK is currently at step negative ten million on the path to recovery from its Brexit addiction.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:09 PM on July 22 [28 favorites]


While it’s been thoroughly pounded, to continue beating the poor dead horse: the problem with any kind of shipping delays is the entire flow of goods and services worldwide depends on what’s called a Just in Time model where businesses don’t keep much of a stock in “the back” (if you ask someone to “look in the back and see if they have it” at a grocery store or retail shop, they are probably taking a small break or having a laugh before coming back out to say they don’t have it). Instead, things arrive as they are needed and hopefully sell quick, especially things like fresh or frozen food. If you introduce a delay in the process, that has ripple effects down the line.

For example, I live in Louisiana where we just had a hurricane near-miss. People bought up all the bread before the storm. We went to the grocery store a couple days later and there was very little bread on the shelves, because the deliveries hadn’t been able to come because the streets were flooded. Likewise, produce and meat were fairly slim pickings until the store got caught up.

So instead of a larger than usual rainstorm, imagine every truck for basically everything delayed.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:14 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


The Conservatives have managed to balls up their own announcement, and have published a half-written announcement on their website:
Do you want to help CANDIDATE [Deliver Brexit / get brexit done etc., depending on speech]? Join the Conservative Party today and help us make a success of Brexit and make the country a better place for everyone.
I for one welcome CANDIDATE and I think he'll do a bang up job.
posted by winterhill at 1:15 PM on July 22 [26 favorites]


So the French aren't smart enough to let empty lorries back out of the UK to fill up with more French food to sell to the dumb British, even if lorries full of UK exports are stuck in a hundred-mile tailback? The French are smart. :)

I get the economic calamity, but the warnings of shortages and civil breakdown seem to be Remainer daydreams to me. Things will just be a bit more rubbish.
posted by alasdair at 2:22 PM on July 22


CANDIDATE. Yes. It's going to be hilarious if Jeremy Hunt wins, isn't it? I mean, still awful, obviously, but hilarious, given the extent to which everyone's been treating it as a fait accompli for Johnson.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:23 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


The problem is confirming they are actually empty.
posted by tavella at 3:11 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Do you want to help CANDIDATE [Deliver Brexit / get brexit done etc., depending on speech]? Join the Conservative Party today

I bitch about The Writers a lot, but goddamn can they still make me laugh
posted by schadenfrau at 3:38 PM on July 22 [6 favorites]


Just in Time model

Not just food, all kinds of supplies and transport have become JIT over the course of the EU: Municipal Drinking Water Purification Chemicals
posted by wcfields at 3:52 PM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Surely we can solve all of these trade problems with more can-do spirit.
posted by lucidium at 4:02 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


The thing is “can do” to Johnson means “someone else can do and I’ll take all the credit and none of the blame”.
posted by Grangousier at 4:06 PM on July 22 [6 favorites]


But the food and medicine piled up in France and Ireland is being kept out of the UK by... the UK. So it seems to me we could just.... let it in?

Last year, KFC had to shut three quarters of its shops in Britain because none of them had any chicken to sell, while simultaneously they had warehouses full of chicken, which all ended up slowly rotting and being thrown out, because of (self imposed) supply chain problems.

So that chicken was being kept out of KFC by... KFC. Even though it seems like surely they could just have... delivered it to their restaurants?

Supply chains are precarious things, and often minor problems cascade until the whole thing collapses. They shouldn't, but they do. So I'm not really looking forward to testing whether the whole UK supply chain breaks down just because Boris Johnson or whoever think that it won't, purely because it shouldn't.
posted by dng at 4:45 PM on July 22 [42 favorites]


Heres an analysis of the KFC supply chain failure.

The 'lessons learned' mitigation plan is already more comprehensive than any plan I've seen discuss for Brexit. Maybe we put KFC in charge?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:20 PM on July 22 [16 favorites]


I think it makes sense to assume that the EU won’t want a failed state right next door to it, and so they may find ways to mitigate some of the worst scenarios, possibly by prioritising certain types of goods. I’d feel even better about it if I saw any evidence for such planning.
posted by um at 9:33 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


I think it makes sense to assume
Well, where has that gotten us all till now?
posted by mumimor at 11:24 PM on July 22 [11 favorites]


Hugo Dixon, deputy CEO of People's Vote on Morning Ireland, outlining how the UK might get to a second referendum.

Rachael English, presenting, deeply unconvinced: "You're really quite an optimist, aren't you?"

I think she's probably right, unfortunately.
posted by ambrosen at 12:34 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


What a monumental waste of time this leadership process has been, at a point when time is of the essence.

Are Tory MPs just too witless to manage a single transferable vote to cut down how long it took to elect a new leader, or do they just need more opportunities to change sides and brown nose one of the final two?
posted by edd at 12:59 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


I think they just like to waste our time, edd.
posted by ambrosen at 1:23 AM on July 23


So the French aren't smart enough to let empty lorries back out of the UK to fill up with more French food to sell to the dumb British, even if lorries full of UK exports are stuck in a hundred-mile tailback?

The French have to determine which lorries are empty, rather than smuggling cut-rate chlorinated chicken in to undercut European producers. (Given the rhetoric coming out of Britain, it is plausible that a post-No Deal Britain would position itself as a pirate galleon off the coast of Europe, and attempt to lift its fortunes by wheedling and undercutting the flat-footed, rule-bound garlic-eaters by any means it can, half to earn hard currency and half to prove to itself that it hasn't just made a catastrophic unforced error in leaving the EU. Hence anything coming in from Britain would be regarded with justifiable suspicion.)
posted by acb at 1:52 AM on July 23 [21 favorites]


What a monumental waste of time this leadership process has been, at a point when time is of the essence.
There's been a lot of talk on the radio this morning of Boris Johnson "preparing to take his crown", which tells us a lot (if we didn't already know) about the attitude of the Conservative Party to power.

The cocked-up press release last night (congratulations CANDIDATE!) was full of language suggesting that a genuine consultative exercise among the people had happened - you'll see it again in a bit, but it had phrases like "after seventeen hustings events and consultation with thousands of voters, the new Prime Minister has been chosen". It's as if they're making a weak attempt to deflect valid criticism of the undemocratic nature of the exercise.
posted by winterhill at 2:58 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Are Tory MPs just too witless to manage a single transferable vote to cut down how long it took to elect a new leader, or do they just need more opportunities to change sides and brown nose one of the final two?

Mostly the latter. The leader is the one who recommends ministerial positions to the Queen, so this drawn-out process is also a process of negotiation between leadership candidates and ministerial candidates. Potential leaders are trying to show that they are likely to win, and potential ministers are trying to show that they can be useful by delivering votes, discouraging other candidates, or making public shows of loyalty. It's a sort of iterated prisoner's dilemma.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:14 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Boris Johnson, being a US citizen...

He's just an embarrassment to the UK these days.
posted by Luddite at 3:47 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Booris wins
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:06 AM on July 23


Well, there we go. Johnson takes it.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:07 AM on July 23


They certainly dragged it out. There's nothing they like more than to commandeer the airwaves.
posted by winterhill at 4:15 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


[Just noting quickly that we do have a Boris post now, which is fine; there's plenty of ongoing Brexit stuff that folks can focus on here without the entire thread being dominated only by Boris Talk.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:37 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


The continent sure looks like an ostrich farm right now...

And what is the EU supposed to do ? We're as prepared as we can be...
posted by Pendragon at 6:17 AM on July 23 [5 favorites]


I think it makes sense to assume that the EU won’t want a failed state right next door to it, and so they may find ways to mitigate some of the worst scenarios, possibly by prioritising certain types of goods.

Again, it is literally not possible for the EU to do anything like this unilaterally, and the UK government has no interest in cooperating.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:30 AM on July 23 [7 favorites]


I think it makes sense to assume that the EU won’t want a failed state right next door to it, and so they may find ways to mitigate some of the worst scenarios

Counterpoint: with the rising tide of nationalism threatening the EU on multiple fronts, it makes perfect sense for them to let the UK become a cautionary tale. "You don't want to leave the EU. Look what happened to the Brits when they did."
posted by mightygodking at 6:39 AM on July 23 [11 favorites]


I think it makes sense to assume that the EU won’t want a failed state right next door to it, and so they may find ways to mitigate some of the worst scenarios

There is no guarantee, but even there not being a shortage of antibiotics or insulin, say, because they're being sorted as a high priority is going to be cold comfort for people who suddenly can't get their heart medication.
posted by Dysk at 7:25 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


> Counterpoint: with the rising tide of nationalism threatening the EU on multiple fronts, it makes perfect sense for them to let the UK become a cautionary tale. "You don't want to leave the EU. Look what happened to the Brits when they did."

note also that the eu didn't hesitate to turn greece into an example pour encourager les autres after they elected syriza back in 2012 and started making mouth noises about printing drachmas / otherwise disentangling themselves from the eu's economic policies.

this was a case of a member state rocking the boat toward the left, but i suspect the eu is just as interested in preventing member states (and i suppose soon-to-be-former member states) from rocking the boat toward the right, especially now that racist hard-right nationalism of the same flavor that drives brexit is far and away the greatest threat to the stability of the eu project as a whole.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:36 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


I don't think the 27 would be able to hold together if there was a more or less sinister/secret motivation behind the EU Brexit policy. It's far simpler: if you want to be a member of this club, you have to follow its rules. If you want to leave, you are voluntarily outside the club, and that's that. You'll have to negotiate a new trade agreement, just like any other foreign country. And before you can do that, you have to pay your dues. It's not hard to understand.
The English (and possibly the Welsh) are delusional about their importance in the world. The EU is one of the world's biggest economies, and the UK is a middling country with huge structural problems.
Yes, Brexit will be a blow, to some parts of the EU more than others. But it won't be the big disaster Johnson imagines. There will be no German begging for deals for the car industry.
At this point, the last of my banker friends/relatives has moved to the continent, but that's just in my social group. Many more will move during the next months. One family moved to The Netherlands, one of the countries that exports a lot to the UK, maybe they will gain in income from services what they may lose in income from produce. Germany is another country that stands to get a lot of banking and other services after Brexit.
posted by mumimor at 7:53 AM on July 23 [11 favorites]


Counterpoint: with the rising tide of nationalism threatening the EU on multiple fronts, it makes perfect sense for them to let the UK become a cautionary tale. "You don't want to leave the EU. Look what happened to the Brits when they did."

There are millions of EU citizens in the UK. There are even more with family connections to the UK. We're, whatever the UK wants, an interconnected continent and have been for a long time. In fact, one part of the UK is attached to a member state, who grants citizenship to those in that part (Ireland and Northern Ireland), which is the part of the whole mess this is causing. Nobody wants to see the UK collapse into chaos because it would not be containable, and it would hurt a lot of people living in the UK who are EU citizens.

I don't get the lust for vengeance that is getting attributed to the EU. Sure, they aren't going to give the UK a pony and all they want, but they're not going to grind the UK down to powder just to impress Hungary or something. The UK, however, seems like it can do that all on its own.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:53 AM on July 23 [10 favorites]


I don't get the lust for vengeance that is getting attributed to the EU.

It's projection.
posted by dudleian at 11:16 AM on July 23 [11 favorites]


I think it makes sense to assume that the EU won’t want a failed state right next door to it, and so they may find ways to mitigate some of the worst scenarios

It is important to note that the deal currently on offer is already a big compromise from the EU side. The French came very close to pulling their support for it because of that and had to be talked down by Merkel, Rutte, and others. The EU has already made concessions to the UK that it would not make to a poorer country more peripheral to the system! But there is only so far they can go without breaking the EU.

That's what people in the UK don't get. The EU is a pretty carefully constructed set of compromises between countries with different interests. How much do you think France and Germany care about freedom of movement as a red line? Well, they don't... except that this is a red-line for the Visegrad countries and therefore a red line for the set of compromises that keeps the EU together.

There is no "EU" who is a (probably French) man in a tower who can decide what the "EU" will give and not give and who can be persuaded or threatened or blustered or who is desperate to sell his BMWs or his prosecco. The EU *is* that web of compromises and agreements. The EU's red lines are about survival, not about desire and if they give away too much the EU will be over.
posted by atrazine at 12:08 PM on July 23 [35 favorites]


The EU is a pretty carefully constructed set of compromises between countries with different interests.

I think this is one of the things I've found so depressing in the period since the referendum. Going in we were buried in bullshit but in the three years since there doesn't seem to be anyone who has put the work in (you'd think it would be the BBC) to explain how it works. The other part of this is that I hear people saying too often things like the Germans/French/etc are in it for their own benefit, as if it was some sort of insight, rather than the entire point.
posted by biffa at 12:54 PM on July 23 [4 favorites]


The EU is more than a collection of compromises, it's an idea. The compromises are there to make the idea reality. Freedom of movement is a red line for Germany, out of principle and shared history. Not being checked at a border and living where one wants to is a matter of freedom and choice. I don't think there is a secret bargain happening with the Visegrad states here. This is bigger than that.
posted by romanb at 2:46 PM on July 23 [16 favorites]


The EU is more than a collection of compromises, it's an idea.

True, but part of the idea is to force compromise and consensus. It's like the opposite of the Westminister system, which might be why the English find it so hard to understand and "un-democratic". The EU isn't un-democratic, but it is democratic in a way that favors coalitions, by design. Coalitions across the aisle in the EU parlament, coalitions between countries in the council. And then compromise to get things to happen in a culture where consensus is a strong norm.
posted by mumimor at 11:40 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


Which in turn can be captured succinctly by this tweet from one of the spokespeople for the Finnish govt, in context of Finland's ongoing presidency.

Having the @EUCouncil Presidency is kind of like being the captain of a sports team. You represent the whole team, not just yourself, you give credit to others for the success, and you are willling to take the bi(c)kering of teammates and the opposition. #EU #EU2019FI

posted by Mrs Potato at 3:47 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


But isn't that like saying we comprise for the sake of compromise? To me it misses the point: we compromise for greater goals and ideals: closer integration, freedom of movement, etc. Compromise and coalitions are the tools to achieve those goals.
posted by romanb at 4:08 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


The concept of democracy being most loudly pushed in Britain today is the one where whoever "wins" gets to do whatever they like, and everyone else has to "get over it".

Except if their side loses, of course. Then whatever happens is clearly tyranny, occupation and slavery.

It's no wonder they consider the EU un-democratic.
posted by automatronic at 12:44 PM on July 24 [12 favorites]


To some extent I think there is an ideal of compromise for the sake of compromise, at least among the original founding nations, as a reflection on the 30 + years of war, depression and fanaticism in the first half of the 20th century, but yes, of course the compromise serves greater goals.
posted by mumimor at 1:18 PM on July 24 [4 favorites]


I think it makes sense to assume that the EU won’t want a failed state right next door to it, and so they may find ways to mitigate some of the worst scenarios
They already have mitigated some of them - the actual worst scenarios involved no flights, exceptionally limited haulage possibilities (as a third country, UK hauliers would need ECMT licences and at least for a March 31st Brexit there would have been only ~5% of the number required available for 2019), no Eurostar and more. Partly to protect the EU27, some legislation has been put in place to prevent a very hard shock.

However, this is unilateral on the EU's side, even if some items require reciprocation by the UK. (The press release website even states: "These proposals are temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the EU. They are not “mini-deals” and have not been negotiated with the UK.")

Naturally, these are now being touted as side deals by the new UK government.
posted by scorbet at 4:35 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


I cannot imagine being a civil servant in area touching on Brexit at the moment. How could anyone plan with this lot in charge?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:02 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Lloyd's bank had called me a couple of months ago - i must have been on the bottom of their list because the HR lady was almost weeping when she said everyone she's talked to has categorically refused to move to London, UK. I metaphorically patted her consolingly. She was nice enough to follow up later with the tidbit that they've just hit pause on hiring until all the BS is sorted.

Imagine what its like to be a business and being unable to plan ahead.
posted by Mrs Potato at 3:16 PM on July 25 [9 favorites]


"The Queen passing away has been a dread black trump in most of our vacation contingency discussions."

Just a reminder that imagining the death of the sovereign is an act of treason, in one of the oldest laws on the books, going back to 1351 and Edward III. As you were.

posted by Capt. Renault at 11:51 AM on July 30 [3 favorites]


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