Mission Impossible: Prorogue Nation
August 28, 2019 5:41 AM   Subscribe

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked the Queen to suspend (prorogue) Parliament in September before a Queen's Speech on October 14th. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow noted, "it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of [suspending Parliament] now would be to stop [MPs] debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country." Many politicians have criticised the move as a constitutional outrage and a gov.uk petition against proroguation has already attracted 200,000 signatures.

BBC: According to the Institute for Government think tank, the last time Parliament was closed to get round opposition to government policy was in 1948 - following the Lords' opposition to the Parliament Bill.

Recent UK Politics threads:

Aug 12: Brexit: ScottishIndependenceFilter
July 23: UK Politics - The Johnson Years. Or Weeks.
posted by adrianhon (1067 comments total) 83 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here's my hot take. TLDR: biggest constitutional crisis since 1642, has the potential to take down the monarchy alongside the conservative party, the economy, and the entire British constitutional framework.

This isn't a civil war—yet. This isn't a constitutional crisis—yet. But it's one of the milestones on that road.

NB: am just back from a fortnight in Ireland (the Republic) and Belfast (Northern Ireland). The mood ranges from disbelief and incredulity in Dublin to barely-concealed fear for the future in Belfast (where the sectarian shit is escalating rapidly, but doesn't make headlines on the mainland unless somebody dies).
posted by cstross at 5:47 AM on August 28 [130 favorites]


Apologies for the comparatively brief nature of this post!

The House of Commons Library research briefing on Prorogation of Parliament
posted by adrianhon at 5:47 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Ian Dunt: Prorogue: The government takes its shot.

Stephen Bush: What Boris Johnson's plan really means:
But what it does do is it sets up a showdown in parliament next week that would give Johnson the pretext to stand outside Downing Street, decry the bad behaviour of MPs and go to the country on a “don’t let politicians steal Brexit” ticket before 31 October – which increasingly looks like the government’s real first preference, rather than pursuing a no-deal Brexit with such a fragile parliamentary majority.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:50 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


> has already attracted 200,000 signatures.

Plus another 22,000 in the ten minutes since you posted.
posted by humuhumu at 5:51 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


The petition was started 2-3 hours ago AFAIK, so it's going strong!
posted by Drexen at 5:54 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Hmm, actually maybe not? But I think it only just caught the wind!
posted by Drexen at 5:55 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


There's also a protest against the parliament shutdown tonight on College Green, at 5:30pm.
posted by acb at 6:08 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I feel like whatever happens now, the breakup of the U.K. has become inevitable. Unthinkable things are happening on a daily basis and any claim to stability has become laughable.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:09 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


*slow clap for title*
posted by Fizz at 6:10 AM on August 28 [29 favorites]


This is one of the better things I've read about Northern Ireland and Brexit recently:

"Is Northern Ireland Spiralling out of Control?" by Claire Mitchell
posted by knapah at 6:10 AM on August 28 [15 favorites]




So he really does want no-deal after all.
posted by scruss at 6:15 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Further to what TheophileEscargot posted above, the latest YouGov polling puts the Tories up 10% and hell, Boris may be able to cut a deal with Farrage and the Brexit Party to only contest Labor or Lib Dem ridings.

Basically, barring some dramatic and sudden change in UK public opinion on Brexit, I think it's going to happen. Either Boris fends off a confidence motion and sees it through, which, given Corbyn's reported insistence that he'd be PM of the caretaker government, he probably will. Or Parliament blocks no-deal legislatively and Boris calls an election to "resolve the impasse", which Boris can probably win, given the polling above, and how he has positioned himself as being willing to deliver brexit come what may.
posted by Grimgrin at 6:17 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


This bit from cstross's post is just... well I'm just opening and closing my mouth like a fish:

To add to the fun and games, the political advisor at Number 10 who has the PM's ear is Dominic Cummings, who is noted for being both an Accelerationist and a closet singularitarian (he keeps the latter out of the public eye but it's on his blog). He can thus best be approximated to an ultra-capitalist rapture-of-the-nerds embracing Trotskyite, merrily intent on pouring gasoline on the bonfire of British constitutional traditions.


Some people really do want to see the world burn.
posted by Cash4Lead at 6:19 AM on August 28 [29 favorites]


I am drinking tea in brick lane, the sun has just come out, a lovely end of summer day. I does not feel like the edge of revolution. Yet i am pretty sure people still went and got coffe at the shop tha day before attacking the bastille.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 6:19 AM on August 28 [53 favorites]


Some people really do want to see the world burn.

Some people are well positioned to profit when the world burns.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:22 AM on August 28 [92 favorites]


It's obviously impossible to make predictions at this point, but I can say one thing: civil unrest has become much more likely today than it was yesterday. I'm seeing a lot more people determined to go on marches and occupations and protests, especially as it seems all other traditional modes of opposition have abjectly failed.

I also wouldn't underestimate the influence of the protestors in Hong Kong. They're truly inspiring and frankly put us to shame in their defence of democracy.
posted by adrianhon at 6:25 AM on August 28 [76 favorites]


Yeah, the problem with two years of constructive ambiguity is that come an election you get to see if Schrödinger's cat is alive or dead. It can't be both anymore. You can prop it up and pretend it's pining for the Fjords, but that's not going to fool anyone. IMO Labour have run out of time to put together an election / referendum position that's both clear and simple, and sell it to the electorate. Wish I was wrong, but it feels that way and has done for a while.
posted by dudleian at 6:25 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Stephen Bush: What Boris Johnson's plan really means

Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall posted an alternative take:
Downing St strategy now clear.

-get through first 2weeks of parliament in September

-conf season

-new deal at council on 17th October

- survive Queen’s speech because if they don’t they’ll be no deal

-get new deal through days before 31st with terrified Parliament
BoJo coming up with a new deal would seem a bridge too far, though. The EU want the WA, Ireland will veto any deal without the backstop, and the ERG will vote against any with it. Even if BoJo calls, and wins, a new election, it's doubtful he could ram a Brexit deal of any sort through Parliament.

This is what playing chicken with a parked car looks like.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:28 AM on August 28 [18 favorites]


MeFi's own Maciej Ceglowski reported from Hong Kong of seeing a Union Jack in the protests, waved by a local named Grandma Wong. Perhaps it should be the other way around, with British pro-democracy protesters waving Hong Kong flags as symbols of democratic resistance?
posted by acb at 6:29 AM on August 28 [15 favorites]


I'm wondering if the end game is not to end up with the UK as a US protectorate

"Airstrip One" has a nice ring to it.
posted by gimonca at 6:30 AM on August 28 [22 favorites]


> This is what playing chicken with a parked car looks like.

I find your lack of faith disturbing. Optimism! Don't forget, this is Great Britain. A bit more can-do spirit, what? Pluck and nerve! No gloomsters allowed.
posted by humuhumu at 6:34 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I've just been reading Maya Jasanoff's brilliant biography of Conrad in which she quotes Stead's "The Americanization of the World" (1902) in which he said that Britain could either sit back and wait to be reduced to "the status of an English-speaking Belgium" or could merge with the US as a junior partner, and "continue for all time to be an integral part of the greatest of all World Powers".

I think we know where the current government is leading us...
posted by dudleian at 6:36 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


A little reminder that, to draw a parallel, the current avalanche of political crises America faces is not solely the fault of Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell. It is the fault of the chorus of political hacks in the Senate who are watching the political avalanche and refusing to lift a single finger towards saying "all right, this is going too far," let alone actual correction.

So if the UK crashes out with a no-deal Brexit and people suffer and people die, it is not all BoJo's fault. It is the fault of every member of the Tory coalition in Parliament who had the opportunity to say "no, this will not be allowed to happen" repeatedly in the leadup to this moment and refused to do so, from the loudest backbencher to the stodgiest I-will-vote-the-party-line uncontroversial toad.

And not a single one of them should ever be allowed to forget it.
posted by delfin at 6:37 AM on August 28 [72 favorites]


This all seems to follow logically from Parliament deciding (stupidly) to put a political issue to a referendum. Referendums are a bad un-British idea that don't fit with parliamentary democracy, so here we are. The Government wants Brexit, the Opposition (Corbyn) wants Brexit, the referendum was for Brexit, Parliament won't vote to bring down the Government, Parliament couldn't get its act together to come up with any kind of alternative plan in March when it had a chance under the weak May. What does Parliament expect to happen? You staged a referendum! You lost it!

Maybe Parliament will learn to avoid passing referendum legislation in future.

(Just to be clear: Brexit is stupid, the child of foreign oligarchs and idiot public schoolboys, and the worst self-inflicted injury to our country since... shooting the Easter Rising leaders? Failing to get US buy-in to Suez? Losing Singapore? But here we are.)
posted by alasdair at 6:39 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]


(Though delfin is also thoroughly correct: "I oppose Brexit but not enough to vote against my party" is a nonsense position and the Tory MPs refusing to vote down the Government when they will not pass its legislation are wrong.)
posted by alasdair at 6:41 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


> Parliament deciding (stupidly) to put a political issue to a referendum

Not Parliament. Cameron. Let's not forget his starring role bringing this motherfucking ruckus.
posted by humuhumu at 6:41 AM on August 28 [50 favorites]


alasdair: it wasn't Parliament that ran the Brexit referendum, it was "pigfucker", David Cameron, the only prime minister to one-up his political obituary from [alleged'y] "fucked a dead pig's face in public" to "destroyed the union of crowns".

Maybe Parliament will learn to avoid passing referendum legislation in future.

Thereby dooming Scotland (and Northern Ireland) to an infinite future dominated by upper-class English fuck-ups.

The real lesson here is that a 52/48 split is not a mandate for radical constitutional change, and if you want to consult the People about a radical constitutional change you shouldn't go about it in any kind of half-assed manner. (And this should be a warning to the SNP and Sinn Fein, too.)
posted by cstross at 6:44 AM on August 28 [61 favorites]


the worst self-inflicted injury to our country since... shooting the Easter Rising leaders? Failing to get US buy-in to Suez? Losing Singapore?

Try Lord North losing the North American colonies.
posted by acb at 6:44 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


My obsessive deep dive into short-term credit markets during and after the 2008 financial crisis keeps paying off: please don't wait to stockpile food. The modern global just-in-time distribution system means that distributors don't have warehouses full of food lying around, and supermarkets have at best 3 days of supply in stock. So, if no-deal happens and the worst predictions are true, Britain could see a massive food shortage by a week out.
posted by Automocar at 6:46 AM on August 28 [27 favorites]


For Johnson, the problem with closing parliament, is that opening it again requires you make a Queen’s speech that can win a majority vote. (Not a problem for a government with no intention of opening parliament again).
posted by rongorongo at 6:46 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


BoJo coming up with a new deal would seem a bridge too far, though.
That is a lovely British understatement. Absolutely nothing Johnson has said or done indicates a possible new WA. There can't be a WA without a backstop. That is a non-negotiable red line for the EU.
No one has even begun to negotiate "The Deal", because that proces starts after the UK has agreed to the WA and left. If the UK leaves without a WA, and without paying its dues, good luck with negotiating a deal at all. This is just a reminder that regardless of the result, the 31st of October is just the beginning, not the end.

I don't know what is the worst thing about these idiots, but one thing that keeps on getting to me is when I realize again and again how ignorant they all are. Even those evil capitalists who planned and financed this because they want to avoid EU's tightening tax and money-laundering regime (and improving workers protection, and improving consumers protection) have no idea what they are doing. I want to scream at the Labour leadership every day when I wake up. Etc.
The same applies to a lot of British voters. I agree that if there is an election soon, the Tories will win. Why are people voting for doom? It's really hard to understand, unless you take a dive into any comments section and see what people think they know about the economy, about EU, even about UK governments.
posted by mumimor at 6:48 AM on August 28 [31 favorites]


"TLDR: biggest constitutional crisis since 1642, has the potential to take down the monarchy alongside the conservative party, the economy, and the entire British constitutional framework."

Canada went through its own prorogation dispute about ten years ago. PM Harper wanted to prorogue Parliament to avoid a vote of non-confidence he was sure to lose, followed by a new minority government formed by the opposition. The PM wanted to suspend Parliament to hold onto power.

The Conservative PM survived, partly because of his skills, partly because of the disarray of the opposition. The Conservative party suffered some damage, but perhaps just in the form of the further entrenchment of party lines. (Harper later prorogued a *second* time, with much less hullabaloo.)

However, there was (I think) some long-term damage to the institution of the monarchy. The Governor General, as the vice-roy standing in for the Queen, granted the PM his request to prorogue and hold onto power. There is some question as to whether the GG merely 'rubber-stamped' the PM's request or if the conditions she placed on it were actually substantive.

That said, the GG prevented Parliament from meeting. The GG's (and by extension the Queen's) role as an 'impartial defender of Democracy' became much less credible. How was Democracy defended if the representatives weren't allowed to meet? And given that, just why do we have this figure as our Head of State, if they're not going to step in at a crucial moment?

I would expect that if the Queen grants Boris his request, that similar questions will follow, just why there is a monarch in a democracy. (Now, the small-r republican movements in the UK and Canada are quite different, as in Canada there is much more indifference to a monarch who doesn't come round very much, but that's another topic.)
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:49 AM on August 28 [34 favorites]


Both the Lib Dems and Labour have requested meetings with the Queen. As Capt. Renault says, it's hard to see how the monarchy comes out of this since the usual "neutral" path of accepting the PM's recommendations will piss off half the country.

Fun times at Buckingham Palace await!
posted by adrianhon at 6:51 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


In decades to come, it will probably be a truism glibly trotted out by journalists and documentary presenters that England's glorious half-millennium was bookended by the two Elizabethan eras. Even more so if the present crisis ends up taking the House of Windsor with it.
posted by acb at 6:56 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


Why are people voting for doom?

To make sure that doom hits the Other People first.
posted by delfin at 6:56 AM on August 28 [42 favorites]


It’s shocking to watch the UK going through this fall and today’s political fuckery as an outsider raised in the Commonwealth being feed a solid diet of the UK as the shining light of democracy and legal norms. Having also lived in a UK overseas territory I feel sorry for the 250-300k citizens of those 14 or so territories who have had zero say in any of this but whose economies and laws are so dependent on the EU and have advanced with the UK as a member of it. I do worry about civil rights regressing in some of these locations once EU human rights laws stop being applicable - especially LGBT rights.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:02 AM on August 28 [22 favorites]


I can’t think of a precedent for the monarch refusing the PM’s request to prorogue? I don’t really think it would be reasonable to expect the Queen to suddenly try to exert long-dead powers simply in order to get Remain a bit more time for its Parliamentary manoeuvres - especially since there is still, in fact, enough time for either a vote of no confidence, or passing anti-no deal legislation if the Remain side can just get organised.
posted by Segundus at 7:02 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Welp, the Queen approved the prorogation request. At least Swinsn and Corbyn are saved the journey.
posted by adrianhon at 7:04 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


We're fucked.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:07 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


They certainly won't be talking about “level-headed English pragmatism” any more. Or if they do, someone will point out that they're probably thinking of Sweden or the Netherlands or somewhere.
posted by acb at 7:08 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


the UK as the shining light of democracy and legal norms

You know, I keep hearing recently from people who say ‘we always regarded the UK as a bastion of democracy/fountainhead of common sense/home of mature politics.’

The funny thing is, I never remember receiving any of these lovely compliments. I can only remember being told we were a failing class-ridden society with post-imperial delusions.
posted by Segundus at 7:09 AM on August 28 [21 favorites]


Britain could either sit back and wait to be reduced to "the status of an English-speaking Belgium" or could merge with the US as a junior partner, and "continue for all time to be an integral part of the greatest of all World Powers".

This turn of affairs wouldn't be complete without @realDonaldTrump chiming in: "Would be very hard for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, to seek a no-confidence vote against New Prime Minister Boris Johnson, especially in light of the fact that Boris is exactly what the U.K. has been looking for, & will prove to be “a great one!” Love U.K."

(And those aren't sarcastic scare quotes—Trump's quoting himself on BoJo as a PM.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:11 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]



The funny thing is, I never remember receiving any of these lovely compliments. I can only remember being told we were a failing class-ridden society with post-imperial delusions


but we had rules
posted by lalochezia at 7:11 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


There is some question as to whether the GG merely 'rubber-stamped' the PM's request or if the conditions she placed on it were actually substantive.

Hey, she did consult with the Prime Minister and other advisors for two days.

Oh wait, no, it was two hours.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:23 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


How long does the Queen normally take to approve such a request? That seemed very fast given the context and multiple requests from the opposition to meet.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:26 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Why are people voting for doom?

I overheard two elderly men discussing Brexit in a garden cafe this weekend.

"You see, I read The Guardian, the Economist, The Telegraph, but I don't know what to think!" said one. "They say there'll be enormous queues of lorries at Dover and Calais. That's absurd! Why wouldn't they just wave them through?" said the other.

"They can just wave them through," the first concurred.

The truth is, people are completely misinformed and uninformed.
posted by adrianhon at 7:27 AM on August 28 [63 favorites]


I can only remember being told we were a failing class-ridden society with post-imperial delusions.

Really? None of that came through to us in the Queen’s Christmas message at all......
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:29 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Boris Johnson’s intention is clear: he wants a ‘people v parliament’ election... Back Boris, Take Back Britain"
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:29 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


For Johnson, the problem with closing parliament, is that opening it again requires you make a Queen’s speech that can win a majority vote.

He can win a majority vote. He has a working majority for everything except getting Brexit through in any form - no form of EU relationship, from "Revoke Article 50" (remain) to "No Deal" (hard Brexit) has a majority in the Commons, where Remainers have completely failed to get their act together. His position is not unreasonable.

I mean, the correct thing to do at this point is go to the country - have a General Election - and the new Government takes over, not bound by any previous Parliament, and can resolve it. Oh wait! Except Parliament decided to have a referendum, which would still bind the next Parliament (politically, if not legally), in violation of all our norms.

It all follows from the referendum. When that is resolved we can go back to normal. But the referendum broke everything, and Parliament voted for that, so - astonishingly - my sympathies are with the vile Johnson. Yes, we will be poorer and weaker, but then again, austerity made us poorer and weaker and we are still here. But we need to get this stupid referendum decision out of the system, which means Brexit.

(I realise I'm repeating myself, so I'll shut up: but really, this is a brilliant example of how the political system matters in terms of how power works, and how parliamentary democracy is perhaps the best system. This is like living in an American presidential election, and it's horrible.)
posted by alasdair at 7:31 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


There was a recent report on how a boycott of The Sun lead to a reduction in Euroskepticism

As both English speaking nations opposite the At,antic descend into ...broadly fascistic chaos, never forget the role of powerful, profit-minded ideaologicsl media empires in shaping opinion.
posted by The Whelk at 7:32 AM on August 28 [47 favorites]


I've heard it said elsewhere that the endgame here could be a generations-long one party rule in England by the Tories. A harsh Brexit followed by an independent Scotland (and perhaps even breakaway of Northern Ireland) would put the Tories in almost an unassailable position in a rump-UK of England and Wales. All they would have to do is make it look like they tried to prevent an independent Scotland while actually letting it go.
posted by tclark at 7:35 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


But Alasdair, what kind of Brexit? None of the leave leaders proposed no deal, many said it was an impossibility that it would come to that. Now it's apparently no deal or nothing. None of them sold that but now that's what the electorate of 2016 wanted. Now we have a better idea of what we might be getting there is apparently no room for another vote, even though some of the leave leaders said that is would happen.
posted by biffa at 7:37 AM on August 28 [10 favorites]


RE referendum binding parliament. It "binds" parliament "politically" (and not "legally") inasmuch as there is a consensus at present that, because we had a badly conceived advisory referendum based on lies, we should plough on with it. That "consensus" is one that is oft-repeated, but should someone take the bull by the horns and say "Let's revoke and if/when leavers can put forward a workable proposal we'll revisit" then there is no reason we can't just cancel it and let it return to the fringes.

People will say- "that will make Brexiteers angry". No it won't, they've been angry all along, even/especially while "winning".
posted by Gratishades at 7:42 AM on August 28 [27 favorites]


The funny thing is, I never remember receiving any of these lovely compliments. I can only remember being told we were a failing class-ridden society with post-imperial delusions

but we had rules


No, we had conventions. Which the Government are now running roughshod over.
posted by doornoise at 7:43 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Something something Idiocracy was a warning not an instruction manual.

The anglosphere is just intent on destroying itself out of ultranationalism.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:48 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


In all the kerfuffle, no one seems to be commenting on the DUP's qualified statement this morning:

"As outlined in the Confidence and Supply Agreement in 2017, the terms of that Agreement will also be reviewed in advance of the new Session. We originally envisaged that being after two years. This will be an opportunity to ensure our priorities align with those of the Government."

What are they after? Another bung? And if they don't get it?
posted by doornoise at 7:50 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


The Tories in England long imagined that they were enthusiastic about monarchy, the church, and the beauties of the old English Constitution, until the day of danger wrung from them the confession that they are enthusiastic only about ground rent.
-Karl Marx, 18th Brumaire, Ch3 (1852) Stolen from John Stone on twitter

The Tories are, definitionally, out for themselves. Everything else is secondary. We’ve seen this time and time again in the last couple of years - a Tory “rebel” will go on telly and talk a good game, but they will never vote against their government. They’ll never vote against their own immediate interests because they have no belief in the “greater good” - that’s the entire philosophical reasoning behind being a Tory, after all.

We have a choice between a Conservative party on the one hand and food and medicine on the other. They’ve made their choice and it would be naive to imagine that they’ll ever change their minds. It’s up to the rest of us to make ours.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:51 AM on August 28 [44 favorites]


The ideological psychopaths behind Trump, Putin and Brexit.
What drives Steve Bannon, Vladislav Surkov and Dominic Cummings?
posted by adamvasco at 7:53 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


"Prorogue"? Where have I seen that word before? That's right, on my favorite daily politics read, electoral-vote.com back on July 24th:

And then there is the third option, which is definitely the ugliest one. Johnson could execute a "no-deal" Brexit, which would send the British economy into a spiral, and might well take the world economy with it. Parliament is adamantly opposed to this, and so if this is the approach Johnson chooses, he would likely go to the Queen and ask her to declare the legislature to be in recess, which is called "proroguing." The effects of this course of action would be something to behold. It would drag Her Majesty into politics, which will not amuse her or the British people. It will trigger lawsuits, with former conservative PM John Major already having declared that he will be the first to file. The MPs say they might just keep meeting in some location other than the Palace of Westminster, so they are not really prorogued. And whenever they are formally called back to work, they would likely hold a vote of no confidence in Johnson and boot him from office.
posted by jason6 at 7:54 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


The funny thing is, I never remember receiving any of these lovely compliments. I can only remember being told we were a failing class-ridden society with post-imperial delusions.

If only people had been more complementary, the country wouldn't have shot itself in the dick
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:56 AM on August 28 [29 favorites]


Boris Johnson Is Suspending Parliament. What’s Next for Brexit? (Yasmeen Serhan, Helen Lewis & Tom McTague, The Atlantic)
The British prime minister’s latest move effectively dares his opponents to unite against him.
They cover the following scenarios: "No Confidence Leading to Caretakers"; "A Fall Election"; and "Brexit Happens, Do or Die".
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:56 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


What are they after?

"Construct a square with the same area as a given circle by using only a finite number of steps with compass and straightedge."
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:56 AM on August 28 [17 favorites]


Royalists like to say that the monarch in a constitutional monarchy provides stability by both acting as a lightning rod to draw nationalist attention away from populist demagogues and by overriding elected officials when they try to do something that would destabilize the realm. Brexit has been thoroughly disproving the first idea since it first entered the public consciousness, and now it's provided concrete evidence against the latter as well.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:58 AM on August 28 [35 favorites]


The funny thing is, I never remember receiving any of these lovely compliments. I can only remember being told we were a failing class-ridden society with post-imperial delusions.

Britain is still all of those terrible things. It just hasn't got the good bits any more.
posted by Dysk at 8:09 AM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Something something Idiocracy

Funny you should mention it, I was just checking google trends to see if everyone else is also suddenly reminded of Idiocracy. Not really anything that looks like it'd be statistically significant, but it is getting its biggest spike in interest since November 2016. This photo somehow brought it to mind.
posted by sfenders at 8:10 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


The MPs say they might just keep meeting in some location other than the Palace of Westminster, so they are not really prorogued.

Watching from well outside the blast-zone, that's an interesting test of Parliamentary supremacy. Can Parliament meet only if the monarch says so, or does Parliament decide when Parliament meets? (Constitutional convention says the former, but conventions don't mean what they used to...) And hey, it's been done before. You must have a royal tennis court, right?

posted by Capt. Renault at 8:11 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


I can’t think of a precedent for the monarch refusing the PM’s request to prorogue?

No, but that doesn't mean that it's popular. Last big deal time it happened that I'm aware of was around the Reform Bill. This contemporaneous quote is from Darwin's correspondence: "...the unpopular king [went] down to prorogue parliament and no one would drink his health. It is a wonder he did not die straight away."

I guess the monarchy survived that time, but it has to corrode its authority...
posted by dudleian at 8:12 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]




Royalists like to say that the monarch in a constitutional monarchy provides stability by both acting as a lightning rod to draw nationalist attention away from populist demagogues and by overriding elected officials when they try to do something that would destabilize the realm.

I'm going to quote Dawn Foster, ever-reliable at providing a view from Northern Ireland:

*Opens mentions* Wow, English people really do fantasise about the Queen as much as the rest of the world jokes
posted by ocular shenanigans at 8:27 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


I half expect Boris to suggest that the EU give Ireland back to the UK as part of the WA to solve the backstop issue. Then when the EU point out how ridiculous that is, the Murdoch press starts blasting the EU as unreasonable.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:28 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Let's please try not to go after each other. And people who aren't from the UK/living in the UK: please take extra care in here and skip the dark jokes/"it would be just like them to ___" speculations etc, it too-easily comes across as callous.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:30 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


You must have a royal tennis court, right?
No-one wants the Tennis and Rackets Association involved in a constitutional crisis.
They have nukes I've heard.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:33 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


I half expect Boris to suggest that the EU give Ireland back to the UK as part of the WA to solve the backstop issue.

Isn't that essentially what all this “the backstop must go” rhetoric is, albeit dressed up in a velvet glove? All the backstop means is that it is the UK's responsibility to recognise Ireland as a sovereign nation and EU member and not impose its poor life choices on it. If it goes, that's up in the air, and the UK could jockey them out of being a functioning member of the European customs union, and/or insist that the Irish have the choice between EU membership and peace/stability.

Of course, they won't say it in as many words (the closest was some British politician briefly mentioning the idea of Ireland “temporarily” unaligning itself from the EU Customs Union until things can be resolved), so they trot out fantastic rhetoric about imaginary (and impossible, without Culture-level weakly-godlike AIs at least) technological panaceas. The subtext is as it always was: “Ireland is our backyard, hands off”.
posted by acb at 8:37 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


So he really does want no-deal after all.

I'm American so it's entirely possible that I've missed some nuance, but I follow politics obsessively/professionally in general and work closely with two English ex-pats who do the same, and I've never seen any indication that this crew doesn't want no-deal.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:38 AM on August 28 [23 favorites]


I half expect Boris to suggest that the EU give Ireland back to the UK as part of the WA to solve the backstop issue.

Aug 21: Boris Johnson wants Ireland to leave EU trade rules and form a new union with the UK instead after Brexit (Business Insider)
posted by adrianhon at 8:42 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


I've never seen any indication that this crew doesn't want no-deal.

It's a persistent illusion that any well-spoken, expensively educated Englishman must be highly competent. (That's why Emirati sheikhs hire Old Etonians/Harrovians to run their airlines and banks, for example.) An implication of this illusion would be that it is logically impossible that a clever chap such as Johnson would be driving the UK off the cliff, so everybody looks for the twist. It's like a film where you know that the hero is alive at the end, despite whatever peril they are in in the second act.
posted by acb at 8:44 AM on August 28 [27 favorites]


UK Tories really don’t consider the Republic of Ireland to be a legitimate, sovereign nation based on how they talk about it
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 AM on August 28 [18 favorites]


Are they just not old enough to remember The Troubles? This is madness. I'm a US citizen, but I've spent many formative years in the UK, and in the back of my head, was always hoping to get back. I've been obsessively following this, and I did have to take British government classes, so I feel like I *can* follow it with some confidence, and I just cannot even believe what is happening.

There is a strong anti-royalist feeling amongst the population most hurt by Thatcher (et al) austerity type funding of the commonwealth. I fear a thing like this may very well be the beginning of the end of the monarchy.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:52 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


it will be the end of the monarchy is Lizzy dies soon
if she holds on to 101 like her mum, maybe not.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 8:56 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


I've spent many formative years in the UK, and in the back of my head, was always hoping to get back

Me too, and I live here.
posted by Grangousier at 8:56 AM on August 28 [52 favorites]


I still remember this Economist article: Britain’s good-chap model of government is coming apart from last year:
Britain’s ramshackle constitution allows plenty of scope for such shenanigans. Whereas every other Western democracy has codified its system of government, Britain’s constitution is a mish-mash of laws and conventions, customs and courtesies. Britain sees no need for the legalistic or (worse) European idea of writing down its constitution in one place. Instead it relies on the notion that its politicians know where the unwritten lines of the constitution lie, and do not cross them. “The British constitution is a state of mind,” says Peter Hennessy, a historian who calls this the “good chap” theory of government. “It requires a sense of restraint all round to make it work.” Yet amid Britain’s current crisis, such restraint has been lacking.
posted by vacapinta at 8:56 AM on August 28 [31 favorites]




I simply cannot believe that this is all happening. I feel like maybe I sustained a head injury in 2015 or thereabouts, and that's why nothing has made any sense in the past few years. A purple giraffe could come waltzing up my street and, at this point, I would probably just shrug.
posted by aramaic at 9:05 AM on August 28 [50 favorites]


I've never seen any indication that this crew doesn't want no-deal.

They pretended not to want no deal in order to get the compulsive centrists on-side, basically, and a lot of the centrists apparently still believe them.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:11 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Aug 21: Boris Johnson wants Ireland to leave EU trade rules and form a new union with the UK instead after Brexit (Business Insider)

What the fuck?

No, really: what the fuck? Is he just absolutely delusional? Is he spending his time in Number 10 huffing paint? What the hell is even going on anymore? I am so tired of white straight men deciding everything in their favor while fucking everyone else over.

Maybe this is displaced anger over the state of my own country (the U.S.) but I've lived in England and I have friends there and this is maddening to me.

The global world order that was established after WWII was an intricate and complicated piece of work that has resulted in four generations that have no living memory of just how bad things can get. Not "Netflix going down for a couple hours" bad, but "whoa we've got enemy bombers flying over my neighborhood and we can't get butter" bad.

I think this proroguing Parliament thing has broken me.
posted by Automocar at 9:17 AM on August 28 [74 favorites]


My head is just a repeating gif of David Tennant saying "I'm so, so sorry."
posted by RakDaddy at 9:23 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Automocar: this is of a piece with Theresa May's plan for a Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (note that last bit!) to follow Brexit, seemingly forgetting that the people of NI voted against leaving the EU. Added lulz: it's in 2022, the centennial of the Irish Civil War (without which there wouldn't be a Northern Ireland—file under Ethnic Cleansing and move swiftly on).

TLDR: a certain demographic of right-wing English conservatives (i.e. most of them) have no idea that their vision of of themselves is wildly at odds with how everybody else perceives them.
posted by cstross at 9:23 AM on August 28 [25 favorites]


Are they just not old enough to remember The Troubles?

Many Tories view the Troubles through blood-tinted glasses: "Remember when our proud military would get stuck in, eh lads? Those were the days." They love all the pageantry, the tattoos, Trooping the Colour, ruling the waves, all that disgusting gloating over colonialisation. The odious Mark Francois is a prime example of the breed.

As someone who grew up with Thatcher-loving parents, the IRA were very much the bad guys. Any provocation or violence from the British Army or the Loyalist paramilitaries was either little reported in mainstream media or hand-waved away.

The question of what the British were doing in Ireland in the first place? That was never questioned.

Boris suggesting Ireland should step out of the EU to prop up the British Government? Business as usual for the Tory hard-right.
posted by doornoise at 9:27 AM on August 28 [22 favorites]


Looks like Ruth is bailing out finally...

via @kacnutt: "Huge news - Ruth Davidson quits as Scottish Tory leader. Full story coming soon
@ScotNational"
posted by Buntix at 9:30 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


What are [the DUP] after? Another bung?

Of course they are. It's always worked so well for them.
posted by scruss at 9:36 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


#StoptheCoup, and also #dictatorship and #GeneralStrike, are trending on UK Twitter this afternoon.
posted by Gordafarin at 9:36 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


There's a protest in town but I can't afford the bus fare. They're saying you should stockpile food and medicine but I can't afford that either. I'm trying to get a job and there's a recession around the corner. The rent is going up next month, the bills are increasing all the time. I was a productive member of the middle class until I burned out from the stress. The unemployment benefit I receive barely pays half my expenses. I don't think I could spend less if I tried. The unelected government and the unelected head of state have their foot firmly on the accelerator as they drive us off the cliff with smiles on their faces.

Do they want riots? Because this is how you get riots.
posted by Acey at 9:37 AM on August 28 [70 favorites]


Well, I guess that's it for the Ruth Davidson party then, as the Tories always sold themselves as during elections. Wonder what they'll call themselves now.
posted by adrianhon at 9:39 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


I can’t think of a precedent for the monarch refusing the PM’s request to prorogue?

Then HRH needs to set one or take away the fiddle.
posted by clavdivs at 9:42 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Are they just not old enough to remember The Troubles?

They don't care.

Or wait, that's not fair, I'm sure some of them care. Sort of. But what level of caring there is is competing with:
- very limited knowledge of much about Northern Ireland;
- very limited giving-a-damn about Northern Ireland, it's over there and different and weird, who cares (these are the people who appointed an NI secretary who was surprised to find out that NI voted along sectarian lines);
- deep-seated and apparently unshakeable conviction that Ireland could fix this if it would just do as it was told, and probably just needs a stern talking to;
- resulting poor understanding leading to a belief that the only threat here is "the IRA will start shooting people again", and why should we do things we don't want to do because the IRA are threatening to shoot people, we don't negotiate with terrorists;
- oh and the handful of politicians who think the GFA was a bad idea in the first place because it meant we didn't get to win.

Also, and worse, I fear that remembering has passed into some weird nostalgia. If you're a Tory MP you can't not know about at least the Brighton bombing or the assassination of Airey Neave (probably?), but you weren't there, you don't remember it, it's all black-and-white photos now. So you can tell yourself it was a time of glorious bravery and No Surrender and so on. Just like large sections of the general population think the Blitz was... well, maybe not good, but it brought us together and it toughened us up and we could absolutely do that again and maybe it would be good for us if we did.

So, in effect: they don't care.
posted by Catseye at 9:42 AM on August 28 [44 favorites]


Also, the Scottish Conservatives. If there is an independent Scotland, its centre-right party will have no official continuity to the Tories (at least to the extent that, say, the Spanish People's Party has no official continuity to the Franco regime). In any case, there seems to be no way back towards a Scottish Tory party being viable.
posted by acb at 9:43 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Boris Johnson Is Planning A Series Of Extreme Measures In The Coming Weeks To Force Through Brexit (Buzzfeed, 4:45pm today):
Number 10 is considering disrupting a “time bomb” Northern Ireland debate, creating new bank holidays, filibustering Parliament and the prime minister refusing to resign if he loses a vote of no confidence.

...The ideas under consideration include:
  • Attempting to disrupt a Commons debate on Northern Ireland power-sharing due on September 9, a day which could be used by rebels to attempt to delay Brexit described by Johnson allies as a “time bomb” set for them in the final weeks of Theresa May’s premiership.
  • Whether Johnson would be breaking the law by ignoring any successful rebel legislation, or by refusing to resign in the event he lost a vote of no confidence.
  • Using a variety of mechanisms including a potential budget to create new Commons debates and further reduce time for rebels to act.
  • Using the prorogation of Parliament to “kill the bill” by rebel MPs and force them to table it again after the Queen’s Speech on October 14.
  • Creating new bank holidays to prevent the House of Commons from being recalled during the prorogation period.
  • Filibustering any bill by rebel MPs attempting to force Johnson to delay Brexit when it reaches the House of Lords.
  • Ennobling new pro-Brexit peers as a last resort to kill any such bill in the Lords.
  • What the consequences would be of Johnson advising the Queen not to give royal assent to any legislation passed by Parliament delaying Brexit.
To be fair, daisy-chaining bank holidays would be an interesting way of encouraging a general strike.
posted by adrianhon at 9:47 AM on August 28 [29 favorites]


Welp, the Queen approved the prorogation request.

Does the Queen actually have any option other than to approve it? Reading the various accounts, the "request" seems to be spoken of as a mere formality. That request/approval is a fait accompli.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:02 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Depends whether it's a hill she'd theoretically die on. The Queen refusing to mouth the words of the government of the day would be a constitutional crisis, and one in which the monarchy would be unlikely to prevail. On the other hand, she is 92, has witnessed both terrible war and a period of prolonged prosperity, and it could be argued that if there is a moment for her to sacrifice herself for the greater good, it is now. (Whether she'd agree, or indeed what her views if any would be, is another question.)
posted by acb at 10:11 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Be great if we could start sharing protest details here.

Team Another Europe:

This Saturday, we're organising a wave of protests across the country. Join one near you, invite everyone you know, share everywhere. This needs to be huge.

Glasgow, 2 pm, George Square.

Leeds, 11 am, Town Hall.

Liverpool, 12 noon, St George’s Hall.

London, Downing Street, 12 noon.

Manchester, 12 noon, Cathedral Gardens.

Newcastle, 12 noon, Grey's Monument.

Nottingham, Brian Clough Statue close to Old Market Square, 11 am.

Oxford, 12 noon, location TBA.

Sheffield, 11 am, Town Hall.

York, 12 noon, St Helen’s Square.

And if you're in London this evening, come to our emergency protest: from 5:30pm, College Green. We won't let Boris get away with shutting down democracy.

See you in the streets ✊✊✊

Team Another Europe


posted by doornoise at 10:14 AM on August 28 [28 favorites]


Spontaneous protests all over Twitter...

Happening NOW in:
London Parliament Sq
Birmingham Victoria Sq
Liverpool St Georges
Milton Keynes Stn
Chester Town Hall
Manchester Albert Sq
Edinburgh Holyrood
Cambridge Mkt Sq
Cardiff Bevan Statue
Durham Marketpl
Bristol College Gr
Brighton Barth Sq

posted by doornoise at 10:19 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Also:

Abergavenny, Clock Tower, 7 PM.
Bath, Guildhall. 5.30
Lancaster, Dalton Square. 6 PM
Oxford, Bonn Square, 5.30 PM
Tavistock, Bedford Square, 5.30

posted by doornoise at 10:22 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Not a squeak about said protests on either BBC or Sky News websites, I notice.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 10:23 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


In all the kerfuffle, no one seems to be commenting on the DUP's qualified statement this morning

The conclusion to the DUP's full statement: "In the meantime, we will continue our work with the Prime Minister to strengthen the Union, deliver a sensible deal as we exit the EU and restore devolution in Northern Ireland. The new session of Parliament will set a new domestic legislative programme which can deal with the matters most important to people such as their safety, their schools and their hospitals."

So, (a) they don't sound too keen on no-deal, or at least not Johnson's "do or die" approach, and (b) safety is on their minds, which is understandable since last week an IRA splinter group exploded a bomb near the Irish border in an attempt to kill police and soldiers.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:26 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


> Canada went through its own prorogation dispute about ten years ago.

And Stephen Harper is now the chairman of the IDU which also calls the Republicans and the UK Conservative party as members. The anti-democracy agenda within the "centre"-right world is being co-ordinated openly across national lines.
posted by Poldo at 10:26 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


Say the queen declined, and then (as is fairly likely the case), nothing changes and hard exit happens. She would have blown her one shot at blocking something for a fail. It looks like a bad bet to decline to me.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:27 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


(Please. Drop this idea that the Queen gets to decide anything at all. That's not how it works. Pretend she's a stuffed toy or something.)
posted by Grangousier at 10:33 AM on August 28 [50 favorites]


Pretend she's a stuffed toy or something.

By convention. However, the whole point of a non-elected head of state is that they can act as a brake on a populist government, given the (general) lack of a written constitution and that she is nominally in charge of the armed forces.

When this government itself is willing to tear up convention left, right and centre, if the Queen will never* exercise her constitutional role of last resort, what's the point of having her? And I say that as a monarchist.

* I'll accept this probably isn't that constitutional hill to die on, they're not setting up camps for EU-passport holders - yet - but the constitutional role of Head Of State has a meaning beyond just a rubber stamp of a dictator.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:58 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


HMS smh.
posted by kliuless at 11:02 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


Also Johnson himself seems to be planning on asking the Queen to refuse to do a thing she's ostensibly supposed to do (either give assent to a Brexit-delaying law or dismiss him as prime minister following a vote of no confidence) in at least some circumstances, so the principle seems to be in play regardless.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:04 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


if the Queen will never* exercise her constitutional role of last resort, what's the point of having her?

There is none. (I say that as a republican.)

I agree that in theory the Queen could exercise her "constitutional role of last resort" but I could only conceive of that happening in the context of the constitutional equivalent of a nuclear first strike by populists. It would be a gesture in the ruins.

The point of the monarchy is that it has no point. If it had point it would be dangerous and would need to be controlled.
posted by dudleian at 11:10 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


Bath, Guildhall. 5.30

I went. It was, compared to what looks pretty damn impressive in London, understandably subdued. But our MP, Wera Hobhouse was there, and she addressed all 30 of us. She was so angry at where we are now, and made a slightly scared comparison to the fact that she grew up belonging to a country that had had its democratic institutions eroded bit by bit until it was destroyed, and that she didn't want that to happen to this country, too.

But this was how it started there.

She grew up German, and moved to Britain as an adult, needless to say. I'm glad our MPs recognise that we're under threat, at least.
posted by ambrosen at 11:16 AM on August 28 [26 favorites]


I just got back from the protest at Holyrood in Edinburgh. Not that many people left from the bigger march at the Mound, but everyone was fired up and ready to go. Lots of people wandering in to voice their support and just wanting to do something. There's going to be a bigger protest on Saturday from St. Giles Cathedral.
posted by adrianhon at 11:27 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


If the monarch's role is to be a figurehead, exercising absolutely no political discretion but only being an agreeable symbol, then perhaps the succession should not go to Charles, William or Harry, but instead to one of her corgis?
posted by acb at 11:31 AM on August 28 [37 favorites]


Works for me. That or a lottery.
posted by dudleian at 11:37 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


All hail Queen Wigglebutt I
posted by Automocar at 11:42 AM on August 28 [36 favorites]


Downside of an annual lottery for figurehead monarch: occasionally, it'll throw up a Nazi shitlord or something.
Upside: unlike today, they're only in office for a year and have no powers.
posted by acb at 11:43 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Serious question: if there is no other plan, what can a no-no-deal law achieve? I don't think the EU will wait forever.

Meanwhile from the NYTimes With Brexit Gambit, Boris Johnson Reveals a Ruthless Side
posted by mumimor at 11:51 AM on August 28


Classic NYT – Boris is "ruthless" and "bold" but not "anti-democratic" or "dictatorial".
posted by adrianhon at 11:53 AM on August 28 [61 favorites]


Muminor: The best bet is probably the Cherry Amendment, as proposed by SNP MP Joanna Cherry. It was rejected in the last round of parliamentary manoeuvres before the last Brexit deadline, but basically it:
- Defined a date x-days before Brexit was to take effect
- Instructs the government to seek an extension if a deal hasn't been agreed to by parliament by that date
- Instructs the government to hold a no-deal vote in parliament if an extension is denied
- Instructs the government to revoke Article 50 if it loses the no-deal vote

So, put simply, it changes the default position from "Leave with no deal if not agreed on the deadline" to "Remain if deal is not agreed by the deadline".
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:03 PM on August 28 [36 favorites]


if the Queen will never exercise her constitutional role of last resort, what's the point of having her?

This is an interesting question, and an important one.

To describe the Queen as having a 'constitutional role of last resort' is slightly misleading. She doesn't exist behind a glass panel marked 'IN CASE OF CONSTITUTIONAL EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS'. Nor is she a Mary Poppins figure who floats down magically from the sky whenever there's a crisis. Rather, her constitutional role comes into play at the moments of political transition that we call 'general elections', when the normal activities of government are temporarily suspended.

First and foremost, she provides continuity in the crucial period after a general election, when power is changing hands. These moments of transition are the points of maximum vulnerability for any nation state, regardless of its constitutional arrangements. (Remember Michael Cohen's warning that if Trump loses the 2020 election, 'there will never be a peaceful transition of power'?) So the Queen's role in presiding over the handover of power is of the utmost importance.

Secondly, the Queen might, if she chooses, refuse to grant the Prime Minister's request for a general election. This has been much debated, and has never been put to the test. However, under the Lascelles Principles, the Queen could refuse to dissolve Parliament if she considered (a) that the existing Parliament was still capable of doing its job and (b) that another Prime Minister would be capable of governing with a working majority. For the last 60 years this has been a purely hypothetical scenario. Now, suddenly, it looks rather relevant. If Boris Johnson were to lose a confidence vote and then decide to call a snap general election, it's conceivable -- though far from certain -- that the Queen might refuse to grant his request and call on someone else to form a government. Constitutionally, that is a big deal.

Finally, in the event of a hung parliament, another of the Queen's reserve powers kicks in. She can choose who she invites to form a government. Normally this will be the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons. But in the current state of political fluidity, all bets are off. Imagine, if you will, a post-election scenario where the Tories are negotiating with the Brexit Party to form a majority, while Labour are simultaneously negotiating with the Lib Dems and the SNP. (Or imagine a scenario where, God forbid, a far-right party like Ukip holds the balance of power ..) In such a scenario, it could matter a great deal who gets the first shot at forming a government.

Short version: the Queen's constitutional role is vitally important. And whether you think that's a good thing or a bad thing, you need to be aware of it.
posted by verstegan at 12:38 PM on August 28 [83 favorites]


*scraps carefully curated selection of links for follow-up Brexit post, invests in rope, lamppost futures*
posted by deeker at 1:29 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Thank you for that, verstegan. Very informative.
posted by terrapin at 1:48 PM on August 28


On behalf of all Canadians, I wish to apologize deeply and sincerely for any example set by Stephen Harper that has been followed, and for any and all interactions he has had with your nation. I'm sorry.
posted by LegallyBread at 1:55 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


There have been numerous slow motion train wrecks in history where practically any of the principles could have avoided disaster at anytime with a change of stance but instead just kept throwing fuel on the fires burning down their cities. I've always sort of wondered about what it was like to live through them. It is so weird to experience it first hand.

The Lascelles Principles flowed directly from the King-Byng affair wherein the Canadian GG refused to dissolve parliament and call a new election at the request of the PM. holy crap, can't believe I'm remembering this from school 40 years ago. I'm so sorry Mrs. White, turns out I will actually use this in the future.
posted by Mitheral at 2:02 PM on August 28 [38 favorites]


Let's turn this around for a sec. Let's assume that the people in Number 10 aren't stupid fuckheads. Let's assume that they know the chaos that a no-deal Brexit will cause.

Boris doesn't want to be the PM that brings back a hard border on the island of Ireland. He also doesn't want to be the PM if/when no-deal Brexit goes down and the pound goes down with it. But, as chief Brexiteer, he also doesn't want to be seen as the PM who gave in to the EU and didn't 'deliver' Brexit.

What happened yesterday is that the entire opposition in Parliament made a declaration that they wouldn't allow no-deal to happen. The very next day, Boris pulls his prorogue act. One way of looking at this is that he's given the opposition the ideal pretext to unite against him, and he knows that he doesn't have the numbers in Parliament to stop them if they pull their heads out of their arses and actually do something. There is still time for Parliament to force the issue if it decides to do so, and what he's done today is so utterly outrageous that he effectively gives them no choice, and forces Tory rebels to jump ship to improve the numbers. Some form of no no-deal legislation is passed, against Boris's best efforts, and he's off the hook.

This is as far as my thinking goes unfortunately, since, as munimor and Nice Guy Mike point out, the actual form of no no-deal legislation is completely up in the air and it's unknowable how Parliament will resolve this given the amount of faffing around they've been doing up to now. And it also depends on what the vacuous brain of Boris decides at any given point. But I believe this view of things makes more sense than the "full speed ahead no-deal" that's being presented.
posted by daveje at 2:27 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


I think it makes sense to assume they stand to make a stinking fortune on top of their existing fortunes by turning England into a tax sheltering, money laundering, walled rump state with some added white nationalist benefits thrown in and do not care at all how many people suffer to create it.
posted by The Whelk at 2:40 PM on August 28 [41 favorites]


I really, really, really, really do not understand this position that the Brexiteers in government are secret Remainers who are just trying to briar-patch their way out of a dilemma. It just doesn't fit any of the evidence.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:40 PM on August 28 [32 favorites]


Britain’s ramshackle constitution allows plenty of scope for such shenanigans. Whereas every other Western democracy has codified its system of government, Britain’s constitution is a mish-mash of laws and conventions, customs and courtesies. Britain sees no need for the legalistic or (worse) European idea of writing down its constitution in one place. Instead it relies on the notion that its politicians know where the unwritten lines of the constitution lie, and do not cross them.

Ironically, I'm reading a book about Canadian constitutional law, and the author is full of praise for the British "Burkean" model of an unwritten constitution that's more a set of norms.

I wonder what he's thinking now.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:42 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


Let's assume that Boris Johnson isn't Boris Johnson and that his government of no deal brexiters aren't no deal brexiters
posted by dng at 2:42 PM on August 28 [18 favorites]


Also, it assumes either that Johnson is concerned with the welfare of the “little people” and is trying to secretly head off Brexit disaster, and/or that he is clear-headed and competent, rather than someone elevated by hereditary privilege to a place where consequences mean nothing and there are no lessons to learn. None of the evidence backs that.

The “Boris Johnson is trying to derail Brexit and save the UK” theory is as fanciful as the “Theresa May is a secret remainer and is trying to hoist the Brexiters by their own petard” theory, or indeed, “Donald Trump is a strategic genius and is covertly working with JFK Jr to defeat a cabal of interdimensional child-murderers”.
posted by acb at 2:48 PM on August 28 [31 favorites]


So, without wanting to doomsay, they're totally going to roll straight through the conference+ prorogation into a money-spaffing, half-"compassionate" conservative/half-Alf Garnett Queen's Speech and immediately shut Parliament down again by triggering a GE (via either Corbyn-baiting or voting themselves down). These fuckers!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 2:49 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


The entire opposition did not make such a declaration - Kate Hoey (who is technically a Labour MP) for one seems perfectly happy to crash out.

In any case, if they block No Deal then Johnson can just call a general election which he then fights on a "people versus parliament" basis, ie ratfuckery the likes of which you have never dreamed of in your worst nightmares.
posted by doop at 2:51 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


The question is, assuming that Johnson doesn't pull A50, and the government doesn't pass May's reheated deal, what happens after no deal. Britain is off the coast of Europe, and will need agreements, to keep food and medical isotopes coming in, keep planes flying and so on. No deal and Johnson's brinkmanship makes such agreements harder, not easier, and following the Churchillian lead and engineering a famine in his own country to show Johnny Foreigner that he means business would rapidly become unpopular.

One option would be that someone marginally more reasonable would knife him and settle for peace with the EU, beginning a long walk back; humiliating, though with a sense of relief. There is also the question of whether Britain may seek help from the US rather than the EU, even imploring to become a US protectorate (and inherit the US's trade agreements with the EU, which whilst more restrictive than EU membership, would be better than WTO terms). Congress has said that there will be no deal if the Good Friday Agreement is threatened, so (assuming that the executive branch can't do an end run around them) that may result in them jettisoning Northern Ireland from the UK.
posted by acb at 2:58 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


What's the deal with Kate Hoey anyway? Does she have Gazprom shares waiting to vest or something?
posted by acb at 2:59 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


daveje-- my, perhaps more cynical take on it, is-- since no magical tech pixie exists to do anything else, if a no-deal Brexit goes through causing a hard-border-- the only way to enact that in the medium term is with barriers on roads, guarded with armed guards-- and at some point, there will be a violent clash-- over something seemingly small, like someone just being fed up they can't go across the border to pick up a dozen eggs from Frank without filling in three forms and paying duty on it, and a barrier will be run through, and a shot will be fired, and a life will be lost.

So, with that in mind Boris will do absolutely nothing on the border, and force the Republic of Ireland, (with perhaps support from EU peacekeepers?) to do all of that policing, customs controls etc to put in that make-shift hard-border, then he'll point at the soldiers holding guns, preventing business and general life proceeding as normal, and blame the EU and Republic of Ireland for it all, and say "See! They're punishing us because they're BAD PEOPLE. We did everything right, but just because we didn't agree to THEIR deal and chose to leave on our terms, they're trying to hurt us.. BLITZ BLITZ WWII!!! RAH RAH RAH."
posted by Static Vagabond at 3:03 PM on August 28 [23 favorites]


Petition's just passed the million.
posted by Devonian at 3:13 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


 Boris doesn't want to be the PM that brings back a hard border on the island of Ireland.

He doesn't care about Northern Ireland. He doesn't care about Scotland. I don't think he knows where Wales is.

→ He also doesn't want to be the PM if/when no-deal Brexit goes down and the pound goes down with it.

He doesn't care about that, either. In fact, the lower the better, since he wants the UK to be a cheap place to do financial deals.

All Boris cares about is remaining PM. He doesn't care if he's well thought of now: his grand opinion of himself is enough momentum to keep him going. Anyway, he has friends who are historians through old school connections, and no-one who ever went through Eton could possibly be a rotter. He needs no plans, no policy beyond his self confidence. Tactics to disarm the foe of the day is as far ahead as he need to think, and it's very convenient that he has a muddle-headed opposition who could not even even find one of their own arses in the dark.
posted by scruss at 3:14 PM on August 28 [23 favorites]


I really, really, really, really do not understand this position that the Brexiteers in government are secret Remainers who are just trying to briar-patch their way out this dilemma.

Me neither, but it's not what I'm saying. There's potentially a lot of space between no-deal and Remain. Boris has no real principles, either for Leave or Remain. Just for himself. He only needs to land somewhere that he can stay in for a while, but that's not no-deal, IMO.

It doesn't matter how cabinet is composed if the executive is genuinely opposed by Parliament. Or by the country, for that matter. There was a YouGov poll today: only 27% of the population support this. Even from the Leavers, he only gets 51%.

Boris and Dominic Cummings are in Number 10, and they're both devious vermin. I genuinely don't know what their endgame is, but it's probably not the obvious one.

Static Vagabond: I tend to agree, except that a no-deal Brexit without border controls on Ireland is a backdoor for unchecked EU immigration into the UK. Not sure how sustainable that would be from a UK perspective post-Brexit.
posted by daveje at 3:24 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Me neither, but it's not what I'm saying. There's potentially a lot of space between no-deal and Remain. Boris has no real principles, either for Leave or Remain. Just for himself. He only needs to land somewhere that he can stay in for a while, but that's not no-deal, IMO.

You are forgetting that they have no clue about what they are doing. Seriously, no clue.
posted by mumimor at 3:28 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Frankly, I would put very large amounts of money down that the people who stand to make a fortune from no-deal hard-crash Brexit have informed Boris that he is where he is at their pleasure, and if he fucks it up badly he will wake up in a ditch with his head missing.
posted by delfin at 3:32 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


My warm (rather than hot) take is this:

This really isn't what it seems, or at least not entirely; there's a whole load of other steps to get through before this threat, as hot-taken, becomes a reality and, if and when it does, it will have all the appearance of inevitability in which - contra the howls about parliament being unempowered - Parliament as it sits has shown it is incapable of using its powers to prevent no-deal.

Yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn held a meeting at which it was agreed to attempt to use parliamentary measures to prevent no-deal. In what was (to a reasonable extent, but not as much as they think) a climb-down by Corbyn, Potential Tory rebels, anti-Corbyn Labour MPs, the SNP, Group for Change (is that their name today? What. Ever.) and the Lib Dems all happily signed on. So, this was, in fact, the spectre of the dreaded coalition that haunts Brexit, which could threaten Johnson's majority, potentially legislating against no deal against sitting government policy and thereby forcing the government into a constitutional crisis on unfavourable terms.

Today, Johnson has called their collective bluffs. There will be no parliamentary measures route available, by design, by timetabling procedures, if parliament is prorogued. So now what? It moves inexorably towards a vote of no confidence, the one thing potential Tory rebels and Group for Change, in particular, desperately want to avoid. (Also others, but watch the ratchet tighten.)

On one level it is a truly brutal Tory purge, the worst split in the world's oldest political party for well over a century.
Johnson is daring Tory remainers to put country before party and be (reasonably?! ) expelled for bringing down a Tory government. (Any parliamentarian who votes down their own party looks deep into the void. I'm going to go ahead and assume this isn't a UK-specific thing. )

Put up (and face the consequences) or shut up. With this, the Tory party changes forever.

But even if there is a vote of no confidence, then what? I would, with all the recommends at my disposal, point you to the comments by versetegan and daveje above this (both are good, subtle reads). Four things to note, though:

1. If nothing else "wins" after a vote of no confidence, Johnson remains Prime Minister by default throughout and - if nothing changes, remember - thereby gets to name election day 14 days after that vote of no confidence. This will be in November, ie after a no-deal Brexit. They've leaked as much, on purpose.

So a Vote of no confidence only 'works' if another government can be formed in 14 days.

The stakes, you will note, have been raised again for Tory rebels et al.

2. So Corbyn will try to form a government. He said yesterday he'd try parliamentary measures but those are now out of the question so --> vote of no confidence, caretaker PM, Brexit extension, general election.

In fact, he offered that exact scenario last week but the Lib Dem's Jo Swinson shot it down and Tory rebels agreed they could never support that.

See how the stakes keep getting raised for Tory MPs who don't want no-deal?

3. A. N. Other temporary leader. But what will they stand for and who will they be? What order do a new referendum and a General Election fall? This is important to get the votes and it is so knife-edge to get a majority, you lose some rebel Tories this way and some that way. There are Labour MPs who might support this but not that.

Maybe - perhaps probably - no other available or concievable option can get a majority - none have so far in three years of wrangling, never.

The Brexiteers have coalesced to one "easy" - hard-Brexit - outcome.

Remainers all still chase their own unicorns. (Remember the default at 1, above. It's super-important!)

4. It is my understanding that the Prime Minister, even after no confidence, has to recommend that someone can command a majority of the House (and not, apologies to versetegan, at the whim of the monarch). There's actual talk that Johnson might laugh at any so-called coalition and refuse to even present it to the monarch. And at this point he might be right.



TL;DR: it is even more complex than you thought. Won't end well, though, won't end well.

posted by deeker at 3:32 PM on August 28 [28 favorites]


Speaking of complex, enjoy this latest Brexit flowchart from Jon Worth, updated a mere few hours ago!

tl,dr: Jon thinks a general election is the most likely outcome in the next couple of months... followed by 17% chance of No Deal Brexit.
posted by adrianhon at 3:36 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


> Downside of an annual lottery for figurehead monarch: occasionally, it'll throw up a Nazi shitlord or something.
Upside: unlike today, they're only in office for a year and have no powers.


is this the new sortition thread
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:43 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


tl,dr: Jon thinks a general election is the most likely outcome in the next couple of months... followed by 17% chance of No Deal Brexit.

So kicking the can as hard as they can down that road yet again?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:44 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


It’s been my experience, from living though and reading history, that most things are simpler then they look and Dubai and the Caymans are not going to be usable in the near future so the push to carve out an Ogliarch’s Redoubt out of the finer U.K is strong.
posted by The Whelk at 3:50 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


There is not a majority for recalling art. 50. There is also not a majority for any WA with an Irish backstop. After a general election, there will be even less support for common sense.
Johnson is exactly as good at pretending to be a tough negotiator as Trump is, but I also think that he has no idea how catastrophic Brexit will be. If he is aware, he doesn't care. He is a lazy person who ignores uncomfortable facts, but he has a political instinct that tells him it doesn't really matter. For Tory voters, it will have to get really, really bad before they accept they were wrong, and even then they will still vote against their own interests. Anyone here or in the media imagining someone has some intelligent plan for the future of the UK is fooling themselves.
posted by mumimor at 3:57 PM on August 28 [14 favorites]


I do hate it when a satirical website says it all better than I can.
posted by deeker at 3:58 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


You are forgetting that they have no clue about what they are doing. Seriously, no clue.

Most of them, sure. But Dominic Cummings is a true believer, and even though he's a toxic lying ratbag, he's spent a lot of time thinking about Brexit and how it can work, and he came to the conclusion that to do it right involves a complex process over a number of years. That doesn't square with someone simply driving headlong for a no-deal.

My initial assumptions were these people weren't stupid, and that they knew no-deal was terrible, and I believe those assumptions are valid. With that in mind, they want to avoid no-deal, but need someone to blame when it doesn't happen. They've already tried the EU route, and in spite of the noises, they've come to the conclusion that the EU isn't going to budge: if the EU has the choice of the current deal without the backstop, or no-deal, then it's no-deal.

So the EU route to avoid no-deal is a dead end.

The other option is Parliament. What they've done today is do as much as they can to force Parliament to come up with *some* form of no no-deal legislation to avoid the cliff-edge. By itself it actually does nothing since no-deal is still the default, but it's a signal, so what's also needed is some way to get another extension from the EU, and at this stage it probably requires what's described as "a democratic event". In other words, a general election. As the Spectator link I posted earlier pointed out, a general election in the middle of a no-deal scenario is too unpredictable to consider, so the priority is to get no-deal out of the way long enough to hold it, but leaving Parliament to carry the can.

My best guess at the current strategy: force Parliament to enact no no-deal legislation; make a behind-the-scenes arrangement with the EU for another extension to hold a general election; hold that election, while blaming the opposition parties for failure to deliver Brexit; and hopefully get returned by the electorate with a new mandate to renegotiate the deal.
posted by daveje at 4:16 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


But daveje, the basic rules still apply: No WA without a backstop.
They can jump and they can sing, but that is not going to change.

And when they get to the actual deal stuff, after Brexit and after whatever that entails, there will be no seperation of the four freedoms, ever. So at the end of the day, any form of Brexit spells the end of British economy, except for a Norway solution which is obviously stupid. I don't think any Brexiteers will notice.
posted by mumimor at 4:26 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Boris and Dominic Cummings are in Number 10, and they're both devious vermin. I genuinely don't know what their endgame is, but it's probably not the obvious one.
daveje

–––––––––––

I have long taken it as given that 99% of our overlords' blatherings and pontifications are deliberate distractions from their real game.

The real game for the rest of us is to figure out what the fuck their real game is, and how to stop it. At which we are doing a piss poor job. :(
posted by Pouteria at 5:03 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


> Not a squeak about said protests on either BBC or Sky News websites, I notice.

back during the aids crisis ACT UP's protests weren't getting much coverage on the national news.

so they invaded the television studios.

like it's not my place to tell y'all how to do things but it's not like the bbc or sky can keep out a hundred thousand protestors.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:05 PM on August 28 [21 favorites]


"Boris Johnson wants Ireland to leave EU trade rules and form a new union with the UK instead after Brexit"
Looks like I picked the wrong week to file my Irish citizenship application.
posted by adamrice at 5:08 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


How about this: Boris wants to pass Theresa May's deal, but with the original backstop. That was NI only, before Arlene put the thumbscrews on Theresa about the Union. Admittedly Theresa had brought this on herself by calling an unnecessary election, but those were the hoary old days when democratic legitimacy trumped the Will of the People.

Boris, like most English Tories, is dimly aware of Northern Ireland, but really his concept of the Union grows faint at the Scottish Borders and does not swim. He is however beholden to Arlene and her gang of savages (check out the Youtube on Sammy Wilson, eg).

Boris is confident he can win a general election, in cahoots with Nigel and the Brexit Party. One would imagine that Nigel's FartPunk act might go well against Labour among the Brexit poor, while Boris can mop up the shires. The DUP are ripe for the slaughter in Remainer NI, should they have to go before the people in either a UK General Election or a NI Assembly election. With a single bound, Boris could be free.

First, he would have to persude the perfidious EU to assent to the original backstop. As this was their original proposal, they would allow him this victory. BACKSTOP BORIS BEATS BARNIER

Once this is achieved, the Brexit Party (and indeed the ERG) are superfluous, and Boris can pass the WA as is with Labour and LibDem support. I imagine this happening at 2345 CET, with much ordah Ordaah and much of the planet glued to their television sets. DIVISION!

In the end the WA will pass, the planes will fly, the trucks will chunnel.

Result: constitutional fudge in Northern Ireland, but rapid euroisation of its economy. Britain gets an orderly Brexit (minimizing chances of Scottish independence), and may after a few years in 'close alignment' decide to rejoin the EU, or settle in one of the outer circles (EEA, EFTA etc).

Boris is hailed as the new Churchill, Palmerston, Pitt, whatever.

But Arlene, Sammy and the rest of the mob? Very inconvenient for the Tories.
posted by AillilUpATree at 5:18 PM on August 28 [13 favorites]


alternately boris johnson is a venial little lackwit who understands nothing bigger than his own net worth
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:52 PM on August 28 [26 favorites]


But Arlene, Sammy and the rest of the mob? Very inconvenient for the Tories.

Yes considering if they get even a whiff of this plan they'll immediately call a VONC. Ulster will fight and Ulster will destroy the union if it has to.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:14 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


The Dumbs of August
posted by BeeDo at 8:13 PM on August 28 [17 favorites]




Well, Boris promised to deliver Brexit come hell or high water, and it looks like it's going to be both.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:03 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


But daveje, the basic rules still apply: No WA without a backstop.

AillilUpATree gets it right, I think. The original backstop was workable to everyone except the DUP: border controls at the ports, and NI in close alignment with the EU, as the GFA requires. Everyone's happy except for the DUP. Even the EU likes this, because they didn't like the all-UK backstop any more than the Brexiteers did.

I've also believed for a while that any form of Brexit ends up in Ireland reunification, and it's a good bet that the smarter Brexiteers think this as well, and quite content to let NI go to get what they want. It's not like they ever gave a damn about NI in the first place - they're more than happy to be rid of it for their glorious EU-free future.

What Boris did yesterday was a democratic outrage. But is he doing it in spite of the outrage, or because of it?
posted by daveje at 12:13 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


So after last night we're all rubbing our eyes and trying to count on our fingers how this might have affected the electoral landscape. It's all borrowed credit for a GE to come, but that's how MPs make their decisions. We can't see the rubles passing around behind closed doors, but we can make educated guesses.

So the big questions now are:
  1. How badly has this news cycle burned the Conservative party?
  2. How strongly whipped are the Conservative MPs right now that not one has yet to cross the aisle? When in the news cycle would you ostensibly announce your change of affiliation in this situation? I mean come on Rory, what does it take?
  3. What are the Remain parties (LibDems and SNP in particular) offering likely aisle-crossers right now?
  4. Does any of this actually matter, or has it all been a dog-and-pony show for the last three years? Are the rubles going to assert their power no matter what the citizens do?
When asked about the situation by our US and APAC offices, I simply said "Our Prime Minister may have...committed some light...Constitutional Crisis..."

My campaigning org knows BoJo well from his mayoral days. He has no intention of governing. All he does is say stuff. He's a spoiled kid at the control panel of government, and without his staff swatting his hands away he will push every button in front of him. For campaigning, sometimes this is useful: you can tug on the sleeve of his staff at the right moment and say "why not let him try that one?" but it's still not a situation you want to stay in long-term.

He's a loose cannon and the only person he won't shoot is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:14 AM on August 29 [27 favorites]


It is pleasing to see people taking to the streets to demand more delay. Let’s not be too hasty about this! Everyone just sit down and think about this for a minute! What do we want? More time! When do we want it? No hurry!
posted by Segundus at 1:46 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Which people are you referring to? Most protestors want a second confirmatory referendum or revoking of Article 50. Some MPs want another delay for tactical reasons but that's not the endgame for protestors.
posted by adrianhon at 1:52 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Jesus, this has gone way beyond Brexit itself for me. It's a fucking coup, and needs to be stopped for that reason alone. Yeah, I want to stop Brexit itself -- desperately -- but if Boris gets away with this, I'm pretty sure he's not going to stop at forcing No Deal.
posted by skybluepink at 1:57 AM on August 29 [12 favorites]


alternately boris johnson is a venial little lackwit who understands nothing bigger than his own net worth

My campaigning org knows BoJo well from his mayoral days. He has no intention of governing. All he does is say stuff. He's a spoiled kid at the control panel of government, and without his staff swatting his hands away he will push every button in front of him.


Johnson is a product of the kind of privilege that makes failure in a personal sense literally inconceivable. For him life is like a video game, in which even if you fuck up catastrophically and end up setting your entire base on fire, you can have another go with no consequences. The result of this is the mother of all Dunning-Kruger effects.

In a sense, this was a phenomenon of aristocratic systems of government throughout history; the ruling class were insulated from the immediate effects of their rule, and being able to callously dispose of the lives of peasants by the thousand was a prerequisite for being fit to govern (which is why schools like Eton caned all the residual empathy out of their boys; they were essentially orc factories).
posted by acb at 2:07 AM on August 29 [36 favorites]


I'm shocked how many people here think Boris Johnson - Boris fucking Johnson - is playing four dimensional hyperchess. I guess Trump is doing a long con to being socialism to America too, huh?
posted by Dysk at 2:53 AM on August 29 [28 favorites]


The Scottish Tories are now Ruthless...
posted by Devonian at 2:57 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


We all want Ruth to cross the aisle, but the Change Name UK Party is about the only place I can think of her fitting in. They're basically an exile synod for Remain Tories at this point.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:16 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


I guess Trump is doing a long con to being socialism to America too, huh?

Any sufficiently advanced oligarchic kleptocracy is indistinguishable from Trotskyite accelerationism.
posted by acb at 3:16 AM on August 29 [49 favorites]


It is pleasing to see people taking to the streets to demand more delay. Let’s not be too hasty about this!

You're criticising the protests because you're in favour of a no deal Brexit, I presume? It seems cowardly not to come out and say it, if I'm correct.
posted by ambrosen at 3:34 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


It is pleasing to see people taking to the streets to demand more delay. Let’s not be too hasty about this! Everyone just sit down and think about this for a minute! What do we want? More time! When do we want it? No hurry!

As an EU national having lived in England since 2002, I’d rather not have Brexit at all, but if it’s going to happen, I’d like it to be done in a considered and deliberate manner that allows the maximum opportunity for my adopted home and its people’s success in the long term. If that takes more time because the people in power haven’t gotten us there, so be it. This isn’t a case of “just rip the plaster off and get on with it” this is “rip the stitches out and hope we won’t bleed to death”.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:48 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Boris fucking Johnson is somehow the Prime Minister. Boris fucking Johnson somehow also got Leave across in the line in the referendum.

Boris fucking Johnson is a carefully calculated act, and it's never been a good idea to underestimate him.
posted by daveje at 3:52 AM on August 29 [20 favorites]


He also seems to be a sociopath. That's worth taking into account.

(Not to be nasty to sociopaths. I'm sure there are some perfectly nice sociopaths. I've not met any, though.)
posted by Grangousier at 3:54 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


No Ruth Davidson means that's now 13 Scottish Tory seats looking a lot more fragile in the run-up to the next GE. They're not guaranteed losses; there's a lot of Scottish Brexit voters who could be tempted that way even if they're reluctant to vote Conservative otherwise. But the Scottish Tories have been branding themselves as the Ruth Davidson party featuring Ruth Davidson on all recent Westminster/Holyrood/local elections for a while now. They know she's popular, and her likely replacements and/or the Conservative name by itself do not have that same pull.

(if I was her I'd be sitting it out for a few years and then going for an MP position, but who the hell knows what the political landscape will look like in a few years.)
posted by Catseye at 4:03 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


Boris fucking Johnson is somehow the Prime Minister. Boris fucking Johnson somehow also got Leave across in the line in the referendum.

Boris fucking Johnson also completely hosed whatever semblance of a plan he had by getting Leave over the line - remember the look on his face and the speeches he gave (and didn't give) the day after? He's good at two things - landing on his feet after a fuckup, insulated from consequences by privilege, and making it up as he goes along. He does both in a way that endears him to the public, of course. I suppose a third skill is media savvy. But grand, complicated, overarching plans? He's winging it, eyes on the situation now, maybe a few weeks forward, same as ever.
posted by Dysk at 4:27 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


It'd be touchingly pathetic how many centrists have fallen for Rory's "man of principle" shtick if it weren't for the fact that every vote counts in a VONC. The adoration for Rory is yet another prime example of many Brit's servile nature towards posh weirdos.
posted by adrianhon at 4:29 AM on August 29 [11 favorites]


If anything, it's Johnson's lack of any real principles or plans beyond short-term ones (subject to revision at any time should the situation call for it) that allows him the political agility to change tack based on which way the wind is blowing so readily. He rolls with the punches so well that I can see how it'd be easy to look at the outcome of anything and think that that must have been the plan all along.
posted by Dysk at 4:33 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


Regardless of how intelligent or crafty Boris may or may not be, why is there any reason at all to believe that he wants anything other than a chaotic no-deal Brexit?
posted by tobascodagama at 5:18 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]



Regardless of how intelligent or crafty Boris may or may not be, why is there any reason at all to believe that he wants anything other than a chaotic no-deal Brexit?


because it's hard to see the bumbler-pull-up-our-pantaloons-and-make-do act as a cover for something more sinister

when in fact

sufficiently advanced upper-class-twit incompetence is indistinguishable from evil
posted by lalochezia at 5:28 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


perhaps the general public has

stockcubehome syndrome
posted by lalochezia at 5:29 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


Could be he's just trolling prior to calling an early GE?
posted by Caractacus at 5:29 AM on August 29


It struck me that the strategy being employed by both Johnson and Trump is to get photographs of them on the front pages of newspapers (and online and TV equivalents) as much as possible, without worrying too much about what the story is. This being on the grounds that everyone sees the pictures, but few people notice more than the headlines (and not that many people do that). I realise this might be simplistic and cynical, but if one does go with that hypothesis the increasingly deranged pronouncements and actions emanating from both camps make complete sense. Watch a news report (even a critical one) with the sound down - It'll just be pictures of the politician in question looking like a world leader.

The other thing, I've mentioned before, is that the kind of power these people want is not conferred by elections but rather seized in a time of crisis, so the first thing to do is induce a crisis deep enough to give a specious justification of declaring a state of emergency.

I'll cling to my cynicism until someone can produce any actual evidence that it's not justified.
posted by Grangousier at 5:31 AM on August 29 [21 favorites]


I'm still not sure how much credence to give to the "two years of Henry VIII powers" stuff people keep bandying about. Is that actually a thing? Will it even matter if it's not a thing in the current climate?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 5:40 AM on August 29


why is there any reason at all to believe that he wants anything other than a chaotic no-deal Brexit?

Because there is not anything in it for him, particularly, and a lot of ways it could disadvantage him (mainly by losing him and his party power). He is not ideologically committed to despising the EU; he doesn’t really care. He isn’t ideologically committed to anything except himself.

The bumbling buffoon schtick is absolutely a cover for a more calculating mind, but that calculating mind isn’t the Machiavellian genius it believes itself to be either. He did a lazy, poor job as Foreign Secretary and in more sane times that in itself could have written him off as Prime Minister material.
posted by Catseye at 5:41 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


I don't think my scenario is particularly Machiavellian, he's simply gaming Parliament to do what it wants to do anyway, just giving them a sharper deadline and a way to keep his hands clean.

The end-game is either a catastrophic no-deal, or something that can get a majority in Commons. Everything else has been tried, except for a NI-only backstop, and the only real obstacle there is the DUP. If a general election can make the DUP irrelevant, an NI-only backstop is an easy sell to everyone: NI voted Remain, and there's a better democratic case for NI being closely aligned to the EU than to have any kind of post-Brexit border on the island. Brexit delivered, Boris wins.
posted by daveje at 5:52 AM on August 29


Comments by defence secretary Ben Wallace suggest this move is more "Boris faffing about as usual" and less "All part of Boris' master plan".
posted by Cash4Lead at 5:52 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


ething that can get a majority in Commons. Everything else has been tried, except for a NI-only backstop, and the only real obstacle there is the DUP. If a general election can make the DUP irrelevant, an NI-only backstop is an easy sell to everyone: NI voted Remain, and there's a better democratic case for NI being closely aligned to the EU than to have any kind of post-Brexit border on the island.

Indeed, there's increasingly little case to be made for NI being separate from the Republic of Ireland. Ireland is no longer a Catholic sectarian state in any sense, meaning that the qualms of Northern Irish Protestants about being denied their rights under Catholic rule that led to NI being established are no longer realistic. Not to mention that, looking from London, NI is at best easily forgotten about and at worst a massive headache with little to show for it.
posted by acb at 6:01 AM on August 29


He is not ideologically committed to despising the EU; he doesn’t really care. He isn’t ideologically committed to anything except himself.

While this is probably true, it is perhaps worth noting that despising the EU has been about the one thing he has been more or less consistent about throughout his career. Which is why it doesn't matter if he is ideologically committed or not - he has painted himself so thoroughly into a corner on this issue that he is committed.
posted by Dysk at 6:18 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


Sammy Wilson looks like a puffy, disheveled Oswald Mosley.

Just thought I'd say that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:29 AM on August 29


The Conservatives currently have a ten point lead over Labour regarding voting intention in a GE.
posted by biffa at 6:32 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Note- those YouGov numbers were collected last week, before the current shithousery.

They may have influenced Boris' decision, but they likely have little relevance to anything now.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:35 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


The YouGov poll also gives the Conservatives 32% of the vote share. In 2017, getting 42% of the vote share still cost them their majority. Of course hard to translate predicted vote share to seats, but that doesn't on the face of it look like the figures you'd want to have when marching boldly into a GE.

I would like to say that nobody on either side of the house is stupid enough at this point to agitate for yet another election that has high odds of ending even more inconclusively than the last one, but...
posted by Catseye at 6:44 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


(Law student) Michael Gray is live tweeting the case in Edinburgh for emergency action against the proroguing.

Thread for the earlier session this morning.
posted by Buntix at 7:05 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


From the Ben Wallace comments mentioned by Cash4Lead above:
Our system is a winner-takes-all system. If you win a parliamentary majority you control everything, you control the timetable. There’s no written separation. So it’s, you pretty much are in command of the whole thing. And we’ve suddenly found ourselves with no majority and a coalition and that’s not easy for our system.
That is really a core issue in this whole thing. It's not just that there is no clear majority, it's also the strife within each of the two major parties that is hard to handle.
posted by mumimor at 7:28 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Could be he's just trolling prior to calling an early GE?

The Fixed-Term Parliament Act has made this a non-option.

There are now only two ways for an early general election to happen:

1) A vote of no confidence in Parliament
2) A vote for an early GE carried by 2/3 of Parliament

The PM can no longer just go to the monarch and ask for Parliament to be dissolved.
posted by Automocar at 7:54 AM on August 29


The PM can no longer just go to the monarch and ask for Parliament to be dissolved.

But a government could just call a vote of no confidence in itself, explicitly for the purpose of a general election, and whip to support it, right?
posted by Dysk at 7:57 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


 Everyone's happy except for the DUP

The DUP, batshit as they are, are also the only thing holding Boris's parliamentary majority together. If Boris needs any parliamentary support before the inevitable election, any hint of a betrayal of the DUP will require more than mere squadrons of Protestant unicorns bearing sacks of cash to placate.
posted by scruss at 7:58 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Corbyn is desperate for a GE, he'll happily vote for one. It's what he did last time, even though he was well behind in the polls.
posted by daveje at 7:59 AM on August 29


I think the most disturbing part of any upcoming GE is that there's no place to go to stop Brexit. Where do you go? Tories are out. Jezza is off smoking something with leprechauns to figure out his Brexit. Lib Dems will just caucus with Tories. SNP aren't available outside of Scotland.

There's literally no opposition party right now. People like to joke about New Labour being Diet Tory but Corbyn right now... Come on, Jezza. Swinson has already said she won't make you PM. There's no parliamentary majority waiting in a GE. Step aside, let someone else, less scary to the moderates, try to win this one on full throated opposition to Brexit.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:12 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


If Farage's Brexit Party does indeed (as promised/threatened) field 600 candidates in a general election, that could cause serious difficulties for the Tories if Labour and the Lib Dems are prepared to to a deal where one of them will agree to withdraw their candidate in marginal Tory seats - and if the voters who've 'lost' their Lib Dem or Labour candidate can bear to vote for the other one. If the right-wing vote is split too far between Tory and Brexit candidates, this could leave the way for a Lib Dem or Labour win.
posted by essexjan at 8:15 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


But a government could just call a vote of no confidence in itself

Option 2 is more likely, call for a GE, the opposition can't really vote against without it looking like a vote of confidence in the government.
posted by biffa at 8:16 AM on August 29


But a government could just call a vote of no confidence in itself, explicitly for the purpose of a general election, and whip to support it, right?

Yep, they could. But snap elections can't just happen anymore on the whim on the PM, Parliament has to assent in some way.

And they probably wouldn't ask for a vote of no confidence, but rather the second option (this is what May did in 2017), because of the optics of losing a no confidence vote.
posted by Automocar at 8:17 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


I think the most disturbing part of any upcoming GE is that there's no place to go to stop Brexit.

"Labour would campaign for Remain against either No Deal or a Tory deal that does not protect the economy and jobs. "
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:36 AM on August 29


That just means whatever Labour sees Lexit as, not stopping Brexit.
posted by tavella at 8:40 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


Labour campaigned for Remain last time also, but really badly, since their leader favours Lexit.
posted by biffa at 8:41 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


or a Tory deal that does not protect the economy and jobs.

Its hard for a mere withdrawal agreement to not protect the economy and jobs so that can be re-written as "Labour would campaign for Remain against No Deal" or to flip it around: "Labour will campaign for Brexit, except in the case of No Deal."
posted by vacapinta at 8:43 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]




I think the most disturbing part of any upcoming GE is that there's no place to go to stop Brexit.

Unless everyone sane in the country puts all other bullshit aside and votes in a Lib Dem government by a massive landslide. Seems impossible, I know, but hasn't everything in the past three years seemed impossible till two minutes before it actually happened?

Also, can we please all drop the habit of referring to Johnson as "Boris" or by some cosy nickname like "BoJo". These make him sound cuddly and harmless when in fact he's the very opposite of that.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:06 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


I think the most disturbing part of any upcoming GE is that there's no place to go to stop Brexit. Where do you go?

Indeed. And what if it 'worked'? What is there was a general election and Labour had the most seats and the Tories, Brexit Party and DUP combined didn't have an overall majority? What then?

Labour's original offer (which was peremptorily shot down in flames by Swinson) was:

VONC --> caretaker government led by Corbyn --> exit extension --> general election --> second referendum

The Lib Dem's own personal unicorn is:

VONC --> caretaker government (notably without Corbyn leading it) --> exit extension --> second referendum --> general election

Now, if there aren't the votes in the HoC for Corbyn to become PM, even on that time-limited basis, there's equally no chance of getting the numbers for a second referendum first.

Not only are there simply not enough potential Tory rebels (and others whose votes are needed) who want a second referendum, whether now or at all (because enough of them support Brexit, whether ideologically or by dint of having had a referendum, just not a hard Brexit), that situation would also require a caretaker government to last the six months or so for the second referendum to be scheduled and held (as against the six weeks, top, for Corbyn's plan which leads straight to a general election.) The notion that such a caretaker government could be formed and hold the confidence of the House throughout is as silly a unicorn as has been birthed in the last three years!

No, the most likely outcome if (and this is a big if) the anti-Brexit side can coalesce around anything at all is surely this:

VONC --> caretaker government led by someone other than Corbyn --> exit extension --> general election --> ?

Note: The Lib Dems do not want this precisely because it would bring everything full circle.

After a putative general election, a new government would have to be formed. At that point - assuming the dark triad of the Tories, Brexit Party and DUP didn't hold the most combined seats - the opposition would have a choice: whether to back Corbyn, leader of the largest opposition party, as PM and wait the six or so months it would take to set up another referendum or, well, not.

Interestingly, the SNP, Plaid and the Greens have already said* they'd be on board with supporting a Corbyn administration if it prevented a hard Brexit. Swinson was using Tory rebels as cover for her own deep-seated reluctance to collaborate with Corbyn** when she said Corbyn's plan above wouldn't and couldn't work; in this scenario, after a general election, that cover is gone and the Lib Dems would have to choose between the two alternatives (or abstain for both and let the dark triad win by default).

So (a) the most likely route to stopping Brexit forces the Lib Dems to do things they really don't like to avert catastrophe; the very flexibility and compromise they make good noises about. Or (b) they handmaiden Brexit and go into coalition with the Tories on the other side.

For now, they're off chasing that unicorn, which rather suggests (b) to me.

* admittedly, this is in the scenarios above (ie before a general election; the situation might be different in a newly formed HoC but I personally doubt it)

** for those who think the Lib Dem's might back this if it weren't for Corbyn being in charge, please remember that under Milliband their leadership said "we'd work with Labour, just not with Milliband" and, before that, said "we'd work with Labour, just not with Brown" and went into coalition with the Tories. There really is a reason they get called Yellow Tories.
posted by deeker at 9:09 AM on August 29 [15 favorites]


Unless everyone sane in the country puts all other bullshit aside and votes in a Lib Dem government by a massive landslide.

Paul Slade, I'm going to assume that, rather than being a Lib Dem supporter, you have some sort of financial stake in giant shovels, 'cos that's a lot of the Lib Dem's own bullshit we're going to have to put to one side before we can start.
posted by deeker at 9:15 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


If Farage's Brexit Party does indeed (as promised/threatened) field 600 candidates in a general election, that could cause serious difficulties for the Tories if Labour and the Lib Dems are prepared to to a deal where one of them will agree to withdraw their candidate in marginal Tory seats

Farage already proposed a “non-aggression pact”* with the Tories, with the two parties not running against each other.

* his own words, undoubtedly chosen for their historical resonance.
posted by acb at 9:32 AM on August 29


But which one will be the Nazis?
posted by biffa at 9:35 AM on August 29


But who will be the Poles? Oh right, it's gonna be the Poles. Again.
posted by romanb at 9:40 AM on August 29 [11 favorites]


whynotboth.jpg
posted by acb at 9:42 AM on August 29


Also, can we please all drop the habit of referring to Johnson as "Boris" or by some cosy nickname like "BoJo". These make him sound cuddly and harmless when in fact he's the very opposite of that.

Point taken. I used to refer to him in personal correspondence as “BoJo the Bozo”. That’s no longer funny, even as mockery.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:53 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


I would not trust Farage to neutralise his own pet party in order to helpfully assist someone else into power, unless the 'someone else' in question is prepared to promise him one hell of a lot beyond just 'we'll get Brexit'.
posted by Catseye at 9:56 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


What are the protests like on the ground? I'm not seeing a lot of coverage here in the states.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:03 AM on August 29 [2 favorites]


Paul Slade, I'm going to assume that, rather than being a Lib Dem supporter, you have some sort of financial stake in giant shovels, 'cos that's a lot of the Lib Dem's own bullshit we're going to have to put to one side before we can start.

Of course - plus plenty of Tory and Labour bullshit too. I've voted Lib Dem on tactical grounds before now, but I don't have any particular allegiance to them beyond that.

What are the protests like on the ground? I'm not seeing a lot of coverage here in the states.

I stopped by at the protest outside the gates of Downing Street last night, which was very well-attended and angrier in tone than any of the anti-Brexit marches I've been on. Younger crowd too, I thought - mostly people in their 20s. I've tweeted a few pics here.
posted by Paul Slade at 10:32 AM on August 29 [8 favorites]


I think at this point, we need to consider which possibility sounds more realistic: "Boris Johnson- Machiavellian Political Genius, or Mendacious Egomaniacal Fuckwit?"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:35 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Interestingly, the SNP, Plaid and the Greens have already said* they'd be on board with supporting a Corbyn administration if it prevented a hard Brexit.

Assuming a stalemate after an election it makes sense for the SNP and Plaid to support a Corbyn administration because a). devolution would mean that a lot of Corbyn's non-Brexit agenda would not apply to them and b). the Conservatives have shown a desire to undermine devolution and to behave badly towards Scotland. I don't think they are sacrificing their own self interests much, especially the SNP.

I agree Swinson has played her hand badly, but I think the drivers are different for her party. The world is crazy at the moment, so maybe I'm making a bad assumption, but I cannot see the LibDems supporting a No Deal Conservative government. What I can see is them entering a confidence and supply arrangement with a Labour government that they threaten to detonate if things go awry (by their standards).

(Full disclosure, I'm a Green party member, not a Lib Dem).
posted by dudleian at 10:49 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


On Verfassungsblog, Stefan Theil raises the possibility that prorogation could be continued indefinitely under the Prorogation Act 1867.
The danger is not primarily grounded in the legal power potentially given to the government: indeed, whether or not section 2 applies may in the end not be decisive as long as the government can make an arguable case to the Queen that it has these powers. This is because any legal challenge against an extension under the Prorogation Act would face the same difficulties experienced by the current litigation against prorogation.
posted by shenderson at 11:08 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


> "... if Labour and the Lib Dems are prepared to to a deal ..."

I'll believe that when I see it.
posted by kyrademon at 11:16 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


I cannot see the LibDems supporting a No Deal Conservative government. What I can see is them entering a confidence and supply arrangement with a Labour government

While I completely agree on your first point, the second remains to be seen. The time of that test may well be upon them, though! That'll be fun to watch unfold!

That's why their unicorn is VONC --> non-Corbyn caretaker government magically lasting six months or so --> second referendum.

Put a general election in there so it all doesn't just magically happen and the Lib Dems would have to get their hands dirty* and get off their fence and, maybe, stop hypocritically accusing others of fence-sitting.

I'd love to agree that they'd definitely do the right thing but the Lib Dems are truly the most mendacious mainstream party in UK politics. It's shameful, the outsized influence they seek - and often get - whatever their electoral fortunes (they won 12 seats last time! Why so much ink spilled on what they "demand?" Get in line and vote how you're told, like the fourth largest party you are!). The hostage-taking, the demands and non-negotiables, the weasel words about Labour leaders. Since I can't be sure what they'd do, I'll just have to take what pleasure I can watching them make those decisions and hope for the best.

*By means other than, you know, going in to coalition with the fucking Tories, imposing austerity and contributing to the current crisis. Like they did before and, I'll wager, would in the post-Brexit wasteland.
posted by deeker at 11:21 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


A couple of notable developments today:

Guardian: Lord Young Resigns as Government Whip In Lords
Lord Young has quit as a government whip in the Lords over Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament.

In his resignation letter he said: “I am very unhappy at the timing and length of the prorogation ... [it] risks undermining the fundamental role of parliament.”

{Lord Young resignation letter.}
Guardian: Ben Wallace: 'I Don't Know What The Outcome Will Be'
The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has been caught on mic admitting uncertainty about what happens next in the Brexit process and conceding the weakness of the government grip on power.

Speaking to his French counterpart at a defence summit in Helsinki, Wallace could be heard explaining the decision to prorogue parliament.

He said: “Parliament has been very good at saying what it doesn’t want. It has been awful at saying what it wants. That’s the reality. So eventually any leader has to, you know, try.”

Shrugging and laughing he added: “I don’t know what the outcome will be, you know politics.”
Charlie Proctor (w/video): "Defence Secretary Ben Wallace caught on camera explaining the real reason why Parliament has been prorogued. Nothing to do with a new agenda - it is all about numbers as the government knows they can’t command a majority in the House of Commons, thus they have misled The Queen."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:42 AM on August 29 [11 favorites]


This passage, from the column about Dominic Cummings linked above, is particularly salient:
But it fits my existing mental model of Dominic Cummings, which is that he reads these fascinating, interesting ideas from brilliant people, and takes completely the wrong message from them.
I think this description applies to each of the various people serving as intellectual catalysts and enablers in our current global struggle--people like Cummings, Bannon and Surkov. They're the dumb, solipsistic person's idea of a genius, and are smart enough to find and engage with some interesting ideas and to be persuasive about them; but also fundamentally misunderstand much of it, and are obviously completely amoral and believe that the world must be burned down before it can be properly rebuilt in their preferred ways. Also:
For one thing, who’s the opponent? Is it the EU? Or is it Parliament? In Cummings’ and Johnson’s minds, it could be any one of them.
This (from the outside, at least) is why Brexit is peculiarly vexing: I'm not sure that there is a specific enemy, or clear goal in mind, other than disassembly, breakage of systems, and chaos, because in destruction lies opportunity for rebuilding. I think maybe some of these people read Watchmen a couple of decades ago and didn't realize that Ozymandias is the villain.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:28 PM on August 29 [12 favorites]


We finally have our Talking Politics emergency pod via FiveThirtyEight, who brought on Helen Thompson and David Runciman for A Constitutional Crisis in Britain?
posted by adrianhon at 12:45 PM on August 29


It's really unfortunate that Corbyn can't bring himself to say "Yes, I'm in favor of a Brexit. This Brexit, however, has been so poorly managed that it simply cannot be salvaged and therefore the only viable option going forward is to revoke Article 50."

Face reality, for fuck's sake, it's the only way forward that doesn't involve destroying the nation and its economy. It's entirely possible that there is a way to leave the EU in an orderly way and the UK be better for it. It's fine to want that, but it is simply not possible under the current circumstances, even if you could get an extension.
posted by wierdo at 12:46 PM on August 29 [15 favorites]


It's entirely possible that there is a way to leave the EU in an orderly way and the UK be better for it.

This myth caused the whole malarky in the first place. There's no way to square that circle of being outside the EU while maintaining the massive amount of economic activity the single market facilitates. If you're in an orbit close enough to maintain membership to the single market you've just lost all say in the institutions that now govern you.

Either way, it's impossible to Brexit without losing either control or the economy.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:05 PM on August 29 [48 favorites]


For an insight into the attitudes Eton instills in its pupils, I recommend James Woods' London Review of Books essay here. Click the play button and he'll read it to you.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:11 PM on August 29 [7 favorites]


The parliamentary game is on

tl;dr - Government knows it can't stop the Commons producing no-deal-stopping legislation that will be voted through. So it plans to filibuster it out in the Lords, by proposing an endless stream of amendments until Parliament is shut down, but the Lib Dems say they'll vote all those down and will sit for 96 hours if necessary.
posted by Devonian at 1:44 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


Maybe Parliament should just... continue to meet? Like yeah it won't be legally binding in any way, but just, go to a Costa, or something. Call the BBC. They'll probably show up.
posted by Automocar at 2:39 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


I mean- there is precedent for keeping Parliament sitting for as long as it takes. A single Parliament sat continuously from 1640 to 1660.

Of course, there were some other things going on at the time.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:27 PM on August 29 [8 favorites]


Maybe Parliament should just... continue to meet?

it's been suggested - either by members refusing to leave the chamber, or an alternative HoC meeting in a nearby hall. I think either is unlikely, but my crystal ball's been on the blink for three years now so...
posted by Devonian at 3:47 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


> Of course, there were some other things going on at the time.
Rexit?
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:05 PM on August 29 [35 favorites]


Staggering tweet from Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay. Right up there with Dominic Raab's comments about Dover.
posted by rory at 1:06 AM on August 30 [18 favorites]


They have no idea what they are doing. Stop looking for secret plans now.
posted by mumimor at 1:56 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


And yet the clowns prevail.

The other option is that the secret plans do exist, but they're somewhere at the GRU offices in Moscow or the desk of a Koch-funded think tank across the Atlantic, along with carefully enumerated lists of easily manipulable personality defects of the principal actors.
posted by acb at 2:05 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


And the clowns have an actual goal, which is Brexit in some form. The opposition still haven't got further than just trying to prevent no-deal. They're the ones without an idea of what they're doing, because they have no end-game in mind. They're simply reacting, and you don't win that way.
posted by daveje at 2:20 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Of course, there were some other things going on at the time.

Which you'd think were not things that Cummings & co. would want to remind Parliament of right now, given the whole Parliament-stands-up-to-the-arrogant-authoritarian-King thing. Charles trying to brute-force Parliament in 1642 and getting told to shove it is the kind of thing backbenchers daydream of when they're sitting through boring constituency surgeries about hedge disputes.

If only there'd been some way to predict that proroguing Parliament would get MPs fired up rather than getting them to shut up and go away for a while, hey Dominic? Oh well, I'm sure your mugs will convince the public we don't need Parliament any more anyway.
posted by Catseye at 2:27 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


Just saw a funny clip on the CNN news-feed. It was a quick people pleaser about the Labor candidate (Ali Milani) in Johnson’s district... which if I understood correctly, if there were to be a GE and Johnson loses his seat then... he’s... done? That would be a hell of a twist. I have no idea how likely it is that Milani would or wouldn’t win but still that there is such a possibility is... interesting to say the least.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:40 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


BBC, with bad news/good news: Judge Refuses to Halt Parliament Suspension Plans
A group of 75 parliamentarians were seeking an interim interdict - similar to an injunction - at the Court of Session ahead of a full hearing.

Their request was declined by Lord Doherty, who said he was not satisfied there was a "cogent need" for an interdict.

But the full hearing will now be heard next Tuesday, rather than Friday.

Lord Doherty told the court that it was in the interest of justice, and in the public interest, that the case proceeds sooner rather than later.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:43 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


which if I understood correctly, if there were to be a GE and Johnson loses his seat then... he’s... done?

Probably. He could still be parachuted into the Lords, or moved somewhere to fight a by-election in a safe Tory seat. And there's no rule laid down anywhere that says the Prime Minister has to be from either House; there's actually a surprising lack of rules on the Prime Minister's job which don't come from precedent and convention. But effectively, probably.

The precedent here would be Alec Douglas-Home in the 1960s, who was Tory leader while sitting in the House of Lords. While we've had PMs from the Lords before, this was considered a problem by the 1960s. So he was invited by the Queen (as head of the Conservative party) to form a government when sitting in the Lords; he then renounced his seat in the Lords to fight a by-election in a safe Tory seat, and then won that, so he was briefly Prime Minister without sitting in either house. But he hadn't just lost his own constituency seat, so his party were actually behind him; hard to imagine that happening if Johnson managed to lose his own seat.
posted by Catseye at 2:54 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


The other option is that the secret plans do exist, but they're somewhere at the GRU offices in Moscow

Not everything bad that happens anywhere is the fault of Russia. This particular fuckup especially does not need any outside explanation at all - Britain brought brexit upon itself (and upon Northern Ireland) and useless, mendacious, uncaring politicians makinf the sorts of decisions that we see being made now? Dime a dozen, all proudly home grown.
posted by Dysk at 2:59 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Though there is a suspicious confluence of coincidences leading towards one catastrophic conclusion. There was the ill-though-out advisory referendum that looked like falling flat until it passed with 52% (largely due to targeted Facebook ads and other dirty tricks). Then the Overton window was progressively crowbarred to an extreme outcome: an advisory referendum became the iron will of the People, “Project Fear” became “what the people always voted for”, and so on. Meanwhile, checks and balances fell impotently like the Maginot line.

If two football teams were facing off and the stronger team's goalkeepers kept missing, with the weaker team scoring goal after goal, you'd get suspicious that the game had been rigged. This is what's happening here. Individually, it looks like a Greek tragedy of misfortunes and cockups; though if you zoom out, they form a pattern that leads in a very deliberate direction.
posted by acb at 3:09 AM on August 30 [17 favorites]


This is getting ridiculous. Metafilter in general is starting to feel like it's full of McCarthyist Cold Warriors, the way everyone is obsessed with finding a Russian connection for everything.

The referendum was entirely Cameron. He was misguided - any fool could have called the outcome before the Tories won the election for which the referendum was promised. The decades of right-wingers in the tabloid press especially, raised on a diet of Britannia ruling the waves, spreading anti-EU sentiment saw to that. Everything that has happened since has been an inevitable consequence of that referendum, coupled with the most batshit Tory party in living memory (again, Russia is not responsible for candidate selection for the British Conservative party) and the worst Labour leadership in living memory.

Nothing that is happening requires an external boogeyman. The level of desire to actively seek any angle to try and blame Putin for everything is fucking insane. We used to have Russian mefites. Imagine trying to be a part of this community today, if you were Russian.

If two football teams were facing off and the stronger team's goalkeepers kept missing, with the weaker team scoring goal after goal, you'd get suspicious that the game had been rigged.

Sure, but that isn't what is happening. Not even close. This isn't a formal football game, it's a kickabout in the park, and the five brutish bullies making up the bulk of one team are wrecking the skinny nerds on the other side, who don't really want to be playing football anyway. Only suspicious if you think the whole thing should have been treated like a Championship final or something. It isn't.
posted by Dysk at 3:18 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


"The Russians" refers to the Russian government, not every person living in Russia. While it's certainly true that the fault lines Putin has taken advantage of and split wide open already existed and there have been far too many people in the UK and US all too happy to take (and deny with transparent lies) the assistance, that in no way renders the interference moot, nor is it evidence that it didn't happen.
posted by wierdo at 3:33 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


The referendum was entirely Cameron. He was misguided - any fool could have called the outcome before the Tories won the election for which the referendum was promised.

That's only with the retrospectoscope. Almost everyone thought Remain would win, almost all of the time. It was clearly remarkably stupid to have the referendum at all and raise the risk of losing it, and on that most people with brain cell count n where n>2 agreed, but that's a different matter. Cameron gambled when he didn't have to, and with the stakes far too high, and the result was disastrous, and he deserves full measure for all three. But that result was not widely expected.

And I hope that any Russians reading will know that everyone here knows Putin<>Russia. It's not as if being English is particularly a badge of honour at the moment, thanks to Johnson, but one doesn't take energetic criticism abroad of the madness of our politics personally.
posted by Devonian at 3:35 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


That's only with the retrospectoscope.

I have receipts that say otherwise. It was plain that the referendum would only ever go the way out did. A bunch of people in the media, as disconnected from reality and the general public as Cameron, did indeed think otherwise. But it was only ever going to go one way.
posted by Dysk at 3:40 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


I feel somewhat guilty for using "rubles" as synecdoche for "dark money pulling the strings in the background" above, but not entirely.

It's clear that Arron Banks, Rupert Murdoch, and a whole palette of Kochs are strong contenders for underwriting the dissolution of democracy along with Putin. But we do know that Russian-owned-and-operated propaganda farms were essential in the instrumentation of this whole debacle, and it's still an important piece of the puzzle.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:42 AM on August 30 [10 favorites]


Can we not get too fixated on the whole Russian thing again? God knows I don't appreciate their propaganda either, but there's a lot else going on, and "Russia controls all" derailed the Scottish thread as well.

Here's something we can all enjoy instead – laughing at Rory Stewart.
posted by adrianhon at 3:44 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


I can't believe he posted that himself. Amazing.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:46 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]




Even if you think Facebook ads swung it, that's an indication of a bigger problem, and the any one set of ads is not the problem itself. Politicians are more than capable of finding ways to overspend on their own anyway, and indeed both campaigns for the referendum had their own official spending irregularities.

The bigger problem is that the referendum was held, that there was major pressure to hold it, and that there was a significant portion of both the electorate and political class supporting it. None of that is down to Russia, or any other outside interference. You're talking about a finger on the scales, when there are tonnes stacked on each plate.
posted by Dysk at 4:28 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the Russian government would be delighted to see the break up of the EU, or the UK. Putin doesn't understand non-zero-sum games. And while they're trying things out, that's obviously the direction they're going to push. They still didn't call the referendum, nor did they vote. If the public were better informed, the leadership more honourable, the newspapers less xenophobic, the UK would be fine right now, instead of in the middle of a total breakdown of democracy.

"Russia" is just a way of externalising our own culpability. If "Russia" told you to jump in the Clyde, would you do it?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 4:34 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


I agree the remain side need to accept the vote was swung by a lot more than just external interference—otherwise they’re just avoiding the problem. I think their / my reluctance to do that is in significant part due to the way Leavers have been allowed to wave away dodgy behaviour, illegality, contempt of parliament and foreign interference as “insignificant “. That’s just as much a problem for democracy IMO.
posted by dudleian at 4:41 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


The referendum and its surprise result was just one factor. The sacralisation of this 52% result in an advisory referendum as the Will Of The People was another, as was prematurely triggering Article 50. The constant rewriting of history, from the people narrowly voting in an advisory referendum for continued visa-free travel to Europe and an extra £350m for the NHS to the current story of them choosing No Deal out of a surge of Blitz Spirit and daring Johnny Foreigner to do his worst, from it being a walk in the park to it being a national consensus in favour of painful sacrifice, is another. And now, proroguing parliament and the raft of other measures, like a volley of photon torpedoes aimed at the ventilation port of Britain's unwritten gentlemen's-agreement of a constitution.

There are interests who seek to pull Britain out of the EU. Some of them are the Russian siloviki around Putin, who seek to break up the EU and go back to the Hobbesian order of geopolitical spheres of influence, with Eurasia going to Moscow. Some of them are Americans, like the Kochs and Mercers and Murdochs, with their own brutally reactionary worldview and hatred for any soft liberalism. Some are fascist mystics like Bannon and Dugin. Some are just grifters looking for the mother of all shorts. There are enough people pushing things towards a specific catastrophic outcome for their own varying ends that they would have an effect, and to say that, left to its own devices, Britain would have bumbled to No Deal unaided sounds a bit like framing John F. Kennedy as a spontaneous human combustion case. (It's conceivable that Britain would have voted 52-48 to leave, though would politicians have taken that as an absolute mandate for leaving the EU at any cost, with otherwise sensible heirs of the Burkean conservative tradition turning into latter-day Robespierres? Surely, sooner or later, common sense would have prevailed, the country would have been walked back from its ledge and some kind of debate about what exactly Britain wanted would have begun.)
posted by acb at 4:47 AM on August 30 [14 favorites]


to say that, left to its own devices, Britain would have bumbled to No Deal unaided sounds a bit like framing John F. Kennedy as a spontaneous human combustion case.

No outside help was needed for any of this. Remember Corbyn talking to the press and calling for Article 50 to be triggered now the morning after the referendum? And then whipping his party to help the Tories do so? The xenophobic leadership of both parties were more than capable of creating this problem on their own, nevermind when you consider the tabloid press.

There are interests who seek to pull Britain out of the EU. Most of them are British, and it's the British ones that have real and meaningful influence. They might take some funds from elsewhere, but it's the British press, politicians, and public who are ultimately responsible here. Russian and American money went to people who were already campaigning for Leave, who were already hardline about it - the ERG have been around for a long time. The money didn't make the problem, and it's not like there wasn't plenty of home-grown funding as well - the majority, in fact.
posted by Dysk at 4:56 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]




I just cannot see how the takeaway from "British politicians and campaigners co-operating with the Russian government" leads to the conclusion that this is all the fault of the Russians, and not that this is the fault of the British politicians and campaigners who are actually operating in this country. Farage took Putin's money? Be pissed with Farage first - it's the bigger, more urgent, more pressing problem. Instead, everyone is acting like this is entirely the fault of Russia, and not the half the of the damn country who were already sympathetic to their position. Like, we hold the Tories responsible for the horrors they commit, rather than pointing the finger entirely at their donors. Hold the people who are actually carrying out everything related to Brexit responsible here. Go after their backers, sure, but everything is being ignored in favour of a "it was Russia!" narrative. No. At best, the conditions were there already, the narrative from press and politicians decades old - more likely the funding and Facebook ads didn't matter much, precisely because of those decades of UK politics.

You want to blame Russia? Sure, they have their share of the blame. A few sentences near the end of the book explaining how we got here. The focus on them is an absurd refusal to examine the real problems in Britain.
posted by Dysk at 5:11 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]


More real problems in Britain. Dark corporate money, hidden in shells, owning it. And a lot of that money, according to UK lawmakers continues to be Russian.

"In Britain, for example, we now know that the EU referendum was won with the help of widespread cheating. We still don’t know the origins of much of the money spent by the leave campaigns. For example, we have no idea who provided the £435,000 channelled through Scotland, into Northern Ireland, through the coffers of the Democratic Unionist party and back into Scotland and England, to pay for pro-Brexit ads. Nor do we know the original source of the £8m that Arron Banks delivered to the Leave.EU campaign. We do know that both of the main leave campaigns have been fined for illegal activities, and that the conduct of the referendum has damaged many people’s faith in the political system. But, astonishingly, the government has so far failed to introduce a single new law in response to these events. And now it’s happening again."
posted by Harry Caul at 5:37 AM on August 30 [13 favorites]


Dominic Cummings' blog often has some interesting stuff buried in the grandiose guff if you can face trawling through it:
Much political analysis revolves around competing simple stories based on one big factor such that, in retrospect, ‘it was always clear that immigration would trump economic interest / Cameron’s negotiation was never going to be enough / there is an unstoppable populist tide’, and so on. Alternatives are quickly thought to have been impossible (even if X argued the exact opposite repeatedly). The big event must have had an equally big single cause. Confirmation bias kicks in and evidence seeming to suggest that what actually happened would happen looms larger. People who are quite wrong quickly persuade themselves they were ‘mostly right’ and ‘had a strong feeling’ unlike, of course, the blind fools around them. Soon our actual history seems like the only way things could have played out. Brexit had to happen. Trump had to win.

...Throughout the second half of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 the averages of polls – the only sensible way to look at polls – showed clear IN leads. All polls showed significant shifts towards Leave in the last five weeks (then a shift towards Remain at the end but this was at least partly because London-based pollsters changed their methodology thinking that they were making them more accurate – they fooled themselves). Polls tracking deeper attitudes that had been consistent for years suddenly changed in the last few months in ways that were significant given the close outcome.

...The cold reality of the referendum is no clear story, no ‘one big causal factor’, and no inevitability – it was ‘men going at it blind’. The result was an emergent property of many individual actions playing out amid a combination of three big forces (see below). Many of these actions were profoundly nonlinear and interdependent and the result that we actually witnessed was very close. If about 600,000 people – just over 1% of registered voters – had decided differently, IN would have won.

...I am not clever, I have a hopeless memory, and have almost no proper ‘circle of competence’. I made lots of mistakes in the campaign. I have had success in building and managing teams. This success has not relied on a single original insight of any kind. It comes from applying what Charlie Munger calls unrecognised simplicities of effective action that one can see implemented by successful people/organisations.

Effective because they work reliably, simple enough that even I could implement them, and ‘unrecognised’ because they are hiding in plain sight but are rarely stolen and used. I found 10-15 highly motivated people who knew what they were doing and largely left them to get on with it while stopping people who did not know what they were doing interfering with them, we worked out a psychologically compelling simple story, and we applied some simple management principles that I will write about another time.
It looks likely that there will soon be another election, in which Boris Johnson will seek a mandate for a no deal Brexit, where Dominic Cummings will lead a campaign team of 10-15 motivated people with a compelling simple story.

Meanwhile the Remain groups are so fragmented that they regard it as a great victory for unification when eight different second referendum campaign groups move into the same office.

The big threat isn't Russia, it's whether the anti-Boris-Johnson forces can actually work together and stick to a story.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:53 AM on August 30 [20 favorites]


You get rid of all that money, you still have the problems. You still have the Tories, Farage, the tabloids, and the widespread xenophobic nationalism. All of which predate that money.
posted by Dysk at 5:54 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


The big threat isn't Russia, it's whether the anti-Boris-Johnson forces can actually work together and stick to a story.

This. 1000 times this.

I'd also add that the story has to be simple and clear. Cough Labour cough.
posted by dudleian at 5:59 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


You get rid of all that money, you still have the problems. You still have the Tories, Farage, the tabloids, and the widespread xenophobic nationalism. All of which predate that money.

QFT.

While I suspect that I disagree with Dysk about the level of impact of Russian influence on the Referendum and the Leave camp's behavior ever since, I think that they are absolutely spot on about the risk of apportioning blame and using Russia as a scapegoat. As with the 2016 US election, I've said repeatedly that Putin's cronies excel at finding a crack in the populace, putting a wedge in there and hammering for all it's worth. But that tactic would be ineffective if the cracks didn't exist in the first place.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:03 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


the story has to be simple and clear

Herein lies the problem. As I have noted above, the opposition is divided over the order of events (that is, whether to hold a general election and then a second referendum or vice versa). But let us imagine that that is somehow resolved - what would be the question on the ballot for the second referendum? How would it be run such that both sides regarded it as even marginally fair and legitimate and, in particular, what possible ordering would get Leavers to accept its legitimacy and campaign within it? If Leave boycotted a second referendum - which under ideal circumstances (in tems of organisation and wording) they might but which they absolutely would if it could be painted as a 'stitch-up' - how legitimate would the result be (or be seen to be by a large and angry part of the electorate) and where would we be the day after the result?

The simplest-seeming solution is to repeat the last question - a straight up Remain/Leave question. I really don't think that will work, though, not unproblematically. Remember the willing participation of Leave in a referendum is, simply, essential if it is to have any effect other than inflaming things further.

To start with, it seems likely that the chain of events leading to that pass would have meant that Johnson's government would have been toppled while they - nominally, at least - sought A New Deal. They would surely argue that they want a (new) deal but weren't given time to get one and don't support no-deal. (Our collective cynicism - and theirs, more importantly - are, simply, moot here; we just could not expect - or demand - Leave to campaign for No Deal if they say they want the deal they could have, maybe, gotten or could get. We cannot force those who support Brexit to automatically support No Deal, not if we want them to participate in a referendum.

Nor could anyone expect Leave to support the Withdrawal Agreement as the Leave arrangement - it has, after all, been soundly rejected by the HoC and Johnson's administration are, again, at least claiming to be in support of A New Deal, just not that one. We cannot expect or force Leavers to support the WA as their position, not if we want them to participate in a second referendum.

Asking Leave to campaign on a vague "we will try to reach a better deal but if we can't we will have no deal" will not fly either; it makes their message as shifty as Labour's ("we will try to get a better deal but if we can't we will back remain") that message, consistently presented, has been a cudgel to beat Labour with for three long years; nobody would seek to campaign on an even vaguely-similar formulation. As noted above, Cummings knows the value of a simple message, simply told.)

This is not at all a case of suck it up, Leavers. If a second referendum is supposed, in any way, to have the authority born of legitimacy, both sides would have to agree the playing field is level. (It also doesn't matter if you don't think it was last time!) Getting Leavers to participate at all in any conceivable second referendum is a tall order; doing so without them having a reasonable position to defend is pie-in-the-sky.

If we could extract a second referendum at the end of all negotiations (ie with Johnson's magical 'deal' vs remain) we might be on to something. We cannot, so we fantasise about holding a second referendum and, what? Bouncing Leavers in to supporting No Deal and expecting them to dutifully line up behind that?

I don't know what sort of turnout second referendum people want, or think would be ok, but if it were to be substantially down on the last one (because of, say, a large Leave boycott), that would just be opening yet more cans of worms in a worm-saturated environment.*

(* "Metafilter: opening yet more cans of worms in a worm-saturated environment." Am I doing this right?)
posted by deeker at 6:30 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


While I see where you're coming from, the bad faith behavior of the Leavers (by that I mean the politicians and campaigners, not Leave Voters) throughout the referendum campaign and since then, especially with regards to what an actual Leave vote meant means I have little sympathy for them.

Remain is a simple enough proposition for a Referendum question. There's no ambiguity there. If people don't want to remain, it's on them to come up with a proposition to put to the people. An equally unambiguous one. If that's no-deal, then put that on there. If it's May's WA, that's fine too. But pick one, and put it on the referendum. We've had three years for them to come up with an agreed plan with the EU, three years of chaos and uncertainty. If they can't get their ducks in order, it's on them. We have approximately eight weeks to the current deadline - if Johnson can get a better deal by then, fine, put that on the referendum instead. But if he can't, let the Leave-ers choose an option, and let's see what people choose when there's concrete plans either way.

Yeah, I know, all that is complete fantasy given the political situation - and it would require some pretty significant electoral protections that don't currently exist in UK law to prevent further ratfuckery from the Leavers. But my patience is wearing even thinner than it was before, and I'm sick of being on the side of rationality and reality and having to do even more thinking on behalf of those who have rejected both.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:44 AM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Yes - as I noted in my comment, probably the best thing to happen, from a Remainer perspective, would be for the putative referendum to be held on Johnson's 'deal' vs remain. I just don't see any mechanism that gets us there.

The Brexiters will not call for a second referendum - not now, not ever (not least because they expect they might lose). There is no point piunning things on them offering a second referendum.

So obtaining a second referendum happens only if the opposition seizes control which they would have to do before October 31st, thus preventing Johnson securing 'his'deal. This sets up a 'stab in the back' narrative, Leavers boycott a 'rigged' second referendum that doesn't include Johnson's aborted New Deal and, while No Deal might be temporarily averted, we would be knee-deep in worms.

That's fine if you think that (temporarily) averting a No Deal exit is not only the first priority (which is it is) but so much so that you would radicalise Leavers and scorch the earth of any common ground. Leave/Remain would still be the great cleavage in UK politics, the well would have been poisoned so much further and the threat of civil unrest would, I honestly think, increase from this terrifying baseline level.

I am sorry I do not have answers, only problems - but I am not at all sure Remainers are thinking things through at all. I totally get that you are fed up of being reasonable, rational and understanding when your opponents will not return the favour - but once both sides drop any pretence at those aims, things will go on fire and nobody will care to put them out. Being right can be a heavy burden.
posted by deeker at 7:01 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Remain is a simple enough proposition for a Referendum question. There's no ambiguity there. If people don't want to remain, it's on them to come up with a proposition to put to the people. An equally unambiguous one. If that's no-deal, then put that on there.

Exactly, a No-Deal crash out of the EU, with privatizing corporate pirates scooping up services in the chaos was not on the referendum vote.
But it WAS put on the table by the moneyed forces working together to get that result. The people may have voted on rushed, emotional, amplified hot buttons of traditional xenophobia and class war, but that wasn't what they were going to get a say on.
Many did laugh and cheer big red buses with lies on them, but they were never going to be the ones driving that bus.

Almost no one voted for dire chaotic shortages and selling off health services to highest bidders, or Theresa May ending up as PM, or Boris Johnson.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:08 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


A UK that has revoked A50 but, say, 20% of whose population are radicalised Leavers turned fascist, a hardcore of whom are carrying out guerilla-style terrorist attacks would be terrible, though it would be less so than a UK which has crashed out with Leave radicals in full control of the apparatus of government. It's not like they'd be satisfied with having pulled Britain out of the EU. In both cases, the Leavers would be baying for the blood of traitors, though in one they'd have the entire apparatus of state to go hunting with.
posted by acb at 7:15 AM on August 30 [4 favorites]


YouGov: In search of the ‘median voter’ on Brexit.
While we saw earlier that the average score for Remain was about the same for the Soft Brexit option, public attitudes to the two are very different. Where a soft Brexit is palatable to many, Remain is incredibly divisive with around 35% considering this a very bad outcome and 31% considering it a very good outcome. Just 7% consider Remain an acceptable compromise. This suggests that a second referendum and voting to Remain would be far more polarising than the option of Single Market and Customs Union membership.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:16 AM on August 30


I am sorry I do not have answers, only problems - but I am not at all sure Remainers are thinking things through at all. I totally get that you are fed up of being reasonable, rational and understanding when your opponents will not return the favour - but once both sides drop any pretence at those aims, things will go on fire and nobody will care to put them out. Being right can be a heavy burden.

I know, hence my comment about it being a fantasy.

A UK that has revoked A50 but, say, 20% of whose population are radicalised Leavers turned fascist, a hardcore of whom are carrying out guerilla-style terrorist attacks would be terrible, though it would be less so than a UK which has crashed out with Leave radicals in full control of the apparatus of government. It's not like they'd be satisfied with having pulled Britain out of the EU. In both cases, the Leavers would be baying for the blood of traitors, though in one they'd have the entire apparatus of state to go hunting with.

Yep. Given how bad a no-deal Brexit is likely to be, and even if they don't use the power of the state to go after "traitors" who they blame for the inevitable mess, can you picture the tabloid headlines and resulting stochastic terrorism that is likely to follow a truly catastrophic no-deal Brexit? The Leavers' rhetoric has already claimed one victim - Jo Cox - and terrorizing more MPs will not make the situation any better when the food and medicine shortages bite even harder than they are already (and on the medicine side, they already are biting and we're two months out). Throw in terrorism from Irish republicans over the closure of the RoI/NI border and we're in for some rough times.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:22 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


acb: ...a UK which has crashed out with Leave radicals in full control of the apparatus of government

Naively, I hadn't thought much about that yet, having concentrated on how Brexit might be averted.

The prospect of years of what might follow on a purposeful Brexit is frightening to me, where I sit outside the U.K.'s borders. My friends, I am so, so worried for you all.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:24 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


A UK that has revoked A50 but, say, 20% of whose population are radicalised Leavers turned fascist

...so much so that you would radicalise Leavers and scorch the earth of any common ground

Leavers boycott a 'rigged' second referendum that doesn't include Johnson's aborted New Deal and, while No Deal might be temporarily averted, we would be knee-deep in worms.
What do you think is going to happen to the enormous right-wing apparatus that has been built already?
The fascists aren't going away even if we Super Unicorn Brexit.

We already are up to our nipples in worms.
We are going to have to face this.
Pick a side.
posted by fullerine at 7:24 AM on August 30 [16 favorites]


The fascists will be tough to defeat, but even tougher if they have the keys to the Home Office and Henry VIII powers to retroactively legalise everything they wish to do.
posted by acb at 7:30 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


You get rid of all that money, you still have the problems. You still have the Tories, Farage, the tabloids, and the widespread xenophobic nationalism.

Aka, the money.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:31 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


.What do you think is going to happen to the enormous right-wing apparatus that has been built already?
The fascists aren't going away even if we Super Unicorn Brexit.

We already are up to our nipples in worms.
We are going to have to face this.
Pick a side.


If you can't be bothered reading my over-long comments (fair play!), this is the TL;DR version.
posted by deeker at 7:33 AM on August 30


I'd also add that the story has to be simple and clear. Cough Labour cough.

Labour are trying to save the party over the country as much as the Tories are. They're trying to thread the needle between holding all the pissed off kids who put Jezza in the top spot but know what's going to happen with any Brexit and the heartlands of old people who voted leave because the plumber is Polish.

If Labour did the job of, you know, opposition, they wouldn't have Tory Lite Lib Dems equaling them in the polls.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:41 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


The heartlands who voted Leave because the plumber spoke Polish are the Tory heartlands, not the Labour ones, in my opinion.

This is one of the most pernicious bits of received wisdom in the whole situation, too me.
posted by ambrosen at 7:45 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, back in what's actually happening, Gordon Brown has said that the EU is willing to offer another extension to the Brexit deadline.

Which I think is pretty smart. Johnson is directly conflating "the Will of the People" to the arbitrary 31st October deadline. He's played the prorogation card precisely because of that. If the EU says 'it looks like you're having problems, don't let us be the ones to force your hand before you're ready' then it shafts the 'unreasonable, inflexible EU' line and blows up Johnson's strategy.

It probably makes an early election more likely, as he's got nowhere particularly to go if this happens and he'll have fallen at the first. I'm not sure it does much for clearing the path out of the Brexit swamp, except that playing for time is often a smart move if the alternatives are as dangerous as No Deal.
posted by Devonian at 7:46 AM on August 30 [13 favorites]


EU to 'withdraw' current deadline for Brexit and remove no-deal option [The Herald]
Gordon Brown has said the European Union will next week "withdraw" the current deadline for Brexit and remove any excuse for no-deal on October 31.

The former Labour Prime Minister said his belief was based on talks with EU leaders in recent days.

In particular, he said he understood that France’s President Macron, the prime mover behind the October 31 deadline when it was agreed in April, no longer insisted upon it.

He said President Macron had demanded a six month extension rather than a year to “sound tough” to a domestic audience six weeks before the European elections.

Mr Brown said that although EU leaders could not unilaterally annul the deadline, he now expected them to say they were ready and willing to extend it, adding to the pressure on Boris Johnson to avoid no-deal.
Making it slightly harder for Johnson and the no-deal types to pull it off, I guess...
posted by Buntix at 7:46 AM on August 30 [7 favorites]


Aka, the money.

Yeah no. We've had all of those things since well before it was Russian money, or American money, or whatever foreign money.
posted by Dysk at 7:49 AM on August 30


Labour are trying to save the party over the country as much as the Tories are. They're trying to thread the needle between holding all the pissed off kids who put Jezza in the top spot but know what's going to happen with any Brexit and the heartlands of old people who voted leave because the plumber is Polish.

More accurately, they're trying to thread the needle between all the kids who want to remain and Corbyn, who doesn't and this is hardly the biggest secret in the world.

Remain is a majority-polling position in the UK now, and if Labour was concerned about winning they'd simply go full-Remain and count on stealing votes from the Lib Dems and Tory moderates to make up for the losses from Labour leave diehards, and likely lead at least a minority government. But they don't, because Corbyn wants to leave. I can't think of a lefty political leader who has fucked up as comprehensively as Corbyn has over the past few years.
posted by mightygodking at 7:53 AM on August 30 [36 favorites]


Maduro? He's still technically lefty, isn't he?
posted by Grangousier at 8:02 AM on August 30 [1 favorite]


Presumably the EU can relax the deadline because its main concern about being too lenient (that, if they cut the UK too much slack, what's to stop other EU countries throwing a similar tantrum to get their own way) has been pretty much obviated by the reality of the UK's self-inflicted shitshow; i.e., no country with any sense of self-preservation would contemplate such a course of action by now, and no sensible political party would advocate it. (Euroskeptics in the Netherlands have been awfully quiet, and in Sweden, both the don't-call-us-Nazis and the hard-leftists have repudiated their plans to leave the EU.) The UK has already been the Horrible Example.
posted by acb at 8:17 AM on August 30 [28 favorites]


Yeah no. We've had all of those things since well before it was Russian money, or American money, or whatever foreign money.
Money knows no nations. Tories, the richer classes, racism, xenophobia and their shared singular space in UK politics goes at the very very least back to Enoch Powell and 'Rivers of Blood' in '68.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:27 AM on August 30


Not everything bad that happens anywhere is the fault of Russia. This particular fuckup especially does not need any outside explanation at all - Britain brought brexit upon itself (and upon Northern Ireland) and useless, mendacious, uncaring politicians makinf the sorts of decisions that we see being made now? Dime a dozen, all proudly home grown.

I know I am coming into this a bit late, but I did want to suggest that if the UK does by some miracle end up not leaving the EU or leaving with some relationship intact, that not a lot will change in terms of opinions unless at some point the UK really looks at its imperial history. It's not just the whole forgetting about the border and thinking Ireland isn't really an independent country like other EU countries, but the illusions about Britain's ex-empire and the warm feelings that ex-colonial subjects have about it, that pushed things along. There are a remarkable number of UKers who really know nothing about how various countries gained their independence and under what circumstances, or even much about Windrush and how that might also affect how ex-colonies see the UK.

The imaginary UK where other countries of the Commonwealth are ready to come to her aid because of their affection for their relationship with her needs to end, but unless someone gets hold of the Eton and Oxbridge history curricula that isn't going to happen with a significant number of politicians.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:28 AM on August 30 [25 favorites]


Given the generational spread of opinion on EU membership, for Britain to still remain massively europhobic would require GenXers to become rabidly anti-European over the next decade or two as boomer numbers decline. (The demographic spike in anti-EU sentiment is the generation just too young to remember WW2 but having grown up with the sense of having missed out on some lost glory; both those younger than them and those still live who actually remember WW2 were much more pro-EU.)
posted by acb at 8:32 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


What do you think is going to happen to the enormous right-wing apparatus that has been built already?
The fascists aren't going away even if we Super Unicorn Brexit.

We already are up to our nipples in worms.
We are going to have to face this.
Pick a side.


The one advantage we have is most brexiteers- especially the hardest core no-matter-what brigade - are, bluntly, pretty old (bar the very oldest who remember WW2). There is a direct correlation between age and the leave vote. Purely from demographics, if nothing else had changed, we're significantly past the point where Remain would have won, and every day that passes that gap widens.

So the thing we need to play for most is time. No-deal brexit has only minority support, and shrinking. And Cummings et al know that, which is why they want a no-deal brexit ASAP, and to use it as a wedge issue to unite ardent leavers to vote tory while the opposition is divided and sneak a GE win with ~30% of the vote (and ratfuckery, of course)

The best we can hope for is that the opposition can unite enough to buy us time next week, and work together tactically in the likely incipient GE to prevent a tory majority. Frankly, a 2nd referendum any time soon is for the birds; neither main party want it, you'd never settle on the question, and the fascist machine will continue to cry to high heavens about traitors and saboteurs no matter what. The vast majority of people who want a 2nd ref want remain to win, so you might as well skip straight to the end goal of revoking article 50. Nothing will ever satisfy the brexiteers, so fuck em and their disaster capitalism.

A minority Labour government needing SNP and LibDem support will not be in a position to force through a labour brexit - at most, it would be a much later ref between a soft labour deal and remain.

The country is already divided and fractious, and no amount of threats by the fascists about revolt can be worse than a no-deal with them in charge of the country. Remember Farage's ridiculously low-turnout march vs the millions on pro-EU demonstrations? The threat of angry pensioners rioting pales compared to the catastrophe we face in a few weeks.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:18 AM on August 30 [12 favorites]


most brexiteers ... are, bluntly, pretty old (bar the very oldest who remember WW2)

So far as I understand it, the people who remember WW2 are pro-Europe, because they remember WW2. The ones who want to relive the Blitz were born well after the end of the war.
posted by Grangousier at 9:40 AM on August 30 [13 favorites]


Sorry, yes, that's what I was trying to get at - the greatest generation were much more remainers than younger pensioners as they remember what real hardship is and didn't want inflict it on their grandchildren etc, but they are also few in number. But excluding them, it's pretty much a straight line on a graph of age against % voted leave, with the tipover point point at around 50, IIRC.

e.g. graph
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:45 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


Britain’s wartime generation are almost as pro-EU as millennials: LSE Graph
posted by Kiwi at 10:01 AM on August 30 [9 favorites]


Yeah no. We've had all of those things since well before it was Russian money, or American money, or whatever foreign money.

In the case of America...just because there already was a brush fire doesn't mean that the people who dumped thousands of gasoline on it aren't responsible for the ensuing wildfire, you know?

From afar, where the broad strokes are most visible, it seems like Johnson and his ilk are very much actively trying for a no-deal crash out. I hope I'm wrong.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:23 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


EU to 'withdraw' current deadline for Brexit and remove no-deal option [The Herald]

This is totally the right thing to do from an EU 27 point of view. Now if the UK could spend the extra time finding a real opposition with a vision, we might all be going somewhere. A visionary Labour leader could begin today, describing what the EU has already done for workers and consumers rights, and how a left Labour-led government could push the whole of Europe in a more Social-Democratic direction (as opposed to decades of UK neo-liberals and Tories dragging the EU away from anything progressive). Explain how the important issues of our time need international solutions, wether they are globalization pressing wages, climate change, or tax avoidance by the 1%.

Yes I know I am dreaming, but I'm not the only one...
posted by mumimor at 10:34 AM on August 30 [11 favorites]


Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear
I thought that you'd want what I want-
Sorry my dear
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns
Don't bother they're here

posted by Meatbomb at 10:34 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


“Britain’s Reichstag Fire moment,” Richard J. Evans, Prospect, 29 August 2019
posted by ob1quixote at 10:38 AM on August 30 [2 favorites]


In the case of America...

I was talking about American money in British politics.
posted by Dysk at 10:40 AM on August 30


Metafilter in general is starting to feel like it's full of McCarthyist Cold Warriors, the way everyone is obsessed with finding a Russian connection for everything.

In American politics, whenever we look for a Russian connection, we find one. You can't blame us for being a little jumpy on that subject.
posted by diogenes at 11:09 AM on August 30 [24 favorites]


"But surely, Professor, if Johnson really was Britain Trump, there'd be a culture of fear and acrimony in his administration, especially amoung young female advisors, with his unelected henchmen pulling the strings and running roughshod over convention and decency?"

"It's funny you should say that, Inspector..."
posted by Devonian at 11:17 AM on August 30 [15 favorites]


From Devonian's linked article:
On Friday evening a furious Cummings was reported to have told special advisers that he was “pissed off” about “bullshit briefings” on pay and gender balance.

In comments confirmed by a source to the Guardian, he told the group that anyone who didn’t like his management style could “fuck off”.
So....now we're getting a few scoops of The Thick Of It thrown in, too? [CW: paint-strippingly crude language]
posted by wenestvedt at 11:54 AM on August 30 [6 favorites]


EU to 'withdraw' current deadline for Brexit and remove no-deal option [The Herald]

The more I think about this, the more beautiful it is. Want to leave? Then leave. But the UK would actually have to do something, not just run down the clock and blame everyone else for the mess. Just take the clock away. They would actually have to make their own mess, explicitly, and take responsibility for it. Beautiful, elegant and very European.
posted by Grangousier at 1:52 PM on August 30 [36 favorites]


The more I think about this, the more beautiful it is. Want to leave? Then leave.

Eventually they kind of have to bring back a deadline, even if a rolling one. Before the next MEP election, at least. That was one of the sticking points this spring, as I recall, that it was not abundantly clear whether the UK would actually seat members to fill their apportioned seats, and that both pre-emptively denying them seats and granting seats which might not have been filled would have been dangerous to EU sovereignty. That's why the spring A50 extension had to be a substantial one, to maintain certainty of UK participation in the EU Parliament.
posted by jackbishop at 2:02 PM on August 30


There are a bunch of newly elected MEPs waiting to take up the seats reassigned from the UK. So there is that issue.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 2:12 PM on August 30


In the case of America...

I was talking about American money in British politics.


I know, I was referring to the analogous situation in America. Either way, just because the cracks were pre-existing doesn't mean the person who drilled them into a chasm isn't responsible. etc etc.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:24 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


"furious Cummings"

This sounds like a phrase from the suppressed, filthy version of Jabberwocky
posted by thatwhichfalls at 2:59 PM on August 30 [10 favorites]


The extension has to just be longer than the next likely Westminster parliamentary term.

Of course, that assumes that there will be another election on schedule (usually a safe assumption, when there is such a thing as safe assumptions).
posted by acb at 3:03 PM on August 30


Sorry - not perfect, but still beautiful. Yes, people are being inconvenienced and denied, and I don't want to dismiss that - what makes it beautiful is that all solutions to any problem leads straight through the UK government. That's why it would have to be permanent - this is the way it's going to have to be forever unless the UK decide something. It would be a settlement, it would be an unsettlement, where everything is unresolved but business can carry on more or less as usual until the UK make up their fucking minds, with people all over the world giving them significant looks, sighing and checking their watches.

After a while, maybe there would be stopgaps - "You Brexit Party MEPs aren't turning up very much, do you mind if these other MEPs use your seats, we do have business to discuss." In reality it doesn't work like that, I'm sure, but there has to be some way to show that the unreasonable parties are acting unreasonably.
posted by Grangousier at 4:37 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


(It wouldn't be a settlement, it would be...)
posted by Grangousier at 4:43 PM on August 30


Oh, a-and Absolutely No You-Know-What - yes, sorry I completely misunderstood that, and I hope posterity (and posteriority) will see it as me reinforcing your rightness.
posted by Grangousier at 5:07 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


Cheer up your weekend before drowning your sorrows.
Boris Johnson is a Cunt
posted by adamvasco at 5:27 PM on August 30 [7 favorites]


i can imagine a future england where possession or distribution of copies of that video is a capital offense.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:03 PM on August 30 [3 favorites]


Where a soft Brexit is palatable to many, Remain is incredibly divisive with around 35% considering this a very bad outcome and 31% considering it a very good outcome. Just 7% consider Remain an acceptable compromise. This suggests that a second referendum and voting to Remain would be far more polarising than the option of Single Market and Customs Union membership.

I literally do not understand this. Single Market and Customs Union are, for all intents and purposes, "Remain." The UK will not have either of these things without accepting the "four freedoms," unified standards for labor and quality, and conformity in banking regulations. How are people not realizing this.

(I do actually get how people are not realizing this. They have been systematically misinformed by a program of disinformation that plays to very specific preconceptions and prejudices)


The imaginary UK where other countries of the Commonwealth are ready to come to her aid because of their affection for their relationship with her needs to end

Canada: "Uh...new phone, eh? Who is this?"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:06 PM on August 30 [21 favorites]


Also, now that I've sobered up a bit, what that YouGov article actually says is that the result for "Remain" is 40% Very Good/Fairly Good and 41% Very Bad/Fairly Bad. So, while the "Bad" responses are somewhat more polarized, "Good" and "Bad" are in a statistical dead heat, with that additional 7% saying that "Remain" would be an acceptable compromise.

Compare this to "No Deal," where 49% say it would be Very Bad/Fairly Bad, 16% would consider it an acceptable compromise (much lower than the 29% for May's Deal, or the 26% for "Soft Brexit," whatever the fuck that is), and only 22% indicate that it would be Very Good/Fairly Good.

Also, while that article calls "Remain" a "highly divisive" option, the Very Bad score for "No Deal" is practically the same.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:52 PM on August 30 [4 favorites]


Canada: "Uh...new phone, eh? Who is this?"

Canada has Free Trade with the EU. If you can't afford your rent anymore Mom we might let you move in with us. Be cool to have a land border with the EU.

Single Market and Customs Union are, for all intents and purposes, "Remain."

Except the UK ends up with no say in the regulations. A significant step up in "loss of sovereignty".
posted by Mitheral at 10:13 PM on August 30 [2 favorites]


i can imagine a future england where possession or distribution of copies of that video is a capital offense.

Nah. Partly because however batshit we currently are we’re still a long way from being North Korea, thanks, but also because Boris Johnson does not care if you mock him and has in fact built his whole public persona around being mockable. Not all bad things are the same bad thing.
posted by Catseye at 10:55 PM on August 30 [6 favorites]


"Soft Brexit," whatever the fuck that is

Customs union/single market. Probably EEA.

Yes I agree it loses many of the advantages of the setup we have now, while also not appearing to get enough of the things the pro-Brexit people want from Brexit. But it’s still the least worst form of Brexit, while at the same time discharging the referendum mandate. So it’s a compromise that enough people might accept to make it workable.

(It would have been a lot more workable if we hadn’t spent the past few years making it clear to the rest of the EU and everyone else that we’re aggressive, untrustworthy and happily wilfully clueless, though.)
posted by Catseye at 11:12 PM on August 30 [1 favorite]


(I do actually get how people are not realizing this. They have been systematically misinformed by a program of disinformation that plays to very specific preconceptions and prejudices)

More and more I think this is the story of the last five years - the degradation of truth by granting absolutely everyone and what they have to say equal weight.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:13 PM on August 30 [21 favorites]


Is public support for reintroducing the death penalty that much below public support for leaving the EU, as of polling a week before the referendum? The figures always seem alarmingly high, to the point where a demagogue puffed up on the “will of the people” would not have much problem framing it as such.
posted by acb at 1:20 AM on August 31


The thing about a single market and customs union Brexit is that it decouples UK systems from the EU, while not breaking anything.

So the next step would be to start putting up the checks needed to separate out UK goods or services from EU goods and services, and to gradually build the set of independent regulatory infrastructure that was needed in order to diverge from EU standards, and to e.g. remove agricultural goods or seafood from the customs union.

Not that there is any reason at all for the UK to leave the EU, but if the UK's goals were that divergent from the EU's, an EEA/EFTA style exit would absolutely be the way to safely start them diverging.

But of course Brexit is actually about belligerent idiocy and arrogance, and there is almost nothing where the UK would benefit from diverging from the EU.
posted by ambrosen at 1:25 AM on August 31 [12 favorites]


Yes, a gradual transition would probably be less painful than the who-knows-what-will-happen hard Brexit scenario. But:

Let's say the UK gradually lowers its safety and efficiency standards for vehicles. Great, except, now exports to both the EU and North America are off-limits on those vehicles built to meet those regulations. China can produce its own vehicles, so it's not like there's a huge new market waiting there. Home-grown companies building their own UK-only vehicles meeting UK-only standards seems far fetched.

How about increased safety standards? Same problem, but likely worse. What incentives are there for companies to set up shop and spend the investment and effort figuring out how to deal with those diverging regulations? None, really.

Regulatory divergence is in itself the problem, so figuring out the best way how to get there just seems like damage control. The economic benefits of divergence just aren't there. So even in a best-case Brexit, where the economic well-being of the UK was being looked after, I just don't see how divergence would be a good idea.
posted by romanb at 2:26 AM on August 31 [4 favorites]


For avoidance of doubt, I don't think anyone's proposing that Brexit, despite it being the only feasible one.

That probably says it all, really.

I did delete lots of nerdy examples of small markets with divergent regulatory standards, but it was self-indulgent wonkishness, and undermined the fact that regulatory convergence is generally great.
posted by ambrosen at 4:09 AM on August 31 [9 favorites]


Yes, for British manufactorers there will still be all the same regulations wether the UK is in or out of the EU, regardless of which "deal" it ends up being. That is, if they want to sell anything to the EU. I've yet to find a large scale manufactorer who doesn't want international standards and regulations. There is a recent example of how that works, easy to see and comprehend for everyone: Automakers, Rejecting Trump Pollution Rule, Strike a Deal With California In the end, I think manufactoring can grow back after Brexit.
For agriculture and fishing the situation is different because products are perishable and a solution may take years to find. I can't see how this will not be a huge tragedy. It might well be that Johnson borrows a lot of money to finance the NHS and the loss of EU agricultural funds, but compensating the loss of agricultural and fishing exports through debt will rapidly lead to Greek levels of financial chaos. The Pound is not the Dollar.
posted by mumimor at 4:46 AM on August 31 [3 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull: I literally do not understand this. Single Market and Customs Union are, for all intents and purposes, "Remain." The UK will not have either of these things without accepting the "four freedoms," unified standards for labor and quality, and conformity in banking regulations. How are people not realizing this.

I think a lot of people, even those who are themselves “Remainers” reasonably feel that the result of the referendum needs to be respected somehow & that SM & CU is a result that, whilst imperfect, does at least do that. They know perfectly well that there’s no real difference (apart from having an actual say in the relevant Parliaments) between that and full membership.

Sadly, the steady escalation of commitment from the Brexiteers over the last two years, to the point where anything except full crash out no dealism is a “Betrayal of the people” makes this position untenable, but it’s perfectly reasonably & understandable on it’s face.

Meanwhile, I attended the anti-Brexit / anti-prorogation demo locally - there’s a lot of anger about & I really don’t think this is going to go away.
posted by pharm at 5:24 AM on August 31 [6 favorites]


Farage on Norway from before the referendum.
At this point it's really hard to say if he was being disingenuous or lying or what. But the Brexiteers were selling "Norway" as the way to go after Brexit. Because I think they are incredibly stupid as well as evil, I believe they only really understood what it meant when they had to negotiate with the EU. For Norway and Switzerland, their arrangement makes a bit of sense because of their very specific geographies, defense situations, agricultures and economies (though the EU could probably accommodate them). The UK does not have similar conditions, and in general it is absurd to be part of an economic system without influence.
posted by mumimor at 5:52 AM on August 31


A ‘Brexit bonanza’ for UK fishing? That’s a fishy tale with an unhappy ending
Comment by John Lichfield in The Guardian
posted by mumimor at 6:11 AM on August 31 [6 favorites]


At this point it's really hard to say if he was being disingenuous or lying or what.


It's Nigel Farage. Were his lips moving?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:35 AM on August 31 [11 favorites]


I think a lot of people, even those who are themselves “Remainers” reasonably feel that the result of the referendum needs to be respected somehow & that SM & CU is a result that, whilst imperfect, does at least do that.

Were it not for the simple fact that the UK would lose all the carve outs and sweeteners it got when the EU was created and therefore have less control, pay more money, and get less for it than it does now, you'd be right about it being not a wholly unreasonable view. However, in light of what people were told they were voting for, it seems daft to say that giving the people something they didn't actually vote for is somehow respecting the will of the people.

Why is nobody willing to say "the Brexit on offer is not the Brexit anyone voted for," when it is undeniably true? Remainers desperately need to stop giving the Leavers rhetorical cover by pretending that crashing out is what people voted for when it is clearly not. I doubt even a tenth of one percent of those who voted Leave were aware that the outcome was even a remote possibility!

Once again: The Brexit on offer is not what people voted for, so stop agreeing with the people attempting to destroy the nation that "at least it's what people voted for." It isn't, and it never has been.
posted by wierdo at 8:44 AM on August 31 [15 favorites]


@nicktolhurst:
Dominic Cummings has notified Conservative MPs that if they vote for the extension legislation next week, they will be "automatically deselected" before the next election via Conservative Central Office "even if their local organisations stand by them".
posted by Chrysostom at 9:04 AM on August 31 [10 favorites]


The whole idea that the referendum result should be respected is such a clear example of the use of the Overton window to pull positions from one extreme to the other that it should be taught in schools.

The lie that an advisory referendum equals an unbreakable and irreversible pact with the People (where less than a third of the population voted for the winning side by an overall margin of 2%, with clear evidence of tampering and breaking of political advertising laws) has been repeated so many times in so many different flavours and paid so much lip service that the original sin of Brexit has been all but forgotten. We've had years and years of turmoil and we're in for decades of this shit because this lie has been allowed to stand. So we move from Norway to EEA to Canada Plus to 'regulatory alignment' to 'alternative' measures to backstops to flying unicorn drones magically scanning for counterfeit cancer drugs, because nothing is ever good enough, everything is a betrayal and the goalposts aren't so much moving as being put on rails and driven off a cliff.

And with every tug to the right, every slimy shell game of language that's played, we move further and further away from the base truth that it's all based on a lie and the staggering, unchallenged chutzpah of the Brexiteers that they have a mandate for anything, much less the self-destruction of the country.

Fuck the referendum. It was badly planned, badly executed and it has killed people. I'll never respect it.

If direct democracy is ever used in this country again (as I strongly suspect it will be, not least in Scotland), then I hope that lawmakers who propose, design and agree how to carry it out take a long, hard look at what damage can be done if they fuck it up. I'm in favour of Scottish independence and I understand that the only way it will ever realistically happen is through a referendum. I wish it wasn't so. Because the abuse of the EU referendum's result has permanently soured this method of making collective decisions.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:08 AM on August 31 [50 favorites]


Dominic Cummings should be careful. I have a feeling that if "no-deal" goes through, the Tory party is going to get more back-stabby than the Roman senate in mid-March.

Maybe a bit front-stabby, too.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:17 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]


A ‘Brexit bonanza’ for UK fishing? That’s a fishy tale with an unhappy ending
Comment by John Lichfield in The Guardian
posted by mumimor at 15:11 on August 31 [4 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Thanks for this link. Comments are superb also. I've learned rather a lot about fishing rights just now.
posted by Kosmob0t at 9:20 AM on August 31 [2 favorites]


Yep, one of the very few Brexit bonuses is how much everyone's learned about the infrastructure that the world economy is built on.
posted by ambrosen at 9:59 AM on August 31 [10 favorites]


I was at my local protest earlier, in a sleepy midlands spa town. Pretty good turnout, but a disappointing amount of British supremacy from the speakers - lots of "greatest democracy in the world" and "we are British, we deserve better" and a generally othering tone when EU citizens or other immigrants were mentioned at all. Our local MP held a good speech though, focusing on his cross-party co-operation, and not using it as an opportunity to shill for his party. Don't think he used the word 'Labour' once, and the only people he named were Lib Dems and Tories (as examples of people he was meeting with regularly). But aside from him, the level of party political sniping between the lines and shameless self-promotion from most of the speakers, and the sheer prevalence of exactly the attitudes and sentiments that got us into this mess in the first place were dispiriting.

---

Yep, one of the very few Brexit bonuses is how much everyone's learned about the infrastructure that the world economy is built on.

Sadly not everyone.
posted by Dysk at 10:12 AM on August 31 [7 favorites]


Dominic Cummings has notified Conservative MPs that if they vote for the extension legislation next week, they will be "automatically deselected" before the next election via Conservative Central Office "even if their local organisations stand by them".

They're really going balls to the wall on party over country, aren't they?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:44 AM on August 31 [5 favorites]


UK Polling Report Prorogation Polling:
YouGov polled on the issue twice... The follow-up poll had... 31% said it was acceptable, 53% unacceptable, 16% don’t know...

Ipsos MORI ... found 30% thought the decision to prorogue Parliament was right, 46% thought it was wrong...

Finally there was a Survation poll for today’s Daily Mail. This found a closer result, with the public fairly evenly split – 39% were supportive, 40% opposed
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:18 AM on August 31 [3 favorites]


RE: Why is all this even happening?

So this morning I read some articles about the next round of Trump’s trade war tariffs going into effect in the U.S. on Sunday, how this will be the first part of this made-up trade war that will actually impact consumer prices. Interestingly, many retailers are apparently just telling suppliers, straight-up, that they will not pay any tariffs on Chinese-produced goods—so, for instance, all of Target’s American suppliers who use China for production will either have to eat the tariffs, or try to find other buyers....where, though? Also been reading about how China basically is in the process of stopping purchase of U.S. agriculture.....so American farmers need a new market....where, though?

Then I find myself wandering through the local Wal-Mart grocery, thinking about this thread and Brexit and how there’s a very real possibility that the UK loses its external market—buyers and suppliers—almost completely with a no-deal split pretty soon....and then I notice some new products on the shelves here at Wal-Mart in California, mundane things (microwaveable rice, ketchup), and so I take a closer look, and guess where these new products are made? Why, the United Kingdom.

I don’t know what’s cause and what’s effect in all this, but I do know that if one finds oneself confused about who/what caused our current various global shitstorms, how, and so on, one should really always default to FOLLOW THE MONEY. It’s becoming clear that Brexit+Trump is making some people a lot of money. Those are most likely the people responsible.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:51 PM on August 31 [10 favorites]


Jeremy Corbyn reportedly showed up at our local protest. Must have been a very short visit, because I was there and didn't hear him. Lots of left groups, and good spontaneous alignment on the particular 4 letter sobriquet for Boris. Favourite quote from a local Labour MP, Paul Sweeney, regarding next week:

"They'll have to drag us out".

Peaceful demo, lot of diversity and a good atmosphere. Don't know how long the peace will last if protest becomes the only avenue for representation.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 1:52 PM on August 31 [4 favorites]


Convicted criminal Conrad Black believes that BoJo is a political genius. "The Europeans now know they need to take Boris Johnson seriously". [National Post, Canada]
posted by CCBC at 3:41 PM on August 31 [2 favorites]


"The Europeans now know they need to take Boris Johnson seriously"

Well that's it. Juncker, you better just hand Ireland back to the UK and think yourself lucky. Otherwise the British might collapse their economy and starve themselves!
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:18 PM on August 31 [14 favorites]


Convicted criminal Conrad Black believes that BoJo is a political genius.

This is coming from a man who, when he burgled his own office in order to remove evidence and commit obstruction of justice, looked right at the security camera.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:53 PM on August 31 [14 favorites]


Michael Gove on Marr, asked if the government would abide by laws passed by Parliament: "Well, we'll have to see..."
posted by vacapinta at 3:19 AM on September 1 [7 favorites]


“You'll never guess which British political party neo-Trotskyists took control of and used for seizing power in the UK!”
posted by acb at 4:35 AM on September 1 [5 favorites]


Chris Grey is back from his holidays
Brexit has failed, but the Brexiters have already won.
posted by adamvasco at 6:37 AM on September 1 [8 favorites]


The onl7 way to read that Gove statement is that Johnson wants a VONC and then an election. Which fits everything that's happened so far.
posted by Devonian at 6:39 AM on September 1


The Get ready for Brexit government site has launched, and the Guardian notes that amongst other things, it means mandatory GB stickers on cars and a return to having to buy a carnet and get an international driving permit. That'll be good news for the now entirely for-profit AA and RAC who seemed to have a monopoly on this kind of paperwork last time I heard of ever needing one.

It's sobering ‘fun’ trying various scenarios on the GRFB site for completely reasonable travel/work situations and seeing the dismal amount of paperwork you'd need to keep doing what you do.
posted by scruss at 10:04 AM on September 1 [5 favorites]


Oh but it was the EU who were the soulless enforcers of endless paperwork, or what?
posted by mumimor at 11:03 AM on September 1 [4 favorites]


Oh wow the UK leaves the EEA so I'm assuming EU roaming rates on mobile phone services will go sky high again.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:10 AM on September 1 [2 favorites]


I've been working on another over-long comment (about the internal dynamics of Leave which have, I think, brought us to the current pass more by incompetence and delusion than strategy and malice) when arch-Lexiteer Len McCluskey offers, in blatant telegraphing to Johnson, cover to Labour MPs willing to vote through any old polished turd of a rewritten Withdrawal Agreement.

To be less inside-baseball, McCluskey is the head of the huge Unite trade union, is close to Corbyn and is, as noted, that hunter of the rarest of unicorns, a Lexiteer.

So my comment on the dynamics of Leave (with a conclusion that No Deal is all-but-inevitable) will have to wait until I see whether this (fucking insane) intervention seems to shift the dial.

Srsly, tho Len McCluskey!
posted by deeker at 1:13 PM on September 1 [6 favorites]


“You'll never guess which British political party neo-Trotskyists took control of and used for seizing power in the UK!”
posted by acb at 12:35 on September 1


I can't recommend this enough as a starting point to understanding the dynamics behind Leave (also, Anglo-Saxon Conservatism generally since the late 1970s). More fully put in to context, it shows why, as fascism comes to the UK, it does so much more piecemeal, much less coherently and much less, in the final analysis, by design than any historical comparison would have suggested. Different trajectory, similar destination.

One of the first replies to the Tweet suggests that "now we'll find out whether Spiked are accelerationists or hired Koch mouthpieces."

why_not_both.jpg
posted by deeker at 1:29 PM on September 1 [5 favorites]


It's even more fun doing the standard "UK national, not a business owner, lives and works in the UK, no plans to travel" scenario.

Turns out: "You do not need to take action at this time"

"Based on your responses, you do not need to take any action to prepare for the Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019."

I'm a US citizen living in the US, but if I were living in the UK I would be quite concerned that supply chain disruptions could lead to my not having food. Or medicine, since if I run out of my epilepsy meds I will almost certainly have a seizure.

There's not even a notice explaining how I don't need to worry about those basic needs because [reasons]. It's pure head-in-sand thinking.

I am sure that there are tens of millions of UK residents who rely on maintenance medication to treat serious chronic conditions. What happens if people living with depression or HIV or cancer or diabetes or, or, or, ... what happens when they can't get their meds while "the kinks are being worked out"?

If you-all crash out without even any kind of deal, so many people will suffer and some of them will die, not simply in the long term but immediately.

The clue is that the government gives no reassurance about any of these quite reasonable concerns in this heartless, blithely inhumane quiz that they've just now slapped together. They are ignoring these questions as loudly as they can.

They have no plan beside hoping for the best.
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:19 PM on September 1 [7 favorites]


They absolutely do, though. They plan on blaming everything bad that happens on everyone but themselves in very, very loud voices.
posted by delfin at 4:39 PM on September 1 [21 favorites]


So the latest wheeze, that any Tory MP who votes with the rebels will have the whip withdrawn and be automatically deselected regardless of the wishes of their local party, is remarkable in that it automatically removes Johnson's tiny majority-with-the-DUP if just one MP does that. More than the one MP will do that: there's no way that Hammond et al can do anything else. And I doubt Lexiter Len can provide reinforcements to undo that.

Which means, as I think is now ab-sol-ute-ly plain, that Johnson totally wants that VONC. Nothing else makes any sense, everything he's done makes total sense through that filter and that filter alone.

Rumour has it that the election will be on October 14th, but I doubt that for a multiplicity of reasons.

But it's coming, and it's coming soon, and while I have a lot of faith that Scotland will dole out due punishment to the Westminster clown squad, it's going to be a tough battle.
posted by Devonian at 6:46 PM on September 1 [8 favorites]


I think you're right, but part of me still can't get away from the idea that it's a literal game to most of them, most esp. Cummings and Johnson. A game where they have two Prorogue Cards in hand (Queen's Speech and General Election) with the freedom to play them near contiguously, utterly excluding Parliament and thereby overlapping/triggering the No Deal default.

Running a GE alongside insincere eleventhtenth-hour negotiations with the EU and "look what they made me do!" rhetoric is a great way to burn down the country which is a central aim for most of them. Smartest man on the cinder that Johnson.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:17 PM on September 1 [5 favorites]


Linkdump.

Johnson could sacrifice majority by withdrawing whip from rebel MPs. Seems a bit desperate.

Is the government serious about a no-deal Brexit? It can't decide.

The government’s new no-deal Brexit immigration plan looks undeliverable :
On a practical level the plan is so close to impossible – if not entirely impossible – that one wonders whether the government is serious about making it work...

...would require the Home Office to magic a new system out of thin air. The last big change in the immigration system took almost four years to roll out, while the government needed almost two years to put together the post-Brexit immigration white paper. Does Patel really believe it is possible to design, build and roll-out a new system in just eight weeks?

Successive home secretaries have already rejected applying the existing non-EU immigration system to EU citizens who enter the UK after Brexit – and for good reason. The system is a restrictive one, and would need major changes to make it sustainable. It also requires prospective migrants to go to visa processing centres in their country of origin. These centres, unsurprisingly, don’t exist in the EU. This means the government would have just eight weeks to get centres up and running – including employing staff and installing the necessary systems – all over Europe.
The Strange Cult of Dominic Cummings.

Dominic Cummings might be box office, but the prime minister runs the country.

Even the most special advisers still only advise :
The image of hardman Cummings whipping Whitehall into shape, while a beaming Johnson is on a splash and selfie tour on a virtual battle bus, suits both parties – but no one should fall for it. There is only one person in charge, and that is emphatically not Dominic Cummings.

Advisers only have authority derived from the person who appointed them. Every move Cummings makes derives from Johnson.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:21 PM on September 1 [8 favorites]


So the latest wheeze, that any Tory MP who votes with the rebels will have the whip withdrawn and be automatically deselected regardless of the wishes of their local party, is remarkable in that it automatically removes Johnson's tiny majority-with-the-DUP if just one MP does that. [...] Which means, as I think is now ab-sol-ute-ly plain, that Johnson totally wants that VONC. Nothing else makes any sense

Phil "A different bias" - talks about Johnson's threat to withdraw the whip from rebel MPs in terms of the theory that the EU could be planning to unilaterally offer an extension of the October 31st deadline - as mentioned above. That rumour may be only that - but it would offer the prospect of parliament being compelled to hold a vote on whether to accept it - which they would be likely to do. In a stroke, that would scupper the government's promise to exit by October 31st - and it would ridicule the £100M of media advertisting that is about to hit the streets with this date as a banner. Threatening to de-select MPs from the Conservative party - not simply be demoted to the back benches of they belong there - is a pretty desperate sounding strategy - even for a government with a tissue paper thin majority.

So - I don't think we should discount fear as a motive here either. When people adopt a "do or die" strategy - they might signal that they intend only one outcome. There are two.
posted by rongorongo at 10:35 PM on September 1


Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper
All potential solutions to the post-Brexit Irish border are fraught with difficulty and would leave smaller businesses struggling to cope, experts have said, as leaked government papers outline major concerns just two months before Britain is due to leave the EU.

A report summarising the findings of the government’s official “alternative arrangements” working groups concluded that there are issues with all the scenarios put forward to try to replace the backstop arrangement. There are also specific concerns over whether any technological solution could be delivered to monitor cross-border trade.

Critics said the paper, seen by the Guardian, should “ring alarm bells” across government over how likely it is that alternative arrangements to the backstop will be found.
posted by mumimor at 11:31 PM on September 1 [5 favorites]


So farewell then
British constitution
you always were
insubstantial
only now you are more so.

So farewell then
constitutional monarchy.
After all that time
sleeping on a damp island
the once and future King
has arthritis
and wants to leave.
posted by dudleian at 12:03 AM on September 2 [3 favorites]


Dominic Cummings is still in contempt of parliament for refusing to appear before the DCMS (digital, culture, media and sport) committee with regard to the Vote Leave campaign.
posted by PenDevil at 12:48 AM on September 2 [11 favorites]


As a British citizen with no travel plans who is about to have their EU citizenship revoked, it's probably too late to for you to find alternative citizenship options, so realistically it's protest, write to MPs, and at worst take what your masters dole out. Not really any actions that are in scope for the Prepare for Brexit website to advise, as it is set in-universe where Brexit is the will of the people and also a feasible idea. Medicine shortages are definitely not canon.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:30 AM on September 2 [2 favorites]






The Irish Border 'secret report' is so symptomatic of the whole mess. There's no secret that there are no workable alternatives to either a proper border or a customs union/common market. There just aren't - and if there were, we'd know about them by now. It's not even as if the EU has some secret malicious plan behind the backstop - it is mandated by logic.

But the Leavers cannot admit any of that, even when it's all unarguable facts as plain as a turd in the kitchen sink. They refuse to admit the truth, even though the result is going to be people getting murdered, after decades of expensively-won peace. And for what? For what?

This is fucking intolerable.
posted by Devonian at 7:20 AM on September 2 [35 favorites]


Fresh treachery:

NEW: Remainer source says they expect PM to put down a dissolution motion (calling an election) with what appears to be a “reasonable” polling date before 31 Oct, trick MPs into voting for it, then use prerogative proclamation power to move polling day to after 31s Oct.

However, it does seem that the Rebel ALliance is sticking to its guns and won't bite.
posted by Devonian at 8:15 AM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Oh god, I know I'm thread-sitting, but developments, dear boy, developments. Sam Coates has got a lot of good leakage today on the unexpected 5pm Cabinet meeting that's persuaded Paddy Power to suspend betting on the next General Election (final odds were 1/10, so...). Among those leaks is your friend and mine, the Alternative Arrangements for the Irish Border. Has Johnson actually changed his mind? Is he admitting what his own people are telling him? Oh ho, ho ho...

NEW

Cabinet ministers to be told draft legal text on Northern Ireland plan has been drawn up and ready to be introduced

BUT

😱A source says draft legal text is just the existing protocol with the relevant articles on the backstop crossed out - not exactly a worked up plan😱


From this, we may deduce:

1. Cumming's ardent leaker-hunt has not achieved Pokemon 'gotta catch them all' status
2. The rebels aren't scared and will perform tomorrow
3. Johnson is going to try for his election rather than face down rebels
4. He's really not very good at this.
5. Tippex isn't strategy.

I'll get off Metafilter now. I expect there'll be plenty later.
posted by Devonian at 8:41 AM on September 2 [12 favorites]


On the plus side, at least the British have lots of experience in rationing.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:57 AM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Not recently.

Just reality checking... none of these leaks are actually leaks, are they? They're just surreptitious press releases, surely? Even if it makes no sense.
posted by Grangousier at 9:32 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


(Sorry, I think I've allowed myself to be taken in by the 10th-Dimensional-Chess nonsense.)
posted by Grangousier at 9:37 AM on September 2 [1 favorite]


It seems like the Scottish Lord Advocate* is also getting involved in the case up here...
@KieranPAndrews: This is quite something. The Lord Advocate, Scotland's chief legal officer, wants to intervene in
@JolyonMaugham

@joannaccherry
et al and Gina Miller cases. Will accuse UK govt of an "an abuse of executive power" over prorogation.

* Lord James Wolffe. His wife, also a QC, moved to Scotland from the U.S., becoming Lady Wolffe when they got married; and is thus an actual American were-Wolffe in Lothian.
posted by Buntix at 10:08 AM on September 2 [36 favorites]


From the Ivan Rogers piece:
"It would also mark both a UK government failure and an EU failure. It takes two for a negotiation to fail."

How is that? If one side is only willing to accept the impossible, how can that be both sides' fault? How can you blame the EU for the fact that a submarine made of cheese is going to be a bit shit?
posted by rikschell at 10:13 AM on September 2 [29 favorites]


How is that?

I agree that this is a stretch. The principle that it takes two to tango is fair enough. But the EU gave May a huge concession on the backstop at her request which was portrayed in the UK as the EU trying to do over the UK (!!). What could they have done different? They can't carry on both sides of the negotiation. Whenever I read an article by Rogers he always makes the same point, but without any specifics to say "and here's what the EU should have done".

He also regularly makes a similar point about remainers needing to compromise, which again I accept in principle. But how can you compromise with people who won't take Yes for an answer? Again, explanation is there none.

But otherwise I find his articles the most sane and well informed stuff I've read on the topic.
posted by dudleian at 10:24 AM on September 2 [6 favorites]


Ah, man, watching the clip of that panicking buffoon making a pointless, hastily scribbled speech against a barrage of Stop The Coup protestors hollering at the gates of Downing Street, I felt the faintest flutter of hope in my heart for the first time in three years.

Go away, hope. I’ve learned my lesson, been falsely beguiled by you on too many election eves to believe you when you flutter. But still, it was a lovely feeling.
posted by penguin pie at 10:46 AM on September 2 [21 favorites]


There are rumours that Tory MPs who vote against the government over Brexit could be immediately deselected by Conservative HQ. I think this should be read as part of the strategy of brinkmanship which is pouring fuel on the fire.

I don't think the threat is necessarily that they'll move against those dozen or so Tories who it seems will support the legislative approach to be attempted tomorrow.

After Gove prevaricated on whether the government might ignore any such law at the weekend, Johnson just gave a speech - the absolutely key line from which was, for me, this:

I want everybody to know there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on 31 October - no ifs or buts.

So even if they pass constraining legislation the government will ignore it, precipitating a deeper crisis. Then the rebels will have to vote down the government and install another, just to get a government prepared to abide by the will of the House.

The rebels have been told their convictions, if they follow through on them, will result in their expulsion from the party, eventually rather than straight away, and that they will not defend their seats as Tories in the forthcoming General Election. The path to that has been spelled out relatively plainly.

This is a Tory purge.
posted by deeker at 10:51 AM on September 2 [12 favorites]


It looks like he bottled it. He can’t have been planning to give /that/ speech outside No 10, surely?
posted by pharm at 11:54 AM on September 2


It does look like he got rattled and changed his mind on the spot. Peston was briefed before the speech that there'd be the promise of an election vote if tomorrow's deadline extension passes the Commons, and you can see that coming... untii it isn't. And the post-speech briefing is that, yes, this is what will happen.

Was it the chanting? Is he really unable to make a decision and stick to it? It won't take much more of this to make him look like a dangerous waste of space to a lot more people. He won't do one-on-one interviews with the main political journalists, he's gone nowhere but backwards over his 'no talking to the EU until they throw away the backstop' rhetoric, and he cannot articulate anything more than bluster regarding progress.

He's also completely fucked up his Brexit Party strategy. He's had to commit in public to wanting a deal (however much he clearly doesn't) so now Farage has to follow through on mounting challengers to the Tories in every seat they can. In another light, he looks like he's turning the Tory party into a Brexit party clone, by purging the rebels, so he's getting the worst of both worlds.

He's really not very good at this.
posted by Devonian at 12:43 PM on September 2 [11 favorites]


He's really not very good at this.

Also, I hope that he's as miserable at it as Theresa May was.
posted by ambrosen at 12:51 PM on September 2 [6 favorites]


So even if they pass constraining legislation the government will ignore it, precipitating a deeper crisis. Then the rebels will have to vote down the government and install another, just to get a government prepared to abide by the will of the House.

How? They're not going to make Corbyn PM, Labour sure as hell won't let them make Swinson the PM.

They're just trying to square a different circle.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:06 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Well, that's the gauntlet this strategy throws down. I don't know if this is the strategy or not, of course, but if it is then the beauty of it is that it makes Tory rebels behave in a way that must mean their expulsion, rather than just being a hostile purge.

If the government state they won't seek a withdrawal extension even if the House votes for that, Tory rebels have to decide, what next? If they really want to prevent No Deal, they have to vote down the government; more, as you note, they have to vote in an alternative.

All the while, as Tory rebels decide whether to do those career-ending things as they become necessary to stop No Deal, the default position remains No Deal. Johnson may be betting that each step is a new Rubicon and that he can peel off rebels with each step and stumble in to No Deal; if not, he can at least expel some rebels on the way to the General Election.

Euroscepticism was always the Provisional wing of the Tory right. The dynamics of the Leave win have, finally, given them the whip hand - you can see it in their eyes when they deign to be interviewed. Whether the strategy above is the case or not, there is a Tory purge going on at the moment. The disaster capitalists wing are ascendant in the Conservative party and the country.
posted by deeker at 1:44 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


More leaks in the D Tel - - Dominic Cummings described EU negotiation as "a sham" in internal strategy meetings, per two highly placed sources. And AG Cox warned Johnson it was "complete fantasy" to think EU would bin backstop

It also notes that while Johnson claims to want a deal, he's made no proposals or suggestions for how to obtain one other than brinkmanship - which, per Cox and every other sentient being on the planet, is clearly not going to work and he must know this.

Some naughty Scots pols are predicting Labour not going along with the Tpry request for a GE, probably 'because we don't trust him not to prorogue the date', which does bugger him up completely, If the Brexit deadline move bill goes through, he'll either have to resign or refuse to deliver the letter, at which point I dare say there has to be a VONC and the chance of Rebel Alliance government for long enough to commit more embuggerance on Brexit.

Or almost anything else could happen.

(Update - it's not just the wily Jocks. Per Newsnight twitter:

BBC Newsnight
@BBCNewsnight
· 32m
.@maitlis: “Categorically, Jeremy Corbyn and the party would vote against an election if it came to Labour this week or next week?”

Tony Lloyd (@tony4rochdale): “Absolutely… we don’t want to fight an election that allows Boris Johnson to crash us out (of the EU)”


So no election for Johnson!

Perhaps.)
posted by Devonian at 3:38 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]


Johnson's latest (alleged) plan again seems to assume that nobody in the EU can hear him talking about his strategy for negotiating with the EU.

Shhhh, nobody tell them that he's trying to bluff them into giving him a deal by threatening to exit without a deal. Of course he doesn't really want no deal, he pinky-swears, but it has to look very realistic, which is why he's doing all this stuff to make it look like he's definitely for sure going for a no deal and there's no way out. But he wouldn't really; don't worry! But don't tell them.

I don't know what you call this. Zero-dimensional chess?
posted by confluency at 4:30 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


(To be clear, I find it difficult to believe that this is a real plan or that the negotiations exist. I just find it absurd as a pretext.)
posted by confluency at 4:34 PM on September 2


They're playing werewolf but they're all werewolves and it's always full moon and they're were-form is basically a naked mole rat with some hastily stuck on fur anyway.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:38 PM on September 2 [10 favorites]


BBC Newsnight
@BBCNewsnight
· 32m
.@maitlis: “Categorically, Jeremy Corbyn and the party would vote against an election if it came to Labour this week or next week?”

Tony Lloyd (@tony4rochdale): “Absolutely… we don’t want to fight an election that allows Boris Johnson to crash us out (of the EU)”
If Labour vote against the Govt request for a GE then it gives the Lib Dems and Tory "Rebels" a window to abstain on a Labour VONC which means No Deal on Oct 31st but with Corbyn taking the blame.

Ironically, Tories then voting with a Labour VONC gives them 14 more days to piss away and all kinds of shenanigans possible to avoid an election before Oct 31st.
posted by fullerine at 7:15 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Has anyone considered just letting the OMRLP have a turn on top?
posted by delfin at 8:30 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Don’t buy the bluff. Here’s the truth about no-deal Brexit (Anand Menon, Guardian)
No-deal Brexit has never loomed larger than in the current moment. Boris Johnson has said that Britain will leave the European Union on 31 October. His entire political strategy is based on the credibility of his threat to follow through, regardless of whether he has come to an agreement with the remaining 27 members. As a result, the need to understand what no deal may mean in practice has become increasingly urgent.

At the UK in a Changing Europe, we have tried to address this: our report on it is out on Wednesday. We don’t have any inside information. We’re not privy to material that others do not have. But we do have a team of scholars who have spent their careers studying the relationship between the UK and the EU, and so are well placed to consider the potential implications if the UK were to leave in this manner.

It doesn’t make for comforting reading. Johnson is set to present no deal as an opportunity for closure – a “let’s just get it over with” moment. But there’s a stark difference between the relative clarity of what no deal means in legal terms and what it might actually herald in practice. It is not a neat way of resolving a complex problem. On the contrary, it is a way of rendering a complex problem infinitely more so.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:54 PM on September 2 [9 favorites]


Yes. No-deal Brexit would not be the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.
posted by jaduncan at 11:32 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


The principle that it takes two to tango is fair enough. But the EU gave May a huge concession on the backstop at her request which was portrayed in the UK as the EU trying to do over the UK (!!). What could they have done different?

They could, I suppose, have recognised the Gerasimov doctrine of spheres of influence applying in the British Isles as much as it does in the Crimea and summarily ejected Ireland for the reason that it geopolitically belongs to Great Britain. Other than that, there's not much else.
posted by acb at 12:51 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


This is a Tory purge.

He's really not very good at this.


Somebody much better at these sorts of things wrote the script, and presumably handed it along making sure that Johnson would be drilled in every beat of it and would be capable of carrying it out. The saving grace may be that they underestimated what an upwards-failing chronic Dunning-Kruger case Johnson is, and that it is literally beneath him to apply himself with any earnestness to any matter of seriousness.

Perhaps a better organised plotter would make sure to take a hostage whose welfare Johnson cares about, and occasionally send a video of them in a state of distress just to reinforce the urgency of the matter. Or perhaps, in the case of Johnson, no such potential hostage exists.
posted by acb at 12:55 AM on September 3 [11 favorites]


If Labour vote against the Govt request for a GE then it gives the Lib Dems and Tory "Rebels" a window to abstain on a Labour VONC which means No Deal on Oct 31st but with Corbyn taking the blame.

This is all so utterly disgusting and hateful. Everybody seems to be expected to work against their own interests for tactical reasons so we're going to end up with the very worst possible outcome for everyone.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:02 AM on September 3


There's always been an element of Prisoner's Dilemma about this, and it's getting worse over time.
posted by daveje at 2:08 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I’m in London and free all day. Might pop down to Parliament Square and see what all this fuss is about...
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:13 AM on September 3 [6 favorites]


I might also be at the demo this evening.
posted by crocomancer at 3:27 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]




Liveblogging the Court of Session as the question is asked, whether shutting Parliament right now is legal under Scots law.
posted by frimble at 4:18 AM on September 3 [10 favorites]


@joannaccherry: "Boris Johnson secretly agreed to suspend parliament 2 weeks before denying it wd happen. Just 9 days ago No.10 strongly denied any intention to #prorogue parliament - but disclosure to Scottish court shows otherwise #Cherrycase #Brexit"

Article on The Independent. (autoplaying vid on page)

...who the law protects but does not bind...
posted by Buntix at 5:25 AM on September 3 [12 favorites]


There seems quite a lot of love for the parliamentary tactics of the Rebel Alliance...

This is a masterful piece of drafting:
▫️ All stages of the Bill in Commons on Wednesday
▫️ 2nd Reading at 3pm, all remaining stages 5pm to 7pm
▫️ Govt cannot try to prorogue Parliament this week - this motion takes control of NI Executive Act and prevents a debate before Monday
▫️ Cuts out stalling tactics from Govt - no sit in private
▫️ On Monday 9th no proceedings taken prior to any Commons Consideration of Lords Amdts - so prorogation couldn't happen until after this.
▫️ Commons can't adjourn this week until after Speaker reports on any RA.

And Ian Dunt is liveblogging the HoC. He seems suitably full of piss and vinegar.

The combination of this and the court cases - where Johnson's lack of candour and co-operation is not going down well - really makes it feel like the fight's being taken to the enemy right now. Johnson was reportedly most unimpressive in a meeting with the rebels earlier - couldn't answer questions, couldn't back up 'progress is being made' and 'no deal is necessary to persuade EU' arguments with any evidence at all. Rebels gonna reb.
posted by Devonian at 6:47 AM on September 3 [21 favorites]


From Corbyn's statement after meeting the other opposition leaders: Labour wants to prevent a no-deal Brexit, and to have a general election, so we can end austerity and invest in our communities.

The Tories have set such a high bar for mendacity on Brexit that Corbyn necessarily falls way short. But the suggestion that we prevent no-deal, elect a Labour government end austerity, invest billions... and Brexit somehow vanishes like scotch mist is mind boggling. Brexit will hang around like a vampire squid sucking the life and money out of any Labour government.

I know Corbyn has to say this, and it is trivial compared to the mendacity of the government, but we're 3 years down this road, standing on the edge of the biggest crisis in my lifetime and still neither main party will talk honestly to the electorate. Apart from anything else it doesn't bode well for a resolution of the current mess come A50 extension, GE, referendum or all 3.
posted by dudleian at 7:31 AM on September 3 [7 favorites]


Ian Dunt: As Johnson talked Tory MP Philip Lee stood up and walked across the floor of the Commons and sat down with the Lib Dems (top right).

Which means the Conservatives/DUP no longer have a majority.
posted by PenDevil at 7:41 AM on September 3 [30 favorites]


That was a beautiful moment.
posted by vacapinta at 7:43 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Phillip Lee just crossed the floor. We now have the first minority government since John Major '96.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 7:44 AM on September 3 [7 favorites]


I will not dare to hope, but I will laugh my arse off.
posted by skybluepink at 7:47 AM on September 3 [8 favorites]




Liberal Democrats: "We tried being Centrists, so let's just cannibalize the non-crazy Tory base and subsume them."
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:57 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]




Strictly speaking we've had a minority government since 2017, when May was forced to form a confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP (and chucked them a huge bung for it). That of course lead to the original NI-only backstop she agreed with the EU (that the ERG etc were far more sanguine about) being scrapped due to DUP objections, and at the UK's request then spent ages on the whole-UK partial customs union 'backstop', which was a big concession from the EU's point of view. With the original NI arrangement, it's possible May could have passed a withdrawal agreement with greater Tory support (and some Labour lexiteers) - but at the cost of the DUP bringing down the government.

And well, here we are.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 8:01 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]


The DUP's power is dead. Arlene Foster must be shitting bricks right about now.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:04 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]


and here's the front bench's reaction
Sad clown is sad.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:06 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Of course the worrying thing about this is that Phillip Lee's record is anything but Liberal. They're happily taking on a real Nasty Party MP if ever there was one.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 8:08 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


If we're talking confidence-and-supply, then I suppose we'd need to count Charlie Elphicke back into the equation. I mean he's censured or whatever and sitting as an Independent now but I'd be surprised if he didn't support the government in just about anything right now.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 8:15 AM on September 3


Mr Johnson getting hammered apparently by questions any other PM would be able to answer. (particularly re: backstop and N Ireland.)
posted by Harry Caul at 8:24 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Labour tactics now are to rule out backing election unless No Deal is blocked /postponed. Means Boris will have to start arguing for election ihe said he didn’t want
Boris being outmaneuvered at every turn. Who knew an Etonian cockwit who only failed upwards wouldn't be able to navigate a difficult political situation with actual competent adversaries?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:27 AM on September 3 [18 favorites]


God, he's so bad at this.
posted by skybluepink at 8:29 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


Hah. Boris spending his life reaching for the brass ring & the moment he grasps it he finding it’s made of paper maché would be poetic. I live in hope.
posted by pharm at 8:29 AM on September 3 [6 favorites]


The Lib Dems were in bed with the entire Tory party not so long ago.

I'm sure the DUP isn't entirely off the birthday card list. There are enough idiots in Labour that the standard party political number calculus doesn't hold. But it's unlikely that the billion pound bung - if it ever got paid, which I think it couldn't have been - can be spun as bordering on anything like a positive ROI.
posted by Devonian at 8:30 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Quick terminology question: “withdrawing the whip”. Does this mean:
1. Not requiring party members to vote for the thing
2. Kicking members out of the party if they don’t vote for the thing
3. Something else?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:59 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Withdrawing the whip from someone means throwing them out of the party - it's withdrawing the expectation that they will vote with the party, which is what membership entails for an MP.
posted by Dysk at 9:07 AM on September 3 [8 favorites]


Also they would be unable to stand for the party at further elections, which typically would give a large chance of losing their seat and thus income. Given the possibility of a general election in the next 2 weeks this is a significant threat.
posted by biffa at 9:10 AM on September 3 [5 favorites]


The Lib Dems were in bed with the entire Tory party not so long ago.

True but Cameron absolutely fucked Clegg and burnt that bridge to cinders.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:12 AM on September 3


Thanks. It sounds like #1 but is actually #2, which confused me.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:14 AM on September 3


 Sad clown is sad.

Sajid Javid, far from looking munted as the twitterverse suggests, is a man pondering the calculus of just how many industrial shredders he'll need to rent to destroy the evidence while quietly wondering how much it would cost for someone to defend him when this all comes to trial.
posted by scruss at 9:22 AM on September 3 [7 favorites]


Also they would be unable to stand for the party at further elections, which typically would give a large chance of losing their seat and thus income. Given the possibility of a general election in the next 2 weeks this is a significant threat.

Given that we've already had one Tory cross the floor in the last few hours it seems vaguely counterproductive to me to give other Tories who are wavering an incentive to cross the floor, but that's just me trying to apply logic to British politics.
posted by mightygodking at 9:27 AM on September 3 [8 favorites]


ElectionMapsUK on Twitter forecasting a Government defeat by 24 votes tonight, likely somewhere between 8-40 depending on which way the undecideds go. Helpful MP spreadsheet included.
posted by Catseye at 9:29 AM on September 3


Even if there's a majority who want to stop a no-deal Brexit, there still seems to be no end game in sight. Still no majority for a WA (either May's or the previous one), no majority for a new referendum, certainly no majority for withdrawal of Article 50. And no real expectation that an election would provide a majority for any of them since neither of the biggest parties has a coherent policy or strategy. How could the EU even grant another extension in good faith? Nobody with any sense wants to call the no-deal bluff (nor reward the people for whom it is no bluff), but it's the one and only thing providing any motivation to sort anything out. Jon Worth gives an 80% chance of extension followed by a period of (???).

Solid and overlapping majorities for cake-having and for cake-eating.
posted by rikschell at 9:43 AM on September 3 [7 favorites]


Phillip Lee's record is anything but Liberal

Reportedly a lot of Lib Dem's very cross about him being let in.
The head of the LGBT group has resigned. Several members have apparently quit (according to Twitter).
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:47 AM on September 3 [7 favorites]


Michael Gove pulls plans to reveal ‘watered down’ Yellowhammer (George Parker, Financial Times)
Michael Gove has pulled plans to publish a “watered down” version of the government’s Operation Yellowhammer no-deal Brexit contingency plans, after ministers decreed that the findings would still alarm the public.

Mr Gove, minister for no-deal planning, had been expected to publish extracts of the document on Tuesday as part of his efforts to prepare the UK for the possibility of Brexit taking place without an agreement on October 31.

Government officials worked throughout the weekend overhauling the Operation Yellowhammer document, and Mr Gove had hoped to use the work to prove that he had a grip on potential no-deal problems.

But, on Monday, Mr Gove and fellow cabinet ministers decided to abandon Tuesday’s publication of the document. “The meeting didn’t go well,” said one person close to the meeting. “The whole thing was seen as far too pessimistic about no deal.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:59 AM on September 3 [6 favorites]


How could the EU even grant another extension in good faith?

Because a lot of the people who will be harmed will have neither voted for nor deserved the outcome.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:05 AM on September 3 [11 favorites]


From the Guardian's liveblog: "Michael Gove says today the government is announcing an extra £20m of spending to ensure that traffic can flow freely in Kent in the event of a no-deal Brexit." Spending on what? How is an extra £20m going to help here? What on earth does he think they can possibly do with £20m in less than two months that will prevent complete gridlock if nothing's moving at the ports?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:13 AM on September 3 [5 favorites]


Because a lot of the people who will be harmed will have neither voted for nor deserved the outcome.

I must admit I didn't really have much opinion one way or the other on the EU parliament before the whole brexit thing started, but since then I've continually been impressed at how much they are being the grown ups in the room and doing their jobs with obvious competence. Particularly in the face of a Westminster parliament that's just repeatedly shitting its nappy and then swinging it round its head.

If we have to ditch one source of governance it would take me zero seconds to decide which to vote rid of and which I'd actually trust with the future of the country.
posted by Buntix at 10:19 AM on September 3 [17 favorites]


How is an extra £20m going to help here?
That'd rent quite a few farmers' fields to park lorries in.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:22 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


How is an extra £20m going to help here?
That'd rent quite a few farmers' fields to park lorries in.


And with agriculture set to be one of the first industries to collapse, there will be a lot of empty fields.

Also, lamb carcasses.
posted by deeker at 10:25 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


What on earth does he think they can possibly do with £20m in less than two months that will prevent complete gridlock if nothing's moving at the ports?

Bribes? I'm only kind of joking, Gove seems like the sort of person who assumes any inefficiency in any system whatsoever is somebody deliberately doing their job poorly so they can get paid off.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:33 AM on September 3 [4 favorites]


That'd rent quite a few farmers' fields to park lorries in.
The roads you'd need to build to get the lorries to the fields will probably be a bit expensive though.
posted by fullerine at 10:34 AM on September 3


I mean, "there will be a delightful short-term glut of cheap lamb and fields can be repurposed as lorry parks by farmers to make up lost income" is, by now, precisely the combination of blind optimism and can-do entrepreneurialism that passes for government policy, only with some actual fucking detail.
posted by deeker at 10:35 AM on September 3 [12 favorites]


The roads you'd need to build to get the lorries to the fields will probably be a bit expensive though.

And the UK in November is famously dry. I for one can’t imagine any possible downside to parking a 40-tonne vehicle in a field of mud.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:37 AM on September 3 [7 favorites]


If anyone wants to pop into MeFi Chat for tonight's vote and proceedings, please feel more than welcome!
posted by winterhill at 10:39 AM on September 3 [7 favorites]


Maybe Gove's planning to pay for some new signs to divert the lorries over the cliffs at Dover so they can just float to Calais.

Oh, sorry, that was Grayling's plan.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:14 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


The roads you'd need to build to get the lorries to the fields will probably be a bit expensive though.

I'm willing to bet that the fields will be the responsibility of DExEU while the access is down to DfT.
(note to UK government bureaucrats - putting cutsey, lower case letters in your threateningly opaque acronyms doesn't make you any friends)
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:21 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


Jacob Rees-Mogg is literally the embodiment of stuffy English aristocrat with a stick up his asshole.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:23 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


His face is so punchable that I can't understand how he manages to look himself in the mirror each morning without actually bloodying his fist onto his own reflection.

Also, am I just an ignorant American speaking out of turn, or are government backbenchers stabbing quite as furiously as the opposition?
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:31 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Also, am I just an ignorant American speaking out of turn, or are government backbenchers stabbing quite as furiously as the opposition?

When a government pisses off its backbenchers they sure as hell will.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:33 AM on September 3 [6 favorites]


Just a thought: the EU negotiators could just say OK, you can stay in until you have a real solution for the Irish Border.
Then it would be entirely up to the UK government to come up with a practical deal that actually works, and up to parliament to vote for it. Johnson would have to put forward a plan for the future UK economy that makes sense without blaming anyone else for its shortcomings. Corbyn would have to let go of the unicorns and lead a real opposition. Everyone would have to grow up and stop blaming the EU for their own idiocy. If I were Ursula von der Leyen, that would be my suggestion.
posted by mumimor at 11:35 AM on September 3 [16 favorites]


Also, am I just an ignorant American speaking out of turn, or are government backbenchers stabbing quite as furiously as the opposition?

A) not in this case;
B) yes, there's an air of fratricide.
posted by jaduncan at 11:36 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I just realized that DExEU looks more like a fucking sigil than a department name.
It's that what's going on here? Is Cummings not only an accelerationist singularitarian, he's an accelerationist singularitarian chaos magician?
I mean at this point, you know, why not? Let's embrace the entropy like a Ballard protagonist.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:49 AM on September 3 [9 favorites]


Also, am I just an ignorant American speaking out of turn, or are government backbenchers stabbing quite as furiously as the opposition?

Yup. The executive has set itself in direct conflict with its own MPs & they are unlikely to be very happy about it.
posted by pharm at 11:52 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Is Cummings not only an accelerationist singularitarian, he's an accelerationist singularitarian chaos magician?

Paging cstross, cstross to the current Brexit thread, please...
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:53 AM on September 3 [7 favorites]


> Just a thought: the EU negotiators could just say OK, you can stay in until you have a real solution for the Irish Border.

Like so many bold strokes that seem to help, this hides vast complexities. The influence of the UK in EU affairs would be abhorrent to many. Which committees should they sit on? Which decisions should they be allowed to influence?
posted by stonepharisee at 12:01 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


(Random thought: is it Actually called Operation Yellowhammer because the song of the yellowhammer is traditionally interpreted as "little bit of bread and no cheese"?)
posted by runincircles at 12:02 PM on September 3 [13 favorites]


Rees-Mogg is rather repulsive but definitely wins the alliteration awards with “consider the chaos this concatenation of circumstances could create”. It should be the new Brexit slogan. Or not. It’s a summary of just about everything right now...
posted by bitteschoen at 12:09 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


The full C-word run from from Mogg was "contemplate the current constitutional confusion and consider the chaos this concatenation of circumstances could create".
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:20 PM on September 3 [9 favorites]


I can think of several words starting with c to describe Rees-Mogg, but MeFi's own Garius did it very well already...
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:21 PM on September 3 [6 favorites]


Yet another play towards the “haha aren’t those Tory aristocrats weird?” which so many find charming rather than utterly infantile.
posted by adrianhon at 12:24 PM on September 3 [15 favorites]


Like so many bold strokes that seem to help, this hides vast complexities. The influence of the UK in EU affairs would be abhorrent to many. Which committees should they sit on? Which decisions should they be allowed to influence?
But that is already the case. They are in the European Parliament. It's true there is no UK commissioner, but that could be a topic of negotiation. The Government would have to put up a reasonable candidate for the Commission, and that in itself would be an interesting exercise.
posted by mumimor at 12:33 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Perhaps a better organised plotter would make sure to take a hostage whose welfare Johnson cares about, and occasionally send a video of them in a state of distress just to reinforce the urgency of the matter. Or perhaps, in the case of Johnson, no such potential hostage exists.


They would need to take Boris hostage, and then send him videos of himself in distress for this to work.

And it just might, too.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:37 PM on September 3 [7 favorites]


Interesting how the Guardian liveblog gives a scant 31 words on the SNP Leader Ian Blackford’s speech versus 180 words for the Father of the House, Ken Clarke. And to think some say the British media ignore Scotland...
posted by adrianhon at 12:39 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


They would need to take Boris hostage, and then send him videos of himself in distress 

They could send a video of his performance in the House of Commons today.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:44 PM on September 3 [16 favorites]


Your Childhood Pet Rock: "Jacob Rees-Mogg is literally the embodiment of stuffy English aristocrat with a stick up his asshole."

Actually he's an extremist and a free-market ultra-libertarian cosplaying as an aristocrat. I'm fairly sure if you dropped him into the 1890s your genuine aristocracy types would very politely give him the coldest of shoulders. He's dangerous because people think his manners and diction make him harmless. But he's also nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:44 PM on September 3 [27 favorites]


Also I recommend Tim Clare's poem about him. It's quite a satisfying read.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:45 PM on September 3 [17 favorites]


I'd say "free-market ultra-libertarians" are aristocrats in costume anyway, but it's not the 1800s style of aristocracy.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:53 PM on September 3


Conservatives after dark seem to be alluding to “If we take no deal off the table how can we force them to give us Ireland without the threat of putting a bullet in the head of the UK economy?”
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:26 PM on September 3 [4 favorites]


Interesting how the Guardian liveblog gives a scant 31 words on the SNP Leader Ian Blackford’s speech versus 180 words for the Father of the House, Ken Clarke. And to think some say the British media ignore Scotland.

Zero surprise from me - I’ve long referred to the Guardian as a local newspaper for the South East of England and it seldom does anything to challenge me in that view.
posted by penguin pie at 1:43 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Rafael Behr states the obvious (Guardian comment). At this point, the disconnect between Tory policy and real life is so blatant that repeated comments and editorials and MetaFilter posts seem redundant. On the other hand, Brexit is really happening.
posted by mumimor at 1:56 PM on September 3 [4 favorites]


The Guardian live politics for PMQs invariably goes to the "Snap Verdict" (judging the exchanges between the Tory Leader and Corbyn) straight away; so abruptly, in fact, that catching up with Blackford, who goes after Corbyn, frequently takes 10-15 minutes. In that time the live blogger will often manage to pay attention to whatever random backbencher goes after Blackford. Often, the live blogger admits they had to pick up Blackford's questions from a wire service!

On preview, what penguin pie said.
posted by deeker at 2:00 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


BBC News in the streets, BBC Parliament in the sheets.
posted by adrianhon at 2:06 PM on September 3 [9 favorites]


The Ayes have it, the Ayes have it. By a majority of 27!
posted by penguin pie at 2:11 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


Nick Robinson @bbcnickrobinson
2h
Not long ago @jeremycorbyn faced a crisis trapped between Remainers & Leavers and was shunned by other opposition parties. Now he’s able to stand up for democracy, work with a cross-party alliance & appear statesmanlike. Is that what people mean by No 10’s new strategic genius?
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:11 PM on September 3 [7 favorites]


328-301 sounds like!

(Ooorrrdddeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr!)
posted by Justinian at 2:11 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Ayes: 328
Nos: 301
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:11 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Suck it, Boris.
posted by skybluepink at 2:11 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


Vote was 328-301.

Also overheard one MP yelling "Not a good start, Boris."
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:11 PM on September 3 [17 favorites]


Bercow's having the Time. Of. His. Life.
posted by penguin pie at 2:15 PM on September 3 [17 favorites]


Guardian Live blog: Corbyn says Labour will not back early election motion unless bill ruling out no-deal passed first. Jeremy Corbyn says, if Johnson wants an election, he must get the bill passed first.

This is wild stuff - uncharted waters, right?
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:17 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Jonathan Lis @jonlis1
2m
Corbyn comes through. Insists that no-deal is taken off the table before an election. Say what you like about him, sceptics. He’s just saved this country’s bacon.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:18 PM on September 3 [13 favorites]


Bercow's having the Time. Of. His. Life.

I love seeing someone enjoy their job as much as he does. He's also good Speaker.
posted by deeker at 2:19 PM on September 3 [10 favorites]


I wonder how many of those 27 rebels made their mind up to cross the floor this evening as they watched Rees Mogg pouring himself over the front bench like a jugful of aristocratic custard and realised just what a shower of out-of-touch c*nts they were being led by.
posted by penguin pie at 2:21 PM on September 3 [19 favorites]


Credit to Corbyn for not falling in the elephant trap of allowing Boris to prevent the passing of the law on an extension and then pick his own date for a GE. And Parliament (particularly the tory rebels) for sticking up for their sovereignty despite the threats.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:23 PM on September 3 [4 favorites]


Imagine being as shit at your job as Boris Johnson is at his.
posted by dng at 2:23 PM on September 3 [7 favorites]


How many more votes and/or tweets before Ian Dunt becomes PM?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:24 PM on September 3 [6 favorites]


Only 21 Tories voted Aye. Remember the DUP and the crazy number of inadvertent Independents...
posted by deeker at 2:25 PM on September 3 [4 favorites]


Does anybody have a plausible end game here? Brexit keeps getting pushed off but at some point there has to be a final choice between "no-deal brexit" and "cancel brexit", yes? I've looked at those insane flowcharts but I'm still at a loss where that finality comes from.
posted by Justinian at 2:26 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Boris Johnson is the first prime minister in modern history, and perhaps ever, to lose his first Commons vote
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:27 PM on September 3 [23 favorites]


Does anybody have a plausible end game here? Brexit keeps getting pushed off but at some point there has to be a final choice between "no-deal brexit" and "cancel brexit", yes? I've looked at those insane flowcharts but I'm still at a loss where that finality comes from.

A different government with a workable majority. Probably by referendum if non-tory, by diktat if Boris wins a GE. If GE leads to hung parliament and an alliance can't be found for a majority, then um, keep having GE until that changes?
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:30 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I’m still sticking to my NI-only backstop scenario. One of the Tory defectors called Rees-Mogg a great recruiting sergeant, and you can interpret his performance tonight either as his arrogant entitled twatness, or deliberate incitement to rebellion.
posted by daveje at 2:31 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


GE, Labour, Article 50 revoked, and we get on with our lives
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:32 PM on September 3 [4 favorites]


Imagine being as shit at your job as Boris Johnson is at his.

I was just thinking this. I can't even imagine the AskMe I'd be posting if I turned up to to a new job and within one day, did the equivalent of losing an MP, losing my majoriy, losing a crucial debate and generally losing control of the Commons.
posted by penguin pie at 2:33 PM on September 3 [13 favorites]


Ahmad Khani: "Boris Johnson is the first prime minister in modern history, and perhaps ever, to lose his first Commons vote"

First since fellow Old Etonian, Archibald Primrose, 5th Early of Rosebery, if Political Twitter is to be believed.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:34 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


GE, Labour, Article 50 revoked, and we get on with our lives

Labour's policy is Remain if it's a tory Brexit, but Brexit if Corbyn is in charge of negotiating it, with a 2nd ref between that and remain - probably. If Labour win a GE outright, we're a long way away from revocation.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:37 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


I have to say, "Not a good start, Boris" is an excellent name for a sock puppet account
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:37 PM on September 3 [14 favorites]


The immediate Tory spin has been "Jeremy Corbyn is trying to cancel Brexit" and "Corbyn can only get what he wants if he wins the GE"

Somewhere Dominic Cummins is screaming at a television.
posted by fullerine at 2:38 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


If there’s a GE, who do you vote for if you want to Remain? It’s not Labour.
posted by daveje at 2:40 PM on September 3 [4 favorites]


The 21, according to @JamesMelville -

Bebb, Benyon, Brine, Burt, Clark, Clarke, Gauke, Greening, Grieve, Gyimah, Hammond P, Hammond S, Harrington, James, Letwin, Milton, Nokes, Sandbach, Soames, Stewart, Vaizey.
posted by penguin pie at 2:40 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


> "Archibald Primrose, 5th Early of Rosebery"

"Historians judge him a failure as foreign minister and as prime minister ... Rosebery's government was largely unsuccessful ... He angered all the European powers ... Rosebery rapidly lost interest in running the government."

The shoe fits.
posted by kyrademon at 2:41 PM on September 3 [21 favorites]


If there’s a GE, who do you vote for if you want to Remain? It’s not Labour.
That will be the Lib Dem position.
Labour will say that voting Lib Dem risks a Boris Brexit.
The Tories will probably get the date wrong.
posted by fullerine at 2:44 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I can't even imagine the AskMe I'd be posting
In the spirit of transatlantic friendship, I am willing to spot Boris Johnson five colonial dollars so that he can ask AskMe how to do a less shitty job, should he be interested in asking (and in doing a less shitty job).
posted by adamrice at 2:45 PM on September 3 [7 favorites]


Yes, I did think the parallels were rather stark.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:45 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


So the whip had apparently now been officially withdrawn from 21 Tories. Including father of the house ken Clarke and May's chancellor Hammond.

With the defection earlier today that makes the government majority -44?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:48 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Conservatives after dark seem to be alluding to “If we take no deal off the table how can we force them to give us Ireland without the threat of putting a bullet in the head of the UK economy?”

Does anyone actually think they're going to solve the problem by forcing Ireland out of the EU?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:50 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


I was joking but it looks like the Tories really did get the date wrong.
posted by fullerine at 2:54 PM on September 3


I was joking but it looks like the Tories really did get the date wrong.

Shouldn't it be on a Thursday anyway?
posted by dng at 2:57 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


Josh Chafetz @joshchafetz
7h
Congrats to Boris Johnson, who was prime minister for 4.1 Scaramuccis before losing his parliamentary majority.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:59 PM on September 3 [28 favorites]


... and Rory Stewart steps down. Shit.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 3:03 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


... or rather, GOOD FOR HIM
posted by HandfulOfDust at 3:07 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


If Twitter is any indication, yes there are Brexiteers who think this all ends with Ireland merging with Britain outside the EU.
Naturally they express this in particularly shitty ways.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:08 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


With the defection earlier today that makes the government majority -44?

If I didn't know better I'd say they're using their MPs as kamikazes in order to bait Corbyn into the VONC.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:11 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Now it sounds like Tory rebels *won't* immediately be stripped of the whip.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:18 PM on September 3


Contrarily, BBC News Channel just reported that rebels are being phoned in alphabetical order to have whip withdrawn and they're up to H - Hammond.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:21 PM on September 3


Nah, Leadsom's comment was wound back pretty quickly. Soames has already been on Newsnight to state that the chief whip told him the whip would be removed tomorrow; FT are reporting the same for Hammond.
posted by doop at 3:22 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Hang on. That means that there are more independents (15 + these 21) than SNP (35).

Making "don't know" the third largest political party in the UK.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:31 PM on September 3 [8 favorites]


The newly independent formerly-Tory MPs are “independent” but should not be lumped in with the political party known as Change UK - The Independent Group, led by Anna Soubry.
posted by adrianhon at 3:35 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I got mixed up with what you meant there. Still - lots of unaffiliated MPs out there now!
posted by adrianhon at 3:36 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Maybe they can have the whip back if the rebels reverse course tomorrow on the bill itself. Aka 'Spend a night in the wilderness, contemplating what you've done in daring defy the party.'

That the tory front bench is now full of serial rebels, and Mogg's rediculous speech about how Parliament should just fuck off and die seemed to really anger people like Grieve, I don't see them changing course now.

Presumably Cummings plan; purge the party of MPs not willing to go along with the brexit extremists in charge, provoke a VONC or other trigger for a GE yet get to blame Corbyn and Parliament for preventing Johnson from brnging us to the glorious sunlit uplands.

I just can't decide if they actually want to lose so they can go back to gloriously sniping from the backbenches at how awesome Brexit would have been if they'd been in charge of it and not have to carry the can for having no fucking clue, or if they want to win to force through crashing out so all those offshore hedge funds can make their lucre from shorting sterling and flogging off the NHS etc.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:38 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


So, the Tory rebels are simultaneously fired and not fired?

What fool put Schroedinger in charge of policy?

(Yes, it's "Don't Know", public favourite for Prime Minister for several years.)
posted by Grangousier at 3:39 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Watching The Papers on BBC News channel and 'Johnson loses control' with a picture of him looking baffled and miserable, seems to be flavour of the newsracks tomorrow. Glorious!

I mean, I'm still not opening the door to hope, it's shat on my couch too many times in recent years for that, but it's nice to see it waving in the distance for the second time in as many days. Also nice to see him being called Johnson for a change. No more faux-jollity for this failing cockwomble.
posted by penguin pie at 3:44 PM on September 3 [18 favorites]


Cockwomble!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:47 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Hah. The very picture of schadenfreude.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:51 PM on September 3 [24 favorites]


The Guardian: "Theresa May, whose premiership was wrecked by Brexit, has been photographed leaving Parliament after her successor, Boris Johnson, suffered defeat in his very first Commons vote."
[click through for photo of a very cheery May]
posted by Ahmad Khani at 3:53 PM on September 3 [8 favorites]


ah jinx!
posted by Ahmad Khani at 3:53 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


“I now call to order the first meeting of the Ancient Mystic Society of...No Borises.”
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:55 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


Ah, Absolutely No etc, that May photo made me very much LOL, as the young folk say, thanks for sharing (on preview: And Ahmad Khani!).

She's definitely kicked off her shoes and reached in the door pocket for the hip flask.
posted by penguin pie at 3:57 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Guarantee no no-deal, GE, Labour, Ref2, withdraw A50, head to the Winchester for a pint and wait for things to blow over.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 4:04 PM on September 3 [26 favorites]


I kind of wonder what they're doing tonight, these fine Brexiteers. Cummings is staring at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, ashen and trembling; Boris has divided a piece of A4 in two with a line and has written a pair of lists: One, marked "Bad", is very, very long and continues onto a second piece of paper, while the other ("Good") just contains "Have new dog"; Rees Mogg is lying in bed in a freshly ironed pair of monogrammed pyjamas, not sleeping, but happily meditating on his effortless superiority, something that has never and will never be troubled by any brush with reality; Raab now contains almost a bottle of whisky, and will divide the time before dawn between copious weeping and furious hate-wanking, just like any other night.
posted by Grangousier at 4:08 PM on September 3 [39 favorites]


While Farage is furiously jabbing at his phone, trying to get through the White House switchboard to initiate career plan B, while they 'accidentally' fail to connect him to the Great Cheeto Chump time after time. (We can only dream...)
posted by penguin pie at 4:13 PM on September 3


the other ("Good") just contains "Have new dog";
The best black humour takes I've seen on that detail tend to revolve around the fact that with No Deal looming even the PM has had to start stockpiling food.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 4:20 PM on September 3 [14 favorites]


Of course what we really need, what would outdo the entire weight of Parliamentary might in ringing the Brexit death knell, is for that poor little dog to be photographed being removed from Downing Street again in his little box* and returned to the dogs' home, looking even more sad and bewildered than when he arrived, because Johnson's decided he hates everyone, hates his life, and even hates his bloody dog. That would - finally - turn even the popular vote against him.

*Don't really wish this sadness on the dog, obvs, but it might be a blessing in the long run, since he was so clearly no more than a publicity prop, his prospects for a happy relationship with his owner about as real as Johnson's collection of self-made model buses.
posted by penguin pie at 4:20 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


I’m still sticking to my NI-only backstop scenario.

That's certainly been the most sensible option for a long time (for definitions of sensible that ignore the fact that the UK's exit from their extremely prime deal with the EU is still dumb), but the problem is that the disaster capitalists who have been funding this thing have a bunch of ERG types in their pocket who want no-deal. So Johnson would have to get a big enough majority to be able to ignore them. If Corbyn ends up PM, I'd expect that would be what would happen, though; Labour's not interested in keeping NI anyway, and he could pursue his Lexiteer dreams in the rest of the UK.
posted by tavella at 4:22 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


As loathsome as I find Teresa May, I begrudge her none of her schadenfreude in this moment.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:45 PM on September 3 [22 favorites]


The ultimate irony will be when Nigel Farage is denied asylum after fleeing to the US.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:08 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


The best black humour takes I've seen on that detail tend to revolve around the fact that with No Deal looming even the PM has had to start stockpiling food.

Well, that cabinet of his has to be good for something.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:09 PM on September 3 [6 favorites]


But why when it’s plainly obvious that Rees Mogg has to be talented at hunting human beings as game.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:59 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


If that lot had to do anything for themselves they would be dead within a week.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:39 PM on September 3 [10 favorites]




Sorry for such a basic question, but what was the question voted on today? The news stories I've read just say it was procedural or was a vote to take control of the timetable and don't give details.
posted by medusa at 8:34 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, I went and watched some of this parliamentary video and it is the first time I have had the great privilege and honour to hear the wise words of the Right Honourable Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg. His incredible tact and wit are certain to go down in the annals of history as among the greats of this most august institution, and I take the most sincere and profound umbrage at those who would paint him as a caricature of all that is wrong with the entitlement culture of the English class system. It is only right and good that the Right Honourable Leader should drape himself upon the benches in order to conserve energy for the intense mental efforts required of him in his position of immense responsibility.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:47 PM on September 3 [12 favorites]


Sorry for such a basic question, but what was the question voted on today?
It was a vote to hold an Emergency Debate under Standing Order 24, which means that Parliament will get to debate and vote on a no-no-deal bill later this week.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:00 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


Dunt's summary: Historic rebel victory: Parliament moves to stop no-deal
Not long ago, it had all seemed so jolly. Johnson's Cabinet appointments weren't really considered in any normal way. They were selected as trolling gags, intended to upset Remainers as much as possible and prove his Brexit virility.

But now these people had to actually perform. Mogg peppered his speech with laboriously written alliteration and expressions which seemed so dated it honestly felt like it was set four hundred years ago.

"We should recognise that the people are our masters and show us to be their lieges and servants, not to place ourselves in the position of their overlords," he said. Incredible nonsense. "As we come to vote today I hope all members will contemplate the current constitutional confusion and consider the chaos this concatenation of circumstances could create."

Beyond the outright preposterousness of it, his argument was both illiterate and profoundly dangerous. He was either unaware of, or pretended not to know, the basis upon which British constitutional arrangements operate. He seemed to be arguing that, because the sovereignty of parliament is based on the popular vote, and the referendum was a kind of popular vote, it could therefore overrode any decisions MPs might make. The delivery of Brexit was up to the government, which was to pursue it without challenge.

It was, in essence, a demand for total executive control, a grotesque inversion of the entire moral basis of British democracy. And apart from being ghastly, it was profoundly alienating. Tory rebels, the exact people the government was trying to get back on side, were outraged.
I'm not quite sure how many minutes elapsed between Rees-Mogg claiming "the people are our masters and show us to be their lieges and servants" and the point where he began lounging on the job, but it wasn't that long.
posted by zachlipton at 10:04 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


Sorry for such a basic question, but what was the question voted on today? The news stories I've read just say it was procedural or was a vote to take control of the timetable and don't give details.

The question was a long-form version of, “Should this house debate a bill to avoid No Deal Brexit on Wednesday?”

The reason that it gets so procedurally messy is that the government has spent this whole session (since when May was PM) limiting opportunities for Parliament to act, in order to try to keep a tenuous control. That’s also why questions about royal assent and whether parliamentary convention is binding come to a head tomorrow and this week – the basic assumption is that if a government loses the confidence of parliament, that there will be a confidence vote and an election, not almost a year of a government limping along without confidence and refusing to submit legislation.
posted by frimble at 10:15 PM on September 3 [6 favorites]


Quite early in the thread I posted Stephen Bush's interpretation of Johnson's real plan:
But what it does do is it sets up a showdown in parliament next week that would give Johnson the pretext to stand outside Downing Street, decry the bad behaviour of MPs and go to the country on a “don’t let politicians steal Brexit” ticket before 31 October – which increasingly looks like the government’s real first preference, rather than pursuing a no-deal Brexit with such a fragile parliamentary majority.
So far, that plan hasn't gone as smoothly as planned. The rebellion is bigger than they expected given the warnings of expulsion. Jacob Rees-Mogg's schtick fell flat and Johnson didn't look that great. Crossing the floor was a neat symbolic moment.

But the basic plan looks intact. The right-wing papers are falling in line: The Sun's headline is "Over to you, Britain", the Mail's "Now you decide, Britain", the Express's "Parliament surrenders to the EU". Everything depends on who actually wins the upcoming election.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:59 PM on September 3 [3 favorites]


...decry the bad behaviour of MPs and go to the country on a “don’t let politicians steal Brexit” ticket before 31 October
One other problem for Johnson, is that he has to get parliament's assent to go to the country. Parliament looks set to insist he takes a lot of baggage with him on his trip.
posted by rongorongo at 11:08 PM on September 3 [2 favorites]


But the basic plan looks intact. The right-wing papers are falling in line: The Sun's headline is "Over to you, Britain", the Mail's "Now you decide, Britain", the Express's "Parliament surrenders to the EU". Everything depends on who actually wins the upcoming election.

Yes, and judging from this voxpop from Wigan, the general public are so uninformed and also tired of it all that the plan may work. It's really incredible how little people understand what is going to hit them.
Martin and the Woolleys bemoan the “collapse” of shopping in their market, which is only half-occupied on Tuesday. Business has suffered since they opened 20 to 30 years ago, they said, because of the rise of internet shopping, sprawling new supermarkets and American-style malls such as the Trafford Centre and Wigan’s Grand Arcade. All of this leads to a feeling that things used to be better. “Me and my wife knew, before we came into Europe and everything was OK, you could get a job and save up for a house. You can’t do it now. They’ve inflated all the prices, Europe,” said Ray Woolley.
posted by mumimor at 11:09 PM on September 3 [10 favorites]


This (the parliamentary shenanigans, eg breaking every norm and tradition in sight) is all Newt Gingrich’s fault. It would be great/ never gonna happen if governments formed within one set of social and cultural norms would recognize the fragility of those norms and respond accordingly. By which I mean, write and or re-write constitutions and codify that which is not explicitly codified.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:26 PM on September 3 [1 favorite]


It's really incredible how little people understand what is going to hit them.

I've been arguing on and off about Brexit for 3 years with my dad. He's a decent and intelligent man, retired in his 50s from a good job at a bank with a substantial pension then worked for a charity before final retirement. My mum says he voted Remain, but I don't believe it. He basically takes the Telegraph as gospel and I recognise every point he makes as coming from them. So it's all the fault of the EU for being obstinate and unreasonable, total trust that the tories can handle it all, that things will be fine with no deal, and it's all just fearmongering from sour losers, that my wife has nothing to worry about as a french citizen living here, that the only real disaster would be Corbyn getting control, it's time to get it over with, the whole shebang.

It is deeply infuriating that, despite all the evidence, he has total faith that things will carry on pretty much as normal, and we'll be much better off "without those unelected bureaucrats in the EU in charge". You'd think he'd be more concerned about the NHS, but nope, as he goes private anyway. I'm sure he sees me as worrying needlessly, and probably as a sore loser. He definitely doesn't believe that we're seriously considering fleeing to France with the grandchildren in the event of no-deal. I just don't know how to reach him, to break through decades of right-wing newspaper bollocks.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:43 PM on September 3 [39 favorites]


The Speaker's internal voice: Sweary Bercow
posted by daveje at 1:43 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


he has total faith that things will carry on pretty much as normal

I see this attitude lot with people of my parents generation (in their 70s) and the fact is, for the majority of them, things probably will carry on pretty much as normal, even as the effects of No-Deal kick in. They've all got good pensions, at least one house, a healthy savings pot and private healthcare. They will ride out the storm for their remaining years.

But, the one thing they cannot be made to care about is their kids and grandkids and everything that they will not have that they, themselves, had. In the days after the Brexit vote I often saw the Leave vote characterised as the over 55s pulling the ladder up after themselves as they clambered into their lifeboats leaving the rest of us floating in the cold water in their wake.

And why? Cos whenever they leave their rural southern-English homes and venture up to London they hear people speaking "foreign languages", plus that bloke who delivers their John Lewis orders is very hard to understand.
posted by jontyjago at 2:09 AM on September 4 [8 favorites]


I just realized that DExEU looks more like a fucking sigil than a department name.
It's that what's going on here? Is Cummings not only an accelerationist singularitarian, he's an accelerationist singularitarian chaos magician?


According to Gary Lachman's “Dark Star Rising: Magic And Power In The Age Of Trump”, Chaos magick is prevalent elsewhere on that particular side, from Aleksandr Dugin to the "meme magic" of the 4chan alt-right. It would surprise me if there wasn't any interplay between the chaos magicians and the Roko's Basilisk cultists Cummings hangs out with.
posted by acb at 2:38 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


"Historians judge him a failure as foreign minister and as prime minister ... Rosebery's government was largely unsuccessful ... He angered all the European powers ... Rosebery rapidly lost interest in running the government."

They still named a thoroughfare in Clerkenwell after him (the 38/73 bus route past Exmouth Market), in spite of his gross incompetence and general not-botheredness. Which tells one more about the fine traditions of Britain for whose preservation the conservatives stand than anything.
posted by acb at 2:44 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


The ultimate irony will be when Nigel Farage is denied asylum after fleeing to the US.

Surely he can have the Kim Philby suite in Moscow.
posted by acb at 2:48 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


"They’ve inflated all the prices, Europe,” said Ray Woolley.

Ah, the folk wisdom of the common man: poisonous bullshit, so disconnected from reality that it isn't even wrong, it doesn't make enough sense to be able to evaluate whether it's true. Only thing that's certain is that the common man never has to take responsibility for anything - it's always the fault of some Other.

These people vote. I've never been allowed to, anywhere, my entire life. These people will vote in a referendum, did vote in the last referendum. I can't, and couldn't, because I'm more directly affected.
posted by Dysk at 2:50 AM on September 4 [23 favorites]



Liberal Democrats: "We tried being Centrists, so let's just cannibalize the non-crazy Tory base and subsume them."

Reportedly a lot of Lib Dem's very cross about him being let in. The head of the LGBT group has resigned. Several members have apparently quit (according to Twitter).


The Lib Dems will be a broad church, from the Blairite centre-right to Tories who are not post-Trotskyite accelerationists; their left, in turn, may peel off and join the Green Party.
posted by acb at 2:54 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Corbyn and his surrender bill would mean years of uncertainty and delay. I am determined to lead this country forward and take Britain out of the EU on October 31st @BorisJohnson
So you're saying you lost in a 52-48 percent vote and refuse to accept the result@JimMFelton
I felt a great disturbance in the Internet, as if millions of chefs suddenly kissed their fingers in appreciation.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:56 AM on September 4 [27 favorites]


Oh good heavens, the Young Conservatives are hitting the streets to protest outside CCHQ for the government being too right-wing.

What is even happening?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:14 AM on September 4 [7 favorites]


What's today's timetable? Not in terms of the exact times things are happening, but the order in which they're happening?

Javid's spending review thing is this morning or lunchtime, I believe. The key is whether Johnson's FTPA vote is before or after Letwin's no-deal Brexit vote. Does anyone know? I can't stomach going through the entire Guardian liveblog for the day so far, I'm gardening.
posted by winterhill at 3:31 AM on September 4


"Historians judge him a failure as foreign minister and as prime minister ... Rosebery's government was largely unsuccessful ... He angered all the European powers ... Rosebery rapidly lost interest in running the government."

John Woods' take on the backgrounds of Etonians (audio book link posted from earlier in this thread) mentions how remarkably stable the backgrounds of families like the Earl of Rosebury. The current heir is the great grandson of the PM. His great, great, great, great, great Grandfather received his title from Queen Anne for his role in stitching up the union between Scotland and England. I am not sure how many generations attended Eton - but many certainly. Wood's point was about how well shielded families like this are from any real harm that could result from their actions.
posted by rongorongo at 3:31 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


winterhill. From the Guardian:
Agenda for the day

Here is how the day will unfold in parliament,

11.30am: The Commons sitting starts with Welsh questions.

12pm: Boris Johnson takes PMQs. This will be his first PMQs as prime minister. Given that parliament may well be prorogued by next Wednesday, and that if there is an early election he could lose, it could be his last one too.

Around 12.50pm: Sajid Javid, the chancellor, makes a Commons statement about the spending review.

3pm: MPs begin the debate on Hilary Benn’s bill designed to rule out a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

Around 3.30pm: Peers start debating a business motion tabled by Labour designed to ensure that, if the Benn bill gets to the Lords, it will complete its passage through the house by 5pm on Friday.

5pm: MPs vote for the second reading of the bill. That is a yes/no vote on whether it should go ahead. After that MPs will spend two hours debating amendments to the bill.

7pm: MPs vote on amendments to the bill and for its third reading. There are likely to be several votes, each one taking 15 minutes.

Mid evening: After voting on the Benn bill is finished MPs will have a 90-minute debate on Boris Johnson’s motion saying “that there shall be an early election”. The motion may well pass but the opposition parties are not voting in favour (because they want the Benn bill passed before they agree to an early election), and so Johnson is not expected to get the two-thirds majority needed under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act for an early election to go ahead.
posted by michswiss at 3:46 AM on September 4 [6 favorites]


Listening to a brief snippet of PMQs in the car just now, I noticed Blackford of the SNP speaking in favour of an election on the grounds that the SNP stand to make major gains in Scotland in any early election.

Even if Labour, the Lib Dems and the independents vote against an early poll, if the Tories and SNP both vote in favour it could well go through. The SNP appear to be chancing a no-deal Brexit in order to make some gains in Scotland at a general election. Is their strategy to push through the worst possible Brexit so that Scotland makes the choice to become independent?
posted by winterhill at 4:32 AM on September 4


The SNP will pursue courses of action that maximise their political goal of independence (and Scotland staying in the EU). But they’ve also been very clear that they don’t want no deal and will do what they can to prevent it. Reducing the number of Tory MPs in Scotland both makes no deal less likely and increases the mandate of the SNP for the future. Assuming they avoid the trap of an election timing that means no deal by default.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:45 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


I heard Blackford speak too - but I believe he put in a reference to “after the bill passes” as a pre-requisite. That has certainly been Sturgeon’s position.
posted by rongorongo at 4:51 AM on September 4 [10 favorites]


Even if Labour, the Lib Dems and the independents vote against an early poll, if the Tories and SNP both vote in favour it could well go through.

Don't they need a two-thirds majority? Con+SNP+DUP isn't two thirds against Labour, even before counting the Lib Dems and various independents (a sizable group of whom are independents precisely because of voting against the government on this issue).
posted by Dysk at 4:51 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


Boris Johnson’s electoral gamble risks wrecking the Tory party :
The assumption is that Cummings is intentionally baiting MPs so that he can trigger an election that Johnson will then cast as a populist battle of “people vs parliament”.

If that’s right, it is surely the most high-risk electoral strategy ever attempted in this country. It knowingly alienates moderate Tory voters who have always quite liked, say, Ken Clarke, thereby writing off a string of seats – in the south and the West Country – that are likely to fall to the Liberal Democrats. It similarly dooms the Tories in Scotland. So Johnson will begin the next election campaign with that immediate handicap. The Cummings plan is to make up for those lost seats, and gain many more, by winning pro-leave seats in the Midlands and north of England, many of them Labour-held, chiefly by neutralising the Brexit party...

The trouble with that is, there are plenty of onetime Labour voters who were happy to vote leave in 2016, happy even to vote for Farage in May’s European elections, who may nevertheless baulk at voting Tory. Still, Cummings and Johnson are gambling on the belief that they can burn down every other plank of historic Tory support, but win power by delighting the hardcore Brexit base. Win the 35%, enrage everyone else.

A few weeks from now, we might be watching a triumphant Johnson returned to Downing Street with a healthy majority, forced to applaud the strategic genius of Dominic Cummings. Or we might marvel that a man who inherited a precarious political situation went on a rampage of revolutionary destruction, thereby making that situation much, much worse.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:06 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


The SNP does not want an election before No Deal is off the table. It very much wants an election otherwise, as it's thirty points ahead in the polls and expects a near-total rout of Con and Lab MPs. Whether the election happens on the 14th October or 14th November makes no material difference in that respect.

I don't think anything Blackford has said is against this, and I'd be amazed if so - the SNP is by far the most thoughtful and disciplined party in these benighted isles at the moment.
posted by Devonian at 5:07 AM on September 4 [16 favorites]




Astonishing scenes as MPs applaud Labour MP @TanDhesi as he tears into PM, accusing Boris Johnson of “derogatory and racist” remarks about Muslim women, declaring “open season” on minorities

As opposition MPs applaud. One side of the house was firmly bereft of applause. This wasn't MPs making their opinion heard - it was the opposition. Why mischaracterise it like that?

(To attempt to humanise the Tories, I suppose.)
posted by Dysk at 5:21 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Thank you all for clearing up my SNP question!
posted by winterhill at 5:38 AM on September 4


Ah, I see where the SNP pushing for election stuff is coming from. Sturgeon suspects, I think rightly, that Corbyn would be happy to let things drift and not push for an election once the No Deal stopper's through. She tweets:

1/ Not allowing Johnson to cut and run for an election simply as a tactic to force through a no deal Brexit is one thing - and why opposition right to insist on passage of anti no deal Bill, BUT...

2/ ...it’s starting to feel like Labour doesn’t want an election at all...and leaving this PM in place knowing he’ll try every trick in book to get what he wants would be irresponsible. Opposition must get Bill through and then seek to force election BEFORE Parliament prorogued.


Which is being spun by Laura Kuenssberg as 'SNP push for mid-Oct election' without mentioning that it's contingent on the No Deal bill.
posted by Devonian at 6:33 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


Thinking about the Tory deselections. If there's no room for europhile, "one nation", "moderate" Tories in the party, it's pretty clear that the hierarchy are bought in to No Deal. (I have no idea how Amber Rudd and others like her are handling the cognitive dissonance they must be experiencing).

I think Johnson has got them to accept that the only deal that they will be able to get through parliament (even after an election in which they win a majority) is one with full unicorns blazing—in other words all the benefits of being in the EU with none of the obligations. They'll still go full on crazy in negotiations with the EU in the hope of getting that deal, but they know it is a very unlikely outcome. I see the chances of a Johnson pivot as >1%. So if the Tories win a majority, we unicorn or No Deal out of the EU in very short order.

I was going to say that I hope that Labour have a humdinger of an election strategy so they win, or at least create a hung parliament. But thinking about it, I wonder if they'd do any better solving the problem than the Tories? Yes they want a customs union, but as Ivan Rogers pointed out (article upthread) that's a halfway house that maximises your obligations to the EU and minimises your benefits. A deal is a heck of a lot better than no deal... but if Labour win I just see the pain continuing without any resolution.
posted by dudleian at 6:38 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Now that the DUP have been neutralized, I am surprised to see no mention of an NI-only backstop - as originally suggested by the EU. Surely more palatable to the right-wing brexiters who care not a whit for NI.
posted by vacapinta at 6:50 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Alas, no - any form of backstop is unacceptable to the wingnuts. They don't care about NI, but they do care about sticking it to Johnny Foreigner, and any sort of backstop is JF interfering in the Sanctity Of The Union and Denying Sovereignty.

AND WE VOTED OUT!!!11!! 14.7 MILLION PEOPLE!

Didn't you get that memo?
posted by Devonian at 6:55 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


I was going to say that I hope that Labour have a humdinger of an election strategy so they win, or at least create a hung parliament. But thinking about it, I wonder if they'd do any better solving the problem than the Tories?

Exactly. This is what kind of pisses me off about Corbyn. I love that he's a dyed in the wool socialist but he had a shot, he's been left found wanting, and he's not what the country needs right now. This upcoming GE absolutely needs to be a de facto referendum on Brexit and it needed to be Labour forming a wide coalition with a full throated defense against Brexit. Jezza? He scares the normies. He pals around with Irish terrorists in the '80s (which I personally found admirable but the electorate?) and wants to do things. Boris? Completely fucking incompetent but we have a laugh and the government continues on its merry way despite his ineptitude. We've built a civil service based on Boris not being able to screw things up too badly. Corbyn on the other hand? He knows what he's doing.

This isn't an election where the socialists are going to come in and make a left wing utopia if they win. This is do or die for the country for the next generation. Labour are waxing poetic about how they'll fund everything and remake the class structure while the tire fire is still burning away on the front lawn. THE TIRE FIRE SHOULD BE YOUR IMMEDIATE FUCKING CONCERN. I am 100% confident that if Blair, for all his sociopathic lying, was leading Labour under "stop the madness, stop Article 50" Boris would be third behind Swinson. Corbyn just isn't that sort of leader. We need someone who's going to stand up, promise no huge social changes bar inoffensive pragmatic improvement, project confidence that Brexit is a fucking omnishambles, and that their party is going to stop it.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:11 AM on September 4 [23 favorites]


Short digression -

I've had an extremely stressful year, but Ian Dunt, David Allen Green, and the Remainiacs podcast have been some of the few consistent bright lights in my life. Speaking of the latter, I never even could listen to podcasts before, but Remainiacs is well-structured enough and well-balanced in its tones enough for me to listen to at all times of day and in all types of moods. I will never stop guffawing at Dorian Lynskey summarizing the Tory leadership race as infinite promises of "Daft Punk Brexit" - "harder, better, faster, stronger", and that's how I will keep referring to Johnson and the hard right's hard-on for unicorn accelerationist disaster capitalism Brexit.

Thank you Metafilter for helping me find them!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming -

I have a question. While Commons is set to pass the rebels' bill tonight, judging from this Guardian article, it looks like it could be seriously stymied in the House of Lords. How big of an issue could this be? Could this stop the bill from being passed long enough for prorogue to take hold next Wednesday?
posted by facehugger at 7:11 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


The Lords works differently, yes. Some 83 amendments have been tabled and, conventionally, all must be debated - which would be filibuster heaven and could indeed prolong things. The plan appears to be to also table a "closure motion" which forces things to a vote even in the face of obstruction. So the filibuster will slow things but likely not enough - although one peer, acknowledging it will be a long session, arrived at the House with snacks and a freaking sleeping bag!
posted by deeker at 7:28 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


(Now over 100 amendments - I was going by memory from only a couple of hours ago.)
posted by deeker at 7:29 AM on September 4


The Tory Party membership has declared that it’ll be happy to lose both NI and Scotland if they can get Brexit, so I doubt they’ll care too much about an NI-only backstop.
posted by daveje at 7:51 AM on September 4


Pardon my ignorance of UK politics, but what kind of possibility is there that Article 50 is going to be suspended and this whole nonsense stopped? Is any of this shouting about actually stopping Brexit, or is everyone just arguing about which foot they're going to shoot?
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:55 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


I don't think this parliament or the next would dare simply to revoke A50. There might be the numbers to hold a second referendum but, even if Remain won that one, this whole nonsense would be far from stopped. This shouting is about stopping a No Deal Brexit, not Brexit as such...
posted by deeker at 8:02 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Is any of this shouting about actually stopping Brexit, or is everyone just arguing about which foot they're going to shoot?

Some of the smaller parties are, but the two major parties are arguing about where to shoot themselves, and whether to use a revolver or a howitzer.
posted by Dysk at 8:03 AM on September 4 [10 favorites]


Pardon my ignorance of UK politics, but what kind of possibility is there that Article 50 is going to be suspended and this whole nonsense stopped?

Ian Dunt addressed that today.

Whenever Remainers feel upbeat, people often feel the need to point out that they're still fucked. And that's quite right. We are. We've been living in a world of fucked for some time. That's why we've become so adept at enjoying victories when they happen.
.
The pathway to actual victory is so narrow. You'd need an election, then probably for Labour to be the largest party but fail to get a majority so LD/SNP influence can be brought to bear, then make sure he delivers on a referendum promise, and then to actually win it.
.
On the other hand, Brexiters need only run down the clock and their outcome happens automatically. So when you live in that political context for a long time, I think you learn to savour the victories when they happen.

posted by vacapinta at 8:04 AM on September 4 [27 favorites]


This shouting is about stopping a No Deal Brexit, not Brexit as such...

Though surely everybody has realised that any Brexit is objectively worse than remaining in the EU to the point where there is no rationale for it, so not going for the full-English apocalyptic no-deal Brexit with ration books and body bags and all that is like choosing to be hanged for a lamb rather than a sheep.
posted by acb at 8:08 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


This is why Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson want an election – but not yet:
The fear that opponents of no deal have is what happens if you get another hung parliament – the result that most polls suggest will happen – in which it is unclear who has the right to govern. It is the sitting Prime Minister who controls when a new Parliament is summoned, and in the event of an inconclusive result Boris Johnson could simply wait out the final days of the Article 50 process.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:10 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Though surely everybody has realised that any Brexit is objectively worse than remaining in the EU

If only...
posted by Dysk at 8:11 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


...surely everybody has realised that any Brexit is objectively worse than remaining in the EU...
You would think so, wouldn't you?
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 8:11 AM on September 4 [10 favorites]


objectively worse than remaining in the EU to the point where there is no rationale for it

But the bloody foreigners, you see? (at least, that's my take on it, from living within Trumpistan, and it's similar daily howling void)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:11 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


But the bloody foreigners, you see?

Less "but" more "and" sadly. "Project fear" as a dismissal for any and all concerns is still alive and well. Hell, we saw it here on Metafilter right up until the two most recent threads.
posted by Dysk at 8:13 AM on September 4 [2 favorites]


I keep circling back around to the fact that the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act was utter bullshit and we wouldn't be facing this particular omnishambles (a different one, certainly) if governments collapsing triggered a freaking election. May should have been out when she couldn't pass Brexit legislation! Boris should be gone now, he failed on his very first try and lost his tenuous majority! There should be new elections to seek a mandate! They should not be allowed to shuffle along as a failed minority party that can't get a resolution favoring bacon butties for lunch passed! ARGH

Also, it is fascinating, in a terrible way, to watch the unicorn rhetoric of the Tories run up against the realities of the EU repeatedly, where they promise all kinds of nonsense and the EU, who is not beholden to them, just says no. (If only the GOP faced some sort of similar reality-backstop, something more imminent than the future total destruction of the planet.) A small part of me is really looking forward to analyzing this all in 20 years and reading all the academic work done about Brexit and the collapse of the Tories and the truly fascinating interaction of all these different competing needs and desires. But a larger part of me is still just howling in incoherent rage non-stop.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:19 AM on September 4 [26 favorites]


The fear that opponents of no deal have is what happens if you get another hung parliament – the result that most polls suggest will happen – in which it is unclear who has the right to govern. It is the sitting Prime Minister who controls when a new Parliament is summoned, and in the event of an inconclusive result Boris Johnson could simply wait out the final days of the Article 50 process.

Even without Brexit ticking down, what even happens after a GE where there's a hung parliament? The polls are something like 30-25-20 so not only is it not out of the question, there's a good chance of that outcome. Swinson will basically have three options: crown Boris, crown Jezza, or back to the polls. She has no good options. I heartily expect the Lib Dems to climb straight back into bed with the conservatives but that's because she's basically been given the option of a cat shit sandwitch, a dog shit sandwich, or rolling the dice to see which order the chefs present the shit sandwiches next time around.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:30 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


All you need to know about the Brexiter mindset is in this sketch from John Bird and John Fortune.

From 1996.

Whatever happens in the coming days/weeks/months, this isn't going away.
posted by rory at 8:31 AM on September 4 [14 favorites]


This isn't an election where the socialists are going to come in and make a left wing utopia if they win. This is do or die for the country for the next generation. Labour are waxing poetic about how they'll fund everything and remake the class structure while the tire fire is still burning away on the front lawn.

Well... the thing is, if you want to make massive changes, disasters give you great opportunity to do it, as any number of right wing politicians have demonstrated over the last few years. So it's not surprising that the radical left would employ the same thing.
posted by tavella at 8:46 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Well that’s what we did after the Second World War and it got us the NHS, better housing and decades of strong growth. It’d sure be nice if we could decide to make the world better without burning it to ashes first though.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:58 AM on September 4 [20 favorites]


First vote - 329/300. Looks like another Tory has jumped. Tory majority now -45, says wireless.
posted by Devonian at 9:21 AM on September 4


@nicholaswatt: So anti govt majority up by two from last night. Caroline Spelman joined rebels
posted by zachlipton at 9:24 AM on September 4


Anybody in Berlin / Anybody who knows anybody in Berlin:

Stop the Coup demo, this Saturday the 7th, noon till six, Pariser Platz/Brandenburger Tor, probably corner of Wilhelmstrasse near the UK embassy.

Speakers, band, loudness, shouting.

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2382963588645899/

Ta.
posted by runincircles at 9:39 AM on September 4 [9 favorites]


Even without Brexit ticking down, what even happens after a GE where there's a hung parliament?

Confidence and supply agreement in order to deliver whatever agenda can be agreed upon, before going back to the polls, I'd say.

I've no idea who the constituent parties would be, nor what their legislative agenda would be, but surely that's what would happen.
posted by ambrosen at 10:04 AM on September 4 [1 favorite]


The media decided that Jeremy Corbyn was an extremist back at the end of the Cameron/Miliband era when the expectation was that all parties would campaign in a tiny area of the centre ground.

Here's the 2017 Labour Manifesto. There's nothing in there that's remotely as radical as Boris Johnson's No Deal Brexit. Everything there would be perfectly normal in most European countries. Angela Merkel can support publically owned railways, free University education and a national investment banks and still be considered centre-right by European standards.

Jeremy Corbyn's speech on 19th August said:
And if there is a general election this autumn, Labour will commit to holding a public vote, to give voters the final say with credible options for both sides including the option to remain.
The Lib Dem's last manifesto said basically the same thing:
That’s why we will put the Brexit deal to a vote in a referendum, with the option of staying in the EU on the ballot paper.
At this point, I don't see how the Lib Dems or anyone else can plausibly equate Jeremy Corbyn's Labour and Boris Johnson's Tories in terms of extremism or radicalism.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:31 AM on September 4 [34 favorites]


What is even happening?

One way to think about all this is to realise that an almost-explicitly disaster capitalist clique within the Conservatives (assisted by an arch-accelerationist) have the one shot at power all disaster capitalists seek and will seek as hard as they can given a glimmer of opportunity. Like all disaster capitalists they are perfectly prepared to always-already double down on the coming disaster. They also know opportunities like this rarely, if ever, come around and are prepared to scorch all of the good green earth - including their own party - in pursuit of it. That is to say that what is happening has an inexorable logic (even if it would have seemed unlikely but four years ago).

Extreme Euroscepticism was always something of a red herring, at least in terms of abstract principles such as national sovereignty. The Eurosceptic wing was the attic in which the Tories kept their mad aunts wishing to 'complete the revolution' started by Thatcher when all the rest had moved on to the post-Thatcher settlement. The EU was regarded by them, to some reasonable extent correctly, as an obstacle to that revolutionary impulse (in summary the 'Singapore-isation' of the UK). It was both a real and totemic adversary. This, the blocking of the 'Singapore-isation' of the UK, was always the principal objection to the EU and, if we understand this, we can better understand the ignorance, willful or otherwise, towards the prospects of a deal with the EU: that was always secondary to their main objective.

Moreover, the dynamics of Leave (its protean quality) always would have allowed the disaster capitalist wing to push things towards the intransigence and absolutism that followed the Leave victory, as indeed it has. The real history here will be how the mad aunts of the Tory right were able, as disaster capitalists must, to capitalise on uncertainty, indecision and prevarication. Of course, the Tories happily rode the tiger of Euroscepticism to their electoral benefit for years and the Eurosceptics knew this and have hated successive Tory leaders for it. It's worse than clear-headed disaster capitalism, they have scores to settle and a party to take over from milquetoasts. (I am far from the first to note that the current mess is a result of Cameron deciding to try to finalise a 30-year Tory civil war and totally miscalculating. That's only part of that history, though; it actually, I think, stretches back to the revolutionary impulse at the heart of Thatcherism. There's a damn reason they were the Tories' responsibility!)

What we are seeing now is textbook disaster capitalism. It really is now or never for the mad aunts finally released from their back-bench attic and given a sniff of power. This answers the 'have they overreached?' question - they would always have tried to overreach, the plan only works through the remorseless upping of the ante. If you are a disaster capitalist kept locked up for decades and treated with derision and then, finally, given your moment to, maybe, do that thing they always wanted to and if they don't they probably won't get another chance for decades again, of course you damn well go balls-to-the-wall and do that thing. Remember whn the whip was withdrawn over Maastricht? Well, we have the whip hand now - and when we say whip and hand, you better believe it's barely a metaphor any more.

(Replace capitalism with socialism in the foregoing and roughly, as noted above, you also get Labour's stance. There is a whole historico-sociological thesis to be written on quite how we got the parliamentarians and, particularly, leaders, but we fucking did.)

There's more to say ( about quite why a dilettante became their champion, about the ritualised compromising - or else violent expulsion - of MPs in an attempt to cow the party they are trying to take over and, vitally, about the interplay between these elected proto-fascists and their electoral constituency, whose radicalisation must not be underestimated for the long game) but, as ever, I am over-long and do not wish to be told to "get a blog sparky" so early in my membership.

But to conclude, this realy is a moment of acute danger. Disaster capitalists are here, now, ready to handmaiden us to authoritarianism. The history of this will be fascinating, if there is to be a conventional history to be written; the climate for that is in serious jeopardy.
posted by deeker at 11:26 AM on September 4 [33 favorites]


WTF just happened?
They canceled the division on Kinnock's amendment and it has been added.
posted by fullerine at 11:29 AM on September 4


It was called of so it hasn't been added.
posted by Pendragon at 11:32 AM on September 4




Is this something that can be stripped out in reconciliation with the House of Lords version?
posted by saturday_morning at 11:46 AM on September 4


At this point, I don't see how the Lib Dems or anyone else can plausibly equate Jeremy Corbyn's Labour and Boris Johnson's Tories in terms of extremism or radicalism.

It's the obvious elephant in the room: brexit.
posted by Dysk at 11:53 AM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Like, Corbyn refused to answer a question about how he would vote in a referendum now. Whatever policy is on paper, you can always read between the lines: Labour will campaign for remain against no deal brexit or a tory brexit. Read, Labour will campaign for and pursue their own brexit.
posted by Dysk at 11:56 AM on September 4 [9 favorites]


It seems like a problem if a vote can pass simply because nobody counted (or actively refused to count) the votes against it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:59 AM on September 4


Yeah, that's my reaction too. Like, there's an unknown but non-zero quantity of "no" votes on this amendment, but because nobody was assigned to take a headcount they're treated as not being cast? And the Government is responsible for assigning the counters? It seems like this opens a fairly large loophole where the ruling coalition can just decline to count the votes against a proposition it expects to lose.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:03 PM on September 4


So the Kinnock amendment was really a way to get the dead-and-buried/only game in town (depending if you're UK/EU parliaments) Theresa May deal back on the table. Lovely, lovely, lovely …
posted by scruss at 12:03 PM on September 4


What is even happening?

It's very simple. The PM has scrabbled Parliament, which of course means that under the 1824 arrangement no convocation can be made unless the Brendersfield exemption is invoked. But if anyone rejigs - which even a junior MP can do - then that's functionally impossible. (continues...)
posted by bitteschoen at 12:09 PM on September 4 [24 favorites]


(Also, I'd hoped never to hear Maggie's 1983 "frit" challenge word again. No amount of lipstick and hairspray could turn Johnson into Thatcher.)
posted by scruss at 12:09 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


I honestly think Thatcher would recoil from a Tory party that expels wets, actively pursues national disadvantage in Europe, disregards the Union and plays fast-and-loose with democratic principles with horror. There's a non-zero chance she'd have been expelled last night if she had been around for the vote.

(Lest anyone mistake me for a Thatcher fan, I've literally sprinkled my bottled piss on her grave; I'd have openly wazzed if not for fear of arrest.)
posted by deeker at 12:30 PM on September 4 [14 favorites]


I shan't thread-sit but wow, Jess Phillips is - as often the case - on fire!
posted by deeker at 12:44 PM on September 4 [5 favorites]


COP: Is that holy water you're sprinkling?
YOU: Holier than what's down there.
posted by delfin at 12:46 PM on September 4 [21 favorites]


It's very simple. The PM has scrabbled Parliament, which of course means that under the 1824 arrangement no convocation can be made unless the Brendersfield exemption is invoked. But if anyone rejigs - which even a junior MP can do - then that's functionally impossible. (continues...)

Mornington Crescent!
posted by Buntix at 1:17 PM on September 4 [13 favorites]


but, as ever, I am over-long and do not wish to be told to "get a blog sparky" so early in my membership.

For the record, it was a great comment. More like that would be a good thing.
posted by jaduncan at 1:26 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


I use Mornington Crescent to explain to my British friends what inside baseball means to my American friends, and vice versa. I find it hilarious in a way that nobody I'm explaining it to can understand. I feel like a similar thing is going on now with this race to the bottom.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:30 PM on September 4 [7 favorites]


From the Guardian live blog:

21:36

Government is defeated again in motion on general election
As expected, Boris Johnson has suffered another big loss, with the Commons rejecting his motion calling for a general election.

Ayes:298

Noes: 56

posted by soundguy99 at 1:39 PM on September 4 [4 favorites]


I have really got to stop keeping an eye on that live blog because every time it reports some Tory MP spouting blather and outright lies I yell at my phone.
posted by soundguy99 at 1:41 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Boris Johnson has suffered another big loss, with the Commons rejecting his motion calling for a general election.

Ayes:298

Noes: 56


I don't understand. Since all the polls seem to predict a Conservative victory if there's a GE, and therefore a No Deal on Oct 31, why wouldn't the party back Boris's motion?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:01 PM on September 4


The party did back Boris’ motion (mostly), but it failed to get the 2/3 majority required under the FTPA.
posted by pharm at 2:06 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Since all the polls seem to predict a Conservative victory if there's a GE, and therefore a No Deal on Oct 31, why wouldn't the party back Boris's motion?

A significant chunk of the party don't want no deal - twenty one of them were expelled from the party for voting for a mechanism to prevent Johnson forcing no deal. What's left of the party after that isn't far off the number of ayes on his election motion (the difference is largely the DUP). Why would the MPs who rebelled to avoid no deal work with him to give him another way to force it?
posted by Dysk at 2:07 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


So if I understand correctly, Johnson is now required by law to negotiate an article 50 extension with the EU (or come up with an acceptable exit deal HAH HAH). What happens if he just... doesn't do that?
posted by Justinian at 2:07 PM on September 4


> The party did back Boris’ motion (mostly), but it failed to get the 2/3 majority required under the FTPA.

(And it furthermore failed to even get a simple majority, due to yesterday's defection of anti-no-deal Conservatives.)
posted by Rat Spatula at 2:07 PM on September 4


What happens if he just... doesn't do that?

Vote of no confidence, caretaker government of national unity to get the extension and then call a GE. I think that's the plan.
posted by Dysk at 2:09 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Also, I'd hoped never to hear Maggie's 1983 "frit" challenge word again.

He's like a rubbish tribute act, doing the material of successful predecessors in hopes that some of that success will rub off on him.

It's not working.
posted by Grangousier at 2:10 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


So if I understand correctly, Johnson is now required by law to negotiate an article 50 extension with the EU (or come up with an acceptable exit deal HAH HAH). What happens if he just... doesn't do that?

Not yet. The votes today are second and third reading. It has to go to the Lords, who are controlled by Labour/Lib Dem, and are preparing to have a 72 hour vote-a-thon to get through all the filibustering the Tory lords have put up. Then it comes back either to be voted on in reconciliation or it's then passed and given the royal assent.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:13 PM on September 4


I thought he basically said, in his intro to his act, that he would refuse to do it. It was a taunt before the vote, but it was also a claim.
posted by stonepharisee at 2:14 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, the Lords are settling in for an indefinite period. As far as Parliamentary business is concerned, it will remain Wednesday until the current session ends.

/300 years later/

Why do the Lords sit all the time father?
Well son, if the Lords stop sitting, Brexit will come for us all.
posted by pharm at 2:16 PM on September 4 [43 favorites]


They only need to keep it up for two months, and brexit does happen.

(Except there's a guillotine on the debate for Friday, isn't there?)
posted by Dysk at 2:22 PM on September 4


“The Eternal Wednesday” would be a good Doctor Who title.
posted by adrianhon at 2:24 PM on September 4 [8 favorites]


(Not a LITERAL guillotine... yet.)
posted by delfin at 2:24 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


 He's like a rubbish tribute act

So basically the Denis Leary of Shit, then?
posted by scruss at 2:30 PM on September 4


Some really excellent shade from The Guardian - "Boris Johnson has maintained his unenviable 100% vote loss record as prime minister"
posted by soundguy99 at 2:32 PM on September 4 [16 favorites]


/300 years later/

How catching up on politics feels every day in 2019.
posted by Buntix at 2:52 PM on September 4 [12 favorites]


Last time I checked, the Lords were getting through one filibuster every 15 minutes. If they keep it up, they'll be done around 10pm tomorrow evening.

There are rumours that jezza has done a deal with Johnson that if JC lets JB have his election, then the filibusters will stop. Also that this is infuriating the Labour Party, but as I rather thought that getting the bill through and canning 31st Oct followed by an election was what everyone wanted. So there's something I'm missing there.
posted by Devonian at 3:06 PM on September 4


No shit, Buntix. I was just watching the News at 10, and they started reporting on the vote that Johnson lost earlier today, the bill to prevent a no deal Brexit, and I was thinking "Why are they reporting yesterday's news?" I couldn't believe it was only this afternoon that had happened (In fact, I actually just had to go away and look up what all three votes were to type this comment, because honestly my brain is already addled and I've only really been paying close attention for about a week, I was too pissed off to really watch too closely before that).

Note to self (and anyone else who needs it):
* Wednesday - Vote at which the Commons sought to take control of Parliamentary business in order to introduce the anti no deal bill; Johnson loses majority mid-afternoon as MP crosses the floor, cuts off his nose to spite his porridgey little face by sacking another 20-odd rebels.
* Thursday afternoon - Vote to pass the no deal bill, which then moves to Lords.
* Thursday evening - Vote from Govt to move to General Election, defeated, mostly Labour abstention. Jess Phillips kicks ass.

Two days.
posted by penguin pie at 3:11 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Ouch.


Dmitry Grozoubinski
@DmitryOpines

If I were repeatedly and comprehensively outmaneuvered by Jeremy Corbyn, I might reassess my readiness to face down the US Trade Representative.

Just a thought.

posted by Devonian at 3:19 PM on September 4 [15 favorites]


I am sorry to be That American, and feel free to point me to some other place online to get these questions answered, but what are the potential outcomes?

1. Boris and pals get no-deal Brexit (now unlikely? Or still possible?). Chaos ensues as feared, food shortages, general horror.
2. No-deal Brexit voted down and general election called. What happens if Tories get majority? If Labour does?
3. Do any of these offer any path to "hey let's just...not do Brexit, you guys?" Like, is it actually impossible for that to happen now? Or do politicians who should be against it just seem not that interested for some reason?
posted by emjaybee at 3:20 PM on September 4


There are rumours that jezza has done a deal with Johnson that if JC lets JB have his election, then the filibusters will stop. Also that this is infuriating the Labour Party, but as I rather thought that getting the bill through and canning 31st Oct followed by an election was what everyone wanted. So there's something I'm missing there.

Why on earth would Corbyn have any kind of dealing with Johnson at this point?

The Tory peers' attempted filibuster, should it succeed in delaying the No to No-Deal Brexit Bill past the prorogation of Parliament, would only further inflame and entrench centrist opinion against this government. It would be pure hay in a General Election campaign. No longer the People vs Parliament, but Parliament and the People against the Executive, unelected HoL and Vote Leave corruption.

Am I missing something? The Tories in the HoL can't possibly filibuster past 31st October, right?
posted by doornoise at 3:21 PM on September 4


They only need to filibuster past the end of this week, when parliament is set to close.
posted by scruss at 3:24 PM on September 4


As an American, I can only interpret the whole thing as 'Calvinball as a system of government.' But it's working at least as well as what we got goin' here, so carry on, chaps, or whatever the hell you guys say.

As a Canadian (and therefore someone who lives under a Westminster-style parliamentary system), one of the things it has going for it is that it's hard to overstate the "fuck you" beauty of a member (leaving aside the other troubling aspects of Philip Lee's politics, or what people may think of the Lib Dems) of the governing party physically crossing the floor while the PM is in the middle addressing the House of Commons on the motion in question.

It's not that floor-crossing never happens in such a parliamentary setup -- it's just that it's usually not this level of mic-drop literal in nature, particularly when the floor-crossing in question tips the balance of votes in the house away from the governing party having a majority. It was both symbolic and slapped Johnson's hands away from certain levers of power. Short of picking up the mace and menacing Johnson with it, it would have been hard to play this any more beautifully.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:25 PM on September 4 [22 favorites]


Yes, but Parliament is set to reopen with the Queen's speech. The Government no longer have the majority, so seems the Commons can arrange to bring the Bill back at that point?

From the parliament.uk site:

What happens to bills still in progress at prorogation?

Prorogation brings to an end nearly all parliamentary business.

However, Public Bills may be carried over from one session to the next, subject to agreement. The first Bill to be treated in this way was the Financial Services and Markets Bill in session 1998-99.

posted by doornoise at 3:30 PM on September 4


Hey emjaybee, this is the Guardian's round-up of the current situation. But the long story short is that we're in uncharted territories and every one of those possibilities is still in play.
posted by doornoise at 3:36 PM on September 4 [4 favorites]


Checkmate: Labour rejects Johnson's election gambit - Ian Dunt's summary of the day.
posted by rongorongo at 3:47 PM on September 4 [6 favorites]


And I just realised I got the days wrong on my post to remind me what's happened so far. Thursday hasn't even happened yet. Says it all.
posted by penguin pie at 4:09 PM on September 4 [7 favorites]


Thursday hasn't even happened yet.

Are you sure?
posted by medusa at 4:31 PM on September 4 [9 favorites]


Thursday hasn't even happened yet.

I thought maybe you knew something we didn't.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:42 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Now would be the perfect time for Lenin to arrive on a special sealed Eurostar train, and for the Bolsheviks to seize power.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:52 PM on September 4 [8 favorites]


I thought maybe you knew something we didn't.

Mwa ha ha... they’re all my little puppets. Mwa Ha Ha HAAAA!

On another note - having signed the anti-prorogation petition the other week, I just got an email saying it will be debated in Parliament on 9 September. At first, I thought ‘Oh, cool.’ But now I’m wondering if it’s part of a plot to fill the pre-prorogation timetable with stuff that doesn’t involve voting or legislation. Debating a public petition doesn’t require the Government to actually do or win anything, they can just chunter away for a few hours with all the usual soundbites - lack of a majority is immaterial. A relatively safe way to waste one of the few afternoons Parliament has left?
posted by penguin pie at 4:55 PM on September 4 [2 favorites]


Looks like it's all over - Lord Adonis on Twitter

Government chief whip announces government cave-in at 1.20 am - they are lifting the filibuster after 10 hours, with a commitment that the EU Bill will pass by 5pm Friday. We have stopped no deal - & we can now go home
posted by Devonian at 5:39 PM on September 4 [13 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull: "Now would be the perfect time for Lenin to arrive on a special sealed Eurostar train, and for the Bolsheviks to seize power."

You are Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon and I claim my £5.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:49 PM on September 4 [24 favorites]


A rare outbreak of common sense? A sudden inkling of their own ludicrousness?

Still not getting my hopes up - seems a fair bet a general election with the Tories stuffing their seats with hardliners will give Johnson a majority and then he’ll just repeal it and we’ll be back to square one, but worse: Him pushing no deal and no Eurosceptic Tories left in the House to put the brakes on.
posted by penguin pie at 5:51 PM on September 4


Nothing is over yet. All bets pay out AFTER Halloween when the nation hasn't found a way to seize immediate catastrophe from the jaws of delayed catastrophe.

The main elephant in the room is that this is not a simple Remain/Leave binary. The opposition force is currently kind of united, complete with this batch of Tory defectors, but only united as far as agreeing that (a) No Deal cannot be allowed to happen on their watch and (b) Boris has no goddamned idea what he's doing. The LibDems are as focused on Stopping Corbyn as Stopping No Deal, and in some ways strikingly more so.

Are we headed for a Con-LibDem-DUP coalition by year's end? Possibly. My main question is whether Boris will be allowed to remain on top or if putting in someone even marginally competent will be the price the LibDems would demand.
posted by delfin at 7:10 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Thursday hasn't even happened yet.

I never did get the hang of Thursdays.

I can't fucking believe that Johnson can't even get his party to pull off a fucking filibuster properly. Sorry, as an American, I'm used to slightly more procedural competency than that from our evil fascist pricks, Figurehead-in-Chief notwithstanding.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:00 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


1. Boris and pals get no-deal Brexit (now unlikely? Or still possible?). Chaos ensues as feared, food shortages, general horror.
2. No-deal Brexit voted down and general election called. What happens if Tories get majority? If Labour does?
3. Do any of these offer any path to "hey let's just...not do Brexit, you guys?" Like, is it actually impossible for that to happen now? Or do politicians who should be against it just seem not that interested for some reason?


It is very fast moving and not finished yet, so it's not hard to get lost.

1. No deal is the default position in UK law on 31st october still, that's not changed. The fillibuster has ended in the Lords so they will now debate today (and tomorrow if needed) the bill forcing Johnson to ask for an extension if no deal agreed. Then it's back to the Commons on Monday to in theory finish up and hand off to the Queen to sign before Boris can shut parliament for a month. The hard parts have been done, so it should pass.

2. So assuming it passes into law, in theory Labour and the SNP will then agree to a GE in mid october. If the tories or tories+brexit party+DUP win a majority, having purged the moderate tories, they will then nullify the extension-required law and proceed to no-deal on Oct 31st - likely with Johnson saying he wants a deal all the way, but of course he's set the bar so high no deal with the EU is possible. Chaos ensues.

Labour is unlikely to win an outright majority, but may be able to form one with the SNP and/or lib dems. Both really want a 2nd ref with remain as an option, and Labour has grudgingly come round to the same position, so possibly a later 2nd ref between a Labour negotiated softer Brexit and remain. No deal unlikely. In theory Remain more popular, but that's what we thought last time so “¯\_(ツ)_/¯“

3. Not enough MPs prepared to just cancel Brexit. Leaving with a deal still the majority - just not *what* deal. So the only feasible route to stay in the EU is an early GE, labour+smaller party alliance keeping Labour honest, then Remain wins 2nd ref and we can all go home. And deal with the long term consequences of the 30% ish of the population 'robbed' of their crash out Brexit.

Are we headed for a Con-LibDem-DUP coalition by year's end? Possibly.
*Extremely* unlikely. The Libs want to outright cancel Brexit if possible as their number 1 priority, or have a 2nd ref with Remain as an option if not. The Tories have been turned into the Brexit Party in all but name, with crashing out ASAP their goal (except Johnson is pretending to want a deal, but leaks show it's indeed a sham). I don't see any way they could square that circle as they have long been at opposite ends of EUphobia, despite them being much closer bedfellows than libs+labour on other matters. Cameron offered the original ref on EU membership in the expectation he'd be in coalition with the Lib Dems again, and they'd make him drop it as a condition. Instead he won a narrow majority, and the rest is how we got here.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:49 PM on September 4 [18 favorites]


The Court of Session appeal on the legality of proroguing parliament will be heard today. I have no idea of the petitioners' chance of success - but note that the original A50 retraction case went all the way to the top before getting anywhere. I guess the best outcome they could have would be for the prorogation to be over-thrown. But then what?

Also, the government commissioned a £100m advertising campaign, telling everybody we will be leaving the EU on October 31st - the date is pretty much the only thing they were certain on in fact. That is a very large campaign, so media will have been created and slots booked. They risk being made to look very silly.
posted by rongorongo at 11:17 PM on September 4


I don't think that Conservatives could be made to look more silly than they are at the moment, rongorongo. But I'm open to being surprised.

With the no-no-deal bill in place and the possibility of an early election, I'm not sure that declaring prorogation illegal will achieve much. Scotland might have a completely different legal system, but it's easily ignored by the rest of the UK.
posted by scruss at 12:56 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


The commentary I've read on the legal cases makes me think that the chances of the court actually finding prorogation illegal are fairly low (on grounds of justiciability if nothing else). However, given the very shady behaviour of the government they may well (a) give them a very hard time in court and (b) write a judgement that will reflect their misgivings about the constitutionality of the procedure in pretty strong language.
Strictly in terms of what happens next in Brexit, it may not matter much as long as the bill passes (and it does now look set to do so). The politics then moves onto holding Johnson to the legal agreement in the bill and the inevitable general election. That doesn't mean the legal questions about using prorogation are less important, but I can't see the court ruling on more than strictly what's in front of them.
posted by crocomancer at 1:17 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


On the GE in October front: Kier Starmer has been arguing very strongly that the Conservatives can play games with the timetable if a GE is called before Oct 31st & delay it until after Halloween. Hence if Labour goes for a GE before the Brexit date they are being played for fools. So far it looks like Corbyn has taken note & has refused to rise to the proffered bait (hence the failure of the GE vote yesterday).

The view amongst the Starmer-wing of Labour appears to be that the Johnson administration will use any procedural trick in the book to get Brexit over the line & therefore the only safe path for the country is to force a delay & /then/ call for GE.
posted by pharm at 1:18 AM on September 5 [7 favorites]


Odd how much Boris' current situation, being suspended in the middle of a process with no way to go forward or back while an entire nation laughs at him, resembles being stuck on a zipline.
posted by jamjam at 1:22 AM on September 5 [36 favorites]


The Libs want to outright cancel Brexit if possible as their number 1 priority, or have a 2nd ref with Remain as an option if not.

But they are a small party, and under their current leadership, detest Labour. Being the junior partner in a No Deal Brexit government would be the second-worst option for them, second to propping up a Corbyn Labour government. There is no third-worst option.
posted by acb at 1:27 AM on September 5


That order seems the wrong way round to me. If the LibDems stand for anything at the moment, it's Remain. They would reluctantly support a Corbyn government if they could get a commitment to second ref with Remain as an option. I can't see any possible situation where they would support a No Deal government.
posted by crocomancer at 1:41 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


I can't fucking believe that Johnson can't even get his party to pull off a fucking filibuster properly.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think you’re underestimating him (/Cummings). I think it’s likely the filibuster was only ever a bargaining chip - say to Labour ‘We’ll stop the filibuster and give you the bill if you give us an early election’. That probably won’t become clear until the bill is passed into law.

If Labour were real strategists they’d now start a little light filibustering of their own, running down the clock between now and prorogument and passing the bill juuust before Parliament closes and ‘accidentally’ running out of time to approve an election. (Though of course that’s only a pipe dream as the Tories would then retaliate by reupping their filibustering and kill the bill).
posted by penguin pie at 1:54 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Also, the government commissioned a £100m advertising campaign, telling everybody we will be leaving the EU on October 31st - the date is pretty much the only thing they were certain on in fact. That is a very large campaign, so media will have been created and slots booked. They risk being made to look very silly.
I've never been sure about this supposed £100 million. That's apparently what a major advertiser like Unilever spends on advertising in a year. I don't think the country has enough advertising space to spend that much money on advertising in two months, even if every billboard and every ad slot on every TV and radio station was commandeered to thump out no-deal propaganda until the end of October. The passing of the PPI deadline has created a lot of empty slots on most radio stations, but still.

I remember the last Brexit advertising campaign in the distant bygone days of, er, the start of this year. They created a little logo with "UK Leaves the EU 29.03.19" and had to take the date off it, so there were billboards and ads with just "UK Leaves the EU" on them. The new logo ("Brexit 31 October") also looks a bit like it's designed to easily remove the date.
posted by winterhill at 2:09 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


I don't think the country has enough advertising space to spend that much money on advertising in two months even if every billboard and every ad slot on every TV and radio station was commandeered

How about every Facebook ad? I hear the Leave campaign are pretty fond of them...
posted by penguin pie at 2:13 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


If the LibDems stand for anything at the moment, it's Remain. They would reluctantly support a Corbyn government if they could get a commitment to second ref with Remain as an option. I can't see any possible situation where they would support a No Deal government.
I can. They're the Lib Dems, they'll turn on a sixpence if it gets them a sniff of power.
posted by winterhill at 2:14 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


I don't think that's right either, but even if we accept "a sniff of power" is their only goal supporting no deal would not get them it. They would inevitably be sidelined in a (presumably) Tory/BXP coalition and then utterly destroyed at the next election.
posted by crocomancer at 2:25 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Yeah, sorry. I detest what the Libs did in coalition, but the idea that the Libs are itching to support a No Deal Tory government is nonsense. It's so way off their own best interests (e.g. it would remove at a stroke their huge influx of new and activist Remain supporters, like a friend of mine who spends two days a week demonstrating outside parliament) that it would be equivalent to dissolving the party. I don't see it happening—purely out of self interest, regardless of how immoral and right wing you believe them to be. There are loads of ways other than coalition to get the bits of a Labour government they want, and to repudiate the ones they don't (see the DUP).

Yes the leadership is virulently anti-Corbyn, but I think that's because they are seeing the same polling as the Tories which tells them that Corbyn is Labour's achilles heel. They see anti Corbyn rhetoric as the best way of driving Umunnistas into their fold (they know they have zero hope with the Corbynistas).
posted by dudleian at 2:38 AM on September 5 [13 favorites]


There's also the Lib Dem leadership being pretty anti-brexit, while Corbyn is anti-no-deal, and at best reluctantly makes ambiguous doublespeak statements that could wishfully be interpreted as being against brexit if you really squint and don't think too hard about it. That's not exactly alignment, and it's easy to see how a staunch remainer might not exactly be Corbyn's biggest fan.
posted by Dysk at 2:49 AM on September 5 [7 favorites]


Plots are thickening. News via Jo Maugham on Twitter (unrolled thread) is that the Tory leadership could be in even hotter water than previously suspected.

Maugham says he's in possession of details of a network of Tory politicians and strategists, working under the radar on burner phones and WhatsApp groups, who allegedly conspired to fabricate documents on meetings discussing prorogation and supply these to the courts. Sadly for this group, the relevant civil servants have declined to perjure themselves by signing witness statements.
posted by doornoise at 3:27 AM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Financial Times on possible conditions for a further extension:
Brussels officials said they would need to debate the terms of any further extension, but they are already discussing the possibility that Mr Johnson will fail in his pledge to leave on October 31, no “ifs or buts”, thereby requiring more time beyond the deadline granted in April. 

“There is absolutely no appetite in the EU to throw Britain off the Brexit cliff edge,” said one EU diplomat. “If the UK parliament were to ask for an extension to prevent a no-deal outcome, it would be hard to see how the EU27 could refuse that.”

Diplomats said that, despite the bloc’s willingness in principle to consider an extension, France and others were likely to be tough on the details, wanting clear explanations from Britain as to how more time could lead to a positive outcome, and legal guarantees that the UK government would not disrupt EU business.

posted by sour cream at 3:30 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


BoJo just lost JoJo.

"In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest - it’s an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP & Minister."
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:47 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


Does anyone really think the Lib Dems would let themselves be shafted a second time in a Con-Lib coalition, and especially by the perfidious ERG?

More realistic, to my mind: a general election in November in which the Conservatives/ERG get a kicking from the Lib Dems and Tory Independents in Remain shires, the SNP takes most of their seats in Scotland and the Brexit Party divides their votes in Leave seats. Labour cling on to most of their current seats due to tactical voting.

The Lib Dems and SNP enter a confidence and supply arrangement with a weak Labour government - we get a second referendum on Brexit, a second referendum on Scottish Independence and a second referendum on alternative voting vs FPTP.

Brexit is cancelled. Scotland leaves the Union. FPTP is buried.

Break up of the Conservative Party, break up of the Labour Party. Another election under the new voting rules follows quickly. Completely new political landscape!

Maybe in my dreams, hey? Though I'd be desperately sad to see Scotland go.
posted by doornoise at 3:49 AM on September 5 [12 favorites]


Jo Johnson has resigned in order to spend less time with his family.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:50 AM on September 5 [80 favorites]


If Brexit were cancelled, it would simultaneously be much easier logistically for Scotland to leave and give them much less of an urgent reason to leave. Although I wouldn't blame them for deciding that the cancellation decision was too fragile to be trusted in the long term.
posted by confluency at 4:00 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


If I were Scottish, at that point I'd be thinking that never again would I want my country to be held at gunpoint by the lunatic fringes of English politics. And I'd be looking at Ireland's position within the EU and thinking, "Yup, doable."
posted by doornoise at 4:11 AM on September 5 [18 favorites]


There are a lot of people in England thinking the same. I don't know what the answer is - it's not to leave England at the mercy of the lunatic right-wing fringe just because it's England. I feel like a German-style federal system would be a reasonable way forward, with each region of England given powers roughly similar to those enjoyed in Wales now. But it's a long, long way from here to there.
posted by winterhill at 4:17 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


One big difference in the inevitable Scottish Indyref 2 is that I think English criticism will be much more muted. Not only will it be harder to say that Scotland will be plunging into political chaos if they leave, not only is the whole “you’ll be booted out of the EU” argument gone - but crucially, I think a lot of English progressives will sadly understand and support the impulse for leaving. I know a few people in England who are seriously considering moving to Scotland if they win independence.
posted by adrianhon at 4:19 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


You are Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon and I claim my £5.


I assure you that I am not.

But that is exactly the sort of thing Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon would say, isn't it?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:33 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


I feel like a German-style federal system would be a reasonable way forward, with each region of England given powers roughly similar to those enjoyed in Wales now.

IMO this would go a long way to resolving the democratic deficit which is one of the drivers behind Brexit. I was a supporter of the Scottish and Welsh devolution campaigns, but I always felt that it was a serious structural error not to extend this to the English regions as well.
posted by daveje at 4:34 AM on September 5 [7 favorites]


Corbyn has pushed for a more federal UK for some time now, and that'd be a big improvement for me assuming England wasn't a monolithic bloc, but I'm not at all convinced that Labour's heart is behind it – and even if it was, that they could get it through. Hence my support for Scottish independence.
posted by adrianhon at 4:37 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Without going over ye olde stuff, they did make a very half-arsed attempt at English regional devolution. It went to a referendum in North East England in 2004 and was rejected by a huge margin. I still think that's what they wanted, in order to kill the idea - there were never any real passionate arguments in favour, and a lot of carping about "another expensive layer of bureaucrats at the trough etc etc".

That charade has killed the idea for years, because every time it comes up someone goes "but the North East referendum!". It's funny how referendums are used as a way to determine the wishes of the people in perpetuity.
posted by winterhill at 4:41 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Good point, I forgot about that. Also various referenda for elected Mayors and such that have been defeated recently.
posted by adrianhon at 4:42 AM on September 5


I'm an 'English Scot' ie. born and raised in England, been in Scotland a long time, and I think I'm part of a sizeable chunk of people who voted No in the last IndyRef, but would be much more inclined to a Yes this time. One of my reasons for voting No (which was not a decision easily decided at) was that the sheer expense and complication of replicating institutions and systems that already existed seemed unnecessary. Whereas now, it's like "Well, we're having to do it all anyway with Brexit, we might as well come out the end of the whole thing in the EU."

Earlier this summer, I was sat around a campfire with about half a dozen people, including a couple of very strong Yes campaigners, and normally in those circumstances, No voters would just keep quiet and wait for the conversation to pass. But three of us all piped up and volunteered that we were No last time and likely Yes this time. Anecdata, but it felt like a striking change.

I always said I'd never vote for independence because of a bad Prime Minister as it was a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but it's starting to look pretty endemic. Even if it does feel like abandoning England and pulling the rope up after me.

The biggest thing that still gives me pause is the fear that an independent Scotland would sink into sectarianism, exacerbated by the Yes/No divide. When I first lived here, back in the mid-90s, independence seemed a terrible idea because it seemed certain to plunge the place into parochialism. In recent years, that's felt less of a threat and Scotland's felt more outward-looking and cosmopolitan. But watching the riots in Govan, and reading the participants afterwards on Twitter, I had a terrible sinking feeling (the guy who'd been marching behind a Saoradh banner but had never heard of Lyra McKee was a particular highlight).

That particular decision all feels a long way in the future, but time seems to have entered a new dimension now, so it'll probably arrive with both a deathly slowness and astonishing rapidity.
posted by penguin pie at 4:51 AM on September 5 [12 favorites]


Ironically, Scotland could then immediately offload a lot of the admin donkey work back up to the EU; there's no need to replicate it rather than just go back to the previous status quo.
posted by jaduncan at 4:54 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


abandoning England and pulling the rope up after me.

That is exactly what I plan to do (son of a Scot) and at the risk of being cliched, I'd say that I didn't leave England. It left me.
posted by jaduncan at 4:55 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


So... you thought that this week had exhausted your surprise supplies? Nothing could out-weird the weirdness of the past 48 hours?

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Sinn Fein open to Westminster electoral pact with other pro-Remain parties to challenge the DUP, says O'Neill
posted by Devonian at 5:03 AM on September 5 [34 favorites]


A lot of people can't just walk away. I'm at university for the next few years, in England. That's where I am - my options are to stay in England and complete my degree, or walk away with no qualification and wasted time and money.

The issue electorally in the UK now is that I can't see any general election result in the foreseeable future other than repeated hung parliaments with the Conservatives as the largest single party. Labour aren't in a position where they're anywhere close to a parliamentary majority, which is partly down to the fact that their previously safe Scottish seats are long gone but mainly down to an inept leadership for the past few years.

The idea of another election with the same result is depressing. The Conservatives aren't in power because they're wildly popular with the electorate - they're almost there by default because they're slightly less unpopular among older people who vote.
posted by winterhill at 5:05 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Wha?!?!?!
posted by mumimor at 5:05 AM on September 5


Wha?!?!?!
Sorry about this, I was spontaneously and thoughtlessly reacting to Devonian's Sinn Fein post above. These are the end times.
posted by mumimor at 5:08 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I thought for a moment that it was about SF considering taking their seats, but it's about SF stepping aside to give a clear run to a pro-Remain candidate who will take their seat, in areas where there's a chance of a pro-Remain party beating a DUP MP.
posted by winterhill at 5:10 AM on September 5 [9 favorites]


Rees-Mogg just announced, through gritted teeth no doubt, that the Government are going to try again on Monday to secure an early GE post-ratification of the No to No-Deal Bill.

So very very weak.

I do very much hope that the House lets them know that they'll be delighted to vote for an election once Johnson has secured the extension to A50.
posted by doornoise at 5:11 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I'm an 'English Scot' ie. born and raised in England, been in Scotland a long time, and I think I'm part of a sizeable chunk of people who voted No in the last IndyRef, but would be much more inclined to a Yes this time.

It isn't talked about, because obvs, but I have heard that informed analysis suggests that the English in Scotland sank Indyref. (It's OK, I voted Yes so we just cancelled each other out.)

I'd think that now the Tories have imploded in England - let alone Scotland - and Labour are doing even worse up here, the Unionist cause in Scotland among the resident English will be much weakened this time around. At some point, it's going to be undeniable that the SNP has run a decent government and maintained a decent country while everything south of Berwick has gone septic. Can Scotland run itself? Should it? Let's look at the evidence...
posted by Devonian at 5:11 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure that will have been through gritted teeth, doornoise, I imagine it's the outcome of whatever deal was struck last night to end the fillibuster in exchange for an early GE.
posted by penguin pie at 5:12 AM on September 5


Also various referenda for elected Mayors

After the people roundly rejected them in referendums, Cameron's government implemented regional elected mayors across the major city regions of England. They're variable, but Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester is very good, and Andy Street in the West Midlands is IMO the best Tory in England (but still worse than Burnham).

But the voters of England didn't want them. As a populace, it's too defeated to actually take any initiative to make any decisions.

Which is why my heart left England a long time ago. Regrettably I had to leave the life I had set up in Edinburgh in the early 2000s, but I'm fairly likely to move back.
posted by ambrosen at 5:16 AM on September 5


I don’t understand the motivation behind Labour supporting a GE before Oct 31st. If the Tories win, couldn’t they roll back all relevant legislation and then go for No Deal again? I know that at least some Labour MPs are adamant a GE can only be after Oct 31st.
posted by adrianhon at 5:17 AM on September 5


And yeah, Devonian, though I think that's true both for English folk in Scotland, and for Unionist Scots (of whom there are still many). The argument that Scotland is stronger in the Union is hard to sustain when the rest of the Union is so clearly up in flames.

It's OK, I voted Yes so we just cancelled each other out.

Well, that's kind, I guess, but I actually don't regret my vote last time, even if I'd vote differently this time. In the circumstances we were in at the time (remember, back when Brexit seemed unimaginable?) I made what I felt was the best decision. And part of that decision was also predicated on the assumption that gradual devolution would continue, so going for independence in 10 or 15 years' time would be less of a leap-in-the-dark-on-the-edge-of-a-recession than in 2014. It didn't occur to me it would be a better bet because the Union would have become so uninhabitable. (Anyhow, I need to go and do some work so will step away from my Scottish derailing!)
posted by penguin pie at 5:23 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Word is, there was no deal with Labour struck last night. Just Brexiteer wishful thinking.

Johnson's buddies' cause faltered because it was proven hopeless. If the Tory peers had succeeded in filibusting past prorogation then that would have been a massive own goal PR-wise (24-hours-a-day for 4 days+!!!), plus the Bill could simply have been brought back after the Queen's Speech under the current rules.

Reuters: Richard Newby, an opposition member of the Lords, who had taken his duvet to parliament in preparation to spend the night discussing the law, said the government dropped its opposition after suffering heavy defeats on some of the proposed amendments.

“There was a realisation by those on the other side that this was more than usually stupid, and they were looking stupid, and we needed to find a way forward,” he told BBC Radio.


Seems like Johnson and Cummings clutching at straws, hoping that all this pathetic 'frit' and 'chicken' guff will cause Labour to lose their heads and put No-Deal on 31st October back on the table.
posted by doornoise at 5:27 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


This is a bit far-fetched, but it is a good read: Why The Third Man is an essential primer for no-deal Brexit, and it reminded me of something closer to our age and the people involved: Jeltin's Russia, inspired by radically conservative disaster capitalists, and run by crooks and robbers.
posted by mumimor at 5:37 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


I am just trying to imagine Sinn Fein standing next to the SNP in the Commons. I just. My eyes blink, and my brain resets.

And yet this is 2019. I'll have to get used to it, possibly, or get used to the idea that it was just vain hopes that the cavalry were coming.

Either way, this is going to take years to work out where it actually sits in the scale of wild events.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 5:45 AM on September 5


There's probably an analogue in Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones - a semi-mythical army of exotic magical creatures that people only half-believed existed turning up for the Last Battle against the forces of darkness.
posted by Grangousier at 5:47 AM on September 5 [7 favorites]


(ah, sorry, on review I'm reading this and it's an electoral pact in an upcoming election)
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 5:48 AM on September 5


it's going to be undeniable that the SNP has run a decent government and maintained a decent country while everything south of Berwick has gone septic

Soon to be the Free City of Berwick. (It's in England for administrative reasons, but its football team is in the Scottish league, which is probably precedent enough for it to be a seamy bordertown between the Republic of Scotland and Greater Gammonshire.)
posted by acb at 5:51 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


(at least I hope we'll still have elections in the future)
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 6:02 AM on September 5


inspired by radically conservative disaster capitalists, and run by crooks and robbers.

This has been my analysis for years now - Putin moved into Yeltsin's Russia still clasping the plan to take over post-Soviet governments from within that he'd helped the Stasi with when he was in the GDR. State assets were acquired and used to power political oligarchies that could then acquire more state assets, and the place ended up in the hands of the mob.

The big problem - the rest of the world didn't want to play, and it was getting harder to enjoy all that vast wealth in the face of regulatory-based Western restrictions. So replay the story on a bigger stage, and heeeeeere's Donny to help! Blackmail, bribe and corrupt your way in.

Nothing I've seen in the past three years disabuses me of these ideas. Brexit fits right in.
posted by Devonian at 6:07 AM on September 5 [31 favorites]


(at least I hope we'll still have elections in the future)

Don't see why not. They have elections in Russia. Thing is not to let elections interfere with the business of government.
posted by Grangousier at 6:08 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


(at least I hope we'll still have elections in the future)

Under Edward VIII rules, parliament is supposed to resign in disgust if King Charles III becomes a thing.

He should have lost Prince of Wales the second he married Camilla. That he didn't is a stain on the monarchy that will never come out, much like Prince Andrew.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:08 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


The SF ‘stand down for a bit to let in a remainer ‘ strategy - is one put forward by Fintan O Toole last month. We discussed it on the Brexit threads I believe. I believe we concluded it was nifty sounding but had zero chance of coming to pass.
posted by rongorongo at 6:35 AM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I recall the O'Toole plan as being a bit more involved and complicated, involving Sinn Fein resigning (not merely choosing not to contest an election) in order to trigger by-elections on the promise that the people they let in would resign and trigger by-elections to get them back in at a later date. Maybe I'm misremembering? But if I'm not, the imminent election makes the whole thing a lot simpler.
posted by Dysk at 6:46 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I think we need to give up on the idea that there is any causal connection between last month, this month or, indeed, next month.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:48 AM on September 5 [19 favorites]


I haven't caught up on all the comments so apologies if this has already been mentioned, but I thought this little nugget from the Guardian was somewhat amusing (emphasis mine):
Call a confidence vote in his government: This was, in the era before the FTPA, the nuclear option for a beleaguered prime minister – call a confidence vote in which MPs could back the PM or face an immediate election. These days it is less straightforward. The FTPA does give provision for the opposition to call a confidence vote, and while in theory this could be done by the government, it would be seen as unusual. In this case it could end up in the bizarre situation of Johnson and his MPs voting against his own administration, with Labour supporting it.
posted by Acey at 6:53 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Re: Scotland's Future:

I'm an Englishman (actually, half-Italian, part-Irish, the rest English, but I was born and raised in the NE of England) with no ties to Scotland at all, and as such I kept my mouth shut during the 2014 IndyRef - I felt that it was up to Scots to decide, but that the UK was better off together, in a strong union, inside the EU.

Fast forward to now, post Brexit referendum, utterly horrified not just by the actions of the UK government regarding Brexit generally, but also specifically by the shoddy way they've treated Scotland through the whole process.

I currently live in the US, and my (American) fiancée and I have already changed our plans about where we plan to live for the next ~5 years - i.e. stay in the US rather than head back to the UK as previously discussed. I'm very much hoping that a) Brexit can be averted entirely and that b) Scotland will remain part of the UK in the future, but even if a) happens I can entirely understand if b) does not.

In the past I would have said to Scots: Please Stay. Post Brexit, particularly if it's a No-Deal Brexit, I think I would have to say say: Vaya con Dios, and also, Can I come and live there, please?

I'm certain that I'm not alone amongst English people thinking this.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:56 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


Could somebody please give me a quick backgrounder on the significance of 'frit'? Thanks from across the pond.
posted by whuppy at 7:24 AM on September 5


Could somebody please give me a quick backgrounder on the significance of 'frit'? Thanks from across the pond.

It's just a Lincolnshire word for "frightened". It was once used by Thatcher and MPs found it so amusing they like to use it in a context thinking they're being cheeky or funny.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:29 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


I was listening to commercial radio a little while ago and heard a very odd advert - "be one of the 20,000 new police officers, join the police". I was bemused because it didn't mention the local police force at all, just "the police". The Home Office is behind the campaign, which points to this website. The domain was only registered on 27 August.

These ads aren't aimed in any way at people with an interest in joining the police. They're aimed at the general public, a government-funded piece of electioneering designed to say "hey, look at this, we're hiring lots of new police".
posted by winterhill at 7:30 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]




Here's a backgrounder on frit from a previous use of it in the Commons. Tbh I didn't know any of that until just now - I'm surprised to learn it's from Lincolnshire, I always associate it with my mum, who's from Cumbria.
posted by penguin pie at 7:37 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


"hey, look at this, we're hiring lots of new police".

I was hoping that someone would come back with quantified audits of that. Perhaps they will: How much does it cost to train a police officer? How many people are required to train how many officers? What sort of capacity is currently available, how many officers can be trained in that capacity, how much would it cost to increase the capacity? That sort of thing. Numbers have to be increased incrementally, but can be cut at a stroke. Even returning officers would need retraining. And there's the question of police pensions...
posted by Grangousier at 7:39 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised to learn it's from Lincolnshire, I always associate it with my mum, who's from Cumbria.
I think it's more a case of lazy journalists going "Thatcher was from Lincs, the word must be a Lincolnshire dialect word".
posted by winterhill at 7:55 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


The Home Office is behind the campaign, which points to this website. The domain was only registered on 27 August.

Given that police.uk is one of the original .uk domains, with subdomains for individual forces, the fact that the website is jointhepolice.co.uk rather than, say, join.police.uk shows an all too typical attention to detail. Whoever came up with this plan is not someone familiar with the system, but a member of a gang of looters encamped on it.
posted by acb at 8:00 AM on September 5 [21 favorites]


The Scottish Sun's front page headline today:

Floppy Johnson can't get an election

Which I'm not sure is as magisterial a headline as he was imagining for his tenure when he sat back on the day he took the leadership, stroking his book about Churchill, with a dreamy smile on his lips and a packet of kippers in his Tesco bag.
posted by penguin pie at 8:11 AM on September 5 [26 favorites]


20,000 police isn't enough to bring forces back to 2010 levels of staffing. Nine years of austerity led to 21,000 experienced officers being laid off, plus countless station closures, and now we should be grateful for 20,000 raw (cheaper) recruits?

Also, taking on 20,000 police in three years is only enough to cover the 20,000 who are due to retire or will likely leave in the next three years.
posted by doornoise at 8:22 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


(I'm saving up some links for the next, inevitable Brexit/General Election thread - feel free to mail me with suggestions, etc. for that! I'll wait for a useful "trigger point" where a new thread makes sense - hopefully before this one becomes too unwieldy...)
posted by deeker at 9:40 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


I was listening to commercial radio a little while ago and heard a very odd advert - "be one of the 20,000 new police officers, join the police". I was bemused because it didn't mention the local police force at all, just "the police".
On investigation the scope would appear "the police" refers to forces in England. The Westminister government's plans for candidates in Scotland , it is said, will involve 'Celtic cousin' side postings to Northern Ireland to help keep the peace in the event of No Deal.
posted by rongorongo at 9:46 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Perhaps Johnson's resignation for a new thread, deeker? Since he says he'd rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask the EU for an extension?
posted by doornoise at 9:46 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


And, of course, a man of principle such as he would be honour-bound to fall on his sword.
posted by acb at 9:48 AM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Is that a pre-existing ditch? 'Cos I have a shovel...
posted by deeker at 10:03 AM on September 5 [7 favorites]


he says he'd rather be "dead in a ditch"

He said he'd lie down in front of the bulldozers to prevent a third Heathrow runway, and then found a way to be out of the country when May held a vote on the issue. He's a serial bottler and bolter.

Labour cutting and running for an early election would be a disaster IMO—the more the public get to see of Johnson, the worse he is going to look, whereas at the moment he has a better approval rating than Corbyn.

Force him to go back to Brussels. If he won't, tell him to let Corbyn do it. And so on...
posted by dudleian at 10:07 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]


Also for those further up the thread who were concerned about external influence in the Referendum, there's some scientific evidence that a small number of strategically placed bots can influence the choices of undecided voters.
posted by dudleian at 10:10 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Do watch the video of him saying* "I'd rather be dead in a ditch", because whether he's drunk, unable to get his normal mood enhancers with so many police around, or just plain dejected, he looks awful. It's enough to drive the purest soul to schadenfreude.

*doornoise's BBC Politics Twitter link from above
posted by ambrosen at 10:16 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


You'd have to have a heart of stone not to laugh, as they say.

But I don't wish him dead. I wish him a swift departure from politics, a prison sentence and poverty. May his name be forever associated with a particularly hateful brand of moronic, venal, self-serving and ultimately pathetic ambition.
posted by doornoise at 10:25 AM on September 5 [16 favorites]


Heather Burns (@WebDevLaw): Imagine being completely blind to the optics of this.
posted by delfin at 10:31 AM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Is there any reason to believe he's blind to the optics?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:47 AM on September 5 [15 favorites]


Increasingly the call is coming from inside the house! Another Cabinet Minister announces they will not seek re-election.
posted by deeker at 10:49 AM on September 5


Amazing how many politicians are suddenly finding their children such compelling company and it just happens to coincide with Johnson’s hapless and hateful leadership.
posted by penguin pie at 10:54 AM on September 5 [5 favorites]


Good afternoon to do crimes, considering the whole of the British police force is either standing behind the PM or providing security for the same event.
posted by Grangousier at 11:17 AM on September 5 [8 favorites]




@ericabuist This must be Boris Johnson's actual personal hell, going around the country listening to ordinary people make excellent points at him in regional accents.

Quoting a tweet with the delightful new video wherein a fellow on the street suggests Johnson should be negotiating in Brussels, and pointing out that Johnson is not in fact negotiating, he's in Morley in Leeds.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:27 PM on September 5 [20 favorites]


I don't like Boris, but what's he done to deserve a trip to Morley in Leeds?
posted by winterhill at 12:33 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


From over here this is starting to look like that first crack in the dam? But if a dam bursting were, you know, good. And full of schadenfreude.
posted by schadenfrau at 12:52 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


"Humiliating Defeat for Boris Johnson" has to be a frozen yogurt flavor in The Good Place.

I want all the scoops of that. All of them. Keep them coming. (And I am laser-focused on this because I cannot even begin to comprehend how I live in a nation that just glosses over the President marking up a map with a Sharpie so it doesn't look like he's a lying sack of shit.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:54 PM on September 5 [23 favorites]


From over here this is starting to look like that first crack in the dam? But if a dam bursting were, you know, good. And full of schadenfreude.

Which bit, the crowds baying at the gates as he made an urgent announcement that turned out to be nothing, the watching his majority literally walk out on him as he was mid-sentence in the house, the loss of multiple Commons votes, the giving up on stalling attempts in the Lords, the resignation of his own brother, the exhaustion and dejection at the police-state news conference, or the videos of people shouting at him in the street?
posted by penguin pie at 12:59 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


Ian Dunt’s politics.co.uk post today is a thing of beauty...
If you had tried to construct a worse development for the prime minister using only your imagination, it honestly would have been difficult to top this. It came on the end of a series of humiliations, in what must surely be the worst opening week in parliament for any British prime minister in modern history.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:01 PM on September 5 [9 favorites]


That Ian Dunt column is so punishing because it's just a recitation of the facts, and the question What could be worse than this for Johnson?

And fair point, too: this all must be far beyond the boundaries of any flow chart diagramming best case/worst case for the past few weeks.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:09 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


In the awful times we live in, we learn to enjoy the victories where they occur-- even if victory is just one disaster averted while many others loom on the horizon.

But I think we should beware of schadenfreude. I understand the reasons for not approving an election until the extension is in place, and I think that's the right course. But this is Johnson and Cummings. The longer Johnson stays in office, the more harm he can potentially do.

Johnson doesn't *prepare* for shit, but he's really good at ad libbing. Venal cunning is also a thing with Cummings: his playbook is "do whatever illegal shit you can to win-- consequences are for after the goal." So his group, Vote Leave, did illegal shit to win the referendum, and they were found out, but they'd already got their result and everyone seems to be afraid to invalidate it. Likewise, Cummings and Johnson will absolutely do whatever illegal shit they can to run out the clock until 31 October, and deal with the consequences once they've got what they want.

We'd better get this right. If we give them even an inch of leeway, they'll do damage that can't be undone.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:15 PM on September 5 [26 favorites]


Just—if any of you guys in the U.K. stumble upon a monkey’s paw somewhere around Westminster, PUT IT DOWN AND WALK AWAY.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:20 PM on September 5 [8 favorites]


he's in Morley in Leeds.
I've seen that snatch of video 20 times I think. I love it. It's funny because it's true.
posted by mumimor at 2:01 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Heather Burns (@WebDevLaw): Imagine being completely blind to the optics of this.

more like police academy than police state
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:13 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


We can't even do "authoritarian police state" without looking like a Mickey Mouse operation.
posted by winterhill at 2:19 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


more like police academy than police state

That explains the incoherence, standing at the rostrum giving a speech.
posted by Grangousier at 2:21 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Quoting a tweet with the delightful new video wherein a fellow on the street suggests Johnson should be negotiating in Brussels, and pointing out that Johnson is not in fact negotiating, he's in Morley in Leeds.

Don't miss the other clip from that visit where a man takes Johnson's hand to shake it, then leans in close and says, calmly but very firmly, "Please leave my town".

"I will, very soon" says the rattled Boris.
posted by automatronic at 3:19 PM on September 5 [36 favorites]


I literally laughed out loud when I saw Matt Hancock's tweet "sticking up for doctors" after JRM's half-assed apology.

Brave, brave Sir Robin.
posted by confluency at 4:33 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


"Please leave my town" is the most Yorkshire cuss ever. Polite but utterly clear.
posted by doornoise at 4:40 PM on September 5 [14 favorites]


From that Ian Dunt piece:

When he finally arrived he looked shambolic, dishevelled, struggling to complete thoughts. He tried to create some light relief by attempting to remember the police caution. This is the sort of thing he used to do when speaking at corporate evenings - theatrical moments in which he appeared to forget the end of the joke he was telling or the name of the organisation who had thrown the event. It would always go down well. But the laughter wasn't coming so easily anymore.

"I've seen this happen in other people's lives / And now it's happening in mine..."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:43 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


I can't stop watching that "Please leave my town" clip.

It's more savage than the massacre of General Gordon at Khartoum.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:05 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I can't stop watching that "Please leave my town" clip.

Surely the race is on to ask Borris if he knows what its like to clean up his own mother's piss.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:12 PM on September 5


The BBC's John Pienaar has suggested in all seriousness that the Government call a vote of no confidence in themselves.

I am hysterical.
posted by doornoise at 5:21 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


Brexit the Movie just found its comedy highlight for the trailer...
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:25 PM on September 5


"I'd rather be dead in a ditch"

I bet this is a popular ditch
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:30 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


The BBC's John Pienaar has suggested in all seriousness that the Government call a vote of no confidence in themselves.


cancel culture indeed
posted by Ahmad Khani at 7:07 PM on September 5


there's a joke to be made involving self-cancellation, otto neurath and freud, if someone can piece it together…
posted by Ahmad Khani at 7:07 PM on September 5


The BBC's John Pienaar has suggested in all seriousness that the Government call a vote of no confidence in themselves.

Could easily happen next week. And the tories vote they don't have confidence in Johnson to govern, while Labour and the SNP et al vote to say they DO have confidence in Johnson to keep him in office for now.

Strange, strange days.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:39 PM on September 5


Nobody told me there'd be days like this.
posted by riverlife at 11:57 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Nobody told me life was gonna be this way
My job's a joke, we're broke
Can't get a W.A.
It's like you're always stuck in second gear
When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month
Or even your year, but...

I mean, if we're going to do this.
posted by jaduncan at 2:25 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Even the Grauniad thinks quitting is Johnson's ace in the hole and at this point I just have to flip my hands in the air and give up.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:32 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


And the tories vote they don't have confidence in Johnson to govern, while Labour and the SNP et al vote to say they DO have confidence in Johnson to keep him in office for now.

I never thought Barbados 4-2 Grenada would become the basis for Parliamentary procedure.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:22 AM on September 6 [20 favorites]


I bet this is a popular ditch

I bet it quickly becomes the national latrine.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:31 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Is abstention an option to scuttle a VONC?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:32 AM on September 6


No - VONCs are simple majority, unlike FTPA.

Did I just type that?
posted by Devonian at 6:38 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Re: the "dead in a ditch" comment, Robert Peston asks: Will Boris Johnson Be Impeached?

Incredible that Boris Johnson may be more likely to be impeached than Donald Trump, but here we are.
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:27 AM on September 6


Now the Tories are beefing (hur hur) with KFC on Twitter. You can't make this up.
posted by confluency at 7:37 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


In other words if Johnson were to disobey the new law – which senior colleagues are urging him to do – the entire government system would be paralysed, though maybe that would be trivial collateral damage compared with the constitutional earthquake of a PM being found in contempt of court.

Wouldn't that just mean Britain plunging off the cliff without either a deal or a functioning government/civil service on 31 October, which, from the point of view of the Brexit plotters who arranged the proroguing of Parliament, would be perfectly fine?
posted by acb at 7:48 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


If Johnson refuses to deliver the letter, or doesn't send the bill for royal assent, or whatever, and Parliament is prorogued, then I can see its first move on being recalled is a VONC, a GNU, and a caretaker PM delivering the letter PDQ with a promise of a GE immediately after. That could be achieved in a couple of days with sufficient preparation, if I understand VONCs properly.
posted by Devonian at 8:11 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Thus both Gove and Johnson being asked if their government will actually obey the law, and so far both have very grudgingly said yes. Assuming it would rapidly go to court, he could in theory go to prison for contempt of court - and one assumes that while Cummings would happily throw Johnson under that particular bus, Boris wouldn't be so keen.

Another option is a vote of no confidence with a government of temporary unity taking over to do the deed before calling an election. But we have to assume Johnson would refuse to resign upon losing it (which is expected, but not required by law). So that would require the Queen to kick him out and appoint Corbyn or whoever, which puts her Maj in a tricky constitutional spot.

Lastly, I also saw somewhere in the flurry of reports that there's a potential plan to rush through a law to appoint Bercow special powers to do it on Parliament's behalf.

Article 50 is very short - the relevant bit is this:
"The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period."

As long as the signature represents the agreement of the 'Member State' - and Parliament is Sovereign - that in theory should do it.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 8:15 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Maybe I’m giving Boris too much credit, but if he’s going to try and undermine the no-no-deal law, he’d have to expect the Commons to try to remove him and install a GNU, right? So either it’s a stand on principle that he knows will result in his removal from office and the new PM sending the letter regardless, which doesn’t sound very Boris-y, or he’d have some strategy to prevent the opposition from actually kicking him out. Keeping Parliament out of session past Oct. 31, kicking off a fresh constitutional crisis by asking the Queen not to respect the VONC, etc.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:16 AM on September 6


Are the Tories really trying to get #JFC trending? Doesn't Amanda Palmer have the trademark on that kind of thing?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:26 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


I think the only thing their tactic of trying to get Jeremy Corbyn to do what they want by calling him chicken really proves is that they never watched Back To The Future 2 all the way to the end.
posted by dng at 8:53 AM on September 6 [11 favorites]


Latin scholars please
Boris mortuus est in fossa.?
Brexit fecit.?
In fossa mortuus Boris est
posted by adamvasco at 8:57 AM on September 6


As I understand VONCs, there's a fourteen day period in which to try and get a leader with a majority of MPs behind them. If the maths is sorted before the VONC, that could be decided immediately - you don't have to use all 14 days - and then in normal times the outgoing PM would go to the Queen and hand over the metaphorical keys to Number 10.

If Johnson refused to go... Parliament could legislate him out, because that's how unwritten constitutions evolve, but who knows about timing and process, and how that would work with Europe, I don't know. It could be that a new leader voted in by Parliament but not yet appointed by the Queen would be acceptable as an emissary by the EU anyway - there's a test for who can do it which I don't know the details of, but the practicalities may go that way.

The question of how all that will play out in the subsequent election is... well, we'll find out how Trumpian playbooks work in the UK, won't we?

Boris in fossa mortuus est, is I think the right order.
posted by Devonian at 9:08 AM on September 6


MTEW - here's a good rundown on the procedures for changing PM. tl;dr - if it gets hairy, keep the Queen out of it and sort it out yourself, HoC.
posted by Devonian at 9:31 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Now the Tories are beefing (hur hur) with KFC on Twitter. You can't make this up.

And apparently didn't pay to use the photograph.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:46 AM on September 6 [7 favorites]


It's been a long week so I might have missed something, but I'm confused about why anyone in the Conservative party would think a general election was a good plan here. Like, aiming for it as a goal rather than just being painted into a corner where it's the only way out.

There seems to be this commonly-held idea that what they are doing has a strategy: purge the moderates, call an election, get the Brexit party voters back from Farage, run on a platform of "only we are serious about delivering Brexit, and all the other parties/Parliament/the Establishment are trying to stop you getting what you voted for!", swan back into Downing Street with a hefty majority, do what they like with Brexit.

I see why this is an outcome they would want. I see why it seems to be what they're going for. (Thinking: "hmmm, we look bad on the rule of law at the moment, how can we spin this, try... the man on the street doesn't care about parliamentary procedure, the rule of law he cares about is bobbies on the beat, let's push the police angle!") But I really don't see why it's an outcome they think they would get.

Right now the Conservatives are polling at around 35%. This looks pretty remarkable to me given the total hash they are currently making of things, but there you go. What it doesn't look like is enough to get a majority. It isn't even as high as they got last time, when they failed to get a majority. So to win the way they want to, various things would need to happen:

- they would need to be really really good at holding the seats they have. And we know they're already going to struggle with some of those. Ruth Davidson's resignation in Scotland is bad news for them; the Times Scotland poll the other day projected that they would lose 10 of their 13 Scottish seats. Removing the whip and ordering deselection for 21 of their own MPs might leave the floor open for some headbangy new hard-Brexiteer candidate, but it also means that the voters in those constituencies are seeing an unfamiliar name on the ballot paper and you lose the "well, I wouldn't usually vote Tory, but s/he's always been a decent MP" effect.

- they also need to be really, really good at winning some seats off the other parties, ideally reversing a lot of Labour's gains from 2017. This is at least possible, because Labour is struggling in the polls once again. But the voters who moved to Labour in 2017 can't be guaranteed to move back to Conservative just because of Labour's ongoing midlife crisis - they might well move somewhere else, especially with a Conservative party lurching towards a no-deal-Brexit cliff edge. Boris Johnson's not-an-election-campaign-honest tour at the moment is not going well.

- they need to win potential voters back off the Brexit party. This one seems to be accepted as a given because Nigel Farage has said he'd agree not to stand candidates against Conservative candidates in return for the Brexitiest of Brexits. But, a), even if he sticks to that it doesn't mean the voters will all march helpfully along to the Tories, and b) it's Farage. No Brexit will ever be Brexity enough for him. He doesn't want to be quietly enabling mainstream political parties. This is a man who currently pays himself £27k a month from his media company, which he has called 'Thorn in the Side', and of which he is the sole director.

- they need Labour to be rubbish and ineffective all the way through an election campaign. Which you would think would not be a big ask given the current state of Labour. But as GE2017 proved, one of the strengths that Labour under Corbyn do have is campaigning.

- they need to overcome whatever thing it is in the national character that makes the country get annoyed about governments calling elections early.

- they need nothing else to happen to make the situation any worse for them - like MP defections to the LibDems, or Sinn Fein agreeing to work with a Remain alliance of other parties, or Boris Johnson's not-an-election-campaign kicking off with the news showing fainting police officers and a man on the street shouting at him "You should be in Brussels!"

Maybe they'll get a majority after all. Worse has happened in politics in recent years. But if I was a Tory MP, it'd take a lot more than "don't worry, Dominic Cummings is a war-gaming strategy genius!" to reassure me right now.
posted by Catseye at 10:27 AM on September 6 [21 favorites]


Maybe they'll get a majority after all. Worse has happened in politics in recent years. But if I was a Tory MP, it'd take a lot more than "don't worry, Dominic Cummings is a war-gaming strategy genius!" to reassure me right now.
I wish I shared your optimism. But for every engaged voter (no matter what their views or party) who's reading the news and the Brexit blogs and trying to understand what's going on, there are several people whose only engagement with politics is sticking an X in a box once every few years. These are the "just get on with Brexit and leave us in peace" bores.

There's a large rump of uninformed, uninterested people in this country who see a tabloid headline (or, more often these days, a right-wing Facebook ad) and form their rudimentary political "views" based on it. Those are the people who voted for the Brexit Party in the last election and those are the people being courted by Johnson this time round - there's a reason his campaigning is focusing so heavily on personal attacks on Corbyn. Those cut through on Facebook.

We looked at the Wakefield press conference and saw an inept, shaky PM who looked frankly ill, making a clumsy attempt to look strong by standing in front of a bunch of West Yorkshire Keystone Kops. A lot of people will have looked at that press conference and seen a PM being serious about getting "bobbies on the beat" and beating that threatening, vaguely commie ne'er-do-well Corbyn to boot.

A likely election date is 14 November. My birthday is 15 November. I fully expect to have my day ruined by waking up to a Conservative majority. Boris is here to stay, sadly.
posted by winterhill at 10:56 AM on September 6 [11 favorites]


5 November would be an interesting date for an election.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:45 AM on September 6 [29 favorites]


The vagaries of FPTP in my lifetime have meant that I have seen a party lose the popular vote and still win an election, poll 22% of the vote and win 3 seats, poll 27% of the vote and win over 150 seats, increase its percentage share of the vote but lose seats because it racks up huge majorities in seats it was going to win anyway and loses votes in marginal seats... and so on.

The consensus seems to be that 35% would be enough to return a majority Tory government (lots of caveats, lots of handwaving, but that seems to be the bottom line). The government might have a tiny majority, but all the dissenters would have been purged from the party, so the PM would be able to do as they wish. This is clearly the endgame Johnson is aiming for.

Labour / the rebel alliance need to overturn a 10% deficit. Labour showed in the last election that they can close a gap (with a lot of help from May) during an election campaign. But I can't imagine any strategist would want to go into an election knowing that they needed to overturn a significant vote deficit to have a chance of winning.

The Conservatives are a mess and there are obvious attack lines, but it is not as if Labour doesn't have serious issues the Cons could exploit.

In short it is all too easy to imagine realistic scenarios in which the Cons get a majority in a GE—which is why they are so desperate for it. Why the opposition parties would allow a election to be called before they have plotted a possible route to victory is beyond me.

McDonnell has a real political brain, and could probably work this out if given his head, but with Corbyn's ear being bent by "helpful" uncle Len, Kinnock, Mann, Hooey and the MPs who think their constituents deserve Brexit because they voted for it, I doubt he will get the chance. The only bright spot (as someone on the Guardian pointed out) is that Labour strategy has become more coherent / effective of late which can only mean that Seumas Milne is being held in a cellar.
posted by dudleian at 12:58 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


There's always the possibility of them delivering a no-deal Brexit just by being in the way, getting voted out just before Brexit happens to make sure whatever government is briefly in power is seen to be responsible for making an utter hash of Brexit. Boris and his itchy little friends can make out like bandits short-selling while they're no longer tied by government disclosure rules, and then can sweep in to make a “proper” job of running the country.

At least, that's what my evil public school lizard brain told me would happen while I couldn't sleep last night.
posted by scruss at 1:01 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Marina Hyde at her best, Dazed and confused, Johnson stumbles into the twilight zone with a police escort
Having very belatedly taken the stage, Johnson proceeded to die on his arse in front of rows of police officers. Does this technically count as a death in custody? Certainly, it bore all the hallmarks of such an event, of which there have been 1,718 since 1990, with not a single conviction for murder or manslaughter. Which is to say: it was brutal and disturbing, it happened right in front of multiple police pretending not to notice, and the victim was officially concluded to have done it to himself. (Thank you in advance to the Police Federation for their forthcoming letters on this paragraph. I’ll make time to to read them when I retire at 50 after three years on the sick.)
posted by zachlipton at 1:17 PM on September 6 [25 favorites]


From ICM poll in field Aug 30 - Sep 03:

If there were a general election tomorrow, who would you vote for?
CON        LAB        LD         BRX
37%        30%        16%         9% 
If Brexit were delayed beyond Oct 31 and an election is held shortly after, who would you vote for?
CON        LAB        LD         BRX 
28%(-9%)   28%(-2%)   17%(+1%)   18%(+9%)
If I were anybody but the Tories (and non-Tory-still-asshole Cummings), I know which of the two scenarios I'd rather contest an election in.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:35 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Why the opposition parties would allow a election to be called before they have plotted a possible route to victory is beyond me.

My impression is that they know that even if the hardline Tories’ chances are good now, they’ll only get better the longer the opposition controls Parliament without actually doing anything on an ultimate resolution to Brexit, because the parties as they stand now are hopelessly deadlocked on anything more nuanced than “no deal is bad.” Gotta strike before the iron gets any colder.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:39 PM on September 6


I'm confused about why anyone in the Conservative party would think a general election was a good plan here.

Because it’s their best (only?) bet right now - the status quo is a total dead end for them. Their only option is to throw the dice again and hope for a better outcome.

Across the Commons, they need above 50% to get their way in most things and they don’t have it, or any way of getting it. As noted above, across the electorate, they can get their way with a lot less than that, and are probably closer to getting what they need to come back with a majority, either alone or in coalition. And if they can do that on an overtly Brexit-at-any-cost-including-no-deal ticket, Remainers have lost their argument that people who voted to leave in the referendum didn’t really know what they were voting for. And they’ve purged their own Eurosceptic wing in the Commons into the bargain.

And let’s face it, if we’ve learnt anything in recent years, it’s that polls aren’t to be trusted. For every single tweet or MeFi comment you or I are reading that’s ascerbically ripping them to shreds, they’re meeting the above mentioned “Please just get on with Brexit” brigade by the score, and faced with the fallibility of polling data and no other options, I can see why it’s a gamble they’re prepared to take.
posted by penguin pie at 1:54 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


I guess Boris and Bros have forgotten that the EU can simply say "no thanks" if the current government decide to use extra-legal tactics to run out the clock, thanks to that bit about the change of status having to come about as the result of a constitutionally valid process in the affected member state?
posted by wierdo at 4:10 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Johnson putting more pressure on Corbyn to back an election on Monday:

The prime minister reportedly wrote to Tory members on Friday evening pledging to break the law that will require him to seek an extension of Article 50. “They just passed a law that would force me to beg Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline. This is something I will never do.” ...

The former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith encouraged Mr Johnson to break the law, saying he would be seen as a Brexit “martyr” if judges opted to put him jail for breaching parliament’s terms.


Crashing out on the 31st is constitutionally valid wierdo, due to the EU withdrawal act that parliament passed in 2018 setting the exit date to 29th March 12th April 31st October deal or no deal.

It requires a constitutionally valid approach for us to ask for, and accept, a new extension and thus change that law - as well as the EU's agreement of course, but that seems likely.

The nuclear option is for Parliament to change the EU withdrawal act to have revoking article 50 as the default if no deal, but they were far short of the numbers in Parliament for that the last time it was voted on. And if Boris is prepared to just ignore any law Parliament passes, then well, that's basically a coup and all bets are off.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:03 AM on September 7 [7 favorites]


Kinnock, Mann, Hooey and the MPs who think their constituents deserve Brexit because they voted for it

Hoey's constituency voted 77.6% in favour of Remain, only about 10 constituencies in the UK had higher Remain voting. She wants to leave because she's barking mad.

Remember, the endgame is no-deal, Remain/revoke, or a deal that the EU agrees with and can get a majority in the Commons.

No-deal is fraught with too many risks for Johnson to risk owning it - the public might not have seen the full Yellowhammer or sector analyses, but the Tory leadership has.

We're still not at the point where Remain/revoke is either necessary or seen as the best option.

What's left is a a Commons majority for something. The current deal with an all-UK backstop is toxic. What's left, and how does Johnson get there?
posted by daveje at 2:23 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


What's left is a a Commons majority for something. The current deal with an all-UK backstop is toxic. What's left, and how does Johnson get there?
I think a cosmetically altered version of the deal will go through in the end.

The real danger is coming from the Remain side right now. All the Guardian and Twitter crowing over Johnson's current predicament is premature and will be short-lived, because at the election he'll bullshit and bluff and blag his way to a Conservative majority. The current "let's stop no-deal" alliance is just that - as soon as it comes to a point where they have to ally over anything else, it'll drop to bits.

For every voter who's engaged with the issues, there are several people who go "hu-huh, Boris, he's a laugh in't he?". My sister voted Remain in the referendum and voted Lib Dem at the last few elections, but back when she lived in London she voted Johnson for mayor because he was amusing and seemed pleasant. That's what they're going for with the current not-an-election-campaign and its "comedy" attacks on "chicken" Corbyn - the "Boris is a larf" brigade. The election has two possible outcomes - a hung Parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party as in 2017, or a small Conservative majority as in 2015.

So we're at a point sometime in mid-November where the new look headbanger hard-Brexit Conservatives have won a slim majority and the Labour/SNP/Lib Dem alliance has dropped to bits. They can push on and go for no-deal, knowing what it'll do to unemployment, the pound, and even more basic things like food and fuel supplies. A few Conservatives might make financial gains from that, but I can't see any government - or the country itself - surviving it. Voters don't like £2-a-litre petrol. Or they can go to Brussels triumphantly, return with little more than cosmetic changes to the backstop, something like "we will work hard to ensure the backstop isn't needed" and push the deal through.
posted by winterhill at 2:55 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Hoey's constituency voted 77.6% in favour of Remain, only about 10 constituencies in the UK had higher Remain voting. She wants to leave because she's barking mad.
She's doing an awful job of representing the wishes of her constituents, which are overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. Your job as an MP is to represent your constituents, not yourself. Consistently voting for no-deal while representing an inner-London seat is bizarre at best. At any election, she has to be incredibly vulnerable to losing her seat to the Lib Dems.
posted by winterhill at 2:58 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


I don't think she's standing at the next election anyway.

It's not just the backstop - even if that wasn't an issue there would be other things.

I'm not sure the plane crash can be averted now, just making sure the pilot takes the blame and working out how to get away from the crash area.
posted by Grangousier at 3:06 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


Ah, sorry, that link isn't as wide-ranging as I thought it was. There are other things that Europe would demand, unrelated to Ireland, that are deal-breakers for the far right, it's just that Ireland is the only one that gets up in their face. The whole tax haven thing, for example.
posted by Grangousier at 3:08 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


I think a cosmetically altered version of the deal will go through in the end.

Needs to be more than merely cosmetic. The EU won't accept promises, since they know Johnson is a lying turd, and window-dressing that leaves a UK backstop in place won't get Tory support. NI-only backstop is, imo, the only one that will get through on both sides, EU and Commons.

The real danger is coming from the Remain side right now. All the Guardian and Twitter crowing over Johnson's current predicament is premature and will be short-lived, because at the election he'll bullshit and bluff and blag his way to a Conservative majority. The current "let's stop no-deal" alliance is just that - as soon as it comes to a point where they have to ally over anything else, it'll drop to bits.

This is my fear as well, plus the fact that Labour's position is still totally incoherent.
posted by daveje at 3:44 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


I know not everyone will agree, but I really think that:
1. The worst effects of No Deal will occur between 2-3 months and 2-3 years after it starts
2. Boris Johnson's team also believe that
3. Therefore they think an election around start time is survivable since a 5 year term gives them time afterwards

The Ivan Rogers and Anand Menon links above explain the years-long problems of No Deal already.

The EU and UK have both put in short term workarounds for potential food and medicine shortages. Neither side wants to see British people dying for lack of medicine: Barnier and Juncker aren't psychopaths, and Johnson doesn't want the bad publicity.

It will take time for the EU (and the UK) to start enforcing all the third country rules. They can't press a button and build all the infrastructure, hire and train all the officials, overnight. Instead they might start by, say, stopping one lorry in ten and just handing out a warning. They could then gradually ramp up the frequency of stops, and the severity of enforcement.

Even if the EU did have magic button to do 100% enforcement on day one, they probably wouldn't press it as it would disrupt EU businesses as well, even though the pain would be spread much more thinly.

So, I think the Johnson/Rees-Mogg/Cummings plan is just what they say. Implement a No Deal Brexit by whatever means necessary. A week afterwards, triumphantly declare that the Doomsters' and Gloomsters' Project Fear has been proven wrong yet again. As long as No Deal happens, any election within a couple of weeks either side is fine. Then they've got a majority of ultra-loyal hard Brexit MPs to do what they want for five years without being troubled by voters.

That's not to say that the risk of major food/medicine shortages is non-existent. But as long as the chance of large scale pleb death is less than say 10-20%, it's well worth a gamble on a election for their purposes.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:52 AM on September 7 [12 favorites]


I agree that that's their plan, but Johnson has clearly told some of his MPs that he has other plans (see the criticisms of Johnson from "cabinet ministers" in The Times today). Hancock, Rudd and others must be feeling pretty sick at the moment (not that they deserve any better).

But even if that's the plan, I think getting the country through that turmoil with minimum impact will require long term attention to detail and a work ethic that no one in a cabinet now populated by the entitled and workshy has any record of. Sure, the civil service will execute most of it, but they will need excellent political leadership if they are to succeed, and will be working on behalf of people who have called them traitors. I am not sanguine...
posted by dudleian at 5:37 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Hoey's constituency voted 77.6% in favour of Remain, only about 10 constituencies in the UK had higher Remain voting. She wants to leave because she's barking mad.

She's doing an awful job of representing the wishes of her constituents, which are overwhelmingly to remain in the EU. Your job as an MP is to represent your constituents, not yourself. Consistently voting for no-deal while representing an inner-London seat is bizarre at best. At any election, she has to be incredibly vulnerable to losing her seat to the Lib Dems.


The job of the MP is to act in their constituents' best interests. Not to represent their wishes. Otherwise you'd have no justification for the MPs of Leave constituencies who voted against May's deal and for the No to No-Deal Bill.
posted by doornoise at 5:55 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


Instead they might start by, say, stopping one lorry in ten and just handing out a warning

The officials may want that, but I'm not sure that European farmers will be so happy to see UK products come in unregulated. Why should the UK get away with not paying their share and still get access to the market? Burning trucks at Calais could ensue. There's going to be so much "computer says no" to products and components coming in without European certification, too.

The job of the MP is to act in their constituents' best interests. Not to represent their wishes

Yup: it's the key difference between UK and US systems.
posted by scruss at 6:17 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Instead they might start by, say, stopping one lorry in ten and just handing out a warning

Nope. Once the UK lets in a single container of American produce such as beef, poultry, GMO grains, the gates into Europe go down with a huge bang. And no one will send a lorry into the UK that they know won't come out again.
Remember: if the UK lets in European goods without tariffs, they won't be able to keep out anything else, according to WTO rules.

This is my fear as well, plus the fact that Labour's position is still totally incoherent.

I agree that Labour's position is incoherent, but I don't agree that what Emily Thornberry said in that clip was ridiculous. If there is to be another referendum, there has to be a clear choice between two or more real outcomes. Unlike in the previous referendum where it was status quo (whatever that was) vs. unicorns (whatever that was). In Denmark after the Maastricht referendum, which the government lost, they negotiated an alternative deal which was then voted through. The Government preferred a clean accept of the Maastricht treaty, but had to negotiate for some exceptions, which they got. I disagreed with those who voted against in the first place, and I disagreed with the four exceptions*, but it was some sort of democracy at work.

* I don't believe any Danes who voted no to the Maastricht Treaty had any coherent idea of why they did it. Generally they were voting against a Conservative-led coalition government, who were driving an austerity regime which had nothing to do with the EU and then also a bit because of "faceless bureaucrats" and the Euro. Between the two Danish referendums, the Conservative PM stepped down with his government after a huge scandal concerning the Ministry of Justice and a coalition led by the Social Democrats took over for the rest of the love-fest that was the nineties. I don't think there was any difference in opinion on the EU between the two governments.
posted by mumimor at 6:25 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


This is my fear as well, plus the fact that Labour's position is still totally incoherent.

I agree that Labour's position is incoherent, but I don't agree that what Emily Thornberry said in that clip was ridiculous. If there is to be another referendum, there has to be a clear choice between two or more real outcomes.


I've seen this position compared to that of Trade Union procedure. The Trade Union negotiates a deal with the leadership of an organisation, but aren't satisfied that the outcome sufficiently benefits their membership. That deal is then presented to their membership with the recommendation that they vote it down.
posted by doornoise at 6:32 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


And if Boris is prepared to just ignore any law Parliament passes, then well, that's basically a coup and all bets are off.

VONC, unity government, stop Article 50, GE.

The real danger is coming from the Remain side right now. All the Guardian and Twitter crowing over Johnson's current predicament is premature and will be short-lived, because at the election he'll bullshit and bluff and blag his way to a Conservative majority. The current "let's stop no-deal" alliance is just that - as soon as it comes to a point where they have to ally over anything else, it'll drop to bits.

Unless the UK doesn't leave on October 31. If the Remainers wanted to get their hands dirty, why not astroturf #blameboris, boost the Brexit Party turnout, and split the right for a pleasant change.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:52 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


> Unless the UK doesn't leave on October 31. If the Remainers wanted to get their hands dirty, why not astroturf #blameboris, boost the Brexit Party turnout, and split the right for a pleasant change.

i mean that seems to be the plan, but also johnson seems to be trying to avoid a split on the right by swerving so hard toward no-deal brexit that nigel farage is basically obsoleted, but also delaying an election as long as possible makes that strategy harder?

i am going to do that "ignorant american who reads the guardian and whatever but who doesn't have a bones-deep feel for how the unwritten british constitution works" thing: is there any reason the rebel alliance necessarily has to form a government, especially now that the ftpa has screwed up the traditional mechanisms for replacing failed governments? is it possible to maintain the current situation —wherein the government is only nominally the government and wherein parliament itself is driving the bus — for several months / more than several months?

can we please think of bercow rather than johnson as the manager of the u.k.?

alternately, wouldn't this be the perfect time for lenin to arrive on a special sealed eurostar train and... oh, wait, thewhiteskull beat me to it...
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:04 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


You can't pass laws without being the government, RNTP: you're just Her Majesty's (Loyal) Opposition
posted by scruss at 8:07 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


in any case, if y'all would like to throw a february revolution — if not an october revolution — it would be much appreciated. it seems like a good time for that sort of thing.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:07 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


> You can't pass laws without being the government, RNTP: you're just Her Majesty's (Loyal) Opposition
posted by scruss at 8:07 AM on September 7 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


i see... so there's no mechanism for like private members' bills or whatever to actually become law when the executive is intransigent?

in any case, given that the rebel alliance can't agree on anything — except for the obvious fact that no-deal brexit is a nightmare — not being able to pass laws doesn't seem like much of a constraint.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:12 AM on September 7


Dude, they've already got some guy named Boris running the show without getting elected. Sometimes you get the sketchy transfer of power you get, not the one you want.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:13 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


Bercow is simply the umpire of the House of Commons. His role is to ensure that MPs follow the rules and pass laws in a legal manner. He's nothing like the 'Manager of the UK', though Brexiteers like to portray his rulings as overstepping the mark.
posted by doornoise at 8:22 AM on September 7 [4 favorites]


is there any reason the rebel alliance necessarily has to form a government, especially now that the ftpa has screwed up the traditional mechanisms for replacing failed governments? is it possible to maintain the current situation —wherein the government is only nominally the government and wherein parliament itself is driving the bus — for several months / more than several months?

Because someone has to physically ask Brussels for the extension. If you show up, hat in hand, as the Leader of the Opposition they'll close the door in your face and tell you to come back when you have authority through a constitutional process.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:33 AM on September 7 [7 favorites]


To expound, the procedure is the UK member of the European Council asks the European Council for an extension. The UK member of the European Council is the PM (Bojo noJojo).
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:34 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


You can't pass laws without being the government, RNTP: you're just Her Majesty's (Loyal) Opposition

Not quite. A minority Government is beholden to the will of a Parliamentary majority. The Opposition and assorted rebels can vote by simple majority to take control of House of Commons' business and introduce their own Bills, such as they have with the No to No-Deal Bill that's set to be ratified into law on Monday.
posted by doornoise at 8:35 AM on September 7 [7 favorites]


Tories extend lead over Labour to 10% despite chaotic week
“The reason for these numbers is that Boris Johnson has invited the clear disapproval of remainers on Brexit, in return for the clear backing of leave voters. On the other hand, opposition leaders have managed to unite leave voters in disapproving of their response to the government without succeeding in wholeheartedly winning over remainers.”
posted by dudleian at 11:53 AM on September 7 [3 favorites]


I still have no idea what these Tory voters think the plan is once Brussels is out of the picture besides sending the foreigners back. Like once they’re out from the yoke of the continent the Empire will be back and the country will go back to pillaging third world nations and currency trade blocs?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:06 PM on September 7 [4 favorites]


RNTP: ignorant american who reads the guardian and whatever but who doesn't have a bones-deep feel for how the unwritten british constitution works

How the unwritten British constitution works: it doesn't.

It turns out that the entire concept of an "unwritten constitution" amounts to nothing more than letting people do whatever they can get away with. All the great learned tomes on the topic, and the arcane rules and principles they enumerate, are nothing more than obsolete attempts to write down some then-accepted wisdom as to what the limits of acceptability might once have been in the past.

As soon as some of the players are prepared to disregard the "rules" and others let them get away with it, all bets are off.

All this applies equally to a written constitution too, as you so very well know. But at least you get something concrete, some ink on real paper, to point at and shout about. We just get endless fucking gaslighting, drifting around in a swamp full of quicksand.
posted by automatronic at 12:13 PM on September 7 [24 favorites]


Clashes in Parliament Square this afternoon [Twitter video] between the police and about 200 pro-Brexit protesters / Far-Right / fash / patriots / drunk idiots / bored people banned from Wembley (delete as you see fit). Those disgusting fuckers even had the gall to carry a remembrance flag.
posted by doornoise at 12:47 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]


Amber Rudd has resigned, from Cabinet and from the Conservative party.
posted by Catseye at 1:29 PM on September 7 [6 favorites]


To give her her full title, Implementer of the Windrush Deportations Amber Rudd.
posted by ambrosen at 1:31 PM on September 7 [30 favorites]


Here's her resignation letter. Not pulling punches.
posted by Catseye at 1:42 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


Reminder: David Cameron allowed the Brexit referendum to stop the Tory party from imploding.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:43 PM on September 7 [20 favorites]


I don't think anyone has any sympathy at all for any of these people, it's OK. Rudd's probably jumping before her majority of several disappears in the next election, but you're right it's not as if she has any credibility to preserve, whatever she hopes.

Just under thirty years ago, some friends from work were holidaying in a Mediterranean resort in a newly-westernised country (sold as a bit like Italy but cheaper) called Yugoslavia. The British Embassy got them out safely.

I remember that a lot recently, for some reason.
posted by Grangousier at 1:45 PM on September 7 [8 favorites]


Since Rudd has precisely zero morals, this move can only point to a growing understanding in Cabinet: the psychopath Cummings is going to take them all down with him, through corruption, malevolence, incompetance or all three.

The careerists are abandoning the old Conservative brand and jockeying for position in the next iteration of the Tory party, leaving the ERG to fight over the corpse of a dead Brexit. Remainers should take heart at this.
posted by doornoise at 2:01 PM on September 7 [3 favorites]


Word of the day: tortfeasor.

David Allen Green, What if the Prime Minister deliberately broke the law over extending Article 50? "There is also the tort of misfeasance in public office where, if Johnson or any other public servant was held to be a tortfeasor (a lovely legal word, which Johnson would otherwise no doubt enjoy) then there would be liability in damages for losses that were caused by the unlawful action."
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:06 PM on September 7 [5 favorites]


I think this is getting to the point where people are thinking they don't want to be on the wrong side of history and that's scary...
posted by dudleian at 2:06 PM on September 7 [10 favorites]


I'm not sure what I'm more amazed about. That with the week the Tories have had that they're ahead of Labour by ten points or that Labour are still under this mass delusion they can win an election with Corbyn at the helm.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:31 PM on September 7 [6 favorites]


The stuff that's coming out right now over the Cabinet asking for, and not getting, the legal advice given to Johnson over prorogation is further proof that we are not dealing with a normal PM. We have

* Turning off Parliament
* Turning off Cabinet
* Purging the party
* Using the police for political ends
* Shutting down press access
* Threatening to ignore the law

How much more do you need? At least there's some sort of effective push back from within and outwith his cabal and he has comprehensively ceded any parliamentary power.

rumours are that another six Cabinet ministers are going to walk, and that they're going to time it to maximise the pain and control the headlines. Why Rudd chose 9pm on a Saturday to announce her going - it was prepared in conjunction with the Sunday Times releasing its front page. One of Johnson's last levers is the complicity of the right wing press to run his dictats, but those are trumped by real news. Such as ministers resigning with both barrels.
posted by Devonian at 2:37 PM on September 7 [6 favorites]


Told that Dominic Cummings told a meeting on Friday that the people who are cross about his tactics “will melt” when they learn of what he has planned in coming weeks.

We’re in the foothills of the chaos.

I don't know how to simply represent that sarcastic "Yay!" thing they do in Archer to represent sarcastic disapproval. But that.
posted by Grangousier at 2:41 PM on September 7 [6 favorites]


I'm just amazed that people continue to place stock in opinion polls of dubious provenance. And yes, I would include all the usual polling organisations in that.

I can't find the quote, but someone once said something like, "Opinion polls are not a reflection of public opinion, they are a means of guiding public opinion." A form of social proof, I suppose.
posted by doornoise at 2:43 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


Daniel Kawczynski is trying to get Poland to veto the extension. When I first saw the retweet, I thought it was old, and that it had been dug up in response to the recent rhetoric. But it's from an hour ago! He's actually doing it again! After his Brexiteer compatriots specifically complained about "collusion with foreign powers"!

I hope that it works as well as it did last time.
posted by confluency at 2:45 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


Daniel Kawczynski is trying to get Poland to veto the extension.

He should be heartily encourage to try and succeed. That way Article 50 will be withdrawn instead of extended.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:48 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


He should be heartily encourage to try and succeed. That way Article 50 will be withdrawn instead of extended.
No, we leave the EU with no deal. The law (assuming it's followed) says that the Prime Minister has to request an extension. It doesn't say what happens if that request for an extension is rejected by the European Council. The assumption has to be that a rejected request returns us to the status quo - out on 31 October.

There's nowhere near a majority in Parliament for revoking Article 50, even if it's a case of revoke vs no deal.
posted by winterhill at 2:54 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]


In the last hour:

Amber Rudd quits the Tory party to stand as an Independent
Daniel Kawczynski begs a foreign power to intervene to veto the extension
John Mann FINALLY leaves Labour to take a job as the Tory anti-semitism advisor(!!!)
Angela Smith crosses the floor from Tory to LibDems

We're going to need a bigger thread.
posted by doornoise at 2:54 PM on September 7 [10 favorites]


Angela Smith crosses the floor from Tory to LibDems
Smith was never a Tory. She was Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, then left to join the Change Our Name Again Party.
posted by winterhill at 3:00 PM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Oops, I stand corrected. Cheers winterhill.
posted by doornoise at 3:02 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


If we ever came down to a strict binary choice between Revoke and No Deal, then I reckon Revoke would walk it. Parliamentarians would be looking at a choice between:

a) the possibility of burying Brexit for good WITH PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY

or

b) all the perils of No Deal. Needless deaths, food and goods shortages, widespread unemployment, sell off of the NHS, the UK failing, IMF bailouts, dogs and cats living together.
posted by doornoise at 3:10 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]


It's easy to lose track, with so many people quitting, crossing the floor, joining various independent groupings. Smith could have been mistaken for a Tory on numerous occasions - she was very much to the right-wing Blairite end of the party and didn't fit well in the current incarnation of Labour.

She'll struggle to get re-elected. It's a weird seat. Stocksbridge is a steel-making town on the very northern edge of Sheffield and historically votes strongly for Labour. Penistone is a small rural town north of Stocksbridge and traditionally votes Tory. There's a big hill between the two and no direct road connection - the two places have hardly anything to do with each other. The seat also includes a few Barnsley suburbs, so it tends to go narrowly to Labour. I can't see where the Lib Dems fit into this jigsaw at all.
posted by winterhill at 3:16 PM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Tory anti-semitism advisor

The Tories have an anti-Semitism advisor? Is the job (a) to keep tabs on anti-Semitism in the nation, (b) make them more effective anti-Semites, or (c) counsel them on hiding their anti-Semitism more effectively?

(I assume it's one of the last two; the first doesn't seem like their style)
posted by jackbishop at 3:19 PM on September 7 [12 favorites]


Isn't there some kind of shake up of boundaries in the works? When does that come in? I have a feeling it was supposed to be bad for Labour.

Still crossing my fingers that all this fracturing will lead eventually and inevitably to some form of PR.
posted by doornoise at 3:20 PM on September 7


Whatever the job title, John Mann will probably be doing the same job as before: going on news discussion panels to slag off Corbyn. But whether they'll still find him compelling is another matter. He was so very useful as a Labour MP willing to shaft his leadership at every turn.
posted by doornoise at 3:24 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]


Isn't there some kind of shake up of boundaries in the works? When does that come in? I have a feeling it was supposed to be bad for Labour.
It was meant to come in at the next election, which in 2015 was meant to be May 2020. It obviously never made it in time for the 2017 election and I understand that any 2019 election will also be fought on current boundaries. They're reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600, mostly by merging seats in urban areas. Rural areas are being left largely untouched. I will leave it to you to decide if that favours any particular party.
posted by winterhill at 3:29 PM on September 7 [8 favorites]


"Funny tinge"! Fracking! Of course... THAT Angela Smith!

I'd completely forgotten that Smith existed until I just looked her up.

Do you think she'll stand again in Penistone and Stocksbridge, considering the likelihood of failure? Might she have made some arrangement for a shot at a marginal?
posted by doornoise at 3:59 PM on September 7


I don’t put much in UK polls, they’re much less accurate than ones from the US. That said, this one is fun:
A General Election is held after extending the Brexit deadline beyond the 31st of October 2019:

LAB: 28%
CON: 26%
LDEM: 20%
BREX: 17%
GRN: 4%

via @ComRes, 04 - 06 Sep
Modelled on a uniform swing, the seats would be:

Labour - 290
Tories - 226
Lib Dems - 54
SNP - 51
Brexit - 6
PC - 3
Green - 1
Others - 19
posted by adrianhon at 4:24 PM on September 7


Wow. The SNP could finagle either Article 50 going away or a second indyref with that leverage.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:50 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure what I'm more amazed about. That with the week the Tories have had that they're ahead of Labour by ten points or that Labour are still under this mass delusion they can win an election with Corbyn at the helm.

The optics of being in the middle of a multi-layered nation-threatening crisis and having the leader of the primary opposition party resign right before a General Election -- or be forced out right before one -- would be a lot of things, but none of them good.
posted by delfin at 5:01 PM on September 7 [4 favorites]


Boris Johnson will do anything for Brexit. Even destroy his own party. (Ian Dunt, Washington Post op-ed)
The push to leave Europe is tearing up one of democracy’s most successful institutions. [...]

What the week made clear is that the Conservative Party — like the Republican Party under President Trump — has mutated into the most extreme possible version of itself, one that regularly evokes the revolutionary notion of “the people” to justify outright nationalist policies. The political atmosphere on both sides of the Atlantic is so similar that it’s like one of those British films that’s been adapted in Hollywood for an American audience: The right wing in each country is following the same basic trend, the same dynamic, translated into local flavors.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:18 PM on September 7 [12 favorites]


From muminor, on Sep 3:
>
It's true there is no UK commissioner, but that could be a topic of negotiation. The Government would have to put up a reasonable candidate for the Commission, and that in itself would be an interesting exercise.

The Independent, this morning: Boris Johnson plotting scheme to render EU ‘no longer legal’ in desperate bid to escape Brexit trap
Boris Johnson is threatening to sabotage the EU to make it cave in on a Brexit deal – or reject MPs’ plan to stop the UK crashing out of the bloc.

In a dramatic escalation of its battle with Brussels, Downing Street believes it has devised a way out of the crisis to make the EU no longer “legally constituted”, paralysing its decision-making.

The extraordinary plan would see the UK refuse to appoint a commissioner, putting the EU in breach of its own legal duty for all 28 member states to be represented on its executive branch.

No 10 believes the UK would be “disrupting” Brussels life to such a degree that member states will then make it clear they will refuse to grant an Article 50 extension – even if asked for.

A source said: “We will turn the pressure onto the EU to show how difficult it will be for them if the UK is still hanging around.”

The aim is to force an acceptable Brexit deal, but the source added: “If they won’t negotiate a deal, it would be ideal if they would kick us out.”

I bet Cummings thinks this is really clever. Like that time at school where he told someone to stop hitting his fist with their face.
posted by automatronic at 11:24 PM on September 7 [11 favorites]


If we ever came down to a strict binary choice between Revoke and No Deal, then I reckon Revoke would walk it.

Members of Parliament previously voted by 184 to 293 against making revoking Article 50 the "default" position if the Commons fails to ratify a deal. While presumably some would change their minds when really facing it, I'm much less convinced revoking would win.

It's a moot point anyway. Johnson would have to be the one to send the revocation notice to the council, and if he's prepared to break the law to refuse to sign the extension letter, he won't sign a revocation either.

Johnson has to survive in office between October 19th and October 31st to force no deal. a VONC relies on him resigning and going to the Queen to advise on his successor. If he doesn't, then after two weeks then there must be a date set for an election, but that will be a month past us crashing out. But will the Queen actively sack Boris to appoint Corbyn, rather than just do nothing and let the election happen? That's a big gamble too.

Of course, the opposition don't want to give Johnson the option of setting the election date after October 31st either right now, and one before isn't much better with the polling. They're gambling Johnson won't ignore a court injunction. And of course Parliament is about to the closed for 5 weeks, limiting what they can do even further.

Right now, I'm afraid no-deal seems more inevitable than ever. I really hope I'm wrong.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:35 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]


Do you think she'll stand again in Penistone and Stocksbridge, considering the likelihood of failure? Might she have made some arrangement for a shot at a marginal?
The boundary changes are getting rid of the seat. Once they come in, Stocksbridge is being lumped in with some areas of Barnsley to make a Labour safe seat. The interesting bit is Colne Valley, currently a marginal covering rural areas on the edge of Huddersfield, with a Labour majority of less than 1,000. It flipped from Conservative to Labour at the 2017 election. They're turning that seat into Penistone and Colne Valley, which should just about guarantee its safety for the Conservatives going forward. This story is being replicated around the country.
posted by winterhill at 12:43 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Honestly, at this point I think No Deal is the least of our worries.

I can understand why McDonnell is distancing himself from the SNP and the spectre of Milliband in Salmond's pocket from a few years ago, but haven't things move on? His positioning of Labour as the Millwall of political parties doesn't do them any favours, and is pretty much the Conservative position with a red rosette.

As someone who feels we need more collaboration, cooperation and compromise if we're to have a hope of solving the problems facing the world his statement that "we won’t do coalitions, we will expect [other parties] to support [Labour]" and that "the other opposition parties can vote for the policies we’re advocating and if they don’t, we’ll go back to the people.” is just depressing as hell.
posted by dudleian at 3:50 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


From The Globe and Mail, Canada:

“British politics today is what results from the collision of an unstoppable force, an immovable object and a clown car ... And the clown car is Mr. Johnson.”
posted by penguin pie at 5:39 AM on September 8 [15 favorites]


“British politics today is what results from the collision of an unstoppable force, an immovable object and a clown car ... And the clown car is Mr. Johnson.”

Strong words coming from a province that just elected Doug Ford, who is, predictably, starting to assassinate the liberal institutions of Ontario. Conservatism: not even once. Not to mention that after a nearly a decade of Harper's Hijinx, the people of Canada are getting more and more at ease with the idea of putting them back in power as the poll numbers get tighter and tighter. Part of this is on the back of Trudeau's ineptitude in stopping his party from engaging in mild corruption and scandal but all in all, most of the anglophone world seems to just have gone collectively fucking insane.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:57 AM on September 8 [28 favorites]


Boris Johnson is due to meet the Irish Taoiseach tomorrow morning in Dublin. Going by the previous week he will turn up and talk about Queen Victoria and her love of Ireland during the famine.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:18 AM on September 8 [6 favorites]


I bet Cummings thinks this is really clever.

The Guardian:
A former director general of the EU council’s legal services, Jean-Claude Piris, said the UK gambit was based on a misunderstanding.

He said: “The commission will be legally able to function and take legal decisions with a member less. If the UK is still an EU member it is that member state which would violate the treaty and could be brought to the EU court of justice.
Perhaps the "leak" is intended to panic the opposition, into agreeing an early election?

From what I read, I don't think Johnson breaking the law will work.

I think they've already shot their big gun. I.e. the closest approach was to bait Corbyn into giving them a too-early election. Corbyn resisted; he sees the trap. Johnson wants to maintain an imminent threat of no-deal, to get Farage to stand down and give them a strong majority. Farage is not going to be happy with them when Johnson is forced to extend.
posted by sourcejedi at 8:21 AM on September 8 [8 favorites]


Ian Dunt in the Irish Times: Simplistic view of Europe has pushed UK into Brexit abyss

Insightful as always: The Johnson brand of Euroscepticism was different. It despised complexity. It dismissed the complex reality of trying to create harmonised regulations for a single market in favour of hysterical offence at rules on noise levels for lawnmowers. It convinced itself instead that these rules were the deranged product of a class of European technocrats with nothing better to do but meddle in other people’s jovial prawn-cocktail-crisp-eating lives.
posted by sour cream at 8:45 AM on September 8 [10 favorites]


> A former director general of the EU council’s legal services, Jean-Claude Piris, said the UK gambit was based on a misunderstanding.

He said: “The commission will be legally able to function and take legal decisions with a member less. If the UK is still an EU member it is that member state which would violate the treaty and could be brought to the EU court of justice.


oh thank goodness. not just for its importance in this particular case, but also because it means that it's not possible for one solitary fascist government within the eu to use this one weird trick to grind the workings of the entire federation to a halt.

anyway, so, i've gotten a little obsessed with reading about bercow (and with the institution of the speakership in general) ever since bercow first allowed the vote on the anti-no-deal amendment. since, well, before that moment i honestly thought that the speakership was a purely ceremonial position, without even any bureaucratic power. anyway, i just gotta share this snippet from his wikipedia page, taken from an interview he gave back in the early 2010s:
in reference to his decision to stand [as speaker], Bercow said: "I wanted it because I felt that there was a task to be undertaken and that's about strengthening backbench involvement and opportunity in parliament, and helping parliament get off its knees and recognise that it isn't just there as a rubber-stamping operation for the government of the day, and as necessary and appropriate to contradict and expose the government of the day."
the man is consistent, isn't he? that seems to be his stake in this thing: not blocking brexit exactly, but instead ensuring that parliament isn't made politically irrelevant. and damn but he has done that.

in a time when most of the nominally powerful political offices in the anglosphere are occupied by exactly the wrong person, at least this one nominally powerless bureaucratic office is occupied by exactly the right person.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:51 AM on September 8 [40 favorites]


Blunt takedown of Dominic Cummings in the NYT Opinion column:

The ‘Political Anarchist’ Behind Britain’s Chaos
His job is to deliver Brexit and win Mr. Johnson five years more in office, making up for the prime minister’s deficiencies as a lazy, inattentive bumbler. Mr. Cummings is deploying all the techniques that have worked for him before: disruption, deception, intimidation and an implacable willingness to alienate people...

Where Mr. Cummings is a steely ideologue, Mr. Johnson doesn’t enjoy conflict; he wants power accompanied by endless applause. He never expected to have to expel senior members of his party; he expected them to be won over by his charm. He was humiliated by the scorn heaped on him in Parliament on Tuesday... sources close to the prime minister tell me that he cried when he heard the news [Jo Johnson resigning] ..."
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:51 AM on September 8 [15 favorites]


in a time when most of the nominally powerful political offices in the anglosphere are occupied by exactly the wrong person, at least this one nominally powerless bureaucratic office is occupied by exactly the right person.

Indeed, which is why they're trying to get rid of him.
posted by automatronic at 10:30 AM on September 8 [7 favorites]


So, what if the opposition gave Mr. Johnson five[ish] years more in office through the simple act of not responding to a VONC? The next election, according to the FTPA method, would have to be on 5th May 2022. Let Johnson and Cummings deal with the mess that Cameron and May prepared. Let them deal (badly) with the details of Brexit. Johnson won't resign: his whole life has been set on the goal of being PM. Corbyn might do well to play a long game and wait this out, as you don't want something possibly more damaging to one's country and historical legacy as Suez was to Eden's happening on your watch. The opposition effectively has control of the Commons: why gamble that on an election?

(After Suez, though, the UK's bacon was really only saved by the Macmillan/Eisenhower working relationship. None of the adjectives one could use to describe Ike apply to the current denizen of the White House, unfortunately.)
posted by scruss at 10:35 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


Bercow is an interesting character. He was once a very right-wing Tory; while he's still nominally Conservative (the office itself is neutral) he's drifted further and further away from that.

The government has been griping that he's far harsher on them than he is on the opposition benches since long before Brexit, and also claiming it's because they're a Conservative government in particular. The first is probably true (but, then, that's his job), the second... ehhh. Maybe. Arguably. Probably easier to argue before the government itself was found in contempt of Parliament, honestly.

He's an MP and convention has it that the main parties don't stand a candidate against the Speaker, so if you're in that constituency then your choices are "the Speaker seeking re-election" plus a scattering of mad independents.* But the Tories are now planning to stand a candidate** against Bercow in the next election, in protest against him in particular.

It is depressingly hilarious that for certain people in the pro-Leave campaign, 'sovereignty' - which lies in Parliament - has turned out to look a lot less appealing than it did when they could rant about not having it.

(*or Nigel Farage, who stood against Bercow in 2010.)
(**Andrea Leadsom, allegedly, and by 'allegedly' I mean 'I'm pretty sure I read it's confirmed but that CAN'T be right, can it?')
posted by Catseye at 10:44 AM on September 8 [13 favorites]


Members of Parliament previously voted by 184 to 293 against making revoking Article 50 the "default" position if the Commons fails to ratify a deal. While presumably some would change their minds when really facing it, I'm much less convinced revoking would win.

The series of indicative votes was held back in March with a relatively functional yet incredibly weak executive who everyone could reasonably expect to back down and negotiate an extension before 12th April. The No Deal option was voted down by 400 to 160. Parliament did not get truly tested at this point.

If a week is a long time in politics, then five months is several lifetimes. We now have an executive off-the-rails, coerced by shadowy bureaucrats into threatening to commit criminal acts to drag us out, a mass rebellion in the Tory party and far more information about the threat of No Deal.

As I stated, if it came down to a strict binary choice between revoking and crashing out, we are not suddenly going to see 100+ previously cautious, careerist MPs leaping on the No Deal #DeathByBrexit bandwagon - and especially not in support of the hated Cummings. Publically, they're going to come up with some concoction of "I didn't want to but I had to vote revoke" and privately, they're gonna be thrilled at the possibility of the whole stinking mess being put to rest.

Most MPs voted to Remain.
posted by doornoise at 12:21 PM on September 8 [6 favorites]


Today I took a break from Reddit and Twitter, from the Guardian and BBC - not before realising that the last week has made me seriously morose. (Thanks, Cummings!)

A few threads ago - or perhaps in an entirely separate context - someone here on MeFi recommended L'auberge Espagnol (The Spanish Apartment / Pot Luck), a movie about a French student participating in the Erasmus scheme, who lives with a bunch of other European students for a year in Barcelona. Not a perfect movie! But it's one of those glorious ones with at least four languages spoken fluently by the cast, fluidly over one another.

I started it many weeks ago, but got distracted, and this weekend I went back and finished it. And I'm here to recommend it to you all, to remind you, in a gawky, coming-of-age-movie-way, of what we're fighting for.

At the very end (mild spoilers!), the protagonist is recalling his year and the international friends he has made. Their faces flash on screen.

[...]

I'm all that. I'm him, him and him. But him and him too. And him too. And I'm him, too.

I want to write books.

I'm her, her and her too.

I'm French, Spanish, English, Danish. I'm not one, but many. I'm like Europe, I'm all that. I'm a real mess...
If you haven't seen the movie, but you've made European friends when traveling, then you get the feeling conveyed. Because we're right, god fucking dammit. We're right. We're the good ones. We're fighting for what's good, and right. It looks like we might lose. But we're right! Don't forget it!

You can now sign up for information about a pro-Remain tactical voting initiative, for the upcoming election.
posted by Quagkapi at 12:37 PM on September 8 [27 favorites]


Also, if Johnson refuses to uphold the law, there's little chance of him surviving more than a couple of days in power, according to legal experts.

"10 days is more than enough time for a simple injunction, and the exhaustion of appeal rights. The courts could do it in 48 hours if they had to." - Dinah Rose QC on Twitter

Cummings and Johnson's 'State of Emergency' gambit is similarly ill-starred [David Allen Green on Twitter].
posted by doornoise at 12:56 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


I love it when the electorate isn't prepared to punish such brinkmanship because of partisanship.

It's not like the future of the god damned country is at stake or anything.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:13 PM on September 8 [6 favorites]


Cummings is just another chancer albeit a very slippery one.
Back when it was thought Remain could win the referendum:
Dominic Cummings
there is a "strong democratic case" for a second referendum on the final terms of Brexit, if the first vote is for Out.
posted by adamvasco at 4:00 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Your Childhood Pet Rock: "Not to mention that after a nearly a decade of Harper's Hijinx, the people of Canada are getting more and more at ease with the idea of putting them back in power as the poll numbers get tighter and tighter."

Btw, there is an active Trudeau/Canada thread.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:47 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Robert Saunders in the New Statesman draws some parallels:
More than three years after a knife-edge public vote, a hung parliament seethes with talk of “plots”, “coups” and “conspiracies”. Protestors march on Westminster, demanding the resignation of the government. Conservatives urge the monarch to veto legislation, to stop a treacherous parliament defying “the will of the people”. Violence is in the air, most ominously in Northern Ireland. Welcome to the United Kingdom in the summer of 1914.
posted by automatronic at 1:59 AM on September 9 [10 favorites]


Johnson's negotiating strategy is clear. He doesn't need to produce proposals for a new trading arrangement or an alternative to the backstop, because the plan is to get the Irish government to cave.

The theory is that, yes, the EU will suffer less from No Deal than the UK, but the effects will be localised, and the downside for Ireland will be even greater than for the UK. And as a much smaller economy Ireland will be less able to withstand the shock.

So you turn the heat up to maximum and wait for Ireland to peel away from the EU, solving all your problems at a stroke.

That is a breathtakingly shitty plan. That the cabinet could sign up to it is criminal.
posted by dudleian at 3:08 AM on September 9 [10 favorites]


Stephen Bush: Could Boris Johnson break the law to prevent a Brexit extension?
But on the other hand, this is a government that has been long on colourful briefing about how it is well hard and utterly committed to delivering Brexit, no matter how many laws it has to break to get there – and then retreating. Remember the 101 procedural hurdles that they were going to throw in the way of Hilary Benn’s bill to seek an extension? Don’t worry if you don’t, because they don’t seem to have either. Or that pledge to fight the bill every step of the way in the House of Lords – every step of the way turned out to mean folding at a little before half past one. It may be that the government’s attempts – briefed in detail to today’s Telegraph – to find a way to escape its obligations go the same way.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:33 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


So Johnson's trying to solve Ireland the same way Stalin tried to solve West Berlin?
posted by acb at 4:42 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


So you turn the heat up to maximum and wait for Ireland to peel away from the EU, solving all your problems at a stroke.

It's a shitty plan, but that's because as a plan, it's really shitty. It just won't work.

Ireland is putting post-Brexit ferry infrastructure in place to provide extra capacity to export directly to EU ports rather than through the UK. The EU has already indicted that it would support Ireland to protect it from any post no-deal economic hit. And Ireland knows where its bread is buttered, EU membership has been much better for it than alignment with the UK.

The UK will desperately need an EU trade deal after no-deal, and the divorce bill will be the very first thing on the agenda. It'll fold long before the EU does.
posted by daveje at 5:24 AM on September 9 [14 favorites]


Sam Coates of Sky reporting, via a Tory ex-SpAd who until a few days ago worked for Amber Rudd, that No 10's own polling suggests that if an election are held today they'd probably win 295-300 seats - worse than they did under May. Maybe should have made less of a concerted effort to piss off all the SpAds, Dominic.

Of course, it is possible this is false information designed to coax Labour/LD into voting for an election. But I think it's more likely that the story is true, although they will also be hoping it goads the opposition into an election which ends up going much better for them after a Dominic Cummings campaign.

Probably they're convinced he can run a better campaign than May's team did (to be fair, the Muppet Babies could run a better campaign than May's team did), and will be able to pull in enough non-traditionally-Tory-voters to make up for the Tory voters who've gone elsewhere. Aim to run an election on nebulous ideas of the people vs the old guard/the Establishment/the bureaucrats/Remainers/whoever, ditch the idea of party affiliation and pull in the non-voters who still turned out for the EU referendum. It would seem like a hard sell to convince the public that Boris Johnson of all people is a genuine anti-establishment man of the people, but it's worked fine for Farage all these years.

I don't think this is going to work as well as they are hoping, although I am relying heavily there on the existing evidence of Dominic Cummings being a lot less capable on parliamentary issues than he believed himself to be. Maybe he'll turn it around when it comes to a full-on campaign (rather than astroturfing #PeoplesPrimeMinister on Twitter).
posted by Catseye at 5:29 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


A great Chris Grey blog post on the latest:
What remains the irreducible core of the crisis is the fact that voting to leave the EU was not a vote for any particular way of doing so – a result of the deliberate strategy of the Vote Leave Campaign as devised by one Dominic Cummings.

It is this which continues to make our politics impossible because it means that the concept of ‘delivering Brexit’ is as meaningless as the accusation of ‘betraying Brexit’. All versions of Brexit – from the soft Brexit that some expected, to May’s hard Brexit deal that was rejected by MPs, to the no-deal Brexit that is now threatened - can all equally well be regarded as delivering it or as betraying it.

What has made things doubly impossible is the insistence that there is an inviolable democratic principle at stake because of the Referendum vote. This automatically sets up a failure of democracy given that any particular form of honouring the vote also betrays it. Moreover, since the form of delivery can only be decided by the democratically elected parliament, democracy has been weaponised against itself.
posted by Catseye at 5:31 AM on September 9 [22 favorites]


The UK will desperately need an EU trade deal after no-deal, and the divorce bill will be the very first thing on the agenda. It'll fold long before the EU does.

You presume Johnson and cabinet give a shit about the impact of no-deal on ordinary people, particularly in NI. That isn't a driving principle of tories at the best of times, and certainly isn't now. Nor will the public at large blame the tories, when they will be continue to be served up the EU 'for punishing us to daring to leave' (and probably traitorous remainers for sabotaging preparations) on a platter by the media. Plus they will be claiming "mission success, no major problems here" on day 1 after leaving, regardless of any actual impact, and in truth most of the damage will take much longer to filter through in lost jobs, recession, rising prices etc but will then later be denied to be having anything to do with Brexit. The tories just won't care about getting a deal with the 'intransigent' EU.

Meanwhile:

Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, is giving evidence to the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee.
Sedwill has said the prime minister is under a duty to resign only when he, or she, can make a recommendation to the Queen as to who is most likely to be able to command the confidence of the House of Commons.
That is a political judgment the PM must exercise, with advice from the cabinet secretary.

Q: Does the PM need to test that, with a sitting House of Commons?

No, says Sedwill.

The SNP’s Ronnie Cowan asks if, in the event of a vote of no confidence, the PM could just run down the clock for 14 days without recommending an alternative PM to the Queen.

Sedwill confirms that that is the case.
So in the event of a VONC once parliament returns, Johnson will just sit it out until crash-out day, then call an election in November. And let's assume he ignores a court order to ask for an extension. Are they going to send the police into downing street to drag him out? What if he still refuses to sign? Sending him to jail for a week for contempt, fine - but if he still doesn't sign, he only has to wait until October 31st, and then it becomes a moot point, and he can have his campaign about how he saved brexit from the doomsters and gloomsters, and the media can hammer remainer parliament and judges for being enemies of to the people for trying to stop brexit.

I can't see the Queen actively choosing to appoint Corbyn against the advice of the current PM.

So we're left with hoping Johnson decides to obey the law rather than just ignore it and deal with the consequences later, on the basis they'll not come to anything - the latter being exactly what he and Cummings successfully did during the referendum.

I hope the opposition have another trick up their sleeve, or Johnson does indeed fold. Because every day that passes is making me more and more convinced we're crashing out on October 31st.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:14 AM on September 9 [5 favorites]


From today's Guardian: No-deal Brexit will not be clean break, Irish PM warns Boris Johnson
“The story of Brexit will not end if the United Kingdom leaves on 31 October or even 31 January – there is no such thing as a clean break. No such thing as just getting it done. Rather, we just enter a new phase.

“If there is no deal, I believe that’s possible, it will cause severe disruption for British and Irish people alike. We will have to get back to the negotiating table. When we do, the first and only items on the agenda will be citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border. All the issues we had resolved in the withdrawal agreement we made with your predecessor. An agreement made in good faith by 28 governments,” he said.
Meanwhile this is the BBC coverage: Johnson tells Varadkar no-deal Brexit 'would be a failure'
It does mention the Taoiseach's statement, but downplays it to give more space for Johnson pontificating and borderline threatening the Republic. I checked it out to see what not-Guardian readers would get out of the meeting, and it is depressing.
posted by mumimor at 6:34 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


Leo's Athena reference was a particularly deft twist of the knife.
posted by scruss at 6:51 AM on September 9 [5 favorites]


Chris Grey wrote, quoted above: What remains the irreducible core of the crisis is the fact that voting to leave the EU was not a vote for any particular way of doing so....

I just watched the last episode of "Good Omens," and I am reminded of the brilliant and tidy way in which the two protagonists pull us back from the end of the damn world. Could maybe David Tennant call someone over there, and, you know, have a word? And then the rest of the U.K., too?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:57 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


Brilliant turn of events just now. The government had planned to prorogue parliament tonight, but a Humble Address (remember those?) looks sets to forestall them: and what a humble address it is.
posted by rory at 6:59 AM on September 9 [11 favorites]


I'm trying to follow along. I click the first link above and get this:

MPs seeking to use SO24 motion to force publication of Operation Yellowhammer and private No 10 prorogation correspondence

10 minutes and several Wikipedia searches later...

Did they just ask the Queen to get them a bunch of encrypted messages between government officials?
posted by diogenes at 7:33 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


Not personally. I doubt whether she has mad hacker skillz.
posted by Grangousier at 7:34 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


Queen: sighs heavily, rolls her eyes, pulls out a laptop
posted by confluency at 7:35 AM on September 9 [57 favorites]


And Ireland knows where its bread is buttered, EU membership has been much better for it than alignment with the UK.

Not only that, but leaving the EU for some kind of 'regulatory union' with the UK would divide Irish society far more than the current division in the UK between Leave and Remain. Civil war would not be unthinkable.
posted by AillilUpATree at 7:45 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


The reality of a hard or soft Brexit, whatever will happen, is that the UK government will have to negotiate going forward from a loosing position, while it bleeds business to other countries, not least Ireland. At this point, there is no good end to this. Even if Corbyn was smarter than Johnson, which I don't believe he is, he can't solve the problems the country has brought upon itself.
It's true that the Tories have never cared about the wider population, and it's probably true that a very small group of people are standing to get billions out of Brexit. But if people in England keep on voting for the Conservatives after any Brexit, let alone a crash, I'm not sure they deserve democracy.
Meanwhile, in Brussels, the "negotiations" are becoming more ridiculous by the day.
posted by mumimor at 7:47 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


John Bercow will be standing down either at the next election or 31st October, whichever comes first.
posted by scorbet at 7:53 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


apparently by stepping down now he ensures that a hypothetical post-ge conservative parliament doesn't get to select the next speaker.

but also, dang. teaches me to get attached to him...
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:08 AM on September 9 [8 favorites]


Going to answer my own question with a repost of the linked David Allen Green tweet:

Q: Is there any precedent for this? It seems hopeless. Aren't these messaging apps designed such that one can destroy evidence delete messages without trace?

A:
Presumably, all the relevant messages are in the possession of the government lawyers who prepared the (not sent) witness statement

If so, too late for delete

They are probably even in a form to be handed over readily

An old litigation tactic

Wait until all the documents are in the hands of the lawyers and *then* ask for relevant disclosure

Too late to delete or destroy then
posted by Quagkapi at 8:10 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


You presume Johnson and cabinet give a shit about the impact of no-deal on ordinary people, particularly in NI.

No, I don't, but they'll give a shit when business starts screaming at them, and the underinvestment bites.
posted by daveje at 8:11 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Interesting tidbit:
Sumption (a former supreme court justice) said Johnson would not only be in contempt of court if he failed to do what the bill stated, but would risk the resignation of the justice secretary, the attorney general, and other members of his cabinet.

He added there were “plenty of ways” in which this kind of obligation could be enforced. “An application will have to be made to the court for an injunction. The simplest way of enforcing the injunction would be for the court simply to direct an official to sign the letter on behalf of the PM and to declare that his signature was to be treated in every legal respect as equivalent to the prime minister’s,” he explained.
Did not know the courts could order someone else's scribble to count as the PMs! Wow. Guess we won't have to find a ditch for Boris after all.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 8:36 AM on September 9 [10 favorites]


Guess we won't have to find a ditch for Boris after all.

This is simultaneously comforting and disappointing.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:55 AM on September 9 [11 favorites]


Queen: sighs heavily, rolls her eyes, pulls out a laptop

… lights a Sobranie from a gold table lighter proffered by a white-gloved flunky, draws heavily and comments
A little trick one learned from Mr Turing that My Government had the sense to keep classified … frightfully nice man, shame about what happened …” before cracking her knuckles and getting started.
posted by scruss at 9:06 AM on September 9 [8 favorites]


> Did not know the courts could order someone else's scribble to count as the PMs! Wow. Guess we won't have to find a ditch for Boris after all.

perhaps if this situation continues the office of pm could become ceremonial, with some nominally subordinate figure doing all the work of the pm. boris johnson could have invented something parallel with and analogous to the monarchy: if the u.k. can have a purely ceremonial royal family, why can't it also have a purely ceremonial royal asshole?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:12 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


Well, Bercow is certainly going out with a bang. Zero fucks left; no filter.
posted by confluency at 9:13 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


Currently watching parliament on Twitch
This timeline's not all bad.
posted by fullerine at 9:14 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


Careful, fullerone, Her Majesty has a keylogger installed on that
posted by stevis23 at 9:42 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Grieve is going at his humble address like a barrister laying out a criminal case. He's clearly been given some real dirt as to what the SPADs have been up to around the planning for prorogation and knows where to find it - and I think he's thinking it will prove Johnson told big whopping lies to Parliament - and more importantly, in his advice to the Queen to shut Parliament. Which then gives the Supreme Court something to work with as to whether the prorogation was proper. Given there was supposedly a witness statement of the sequence of events (which is the government's lawyers job to put together as a matter of course for the recent court cases) which no civil servant was willing to sign, and thus wasn't presented into evidence, that's potentially pretty serious stuff, and what he's after could well already be with the govt lawyers.

Redwood tried to shut him down, saying the house has had ample opportunity to find out what Johnson's reasoning was - and Grieve slaps him down, pointing out Boris was asked about it, twice, as direct questions and avoided answering entirely both times.

And also slaps down the government Attorney-General when he suggest the house can't compel private accounts on their phones - pointing out they were on work time, doing their jobs, and have to follow the rules even when using personal devices.

Hope this works!
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:52 AM on September 9 [23 favorites]


Grieve is bringing the old-fashioned probity and gravity like a John Wyndham protagonist.

Appropriately enough.
posted by runincircles at 10:14 AM on September 9


Maybe I've been reading the wrong things, but I haven't seen mention in media coverage that literally one day there was serious talk of the anti No Deal crew moving to vote that Parliament continue to sit through conference season and the next day BOOM! enforced proroguery. Whatever wider machinations went into it that's the simple sequence of events and that's why it really is a five-week quashing of parliamentary scrutiny.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 10:31 AM on September 9


Also, Joanna Cherry is crushing it as ever. Calling out communications via "the use of burner phones, commonly used by those engaged in a criminal enterprise" (paraphrase).
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 10:33 AM on September 9 [11 favorites]


To steal from earlier in the thread, how does Michael Gove not punch himself in the face when looking himself in the mirror?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:05 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


Suspicious minds, Your Childhood Pet Rock, might suggest an ongoing relationship with cocaine could explain the utterly misplaced self-assurance necessary to prevent self-harm...
posted by deeker at 11:17 AM on September 9 [5 favorites]


I still can't believe he, a man of 52 years, referred to "mum and dad's money".

It would be less incredulous if the assholes weren't going to be running the "fuck the elitists" campaign in a few weeks.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:20 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


Rhetorical question I know YCPR, but I'd say it's because there's nothing and no-one there to hit. Also, he's too busy practising versus his reflection those overly-studied hand gestures to see how magnificent he appears to his audience whilst briefly pretending to care about the argument he's trying to win or the portfolio he currently holds.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 11:20 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


yeah the combination of gove's appeal to mum and dad's money and his claim that releasing the documents violates the echr rights of the correspondents leads me to think that the little bastard is just trolling at this point.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:22 AM on September 9


the naked contempt for democracy on display from gove seems to indicate that he thinks that democracy will be quite soon dismantled.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:23 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Assume this motion passes, the government complies, and there are indeed messages revealing that Johnson prorogued Parliament specifically to run down the clock on No Deal. Would there be specific legal consequences? IE, if he misled the Queen about his reason for proroguing Parliament, can Parliament return early?
posted by yankeefog at 11:31 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


fullerine: "Currently watching parliament on Twitch
This timeline's not all bad.
"

confluency: "Well, Bercow is certainly going out with a bang. Zero fucks left; no filter."

As an American who is a political junkie to the point of subscribing to the weekly Prime Minister's Questions broadcast for occasional skimming, this last round of debate was pretty wild to see. A high government official, trying and clearly failing to self-righteously scold the disgruntled Commons out of holding them accountable, only to get cut off mid-sentence by the gives-no-more-fucks Bercow, who then turns the issue immediately over to a vote in his inimitable auctioneer/futbol announcer style ("DIVISIOOOOOOOOOON!").

I'd always thought PMQs were uniquely theatrical and raucous compared to regular business. Is it always that fluid and dynamic, or is this just a combo of the crazy circumstances and Bercow's personality? If only Congress could be this engaged/effective.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:32 AM on September 9 [9 favorites]


Grieve's motion passes.

They're going to have to give up all the dirt.

I'd always thought PMQs were uniquely theatrical and raucous compared to regular business. Is it always that fluid and dynamic, or is this just a combo of the crazy circumstances and Bercow's personality? If only Congress could be this engaged/effective.

A little from column A, a little from column B. It depends mostly on how passionately people are about things. Even regular legislation can get pretty heated when it's contentious.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:33 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


One of the opposition could have basically read the lyrics to "Sabotage" verbatim in support of the motion and it would have been nearly entirely apropos...
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 11:34 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


Grieve put his address to the house as if he was a prosecuting QC. Really, really impressive stuff. Would love to be a fly on the wall in the Johnson/Cummings households right now - bet it’s full on “The Thick Of It” right now.
posted by pharm at 11:56 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


Would there be specific legal consequences? IE, if he misled the Queen about his reason for proroguing Parliament, can Parliament return early?

*Assuming* they cough up the messages Parliament has just required them to*, and it's damning (which given the specificity of the humble address seems very likely) then it will be of great interest to the Supreme Court, which is hearing the appeals on blocking prorogation on Sep 17th. The government won at the high court et al primarily because they argued it was a normal political decision to "allow Mr Johnson to set out his legislative plans in the Queen's Speech".

Proof that the gov were lying to the lower courts will be taken very seriously indeed, and could well lead to a court order requiring the gov request the Queen to bring back Parliament.

Of course, the government could always try and appeal to the European Court of Justice...

* If the gov doesn't hand it over, parliament can hold the gov, and Boris in particular, in contempt, as they did to May with a Humble Address over previous documents she tried to hide. At which point, they can, I think, decide to hold him in the tower of London, or declare a vacancy in his Uxbridge constituency. Contempt of Parliament doesn't mean much for ordinary citizens (as Cummings flaunts daily) but it's a different story for MPs.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:57 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


Rhaomi: "A high government official, trying and clearly failing to self-righteously scold the disgruntled Commons out of holding them accountable, only to get cut off mid-sentence by the gives-no-more-fucks Bercow, who then turns the issue immediately over to a vote in his inimitable auctioneer/futbol announcer style ("DIVISIOOOOOOOOOON!")."

...and here's a permalink to the moment on parliamentlive.tv, for posterity.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:03 PM on September 9 [9 favorites]


This is all part of a cunning plan by Johnson to get in a position where he can slaughter the Ravens and bring down the kingdom.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:32 PM on September 9 [5 favorites]


This is all part of a cunning plan by Johnson to get in a position where he can slaughter the Ravens and bring down the kingdom.

I saw enough Lamar Jackson highlights from yesterday to know I don’t like Boris’s chances there
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:35 PM on September 9 [5 favorites]


I really can't tell when you guys are kidding.

Oh, he's kidding.

It's actually Big Ben.
posted by tavella at 12:37 PM on September 9 [10 favorites]


France to insist on a ‘two-year’ extension to allow Brexit re-evaluation
France will demand that any extension to the Brexit deadline should be at least two years to allow the UK to “re-evaluate” its departure from the European Union, a senior En Marche MP has said.

It comes after the French foreign minister suggested on Sunday that France could veto any Brexit delay unless the UK can overcome its internal political turmoil.

Legislation due to become law on Monday will demand Boris Johnson ask for an extension until at least 31 January if he fails to secure a Brexit deal by 19 October.

Under the terms of the bill, however, Brussels can insist on a longer delay which must then be voted on by Parliament.
posted by automatronic at 12:40 PM on September 9 [12 favorites]


I really can't tell when you guys are kidding.
Oh, I was totally making that up. They can only lock him up in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. At least Big Ben (which is one of the honking great bells, not the tower itself) and mechanism is being repaired until 2021, so he won't be deafened as well.
MPs accused of contempt of Parliament may be suspended or expelled. They may also be committed to the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, although this practice has not been used since Charles Bradlaugh was detained in 1880.
On preview - jinx tavella!
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:42 PM on September 9 [11 favorites]


France will demand that any extension to the Brexit deadline should be at least two years to allow the UK to “re-evaluate” its departure from the European Union, a senior En Marche MP has said.

Macron, do you really have to make the ERG even more apoplectic? JFC.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:51 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


They may also be committed to the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more in my life.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:55 PM on September 9 [24 favorites]


I believe the new legislation passed today compels Johnson (or stand in) to convey any E.U. proposal to extend the deadline back to Parliament for a vote. My guess is that Parliament would not object to a proposal of a long extension. At all. It suits many to kick the concept of Brexit as far into the long grass as possible.
posted by rongorongo at 1:01 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


It's even better than that - the bill requires the government to accept an alternative length extension offered by the EU, though Parliament has two days to object if it so chooses.

Narrator: they won't.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:04 PM on September 9 [14 favorites]


Ça ira!
posted by runincircles at 1:07 PM on September 9


I was driving on the M62 earlier and noticed all the matrix signs that normally give traffic information have changed to read:
FREIGHT TO EU
PAPERS MAY CHANGE
1 NOV PLEASE CHECK
I don't like all these constant Brexit reminders. It's like they're trying to convince us (or themselves?) that it's really happening this time, that it's a No Deal, and that even if we haven't got the news on they're going to get us with it. Anyone delivering "freight to EU" will be well aware of the situation - this is more "Brexit is coming, deal with it" propaganda aimed at the general public.
posted by winterhill at 1:33 PM on September 9 [9 favorites]


If the extension is in the order of a couple of years, can you imagine the level of Mr GrumpyTrousers strop the PM will be in while he's stuck in the role? No Churchill he, but merely a chucklehead stuck in an A Field in England timeline. Gove may be a Pob-faced loon, but he's smart enough not to want to take the PM's role as King of the Mire.
posted by scruss at 1:36 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


By the way, MeFi Chat is open as always for anyone who wants to come in for tonight's proceedings, albeit a little late.
posted by winterhill at 1:37 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


There's a link upthread to a glorious Bercow moment and I humbly submit this one at 17:06:35 as well for the hall of fame.
posted by Quagkapi at 1:37 PM on September 9 [22 favorites]


They may also be committed to the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster
This is one of those weird old things where the jailers are Black Rod and the Rouge Dragon Puirsuivant and they get to beat the miscreant with a stave made from the thigh bone of Dr John Dee isn't it?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 1:54 PM on September 9 [23 favorites]


There's a link upthread to a glorious Bercow moment and I humbly submit this one at 17:06:35 as well for the hall of fame.

The clowns must have thought they'd played a blinder at first, threatening his seat and then hearing him start to announce his retirement.

Then he announced the date of his departure, and the penny must have started to drop for them that they'd been outplayed. He's on his way out, but this Parliament will choose his replacement, and they've no majority to install a servile crony.

Now they're starting to see just how much he'd been holding back, how patiently he'd been putting up with their shenanigans until now.

Because he no longer has any reason to put up with their bullshit. He's already on his way out. He's sacrificed his ability to influence things beyond the 31st October, but for those last crucial days until then, the gloves will be off.

Bercow has nothing left to lose and not a single fuck left to give.

And it is glorious.
posted by automatronic at 2:48 PM on September 9 [37 favorites]


It's pretty important to remember that the Speaker is non-partisan, and the only reason Bercow's appeared to favour Remain is that they're not playing fast and loose with tradition.

So although I'm sure he's utterly fed up with these idiots making his life difficult, his main motive to make sure they don't have influence over who the Speaker is is simply to help safeguard the survival of Westminster's democracy.
posted by ambrosen at 3:07 PM on September 9 [8 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Let's not run away into speculative doom/bleak comedy, etc -- especially if you're not yourself from the UK or living in the UK.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:31 PM on September 9 [4 favorites]


it's interesting, because "non-partisan" doesn't mean as much as it did six months ago, now that the divisions are no longer along partisan lines exactly. instead, on one side we have the government, with an ideological commitment to manufacturing a no-deal brexit, and on the other side we have the majority of parliament, with an ideological commitment to avoiding a no-deal brexit.

the speaker (bercow today, whoever it is tomorrow) is non-partisan and acts as an umpire in partisan disputes. but also, they're there to represent parliament, not the government, and so they are obligated to side with parliament in this matter. if the tables were turned and the government was trying to block no-deal brexit and a majority of parliament was trying to manufacture it, the speaker would nevertheless likewise be obligated to side with parliament. (though in that situation parliament would likely be able to just vonc the government out, run the withdrawal clock down, and thereby end the dispute without the speaker's involvement).

people actually from the u.k.: correct me if i'm wrong about this "the speaker is understood to represent parliament" thing — i'm an american and once again don't have a bones-deep feel for how the unwritten constitution works.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:51 PM on September 9 [4 favorites]


Then he announced the date of his departure, and the penny must have started to drop for them that they'd been outplayed.

You could hear it happen in real time - after he announced his departure there was a long silence from the audience as their brains start to whirr... then he announced the date and the silence continued, then there was a little squeak, then a chirp, then a shout - you could almost hear MPs working it out one by one. (And thanks to whoever commented way up thread just after it happened and explained to me what it was he was up to!)
posted by penguin pie at 4:00 PM on September 9 [11 favorites]


okay so isn't it like 1:00 am over there? are they just going to keep going indefinitely? will it be monday's session of parliament forever? is the u.k. going to be governed by a bunch of increasingly cranky, smelly people locked in a room for the foreseeable future?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:08 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


quick note that the drive to avoid a no-deal brexit is NOT ideological, it is deeply practical, rational and evidence-based, motivated by the concrete harm parties from all over the political spectrum (i.e. the CBI and the TUC on the SAME sheet of paper) are certain it will do. Similarly, asserting that the Earth is not flat is not ideological.
posted by runincircles at 4:11 PM on September 9 [27 favorites]


A quarter past midnight our time, RNTP. Things have overrun somewhat, not least because of Bercow's announcement, but the division should be called soon with the results around 15 minutes after that.
posted by deeker at 4:14 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


> quick note that the drive to avoid a no-deal brexit is NOT ideological, it is deeply practical, rational and evidence-based, motivated by the concrete harm parties from all over the political spectrum (i.e. the CBI and the TUC on the SAME sheet of paper) are certain it will do. Similarly, asserting that the Earth is not flat is not ideological.

i mean i'm ready for a throw-down on what is or is not ideology. as i see it, whether or not a no-deal brexit will wreck the u.k. is a factual question (it will), whether or not it's desirable to wreck the u.k. in order to add more zeroes to the bank accounts of a few rich conservatives is an ideological question.

but anyway while we wait to hear the inevitable result that no election will be held, did any of the business today stop parliament from being prorogued? i ended up having to do (ugh) work for most of today's session...
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:29 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


No. Stay tuned for the prorogation hoopla immediately after the vote is announced....
posted by deeker at 4:30 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


So I finally watched that Bercow bit mentioned earlier, and, well... here we are.
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 4:35 PM on September 9 [10 favorites]


"his main motive to make sure they don't have influence over who the Speaker is is simply to help safeguard the survival of Westminster's democracy."
"they're there to represent parliament, not the government, and so they are obligated to side with parliament in this matter. "

For he has "neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak" but as this House directs him, if you want the Speaker's antecedent in standing for Parliament against a corrupt government.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:57 PM on September 9 [9 favorites]


Bercow sees his role as faciliating Parliament to speak and express its will. Which is his job. He has bent several conventions, but only to do that job against a government trying to stifle debate. Specifically, it's convention that the Government controls the timetable of what's debated in the house, with only limited scope for backbench MPs to propose legislation. Bercow has allowed motions to be amended to become primary legislation that normally wouldn't be, and the house to use its standing orders (effectively the written conventions) in somewhat unusual ways to steal back time that normally the govt would control. But ultimately, it's been up to Parliament as a whole to use these methods to do what it wants to do, the procedures of the House are for the House to decide.

It's been inconvenient for the govt for Parliament to be able to question and hold the executive to account, and they blame Bercow for that - but ultimately it's because we have a hung Parliament where the govt does not have a majority of compliant MPs willing to do do their bidding and outvote any dissent. It's been our good fortune that we had the right man in the right time and place for that to happen, and I will be very sad to see him go.

It's also worth pointing out that Bercow went to some lengths to ensure the hard brexity ERG members also got to speak and bring amendments to motions, particularly when they were objecting to May's approach to getting a withdrawal agreement. So he helped the crash-out brexiteers to have their voice heard by the House, and voted on too. That they failed in their objectives at the time was due to Parliament not liking them, not Bercow for having some kind of Remain bias. Of course, half the ERG is now in Government...

He's only anti-government in the sense that his JOB is to allow Parliament to speak to their own executive, and has a low tolerance for procedural tricks (and stupid people) to try and block Parliament having a say. Given we're a Parliamentary democracy and the government is meant to serve them and act on their will, it's been a nice change of pace for that to actually be somewhat true for once, instead of a rubber-stamp for whatever wheezes the executive announced in the press the day before.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:51 PM on September 9 [29 favorites]


Nothing about the working of Parliament is set by divide writ. There were uncontroversial moves to give the House more say in the order of business during the Coalition, which came to nothing (I think) because of timetabling rather than opposition. Yet such an idea now is hideous and horrible and the result of a partisan Speaker...

There is nothing like a politician being fairly beaten to produce cant by the cubic metre.
posted by Devonian at 2:38 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Today is a terrible day. Can't even get any joy from PM BawJaws being defeated 6 times out of 6 (more times than Blair and Brown were defeated in their combined time as PM).

While all this seems unprecedented and worse than usual let us not forget the regular underlying state of affairs that remain terrible. Our "honours" system is (and always has been) a joke. Geoffrey Boycott is to be knighted - despite/because he is an atavistic arsehole who was convicted in France of domestic abuse, as well as previously claiming that he'd "have to black-up" to get an honour previously. (The man was apparently a handy cricket player half a century ago.)

Our "honours system" awards some people of merit, some people of popularity with sections of the public (Boycott and his little Englander fans), and a shed load of rewards for political work and political donations. It is a shambles and should we ever get to a place of relative normality we have to abolish the Lords and the "honour system" which gives the executive such plum bribes in its arsenal of political coercion and control. (For Americans looking in- imagine Trump could nominate Roy Moore, OJ Simpson et al to lifelong membership of the upper house/Congress.)

Another 5 weeks of nothing but drifting closer to the edge of no-deal. Eventually a harder-Brexit than ever proposed during the referendum, will be sold to us as a compromise. There is a very real danger that we'll get a terrible Brexit and the architects thereof will expect us to be grateful that they didn't drive us to a full on apocalypse. They'll bask in the glow of "delivering" Brexit by billionaire owned newspapers, get themselves a knighthood, and continue to complain that the country has gone to the dogs, while enjoying their well-furnished kennel.
posted by Gratishades at 3:07 AM on September 10 [9 favorites]


If you did stay up for the prorogation hoopla, you would have caught some remarkable scenes. (I'd have live posted them but my phone died and I couldn't tear myself away from the chaos to fire up my desktop. Sorry particularly to RNTP, I know you were also watching!) Black Rod was shouted down, MPs tried to physically prevent Bercow leaving and placards were waved. After government MPs left for the Lords, Labour, SNP and Green MPs remained seated singing songs (with harmonies!). Over in the Lords, Labour peers did not take their seats for the ceremony. When they returned to the Commons, Tory MPs walked out - especially after Bercow showed them his barren field of fucks and dressed down unruly Tories.

I mean, Parliament was prorogued but what a circus.

Photo of the moment shows the empty Speaker's chair with a sign reading, "silenced."

Guardian report.
posted by deeker at 3:22 AM on September 10 [10 favorites]


Absolute scenes!
(Jacob Rees-Mogg, the insufferable cock, even tried to trip Bercow as he walked past)
posted by fullerine at 3:29 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


"Bercow was not sat on, and was soon allowed to pass through the House of Commons to attend the House of Lords."
posted by stevis23 at 3:36 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


man these moments with Bercow are like great Brexit war poems
posted by angrycat at 3:51 AM on September 10 [9 favorites]


Fair Play is a huge part of the British stereotype about the British. Bercow's popularity stemmed from his personal embodiment of that archetype at a time when so much was going uglier and grabbier. But I think the rules have changed here on this side of the pond too. When Candidate Trump said "We'll see" about accepting the results of a democratic election, it elicited gasps; when PM BoJo declares his intention to ignore the law that he just took to the Queen, it merely provokes a frown. I think Bercow's noble stance, applying the rules fairly even as they're used to stifle democracy, is playing well with the wider world. But we're still looking at the UK crashing out of the EU and falling apart.

Fair Play has left the chamber, with Rees-Mogg attempting to trip it on the way out.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 5:42 AM on September 10 [13 favorites]


So where from here ?
Threadreader from March but very relevant.
"Remain" needs to get out of the bubbles into the Shires and wherever to engage and inform. Brutally so.
This was particularily telling for me:
This pattern also explains why you are more likely to get Remain voters who don’t know leave voters than the other way round – it’s not a personal failing, it’s a function of maths and geography.
posted by adamvasco at 7:22 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Someone on my FB feed found this from back before the referendum: UK is most corrupt country in the world, says mafia expert Roberto Saviano, which reminds me of the big question: Is this the real reason why Farage and Rees-Mogg want a speedy Brexit?, with "this" being the Anti Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD).
I am a strong believer in Hanlons Razor, specially when it comes to Brexit, but at the same time, I believe there is a reason beyond England-rah-rah for what is happening right now. We've discussed this before, but I don't remember seeing the Saviano comments here.
posted by mumimor at 8:02 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


Following the money, it’s interesting that one of the common elements that all of the previous (rejected) Brexit deals contained, was honoring the 5th EU anti-money laundering directive, which takes effect this January 10, 2020. This updated legislation was catalyzed by the publication of the Panama Papers a few years ago (recall that this made most money laundering/tax havens unviable, leaving London as the central hub of global money laundering), and is—to me—the most likely specific catalyst for Brexit: if the UK abides by the new EU laws on money laundering and financing of terrorism, etc., international criminal oligarchs will lose their (only?) remaining outlet to launder and stash their stolen billions. Since the Obama administration’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Magnitsky Act, specifically), there has been a clear scramble from Russian mob bosses because keeping stolen money within Russia is as hard as stealing it is easy, so they have to get their billions out of the country to keep it. So a No-Deal Brexit is the only option for whatever powers are ultimately behind Leave, because escape from EU financial & banking rules is the whole point.

I don’t think it’s wild to see real explanatory power for the current chaos in this idea, as a very consistent motive for those pushing a horrible reality despite the consequences. (Greed doesn’t require any kind of conspiracy, it inspires collective motivation quite easily.) Why could May not get a compromise? Because no compromise is possible: any version of a Brexit deal, from the EU’s perspective, must contain adherence to the revised laws that go into effect on 20 January, and those pushing Brexit know that’s the one thing they can’t accept, because it’s the reason for the whole thing in the first place. It’s always about the money.

(Just spitballing, here, but you know...this thing waddles and has an orange bill and quacks....so I’m pretty sure we have a name for it....)
posted by LooseFilter at 8:08 AM on September 10 [38 favorites]


There might be something beyond England rah-rah for a few members of the conservative party, but it's all England rah-rah for the people who voted Leave (or Britain rah-rah for the Leavers in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland - or maybe it's UK rah-rah for the latter). People affected by new anti-tax-dodging legislation make up so insignificant a portion of the electorate as to be essentially meaningless. It might explain the motivations of a few tory MPs, but it doesn't explain brexit.
posted by Dysk at 8:13 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]


(Just spitballing, here, but you know...this thing waddles and has an orange bill and quacks....so I’m pretty sure we have a name for it....)

Farage?
posted by dng at 8:13 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Dysk, that is the tragedy. It's a handful of greedy billionaires manipulating millions of ignorant middle-class people who will be immensely surprised when they discover their NHS is cut down to nothing and their pensions are worthless. Even my stupid stepdad, who now claims he was always a remainer, still believes that of course the government is in control and everything will be fine.
posted by mumimor at 8:22 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


That sounds like trying to absolve an awful lot of people of responsibility for how they voted, and the racism and xenophobia that is both the proximate cause, and background against which a Leave campaign was possible to begin with.
posted by Dysk at 8:26 AM on September 10 [8 favorites]


I see your point, but I think both things can be true.
posted by mumimor at 8:30 AM on September 10 [12 favorites]


And also: one thing is that there was a small majority of ignorant racists when the referendum was held, but what happened after that is all on the elites in Westminster, on both sides of the aisle, who should all have known better and gone straight for a Norway solution, however stupid that is.
posted by mumimor at 8:32 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


but what happened after that is all on the elites in Westminster, on both sides of the aisle, who should all have known better and gone straight for a Norway solution, however stupid that is.

They should have ignored the completely advisory referendum, not gone with the country shooting itself in the foot because a bunch of racists and a few accelerationists voted for it in a piece of political theatre fundamentally at odds with British parliamentary democracy.
posted by Dysk at 8:34 AM on September 10 [22 favorites]


Also, not comprehensively booting the Tories out - who were actively running on a platform of pursuing this insanity - when May called an election, that's on the electorate.
posted by Dysk at 8:36 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


The ‘beauty’ of the leave campaign is the same beauty as the Trump: there’s always been a big slice of racist and/or ignorant people in any community, if you can galvanize them, you have a ready block of votes to do with what you will. (Quebec of my youth was the same way, one group wanted to keep the money of HydroQuebec to themselves so they whipped up all the nascent animosity of the Francophone for the Anglophone, and voila! Political power.).
There kind of has to be a reason behind leave beyond the stated one because the stated one will (most likely) result in such hardships no one could actively hope to bring that on their neighbors unless there is an enormous payout on the other end. A pay out big enough to buy you insulation from all you’ve just done.
Hopefully, time will tell, the truth will out and etc. the alternative is just too too grim.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:37 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Ursula von der Leyen has unveiled her Commission line-up, and it is aggressive in its signaling: the headline is about Margrethe Vestager who is back on the competition job but with even more power, then scroll down and you will see Irish Phil Hogan in charge of future trade deal (including that with the UK) and Italian Paolo Gentiloni as the Economy Commissioner who has to deal with a disruptive Italian government. Of course the EU parliament has to approve of all the commissioners, and no one exactly knows what will happen. But basically von der Leyen is saying "bring 'em on" to all the big issues in front of her.
posted by mumimor at 8:48 AM on September 10 [7 favorites]


Well, having been out of the loop since about 11pm last night, I just saw the opposition MPs singing in their seats in the Commons on the news, and it unexpectedly brought me to tears.

The same kind of tears as inspired by CND marches in the 80s and the like, when you sit in the knowledge that there are good people in the world, and that they're mostly doomed to lose because they won't fight dirty like the other side.
posted by penguin pie at 10:22 AM on September 10 [13 favorites]


penguin pie, I had a little cry this morning too, listening to Plaid sing Calon Lan. (Not that the other opposition parties don't make me emotional! Just, that was the video I found. And Calon Lan has a special place in my heart.)

I have...realistic hopes, which means scant hopes. But I'm trying to keep a 'happy warrior' mindset. It's going. I have a lot of faith in the small communities, and in people coming together. They're angry because we love the world, and we're weird, and we care about other people. So we'll love the world twice as hard, be weirder than they can imagine, and care about others as best we can.
posted by kalimac at 10:30 AM on September 10 [13 favorites]


The headlines I've seen about von der Leyen have been much less positive (arguably OT for this thread, and I don't want to feel like I'm criticising the EU from the UK*, because the UK will inevitably be much worse).

There are two things I saw mentioned:

From Jon Stone's Twitter: Incoming Commission president Ursula von der Leyen clarifies that the Protecting Our European Way of Life job is about migration, which isn’t really obvious from the name, to be honest

And also from Twitter: Incoming EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says she'll adopt a 'one in one out principle' on making new European laws, including an 'instrument to measure' how this is delivered. She says: 'We want to cut red tape.'

Neither sound that great. These are "Executive Vice President" roles.

*although, on a personal note, I'm writing this on a beach in Tallinn in twilight, having made it all the way to my 28th EU country, and I feel extremely glad about having been to every EU country before the UK left, quixotic as that quest might be.
posted by ambrosen at 11:01 AM on September 10 [19 favorites]


The "one in, one out" thing is literally a Trump administration talking point, except theirs is "one in, two out" for regulations. Not great.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:18 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]


Well, she's a Conservative. I'm not personally expecting a magical communist paradise. Her appointments are telling us she won't stand tax-evasion, cartels, economic disruption or leaving Ireland behind. Also that appointing a strong person for climate commissioner, that she has heard what we all said. I wish the electorate had gone further left, but that wasn't the case. And the EU is a democracy.
posted by mumimor at 11:45 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Well, she's a Conservative. I'm not personally expecting a magical communist paradise.
There's being a conservative and then there's using literal racist dogwhistles in her cabinet job titles. "Protecting our European Way of Life" indeed.
posted by winterhill at 11:58 AM on September 10 [8 favorites]


In our day and age, conservatives are racist :-(
posted by mumimor at 12:08 PM on September 10


If you mentally substitute "white" for "European", the connection to migration makes perfect sense.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:11 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


That sounds like trying to absolve an awful lot of people of responsibility for how they voted

This sounds like a persistently willful false dilemma: yes, the behavior of voters en masse is the set of actions that directly allowed the current predicament; to examine and question how and why people were persuaded to think this way, how these options for their behavior were created and made available, the manipulations of public opinion (for example, as a start), etc., is not to say that people are not responsible for their own actions.

But the set of actions you keep trying to solely blame did not arise spontaneously, and human beings have collectively been developing expertise on how to create and manipulate “the behavior of crowds” for a full century now (also for example), and are pretty good at it—especially with the unprecedented new tools at our disposal. At this point, the only way I read any version of ‘it’s the voters’ fault, and everything else is bullshit’ about the UK or the US, is as willful disinformation or propagandizing. Our collective, peaceful society and free press are among the victims, and ‘it’s the voters’ fault’ really smacks of victim blaming.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:10 PM on September 10 [11 favorites]


The migration thing, interpreted in a European context, might stimulate discussion of identity, essence, communion and collectivity (yeah, I know, it won't, but the theme exists because someone has to face this).

The regulation addition thing is pure evil. It refuses to look through labels, words, to reality, to the things that matter.
posted by stonepharisee at 1:15 PM on September 10


This is perhaps becoming a bit of a derail, but: Europe really needs immigrants. The population is aging, and very soon we will get to populations where more than 40% are over 60. Theoretically, we could learn a lot from Japan, but there are cultural differences that won't align, and anyway is Japan a role model in terms of demographics?
I've noticed recently that everyone with an economics or sci-pol degree regardless of politics is trying to open a new conversation about immigration, but it is hard, because since the 90's, the whole of the center has tried to appease the far-right by being "tough on immigration". What I wrote above about Conservatives is a bit unfair, because I have a good friend who is a Conservative MEP, who was out saying this long before any Socialists, and got pounded for it. It is telling that she was elected in spite of all the tabloid noise. Maybe things are changing.
This is also a dilemma for the Brexiteers. Read closely, and you'll discover the wealthy manipulators actually want more immigration. It just needs to be poor people from poor countries who don't even have the very limited workers' protections the EU provides today, so they can better be exploited. But they need to keep that off of the radar of the racist middle class Brexiteers.
posted by mumimor at 1:39 PM on September 10 [11 favorites]


Twitter thread from Peston saying that the unions have agreed with Corbyn for a GE+referendum package with the referendum having a credible Leave vs Remain. This is, Peston says, a comprehensive defeat for the Remainers in Labour...

Very important breaking news. Which is that trade unions, in their TULO meeting with Jeremy Corbyn, have tonight endorsed the Labour leader's position that in a general election Labour should campaign for a referendum that would have a "credible leave option and remain" on the ballot paper. The reason this matters is that those senior members of the shadow cabinet, such as Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, John McDonnell and Tom Watson, who want Labour to adopt an unambiguous remain position have been defeated.

More at the link. Needless to say, this is pleasing nobody much, except probably Johnson.
posted by Devonian at 2:12 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


I heard the same at a recent local Labour Party meeting.

It splits the vote. Hardcore Remainers will go primarily for the Lib Dems and hardcore Leavers, especially in the North, will plump for the Brexit party.

This election is going to be chaos, with split votes on both sides.
posted by winterhill at 2:25 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


This is perhaps becoming a bit of a derail, but: Europe really needs immigrants.

I wouldn't call it a detail, it's quite key to Brexit and the populist forces behind it. There's simply too much denial about the jobs that need to be done in Europe, and who's going to do them.

There was an article (maybe paywalled) in the Dutch Groene Amsterdammer (a left/green magazine) a few months back, and it mentioned a Lithuanian who had a bachelor's degree, moved to England, and works in a food production factory. The work is physically demanding, and the employees are almost all immigrants. Occasionally an English person starts, but invariably they leave after a few weeks either claiming sick or they just stop coming back.

Another example was something I picked up today on twitter, just your basic elderly white racist in hospital moaning about immigrants and specifically the Indian in the next bed, while both were being cared for by hard-working immigrant healthcare workers.

Where I work (Amsterdam, multinational), the regular employees are your usual mix of Dutch and other Europeans, but the cleaning staff certainly aren't locals. Most of them are North African immigrants.

Who's going to do these jobs that the locals think they're above doing?
posted by daveje at 2:35 PM on September 10 [8 favorites]


Needless to say, this is pleasing nobody much, except probably Johnson.

Agent Corbyn doing his best to keep the Tories in power, as usual.
posted by daveje at 2:38 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


If you were an SNP grandee, you’d have to be tempted right now to stand candidates in parts of the rest of the UK, on a ragingly pro-EU platform, in the hope of stacking your cards in the event of a hung Parliament - to increase your leverage to push both the remain agenda, and the likelihood of being given a second independence referendum.
posted by penguin pie at 2:43 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


At this point, the only way I read any version of ‘it’s the voters’ fault, and everything else is bullshit’ about the UK or the US, is as willful disinformation or propagandizing.

For political campaigns to be able to capitalise on racism and xenophobia to push their agenda, the electorate have to be racist and xenophobic. Maybe you don't encounter this on the daily - here in the UK, I very much do.
posted by Dysk at 2:50 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Who's going to do these jobs that the locals think they're above doing?

To be fair, the employment rate in Northern Europe is so high, that the "jobless" are often people who struggle with existence in some way or an other, and wouldn't be in the job market in historical societies. One of our (Denmark's) former leaders put it this way (paraphrasing): before WW2, families were supporting weird aunts, drunk uncles, disabled kids. Now all of these people are part of the "job market" and forced to do full-time jobs where they before maybe did light housekeeping, or sheep-herding. We've happily moved the care of these vulnerable people away from the family and over to society, which was good, but also now we are counting them as fully able workers, which they never were and never will be.

posted by mumimor at 2:55 PM on September 10 [20 favorites]


Our collective, peaceful society and free press are among the victims...

Maybe you're not familiar with the media landscape of the UK, but the free press as victims rather than agents of the current mess is... certainly an interesting take...
posted by Dysk at 2:56 PM on September 10 [9 favorites]


Channel 4 is running a new poll tonight, which has the usual hung parliament on current figures, or a comfortable Tory majority if Johnson pulls off the squeeze on Brexit. But it also points out...

But if the pro-Remain parties got tactical and half the supporters of the Lib Dems in a Lab/Con marginal switched to Labour, say (likewise half the supporters of Labour switch to other pro-Remain parties where the other party is in first place, a process repeated for the SNP, Plaid and the Greens), the Labour Party could be looking at a very healthy majority.

Which, y'know, with anyone other than Corbyn would be a slam-dunk.
posted by Devonian at 3:22 PM on September 10 [6 favorites]


Theoretically, we could learn a lot from Japan

Mostly that there does not appear to be a good solution without immigration (which is why Japan is very very slowly trying to increase immigration, but it has even deeper cultural issues to overcome than Europe or America). Things that don't work: yelling at / shaming women into having more babies, robots.

[Besides, the world has plenty of people. Much like food, the problem is not quantity but the distribution.]
posted by thefoxgod at 3:26 PM on September 10 [7 favorites]


oh good I was waiting to hear how Corbyn would fuck it up this time, so glad to see I don’t have to stay up late
posted by schadenfrau at 3:44 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


oh good I was waiting to hear how Corbyn would fuck it up this time, so glad to see I don’t have to stay up late

I mean, sure, Corbyn is fun to shit on but we all know that circa 2001 Blair would win this election in his sleep.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:48 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


>Who's going to do these jobs that the locals think they're above doing?
>Mostly that there does not appear to be a good solution without immigration


This is some neo-liberal claptrap. If there is a shortage of workers, why aren't wages rising sharply? And at the very same time, people say we are all going to be out of work because robots are taking all the jobs. These can't both be true.

Mainly what people mean by a shortage of workers is that there aren't enough people to provide services for the rich at low wages - scrubbing their toilets and changing their children's nappies.

There are lots of good reasons to encourage immigration, but a shortage of low wage workers is not one of them.
posted by JackFlash at 4:01 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


If there is a shortage of workers, why aren't wages rising sharply?

If unemployment is already at a record low, why would higher wages bring in more employees? Where would they be coming from? At most it would reshuffle employees between firms (and here there's probably some degree of collusion to prevent an arms race in wages, agreed). While higher wages would be great for employees, it won't produce new workers.
posted by thefoxgod at 4:08 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


If unemployment is already at a record low, why would higher wages bring in more employees?

The fact that wages are not rising sharply is proof that there is no shortage of workers. If there were a shortage of workers, then employers would bid up wages to attract workers from other employers. The best employers would be taking their employees away from the poor employers. Employees would be moving from low productivity jobs to high productivity jobs. We don't see that happening. There is no shortage of workers.
posted by JackFlash at 4:17 PM on September 10 [7 favorites]


As slippery as "neoliberal" can be as a term, the one thing everyone agrees on is that neoliberalism involves blind faith in the idea that markets will always produce optimal outcomes.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:01 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


There is no shortage of workers.

Not yet. I suppose you won't see those effects post Brexit either, as jobs will be disappearing faster than labour.
posted by Dysk at 5:01 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


For political campaigns to be able to capitalise on racism and xenophobia to push their agenda, the electorate have to be racist and xenophobic.

Even taking this statement at face value, there clearly is blame for those who incite the electorate toward their worst impulses, so insisting that only the voters are responsible is a false dilemma, even by your own metric. I unfortunately have plenty of collective and personal experience with racism and xenophobia, and I think that people in the UK are human beings, and thus are always vulnerable to fear of the other--incitement of the worst aspects of human nature, intentionally and on a mass scale, is fundamental to authoritarian action in the age of mass media. How is there not obvious culpability for the powerful here? (People who panic and make bad decisions when someone loudly yells "FIRE!!" in a crowded theater are responsible for their own actions, but the person who incited the false panic is primarily responsible.)

Maybe you're not familiar with the media landscape of the UK

Also more familiar with it than I would prefer, but the corruption of news media in the UK and the US (as led by Mr. Murdoch) is part and parcel of what we are all victims of, and are currently suffering from. A broken, profit-motive corrupted news media cannot properly inform the public, it can only propagandize at them; in this we all suffer, and the morally bankrupt opportunists among us will act, on as large a scale as possible.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:13 PM on September 10 [11 favorites]


But if the pro-Remain parties got tactical and half the supporters of the Lib Dems in a Lab/Con marginal switched to Labour, say (likewise half the supporters of Labour switch to other pro-Remain parties where the other party is in first place, a process repeated for the SNP, Plaid and the Greens), the Labour Party could be looking at a very healthy majority.

...Agent Corbyn doing his best to keep the Tories in power, as usual.

...Which, y'know, with anyone other than Corbyn would be a slam-dunk
Every election Lib Dems proclaim that they'd be happy to work with Labour but just not with [CurrentLeader]. They said the same thing about Brown, Miliband and now Corbyn. For a party who was literally in coalition with Cameron's tories I am amazed that people still seem to think Labour are somehow throwing away votes by not courting the centrists. Both Lib Dem leadership candidates ruled out working with Corbyn during their campaigns. It's not going to happen.
posted by fullerine at 5:15 PM on September 10 [12 favorites]


That kind of tactical voting plan would hand Labour a majority, no cooperative Lib Dem leadership required, just a significant chunk of voters willing to vote tactically, which would be much easier to do if it could be sold as the best way to vote against brexit.
posted by Dysk at 5:53 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


insisting that only the voters are responsible is a false dilemma,

I'm not saying they are solely responsible, but they are ultimately responsible for how they vote. Maybe their culpability is irrelevant to you, because you only care about the powerful monied interests, but as someone who a lot of people voted to kick out, it's rather personal, and I don't think there is anything to be gained by portraying this as entirely the work of Murdoch, or the Russians, or whoever, when the sickness runs deep and wide in British society, at all levels. Fixing it requires holistic cultural and societal change, not merely fixing wealth distribution, electoral law, and the tabloids.
posted by Dysk at 5:58 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


the corruption of news media in the UK and the US (as led by Mr. Murdoch)

This is also ahistorical. Like, Murdoch is a problem, but he doesn't really represent a new phenomenon. Newspapers have been printing fascist shit at the behest of their rich owners in the UK since the 30s at least. The history of the UK newspaper industry is full of rich people founding papers to push a political or personal agenda. Murdoch is just the latest (well, probably not the latest any more!) in a long line.
posted by Dysk at 6:23 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I don't think there is anything to be gained by portraying this as entirely the work of Murdoch, or the Russians, or whoever

Neither do I, which is why I’ve not asserted that. I’m not sure why you’re putting words in my mouth—my comments are right up there in the thread—but to insist that this is entirely the work of, e.g., Murdoch, would be an extension of the same false dilemma I’ve been talking about.

Murdoch is just the latest (well, probably not the latest any more!) in a long line.

Truly, are you just not actually reading my comments? I’m very sorry that this has affected you personally, that’s terrible and undeserved and completely shitty. But conversation about what extraordinarily wealthy and powerful people are doing to continually manipulate our world so that they reap yet more wealth from it, is not implicitly conversation that denies how that influence manifests on the ground level, in individual behavior. To try to understand how, in the past century, mass media has been honed to influence and even create mass behavior, is to attempt to gain better contextual perspective about what’s happening to us and—more critically—how it is being made to happen so we can defeat and subdue it, for generations if possible.

Fixing it requires holistic cultural and societal change, not merely fixing wealth distribution, electoral law, and the tabloids.

I completely agree. As far as I can discern, though, holistic cultural and societal change is accomplished through specific, actual means; those ideals must be reified in material ways. So, e.g., wealth redistribution, electoral law, better media regulation are just possible means to the ends that you articulated so well. We can’t just wish that we live in a different culture, or dream about how it could be better; we must define, understand and map the territory between where we are and where we want to be, so that we can actually make it real, figure out how to get there, and get to it. If we have to move this mountain one damn spoonful at a time, let’s stop wasting time pointing fingers at each other down here on the ground, and start filling spoons and moving dirt.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:54 PM on September 10 [16 favorites]


I’m not sure why you’re putting words in my mouth

I mean, you constructed a strawman to represent me about how blame was only with the voters, when I said no such thing. So this sounds a bit rich. Probably best if we both chalk this up to a misunderstanding.

Truly, are you just not actually reading my comments

This is just insulting. Are you not reading mine? I was responding to the idea that the corruption of our news media in the UK has been led by Murdoch. No. Murdoch did not come along and lead the corruption something pure. Maybe this is not what you meant, but they were the words in your comment, and I was responding to them in good faith. Maybe you could consider not consistently going for the most uncharitable misreading of my words possible yourself.
posted by Dysk at 11:26 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


let’s stop wasting time pointing fingers at each other down here on the ground,

This I can agree with. Let's put a live under what I assume is a misunderstanding and carry on.
posted by Dysk at 11:27 PM on September 10


Probably best if we both chalk this up to a misunderstanding.

I agree that we're clearly talking past each other here.


you constructed a strawman to represent me about how blame was only with the voters

Did I, though?
Not everything bad that happens anywhere is the fault of Russia. This particular fuckup especially does not need any outside explanation at all - Britain brought brexit upon itself (and upon Northern Ireland)

This is getting ridiculous. Metafilter in general is starting to feel like it's full of McCarthyist Cold Warriors, the way everyone is obsessed with finding a Russian connection for everything

Nothing that is happening requires an external boogeyman. The level of desire to actively seek any angle to try and blame Putin for everything is fucking insane.

The bigger problem is that the referendum was held, that there was major pressure to hold it, and that there was a significant portion of both the electorate and political class supporting it. None of that is down to Russia, or any other outside interference.

No outside help was needed for any of this.

The money didn't make the problem, and it's not like there wasn't plenty of home-grown funding as well - the majority, in fact.

You get rid of all that money, you still have the problems. You still have the Tories, Farage, the tabloids, and the widespread xenophobic nationalism. All of which predate that money.

Yeah no. We've had all of those things since well before it was Russian money, or American money, or whatever foreign money.
I never disagreed with any of that--and have never claimed to be able to speak to life on the ground in the UK, at all--but have instead spoken to the strenuous and repeated ways that your comments, in this thread, appear to try to shut down conversation that looks past your own, narrow framing. That is what I described as a false dilemma, and what others have responded to, as well: you're making excellent, passionate points that I really appreciate reading, and your perspective can be true as well as those exploring the larger questions of international wealth and power and geo-political manipulation that the UK, the US, and unfortunately many others are suffering from, in what appears to be consistent patterns with some consistent actors. One does not have to be false or baseless for the other to be true or have merit.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:58 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


[Please drop this micro-argument now. It's okay to discuss the pressures being exerted by various powerful interests as well as the pre-existing biases of voters on the ground, with neither cancelling the significance of the other.]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:07 AM on September 11 [10 favorites]


This I can agree with. Let's put a live under what I assume is a misunderstanding and carry on.

FWIW, I think you're both mostly right, and both agreeing with each to an extent, but as you say, reading past each other somewhat thinking the other is denying that part of the problem exists.

There is a strong current of xenophobia at least in British society, and some outright racism. The brexit campaign (Farage's disgraceful poster etc) and the result emboldened the racists to go public, and saw a sharp uptick in cases of threats and violence against visible immigrants - even deaths. But that stirring up of tension couldn't have worked if they weren't racist in the first place.

There's also an extremely deep well of xenophobia in the leafy shires. There's the visible shouty middle aged man whinging about europe who's been with us for decades and seems to be popping up like mushrooms the last 2 years, but there's ample people in the wealthier classes who see immigration through a lens of 'them foreigners coming over here to take what's ours, we don't want 'em'. They also see working class people, and those that represent them through a similar lens. I know quite a few of them, and those beliefs run very deep that it's a zero-sum game and the only way to stay on top is to keep a boot on those below and keep out new 'scroungers' - not that they'd be so crass to put it in those words, of course. And those attitudes, that keeping foreigners out is needed to keep what's theirs are sharply held in the north of england too, though I only have less recent personal experience there.

It's also true that the media have been pumping out a diet validating that xenophobia for a long time, and facebook advertising from malign influences has been outright pushing that narrative very hard, that the press is outright owned by the super wealthy and pushes the messages that suit them best, and we have some of least free press in the world for a very long time. The BBC is also very guilty of both-sidesism, and being pro-corporate by default. The victim is not the press itself, but the concept of a press that informs and educates instead of propaganda and inflaming prejudice, which has been long gone from these shores. And the conservatives are outright owned by their super wealthy backers, all that's changed is which ones are pulling the strings.

'Taking back control' was a powerful message for an electorate that has been lied too, shat on, and suffered through a decade long period ideological slashing of the state and already blamed 'the other' for their woes, including the 'liberal elite' and people that don't look like or talk like them, which resonated across all sectors of english society - even in Scotland 38% of voters, a million people, backed leave. So this is not exclusively an english problem, though it's certain worse there.

The brexit campaign and the constant pushing of a more extreme position re europe wouldn't have worked if there wasn't an existing faultline to begin with. But those who took a crowbar and wedged it right open to split society also deserve a hefty dose of blame, and we'll have to tackle both sides of the problem to have any chance of fixing what has been broken.

The one bright side from my point of view is the young are, overall, far less xenophobic than their parents and grandparents, and much more pro-EU. And the schools are too, by and large. So there is hope for the future still. Well, assuming they can seize power early enough to make climate action a real priority, but that's a different thread.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:29 AM on September 11 [17 favorites]


The one bright side from my point of view is the young are, overall, far less xenophobic than their parents and grandparents, and much more pro-EU. And the schools are too, by and large. So there is hope for the future still. Well, assuming they can seize power early enough to make climate action a real priority, but that's a different thread.

Well, if you wanted a really good election theme for Labour, it would be to line up the challenges of the present and future, and then show how they can be best met by remaining. Climate change as the big one and lets include biodiversity and agricultural reform here, but also poverty, aging demographics, inequality, imbalance between the North and South, go on as you like. All of these issues are best handled through international cooperation. Go out in every shire and demonstrate that the woes of the population are the result of Tory governments' bad policies, not the EU.

For instance: If there is a shortage of workers, why aren't wages rising sharply?. Well, they are, other places in Europe. But several aspects of Tory policies keep wages down in the UK: a big percentage of the demand is for skilled workers, but the UK isn't educating enough, instead relying on immigration. Other countries have better protections for workers and stronger unions -- here in Denmark the unions crack down on companies who pay less than the agreed minimum to workers from other EU countries and government follows up. We also have fair unemployment payments and pensions so we can say no to unfair wages. The unions and the Social Democrats here know that the best way to ensure workers rights and better pays are through international cooperation, not isolation. (The xenophobia is alive and kicking hard on the Continent, regardless. Racists are racists, no excuses).
It isn't the EU, it's the Tories.
posted by mumimor at 1:16 AM on September 11 [17 favorites]


As slippery as "neoliberal" can be as a term, the one thing everyone agrees on is that neoliberalism involves blind faith in the idea that markets will always produce optimal outcomes.


And optimal outcomes for those at the top will, in their own way, trickle down. This is a law of nature, and works magically regardless of whether they pay tax, pay their servants a living wage or buy locally.

At its most basic, “you get to live on the bottom slope of this pyramid, serving your lord for a bowl of gruel a day, rather than at risk of being murdered at any time by marauding bands” is a form of trickle-down. Stationary bandits look like utopia compared to roving bandits.
posted by acb at 1:30 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


It isn't the EU, it's the Tories.

If only we had a Labour leadership willing to say that...
posted by Dysk at 1:41 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


All 3 judges in Scotland’s Highest court of appeal rule #Prorogation #unlawful! #Cherrycase succeeds

Needs to head to the Supreme Court I believe along with the Miller case - which was lost.
posted by vacapinta at 2:16 AM on September 11 [15 favorites]




The unlawful prorogation decision is an interesting one. My guess is that the Supreme Court will rule that the prorogation was lawful / constitutional. To rule it illegal would put a bomb under the constitutional monarchy and our unwritten (i.e. nonexistent) constitution.

If the request was unconstitutional clearly the Queen should have refused it. Her failure to do so would be a clear demonstration that constitutional monarch is a courtesy title, not a job description. That would be far too "Wizard of Oz behind the curtain" for the establishment—which is why I don't expect it to happen. On the other hand there is no judgement which does not cause problems. If the SC says "nothing to see here" they give the impression that the constitution is whatever the PM says it is, and that the establishment is willing to defer to English interests ahead of UK, Scottish and other interests. Which is not a good look either.
posted by dudleian at 2:53 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


@davidallengreen
The Scottish court has found unanimously that the Prime Minister misled the Queen
In effect, the court has held that Boris Johnson lied to the Queen so as to obtain prorogation
Wow
Just, wow
Not seen a court decision like this in thirty years of constitutional geekery
posted by Grangousier at 3:12 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


It's quite a strong statement, and it's going to be interesting to see whether the SC decides to overrule it. If they do, they're basically saying that the executive has the right to avoid scrutiny by Parliament, and can use misleading arguments with the Queen to do so.

The SC could try to completely dodge the issue by declaring that the issue simply isn't reviewable, but that's also tricky, since it implies the executive can make decisions that simply can't be reviewed.

Fun times.
posted by daveje at 3:21 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


David Allen Green has tweets explaining why this action succeeded when the English action failed. Quite how the Supreme Court will square the circle presented will be... fascinating.
posted by deeker at 3:24 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


One of the outcomes of this will probably be that, shortly after gaining independence, Scotland will have a formal constitutional convention and make sure to nail all that shit down.
posted by acb at 4:28 AM on September 11 [10 favorites]


Surely the UK government has to act in a way that's legal in English law, Scots law and Northern Ireland law, and acting unlawfully in any of the jurisdictions is unlawful.

So no need to square that circle.
posted by ambrosen at 4:28 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


David Allen Green has tweets explaining why this action succeeded when the English action failed.
I would commend this thread to those trying to understand the implications. One of the fun parts of having no written constitution is not only that that something can be unconstitutional and legal (or constitutional and illegal) - but evidently also that the UK's different legal systems can rule differently for a given scenario. The missing witness statements from the government officials - probably did nothing to boost the UK government's case. Good luck to the Supreme Court in dealing with that one.
posted by rongorongo at 4:44 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Even if the SC says that the proroguing can't be undone, it still leaves Johnson open to misconduct in public office offences. The facts stand, even if the constitutional consequences are debatable.

As primary advisor to the Queen, you do not lie. Or if you do, you make damned sure you aren't caught at it by a senior court.
posted by Devonian at 4:52 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


Reading that David Allen Green thread, I can't see an actual explanation. He says he doesn't think it would've succeeded in London, and blames the pernicious influence of Dicey, but what's the actual explanation?

The decision (to be published on Friday, but the official summary is here) * states that the Court found the proroguing to have been "null and of no effect" and will make an order to that effect. Once the order is made, what's to stop MPs from turning up for work?

*The server is getting hammered. You might have to try the link a few times. I found that it redirected me to a different page which had a link (to the same url) on the top right of the page, that worked.
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:02 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


The tone of some people when they refer to ‘lying to the Queen’, as though it was worse than, say, lying to the public or lying to Parliament, is making my latent republicanism flare up… but I guess we’ve got the constitution we’ve got.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 5:04 AM on September 11 [22 favorites]


Quite how the Supreme Court will square the circle presented will be... fascinating.

I presume they'll find that the prorogration was lawful in England but not in Scotland snd consequently only those MPs representing Scottish constituencies may continue to sit. The next few weeks will probably be whirlwinds of legislative activity as every perfidious Sasenach deed since Culloden is dissected and reversed, but Johnson only has himself to blame. After all, Leave means Leave; he Left; he ought to have made sure he was the one to lock up.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:06 AM on September 11 [15 favorites]


I would like to make the possibly pedantic, but still important point that what we have is an uncodified constitution and not an unwritten one. Plenty, arguably most, of the rules setting out how the country is run are written down; some of them are in less enforceable collections of convention, like Erskine May and the Cabinet Manual, but the majority are in Acts of Parliament and therefore with real legal weight behind them. What we don't have is a single document with "The UK Constitution" at the top.

The distinction does matter, imho, because "unwritten constitution" implies we're all just guessing and the Courts can only say "who knows, your guess is as good as mine on this fuzzy stuff!", and someone like Dominic Cummings can do as he likes. Nope. As he may soon be about to learn.
posted by Catseye at 5:11 AM on September 11 [34 favorites]


Reading that David Allen Green thread, I can't see an actual explanation. He says he doesn't think it would've succeeded in London, and blames the pernicious influence of Dicey, but what's the actual explanation?

If I've got it right, Green feels that it comes down to the government choosing to not provide any evidence that prorogation was done for a reason. Thus the Scottish court relied on the evidence put forward by the petitioners which "…inferred that the principal reasons for the prorogation were to prevent or impede Parliament…"

That said, every lawyer, QC and law student that I'm checking in on is reacting to questions of "what does this mean? What now?" with "Nobody knows, because this is unprecedented."
posted by frimble at 5:14 AM on September 11 [6 favorites]


Thanks, frimble. So the explanation is that the two courts made different findings of fact rather than law? That could get complicated, especially with a third (Northern Irish) court about to make a ruling too. The convention is for appeal courts not to second guess findings of fact made by courts in the first instance, so Tuesday is really going to be interesting.
posted by GeckoDundee at 5:22 AM on September 11


The tone of some people when they refer to ‘lying to the Queen’, as though it was worse than, say, lying to the public or lying to Parliament, is making my latent republicanism flare up…

The irony of brexiteers calling remainers traitors for the last couple of years, and then Johnson being found by a court to have intentionally misled the Queen in an official capacity is delicious, though.
posted by Dysk at 5:32 AM on September 11 [20 favorites]


Note that the order to prorogue parliament was signed by the queen while she was at Balmoral. I am not sure how that affects the case vis-vis English and Scottish law -but something else to be aware of.
posted by rongorongo at 5:33 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


There's plenty of evidence that Johnson prorogued Parliament to escape scrutiny, and he refusal to file official statements just underlines it. As someone said, the dogs in the street know this.

So this proroguing was under false pretenses. That's not being argued. That this can be found unlawful is where the differences lie. I quite understand that political decisions by the Government should not be something that a court can overturn, but breaking the law is breaking the law.

For me, the deciding argument is that if prorogation is ipso facto untestable in court, then there's nothing to stop a PM from proroguing Parliament the day after an election and not calling it again. If Johnson's decision to prorogue stands, then he or anyone else can just turn off Parliament at will, and that's simply unacceptable.
posted by Devonian at 5:35 AM on September 11 [19 favorites]


The fundamental difference is that English constitutional law recognises the unlimited sovereignty of parliament (which, I know, might itself need to be unpacked to explain the apparent irony> but, at core, means that the PM can prorogue for any old reason) while that supremacy is absent from Scots law (such that motive matters).
posted by deeker at 5:44 AM on September 11 [1 favorite]


This will only matter if the rules matter. Conventions have been thrown out the window, to the point where the Brexiters don't care if everybody knows they're playing dirty, as long as they get the flaming wreckage over the line before anyone physically stops them. The courts and various esteemed recently-ex-Tory eminences are playing by the Queensberry Rules, but Cummings, Bannon & co. are doing Sistema.
posted by acb at 5:55 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


I'll second Dysk and Absolutely No You-Know-What, the root causes of Brexit really are bone-deep in English culture, particularly that of the ruling class. Even in Remainers you see a lot of the same casually chauvinistic attitudes coming out. That's not to wipe away the influence of recent geopolitics or the media but even if we get a second referendum, I don't know how you'd get the "holistic cultural and societal change" needed to change this significant and probably dominant strand of English culture but the scale of it boggles the mind.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 6:12 AM on September 11 [10 favorites]


Today's winning tweet: "Be careful, a lot of London taxi drivers won't accept Scottish court rulings."
posted by daveje at 6:52 AM on September 11 [20 favorites]


I'll second Dysk and Absolutely No You-Know-What, the root causes of Brexit really are bone-deep in English culture, particularly that of the ruling class. Even in Remainers you see a lot of the same casually chauvinistic attitudes coming out.

Just popping in to say, absolutely. It has been an education, being a Muslim and a foreigner who has been immersed in cosmopolitan, Europhile, left leaning, upper middle class London for a decade now.
posted by tavegyl at 8:15 AM on September 11 [9 favorites]


Let me get this straight. Boris Johnson, having suspended Parliament (and therefore Prime Minister's Questions) is now on Facebook(!) doing some sham called The People's PMQs in which he gets to take hand-picked softball questions, ostensibly from "the public".

It's the job of our MPs to ask questions of the Prime Minister, in Parliament. This is just taking the piss - trolling, if you will.
posted by winterhill at 9:26 AM on September 11 [9 favorites]


My computer is starting to struggle a little with this thread, which is now almost as long as Boris Johnson's list of Parliamentary defeats. Perhaps it's time to prorogue the thread and have a Queen's Speech to start a new one.
posted by winterhill at 9:29 AM on September 11 [15 favorites]


An anecdote: I don't talk with my step-dad often, but he called today. He's getting old, and the conversation was not totally clear, but what was clear is that now he is angry. He's in the middle of leave-land, and though he claims he's a remainer when we talk, I didn't ever believe him, I know for certain that all of his friends are aggressive leavers, and he's been trusting the Government till now. But today there was a change of tone. He is really really angry about everything Johnson and his gang are doing. Incoherently angry. It's just one person, but till now he has been talking like every brexiteer on the telly.
posted by mumimor at 9:42 AM on September 11 [18 favorites]


some sham called The People's PMQs

Is there a Union Jack on a stand behind him? Last time he did one of those he pulled the flag bullshit. You always know the right about to really fuck you over when they start wrapping themselves in the flag.
posted by Grangousier at 10:04 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


so. the scottish ruling is that parliament never closed, right? like, it was not prorogued, it's still able to sit, move along here nothing to see?

this leads me toward a question and i am completely not sure whether this question is serious or silly:

where is the mace kept when it's not in the commons?

also who guards it?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:38 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


He is really really angry about everything Johnson and his gang are doing. Incoherently angry. It's just one person, but till now he has been talking like every brexiteer on the telly.

So the possible, large-scale irony here is that the version of nationalism used to excite latent racism and xenophobia to fuel Brexit, is the thing that might finally defeat it? Like, it was cool when they wanted to run off the undesirables, but now that they’re mucking about with our country or something, that’s too much? Human beings, never change; if we were an alien race in someone else’s science fiction novel, no reader there would believe we could actually be real.

Side note: from across the pond, continual thanks from this American for the ongoing conversations on this site about what’s happening in your local world. I’m glad I have a kind of virtual pub to eavesdrop on, to know some of what it’s like on the ground there.

where is the mace kept when it's not in the commons?

also who guards it?


RNTP: incisive focus, as always : ) One hopes we will all still manage to find mostly peaceful ways out of this mess.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:53 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


Grangousier: Is there a Union Jack on a stand behind him? Last time he did one of those he pulled the flag bullshit. You always know the right about to really fuck you over when they start wrapping themselves in the flag.
"All programmes have now been suspended on all channels to allow the broadcast of this film, held in reserve for times of crisis."

"Britain is a nation built on the very scowling face of adversity. Its dauntless spirit unbowed by any crisis. This is Britain, at its best."

"This is Britain, and in this glittering sea, this perfect fusion of man and mineral, we know that conflict will always perish, in the brotherhood of flags. This is Britain, and everything's all right. Everything's all right. It's okay. It's fine."
That was satire from 25 years ago. Satire was this thing where we exaggerated things for comic effect. Ah, never mind.
posted by Acey at 10:55 AM on September 11 [5 favorites]


well but i mean that if all they need to hold parliament is n members and the mace, and if parliament never closed, the disposition of the mace becomes quite important indeed.

(i know in this case the important thing is not the actual mace and instead the royal authority/authorization that the mace represents... but also the question of whether labor and the libdems and the snp etc can just show up and keep on being parliament depends on whether or not they are authorized by the crown, right? and if parliament never closed then, well, they are in fact authorized, and well if you follow that particular line of reasoning too far questions like “okay, where’s the mace? who do they have to get past to retrieve it?” start seeming weirdly pertinent rather than just bonkers)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:01 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]


well but i mean that if all they need to hold parliament is 40 members and the mace, and if parliament never closed, the disposition of the mace becomes quite important indeed.

Scotland has a stone of destiny that it might be willing to lend. But no funny business this time huh?
posted by rongorongo at 11:05 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Nuh-huh, rongorongo, we didn't hand it over first time and we sure as hell ain't handing it over to these fucking vandals now ... 😉
posted by deeker at 11:43 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Operation Yellowhammer doc.

Only seems to be 6 pages, with one point redacted. Presumably that's something like 'all roads catch fire' or something....
posted by Buntix at 11:52 AM on September 11 [14 favorites]


BREXIT DISASTER CAPITALISM
£8 Billion Bet on No Deal Crash-Out by Boris Johnson's Leave Backers
From the financial data publicly available, Byline Times can reveal that currently £4,563,350,000 (£4.6 billion) of aggregate short positions on a ‘no deal’ Brexit have been taken out by hedge funds that directly or indirectly bankrolled Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign...

Another £3,711,000,000 (£3.7 billion) of these short positions have been taken out by firms that donated to the Vote Leave campaign, but did not donate directly to the Johnson leadership campaign.

Currently, £8,274,350,000 (£8.3 billion) of aggregate short positions has been taken out by hedge funds connected to the Prime Minister and his Vote Leave campaign, run by his advisor Dominic Cummings, on a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
posted by Grangousier at 12:07 PM on September 11 [31 favorites]


The Yellowhammer doc reveals that Gove was economical with the truth about it being a “worst case scenario”. They're “Reasonable Worst Case Planning Assumptions”, in other words, what every HMG plan should include as having the potential to happen. Worst Case is usually far outside anyone's plan.
posted by scruss at 12:07 PM on September 11 [7 favorites]


When they redact something but leave "Law enforcement information sharing between UK and EU will be distrupted," that blank bit must have had something pretty damn good on it.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:11 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


It looks pretty dire. Be sure to read Gove’s supercilious response to Grieve’s humble address, too, if you’ve been suffering from low blood pressure and want to crank it up a bit.
posted by rory at 12:13 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Gove's letter to Benn says paragraph 15 was redacted due to "commercial sensitivity", so if we can take that at face value (which I know is a big ask) I expect it'll be to do with the value of the pound (down) and business failures.
posted by winterhill at 12:14 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


They’re predicting that on day one the traffic flows across the Channel could be 40%-60% of current levels, but that could improve after three months to... 50%-70%.
posted by rory at 12:17 PM on September 11 [6 favorites]


Don’t miss section 20, either. I hadn’t given much thought to the specific impact on adult social care, but of course it’s going to be significant.
posted by rory at 12:18 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Don’t miss section 20, either. I hadn’t given much thought to the specific impact on adult social care, but of course it’s going to be significant...
I had, because my grandad's in an old folk's home which is staffed largely by immigrants from, yes, the EU.
posted by winterhill at 12:19 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


Also, the acronym "D1ND" for "Day One [after] No-Deal" was a little shocking in its....clinical coldness, I guess?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:28 PM on September 11


From @RosamundUrwin on Twitter, the redacted Section 15 is below:

15. Facing EU tariffs makes petrol exports to the EU uncompetitive. Industry had plans to mitigate the impact on refinery margins and profitability but UK Government policy to set petrol import tariffs at 0% inadvertently undermines these plans. This leads to significant financial losses and announcement of two refinery closures (and transition to import terminals) and direct job losses (about 2000). Resulting strike action at refineries would lead to disruptions to fuel availability for 1-2 weeks in the regions directly supplied by the refineries.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:56 PM on September 11 [12 favorites]


From the same source, the only change between this version and the leaked one from a couple of weeks ago is that they've changed the title "Base Scenario" to the aforementioned "Reasonable Worst Case Planning Assumptions".

The question now is, what about the no-shit worst case scenario, Black Swan?
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:58 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


> where is the mace kept when it's not in the commons?

I couldn't track down a definitive answer to this, although neither could the DUP.

> also who guards it?

I believe it is the responsibility of the Serjeant-at-Arms.
posted by doop at 1:07 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Something I forgot about my stepfather above, that I feel might be important when it comes to Labour and LibDem campaigning: he has a serious health issue, as is normal his age, but for the first time in my whole life, he connected the dots between low taxes and less than perfect healthcare. He has always been a thatcherist, minimum state Conservative. Now he is really angry, but he is also open for new ways of thinking.
posted by mumimor at 1:17 PM on September 11 [7 favorites]


I was imagining that this would be a good time for more ministers to start resigning, until I remember that the government is filled with no-deal nutters, rather than responsible adults with honour and decency.
posted by daveje at 1:19 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


It may seem longer but its only 4 days since a Cabinet minister resigned, and 6 since the Prime Minster's brother stepped down as a minister.
posted by biffa at 1:52 PM on September 11 [9 favorites]


The government refused to comply with the second part of MPs’ request, which demanded the release of messages relating to the suspension of parliament sent by Johnson’s senior adviser, Dominic Cummings and various other aides on WhatsApp, Facebook, other social media and both their personal and professional phones.

In a letter to Grieve, Michael Gove, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said the request was “inappropriate in principle and in practice, would on its own terms purport to require the government to contravene the law, and is singularly unfair to the named individuals”.


Dare I ask - are there any consequences for refusing this request? As I read it, incidentally, it was the bulk of the humble address and it came before the request for the Yellowhammer doc. Not the "second part".

(Sorry, edit: that quote from the Guardian)
posted by Quagkapi at 3:16 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


 This leads to significant financial losses and announcement of two refinery closures …

Oh feck: in short, para 15 says you'll likely run out of fuel. Grangemouth (Ineos) is already on a very shaky standing, and is likely one of the ones expected to close. That could mean fuel rationing in Scotland and the north of England: I wouldn't want to be a Tory MP there when this happens. Dunno what the other one that could close might be, but all the UK refineries are foreign-owned and may not stick around. I'm guessing the UK hasn't gone and filled its strategic reserve bunkers (some from WW2, perhaps still usable).

As for the elder care workers situation, it reminds me of nothing less than this Toothpaste for Dinner: 01/13/05: remember who will choose your nursing home. Yes, elderly leave voters, you voted to be stuck in your own shit.

The GBP/EUR opening tomorrow will be interesting. Literally nobody voted for Yellowhammer.
posted by scruss at 3:33 PM on September 11 [10 favorites]


It is interesting to consider the 2000 fuel protests - and the fact that it was especially chosen for redaction - in the context of the section on oil refineries. The blockade of the oil refineries started on Friday September 8th 2000. By the following Tuesday, 3,000 fuel stations had had to close for lack of fuel and all remaining supplies were predicted to be entirely exhausted by Friday 14th. One week's disruption was estimated to have been sufficient to bring everything to a halt. In a post Brexit context we would have to envisage that on top of the numerous other parallel crisis involving supply routes. The problem would be that lack of fuel would make all the other logistical problems a lot worse, very quickly.
posted by rongorongo at 10:51 PM on September 11 [9 favorites]


Oh feck: in short, para 15 says you'll likely run out of fuel. Grangemouth (Ineos) is already on a very shaky standing, and is likely one of the ones expected to close. That could mean fuel rationing in Scotland and the north of England: I wouldn't want to be a Tory MP there when this happens. Dunno what the other one that could close might be, but all the UK refineries are foreign-owned and may not stick around. I'm guessing the UK hasn't gone and filled its strategic reserve bunkers (some from WW2, perhaps still usable).

In the 533 English constituencies, the median share of people who drive to work (as opposed to public transport, active modes, etc). is 62.5%. In the 2017 election, the Conservatives won 197 of the 270 seats (and 52.2% of all votes) where more than 62.5% of workers drive to work; they won only 99 of the 263 constituencies (and 38.8% of all votes) where less than 62.5% of the people drive.

This trend is consistent:
% driving     % vote Cons     Cons seats
  <30%            24.8%        6/36 (17%)
 30-50%           33.6%       13/31 (21%)
 50-60%           41.1%      50/119 (42%)
 60-65%           50.1%      80/114 (70%)
 65-70%           51.1%      92/135 (68%)
  70% +           55.5%       55/68 (81%)
It's also consistent on a region to region basis; here's the Conservative share of seats and votes in each region, looking at the seats that are below the regional median driving share versus above (in London, the split between below and above is 30% driving, in the Midlands it's 66.5% and so on in between)
  Region           Below avg     Above avg
East Midlands      11/23 (45%)   20/23 (56%)
East of England    22/29 (50%)   28/29 (59%)
London              6/36 (25%)   15/37 (42%)
North East          1/14 (31%)    2/15 (37%)
North West          6/38 (29%)   14/37 (43%)
South East         31/42 (50%)   41/42 (57%)
South West         20/27 (47%)   27/28 (55%)
West Midlands       9/30 (40%)   26/29 (58%)
Yorksh.&Humber      6/27 (36%)   11/27 (45%)
Basically, the more a fuel shortage would cause an area problems, the more likely they are to be a Conservative stronghold. How many dimensions of chess are we up to again?
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:53 PM on September 11 [21 favorites]


That's an interesting correlation that I wasn't aware of! Do you mind if I ask where your data is from?
posted by Dysk at 11:38 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


The fuel situation is actually one of the first potential Tory traps I thought of, because I remember the fuel protests so vividly. I think the most immediate blowback from their own supporters is likeliest to come from that. It's going to hit hard, and it's going to be painful. My own day-to-day life became much easier, when we moved up here, once I got a driving license, because our public transport is so relatively crap compared to London. That's without even considering the whole supply network for other things.
posted by skybluepink at 12:38 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


It does make sense. The conservative base is the lower populated rural areas and small towns, where driving is often the only feasible method to relibably get to work, compared to the denser urban areas with much better public transport access. The exception being commuter rail, but that still tends to be larger towns feeding cities.

I couldn't quickly find a rural/urban breakdown by party, but well, you only have to look at a map of the 2017 election to see it.

And for reference, a hex map with each constituency at equal size.

I've been thinking about the 2000 fuel protests quite a bit with regards no-deal. Arguably the biggest accelerator of the crisis was panic buying, with people rushing to fill their tanks as prices rose and shortages started being reported, leading to tensions as some stations tried to ration fuel per customer. I recall a statistic of a week's worth of fuel supplies being bought in one day. A sharp example of just-in-time deliveries being vulnerable to a small disruption, then massively exacerbated by public reaction wiping out limited stocks much faster than normal.

The protests by and large weren't actually stopping trucks leaving refineries, but some drivers were reluctant to cross picket lines, and management didn't want to force the issue so trucks mostly stayed in the depot. Once reports of supermarket deliveries being affected hit (due to fuel availability for delivery trucks) that then triggered panic buying in the supermarkets too, then rationing there, and fuel availability hit NHS and other emergency staff being able to go to work, which then triggered stockpiles being made available for them, and then further government action, public transport cutting services to conserve supplies - the knock on effects were extensive.

What was memorable was how quickly the crisis developed. By two days after the start of the protests, there were widespread shortages and knock on effects, then the military and police stepping in to ensure deliveries resumed and things started to return to normal about 10 days later. A few months later, Gordon Brown froze fuel duty, and that's been pretty much in place ever since. The crisis also badly hit Labour poll ratings.

In short I think even small disruptions to fuel and/or food supplies due to queues in Calais/Dover and impact on the refinieries which will then be massively made worse by public reaction. A sustained impact on either will have substantial knock on effects across the country, including emergency service provision, with shortages leading to panic buying leading to rationing leading to tensions leading to potentially riots and civil disorder - on top of that caused by the political protests which yellowhammer indicates.

TL;DR - get your stockpile of essential food, medicine (if you can) and some fuel in early. Things could escalate very quickly even if individual initial disruptions to JIT deliveries aren't catastrophic.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:10 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


TL;DR - get your stockpile of essential food, medicine (if you can) and some fuel in early. Things could escalate very quickly even if individual initial disruptions to JIT deliveries aren't catastrophic.


This would be a good advertisement to disseminate through areas that voted heavily for ‘Leave’. Keep them dry, simple and unvarnished. Give them a concrete sense of what’s coming. That above all else (was talking with acquaintances and this came up) seems to be missing - plain, boring, substantiated facts (the opposite of the Boris bus, in effect).
posted by From Bklyn at 1:26 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Just a heads-up that I'm putting together a new thread so that we can ease the burden on the server - should be up in half an hour or so.
posted by rory at 1:31 AM on September 12 [19 favorites]


Shortly before the previous deadline on 29 March, I saw multiple people at petrol stations filling up jerry cans and loading them into the back of cars and vans. The other thing to remember if you're thinking of doing this is that storage of medium-large quantities of petrol in your garage or shed is incredibly dangerous, and if there's a fire then you're putting the fire crews (and your neighbours, and everyone else) at huge risk. A little 5-litre jerry can to fill a generator or lawnmower is fine. Enough to fill up a car - not fine.

I've said this before - if you want to shock middle England into doing something, go for the petrol. Just saying "No Deal will lead to shortages, the fall in the pound will lead to £2-a-litre unleaded" will have more effect than all the court cases in the world.
posted by winterhill at 1:32 AM on September 12 [12 favorites]


Now, in the emergent state of lawlessness we should expect to see after No Deal, this may be small beer indeed, but there are strict limits (30 litres over 4 separate containers) as to how much petrol can be stored at one's home.

It's also well worth remembering that the last fuel crisis was one of the three events which led to the updating of State of Emergency legislation in 2004.

If any piece of legislation is worth getting rapidly acquainted with, it's that one.
posted by deeker at 1:58 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


New thread.
posted by rory at 2:04 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


Spectator: The rebel alliance has taken control of parliament – and Brexit. What happens next?:
Every Monday, a group of unlikely bedfellows meet in Jeremy Corbyn’s parliamentary office. Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat leader; Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader; Caroline Lucas, the Green party’s sole MP; and Liz Saville Roberts from Plaid Cymru all gather to discuss their common aim — preventing a no-deal Brexit. This rebel alliance is more than just a group therapy session: last week, they succeeded in taking control of parliament and immediately started to give instructions to the Prime Minister...

As the conversation goes on, talk may turn to the election they all know is coming. But it’s an uneasy conversation. Their party allegiances mean that in a snap poll they will be competing against one another. They share a common enemy. But beyond that: not so much....

Now the alliance have their sights on an early election, but on their terms...

Labour is, in theory, committed to fielding a candidate in every seat but, in some places, it might not try too hard. In the 2017 election, it ran a low-energy and low-finance campaign in Brighton Pavilion, which ended up returning Ms Lucas. This tactic might be repeated more widely and with more parties. So if Labour neglects a Tory/Lib Dem seat such as St Albans, then Swinson would promise not to worry too much about fighting a Tory/Labour marginal such as Bolton West. Both Labour and the Lib Dems think they can hurt the Tories more than each other. ‘I struggle to name you many Labour seats we think we could easily win,’ says a Lib Dem insider: Labour holds only seven of its top 50 targets.

The SNP is unlikely to be part of any pact: Nicola Sturgeon is hoping to win every seat in Scotland...

The Conservative path to a majority rests on the public now voting on a Leave/Remain axis rather than a left/right axis. Corbyn allies hope this calculation is wrong. Internal Labour party polling carried out in the Midlands and north of England into whether Brexit moves traditional voters to another party has been encouraging. They found that Labour-leaning Leave voters — nicknamed ‘Dennis Skinner voters’ — struggle with the idea of the Tories and see Johnson as no different to other Tory leaders.

But there is one group more easily turned by Brexit that could be decisive: non-voters, the ones credited for the shock Leave result... Current polling and prediction systems struggle to take this group in. There is a fear among the rebel alliance that Boris Johnson’s senior aide Dominic Cummings — the campaign director from Vote Leave — has managed to find a way to factor these voters in and is looking at very different electoral modelling to everyone else. That would explain why No. 10 is so bullish. The rebel alliance might be for nothing if it turns out it is fighting the wrong battle.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:35 AM on September 12 [8 favorites]


It is interesting to consider the 2000 fuel protests

This must have been a very regional thing, because I was living and working in Scotland at the time and I can't recall it having any impact on us whatsoever. Mind you, we were car-free at the time and I was a bit of a vehicular cyclist (= arsehole, mostly) at the time, so I was possibly all “Yeah, fucken bring it!” about a forced de-carbonized future. Also, being in Scotland, Tory-lead protests weren't really a thing.

GBP/EUR disappointed this morning: just a little blip.
posted by scruss at 4:21 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


That's an interesting correlation that I wasn't aware of! Do you mind if I ask where your data is from?

I just linked together the 2017 election results with this constituency level travel to work mode dataset. I suspected the correlation, based on what I know of politics here in Canada and also in other places.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:14 AM on September 12 [8 favorites]


Population density is positively correlated with liberal/progressive politics (or, perhaps more accurately, negatively correlated with conservative/reactionary/authoritarian politics). IIRC, there was a study in the US some years ago which established the number of people per square mile above which districts flip from Republican to Democrat.
posted by acb at 8:10 AM on September 12


scruss, Lothian buses ran out of fuel very early in the fuel blockades and stopped running services, so I remember everything feeling very closed up in Edinburgh.
posted by ambrosen at 9:15 AM on September 12


If any piece of legislation is worth getting rapidly acquainted with, it's that one.

Suspect you're very right, but I got to the part of the article where with a handwaved faux-urgency any jobbing Gove or Patel can suspend Habeus Corpus (along with almost everything else) for 30 days and noped right out.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:57 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I still don't understand how No-Deal Brexit causes fuel shortages? An oil tanker must be a fairly easy to clear through customs? Is it that the pipelines are all regulated through the EU?>
posted by DoveBrown at 10:57 AM on September 12


See the comment by Nice Guy Mike above. In short: In the worst case scenario, tariffs cause UK petrol exports to fall, which causes UK refineries to close, which causes refinery workers to lose their jobs, which causes other refinery workers to go on strike, which causes fuel shortages.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:47 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


So the UK would have too much oil which would lead to shortages. Gotcha. ^_^
posted by DoveBrown at 10:45 PM on September 12


Not quite. The UK became a net importer of crude oil about 15 years ago as north sea production has continually fallen. However, we built the refineries to process more oil than we can now extract, so we are still a net exporter of petrol and some other fuel oils.

Crashing out the EU means that those refineries will face punitive tariffs overnight to continue to export to the rest of the EU (the same tariffs that protect them from non-EU competition as a member state), while the government plans to set import tariffs for fuels from everywhere at 0% - WTO rules mean we can't discriminate between countries we don't have a trade deal with and crashing out means we lose them with virtually everybody and have to start from scratch. So basically the refineries will lose their ability to sell what they make in their current markets, while also being uncompetitive against imports from places with lower wages and environmental standards. Thus yellowhammer expects two of our six big refineries to close almost immediately, leading to fuel supply disruption to those areas they serve.

They will likely be converted to import terminals (to handle that 0% overseas petrol & disesel) but that takes time, and will involve a lot of job losses. So short term direct disruption, and expected blockades over the job losses at the other refineries and terminals - and of course, they will also be subject to the same commercial pressures. In 2000 such a protest (for different reasons) shut down fuel delivery in most of the country and combined with panic buying lead to basically no petrol stations having fuel anywhere within two days that lasted for two weeks, despite government action to get deliveries moving again. This had a serious knock on effects on emergency services and food delivery to supermarkets, as well as ordinary people not being to get to work, moving of goods etc.

This time, there simply won't be enough petrol for the army to escort through blockades in the short term given the refinery closures, so the problems could be significantly more extreme.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:16 PM on September 12 [16 favorites]


Incidentally, this same problem - suddenly facing high export tariffs to their current main export market, while facing new competition domestically from low tariff imports from the rest-of-world - affects more sectors than just oil. Lamb farmers, for example, are expected to go bankrupt en-masse.

The reason the government is going to be setting import tariffs at near 0% for everything is because the value of sterling is expected to plummet, thus causing shop prices of imports (50% of our food, for example) to shoot up. Slashing tariffs on overseas imports is to try and mitigate this sticker shock for consumers (because then they'llbe angry at the government for pulling this shit), though it's only expected to partially mititate the problem. Also, they simply won't have the infrastructure to actually collect the tariffs, so they're not even going to try.

The longer term effect is that it wipes out local production of well, pretty much all farming and manufacturing, because they can't competitively export to the EU any more due to tariffs despite meeting high EU standards, while the domestic market is taken over by cheap imports from countries with low wages, poor worker protections, lower environmental standards, and in the case of food, lower animal welfare standards and higher use of toxic pesticides. Thus the concerns about chlorinated chicken* as a headline example, but it affects many, many sectors. Fuel is the headline one that people will really notice, but it's all about turning us into a low wage, low tariff, low quality hellscape thats main profit centre is money laundering for tax avoiders and personal services for our new wealthy overlords.

* chlorinated chicken is an issue because EU-standards chicken meat can only be washed with water. Allowing it to be washed with chlorine et al means welfare standards can be lower, and processing and handling potentially allows for more contamination and bacteria. If the chlorination fails, you now have bacteria-laden meat in the human food chain. It also allows for poor quality (i.e. partially rotten) meat to be bleached so it looks OK, but obviously isn't fit for human consumption. In the US around 0.4% of the population get sick as a result of campylobacter annually, while only 0.096% of the UK population do. Hence the headline public concern over a fall in food standards.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:39 PM on September 12 [12 favorites]


chlorinated chicken is an issue because EU-standards chicken meat can only be washed with water. Allowing it to be washed with chlorine et al means welfare standards can be lower, and processing and handling potentially allows for more contamination and bacteria

ok but hear me out what if it was a sandwich?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:02 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


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