Tie a Yellowhammer Round the Old UK
September 12, 2019 2:03 AM   Subscribe

If a week is a long time in politics, the two weeks since Boris Johnson's government announced the prorogation of the UK Parliament (previously on Mefi) has been an age. Johnson has lost his majority, lost (and/or ejected) 22 Conservative MPS, and lost six out of his first six votes in Parliament. Since the dramatic scenes at the close of Parliament on Monday night, we have learned that the government's act of prorogation is unlawful (subject to an appeal to the UK Supreme Court to be heard next Tuesday), and that even the barest of outlines of Operation Yellowhammer, the government's contingency plan for a No Deal Brexit, is enough to demonstrate that Project Fear was always Project Reality.

On Monday, perennial thorn-in-the-Brexiters'-side Dominic Grieve moved a successful humble address requiring that the Government release details of its internal discussions about prorogation, as well as its Operation Yellowhammer documents, by Wednesday 11 September. When the latter limped out last night, they were far short of the reams of documents one would expect of any bureaucratic preparations, showing that the Government is continuing its approach of giving Parliament as little as it can get away with. But even these five brief pages, with one section redacted, contain enough to confirm the worst. Comparing the released document with one leaked to the Sunday Times a month ago indicates that the redacted section discusses how No Deal will lead to the closure of two oil refineries, out of the six major refineries in the UK. But then we probably won't need as much fuel when traffic flows across the Channel reduce to 40%-60% of current levels on day one of No Deal, increasing after three months to 50%-70%.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove accompanied the hastily-assembled Yellowhammer precis with a letter to Grieve explaining why he was ignoring the demands of the sovereign Parliament of the UK for details of government prorogation deliberations, no doubt earning himself a starring role in a future finding that the government is again in contempt of Parliament. But the developments in the Scottish Supreme Court may have made this moot: as things stand, the prorogation of Parliament is unlawful, and from a legal standpoint it should be considered still in session until the UK Supreme Court rules otherwise. Mysteriously, this ruling didn't seem to bother England's right-wing press. It probably doesn't bother the rich backers of Boris Johnson and Vote Leave, either.

Welcome to another day in Brexit hell.
posted by rory (761 comments total) 105 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here's a pithy Yellowhammer summary in summary.
posted by rory at 2:23 AM on September 12 [29 favorites]


Nice work, rory.

So what I’m hoping now (among so many other things) is that we don’t see Brexit -> GE won by Corbyn around the same time a fuel crisis is occurring -> Tories and Tory press claim the fuel crisis - and all the other crises - are down to Labour mismanagement, harking back to the 3 day week etc.

It would be like the time Cameron & Johnson brought about the referendum and its result, respectively, and then each decided they were “not the right person” to take responsibility for it by leading the country through the post-referendum chaos.

Only a hundred times worse.
posted by penguin pie at 2:27 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Interesting to see many commentators outside of Scotland (the type that talk of how good the UK is, and why would Scotland ever want to leave) dismiss the Scottish court decision as lesser than the English court, displaying their instinctual feeling that the UK is really England writ large. (The English equivalent court was unable to find that the govt was acting illegally last week.)

The Scottish court system is formally equal to the English court system (the UK Supreme court takes appeals from both) so being found guilty in one should be as damning as being found guilty in the other, but that seems hard for many London based commentators to grasp. QC Jonathan Mitchell succinctly summarised it thusly- "If you’re driving dangerously and if one police officer does nothing but the next one does, it doesn’t matter: you’ve still been arrested. That’s what happened here."

Many small c conservatives up here in Scotland who previously voted against Scottish independence, are changing their mind in the wake of Brexit and Johnson's illegality. Should the UK Supreme court not censure Johnson's mendacious proroguing of Parliament despite the unanimous decision of 3 Scottish judges I feel this will further alienate the middle class "pragmatic unionists" from the UK project.
posted by Gratishades at 2:30 AM on September 12 [53 favorites]


I'm sure that the "considerable steps" taken by the government to mitigate the impact of this crisis, despite not being written down anywhere, are definitely real and not made up, just like the definitely real and not made-up ongoing negotiations with the EU.
posted by confluency at 2:32 AM on September 12 [21 favorites]


I was talking with a friend about this yesterday and we couldn't figure out what the UK Supreme Court is going to do.

If they find prorogation wasn't unlawful, or isn't justiciable, then they are saying that the verdict of the highest court in Scotland doesn't matter and that they can be overruled if their rulings are inconvenient. They're also giving this government and future governments carte blanche to do what they like with regard to Parliament. With this precedent, a future government can win an election and then suspend pesky Parliament for four years should they wish.

If they find prorogation was unlawful, then I can't see how a Prime Minister or a government found to have broken the law in that way can continue. Parliament will return, and there's bound to be a VONC at that point, because how can there not be?

My prediction, for what it's worth, is that the UK Supreme Court will side with the English courts, because of course.
posted by winterhill at 2:36 AM on September 12 [20 favorites]


Tories and Tory press claim the fuel crisis - and all the other crises - are down to Labour

They do this a lot.
I think one of the bigger failings of the Milliband campaign was not to address the myth that the global financial crisis was Labour's fault. I don't know how you fight it given that 90% of the media are on the Tory side, but it's something that will absolutely happen.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:40 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


I can't remember the context, but I literally heard a Tory politician on the radio the other day make reference to "the note left in the Treasury saying there's no money left". Guys, that (if it ever happened at all) was nine years ago and change. Any financial mess in the country now is on you, not the Opposition.

How long are they going to be in power before they stop blaming the last government - which long since entered the history books - for everything?
posted by winterhill at 2:42 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the song of the Yellowhammer is usually described as sounding like “A little bit of bread & no cheeeese”. I wonder which Whitehall apparatchik came up with that one?
posted by pharm at 2:44 AM on September 12 [10 favorites]


Blogger Paul Kavanagh /Wee Ginger Dog writes about Operation Yellowhammer. He notes both the "Little bit of bread and no cheese" call and the bird's supposed role as a messenger of the devil - its tongue was supposed to bear a drop of Satan's blood.
posted by rongorongo at 2:50 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Many small c conservatives up here in Scotland who previously voted against Scottish independence, are changing their mind in the wake of Brexit and Johnson's illegality.

The question of What Happens To the Scottish Tory Party is going to be a fascinating, if small, sideshow of the coming months (weeks? days? Time has lost all meaning tbh). They've lost their charismatic leader, and they're in danger of being dragged down by the total fucking muppets in the south. But they know that, and they're doing everything they can to distance themselves from Westminster Tories, who they hate with a passion (according to a pal of mine who's at the heart of it all).

Current leader Jackson Carlaw was very swift and blunt yesterday when he moved to distance himself from the early briefing by No10 against the Supreme Court decision. Unless I'm misreading the context, that "I don’t much care where the sources are from who might suggest otherwise" makes it pretty clear what he thinks of the Downing Street cabal.
posted by penguin pie at 3:01 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I'm questioning my own state of mind when it seems disappointing that I'm waking up this morning to find that the political situation is about the same as when I went to sleep.

To quote David Allen Green:

Two truths

1. Constitutional law is currently exciting and fun

2. Constitutional law should not be exciting and fun

posted by Eleven at 3:05 AM on September 12 [86 favorites]


The worry is that a Supreme Court finding that Johnson's actions were lawful, that it's a political rather than a legal matter and that a government can prorogue for any reason they like and for however long they wish, would mean that there's nothing to stop a government from proroguing parliament indefinitely - that the only thing standing between Britain and dictatorship are the whims of the electorate, a broken electoral system and easily ignored constitutional convention.
posted by rory at 3:06 AM on September 12 [25 favorites]


Many small c conservatives up here in Scotland who previously voted against Scottish independence, are changing their mind in the wake of Brexit and Johnson's illegality.

This is exactly my anecdotal experience among family members north of the border.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 3:07 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Gerry Hassan writes in the Scottish Review of the death of traditional Toryism.

British conservatism has been one of the most successful political philosophies and political parties the world has ever known. As we speak, it is engaged in the latter stages of its 30-year civil war on Europe, which has convulsed the party, bringing it to a state of near self-destruction, abandoning its traditional tenets and debasing constitutional norms that for most of its history have been its raison d'être.
posted by deeker at 3:12 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


As an aside, here's a piece on the Rees-Mogg memes that flooded Twitter last week, and how they sit with outdated parliamentary rules on the use of images from its chambers.

I liked cyriak's animated version and Rees-Mogg as Ophelia.
posted by rory at 3:16 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


Further to my own comment on the last thread, Abby Innes writes that Johnson’s Cabinet is only the most extreme version of successive neoliberal UK cabinets unable or unwilling to believe the evidence of their own eyes: that neoliberalism does not work. She explains how contemporary neoliberal states share many of the pathologies of 20th century Soviet ones.

Since the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, successive governments of New Right and New Left have attempted to implement an asserted science of government based on the radical, free-market neoclassical economics of the Virginia and Chicago Schools: neoliberalism. This new bipartisan consensus effectively disabled the representative, conflict-resolving functions of the party system. Its dominant idea – that markets are always more efficient, the private morally and functionally superior to the public – has led to the quiet shattering of the state as an effective mechanism of social integration within capitalism. The claims of neoliberalism are based on utopian assumptions; the supply-side revolution has failed accordingly, and we are living with the systemic consequences of that failure.

The extraordinary fact is that the Leninism of the one-party vanguard Soviet state and the supply-side revolution fail for many of the same reasons. When you explore the neoclassical economics at the root of the UK’s neoliberal reforms, it has far more in common with Leninism than with the political economic doctrines of the post-war era. Anglo Keynesianism, German Ordoliberalism and the Swedish Rehn-Meidner models all accepted the realities of radical uncertainty and the incompleteness of human rationality. The affinities between the economic libertarianism of the last forty years and Leninism are rooted in their common dependence on a closed system, machine model of the political economy. Both depend on a hyper-rational conception of human motivation: a perfect utilitarian rationality versus a perfect social rationality. The policy failures that ensue are written into this DNA.


...

If the combative Thatcher governments were Leninists, the Blair years were those of Khrushchev, who sought to render the system more socially inclusive, to invest in new technology and to experiment with the new systems of governance. The Conservative-Liberal Coalition ushered in neoliberalism: the Brezhnev years. A critical juncture of profound public disillusionment and reactive political hiatus was inevitable and the Global Financial Crisis had brought it forward. In the Soviet system, the years under Leonid Brezhnev (1964-1982) were those of the fullest systemic entropy: the period of ossification, self-dealing, and directionless political churn. The Central Committees of the Brezhnev era combined cynical opportunists and true believers: the only people prepared to respond to ever more apparent systemic failures by doubling-down on traditionalist orthodoxy.

The Johnson Cabinet is only the most extreme version of successive Conservative cabinets unable or unwilling to believe the evidence of their own eyes: that neoliberalism does not work in the terms by which it is justified. In Sajid Javid as Chancellor we have a diligently rigid true-believer: a supply-sider with roots in the financial sector, the last redoubt of that cadre.


Boris Johnson: The Brezhnev Years

posted by deeker at 3:19 AM on September 12 [53 favorites]


If you’re driving dangerously and if one police officer does nothing but the next one does, it doesn’t matter: you’ve still been arrested. That’s what happened here.

More pertinently, if you get in your car and drive north from Carlisle after a couple of drinks with a 0.07% blood alcohol count, then Cumbria police can stop and breathalyse you and let you carry on your journey. But 10 miles north of that, Police Scotland can stop you and breathalyse you, and there goes your GB driving licence for at least a year (rightly so).

Likewise, Parliament needs to be operated lawfully under all 3 legal systems that apply, and it operatingly legally in one jurisdiction doesn't make it lawful in any of the others.
posted by ambrosen at 3:26 AM on September 12 [20 favorites]


I'm not a law talking guy, but is it significant that the Scottish judgment made a statement of fact as well as law about the purpose of the prorogation? Does that force the supreme court to make a ruling on whether it's lawful to prorogue parliament for the "purpose of stymying parliament" or can they pretend that the stated reason is legitimate and rule on that basis?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:57 AM on September 12


The high court in Belfast has ruled that prorogation was lawful. Stand by for contorted Leaver arguments that NI judges are much more impartial than Scottish judges, best out of three, no backsies, etc.
posted by rory at 3:59 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


Reading excerpts from Johnson's press gaggle this morning, I find the echoes of Trump rhetoric chilling:

And, believe me, around the world people look at our judges with awe and admiration, so I’m not going to quarrel or criticise the judges.

and Kwarteng, who implied but was too weasley to state, that the Scottish judges were biased:

“many people ... are saying that the judges are biased.” He went on: “Many people, many leave voters, many people up and down the country, are beginning to question the partiality of the judges. That’s just a fact.”
posted by stonepharisee at 4:01 AM on September 12 [17 favorites]


I'm not so sure that the Scottish Tories are united in their dislike of Johnson. There seems to be a gulf between their MPs (none of whom rebelled against Johnson last week) and their MSP counterparts like Davidson, Carlaw, etc. All the Johnson supporting MPs look are looking very vulnerable in a GE. My feeling is that are currently a significant number of Tory and Labour politicians in Scotland who would like to establish separate Scottish parties which are associated with - but not necessarily 100% aligned with - their Westminster counterparts (we already have this with the Scottish Green party, for example). That would also be an important step for them to take if they foresee independence happening and want to be ready. The problem is that both Labour and Conservative parties in Scotland have backers of unionism- the latter as a core point of their being. Trying oppose national independence whilst arguing in favour of political independence, is going to be a tricky one to argue, however.
posted by rongorongo at 4:11 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


My prediction, for what it's worth, is that the UK Supreme Court will side with the English courts, because of course.
I don't see that this is what the Supreme Court is supposed to be doing. It's not pitching the English & Welsh system against the Scottish (or indeed the NI against the Scottish), is it? It's acting as an appeal court for the system the judgement was under, and I distinctly got the impression from David Allen Green talking to Ian Dunt on the 'emergency' Remainiacs podcast this morning that the non-Scottish judges there are very likely to go along with what the Scottish ones say is the matter under Scottish law?

The English judgement was that the prorogation length was not a matter it could decide upon. The Scottish judgement was on the different matter of what the cause for the prorogation was, not its length. (Again as explained by DAG in said discussion above)
posted by edd at 4:20 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


She explains how contemporary neoliberal states share many of the pathologies of 20th century Soviet ones.

One of the reasons Chernobyl was so gripping and effective was absolutely the shock of recognition.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:26 AM on September 12 [36 favorites]


Five pages of vague hand-waving vs a 650 page manifesto covering all aspects of post-IndyRef government: and they said that Scotland wasn't prepared for independence?
posted by scruss at 4:33 AM on September 12 [36 favorites]


The result in 2016 was a bare majority in favour of leaving the EU. It was a majority, but not a very big one. If the referendum was used to do what it was supposed to - to find out what The People thought - the answer would be that they were very slightly in favour of leaving. Very slightly. If the result had been an honestly negotiated departure, probably retaining freedom of movement and other things - essentially Norway, which came about through exactly the same voting result, 52% to 48% - those of us who voted to remain would have been unhappy but accepted it because democracy. What has in fact happened is a takeover of the process by ideological demagogues. The number of active Europhiles in 2016 was very small and I don't count myself among them. The number now is much, much larger and I do.

to oppose Brexit and support Scottish independence is beyond incoherent

No it's not. It's not even incoherent. Do pay attention, things are moving quickly.
posted by Grangousier at 4:42 AM on September 12 [67 favorites]


to oppose Brexit and support Scottish independence is beyond incoherent

We may be living in incoherent times, but a key argument of the argument for Scotland to stay was that it was the only way to stay in Europe. That swung it for IndyRef.

I wouldn't say that losing the Conservative majority and the UKIP losing its only seat in the 2017 GE was a very effective way of ratifying leave. 2019's snap election was purely for Conservative benefit, and the other parties didn't take the bait. Johnson and his chums now must dree their weird.
posted by scruss at 4:45 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


leave effectively was ratified by the 2017 GE

No it wasn't. The "80% of voters backed Leave parties" claim aired in the Today programme shortly after the result may have been enthusiastically taken up by the usual suspects, but the GE was fought on anything other than Brexit, and the boost for Corbyn in that election was in part because non-Labour Remainers had little choice but to vote for the best chance of defeating the Tories. The 2017 GE can't be read as a ratification of any particular form of Brexit, and it certainly can't be read as a ratification of an eventual No Deal, which was all that last week's parliamentary votes sought to prevent.
posted by rory at 4:52 AM on September 12 [15 favorites]


Whooft. A pretty blistering letter to the Prime Minister from the union representing senior civil servants:

As Prime Minister and therefore Minister for the Civil Service, civil servants look to you to defend these principles [impartiality and integrity], but increasingly over the last few weeks the greatest concern for civil servants has come from the very office that is meant to be at the frontline of its defence. [...] The endless speculation that government will refuse to implement an Act of Parliament may serve short term political interest, but as Prime Minister your responsibilities go beyond tactical political game playing.

I'll admit I don't know a lot about Dave Penman, and a quick google brings up the phrase 'Scottish Trade Unionist' fairly prominently, so it's perhaps no surprise that he should be unimpressed by what's happening. But it still reads like fairly strong stuff from a Civil Service that generally puts up and shuts up.
posted by penguin pie at 4:56 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


This is the Remainiacs + DAG podcast I referred to above. Quite short at 18 minutes.
posted by edd at 4:58 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


This Remainer wants a second referendum. Because what was voted for in the first was not in fact possible, and trying to make it happen is - well, look around you.

How undemocratic does that make me, then?

I am fed up of being called undemocratic for wanting to fucking vote. Of being called undemocratic by the people who turned off Parliament and cabinet government, by a PM selected by a few thousand right-wing old white people, and by newspapers who constantly lie about everything.

Is it undemocratic to say a huge mistake has been made, let's fix it using constitutional tools and democratic methods?

Leave it out. You're having a giraffe, mate.
posted by Devonian at 4:59 AM on September 12 [74 favorites]


Remainers are hardly the shining advocates of democracy.

This kind of ex-cathedra, "just looking at the facts" dispassionate statement must feel good to make if you're motivated by a desire to maintain simplistic views of the world and you're not affected in the slightest by the tangible and severe harms caused by Brexit.

For those of us who are affected, and those of us who acknowledge that consent and informed consent are very different things should feel free to ignore what you have to say on this subject.

If you don't have the head space to devote to thinking about why the democratic process in the UK has failed badly enough to deliver a clearly harmful result, then why not skip this thread.

And if you're pretending that you have an objective view, it would be polite to explain the context from which your "objectivity" comes.
posted by ambrosen at 5:02 AM on September 12 [52 favorites]


I also wish to note that there's a fairly long and respected tradition of the UK Parliament doing what it thinks, and not going along with what happens to be popular as such.

The death penalty was abolished quite a long time ago by Parliament, and it continues to stick its fingers up at attempts to reintroduce it, despite it generally having popular support at least until 2015, which was the first time on record it dropped below 50%.

This is generally a good thing.
posted by edd at 5:11 AM on September 12 [10 favorites]


If I might help get this excellent thread back on the rails...

I'm surprised we've got this far without anyone having mentioned the extremely unpleasant Dominic Cummings.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 5:13 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


I consider the characterisation of the subject matter of these proceedings as inherently and unmistakably political to be beyond plausible dispute.

This is the NI judgement. I fear that it will prove to be an exact prequel to the judgement the SC hands down (I hope I am wrong).

I take my rap on the knuckles for mis-speaking about the UK's "unwritten" constitution.

My naive understanding is that the sole purpose of a formal constitution is to take crucial issues out of the political arena, thereby guaranteeing democracy and citizens rights. If the UK constitution is not cable of stopping "gerrymandering" of the kind we have just seen it is—literally—not worth the paper it is written on.
posted by dudleian at 5:15 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


As a comparison to the Yellowhammer document, Ed Brophy (Chief advisor to Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe) recently tweeted a list of the reports released by the Irish government on the impact of Brexit on Ireland, and the status of preparations. The first one is from November *2015*, with the latest from July 2019 (a 117 page document).
posted by scorbet at 5:16 AM on September 12 [14 favorites]


What happens now then? If the supreme court agree that it was unlawful are there repercussions for Johnson, or does everyone just go back to Parliament? This week has been a headache for me (and plenty of other I'm sure), a person who has a hard time wrapping his head around the complexities of government procedure, so I've reduced it all in my head to a very depressing episode of The Thick of It.
posted by Chaffinch at 5:18 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Don't feed the trolls, dudes. Anyone who can confidently type the sentence:

to oppose Brexit and support Scottish independence is beyond incoherent

Can safely be ignored as someone blind to such a vast ocean of complexity that they're best left shouting into the bin by themselves.
posted by penguin pie at 5:18 AM on September 12 [37 favorites]


it is—literally—not worth the paper it is written on.
A lot of it is probably on vellum.

posted by edd at 5:18 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Can safely be ignored as someone blind to such a vast ocean of complexity that they're best left shouting into the bin by themselves.

Who's got the lid?
posted by Cardinal Fang at 5:22 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


"to oppose Brexit and support Scottish independence is beyond incoherent"

I can absolutely see why Scotland would want to remain in the EU and distance themselves from England
posted by Chaffinch at 5:24 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


Two (Three?) days ago Twitter and FB were full of people reacting to a leaked list of medications that a No-Deal Brexit will probably make impossible or difficult to source and how that will either severely negatively affect their lives or flat out result in their death.

The day after that, the UK Media was full of responses to a Report that stated the UK is largely "over-medicated", that there is a "growing Opiate addiction crisis", and which kept equating Antidepressants with Opiates in a way that made me want to punch someone.

The day after THAT most UK Local Council and Police Authorities released (frankly confusing and contradictory) information, via various social media platforms, about making sure all adult citizens have an Emergency Go-Bag (similar I think to the US style Bug-Out Bag??) full, and ready to deploy.
What kinds of Emergency you're supposed to be Ready For were never stated.

Then the Yellowhammer report hit the news cycle.

Bear in mind this is the Old Yellowhammer report from Weeks ago. Very few people (outside of Government) actually KNOW what the updated 'Worst Case' scenario planning actually is.

::Silently Screams::
posted by Faintdreams at 5:33 AM on September 12 [13 favorites]


Every party standing candidates in 2017 was free to say that if elected their MPs would have a three line whip to rescind Brexit immediately, or rescind it if the alternative were no exit. That neither Tories nor Labour did that, and that Tories albeit in minority were re-elected to government with a clear commitment to achieve Brexit, is about as much ratification as one can get from GE.

Saying that the snap GE which had the potential to elect a rescinding government was a "trap" is just another way of saying that Remainers know that Johnson would have won the GE ... in other words, the GE was rejected because it would have even more clearly than 2017 ratified Brexit again.

(I am all for informed consent but politics is going to look very different if we get to eliminate or de-legitimize the votes of those we deem to be not "informed." I'd rather say that in 21st Century democracy it's the burden of politicians to do the informing, and the blame lies on Remainer politicians if they failed to inform voters sufficiently.)
posted by MattD at 5:37 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the emergency bag thing seems to have been an ill-timed and ill-thought out thing on the part of some of the UK authorities, but not necessarily originating from the UK or its current circumstance.
For example.

That said, I am also silently screaming.
posted by edd at 5:38 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Saying that the snap GE which had the potential to elect a rescinding government was a "trap" is just another way of saying that Remainers know that Johnson would have won the GE

It was a trap because it hands power to schedule the election to the government, who could then pop it AFTER october 31st, thus avoiding scrutiny.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:39 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


MattD, you're saying you don't give a shit about the UK being ruined because we deserve it? Thanks for your opinion.
posted by ambrosen at 5:40 AM on September 12 [23 favorites]


MattD, you're saying you don't give a shit about the UK being ruined because we deserve it? Thanks for your opinion.

The point I take from MattD's comments is that there are people who think the UK will be ruined by Leave, but there are also (arguably more) people who think the UK will be ruined by Remain.
posted by dmh at 5:44 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


the blame lies on Remainer politicians if they failed to inform voters sufficiently.)

So the Brexiteers who blatantly lied about the consequences of and preparations for leaving the EU bear no responsibility here?
posted by soundguy99 at 5:52 AM on September 12 [14 favorites]


even more clearly than 2017 ratified Brexit again.
If you think it's about ratifying it again, you're mistaken. What needs ratifying is either a deal, or the choice to leave without a deal. And the option to run against those does need to be remain. We don't want a repeat of the same question.
posted by edd at 5:53 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Every party standing candidates in 2017 was free to say that if elected their MPs would have a three line whip to rescind Brexit immediately, or rescind it if the alternative were no exit. That neither Tories nor Labour did that, and that Tories albeit in minority were re-elected to government with a clear commitment to achieve Brexit, is about as much ratification as one can get from GE.

Yeah, no. The fact that the two parties that matter in most constituencies chose not to do a thing does not mean everyone voting for them was voting against that thing. Voters did not have a meaningful choice in 2017. It was not presented to them. Therefore, they cannot be said to have chosen anything. And this is without considering that people might not vote on a single issue - a vote for the tories might not, for each given voter, have represented a vote for Brexit so much as a vote for lower taxes, or more police, or any other Tory policy or campaign platform. Similarly, a vote for Labour might have represented a vote for higher taxes, or against zero hour contracts. Nevermind that in many constituencies, individual candidates had very different stances to their party leadership on many issues, most notably brexit. Was a vote for Ken Clarke unequivocally a vote for Brexit? That's what you're claiming, and it's nonsense.
posted by Dysk at 5:54 AM on September 12 [23 favorites]


MattD, you seem to rely heavily above on the concept of "Remainer" politicians as a group. However all parties have/had a mixture of views on the spectrum of Revoke-Deal-NoDeal and in 2017 parties campaigned more on domestic issues (because both they and the electorate were incoherent on the complex and emotive Brexit issue).

You say "Tories albeit in minority were re-elected to government with a clear commitment to achieve Brexit, is about as much ratification as one can get from GE". Surely the Tories keeping, or indeed, increasing their majority in 2017 would have been "more of a ratification" than one that saw the architects (if one can architect such a shambolic situation as this) lose seats, would be "more of a ratification"?

The UK public were asked in 2016 to choose between; what was portrayed by most on the Leave side as a pain-free and purely beneficial ("The free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history." Liam Fox in goddam June 2017, never-mind 2016), and remaining. As more facts come to light about the actual consequences, deaths, food shortages, exacerbated poverty and malnutrition, then we in the UK are entitled to feel that the campaign was run on outright lies. We are not going to say "We were conned fair and square, pull the trigger guv'nor and god bless yer."
posted by Gratishades at 5:54 AM on September 12 [22 favorites]


> MattD: Every party standing candidates in 2017 was free to say that if elected their MPs would have a three line whip to rescind Brexit immediately, or rescind it if the alternative were no exit. That neither Tories nor Labour did that, and that Tories albeit in minority were re-elected to government with a clear commitment to achieve Brexit, is about as much ratification as one can get from GE.

First of all, it sounds like you are saying that because people didn't vote for something that wasn't on offer, that the contrapositive statement is thereby confirmed. That strikes me as... logically unsound.

Second, you have to admit that while Brexit is inarguably the most important political decision facing the UK, it is not the only issue that people had to consider in their 2017 voting.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:55 AM on September 12 [13 favorites]


The point I take from MattD's comments is that there are people who think the UK will be ruined by Leave, but there are also (arguably more) people who think the UK will be ruined by Remain.

The difference here lies in what 'ruined' means to each side - for some that means food shortages, lack of medication, and an economic collapse. For others that means more people around them will have non-UK accents and there is a lot of paperwork when it comes to running a fishing business.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:56 AM on September 12 [49 favorites]


"The point I take from MattD's comments is that there are people who think the UK will be ruined by Leave, but there are also (arguably more) people who think the UK will be ruined by Remain."

This kind of assumes "Remain" is a change, when it's just a vote to not change.

"For others that means more people around them will have non-UK accents and there is a lot of paperwork when it comes to running a fishing business."

Happy to be corrected but would that change if we left at all? I was under the impression we already had control of who came here and by leaving the EU we would just be trading EU immigration for non-EU immigration as our economic model relies on cheap imported labour.
posted by Chaffinch at 5:58 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


by leaving the EU we would just be trading EU immigration for non-EU immigration as our economic model relies on cheap imported labour.

I don't think that would be particularly acceptable to the brexiteers. They'd probably rather burn the economy down than increase migration from anywhere. Current Labour leadership seem to want to remodel the economy entirely to allow a much more closed country in general. Socialism, but only for the British, with the borders closed. The Tories are off course not giving any indication of having thought that far ahead.

Regardless of what happens in the long term, in the short and medium term, you will suddenly see a shortage of exactly the kind of labour the UK economy relies on.

And the same people will both be cheering the lack of foreigners and complaining about the lack of social workers, carers, and nurses in the same breath, with no hint of irony.
posted by Dysk at 6:07 AM on September 12 [19 favorites]


I'm kind of grateful that I work somewhere with a tacit agreement not to discuss politics a great deal. I just overheard someone say they'd just looked at the news and it said "Apparently Boris has got to resign because he misled the Queen or something? I don't know what that's all about..."

I know I should be aware that I'm living in an echo chamber that's not typical of the country at large (I mean, we're so fractured, is anything representative of the country at large at the moment?) but it's still always jarring to come up against it.
posted by penguin pie at 6:08 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I'm kind of grateful that I work somewhere with a tacit agreement not to discuss politics a great deal.
On 24 June 2016, I was working in an office in Wakefield where there was open celebration about the referendum result. I've always had a personal rule of not discussing politics at work, partly because I'm highly unlikely to agree with anyone while working in this part of the country.
posted by winterhill at 6:11 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


Remain is one thing: remaining in the status quo. Leave is a multitude of things, some of them incompatible and quite a few of them not stated publicly. Anyone who voted Leave in 2015 voted for unknown unknowns, and if Brexit played a part in their vote in 2017, they were still voting for unknown unknowns.
Farage repeatedly said "look at Norway". "Norway" isn't even on the table now. No-one on the leave side said "look at Yellowhammer". Now, they are comparing the situation to the war and all that, but then, it was all open skies and the Commonwealth and German cars and other rubbish. Even the clear-headed people in my family who voted remain and who have since moved to the continent thought Government could handle it.
posted by mumimor at 6:14 AM on September 12 [10 favorites]


“A little bit of bread & no cheeeese”

I just saw that on Twitter and wow, that can't be coincidence, surely?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:15 AM on September 12


I'd rather say that in 21st Century democracy it's the burden of politicians to do the informing, and the blame lies on Remainer politicians if they failed to inform voters sufficiently.

This is also grade-A horseshit. There was plenty of informing going on, it was just going up against a whole buffet of outright less and deceptions, with any voice of reason being shouted down as "Project Fear". Now you're saying everything bad that happens is Cassandra's fault? The people who did the lying, they are responsible.

Odd how the people who talked up brexit are now suggesting that the pro-Brexit camp cannot be held responsible for their actions...
posted by Dysk at 6:15 AM on September 12 [60 favorites]


As far as the prospects of Scottish independence if Brexit is called off, I'd say it's still more likely than before the referendum. When Scotland voted to remain in the UK, constitutional certainties seemed rock-solid, and the idea of Scotland seceding could be framed as a romantic pipe-dream. Now, this solidity has been shown to be an illusion. Also, the constitutional relationship in the UK does look like a one-sided one of English domination. Essentially, it's an abusive relationship, and the abusive partner coming back with the finest bunch of flowers the service station had does not erase that.

As such, the arguments that (a) Scotland can't leave, or that (b) the existing settlement provides security that Scotland would not want to forfeit no longer hold up.
posted by acb at 6:16 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


No deal Brexit is a classic bait and switch. The public were sold on one thing: a nice, orderly deal where the UK exits the EU with favorable deals on trade and regulation. When they showed up, it turns out all the government has is a devastatingly costly and messy no deal, which it is trying to push on the populace using high pressure sales tactics.

Bait and switch is an act of fraud. If you, at this point, are arguing that a no deal Brexit has legitimacy, you are participating in the high pressure sales tactics part of that fraud. If you consider yourself an honest person, you should reconsider what you are doing.
posted by Zalzidrax at 6:27 AM on September 12 [85 favorites]


If I've learned anything over the last three and a half years it's that the vast majority of leave supporters are moderate in their opinion; using all the available information they have (which often doesn't include having lived in or visited continental Europe), they've taken an honest and reasonable viewpoint that we're better off outside the EU, and we need to listen to each other like grown-ups and find a workable solution, whatever that happens to be - and none of us believe that solution is to flounce out of Europe like a spoilt five-year-old, and lie down in the North Sea and hold our breath until we die and then Europe will be sorry.

The extremists are very small in number, but they're also the noisiest and the most obnoxious, and their objective is to keep the rest of us - remain and leave alike - busy arguing with each other, so they can then (to borrow one of Johnson's terms) get on with doing what they like.

This is exactly the strategy that Cummings has persuaded Johnson into pursuing in the Commons. He thought that he could get his opponents arguing amongst themselves so he could get on with it; and happily he appears to have misjudged things very badly.

So, if you happen to see Cummings in this thread - or anybody like him - please treat him as if he isn't here. The moderators will be along shortly. Thank you.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 6:28 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


If I may repurpose and invert a line from the American politics megathreads, it is 966 days until the next UK general election.

*sigh*
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:30 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


As such, the arguments that (a) Scotland can't leave, or that (b) the existing settlement provides security that Scotland would not want to forfeit no longer hold up.

Even if parliament pulls its head out of its ass and revokes Article 50, what do people expect to happen in the future if Brexit is thwarted this time? That Farage and the ERG will just go back into their holes and never bring up Brexit again? It will always be about the betrayal and Scotland will never be safe.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:32 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


it is 966 days until the next UK general election

Or a month. Or a couple of months. It's difficult to tell. What we do know is that when it comes it might well be five years before the next one after that, which is why it's important to be very careful if a dodgy Old Etonian and his creepy chum try to palm you off with a snap election.
posted by Grangousier at 6:34 AM on September 12 [18 favorites]


Sums it up really
Be careful, a lot of London taxi drivers won't accept Scottish court rulings.
posted by adamvasco at 7:22 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


I'm unfamiliar with British norms for professional and political letter writing, so I need to ask. Is the fact that MP Grove had his own title in the header for his letter but opened with "Dear Dominic" as rude, condescending, and dismissive as it would be in the US if someone addressed a letter to a Senator as "Dear Given Name"?

Likewise is closing "with every good wish" as sarcastic and meanspirited as I'm reading it to be, or is that a fairly standard UK closing for a business letter?
posted by sotonohito at 8:14 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


(Furiously takes notes for future letter-writing campaigns...)
posted by wenestvedt at 8:21 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


sotonohito: Gove had Grieve's title in the letter as well as his own (official headed to indicate official capacity) but they are long time colleagues from the same party so I doubt it is a particular issue.
posted by biffa at 8:33 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


sotonohito, the use of informal or nick names in the address is very normal even in official or business letters. The only people in the UK who will use your proper name are the judge at your trial or your mother when you're really, really in for it.

On the other hand, "with every good wish" is every bit as sarcastic as it sounds, drawing on traditions where you are required by convention to address a parliamentarian as a Right Honourable Gentleman/Lady even when you intend to inform them that they are, in fact, a scurvy cur.
posted by Eleven at 8:36 AM on September 12 [17 favorites]


The difference here lies in what 'ruined' means to each side - for some that means food shortages, lack of medication, and an economic collapse. For others that means more people around them will have non-UK accents and there is a lot of paperwork when it comes to running a fishing business.

Good news everyone! There will not be less paperwork when running a fishing business because the UK exports most of our catch. There will in fact be much more paperwork, although I'll grant you that the long transport time for non-essential but rapidly inedible fish might mean that the primary paperwork becomes bankruptcy/liquidation.
posted by jaduncan at 8:38 AM on September 12 [26 favorites]


In other constitutional crisis news, we've finally found out what Jo Maugham was up to:

The Guardian: Anti-Brexiters file new legal challenge to force article 50 extension.

It's an argument that relies upon a unique power of the Scottish courts, known as nobile officium, which I'll admit I had no idea existed until I just saw it on Twitter. Brexit continues to teach me my own constitution...
posted by Eleven at 8:59 AM on September 12 [7 favorites]


Note that this case isn't arguing that courts can prevent no-deal Brexit in every circumstance, only that they can force the government to comply with the law requiring it to seek an extension next month, even to the point of sending the letter themselves if Johnson refuses.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:06 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


A friend sent this to me yesterday and it's pretty astonishing:

Slight majority for Irish unification in new NI poll

Before this mess, it was 16%. 16%!

Leavers don't care about the union. They're destroying it.
posted by Automocar at 9:08 AM on September 12 [38 favorites]


it is 966 days until the next UK general election.

There's a politics slack channel at work (i know, great idea...nothing has gone too terribly wrong yet thankfully) and after this week I replaced the T-49 days until Brexit pinned comment with a magic 8 ball, as it's vastly more accurate.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:12 AM on September 12 [4 favorites]


If you were to design a sequence of events to highlight the structural instabilities of the Union and DDOS the functions of government you’d be hard pressed to come up with something that would do a more thorough job than the last few days.

I fully expect to be living in an independent Scotland by 2025. Maybe sooner at the current rate of change.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:14 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


I fully expect to be living in an independent Scotland by 2025

Quarter to nine at the latest.
posted by Grangousier at 9:15 AM on September 12 [54 favorites]


If we have to leave I see NI fucking off as the only upside. So long as we're clear that its a package deal with Arlene Foster. I note that the RHI report has finally got a due date. November. Just in time to avoid being inconvenient for anyone...
posted by biffa at 9:15 AM on September 12


Leavers don't care about the union. They're destroying it.

What's more they're doing under the false assumption they can go back to the glory days of 1910. A time where the sun never set on the Empire. Where the union was England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Where men worked for King and Country! The Edwardian Era of Men! A time where women couldn't vote and the rich were better than the peasants and everyone knew it.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:17 AM on September 12 [10 favorites]


Pretty poor form to use NI as a synecdoche for the DUP there, biffa. Northern Ireland splitting from whatever of Great Britain is left will be an absolute nightmare. And reunification of Ireland will be difficult, and with nothing like the same level of political impetus for change that made it work out reasonably well in Germany.
posted by ambrosen at 9:20 AM on September 12 [14 favorites]


Just to cross-reference AskMe, I'm wondering exactly how far into the Incident pit we are at this point.
posted by penguin pie at 9:26 AM on September 12 [10 favorites]


There may be very little physical sign of the border between NI and the Republic, but you know as soon as you cross into NI because the quality of the road suddenly deteriorates, as if you've crossed from an affluent Western country into a dilapidated, much poorer province.

Integrating the two, even without the political and sectarian problems, would be a huge economic ask for a country the size of the Republic of Ireland.
posted by winterhill at 9:26 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


In respect of the latest Scottish legal manoeuvring, some English legal commentators have noted that there is a corresponding statutory power in English law, by way of section 39 of the Senior Courts Act 1981:

39. Execution of instrument by person nominated by High Court.
(1) Where the High Court or family court has given or made a judgment or order directing a person to execute any conveyance, contract or other document, or to indorse any negotiable instrument, then, if that person—
(a) neglects or refuses to comply with the judgment or order; or
(b) cannot after reasonable inquiry be found,
that court may, on such terms and conditions, if any, as may be just, order that the conveyance, contract or other document shall be executed, or that the negotiable instrument shall be indorsed, by such person as the court may nominate for that purpose.
(2) A conveyance, contract, document or instrument executed or indorsed in pursuance of an order under this section shall operate, and be for all purposes available, as if it had been executed or indorsed by the person originally directed to execute or indorse it.


I've actually used this provision a few times; it's how you deal, as a divorce lawyer, with a spouse who refuses to comply with the court's order to transfer his or her interest in the former matrimonial home to the other party (if the court has ordered that rather than just a sale and division of the proceeds). No need to threaten to commit them to prison for contempt, you just get the judge to sign the conveyance form instead.

Now, the interesting question is whether this could apply to the letter that Johnson is required to send. It's plainly a document for the purposes of s.39(1), but at present Johnson hasn't been required to send it by an order of the High Court, but rather by an Act of Parliament. So, what would be needed, it seems to me, is an application for a declaration that Johnson has failed to comply with his statutory obligation and an order that he do so, and if he breaches that then an application could be made to the court for a judge to sign the letter for him.
posted by Major Clanger at 9:31 AM on September 12 [16 favorites]


winterhill: Integrating the two, even without the political and sectarian problems, would be a huge economic ask for a country the size of the Republic of Ireland.

Before anyone mentions West Germany merging with East Germany, that's about 60 million residents, where Ireland has fewer than five million today: an order of magnitude different.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:42 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Yes but the Republic won't be in it alone. The EU has already demonstrated a tremendous financial commitment to the GFA, backed by a political will to preserve the peace which includes fighting the establishment of a hard border. Also, nobody's saying NI and Ireland have to reunite the moment NI ditches the UK, either. Perhaps a separate EU membership?
posted by whuppy at 10:19 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Arguably, eastern and western Germany are still not unified. It's a long process.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:30 AM on September 12 [16 favorites]


> Before anyone mentions West Germany merging with East Germany, that's about 60 million residents, where Ireland has fewer than five million today: an order of magnitude different.

Also there's a big difference of East Germany was entirely merged into West Germany in a way, so isn't really a close analogy. One could say "this east german governmental function is now replaced by this west german one".

In NI, what happens to someone's UK pension? Does that get transferred to Ireland? Are they now expat retirees? How about NHS -> Ireland Healthcare? My partner (and coworkers and friends) in Belfast worry about those sort of things. On top of the increased threat of violence from both sides. A large majority of NI services are provided by the UK at large, from one shared pool, so how do you break up that pool when part of the country leaves to join another one?
posted by mrzarquon at 11:26 AM on September 12 [8 favorites]


A cakeist solution to Brexit exists: why not create separate Brexit and no-Brexit states within the same border (see Miéville's 'City and the City')? A side-benefit for Remainiacs would be that Nigel Farage & Aaron Banks would immediately cease to exist. Voila!
posted by aeshnid at 11:52 AM on September 12 [35 favorites]


Aeshnid, that's as practical a solution as any I've heard so far. I can really unsee it working...
posted by barnsoir at 11:57 AM on September 12 [15 favorites]


A large majority of NI services are provided by the UK at large, from one shared pool, so how do you break up that pool when part of the country leaves to join another one?

It's hard, so you do a lot of decision making and planning beforehand, before you even make the decision to leave. Which is also what Scotland did, to a large extent, before Indyref 1.

What you don't do is decide to break up, then set a tight timetable, and only then worry about how to do it. That would be disastrous and very stupid indeed. A recipe for chaos, I dare say.
posted by Devonian at 12:08 PM on September 12 [54 favorites]


Now, the interesting question is whether this could apply to the letter that Johnson is required to send. It's plainly a document for the purposes of s.39(1), but at present Johnson hasn't been required to send it by an order of the High Court, but rather by an Act of Parliament. So, what would be needed, it seems to me, is an application for a declaration that Johnson has failed to comply with his statutory obligation and an order that he do so, and if he breaches that then an application could be made to the court for a judge to sign the letter for him.

You'll be pleased to know Major Clanger that a former supreme court justice agrees with you (posted this in the last thread, about oh, 8 lifetimes ago, or a few days possibly)
Lord Sumption told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The bill, or the act as it is about to become, says that he’s got to apply for an extension. Not only has he got to send the letter, he’s got to apply for an extension. And to send the letter and then try and neutralise it seems to me to be plainly a breach of the act.”

Sumption said he had read the bill and there was not “the slightest obscurity” about what the government was obliged to do. He said: “You have got to realise that the courts are not very fond of loopholes. They are going to interpret this act in a way that gives effect to its obvious purpose unless there’s something in the act that makes it completely impossible to do so and there isn’t.”

Sumption 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.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:46 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


In case you missed it, here's the FT debunking the theory that no-deal Brexit is a hedge fund conspiracy (which has been around for a while and recently resurfaced).

I don't have a good enough understanding of finance to be able to evaluate either claim, but I'm suspicious of the veracity of the original theory and think it's fair to examine it more critically (especially because it confirms certain prejudices and makes for a convenient explanation).

(If anyone here does have a good enough understanding of finance, I'd be interested in hearing their thoughts.)
posted by confluency at 1:34 PM on September 12 [8 favorites]


FWIW, I have always read the "hedge funds are shorting the UK in anticipation of no deal" thing as distinct from "billionaires are pushing no deal so they can make/keep more money" theory. It's just an indication that everybody who knows how this shit works can see the trainwreck coming, with a side of "they could help stop it if they wanted to, but as long as they can position themselves for the hit they don't care about society at large."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:03 PM on September 12 [17 favorites]


Yeah, I was somewhat side-eyeing the number of people who were passing that around as writ given it came from a no-name site. I don't doubt that any number of rich Leavers are trying to make money shorting the country, but I doubt anyone has much access to the numbers. And in general it's just a side hustle from the more general project of being able to destroy workers' rights, sell off public goods to themselves, and generally loot the place and then hide their money.
posted by tavella at 2:12 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


The full ruling from Scotland is now available (via The Guardian). As expected - paras 30 onwards - the justiciability issue is resolved by recourse to Scots law (dating as far back as 1567!) and little doubt is left as to the position. Hard to see the Supreme Court trying to overturn over 450 years of precedent and, now, forcing Scots law to accept the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy.
posted by deeker at 2:15 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


My ELI5 takeaway so far is that while there are various reasons that certain people may profit from Brexit (no deal or otherwise), it's unlikely that they deliberately orchestrated it specifically for that reason.

I think that the theory that they did has the same appeal as any other conspiracy theory about shadowy figures pulling the strings in accordance with some elaborate secret plan. The alternative explanation, which is that 1) people do stupid and self-destructive things sometimes because they're not entirely rational or well-informed, and 2) emergent social phenomena are complicated and not perfectly controllable or predictable by any single person or small group of people, is much less comforting.
posted by confluency at 2:18 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


The FT has a vested interest in anything to do with the city.
Here is a different take.
Why Boris Johnson’s Funding from Hedge Funds is a Matter of Public Interest.
The research into this story took place over many months.
Byline Times reached its conclusions and the £8.3 billion figure by focusing on the donors to Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign, and the Vote Leave campaign, who are connected to hedge funds. The short positions taken out by these hedge funds were the ones of primary concern.
posted by adamvasco at 2:29 PM on September 12 [6 favorites]


It seems to me that disaster capitalism isn't so much a conspiracy theory as a description of current conditions that we don't like to acknowledge.
posted by sjswitzer at 2:31 PM on September 12 [31 favorites]


The FT has a vested interest in anything to do with the city.
Here is a different take.
The piece from the Byline Times is the piece being rebutted by the FT article.
posted by winterhill at 2:35 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


adamvasco: cheers for that; the follow-up explicitly spells out what claims Byline Times is (and is not) making, which is helpful.
posted by confluency at 2:35 PM on September 12


winterhill: no, this article is rebutting the FT article which rebutted a different Byline article from yesterday.
posted by confluency at 2:36 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Forgot to add from Bloomburg June 2018
The Brexit Short: How Hedge Funds Used Private Polls to Make Millions
Private polls—and a timely ‘concession’ from the face of Leave—allowed the funds to make millions off the pound’s collapse.
posted by adamvasco at 2:37 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


even the barest of outlines of Operation Yellowhammer, the government's contingency plan for a No Deal Brexit, is enough to demonstrate that Project Fear was always Project Reality.

The Times Scotland’s Kieran Andrews: “Nicola Sturgeon has just told Holyrood that the Scottish government’s copy of Yellowhammer is titled “base scenario”, as per @RosamundUrwin report.”

i.e. Michael Gove is lying when he says, “Yellowhammer is a reasonable worst case scenario”.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:10 PM on September 12 [12 favorites]


Glad that’s now more-or-less official. The exact same doc was leaked to @RosamundUrwin some weeks ago (the link that goes from “lying” in Doktor Zed’s comment is Gove lying in response to her).
What's different about the new Yellowhammer document that the government has just published compared with the one I got hold of last month? The heading.
What did the version I had say? BASE SCENARIO
Now what does the new one say? HMG Reasonable Worst Case Planning Assumptions
Despite the obviousness of the fiddle, the Guardian and others have been reporting the Yellowhammer release as the worst case, when there was clearly... at least some doubt about that, to be as charitable as possible.

Now that’s confirmed, here’s the redacted part:
"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 chappell, ambrose at 3:17 PM on September 12 [8 favorites]


i.e. Michael Gove is lying when he says, “Yellowhammer is a reasonable worst case scenario”.

Not necessarily. Is there a best case scenario for a no deal Brexit? Any plan is going to be a flavour of clusterfuck. There's not exactly much between what's on the document and complete anarchy.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:40 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Plus I can't imagine in a government led by example from Boris, the planning isn't going to amount to any more than the shrugging of shoulders, "job's done", and blame the EU/Labour as much as their partisans will believe it for the ensuing strong and stable chaos.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:42 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Not necessarily. Is there a best case scenario for a no deal Brexit? Any plan is going to be a flavour of clusterfuck. There's not exactly much between what's on the document and complete anarchy.

No, the point is that he is lying about the specific classification of this document. The document which was released as “reasonable worst case planning assumptions” is in fact the civil service’s “base scenario”. Under normal circumstances this intentional falsehood would result in an immediate resignation, but it’s the Tories so all bets are off.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:47 PM on September 12 [7 favorites]


Being willing to tell deliberate bald-faced lies to the public, parliament, the queen and the courts seems to be a requirement for being a senior minister these days instead of grounds for resignation. One can only imagine the evisceration the press would be giving a Corbyn cabinet pulling a fraction of this shit.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:11 PM on September 12 [8 favorites]


they were far short of the reams of documents one would expect of any bureaucratic preparations, showing that the Government is continuing its approach of giving Parliament as little as it can get away with

I dunno, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this was all they had.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 10:22 PM on September 12 [5 favorites]


Just realised I was burbling in the previous thread that's now pretty dead, so possibly worth re-posting in this one about how the impact of EU tariffs is going to be a widespread problem.
---

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 otherwise they'll be 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 immediately due to disruption, 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 11:47 PM on September 12 [20 favorites]


I dunno, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this was all they had.

Some people on Twitter have been talking about a past document that was 37 pages long, and Anna Soubry has highlighted the "detailed & frank assessments of preparedness or otherwise for #NoDeal" that she saw in March.
posted by rory at 11:56 PM on September 12 [4 favorites]


Chris Dillow: Doubting Disaster Capitalism:
Yes, it is likely that the uncertainty caused by a no-deal Brexit will cause some companies to be mispriced, just as the shock of the 2016 referendum result did*. And some people will make money from this, just as a few capitalists occasionally do well at any time.

But the idea that there’s a cabal of masterminds engineering Brexit in order to profit from such mispricings seems implausible. As every equity investor knows, there’s a world of difference between knowing that there are some mispricings out there and being able to profit from them. The record shows that fund managers lack the skills to do so.

Yes, some Brexiters have taken aggressive positions. But I suspect this is an example of correlation without causality. Support for a hard Brexit is an out-of-consensus position among financiers, most of whom back Remain. And people who take contra-consensus views on one thing are likely to take aggressive positions on other things. But this doesn’t mean they are right.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:59 PM on September 12 [3 favorites]


Some people on Twitter have been talking about a past document that was 37 pages long, and Anna Soubry has highlighted the "detailed & frank assessments of preparedness or otherwise for #NoDeal" that she saw in March.
posted by rory at 11:56 PM on September 12 [+] [!]


Well, if I were a civil servant, I'd be cranking out reports like a mad person, in the hope of stopping Brexit.
posted by mumimor at 12:20 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I wonder if naming this exercise "Yellowhammer" was some civil servant's idea of a sly little joke?

The Yellowhammer is a native British bird whose song is often written onamatopoeically as "a little bit of bread and no cheese". Given the study's conclusions on likely food shortages, that seems uncannily apt.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:25 AM on September 13 [5 favorites]


Rainbow Codes have a long history.
posted by ryanrs at 12:43 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


About the chlorinated chickens, this a Guardian article in which an American ambassador gets to say that the US has the best food safety and no one comments or questions him. (Reader, they don't, or rather, the data isn't structured like that).
His clear signal that agriculture should be part of a trade deal faces ministers with difficult choices. Farmers fear being undercut by lower-standard imports, while supermarkets are concerned that they will be blamed over any future food safety scares.

Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union, told the Guardian: “Even if we leave the EU with a deal, there is a very real risk that we will have to compete with food imports that have been produced using methods and products that would be illegal on British farms. We need a clear commitment from government that it will set up a trade and standards commission to provide certainty for both farmers and the British public that our values of food production will be respected post-Brexit.”
The EU and the US have different approaches to food safety, animal welfare and the environmental effects of agriculture overall, it's not just chickens, and even if someone thinks it would be a good idea for the UK to change its production towards US regulations, that would be a costly process, where thousands will loose their farms on the way. Also, the low prices on US products depend not only on a different regulative regime, but also on cheap, immigrant labor. The very thing Brexit was meant to stop happening.
One little detail: I was making Irish stew the other night, and looked at the internet for inspiration. It turns out that Americans don't like lamb or mutton and replace it with beef in the stew. Who knew? Within the UK, many people only like the chops and leg of lamb, and most of the rest of the animal goes to the continent. So in the bright new hard Brexit future, British sheep farmers won't be able to export to the US, because they don't eat lamb, least of all the parts the British don't like. And they won't easily be able to export to the EU because of stiff tariffs and a different regulative regime.
posted by mumimor at 1:25 AM on September 13 [8 favorites]


Also, the low prices on US products depend not only on a different regulative regime, but also on cheap, immigrant labor. The very thing Brexit was meant to stop happening.

I think you're underestimating how many people are OK with brown people being exploited as long as they don't have to deal with them also living in the same place.

See also: pretty much all capitalist supply chains.
posted by jaduncan at 1:48 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I think you're underestimating how many people are OK with brown people being exploited as long as they don't have to deal with them also living in the same place.

Oh, I know. But if British farmers want to be competitive, they will need to import cheap labor (they already do, but from the EU). And farms generally are in Brexit-land, no big ag in London or even in Scotland.
posted by mumimor at 1:55 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Oh, I assumed you meant that we'd just take US big ag stuff and people might have a problem with that. My apologies.
posted by jaduncan at 1:57 AM on September 13


I understand that Hartlepool Borough Council is now under the control of the Brexit Party.

It seems to me that we now have an ideal solution to Brexit. Hartlepool can leave the EU with no deal on 31 October. Anyone wishing to live in an independent non-EU free port can move to Hartlepool and live in glorious freedom. The rest of us can get on with our lives.
posted by winterhill at 2:51 AM on September 13 [6 favorites]


And farms generally are in Brexit-land, no big ag in London or even in Scotland.
mumimor, I've seen this sort of thing in a few posts from you lately. You seem to have this black-and-white idea that some parts of the country are "Brexit-land" and other parts of the country aren't. There is higher support for Brexit in certain areas of the country, and it does often correlate with rural and less affluent areas, but you can't write off entire swathes of England as full of Brexit fans and beyond redemption.

I've said this before, but there are Brexit supporters everywhere. Yes, there are even Brexit-supporting Londoners and Scots. Conversely, there are an awful lot of us in areas that you frequently write off as "Leave-land" who are 100% in favour of remaining in the EU. Please stop dividing the country in that way - it's a lot more nuanced.
posted by winterhill at 2:57 AM on September 13 [16 favorites]


> Anyone wishing to live in an independent non-EU free port can move to Hartlepool and live in glorious freedom. The rest of us can get on with our lives.

> Conversely, there are an awful lot of us in areas that you frequently write off as "Leave-land" who are 100% in favour of remaining in the EU.


Back to back comments. We all simplify sometimes.
posted by stonepharisee at 3:07 AM on September 13 [9 favorites]


winterhill, I'm so sorry if that is your impression. I'm struggling with family members who are ardent Brexiteers, and my own anger about that. My sarcasm hides grief. I'm among those who believe there isn't even a majority for Brexit anymore, and I agree completely with everything you say.
But, it seems to me that those people who actually do want Leave (and I'm not thinking about the rich people in power) need to know that what they voted for will give the opposite results. When I talk with my stepdad and other family members about Brexit, I often use information here from Metafilter, it rarely convinces anyone, but at least I'm arguing from facts. My siblings won't even talk with them, because of the racism and ignorance.
posted by mumimor at 3:08 AM on September 13 [19 favorites]


Back to back comments. We all simplify sometimes.
One was a joke, the other wasn't. I would never seriously suggest anyone move to Hartlepool.
posted by winterhill at 3:09 AM on September 13 [15 favorites]


I understand that Hartlepool Borough Council is now under the control of the Brexit Party.

I remember David Icke once forecasting a terrible fate for Hartlepool. This might be it.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 3:19 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


Chris Grey's latest is a fine read as always.
posted by rory at 3:22 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


Actually the reports from Hartlepool are a bit disingenuous. The council remains under no overall control. The Brexit-Tory group is the largest working group, with 12 councillors out of 33 in total, and as such they 'administer'; they do not govern. (The Labour group is actually larger - 14 - but is split by infighting between moderate and Scargillite factions.) I would expect any attempt at passing anything skeevy to be voted down appropriately.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 3:31 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


The whole idea of voting single-issue parties dealing with a national issue onto the local council seems silly to me. I felt the same when UKIP councillors were being voted in all over the place. The borough council deals with local issues - social care, the roads and bins, planning. They don't deal with the national government's relations with the EU. It's just a bit daft - I've always voted in local elections on local issues.
posted by winterhill at 3:34 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I looked it up as well and on first view it does seem to be slightly different from 'in control'. However, of the 33 councillors, as well as 9 Brexit and 3 Tory there is 1 UKIP and 1 'For Britain' councillor (the latter maybe the worst of all) and then 5 independents, so I guess a lot depends how they sway. Certainly could be enough for a very right leaning council.
posted by biffa at 3:38 AM on September 13


biffa: "For Britain" are out-and-out fascists.
posted by winterhill at 3:43 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


It’s always been ironic that the one place extremists are most likely to be able to gain a tiny smidgen of power (due to low turnouts and stakes) is also the place their general shitness at actually governing or caring about governance is most manifest. Racists and fascists are rubbish at running councils.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:07 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


I go with the shorthand précis "Fascists don't do bins".
posted by Grangousier at 4:12 AM on September 13 [12 favorites]


*redacted* ...This leads to significant financial losses and announcement of two refinery closures ...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. */redacted*

There is some discussion about why problems with refineries is potentially so serious at the bottom of the previous thread. The essence of the problem is not so much as refinery output may be reduced - but rather that this may lead to panic buying on forecourts that exhausts supplies and compounds all the other issues going on at the time time. The fuels crisis in 2000 provides a salutary story here: a refinery was blockaded on a Friday and some more were affected over the weekend. Some motorists and businesses decided to fill up their tanks and petrol stations started to run out of supplies. The empty petrol stations became a media item and this led to a spread of the problem. By Tuesday, 3,000 filling stations were run dry and forecasters were predicting all supplies to have run out by the following Friday. The government took emergency action on the Tuesday - in terms of removing the blockades - but still it took 2 weeks or so for life to get back to normal.

The problem with items like fuel (or - famously toilet paper) is that they are manufactured and delivered to consumers on a hard-core "just in time basis" - because they are especially problematic to transport and store. If everybody fills up their vehicles every fortnight or month - then the system copes well. But as soon as demand spikes, there is a risk of supplies running out. And if supplies run out that becomes a media event - first on social media and then on broadcast. Which makes the problem worse. Fuel is an especially acute case because nobody: businesses, commuters, emergency services, elderly Sunday drivers - want to run out.

If a "no deal" Brexit is approaching would you want to fill up your car's tank just in case? I think I would. I would choose to do it just a few days before the event itself - because I can't stockpile. So would you, I suppose. If we are all agreed on this action and timing - even in complete isolation from everything else - is a major problem.
posted by rongorongo at 4:23 AM on September 13 [17 favorites]


If a "no deal" Brexit is approaching would you want to fill up your car's tank just in case?
I don't let it go below half-empty at present. We're only a Trump tweet away from another huge spike in oil prices, if he decides to threaten Iran again. Even without Brexit and the weak pound, petrol prices are really fragile to external factors right now.
posted by winterhill at 4:29 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


UK legal Twitter is having a ball over the Court of Session judgement (and the incredibly bone-headed hot takes from Brexiteers, but that's just for passing amusement). For those looking forwards to the SC next week, this is particularly interesting...

Important on >1 level, at [28]:
"Scots and English law were not necessarily the same as regards the use of prerogative powers (Admiralty v Blair’s Trustees 1916 SC 247 at 266). If there was any difference, the law that was more limiting of executive power should be preferred."
Quote Tweet

posted by Devonian at 4:32 AM on September 13 [6 favorites]


The hashtag #fuckoffscotland is currently trending.

It’s around 25% outraged Brexiteers discovering that being in a union of nations implies respecting the different legal codes of the constituent nations and 75% delighted Scots basking in the schadenfreude of the English not liking being told what to do by another part of the UK.

Another nail in the coffin, for sure.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:37 AM on September 13 [14 favorites]


I'm somebody who consistently tops up when the tank registers at 3/4 full. This is absolutely a paranoid hangover from my late teens and early twenties, when I was too broke to keep a full tank. I get anxious now, even when it barely drops below full. It's great to be able to just shut up my anxiety brain by topping up, to have a more privileged life now than I did back then that allows me to do so, but I think I'm fairly unusual in my anxiety around fuel, for someone who does have the means to fill it as needed, when there isn't really a crisis (yet). I'm still following my topping up procedure as usual, which will at least keep me away from the forecourt panic buying when and if it hits. Also, I am still young enough and fit enough to walk most anywhere I need to go, short-term, to conserve the fuel I have, as I don't need to drive to a job that's at best a long and unreliable bus ride away.

Here's the thing: Due to the crappiness of public transport for large areas of the Wirral, where I presently live, we have a hell of a lot of private car hire making up the gaps in the bus and light rail coverage. Every time I am doing my paranoid top-up on the forecourt, there's at least one private car hire driver also putting fuel in his car. Every time I am at one of our big grocery stores, there is a queue of people waiting by the phone that goes directly to a private car hire firm, to have themselves and their groceries driven home. People use them to get to and from work, and the drivers are going to effectively lose their jobs if they can't get fuel. Things are going to get real bad, real fast, if the fuel supply is radically reduced.
posted by skybluepink at 4:47 AM on September 13 [10 favorites]


biffa: "For Britain" are out-and-out fascists.

Yes, that's why I said 'worst of all'.
posted by biffa at 5:37 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Government figures are pushing the line that the released Yellowhammer document is a "worst case", rather than the base scenario shown on the version given to the Scottish Government, but it looks as if the government's actual worst-case scenario (rumoured to be called Black Swan) might soon emerge. The prospective Lib Dem candidate in Uxbridge, Dr Liz Evenden-Kenyon, is checking a leaked version before going public - she and her staff are cautious about inadvertently spreading a fake and discrediting the case against No Deal.

In other news, the UK has presented the EU with its plan to replace the backstop: "Ireland-specific" arrangements for checking goods away from the border.
posted by rory at 5:55 AM on September 13 [10 favorites]


rongorongo, my exact plan was... fill up a few days before D1ND. I guess it now changes to "watch for the start of queueing, and join early". Fortunately I live more-or-less next to a petrol station.

Next payday is the big non-perishable Brexit shop. Fuuuuck this government for making me have to think about supply chains and food shortages. For even considering impoverishing the union as an acceptable outcome.

< long comment of other reasons redacted due to time and space considerations >
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 5:56 AM on September 13 [6 favorites]


The 2000 fuel crisis stuck with me as it started the same weekend as my sister's wedding halfway across the country, and we ended up siphoning petrol from my car to fill up my dad's so we could all go together and get back afterwards without sitting through a massive queue for a fill up or risk not getting any at all. The guest list was also somewhat depleted! We all assumed it'd be sorted out the following week (oops!) The other major issue was when supermarkets started to run out of bread and fresh fruit (due to the impact on fuel for delivery trucks) which sparked a further round of panic buying there too. My mum was still a district nurse at that point, so when the government got army supplies through to designated stations that only emergency service people were allowed to use she was still able to go to work. Petrol started to become available again after about a week due to police and army escorts of the fuel lorries through the protests, though it took at least two before it started to resemble normal.

The other thing of course is that back in 2000 most people were still getting the news from the TV and radio, which is why the panic buying didn't really kick into gear until Sunday/Monday. With social media, any protests now at the refineries would trigger panic buying at record speed. I just have to mention 'KFC chicken crisis' and UK people will know exactly what I mean (which was incidentally also a JIT delivery problem) - but this time, not just affecting one fast food chain, but fuel, and thus deliveries of *everything*, including food, at the same time as a 50% cut in throughput in Dover of food and medicine, and 2 day queues there.

The prospect of things spiralling out of control really quickly, as different issues combine and feed into each other should not be easily discounted in the event of us crashing out.

The 2000 crisis was also a big part of the cause of the civil contingencies act 2004, which allows the government in an emergency to add regulations without Parliament approval for 30 days, changing any law bar the Human Rights Act, along with a lot of other powers. Which with this government right now, is scary enough regardless of anything else. E.g. might they manufacture an 'emergency' to use the CCA in October to nullify the Benn law that requires asking for an extension? I would bet money that Cummings has at least thought about it.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:22 AM on September 13 [13 favorites]


Revolution and counter-revolution Chris Grey analysing how Jacobinism and McCarthyism frame this week's developments including prorogation, rule of law, Yellowhammer, Bercow. And some other thoughts.
posted by adamvasco at 6:33 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


There was already talk, reasonably quickly scotched, that they might try to use the CCA to get around the Benn-Letwin amendment. As the tweet notes, the courts would almost certainly knock that down and fast.

As I noted in the last thread, it's the inevitability of the use of the CCA after a No Deal Brexit that should really concern us all.
posted by deeker at 6:46 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


In other news, the UK has presented the EU with its plan to replace the backstop: "Ireland-specific" arrangements for checking goods away from the border.

As a sometime spectator to fraught intergovernmental negotiations (I'm there to do a little song and dance and then sit quietly like the meeting wall-meat I am), I've seen this sort of commitment to examine an issue usually derided as "a plan to make a plan". This tactic is universally and immediately dismissed as non-substantive and non-responsive. Good to see the EU isn't willing to take the same bullshit either.
posted by bonehead at 7:10 AM on September 13 [10 favorites]


In other news, the UK has presented the EU with its plan to replace the backstop: "Ireland-specific" arrangements for checking goods away from the border.

So they're going to create a border and a smuggler's paradise for the New Troubles to fundraise with?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:00 AM on September 13 [5 favorites]


So considering how much the Brexit referendum was fuelled by fearmongering about immigration, this is very interesting: Brexit: Public believes immigration can be controlled without leaving EU in remarkable turnaround, survey finds
posted by jason_steakums at 8:15 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Hunh, I wonder where they got those wrong ideas....
posted by wenestvedt at 9:03 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Nicola Sturgeon, as noted up-thread, was able to produce the unaltered Yellowhammer document, with "base scenario" rather than "reasonable assumptions worst case scenario." So she had Yellowhammer.

It seems very much that BlackSwan, mentioned up-thread indeed exists. Such was the reporting back when Yellowhammer was leaked and the up-thread Uxbridge candidate has decided (pinned tweet) to pass it on to a journalist. Seems likely it discusses martial law, Civil Contingencies activation, scale of civil disturbance, large-scale avoidable deaths and more. We may find out soon.

Now, either Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government also have Black Swan (in which case kudos for not just constantly crying in public, wondering who in your audience will die unnecessarily) or they don't - perhaps because one of the first steps will surely be, almost necessarily, to shut down the Scottish Government/Parliament). So SG wouldn't need it.

Back in August, Sturgeon did say, "It is no longer ridiculous to say that a Prime Minister that's prepared to shut down the House of Commons wouldn't be prepared to do that to the Scottish Parliament."

I do hope this is crazy talk brought on by overthinking things but that I find I can think along these lines, rather than telling excitable types not to be daft, is terrifying.
posted by deeker at 10:22 AM on September 13 [16 favorites]


Actually, the Wikipedia page for Yellowhammer, which makes use of the August leak reporting and other documents, as well as the six-pager we got released the other day, is worth reading all the way through.
posted by deeker at 10:38 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


The government took emergency action on the Tuesday - in terms of removing the blockades - but still it took 2 weeks or so for life to get back to normal.

The problem with items like fuel (or - famously toilet paper) is that they are manufactured and delivered to consumers on a hard-core "just in time basis" - because they are especially problematic to transport and store.


The supply problems of a D1ND won't be able to be handled in the same way as the 2000 crisis. Because this is a genuine lack of supply rather than a social blockade. Which will get ratcheted up by the panic buying and hording.

Has any developed country ever shot themselves in the foot this way since say 1970 outside of war? One of my existential fears has always been a break down down in JIT supply chains and I'm finding all the hypotheticals of the D1ND landscape interesting. Would be up to reading about actual JIT systematic failures.
posted by Mitheral at 11:09 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Wait two months and you'll be able to read the revised edition in real time
posted by deeker at 11:12 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Turns out, this proverb can apply to a whole country.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:18 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


After the shortened Yellowhammer and lies from Grove there are murmurings of a Black Swan document.
Dr. Elizabeth Evenden Kenyon the Lib Dem PPC for Uxbridge :
Twitter
#BlackSwan: *apparently* (in its redacted #Yellowhammer version) there is mention of:
1. Martial law
2. Significant fuel shortages
3. Unnecessary deaths re drugs & social care.
After consideration, I will hand over our findings to mainstream media contact *soon*. #LibDemLiz
She apparantly has photographs of a document.
posted by adamvasco at 4:34 PM on September 13 [13 favorites]


mumimor: "One little detail: I was making Irish stew the other night, and looked at the internet for inspiration. It turns out that Americans don't like lamb or mutton and replace it with beef in the stew. Who knew?"

I know this is very minor, but fwiw: Mutton is basically unknown in the US. Lamb, while less popular than in the UK, is definitely found in any decent-sized supermarket, and you will not infrequently see lamb chops on the menu at fancier restaurants. So, not a staple, but not something that's completely foreign to people.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:52 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I know this is very minor, but fwiw: Mutton is basically unknown in the US. Lamb, while less popular than in the UK, is definitely found in any decent-sized supermarket, and you will not infrequently see lamb chops on the menu at fancier restaurants. So, not a staple, but not something that's completely foreign to people.

Yeah about the only place I can find leg of lamb in the US is Costco or when my local butcher gets a whole carcass in. The local supermarket has shoulder chops and, occasionally, some nice loin chops, but they're by a supplier and the in house butcher doesn't get full lamb carcasses. Which is a pity because lamb is some of the nicest tasting roast meat you can get.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:05 PM on September 13


"Mutton is basically unknown in the US. Lamb, while less popular than in the UK, is definitely found in any decent-sized supermarket"

Psst -- US federal regulations allow the labeling of all sheep products as "lamb." So you've definitely had mutton, it was just dressed as lamb.

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:09 PM on September 13 [48 favorites]


Halal butchers are likely to have mutton and you should be ashamed of that pun.
posted by bq at 10:44 PM on September 13 [9 favorites]


I don't know that it's a pun. I mean, that's literally what "mutton dressed as lamb" means ("dressed" meaning "presented" or "served" rather than anything with frills and ribbons).
posted by Grangousier at 3:49 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


Well, it is a pun, but this is probably the only context in which it can be used. I laughed.
posted by mumimor at 4:24 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


The problem with items like fuel (or - famously toilet paper) is that they are manufactured and delivered to consumers on a hard-core "just in time basis" - because they are especially problematic to transport and store.

A good way to think about this is that toilet paper is not very valuable and takes up a lot of space. Land and property prices in the UK are very high for a variety of reasons, but to a first approximation because it’s a small island with a lot of people (about 20% of the US population in about 2.5% of the space) and so storage costs a lot. If you own a warehouse, you are going to prefer to store low-volume, costly items because you can hold more of them and the owner of the items can pay you more. I don’t think that the UK is ever likely to run out of wine, for example, but it will rapidly run out of bog paper with any disruption in supply. So buy your copies of the Mail / Telegraph / Murdoch papers now.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 7:42 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]


...it will rapidly run out of bog paper with any disruption in supply. So buy your copies of the Mail / Telegraph / Murdoch papers now.

They're no good as bog roll because they're full of shit already.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:04 AM on September 14 [14 favorites]


But what will happen to the supplies of mint sauce? (now there's an offence against the culinary arts which I am ashamed to like... Asterix chez les Bretons has the right idea.)

In other essential shortages news: I've had to send out for fresh outrage, now that Cameron has lifted his snout to the microphone and re-entered the Brexit debate... on the day his new book is out. Just in case you thought the man who destroyed his party and the country was anything other than a self-serving sociopath. At least it's annoying Johnson and adding to his very considerable list of miseries.
posted by Devonian at 9:09 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


But what will happen to the supplies of mint sauce?

Mint sauce is trivial to make. I make it for my roast lamb. Fresh mint, 1:1 ratio of vinegar to sugar. Heat and let infuse.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:11 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


And you don't really need toilet paper as long as you have a water supply handy although I expect most people would find another alternative. But speaking of newspapers, do any of the paper mills in the UK actually produce newsprint? It'd be a shame if the Daily Mail, The Sun, Telegraph etc got caught short. Not everyone wants to read the online editions.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:14 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


It'd be a shame if the Daily Mail, The Sun, Telegraph etc got caught short.

Would it? Maybe for the last one. The Mail by all rights has far worse coming to them than running out of paper.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:11 PM on September 14


Would it? Maybe for the last one.

The Torygraph, recently the mouthpiece for the most extreme wing of the government, would not a much bigger loss than the Mail or Sun, which I believe is the sarcastic implication of "it'd be a shame if..." schadenfreude.
posted by Dysk at 1:54 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]



And you don't really need toilet paper as long as you have a water supply handy


Faced with the idea of doing something so... continental... I suspect many Brexiters would spontaneously combust before doing so.

At the very least they'd have to rebrand the bidet as something with good, honest British appeal. Bulldog basins, or ArseFountains maybe...
posted by barnsoir at 3:02 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Johnson is on the front page of today's Mail on Sunday with some gibberish about the Incredible Hulk (no, really), but he's also quoted as saying he will ignore the law requiring him to request an extension from the EU if no agreement has been reached.

He's apparently meeting Juncker tomorrow, so I suspect this is a blustering attempt to intimidate the EU into backing down during whatever conversation they have, but just the suggestion that the Prime Minister will ignore the law is incredibly damaging. We can't really lecture the likes of China on the rule of law and democracy in Hong Kong at this point, can we?
posted by winterhill at 3:15 AM on September 15 [21 favorites]


I’m an accountant supporting small local businesses, Brexit will really harm, I’ve done a ton of research trying to understand Brexit. Along the way I’ve discovered some circles of self interest, I would like to share some of these with you. (thread)
posted by adamvasco at 4:31 AM on September 15 [7 favorites]


And you don't really need toilet paper as long as you have a water supply handy

An un-polluted water supply, as dysentery and cholera suck.
posted by mikelieman at 5:51 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Faced with the idea of doing something so... continental... I suspect many Brexiters would spontaneously combust before doing so.

On the other hand, it has been pointed out that, as medicine rationing becomes a real possibility, the BBC has been running an unusual number of stories casting doubt on whether medicine is all that helpful or whether it does more harm than good. Meanwhile, the vanguard of the Brexit culture war is rife with toxic masculinity, and aggressive posturing about being a Real Man (see also: wanting less efficient lightbulbs, running cyclists off the road and such). At the extreme ends of toxic masculinity are the literally shitty men who believe that wiping after going to the toilet would make them gay. As such, we may expect to see “real men don't wipe their bums” migrate into the mainstream of post-Brexit British Manly Stoicism or something like that.
posted by acb at 5:57 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]


The George Monbiot guide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
(5min 10 sec.)
posted by adamvasco at 6:10 AM on September 15


literally shitty men
It was a dark day when I found out about this phenomenon on the internet, and I continue to hope that it's restricted to a small minority. I have enough potential dating pitfalls to worry about as a heterosexual woman in the Year of our Lord 2019, and I really, really don't want this to be one of them.
posted by confluency at 6:28 AM on September 15 [11 favorites]


I... had assumed that was a joke. I take it I shouldn't try to find out more than was summarised above?
posted by deeker at 6:35 AM on September 15 [4 favorites]


Cory Doctorow, writing on Boing Boing, coined perhaps the best name for this phenomenon: septic masculinity.
posted by acb at 6:42 AM on September 15 [17 favorites]


Jesus. When you wish with every fibre of your being every day wasn't necessarily a school day.
posted by deeker at 6:56 AM on September 15 [3 favorites]


An un-polluted water supply, as dysentery and cholera suck.

Lord help you if you get your water from Southwark and Vauxhall Company, or the Lambeth Water Company.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:43 AM on September 15 [1 favorite]


Today's most astonishing development is the Mail and the Times campaigning against the RNLI. Because, you see, the RNLI spends around two percent of its money abroad on anti-drowning training among rural communities.

So yes, the Mail and the Times want brown people - especially brown children - to drown.

This aspect of the RNLI's work is in its constitution. It is, penny for penny, one of the most efficient ways to save life there is. Further, the RNLI is one of the finest institutions humanity has produced, and there is not a single person in the UK who doesn't know this. Except, oddly, journalists on the Mail and the Times, and whoever's writing the curiously stilted support tweets ("It's foreign aid by the back door, without parliamentary supervision!" er, wot?).

A couple of weeks ago, there was a story that Number 10 was wargaming 'patriotic' racist, homophobic, transphobic and generally toxic messaging as a way to swing voters to the Tories. I very much suspect that this is part of that, and I now realise that I was wrong when I thought my loathing and antipathy for these people was at 100% saturation and incapable of increase.

Furious.
posted by Devonian at 11:00 AM on September 15 [54 favorites]


Weaponized trolling isn't just for the Russians any more. The vast majority of the shit stirring "extremists" on Twitter aren't actually real, yet the media reports on Twitter controversies as if they aren't almost all 99,996 bots and four real people.
posted by wierdo at 1:18 PM on September 15 [4 favorites]


And the adoption of a Putinist mentality in Number 10 is an ominous sign. How far will it extend? Would it extend to, say, using strategic ambiguity around the Irish border to destabilise a neighbouring EU member state? Or using deniable paramilitaries to create a frozen conflict?
posted by acb at 1:53 PM on September 15 [3 favorites]


Or using deniable paramilitaries to create a frozen conflict?

That's not a British MO. The British just send in the army under the guise of keeping order, have them shoot the Irish, then clear the soldiers using a committee designed to whitewash them.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:04 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


Oh no, that was precisely the British MO in NI for decades. (I'd actually assumed that was the 'joke,' as it were, that made me recommend acb's comment!) The Dirty War dirtied many hands, including successive UK governments.

From the start Tories and Unionists were happy to use paramilitary forces in Ireland. Admittedly, at that point they were quite open about it.

After
partition, the RUC's complicity (up to and including overlapping membership) with Loyalist paramilitaries is well-known.

The UK has form in using deniable paramilitaries in a frozen NI conflict in living memory
posted by deeker at 2:20 PM on September 15 [15 favorites]


See also: British Military Intelligence and the clandestine intelligence gathering bodies.
posted by deeker at 2:22 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]



From the start Tories and Unionists were happy to use paramilitary forces in Ireland. Admittedly, at that point they were quite open about it.

To be fair, the Unionist paramilitaries would have happily slaughtered Republicans with or without government support.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:36 PM on September 15


Today's most astonishing development is the Mail and the Times campaigning against the RNLI. Because, you see, the RNLI spends around two percent of its money abroad on anti-drowning training among rural communities.

Yes, it's an outrage, according to the three obvious bots [1, 2, 3] on Twitter which are literally the only quoted sources for their side of the Mirror's story about this manufactured controversy. But stay tuned! Next up we have an important announcement from an anonymous post on 4chan.

A few years ago, the last time some lazy reporter was desperate to gin up a story out of the RNLI's annual report, it was a burst of kerfuffle about them being so successful at fundraising that it had built up hundreds of millions of pounds in reserves.

A common theme of the discussions that followed, as I recall, was people saying that perhaps the RNLI should do more to help overseas organisations that didn't have the same level of resources, rather than finding ways to spend even more money on the UK national lifeboat fleet - which already has top notch, state of the art, purpose built kit across the board.

Anyway, having been pulled out of sticky situations twice by the RNLI, they can take my donations and use them wherever the fuck they like. But I doubt the journalists will be lining up to quote me on that.
posted by automatronic at 3:40 PM on September 15 [15 favorites]


I don't let it go below half-empty at present. We're only a Trump tweet away from another huge spike in oil prices, if he decides to threaten Iran again.

I hate to be the one that tells you this, winterhill, but it seems like here we go.
posted by Harald74 at 11:14 PM on September 15 [5 favorites]


I'm reading today about Johnson making secretive plans with the ERG to exploit a loophole in the Benn act to make it look like he's adhering to the letter of the law while actually getting ready to "deliver" No Deal. I genuinely don't understand why this little cabal are so hell-bent on something that's so obviously an act of self-harm.

I don't know who No Deal is going to benefit. It's going to be bad for ordinary people. It's going to be bad for big business. It's going to be bad for the public sector and universities and science. It's tempting to think that there's a shadowy group of people with short positions on GBP who stand to benefit, or that it's all about avoiding EU money-laundering and tax-dodging regulations, because it's an explanation for the unexplainable. But if you're a dodgy oligarch or amoral money-grabbing hedge-fund manager, there are easier ways to make megabucks than a multi-year political project to crash the UK. So why No Deal? I'm more inclined to ascribe it to pig-headed politicians not wanting to admit they've fucked up rather than some shady conspiracy. We haven't sent our best people to Westminster for decades.

If you're thinking of going it alone as an economy, I can't think of many worse times to do it. The house of cards that is China's Potemkin economy is looking increasingly dodgy and they're doing what all these dictatorships do when the economy looks shonky and clamping down on human rights. Europe's growth has been weak at best since the crash and is now looking like it's petering out entirely. There are unhinged lunatics with their hands on the levers of power in major countries like the USA, Russia and Brazil. And now, to make things more fun, we've got an oil price shock right as the colder weather starts to set in.

Of course, we never did go it alone. When we were a swashbuckling empire on which the sun never set and the world's richest everything, it wasn't Britain making all that money, it was Britain nicking it from occupied territories around the world. That (thankfully) is never going to happen again. I just can't figure out No Deal, and who benefits.
posted by winterhill at 2:52 AM on September 16 [26 favorites]


I don't want to be excessively cynical and fearmongering, but it's amazing the things you can get away with as a government if you can declare a state of emergency. All that's needed for that is the actual emergency.
posted by Grangousier at 3:18 AM on September 16 [6 favorites]


The house of cards that is China's Potemkin economy is looking increasingly dodgy and they're doing what all these dictatorships do when the economy looks shonky and clamping down on human rights. Europe's growth has been weak at best since the crash and is now looking like it's petering out entirely. There are unhinged lunatics with their hands on the levers of power in major countries like the USA, Russia and Brazil.

Seriously, it feels like Children of Men but with kids still around.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:19 AM on September 16 [16 favorites]


I wrote a Brexit poem for some reason:

Deliveries

What people want is for us to
Get on with it and
Deliver Brexit

As if it were a pizza
Carelessly slung together by underpaid teenagers
In a sweaty kitchen

As if it were a baby
Hauled screaming from the womb by an immigrant midwife
After a difficult gestation

As if it were a cricket ball
Bowled hard and fast onto a sticky wicket
Now hurtling directly towards

This batless country’s bollocks.
posted by ZipRibbons at 3:51 AM on September 16 [33 favorites]


So why No Deal? I'm more inclined to ascribe it to pig-headed politicians not wanting to admit they've fucked up rather than some shady conspiracy.

My wild guess is that right now, they are playing acts to both sides. They're making a lot of noise about still trying for a deal, and a lot of noise about preparing for no deal.

When the dust settles on an extension - whether because Johnson caved or the courts did it for him - they will be able to play the martyr on both fronts.

"We offered them a great deal, but the mean, nasty, unfair EU wouldn't agree to it"

and

"We were ready to walk away with no deal and it would have been fine, but the traitorous, undemocratic Remoaners in Parliament and the courts stopped us"

Remember, winning is practically a liability for these people. But a good stab in the back story is like a pure, sweet, blissful drug to their supporters. And the fact it's utter bullshit has never mattered before.
posted by automatronic at 4:18 AM on September 16 [22 favorites]


Peter Foster, the Telegraph's Europe editor, sets out possible deals & likelihood of the passing EU/HoC.

It is... not encouraging.
posted by deeker at 4:22 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]


Remember, winning is practically a liability for these people.

So true. Remember Johnson's white face on the day of the referendum result?

Like many I'm suffering repetitive cognitive dissonance injury so I do my best to tune out the news. The alternating current strategy of switching at high frequency between "no deal is a million to one" and "we will no deal on 31 October" is very wearing on the psyche if you pay too much (any) attention.

The EU are clearly waiting for Johnson to tell him what he can get through parliament (short of a blank cheque). It doesn't matter what can be negotiated, it's what can get assent.

Johnson has destroyed his majority within his own party and made it impossible to pick up votes elsewhere. Removing guarantees on environmental protections, workers rights etc has made it very hard for even a hardcore Lexit MP to vote for a Conservative WA/PD.

So it's either no deal or kicking the can down the road for an election. Likeliest outcome of an election is another hung parliament, with the "reasonable worst case" scenario being a Conservative majority government. So either more can kicking, or no deal.

This would be a great time to go off grid for several months.
posted by dudleian at 5:49 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, I remember from a few days ago (roughly 300 years in subjective Brexit-time) that France, or at least Macron, was playing hardball with the extension, saying "no more of this every-three-months review, take two years or GTFO". Is that still the plan? Because even though doing so makes reaching the extension agreement much harder, it'd be really nice to have the deadline pushed way back instead of doing this all over again in a few months.

Two years is an eternity. TIme for a general election, a second referendum, who knows what else. I mean, it seems likely that a two-year extension's primary result would be 23 months of relieved inactivity on all sides and then a month of panicked negotiation for another extension, but, hey, maybe not this time? Like Nasreddin, I am willing to believe the horse might sing.
posted by jackbishop at 6:10 AM on September 16 [8 favorites]


Remember, winning is practically a liability for these people.

So true. Remember Johnson's white face on the day of the referendum result?


This will be David Cameron at 8pm tonight (from the Guardians advance coverage of the interview):
He [David Cameron] said Boris Johnson told him in a text message sent shortly before he publicly announced that he was campaigning for leave that he expected Brexit to be “crushed” in the referendum. Asked what he thought were Johnson’s motives for supporting leave, Cameron said:
My conclusion is; he thought that the Brexit vote would be lost but he didn’t want to give up the chance of being on the romantic, patriotic nationalistic side of Brexit.

Minutes before he went out to explain why he was going to be on the side of Brexit, he sent me a text saying, ‘Brexit will be crushed like a toad under the harrow.’... but I can only conclude that—he’d never argued for it before; he thought it was going to lose and that’s why he made the choice.
The UK is so fucked. Nobody has a fucking clue.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:17 AM on September 16 [15 favorites]


Just had a flyer through the door that looks remarkably like Tory election propaganda. "We'll deliver brexit by the 31st and then get on with more police, schools, etc". I could fucking spit.
posted by Dysk at 8:02 AM on September 16 [6 favorites]


I genuinely don't understand why this little cabal are so hell-bent on something that's so obviously an act of self-harm.

This is a big part of why I'm a believer in the tax dodge theory. What other factor is there that would make this such a hard deadline? (Serious question)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:04 AM on September 16 [7 favorites]


It appears the Incredible Hulk, as Johnson described himself (and got smashed down by recent Hulk Mark Ruffalo), just got empty-chaired by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg.
posted by vickyverky at 8:09 AM on September 16 [14 favorites]


There were protesters at the scheduled outdoor press conference, so Johnson ... ran away?

From the Guardian live feed: "Then Bettel just let rip. People often wonder what EU leaders say or think about Johnson in private. Well, now we know. The leave campaign was a pack of lies, Johnson’s talk of progress in the Brexit negotiations is unfounded, the UK still has not come up with any ideas about an alternative to the backstop. On and on he went, with particular emphasis on the point that the UK, not the EU, was to blame for the crisis. It was a “nightmare” for EU citizens, said Bettel. At several points he was loudly applauded by the protesters, because they felt he was articulating their anger."
posted by vickyverky at 8:13 AM on September 16 [26 favorites]


This is a big part of why I'm a believer in the tax dodge theory. What other factor is there that would make this such a hard deadline? (Serious question)

The deadline is the only way to achieve No Deal, since it has no majority support even among Leavers, and No Deal is the only way to eliminate Freedom of Movement (since the EU would insist on it being part of any deal). It's a fucking evil policy goal, but it's a rational one.

The real mystery is why anybody would support Leave-with-a-Deal knowing that any possible deal would look a lot like the current EU-UK relationship except with the UK having less of a say. Sure, yeah, it's the "reasonable" centrist position, but like most centrist positions it's completely incoherent when you look at it closely.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:20 AM on September 16 [17 favorites]


I believe that leave-with-a-deal is seen by some centrist politicians as the only path out of the current clusterfuck, even though they know perfectly well that it's shit and makes no sense -- because it's not the utter disaster of a no-deal exit, but also technically fulfils the promise of the referendum. So it's a compromise "50% Brexit" position which nobody can politically object to.

Is it stupid? If course it is. It's like compromising between getting stabbed in the lung and not getting stabbed at all by getting stabbed in the leg. Of course not getting stabbed at all is much better, but by god, the people voted for getting stabbed, and if you don't get stabbed somewhere they'll riot and never trust democracy again.
posted by confluency at 8:36 AM on September 16 [23 favorites]


No Deal is the only way to eliminate Freedom of Movement (since the EU would insist on it being part of any deal). It's a fucking evil policy goal, but it's a rational one.
Perhaps I need to go back to Brexit 101, because I don't understand why it's a rational policy goal. Even if you're an evil far-right lunatic, what benefit does ending freedom of movement bring? It's not going to push up wages for British citizens, because the negative economic impact of No Deal will outweigh any arguable upward pressure on wages from not having incoming low-skilled workers from low-wage economies.

I guess that if someone's a mad racist, and ending immigration is their number-one priority, and they're willing to sacrifice the livelihoods (and potentially lives) of thousands of Brits to do that, then they might consider No Deal an acceptable price to pay for no FoM, but you'd have to say that's a particularly unhinged point of view. I can't wrap my brain around the idea that even the Conservative party, who I've never supported, would consider that an acceptable situation.

In any case, it's plain to anyone who can see the demographic data that we need inward migration if we're going to avoid a shortage of workers and a stagnant economy. Britain, like most of Western Europe, is old.
posted by winterhill at 8:55 AM on September 16


I genuinely don't understand why this little cabal are so hell-bent on something that's so obviously an act of self-harm.

I've discussed my thoughts on this previously but, to recap, the Tories have been taken over by the hard-Brexiteer wing who are disaster capitalists. The EU is a fetter to the "Singapore-isation" of the UK and a hard Brexit would only be an act of 'self-harm' if the hard Brexiteers were motivated by some public spirit and the good of the nation and its population. Given that the dramatic realignment of the UK economy they envisage would not be of benefit and is not intended to benefit the populace at large, the question is, in a sense, misplaced. It's not self-harm for that small minority who will benefit and whose interests the hard Brexiteers really represent. (Brittania Unchained has been mentioned in threads passim; check it out if you want to see the tip of the awful, awful iceberg these people represent.)

What other factor is there that would make this such a hard deadline?

Two things. First, the window of opportunity for a hard Brexit is shrinking as time goes on. It is so evidently damaging to the populace at large - and becoming visibly more so as the deadline approaches (and we haven't even seen Black Swan yet) - that it's probably viewed as a 'now or never' gambit. Second, an election is coming. If the Tories fail to secure a (hard) Brexit before a General Election, they will lose votes on their right flank to the Brexit Party and they know it.

(Incidentally, the best primer for disaster capitalism, for me, is not Klein's well-known book but the, to my mind much better, Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste by Phillip Mirowski. Much of what I have written about the disaster capitalist takeover, the imperative of seizing opportunities to inflict harm, etc. comes from my reading of that; I plan to reread it soon.)

(On preview, ending FoM is a temporary sop to their electorate, not a long-term policy goal.)
posted by deeker at 8:59 AM on September 16 [17 favorites]


Sorry, I should have been clearer. The "rational" part is choosing to exit without a deal, given that ending Freedom of Movement is the goal. Ending FoM is not rational, it's just something that xenophobic fucks want to do because xenophobia is its own reward.

(The immigration regime in the US has the side benefit for the agricultural and hospitality industries in that it provides a source of cheap labourers that can't report abuses for fear of getting deported, but I don't think this is replicable in the UK, nor is attempting to replicate it a major driving factor behind Brexit.)

Basically what I'm trying to express is that everything the Brexit side wants to achieve is fundamentally incompatible with any withdrawal agreement the EU would accept. Which I don't think is news to anybody, since if it weren't the case then May would probably have got her WA through.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:06 AM on September 16 [5 favorites]


On Singapore-isation: we'll never be the Singapore of Europe. Singapore sort-of works because it's geographically really small, and everyone who lives in the country of Singapore also lives in the city of Singapore. There's a lot of stuff their country doesn't have to do or fund - long-distance roads and rail, agricultural subsidies, large numbers of schools and hospitals - because it's a relatively small city on a little island.

A hypothetical independent London and South East on its own might be able to get away with operating a low-tax, low-regulation regime like Singapore, but for Britain it's a non-starter, because there's a whole country beyond the financial centre that needs public services and infrastructure.
posted by winterhill at 9:18 AM on September 16 [15 favorites]




Indeed, winterhill, it's more a, probably inadequate, shorthand than a realistic end point. I'd expand more but I'm almost at work - the village could probably be trusted to serve their own drinks but not necessarily to pay for them...
posted by deeker at 9:36 AM on September 16


It appears the Incredible Hulk, as Johnson described himself (and got smashed down by recent Hulk Mark Ruffalo), just got empty-chaired by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

A tweet from Michael Deacon, quoted in that Guardian article, wins the Internet today:
My favourite episode of The Incredible Hulk is the one where a small group of people shouted too loudly so he ran away
Britain's best hope, it seems to me, lies in the fact that Johnson is proving every bit as useless at ramming through an agenda as he has always been at everything else he's ever had anything to do with.
posted by flabdablet at 10:04 AM on September 16 [15 favorites]


there's a whole country beyond the financial centre that needs public services and infrastructure

You know that's true. I know that's true. I think it's generally realised around here that that's true.

The current government, their fringier elements and their paymasters, though...?
posted by Grangousier at 10:42 AM on September 16 [1 favorite]


From Boris's press conference:
Kuenssberg asked Johnson how he intended to “get round” that law, noting that he has said he will not delay Brexit. He replied:
I won’t. Here’s, here’s what I want. I will uphold the constitution I will obey the law but we will come out on October 31st.
Kuenssberg again asked the prime minister: “But how, if MPs have changed the law to stop you doing that?” He responded:
We’re going to come out on October 31st and it’s vital that people understand that the UK will not extend. We won’t go on remaining in the EU beyond October. What on earth is the point? Do you know how much it costs?
Reality doesn't matter. Words don't matter. Nothing matters anymore. If the electorate doesn't punish the intransigence, Boris might as well proclaim himself emperor of the New British Empire and everyone will go along with it because a third of the electorate will still vote Tory.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:07 AM on September 16 [24 favorites]


Papers submitted to the Supreme Court in advance of tomorrow's hearing are available here. Buckle in, kids...
posted by deeker at 4:58 PM on September 16 [3 favorites]


I find it strange and amusing that Singapore is given as an example of dire outcome. I don't know that what's left of the empire could produce a Lee Kuan Yew again, though.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 6:02 PM on September 16


Wow, Cherry is pretty harsh. For example, point 9:
Lying (albeit wholly unconvincingly) about the true reasons for exercising the prorogation power in the manner, at the time and for the period it has been exercised in this case, calls into question the lawfulness of the Executive’s action.
There are a bunch of other times where she is just getting the boot in, too.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:33 PM on September 16 [5 favorites]


I find it strange and amusing that Singapore is given as an example of dire outcome. I don't know that what's left of the empire could produce a Lee Kuan Yew again, though.

Depends which bits of Singapore history you want to replicate. Such as the population control mechanisms in the 1970s:
A gynaecologist doctor who worked KKH recalled sterilisation rates became "sky high" after the disincentives had been implemented; it was common for hospital workers to chide women who were pregnant with third-order or higher births, recommending abortions, while such women talked about their pregnancy "[as if] they committed a crime". The Straits Times also suggested the disincentives had been very effective; one woman cited how sterilisation certification had to be shown to a school for a third child to receive priority, while she and four out of five sisters eventually underwent sterilisation. Expensive delivery fees ("accouchement fees") for third-order and higher births would also be waived with sterilisation.

The campaign was known to target the uneducated in particular; Lee believed that, "Free education and subsidised housing lead to a situation where the less economically productive people ... are reproducing themselves at [a higher rate]." He believed that implementing a system of government disincentives would stop "the irresponsible, the social delinquents" from thinking that having more children would entitle them to more government-provided social services.

We must encourage those who earn less than $200 per month and cannot afford to nurture and educate many children never to have more than two...we will regret the time lost if we do not now take the first tentative steps towards correcting a trend which can leave our society with a large number of the physically, intellectually and culturally anaemic. Lee Kuan Yew, 1969
They have had real problems reversing the consequences of that policy as the population average age steadily increases (in line with demographic changes worldwide), needing immingrant workers who are badly treated and poorly paid.

One can draw a parallel with the UKs current "two child" policy.
The two-child limit, which prohibits families from receiving tax credit and universal credit for a third or subsequent child, is “trapping children in poverty” to the point where they cannot eat healthy food or attend sports clubs, according to the research from the Child Poverty Action group (CPAG) and the Church of England.

Based on a survey of more than 430 families affected by this policy, as well as additional evidence from charities, the report found that in some cases, women who had had unplanned pregnancies – often because contraception had failed – had felt obliged to consider a termination.
Singapore is an effective dictatorship. Income inequality is huge, with no minimum wage and unions neutered, and expensive goods. Life is very good if you're living in the shining towers on a high office wage or an expat, not so good if you're a cleaner or construction worker.

It seems unlikely that the UK will be able to follow Singapore into transforming itself into a strong manufacturing export country post Brexit, given no-deal tariffs going into our nearest and biggest market, the EU, especially given we already struggle to compete with France and Germany due to low productivity even inside the EU tariff wall.

And well, there's this:
"Britain has developed a system of state welfare, of government role in the system where the government accounts for 40 to 45 percent of the GDP," he said. "The Singapore government accounts for 16 percent of the GDP, maybe 17 percent. So to say that you’re going to be like Singapore, are you going to give up two-thirds of your government spending, state pensions and national health?" Lee Hsien Loong, 2018.
Current UK government spending has been slashed from 45% in 2010 to 38.1% GDP in 2019, causing much greater hardship for the disabled, poor, and children, while letting the wealthiest get wealthier. I can't even imagine what life in the UK would be like at 16%.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:16 AM on September 17 [17 favorites]


Sorry, that last link was meant to be this one (more recent)
Universal credit claimants were especially badly affected, with more than half reporting that they had gone without essentials such as food and toiletries. Nearly the same proportion said they had lost sleep over their dire finances, the charity reported.

Disabled people and those with children were most likely to have gone without essentials, with nearly half of both groups reporting that this had happened to them at least once in the past 12 months.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:25 AM on September 17 [6 favorites]


Profoundest of thanks, ANYKW! When I have referred to the "Singapore-isation" of the UK, it has been pretty much precisely along the terms you set out: I mean the stripping away of democratic and worker rights, increased disparities in wealth and opportunities, massive refunding of welfare assistance, etc. You not only saved me the effort of composing a comment; it was likely better than whatever I would have written!

It is, though, a clumsy shorthand I'll try to avoid in future!
posted by deeker at 2:26 AM on September 17 [1 favorite]




I follow Schona Jolly on these sorts of things.
posted by vacapinta at 3:44 AM on September 17 [2 favorites]


The two-child limit, which prohibits families from receiving tax credit and universal credit for a third or subsequent child, is “trapping children in poverty” to the point where they cannot eat healthy food or attend sports clubs, according to the research from the Child Poverty Action group (CPAG) and the Church of England.

You'd think the deaths of a million Irish would be enough to kill Malthusianism dead in the ground. Why is treating people like they're worthless always the zombie theory that keeps being revived to give it another go. Malthusianism, facism, conservatism. Give em a fresh coat of paint, release them back into the world.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:02 AM on September 17 [10 favorites]


Having been in the excruciating position of being in the queue behind some poor bastard who was in arrears on his council tax, because they wouldn't even give him a reduction based on him being out of work, and listening as the (doubtless overworked) council worker patronisingly told him to budget for it, no, it's not going to change on this government's watch. The guy literally laughed at the person telling him to budget, and then presumably went home to wait for the inevitable bailiffs. Universal credit is monstrous.
posted by skybluepink at 4:17 AM on September 17 [9 favorites]


UK Polling Report: Latest voting intention and the difference between the polls.

ConservativeHome: Why a populist programme wouldn’t work for Johnson. Working class voters aren’t values votes.
But in the many dozens of focus groups across English towns over the last few years, I have never once heard voters from these areas complain that, for example, middle class politicians and commentators sneer at them. And neither have I heard them complain about some middle class voters’ hostility to them. The decency and patriotism of the latter aren’t questioned...

In short, middle class hostility to the working class and lower middle class is extremely common, while working class and lower middle class hostility is practically non-existent. If populism were a real force, this probably wouldn’t and couldn’t be true. There would need to be a working class and lower middle class collective consciousness about how they differ in character and values from the middle class. They would need to be mobilised as a group against the middle class. The sort of narrative that you hear from working class voters in the US – where there’s a consciousness about how “Washington insiders” look down on them – doesn’t really exist here.

But what of the views of the provincial English more generally? In my experience, they simply don’t hold the views that middle class Remainers think they hold. On immigration, for example, while undeniably true they think there’s too much immigration, this is almost never expressed in terms of race and culture. It’s always expressed through very narrow prisms – usually around welfare or pressure on public services...

Similarly, it is often suggested that working class and lower middle class Leave voters are nostalgic and that they yearn for a time when England / Britain was a great power. In my experience, this is absolutely, emphatically not true. They never, ever talk about wanting a “strong” country or one that’s “respected in the world”.

On the contrary, most of these voters think Britain is a weak, incompetent country led by clowns – one that’s destined for at best a quiet future as a small country...

There are two areas where Remainers are on stronger ground. Firstly, it’s definitely true that working class and lower middle class provincial England are eye-wateringly tough on crime. They favour punishment over rehabilitation and have no interest in the difficult economic and social circumstances of those that commit crime...

It’s also true that they favour strong leaders. This, however, derives from their tendency to want serious change – and the belief that only strong leaders deliver it...

What does all this mean for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party? Firstly, it means that his campaigns have not created a populist surge in this country. The provincial English working class and lower middle class retain their essential lack of ideological and political interest and they lack self-identity as outsiders. Anti-politician campaigns will not shape a Trumpian grassroots in the way Remainers fear.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:20 AM on September 17


As a small data point, my most recent ex-boss was from Barnsley (I was working in Barnsley) and she was a massive Brexiter. She wanted us out as soon as possible.

You'd expect her to be 100% behind Johnson. But when he came to power and No Deal became a realistic option, she didn't have a good word to say about the bloke. On No Deal, she said that wasn't remotely what she voted for and understood that it could fuck her business.

In many Northern English towns, antipathy towards the Tories outweighs antipathy towards the EU. There's absolutely no chance that there's going to be Conservative MPs sweeping across the ex-industrial North of England. Those wounds cut deep.
posted by winterhill at 6:27 AM on September 17 [19 favorites]


Quite so. There's anti-foreigner bias, but then there's anti-toff hatred.
posted by flabdablet at 6:31 AM on September 17 [5 favorites]


UK Polling Report: Latest voting intention and the difference between the polls.

The part about a lot of people being useless at reporting how they voted last election is fascinating (either they forget, lie, or convince themselves they voted how they wish they'd voted). The YouGov article on dealing with this.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:49 AM on September 17


“Back to Little England?” Edoardo Campanella, Project Syndicate, 17 September 2019
posted by ob1quixote at 7:12 AM on September 17


In many Northern English towns, antipathy towards the Tories outweighs antipathy towards the EU. There's absolutely no chance that there's going to be Conservative MPs sweeping across the ex-industrial North of England.

But they might not have the same antipathy towards the Brexit party. So they are moving their vote from Labour to Brexit and Brexit get in or maybe a tory since the labour lead is cut. Result, in some previously Labour locations you get a tory or a Brexit Party MP and we get a tory or tory/Brexit coalition.
posted by biffa at 7:14 AM on September 17 [3 favorites]


I can't speak to the North, but based on my experience here in the Midlands, I'm kind of surprised that the Tories haven't leant into queerphobia and heteronormativity as wedge issues. That is an issue thar the kind of populist tribal identity movement ConservativeHome talks about absolutely could form around, at least here.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they haven't (I'm queer and trans) but I wouldn't be overly surprised if it's something they turn to, and nor would I be surprised if it works for them.
posted by Dysk at 7:46 AM on September 17 [5 favorites]


They’ve been trialing it in phone surveys to see if it gets any traction Dysk.

A hopeful part of me hopes that maybe the fact we haven’t seen much of it means that it bombed & the surveyed told them where to stick their intolerant crap, but another part thinks that they’ve worked out what works & what doesn’t and are saving the effective stuff for the campaign. It’s the kind of thing Cummings would do - find the wedge issues and then spring them on your opponents with a massive media push when they’re unprepared & have no time to set up a coherent response.
posted by pharm at 8:16 AM on September 17 [5 favorites]


(The mumsnet TERFs are going to swing 100% behind the Tories.)
posted by pharm at 8:17 AM on September 17 [8 favorites]


Reading up on the effects of Brexit on academia in the UK:

(03/2019) Gender pay gap expert among top professors quitting Brexit Britain (Anna Fazackerley, Guardian)
Leading academics in climate policy and economics have also had enough of hostility [and uncertainty] – and funding goes with them
(10/2018) ‘There’s no plan B’: academics race to safeguard research against Brexit (Anna Fazackerley, Guardian)
With science, IT and archaeology among subjects heavily funded by the EU, leaving with no deal would be cataclysmic, say universities
(Monday) Only half of UK universities ready for no-deal Brexit – study (Richard Adams, Guardian)
Universities UK says 80% of members very concerned, with some considering stockpiling
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:20 AM on September 17 [3 favorites]


The mumsnet TERFs are going to swing 100% behind the Tories

I'd say "QFT" but I'm not sure that would represent a swing so much as business as usual.
posted by Dysk at 8:24 AM on September 17 [8 favorites]


Whelp, I've been watching proceedings at the Supreme Court so you don't have to...

Having until recently worked in the administration of justice (on and off, for over a decade), I know all too well that appearances can be deceptive but the tenor of questioning from the bench has seemed, almost universally, like it will cheer Cherry et al a good deal more than the government side.

The judges' interruptions in the first opening arguments (for the anti-prorogation side) seemed to suggest some sympathy for the arguments and a desire to fill in any perceived gaps; to the contrary, the government lawyer had a considerably harder time of it.

I'm quietly optimistic for, like, the first time in a long time!
posted by deeker at 8:28 AM on September 17 [19 favorites]


Thank you, deeker. As I'm too busy to follow the live feed, I've been hoping someone would summary the general feel here.
posted by bcd at 8:32 AM on September 17 [1 favorite]


Two tweets (one and two) largely agreeing with my analysis above...
posted by deeker at 8:49 AM on September 17


Reading up on the effects of Brexit on academia in the UK

Currently living with this. I have two research projects which look set to disappear if we no deal. About €1.5M for my organisation on just my projects. I have five new jobs on hold on one project and one replacement position on another that I'm not allowed to replace till at least November. I have had to sit down with five current colleagues and tell them there is the possibility we might have to make them redundant. Even in the best case scenario of revoke we are going to be months behind schedule. Its damaging to my reputation as a reliable research partner, as well as to my career as it means 2-3 years of work gone. Its extremely stressful to try and keep up with the workload of other jobs while maintaining your own workload and I have no doubt this is impacting my health.

It also not possible to get any meaningful information about whether the projects can survive the UK withdrawal and whether they will fold or have to be severely amended.
posted by biffa at 8:53 AM on September 17 [19 favorites]


> Reading up on the effects of Brexit on academia in the UK

BBC: Passports and nationality: The Brits going Dutch over Brexit
Mirror: Brits living in Netherlands ditching UK passports to become Dutch over Brexit
Fatigue and disappointment with the Brexit process, coupled with a strong sense of her European identity, led her relinquish her British citizenship. "If this is what Britain wants, then I'm not British anymore," Anna said in an interview with the BBC. ... Anna said that she remains British and still has milk in her tea - whatever her passport says.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:15 AM on September 17 [6 favorites]


The mumsnet TERFs are going to swing 100% behind the Tories

I'd say "QFT" but I'm not sure that would represent a swing so much as business as usual.


Mumsnet's running equivalent to these threads are massive, long-running and scathingly anti-Tory.

I'm trying not to guess the future one way or the other about the Supreme Court ruling - hope, you fickle master - but it's hard not to be worried about the precedent that would be set if the Supreme Court did rule that the Government could prorogue Parliament as and when it wanted and the whole matter was non-justiciable. Back to Charles I territory? Cheerful times...
posted by Catseye at 11:55 AM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Ah, yes, Charles I. Whatever happened to him...?
posted by Grangousier at 11:59 AM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Well, yes, but what followed that wasn't entirely ideal either. (I mean that generally but particularly as a Scot...)
posted by deeker at 12:04 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]


He refused to recognise the legitimacy of a court and then it all went a bit downhill from there, iirc.
posted by Catseye at 12:05 PM on September 17


(The mumsnet TERFs are going to swing 100% behind the Tories.)

I wonder if they'll succeed in wedging the Guardian's terves into endorsing them.
posted by acb at 12:06 PM on September 17


Mumsnet's running equivalent to these threads are massive, long-running and scathingly anti-Tory.

Mumsnet isn't all TERFs. TERFs tend to be single-issue voters as well.
posted by Dysk at 12:12 PM on September 17 [1 favorite]


"The judges' interruptions in the first opening arguments (for the anti-prorogation side) seemed to suggest some sympathy for the arguments and a desire to fill in any perceived gaps; to the contrary, the government lawyer had a considerably harder time of it."

I also felt the anti-prorogation side had the considerably better lawyering (barristering?) -- the way and order arguments were presented was a lot more persuasive and thought out; by leaving justiciability (whether the court could review a political decision like prorogation) for last, he had the court already reviewing it before he got there, etc. The government was playing defense, and not nearly as cleverly or smoothly.

I don't know the precedents at issue, but I did see UK legal commentators saying the anti-prorogation side made some clever choices of precedents too, picking ones that particular justices like to rely on and even highlighting a particular justice's own precedential ruling. It was clear, even without knowing the precedents, that the anti-prorogation side knew every precedent the government was relying on inside and out, and knocked a lot of them down in advance, and the government was -- again, I don't know if they were right or wrong on the precedents because I'm not a UK lawyer -- but the government sounded a lot more fumbly about the precedents.

It was also really clear that nobody (not even Lord Keen, arguing for the government) believed Boris Johnson would follow the court's ruling, and Lord Keen was basically unable to provide a strong or clear statement of what BoJo would do, just that he would do what he was told. The justices wanted to know if he'd try to weasel out of what they told him to do and Keen was basically like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I do know from watching prior UK high court cases of interest to me that you can't really predict what the court will do based on their questioning, buuuuuuuut definitely the "feel" was that the anti-prorogation side got more sympathy from the bench. (And definitely they had the more-prepared, more-clever lawyering.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:29 PM on September 17 [14 favorites]


Ah, yes, Charles I. Whatever happened to him...?

They axed him to do more than he willed.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:44 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


TERFs tend to be single-issue voters as well.

Either that or congruent full-spectrum authoritarians/reactionaries.
posted by acb at 1:05 PM on September 17


Footage of Brexiteers/Alt-righters outside the Supreme Court. You know where this is heading...
posted by deeker at 1:18 PM on September 17 [3 favorites]


Always enjoy a sassy 404 page.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 1:24 PM on September 17 [8 favorites]


You know where this is heading...

"One man appears to make a nazi salute"

Yeah, that's cause all the others are juuuust stepping up to the line by gesturing with a very similar pointing action, just lacking the flat hand. Plausible deniability while having much of the same impact, innit.
posted by Dysk at 1:52 PM on September 17 [2 favorites]


Plausible deniability while having much of the same impact, innit

This is all the rage here, too! Guy at my gym has an SPQR tattoo. He always looks like he’s got an inside joke on everybody. Something about being a sniveling little Nazi, I guess.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:11 PM on September 17 [4 favorites]


FT : re Brexshit port disruption.
Yellowhammer didn’t give us the full picture . . . one could say it was seriously misleading.”
posted by adamvasco at 5:35 PM on September 17 [9 favorites]


I was confident that the SC decision would side with the status quo and not get involved in "politics". I still think that's most likely, but the anti government forces had a good day in court, and there is still John Major (!!!) to come.

The unwillingness of government counsel to commit the government to following the court's ruling, and to being bound by it in the future (i.e. refusal to rule out proroguing parliament again in short order to get round the judgement) is about the worst thing the government could do.

Unless the court believes that the case is utterly without basis, they're going to be sorely tempted to assert their authority. Otherwise it starts to look as if GB political life is underwritten by the pirate code rather than a constitution.
posted by dudleian at 1:53 AM on September 18 [10 favorites]


This is all the rage here, too! Guy at my gym has an SPQR tattoo. He always looks like he’s got an inside joke on everybody. Something about being a sniveling little Nazi, I guess.

I like to think he just really fondly remembers his time as a public servant in the Rome area.
posted by jaduncan at 5:07 AM on September 18 [5 favorites]


FT on Johnson's lunch with Juncker: According to an account of the meeting, the prime minister was told by his EU counterparts in no uncertain terms that the UK’s plan to replace the backstop by allowing Northern Ireland to stick to common EU rules on food and livestock (known as SPS) was not enough to prevent customs checks on the vast majority of goods that cross the Irish border.

At that point, a befuddled Mr Johnson turned to David Frost, his chief negotiator, and Stephen Barclay, Brexit secretary, and said: “So you’re telling me the SPS plan doesn’t solve the customs problem?”

The exchange, according to one EU official, was part of an abrupt “learning curve” for Mr Johnson in his first face-to-face meeting with Mr Barnier and Mr Juncker since he took office.

Another official describes the prime minister gradually “slumping” in his chair as the reality of the UK’s negotiating position and the limited time left to strike an agreement dawned on him. “He wasn’t used to hearing it”, added the official.

posted by sour cream at 5:53 AM on September 18 [20 favorites]


I'd have assumed an SPQR tattoo was a sign of a classicist. I take it I'm wrong...
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 5:57 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]






The father speaks frankly and is easy to understand. Johnson impotently mumbles.
posted by michswiss at 6:29 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


And the hospital staff try to get the father to shut up.
posted by Grangousier at 6:43 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Guy at my gym has an SPQR tattoo.

As an Italian this development pisses me off to no end
posted by bq at 7:37 AM on September 18 [8 favorites]


I desperately want to believe that the level of Johnson's ongoing ignorance has been exaggerated, but I can easily see how this entire time he could have been delegating all the boring details to people assuring him that everything is fine and they have it all under control.
posted by confluency at 7:44 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


"a press opportunity"

There weren't any press there though. I saw it on the news myself. Boris Johnson said "there's no press here" right to the news camera. So I don't know how he can call it a press opportunity.

There would need to be press there for that.
And it's well documented (by all the reporters there) that there wasn't any press.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:51 AM on September 18 [22 favorites]


I keep getting the impression that Johnson got through school never doing any homework and just bullshitting his way out of detention, and he's continued that strategy into adult life despite the fact it's blatantly obvious he's lying. It's like he's saying "the dog ate my homework" and the dog is standing next to him saying "no I didn't".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:54 AM on September 18 [11 favorites]


The only really good explanation for the last few years is that it is a mix of ignorance and arrogance with a little touch of gambling. Sometimes I fall a bit into the conspiracy theory rabbit hole, but after some research down there I get back to a mix of ignorance and arrogance with a little touch of gambling
posted by mumimor at 7:55 AM on September 18 [6 favorites]


If you have the time - or even if you are not sure you have the time - I'd recommend listening to Aiden O'Neil's submission to the Supreme Court in full (the start most especially). Still in progress here.
posted by rongorongo at 7:56 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


Johnson isn't anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is - it's a combination of privilege, bullshit and arrogance that has served him so well up to this point until he just can't fail upwards anymore.

The real Boris Johnson.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:59 AM on September 18 [7 favorites]


Yeah, my armchair analysis is that he's reasonably clever but very lazy, and since he has literally never personally experienced serious consequences as a result of making the barest minimum of effort, he has never been incentivised to work harder. So he doesn't. I don't know if he even knows how to.
posted by confluency at 7:59 AM on September 18 [8 favorites]


Ian Dunt: Corbyn is offering Remainers a shot at what they want - they should take it:
Corbyn is providing a route to Remain. It is really the only viable route available.

Yesterday, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson made a speech at the Liberal Democrat conference on what she'd do as prime minister if she got a majority. That would indeed be very nice, but it is not going to happen. The Lib Dems are not going to win the next election. Nor are the Greens. The SNP and Plaid are not in contention. No outright Remain party can secure executive power except as a coalition partner to Labour.

It is simply crazy for Remain parties to launch strong attacks on Labour where there is a danger it would allow the Tories or Brexit party to win in that seat. On a basic strategic level, it makes no sense.

Corbyn has offered enough to stave off a Remain attack. That, after all, was the point of voting against Labour in the European elections: to send a message. It worked. Now Remainers are threatening to allow their anger at Corbyn to derail their own success at shifting his position. He's offered a shot at Remain - not as a movement, but an outcome. They should take it.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:59 AM on September 18 [11 favorites]


The thing about Corbyn is that he is almost equal to Cameron in lack of diligence and putting party (and ego) before country during the referendum. It's hard to trust he would, or even could do the right thing, and I'm all for second and third chances for everyone.
posted by mumimor at 8:23 AM on September 18 [4 favorites]


Now Remainers are threatening to allow their anger at Corbyn to derail their own success at shifting his position.

Its not anger, its distrust. Corbyn is a Brexiter. The article in today's guardian specifically makes it clear that Labour are looking for a deal for Brexit:

A Labour government would secure a sensible deal based on the terms we have long advocated, including a new customs union with the EU; a close single market relationship; and guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections.

Given this and how weak his support for remain was the first time, how can someone who supports remain/revoke trust him to be any use whatsoever in campaigning for it a second time? I voted for Labour in 2017 but he's done nothing to earn a second chance and nothing to stop Brexit.
posted by biffa at 8:56 AM on September 18 [16 favorites]


I've written about this before but it's clear, to me at least, that if a second referendum is to be sought, there must be a "credible leave option" available to vote for or against. Otherwise, we're looking at a mass boycott by leavers (and, if you think that's no bad thing, I profoundly disagree; what legitimacy does an 80-90% remain vote have, really?) If you don't want a deal to be put forward for Leave, I'm afraid you've learned nothing about the problems caused by the ambiguity first time round...
posted by deeker at 9:06 AM on September 18 [4 favorites]


I will vote Labour again. In a general election, the Lib Dems don't stand a chance here (2017: Lab 29,844; Con 20,883; Lib Dem 1,224) so a vote switching from Labour to the Lib Dems is a vote to let the Tories sneak in.

I'd rather have Corbyn and his support for a deal put to a referendum than Johnson running us off the cliff. It's a pragmatic vote - flipping to the Lib Dems because of their idealistic policy right now will just let the enemy enter through the gap.
posted by winterhill at 9:08 AM on September 18 [6 favorites]


A Labour government would secure a sensible deal based on the terms we have long advocated, including a new customs union with the EU; a close single market relationship; and guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections.

‘A close single market relationship’ is exactly the kind of weaselly phrasing which is so frustrating with Corbyn. It clearly doesn’t mean ‘membership of the Single Market’; so what the fuck does it mean?
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 9:18 AM on September 18 [10 favorites]


I've written about this before but it's clear, to me at least, that if a second referendum is to be sought, there must be a "credible leave option"

I agree. I'm just not interested in voting for someone who supports it.
posted by biffa at 9:28 AM on September 18 [2 favorites]


and, if you think that's no bad thing, I profoundly disagree; what legitimacy does an 80-90% remain vote have, really?

The angriest leavers will boycott any 2nd referendum and decry its legitimacy, unless perhaps it was between crashing out with no deal and crashing out with no deal while also setting fire to the ferries and channel tunnel.

Also; what legitimacy does the first vote have? The leave funding was seriously illegal and the referendum result would have been nullified if it was binding because of it - it's only because the result was only ever advisory that it was not.

The sort of leavers we're supposed to be worried about will never accept anything now except crashing out. Nothing we can do, bar crashing out, can change that. It will also drag this out for at least another year of uncertainty, minimum, quite likely a lot longer while Labour faff about trying to get Corbyn's 'jobs first' Brexit.

We've spent 3 years on this, and conclusively proved all the claims of brexiteers were total lies, and they bought the referendum result with lies and dark money - and they've brought us to the brink of constitutional, financial and social ruin, and cost billions of pounds pursuing their unicorn fantasies. Screw em.

We should nullify the last referendum as irrevocably tainted, revoke article 50 and if angry brexiteer pensioners want to continue to pursue their no-deal fantasy they can do so by getting a party backing such a move a majority in Parliament, as *should have happened in the first place* - we are a parliamentary, not a direct democracy, and our current crisis is precisely because we have the government claiming that tainted result is more democratic than actual elections.

Yes, I'm angry. My French wife and I have been put through 3 years of constant stress of whether she'll even be able to continue to live here (and if I could follow her to France if she and our children get deported) let alone whether living here is going to be a good idea once we turn into some kind of pirate harbour dictatorship.

There is no middle ground, any more. No kinda sorta satisfying both sides, no compromise that both can live with. It's ruin, or remain. It's a fight for the survival of our future and our democracy against the far right, and it's about damn time we started acting like it instead of carrying on trying to entertain the fantasy that there's a 'good brexit' if we look hard enough and sacrifice enough to the wreckers.

That said - tactical voting for Labour to keep a tory out is of course still better than the alternative. But don't expect me to be happy about it.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:30 AM on September 18 [38 favorites]


I support remaining in the EU, but the way to overturn a referendum is another referendum. Corbyn's personal position is irrelevant to me - there are no circumstances in which I'd vote anything other than Remain, no matter what he says, and I'm in the Labour party.

No one is frightened of the angry Brexiter pensioners who spend their days on the air on radio moan-ins. They're safely ignored. It's the violent far-right who'll seize on an Article 50 revocation - the people who want the country to be in permanent political chaos because it's the most fertile ground for their toxic bullshit to thrive.

I would, however, support changing the legislation so that the default option in the event of no deal being reached by the EU's deadline is the revocation of Article 50 rather than No Deal. It's by far the less damaging option for the country.
posted by winterhill at 9:38 AM on September 18 [6 favorites]


It's the violent far-right who'll seize on an Article 50 revocation - the people who want the country to be in permanent political chaos because it's the most fertile ground for their toxic bullshit to thrive.

And this is where we disagree - a 2nd referendum will not prevent that; it's already here, and will be for many years. (E.g. see Farage turning on the current tories now for not being true brexiteers)
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:39 AM on September 18 [13 favorites]


I keep getting the impression that Johnson got through school never doing any homework and just bullshitting his way out of detention, and he's continued that strategy into adult life

Pretty much, according to what Johnson's Eton schoolmaster wrote to his dad:

“Boris really has adopted a disgracefully cavalier attitude to his classical studies . . . Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility (and surprised at the same time that he was not appointed Captain of the School for next half): I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.”
- Martin Hammond, Master at College, 1982 to Stanley Johnson.

This is a teacher at ETON calling him entitled!
posted by runincircles at 10:12 AM on September 18 [30 favorites]


Harry Flashman in his fantasy life. Billy Bunter in reality.

I realised with a shock the other day that under the mask of a clever person pretending to be stupid was someone who was actually very, very stupid indeed. What we're now being treated to is the spectacle of someone finding that out about themself in public at the same time that our suspicions are confirmed. I have to remind myself not to feel sorry for him, because it's probably the most pathetic thing I've ever seen in public life. It wouldn't surprise me at this point if he wet himself on live television.
posted by Grangousier at 10:27 AM on September 18 [27 favorites]


There is no middle ground, any more.

There never was any to begin with. Brexit is like being pregnant. You can’t do it half way. Soft Brexit is Brexit in name only and hard Brexit is out.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:49 AM on September 18 [3 favorites]


Brexit is like being pregnant.

By the way, has anyone else noticed the way Rosemary's Baby seems to be coming up a lot recently?
posted by Grangousier at 11:03 AM on September 18 [1 favorite]


Grangousier: [Boris Johnson is] Harry Flashman in his fantasy life. Billy Bunter in reality.

Or maybe like Walter Mitty, blinking and fecklessly confused between heroic daydream episodes?
posted by wenestvedt at 12:55 PM on September 18


Oh, no, Billy Bunter, really! This is from the Wikipedia page on the Owl of the Remove:
Bunter's defining characteristic is his greediness and dramatically overweight appearance. His character is, in many respects, a highly obnoxious anti-hero. As well as his gluttony, he is also obtuse, lazy, racist, inquisitive, deceitful, slothful, self-important and conceited. These defects, however, are not recognised by Bunter. In his own mind, he is an exemplary character: handsome, talented and aristocratic; and he dismisses most of those around him as "beasts". Even so, the negative sides of Bunter are offset by several genuine redeeming features; such as his tendency, from time to time, to display courage in aid of others; his ability to be generous, on the rare occasions when he has food or cash; and above all his very real love and concern for his mother. All these, combined with Bunter's cheery optimism, his comically transparent untruthfulness and inept attempts to conceal his antics from his schoolmasters and schoolfellows, combine to make a character that succeeds in being highly entertaining but which rarely attracts the reader's lasting sympathy.
But without the redeeming features.
posted by Grangousier at 1:08 PM on September 18 [7 favorites]


I yield, you seem to have his measure exactly. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 1:16 PM on September 18 [2 favorites]




This is a teacher at ETON calling him entitled!

To be fair, they did continue to pass him, right? He graduated from that institution, rather than failing out in spectacular disgrace? So he wasn’t wrong, exactly, he was just extra obnoxious about it. But he wasn’t wrong.

These tow-headed buffoons are definitely the products of their environments.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:03 PM on September 18 [7 favorites]


Can you fail at Eton? British schools don't typically have any sort of test for coming back the next year.
posted by biffa at 5:12 PM on September 18


It honestly didn’t occur to me that failure and expulsion was not an option, as I assumed it was not simply a nursery for large adult sons. I...stand corrected.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:17 PM on September 18 [5 favorites]


Eton is ages 13-18, not a university, so graduation isn't a towering intellectual achievement. That said, according to wikipedia, he won prizes in Classics while he was there, so possibly he wasn't awful at it, just incredibly smug.
posted by Sparx at 6:15 PM on September 18 [1 favorite]


The EVIL LABOUR ACTIVIST who used his SICK CHILD to ATTACK BRAVE BORIS was doxxed by LauraK in a manner which is surprising even to those of us who are aware of the current state of the BBC. The abuse he recieved following Kuenssberg's tweet was not surprising.

The response from The BBC was, ah fuck it I give up. I have to admit, taking over the BBC with Tories was a pretty bold move and is starting to really pay off.
posted by fullerine at 10:37 PM on September 18 [11 favorites]


It honestly didn’t occur to me that failure and expulsion was not an option, as I assumed it was not simply a nursery for large adult sons. I...stand corrected.
It's roughly equivalent to a high school. You can't fail out of high school here - you can continue to do poorly until you reach your GCSEs and then fail them. The state of our education system is such that many do just that. I'm not aware of anyone having to repeat a year in a British school, either. Expulsion tends to be for very poor behaviour (or, in the case of a private school, non-payment of fees!).

You can fail out of university by not getting the required marks to pass through to the next year. You can't at a school. This sort of basic UK knowledge is something that shouldn't really need to lengthen this thread.
posted by winterhill at 1:09 AM on September 19 [5 favorites]


Private schools in the UK do have a habit of “managing out” low achieving pupils in various ways so that their results don’t show up in the exam result tables the school likes to wave under the noses of prospective parents. However, everything I’ve read about Johnson suggests that he was a sharp & intelligent teenager. His exam results were presumably 'good enough' - no stories about his father having to ring up the college bursar in order to get him into Oxford have ever followed Johnson around to my knowledge.

One of the tragedies of Johnson is that he’s frittered that intelligence away on lazy trivialities. It’s an indictment of our governing classes that his kind of attitude is valorised over the people doing actual work.
posted by pharm at 1:27 AM on September 19 [6 favorites]


you can continue to do poorly until you reach your GCSEs and then fail them.

Which would mean not being offered a place in sixth form (at private institutions at least) which is effectively failing out at 16.
posted by Dysk at 1:44 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


Private schools in the UK do have a habit of “managing out” low achieving pupils in various ways so that their results don’t show up in the exam result tables the school likes to wave under the noses of prospective parents.
This is also increasingly happening at state schools, especially where they've been turned into "academies". Pupils with poor predicted grades are finding themselves excluded (or put into those horrible isolation rooms) over minor violations of, say, the uniform policy.

There's a lot of focus on education funding or the lack thereof, but the school system as a whole is hugely messed-up in this country right now. There's too much focus on empty discipline. I daren't go any further off topic, though.
posted by winterhill at 3:30 AM on September 19 [5 favorites]


The response from The BBC was, ah fuck it I give up. I have to admit, taking over the BBC with Tories was a pretty bold move and is starting to really pay off.

I'd always wondered when the unwarranted reputation of the BBC as a wonderfully unbiased neutral party and well-meaning broadly liberal institution would crack with folks from outside the UK. Could be this.

I thought this was a useful understanding of where the bias lies:

So the summary of the last 24 hours in British politics seems to be: a Tory journalist cannot ever be anything but impartial, and anyone who supports Labour has no legitimacy as a citizen of this country
posted by ocular shenanigans at 5:11 AM on September 19 [10 favorites]


From the BBC's live page about today's hearings is the following ominous notice (see 13:07):
The government's written submission explaining what it would do if the court ruled against the prime minister has now been published.
Here's a summary of what it says:
  • If the courts rule that the reason for prorogation was unlawful, but that proroguing Parliament for a similar length of time is not itself impossible, then the PM would not necessarily have to bring back Parliament before 14 October (although he might consider it).
  • If the reasons were unlawful and the only available remedy in the opinion of the Supreme Court is to bring Parliament back immediately, then the PM would comply but would have to consider the timing of an earlier Queen's Speech.
  • If the court deems that the advice was unlawful and that prorogation never happened, the government argues there would be nothing to stop it immediately seeking another prorogation for lawful reasons.
  • The government argues the courts cannot act pre-emptively to stop a prorogation that hasn’t yet been granted.
posted by misteraitch at 6:07 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]




The government's written submission explaining what it would do if the court ruled against the prime minister has now been published.

Executive summary:

Just imagine one of those 14 year old smartasses who starts every sentence with "Technically..." and yup that's basically this document.
posted by automatronic at 6:29 AM on September 19 [8 favorites]


The government argues the courts cannot act pre-emptively to stop a prorogation that hasn’t yet been granted.

This seems particularly weak to me. If the SC says that there are forms of prorogation that are unlawful, then that's as good as pre-emptively stopping that form as the law can possibly get. A court cannot in general stop anyone committing a crime, but it can injunct against things thereby making them unlawful even though they haven't happened yet, and laws exist precisely to hang consequences on future actions.
posted by Devonian at 6:30 AM on September 19 [8 favorites]


Also from the BBC feed: Lord Keen says that "for a period prorogation will affect accountability in Parliament but it doesn’t prevent accountability beyond Parliament," and that the PM can be held accountable by the public, the media, and his party at conference. Probably not coincidental that the sources of accountability that the government is willing to tolerate are those that have absolutely no power to do anything about Brexit or Johnson's actions until after the exit deadline.

And yeah, that point about the court's ability or lack thereof to preempt prorogation is absolutely a signal that Johnson intends to use the courts to stall for time. If the process of ending prorogation through the courts takes as long as the originally intended period of suspension, well, that's the job done.
posted by skymt at 6:43 AM on September 19 [2 favorites]


Pannick’s suggestion to the judges was that, should they find the prorogation to be unlawful, they should just hand over to the Speaker to open up parliament, and then leave the rest to it. No particular need for Johnson or his government to have a say in what happens next. The judges sounded interested in that idea, to my ears, but we’ll have to wait till early next week to hear the verdict.
posted by rongorongo at 8:10 AM on September 19


If the process of ending prorogation through the courts takes as long as the originally intended period of suspension, well, that's the job done.
posted by skymt at 14:43 on September 19 [2 favorites +] [!]


This is something the SC can explicitly guard against. There is no current process of ending prorogatio through the courts - hence this case - if the SC says there should be, it can also give guidelines about how to operate it. IANAConstitutionalL, but perhaps something like "Parliament has to be sitting to be prorogued and it can object to the prorogation and keep sitting until the objection is exhausted or upheld."

Thus, even if the SC says that prorogation is judicificable, and that a condition of it being legal is the PM has to be honest, and Johnson wasn't honest so this prorogation is illegal, and even if Johnson goes to the Queen and is honest this time with "I don't want Parliament interfering in Brexit" then Parliament can get a bite at saying that turning it off to remove its oversight role is unconstitutional and carry on working while that drags through. If there's no majority in Parliament against prerogation then all's well, and if the objection doesn't work then the prorogation happens a bit later than advertised, and if it's an illegal prorogation it gets stopped. All of which seems better to me than just having an off switch.
posted by Devonian at 10:41 AM on September 19 [5 favorites]


Maybe we could keep US politics out of the Brexit threads?
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:49 PM on September 19 [31 favorites]


[Mod second: keep US politics out of Brexit threads. The overwhelming demographic majority means they end up *dominating* Brexit threads and that's shitty.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:15 PM on September 19 [21 favorites]


I'd always wondered when the unwarranted reputation of the BBC as a wonderfully unbiased neutral party and well-meaning broadly liberal institution would crack with folks from outside the UK.

To be fair, given that the only reasonable basis for comparison is the British press as a whole, probably never.
posted by flabdablet at 6:26 PM on September 19 [1 favorite]


For those with a weakness for such things, Jim'll Paint It (previously) has made his iconic depiction of Bercow riding a giant flying flamingo over Parliament available as an art print.
posted by shenderson at 8:56 PM on September 19 [7 favorites]


> Jim'll Paint It (previously) has made his iconic depiction of Bercow riding a giant flying flamingo over Parliament available as an art print.

As someone who learned of Bercow only recently, this is amazing (and for others who've not seen him).
posted by mrzarquon at 9:25 AM on September 20 [2 favorites]


Talks ‘going backwards’ as UK asks EU to keep its proposals secret
I don't have the energy to explain to any newcomers how incredibly stupid it is.
And then this turned up on the sidebar:
Schools told to check they can provide meals after a no-deal Brexit

I don't know, my workweek has been so rough, disrupted by arrogant and ignorant upperclass men, that I have had recurring anxiety attacks every day at 2PM. This is just more of the same but bigger.
posted by mumimor at 11:57 AM on September 20 [11 favorites]


It's Too Late for David Cameron to Apologize (Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic)
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:41 PM on September 20 [1 favorite]


Everyone loves to blame Cameron, and he hasn't blameless. But people will say he did it to quash a Tory civil war in the same breath they throw all the blame on Cameron personally. Half the Tory party wanted the referendum - that's why there was a civil war in the party. Half the electorate wanted the referendum - that's why increasingly many were defecting to UKIP, and why they gave a (for most people unexpected) convincing majority to the party that had a referendum as part of their manifesto.

Do I think Cameron is an irredeemable shit? Yes. Austerity. Do I think he is personally wholly responsible for Brexit? No. I think he's dead fucking right when he says if it weren't him, it'd have been someone else. He could have not called the referendum, sure, but the fact that he was effectively pressured into it rather suggests that there were other forces pushing for it to. However misguided and however badly, he was trying to bury the idea of brexit. That already makes him incomparably less shit (on this issue) than Farage, than Johnson, than Gove. It's easy to overlook or forget now, but there was a referendum which was won by the brexiteers because to a large extent, the country wanted brexit. I think it coming up in some way was inevitable, and I can understand the position that going for a referendum looked like a more promising option than having to go into coalition with UKIP sometime in the medium term future. It turned out terrible, but I'm not sure any of the alternatives don't either.

So there's plenty if blame to go round, and I think focusing it on Cameron lets way too many people off the hook, and suggests it was some niche issue he picked up personally. It wasn't, it was fucking popular.

That said, fuck Cameron as well, because austerity. That is unforgivable, and entirely his own ideological project.
posted by Dysk at 1:51 AM on September 21 [8 favorites]


Meanwhile, Labour is responding to the national crisis and the opportunity created by the Tory Party upheaval, by tearing itself apart.
posted by daveje at 3:35 AM on September 21 [5 favorites]


Never underestimate the potential for ideological purity to stave off hunger in the case of a national emergency.
posted by biffa at 6:25 AM on September 21 [9 favorites]


While I disagreed, I understood why many Labour MPs thought about voting for May's WA, and a few actually did so:they felt they were respecting the referendum vote / the wishes of their constituents. May also made commitments, discussed with the Labour leadership, about maintaining workers rights, environmental standards and the like post Brexit.

What I don't get is the current chatter from Kinnock, Flint and the like about voting for a Johnson WA. Johnson has publicly reneged on the commitments relating to rights and standards that May made.

Thornbury is also keen to vote for the WA albeit in return for a referendum. I suppose parliament could vote for the WA, but not its implementation, so that we would not actually leave the EU, and could stop time while we have a referendum. In which case revoke and remain could be on the ballot paper. But that seems pretty tortured and technical and very easy to misrepresent to voters ("We've left. Parliament voted for it! We should leave. Now."). Also "perogue me now" Johnson doesn't seem like someone you could trust with that sort of arrangement.

tl:dr some parts of the Labour party seem to be trying to talk it round to voting for a WA that is considerably worse than the May one which they voted against. And to do so on behalf of a completely untrustworthy PM. That would seem to me like a complete admission of failure by the party, but what do I know?

I guess it's time to crack open Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity and composite the heck out of the party's Brexit policy to try to find something that might win a General Election.
posted by dudleian at 9:56 AM on September 21 [8 favorites]


Magic grandpa strikes again.
When asked whether it was in Britain’s long-term interests to remain in the European Union, the Labour leader said: “It depends on the agreement you have with the European Union outside.”

His suggestion that a Labour government could negotiate an exit deal that would be preferable to EU membership – and that he will reserve judgment until those negotiations are complete – will infuriate anti-Brexit activists.
He also admits he knew about the attempted putsch on Watson, though not when they'd do it.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:01 AM on September 22 [5 favorites]


Conservatives: "Forget Farage and that other guy. We're the true party of the xenophobic wingnut"

Labour: "With you in a minute - we've got another ten years of internal politics to work through. Meanwhile, here's some ambiguity"

Lib Dems: "There's never been a better opportunity to take over the middle ground of UK politics. So we're going to adopt a policy position that'll alienate half the country"

What does a centrist have to do to get someone to vote for these days?
posted by pipeski at 3:56 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


It's easy to overlook or forget now, but there was a referendum which was won by the brexiteers because to a large extent, the country wanted brexit.

I dunno - I disagree. Before the referendum was called, I’d heard virtually zero people talking about it. It would be totally zero but one person said to me during the Scottish referendum that he’d vote No to independence, but if we left the EU he’d change his mind, and the entire idea we might leave was new to me. And I’m not particularly uninformed. I really do feel like it was not part of the public discourse - even if it was maybe part of Westminster discourse.

And the palpable sense of shock the day of the result - the number of people who said they’d voted no assuming it would never happen, they just wanted a protest vote, and the people being vox popped on TV, who when they gave their reasons for voting turned out to believe that voting for Brexit would mean all the Syrians being thrown out the very next day - I really don’t feel like there was a groundswell of genuine desire to leave the EU until political parties stirred it up.
posted by penguin pie at 4:19 AM on September 22 [14 favorites]


> a policy position that'll alienate half the country / What does a centrist have to do to get someone to vote for these days?

Revoke is the moderate, centrist option because it preserves the status quo: membership of the EU and all the benefits and compromises that confers.

Leave voters were a minority. A minority of the country (17.4/65.65 == 26.5%) and a minority of the electorate (17.4/46.5 == 37.4%). It is not unreasonable to suppose that those who didn't vote were happy with the status quo. Contrary to what Dysk said above, the country didn't care about the EU. In 2019, many of those leave voters have died of extreme old age and been replaced by young people who want to remain in the EU, or have been persuaded by the evidence and reality of the Leave campaign's crimes and lies, and that remaining is a better option anyway.

The Lib Dems are not going to win a majority at the next election and shifting the overton window in this way is a valid and valuable tactic.

There is a very solid majority in the UK now for remaining in the EU, and everyone knows it. The leavers wouldn't be so terrified of a second referendum otherwise.

Revoke is not extreme; it is the best option.
posted by Quagkapi at 4:30 AM on September 22 [27 favorites]


I agree that revoke is not an extreme option in itself. But let's suppose that in some hypothetical scenario, the Lib Debs win an election on, what, 40%? I can't see the other parties, the media, or indeed many of those who voted to leave, just accepting that result and moving on to more productive things. We're way past the point in terms of the polarisation of politics for that to work out well. Using votes for your candidates as a proxy for a second referendum, without an actual referendum, seems like hubris to me. Not to mention that we're supposed to have a system where you vote for a local MP based on what they're going to do for your constituency, and not for a single issue at national level.

A result of over 50% (ideally 60%) would be a clear mandate to revoke, and I don't think anyone would be able to logically argue that the referendum result hadn't been overturned by popular opinion in that case. But that kind of majority is a rare beast in British politics. But who knows? Anything could happen.

I suppose, if you assume the Lib Dems are being realists, and their unstated objective is not to win an election (because they never have), but to push the window of options towards remain, then this isn't a terrible way to do it. It widens the debate and puts pressure on Labour to adopt a more explicitly pro-remain position, because it's Labour voters who are going to be swayed by the revoke option far more than Conservative moderates.

It just feels to me like the end result is going to be further fragmentation of the vote.
posted by pipeski at 4:53 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


Just a reminder from Molly Scott Cato MEP
This site describes not a conspiracy theory but a conspiracy fact. We unpick, using widely available and credible sources, the stories of the people who funded and ran the dishonest and opaque campaigns that persuaded a majority of UK citizens to make a decision damaging to their future.
The Bad Boys of Brexit.
posted by adamvasco at 5:50 AM on September 22 [7 favorites]


The failed Watson plot exposes what really scares Corbyn and his coterie
Andrew Rawnsley in The Guardian
Come for the first paragraph, stay if you need to let out some anger this lovely Sunday by screaming at the heavens.
On the eve of the Labour conference, a poll was published that gave Jeremy Corbyn a negative personal approval rating of minus 60 points – yes, you read that right, minus 60 points. These are depths of unpopularity never plumbed by any opposition leader in the more than 40 years that pollsters have been recording this figure. Even Michael Foot wasn’t that disliked by the British public in the run-up to Labour’s landslide defeat at the hands of Margaret Thatcher in 1983. To have a candidate for prime minister who is that repellent to the country is a problem for Labour, especially when it is facing a general election. To Mr Corbyn’s allies, the answer is obvious – the deputy’s head must roll.
posted by mumimor at 5:55 AM on September 22 [5 favorites]


Contrary to what Dysk said above, the country didn't care about the EU

A low percentage of people citing it as "one of the most important issues facing the country" is not the same as not wanting it or caring at all. UKIP had been a growing force, after all. They had 12.6% of the vote in the 2015 general election. The Greens had far less - does this mean that people didn't care about the environment before the referendum? The issue doesn't make the top ten issues facing the country in the same Ipsos Mori poll from the middle of 2014. Immigration, however, which is an issue tightly linked to Brexit, is the top mention.
posted by Dysk at 6:19 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


What does a centrist have to do to get someone to vote for these days?


In my case, move to Scotland. (I'm not actually a centrist, I've got fairly extreme anarcho-syndicalist views, but I don't think they're anything other than dangerous, glorious fantasies. While I'm trying to work out how to reform mankind as a whole, I present as centrist because I loathe enthusiasts. People should stay in bed more.)

Interesting that the Guardian is saying legal opinion is moving towards expecting a Supreme Court rouling that's against Johnson, perhaps quite markedly so. If he acted illegally, then we can stick that on the pile with his overriding the rules and sending a girlfriend on multiple jollies and giving her company a six-figure bung, and start thinking about public office offences. Quickly, please.
posted by Devonian at 11:24 AM on September 22 [18 favorites]


sending a girlfriend on multiple jollies and giving her company a six-figure bung

Wait, what? Why can’t we have a slow news day?

Independent: Questions Over Boris Johnson’s Relationship with Ex-model ‘Awarded £126,000 of Public Funds’ “Prime minister urged to respond to ‘grave and serious’ allegations that he failed to declare potential conflicts of interest over close friendship with American model turned entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri​”

(Because the Sunday Times is paywalled: Exclusive: Boris Johnson overruled officials to take friend Jennifer Arcuri on jet set trade missions)
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:26 PM on September 22 [4 favorites]


Sebastian Payne (FT):
The real slogan of #lab19: “Labour is a party of Remain.”

In one afternoon, it’s been used by @tom_watson, @SadiqKhan and @EmilyThornberry
to name a few.

It’s a big shift from the party’s stated position on Brexit and not one that the leadership shares.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:37 PM on September 22 [2 favorites]


So Labour are going to abolish private schools by seizing their properties and redistribute them to the state sector. Socking it to the rich elite, yeah?

My wife works as a teacher in a private school - because the state sector has effectively abandoned teaching languages. Her previous school pretty much eliminated the MFL department and she lost her job, and it took many months to find her new one.

I work in a different private school, as IT manager/sysadmin. We're a fairly small school, and our specialism is students needing learning support - those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Our parents are mostly middle-class, ones who found that the state couldn't or wouldn't help their kids get a decent education so dug deep to pay for them to be in a school where they wouldn't be stuck in a corner and forgotten about. We're a charity because we make no profit, it all goes back into the school. Times have been tight for years, it's been a decade since I last had a pay raise than actually matched inflation (last year, it was 0%), not least due to costs such as the apprenticeship levy and this year going from paying for 16.4% of the teacher pension scheme to 23.7%. So even 'just' raising more taxes will probably cause us to close.

I'm sure the already desperately stretched state system will be thrilled to have to absorb the 600,000 extra pupils from the private sector.

So under the tories, they crash the country out of the EU thus crashing everything else, so we'll probably lose our jobs, then my wife gets deported. Labour will definitely cost us our jobs and crash education, and probably still Brexit if Corbyn et al can manage it. Lib dems don't have the safe seats of the other two, so could literally get the most votes yet only a small fraction of the MPs. And the rest of their policies are tory-lite anyway.

I'm so sick of politicians actively working to destroy our lives.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:52 PM on September 22 [26 favorites]


My mum is an Ofsted inspector.

I have to say that "vote for us and your mum gets the sack" is one of the less enticing manifesto pledges I've been asked to endorse at the ballot box.
posted by winterhill at 12:48 AM on September 23 [17 favorites]


SLTS (single link twitter speculation) - Unison to vote for the Remain motion at Labour conference, making it likely to become party policy and making Corbyn's position shooglier.
posted by penguin pie at 4:12 AM on September 23 [1 favorite]


'The men who plundered Europe': bankers on trial for siphoning €60bn
They have been called “the men who plundered Europe”: a group of cowboy traders, seasoned tax lawyers and mathematical whizz kids who are alleged to have conspired in the heart of the City of London to siphon at least €60bn in taxpayers’ money from the state coffers of several EU countries.

In Britain, the so-called “cum-ex” scandal, named after the complex derivatives juggling act employed, gained little attention amid the frenzied debate around the UK’s departure from the European Union when the fraud scheme was discovered in 2017.

But in continental Europe what Le Monde has described as the “robbery of the century” has done almost as much to shape the view of Britain as Brexit itself. Dutch media has called it “organised crime in pinstripe suits” and one of the original German whistleblowers saying he now welcomes Britain’s exit from the EU in the hope it could weaken the influence of London investment banking on European financial institutions.
posted by mumimor at 6:49 AM on September 23 [21 favorites]


JFC mumimor. That story is deeply disturbing.
posted by pharm at 9:29 AM on September 23


So it looks like the Remain campaign at the Labour party conference has been hoodwinked. The 'Party of Remain' composite motion was going to be close, and the way such things are managed are that there's a show of hands in the hall which, if it's not decisive, goes to a card vote.

This is what was expected to happen this time. Instead, the show of hands was called as a 'no' vote and no card vote was held. The bit of the audio I heard on the news from the hall was... not happy. Journalists at the event said that the show of hands looked pretty equal to them.

Laura Kuenssberg;

Bedlam on the floor after those arguing for Remain now fail, demand to push it for an accurate vote is denied by the Chair - this argument is far from over. Confusion as the chair said she thought it was carried, then party General Sec and Corbyn ally said it wasn't - overall result is that leadership gets its policy of neutral for now and avoids a defeat, but this is not some kind of happy ending

A clusterfuck. Of course it's a clusterfuck.
posted by Devonian at 10:28 AM on September 23 [15 favorites]


Labour party apparatchiks using procedural shenanigans to get one over on their ideological opponents? It’s back to the 80s all over again... (although to be fair, Blair wasn’t above using a spot of procedural shenanigans either)
posted by pharm at 10:48 AM on September 23 [6 favorites]


I mean, there has been a fair amount of procedural shenanigans all across the spectrum in UK politics of late, too.

Also, semi-meta, I'd be interested in a Labour conference thread if there's someone who wants to write one.
posted by ambrosen at 11:15 AM on September 23 [5 favorites]


Labour have just demonstrated that they're not serious people, seriously engaged in gaining power. There's a majority in the UK for Remain, and they've just told the majority of the electorate not to vote for them. Instead, they're comforting themselves by genuflecting before Dear Leader and indulging in a personality cult instead.
posted by daveje at 12:35 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


I'm guessing that Watson and Thornberry are Lib Dems/CHUKas in all but name now. They'll be ordered to shut up about remaining and campaign for the Dear Leader's "jobs-first Brexit" or whatever they call it, or to walk the plank.
posted by acb at 1:18 AM on September 24


Headline in The Guardian this morning: "Boris Johnson refuses to rule out suspending parliament again".

While outrageous, it looks like an attempt to distract from the previous hot story of "Johnson under pressure over friend receiving public funds".

Media: Provides evidence of Boris doing outrageous thing.
Boris: ...
Media: Continues to press Boris about outrageous thing.
Boris: Here's a different, outrageous thing I might do, hypothetically.
Media: OMG, new outrageous thing!

Either him or Dominic Cummings seem to have taken Steve Bannon's "Flood the zone with sh*t" tactic to heart.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 1:29 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Can we not do the "Dear Leader" Schtick?
If we're having a proper conversation about UK politics we can do better than lazy sloganeering.

I agree that we should remain. I agree that there is a majority for remain. But you can't do politics on a slim majority. That's part of how we ended up in this mess.
The current labour policy makes sense.

It provides the option of a managed Norway style brexit (which is what Farage and his ilk were claiming they wanted during the referendum.) and then lets that be voted on against a policy of pure remain in a peoples vote (which is what the lib dems, greens, FBPE claimed to want). The ONLY way out of this mess is to find a compromise that can be sold to both sides. The only way to sell that compromise is for the party offering it to be a neutral arbiter. They cannot negotiate a credible deal and then ask people to vote against it.

If remain has a majority, this will reveal it and that's what will happen. But a Tory No Deal and a Lib Dem Pure Remain (even if they somehow gained a pure majority, which seems unlikely) will still be tyranny by majority. It'll be unstable and divisive.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:15 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


The current labour policy makes sense..

The current Labour policy is a perversion of party democracy, undermining the party leadership and the party itself. That is what the Dear Leader comments are about. Whatever your feelings on the actual policy, that democratic processes were subverted to achieve it is a problem.

What a surprise that the people supporting such a position don't want to talk about that, preferring a discussion on the (unpopular) policy. That the people supporting an increasingly authoritarian leadership don't want any shorthand for their mendacious corruption being used.
posted by Dysk at 2:22 AM on September 24 [9 favorites]


There should have been a card vote. True.
There should have been better voting full stop.

So far as I'm aware (and I could be wrong) the alleged shenanigans were over options 13 or 14. Option 13 is this policy but labour campaigns for remain. Option 14 is this policy but labour is neutral (but individual MPs are free to state their case).
I think 14 makes more sense, I recognise others may disagree.

I also think that if that was arrived at through tainted means then that's a disgrace and the whole mess should be a sign to improve procedures. But the whole Dear Leader nonsense implies that the people that support Corbyn (or in this instance simply option 14 over option 13) are brainwashed cultists. That's insulting and reductive and again I would think if we're going to have a sensible discussion then we can do better.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:34 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


The Supreme Court has just ruled the prorogation unlawful.
posted by confluency at 2:44 AM on September 24 [27 favorites]


Unanimous Supreme Court verdict. Prorogation was unlawful; “Prorogation order was void and of no effect. Parliament has not been prorogued.”
posted by Catseye at 2:49 AM on September 24 [10 favorites]


Prorogation: Justiciable & Unlawful. Total victory.

Presumably Parliament will be sitting again as soon as Bercow gets into gear.
posted by pharm at 2:50 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Well now, that's an unambiguous ruling.
posted by skybluepink at 2:50 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Hulk sad!
posted by rongorongo at 2:51 AM on September 24 [11 favorites]


Hah. My £20 towards the cost of the case was well spent :)
posted by pharm at 2:51 AM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Probably still fucked, but wow, this feels good.
posted by skybluepink at 2:53 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


158,000 people watched livestream of that judgment. I was one of them. It's amazing to see history in the making.

My favorite part: Lady Hale's faint smile when she said, "It is not clear whether any steps required of PM but if it is, the Court is pleased his counsel have told court he will take all necessary steps to comply with the terms of declaration made."
posted by yankeefog at 2:54 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


But the whole Dear Leader nonsense implies that the people that support Corbyn (or in this instance simply option 14 over option 13) are brainwashed cultists.

Exhibit A
posted by daveje at 2:55 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


By the way, David Allen Green has a great Twitter list of people to follow for commentary on this case.
posted by yankeefog at 2:56 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Presumably Parliament will be sitting again as soon as Bercow gets into gear.

I rather assume he may have been watching the live stream in his robes just outside the door to the Commons...
posted by deeker at 2:57 AM on September 24 [10 favorites]


Bercow just said Parliament must reconvene without delay, and he's about to talk to the party leaders.
posted by skybluepink at 2:59 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Probably still fucked, but wow, this feels good.

In normal times, the Supreme Court finding that the Executive had acted unlawfully with regards to the Sovereign to deliberately obstruct the workings of Parliamentary democracy, ought to result in the PM resigning. Not holding my breath for that one.
posted by daveje at 3:00 AM on September 24 [17 favorites]


I don't understand what's going on (ugly Yank, proud of you guys at the moment) but I do hope this gives Bercow an opportunity to read the Tories the riot act some more. Because man, it's a beautiful thing.
posted by angrycat at 3:03 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


So, that means we're on schedule for a PMQ tomorrow....
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:05 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


My god.

I am beside myself.

This is fundamental stuff, on the same level of importance as the 17th century decisions quoted in the judgement. We now have:

* Parliament was never prorogued. It is in session
* Johnson acted unlawfully
* Johnson lied to the Queen
* Johnson's judgement found faulty in the highest court in the land

Bercow has said he is consulting the party leaders as a matter or urgency to get things going again. PMQs tomorrow? I do hope so.

I would like the first question to be - given that the PM has broken his oath as a Privy Councillor, will he now resign with immediate effect?



I
posted by Devonian at 3:07 AM on September 24 [35 favorites]


Just to interrupt history being made for a second
The vote wasn't close, the chair fucked up.

Labout just don't trust the Yellow Tories and melts to support them no matter what they do.

Labour must offer a people's vote
Labour offers 2nd vote.

No, we meant Labour must put remain on the referendum
Labour confirms remain on the 2nd vote

No, we meant Labour must not campaign for their deal
Labour say they will be neutral

No, we meant Labour must campaign for remain
Hang on a minute, if we say yes you're just going to demand we revoke A50


There is a very vocal section of the Lib Dems and centrists who just want a stick to beat Labour with beause they're terrified of socialism.
After offering a People's vote, remaining neutral against a Labour version of Brexit (in name only probably) whatever else Labour do it will never be enough.
posted by fullerine at 3:13 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Here's the judgement. It does a pretty good job at being clear about how and why.
posted by frimble at 3:15 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Daaamn I was just in a meeting when all this went down and need to catch up... as part of my meeting I had to refer to something on Twitter and was totally like "Oh... er... well, the proroguement has been ruled unlawful... what were we talking about?"

I mean, given the shitshow that is the current opposition, and the fact that Parliament hasn't successfully dealt with Brexit over three years, I don't feel confident that this is going to be anything other than a short-term win, but it's an absolutely massive one...
posted by penguin pie at 3:36 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


It seems likely to force a general election though. The flagrancy of the attempt to subvert parliament is now a public matter, and cannot be ignored. All the party leaders have come out and said BJ is unfit to govern. It is the 24th of September. If a GE can even be held before Oct 31st, there is a danger it will return a conservative ± brexit party government. I don't see a way through the mess that now must result.
posted by stonepharisee at 3:43 AM on September 24


And now I'm watching Lady Hale's judgement, and I'll admit that I'm a little choked that this massive blow for justice has been delivered by a woman, and a grey-haired one at that, one of the types of people so frequently missing from the media, from positions of authority, from public life in general.
posted by penguin pie at 3:44 AM on September 24 [29 favorites]


Parliament reconvenes tomorrow at 11:30am.

Urgent questions to the PM are the first order of the day.
posted by Devonian at 3:45 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


It won’t solve Brexit. But it’s still very good news in terms of setting out a clear ruling for the next time a government fancies trying this sort of thing. Parliament remains sovereign.

Johnson’s in New York at the moment, isn’t he? Do hope he manages to get back in time for PMQs tomorrow. He’s still so new in the job, you wouldn’t want to make a bad impression.
posted by Catseye at 3:54 AM on September 24 [7 favorites]


Bercow about to speak!
posted by penguin pie at 4:10 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


No PMQs tomorrow owing to notification requirements, but urgent questions allowed. No news yet on whether Boris will jet back early from NYC. Either he has to scrap his speech to the UN or be absent from parliament tomorrow. Amazing.
posted by Acey at 4:20 AM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Corbyn's rescheduled his leader's speech at conference - was due to be tomorrow, but will deliver it this afternoon instead so he can be in the Commons tomorrow. Which might also have an effect on Tom Watson's chance to address conference, which I think was due to happen today.
posted by penguin pie at 4:30 AM on September 24






And a recap of her brooches. Which makes it seem even more awesome that she wore a massive scary spider today.
posted by penguin pie at 4:54 AM on September 24 [5 favorites]


whatever else Labour do it will never be enough.

I'd just like Labour to have an actual policy. I'd like them to show some leadership. I'd like them to be a party that could be elected as the government.

Not much to ask.
posted by daveje at 4:59 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


I fought the law...
posted by pharm at 4:59 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]




I'd just like Labour to have an actual policy. I'd like them to show some leadership. I'd like them to be a party that could be elected as the government.

Not even that. The Labour manifesto for any upcoming GE should be the following:

1) Increase social spending
2) Everything else remains the same or gets better

The key thing in any election where the future of the country is at stake is DON'T SCARE THE NORMIES. So Labour decides this is the election to have a plan to remake the entire education system SCARING THE NORMIES. Boris may be a complete fucking fool who is going to ruin the country but at least the schools won't be in all manner of chaos because Corbyn and "The Left" decided to do some direct wealth redistribution.

It's win-win for Labour though. Either you win the election and the proles revolt against the bougie at the ballot box or you lose and BoJo wrecks the country but the proles will rise up and revolt against the bougie. Either way, proles revolt, right?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:47 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Which makes it seem even more awesome that she wore a massive scary spider today.

As a person who wears a different brooch every day of the year that it's cool enough to wear a jumper, and who has been known to choose said brooch specifically to make a statement, I could not have been more delighted by that spider. (Also, my colleagues have been sending me links to articles and tweets about her brooches all day...)
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:10 AM on September 24 [15 favorites]


Are Bills of Attainder still a thing? Could Parliament re-open and immediately declare the act of being Boris Johnson a crime?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:22 AM on September 24


Makes me a little ashamed as a Canadian that they were working out of Stephen Harper's playbook, and that he got away with this exact BS a few times in Canada. Good for you, UK.

I have never even known the name of the Speaker in the UK or Canadian Parliaments, but this Bercow guy is excellent. I will remember him as the right person in the right place at the right time.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:24 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


ManyLeggedCreature: Eponysterical!

Little things keep hitting me afresh and inspiring new delight: The fact Johnson so clearly expected to win, else why would he be in New York, not just out of the country but in a time-zone that doesn't lend itself to earthshattering news at 11am UK time? And the fact it was unanimous. *Sighs happily*.

(Also, and parenthesising so I don't reduce the redoubtable Lady Hale entirely to a fashion object, I've just bought this, a T-shirt with her spider brooch on it, with 30% of every sale going to Shelter. As if that weren't enough, it's been produced by a small company based in Uxbridge, the PM's constituency).

In the interests of doing my new stan greater justice than just admiring her brooch, pre-orders are also available on the children's book Equal to Everything: Judge Brenda and the Supreme Court.
posted by penguin pie at 6:25 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Labour has adopted the Second Referendum position that Lib Dems and Remainers have been urging.

There will be an election soon which will determine the outcome of Brexit. The Tories and the Brexit Party want an ultra-hard or No Deal Brexit. Labour want a Second Referendum. The Lib Dems want to cancel Brexit with no referendum.

To a significant extent, the outcome of that election depends on whether the Brexit Party and the Tories can work together more effectively than Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP and the Greens.

Labour's plans are already less radical than the right wing portrays them, and are going to be watered down even further before the manifesto:
The private schools policy, passed on the conference floor, would involve removing their charitable status, redistributing their endowments, investments and properties to the state sector, and limit the proportion of private school students admitted to universities. But Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, only included a pledge in her speech that a future Labour government would scrap the “tax loopholes” that benefit private schools in its first budget...

Likewise, the small-print of the policy on a four-day working week is that Labour would achieve this as a national average rather than a cap on working hours and aim to make progress by increasing statutory holiday entitlements.

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said it was essential to “get rid of bloody universal credit”, and the conference voted overwhelmingly to do so. But a more cautious line was taken by Margaret Greenwood, the shadow work and pensions secretary, who said the current policy was to “stop the rollout” of the benefit rather than scrap it, leaving the possibility it could be overhauled and rebadged.

Ultimately the strength of each policy will be determined by the party’s clause V meeting before a general election involving shadow ministers, members, trade unions and affiliates.
It would be a good sign that Remain/Second Referendum forces can win the next election if Lib Dems/SNP/Greens/centrists could dial back a bit on comparing Labour to communist dictatorships.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:33 AM on September 24 [8 favorites]


In the end, it was Johnson's Dunning-Kruger syndrome that led to his undoing. Had he been able to recognise his limits, he may have quit after his mayoralty and gone on to write books, appear on TV, father children with socialites, become a fixture of the Monaco set or whatever he felt inclined to do. Some people would criticise his mayoral legacy as having presided over rising inequality and a stack of empty edifices, but the average Evening Standard-reading Londoner would just remember him as the Big Red Bus Man, and in the grand scheme of things, not that bad. Decades later, he may become a cartoon mascot like the Churchill bulldog or something. But no, he had to have a go at being the Trumpian strongman who glitches Britain out of the liberal order, despite not having the faculties to recognise that he lacked the rat-cunning to pull it off.
posted by acb at 6:35 AM on September 24 [21 favorites]


It would be a good sign that Remain/Second Referendum forces can win the next election if Lib Dems/SNP/Greens/centrists could dial back a bit on comparing Labour to communist dictatorships.

*Labour hands Lib Dems a stick*
"Please don't beat me around the head with this"

If you don't want to be compared to a communist dictatorship don't make one of your signature manifesto items the confiscation of wealth from schools! Why of all times do Labour pick this election, one of the most important in history, to decide wide scale change that only practically serves to scare the shit out of the electorate is on the cards? Why is Corbyn -60 in his favourability? Because the electorate is scared and Corbyn isn't helping with that.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:44 AM on September 24 [12 favorites]


So Labour are Communists and abolishing tax breaks is "confiscation of wealth"? Sometimes this place feels like the Daily Mail comments section.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:56 AM on September 24 [14 favorites]


First of all,

redistributing their endowments, investments and properties to the state sector

If that's not confiscation of wealth I don't know what is. Also, I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm saying it scares the shit out of the electorate. Labour seem to be headlong plunging into what's "right" without considering the optics and it costs them easy elections (2017).
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:10 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


So much great analysis on the court’s decision coming in, but Laura Kuenssberg‘s cracked me up.
Short of the inscrutable Lady Hale, with the giant diamond spider on her lapel, declaring Boris Johnson to be Pinocchio, this judgement is just about as bad for the government as it gets.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:11 AM on September 24




Like the 4 day week for instance. I could not imagine a poorer way for Labour to approach this. Every worker who's hourly is immediately going to think "did my pay just get cut 20%?" and every businesses owner is immediately going to think "did my employee costs just increase 25%?". I'm sure it won't be so bad once it's explained but holy shit, how can anyone not look at that and just crap themselves?

If I was going to write a worker friendly manifesto that everyone wouldn't shit themselves over:

1) Indexed minimum wage with COL adjustments. Minimum wage for every post code. Employee to be paid the highest minimum either for their primary residence or the employee's place of business.
2) End zero hour contracts. The minimum will be 8.
3) Schedules will be given to employees two weeks in advance.
4) Holidays will be accrued at a rate of 0.02 hours per hour worked. This will increase 0.02 hours per worked every year until the country is at 4 weeks per year paid holiday.
5) Holiday entitlements will be paid to a fund which will administer benefits to the employer as the employee claims them. If the employee is terminated or leaves the position, that fund will pay out any remaining benefits to the employees.

So basically, this ends exploitation in a method that people have been actually calling for, there's a manageable 2% increase in costs, they creep up manageably until we're at OECD averages, workers get a week off the first year of introduction, and the worker entitlements are protected.

Then we work on lowering the work week.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:40 AM on September 24 [11 favorites]


workers get a week off the first year of introduction

?

Do you mean an additional 1 week off on top of the 28 days that EU law mandates they should already have?
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:46 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


My bad. I thought zero hour contracts didn't get holiday pay.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:50 AM on September 24


It's a good thing someone with such great knowledge of zero-hour contracts is on MetaFilter formulating a Labour policy on them.
posted by winterhill at 7:53 AM on September 24 [8 favorites]


Yeah. I was wrong. But if there is an election, Labour are still developing policies that are just going to be sticks for everyone else to beat them around with.

BoJo JoJo will still be the monkey in charge once the smoke clears.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:57 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I'm over here in Canada, so please feel free to discount me entirely, but this is already a very long thread approaching 400 comments on what is still a very active and changeable overall political situation - - I assume that when Parliament sits tomorrow, some sort of shit will go down, for instance, and there will be a lot still to talk about. Does it make sense to either have a separate post or a separate place entirely (chat?) for the fine parsing of hypothetical Labour policy planks?
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:17 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


I'd be in favour of keeping discussion about Labour policy out of Meltafilter altogether to be honest.

Oh my, there is no way on earth I'm correcting that. ha ha
posted by fullerine at 8:24 AM on September 24 [11 favorites]


If anyone particularly cares about Labour Party campaign strategy:
Labour leadership has long welcomed — or, indeed, invited — public rows over its policy offer. Their thinking is that confrontations with their opponents, be they the Tories or the business lobby, are a better way of airing and winning support for new policy, and defining the enemy, than a more conventional media strategy.

It was precisely this populist approach that paid dividends over the Easter recess in 2017 — just before Theresa May called the snap election — when Corbyn regained momentum with a blitz of provocative media interventions on policies like free school meals for all primary school pupils, funded by ending the VAT-free status of private schools, and a cap on executive pay. That week presaged the combative — and successful — campaign they would run just months later.
At this point, all the parties in their own way are trying to deal with the era of populism by projecting some kind of radicalism. The Tories are doing it by becoming a party of Hard Brexit. The Lib Dems have their sweary "Bollocks to Brexit" slogan and want to cancel Brexit without a referendum. Labour have these high-profile, low-commitment policies that set traps for the Tories: it wouldn't be a good look for Boris Johnson to start plummily declaiming about the value of private education.

Maybe these strategies are wrong and voters are now longing for the calm centrism of a previous era, but given the what's happened to calm centrists in the last few years, it's not that unreasonable to try them.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:24 AM on September 24 [7 favorites]


Also from Canada (colonies represent!), also wondering if it's time for a new thread.

If I can ask a question - when I woke up this morning and heard about this, I watched a bit of BBC livestream. The political commentator seemed very quick to make this all about Boris: that the court has essentially called him "feckless" and such, and that this really restricts the power of the PM. Now, my sense is that the court was careful to avoid describing anything about motives & character, beyond pointing out that this specific prorogation has the effect of preventing Parliament from its duty of overseeing the government at this specific juncture; so I was left to wonder about the BBC editorial view on everything; i.e, what way does their bias run?

(That being said, it makes me want to go mod CKII so that "the Feckless" is a nickname a ruler can get)
posted by nubs at 9:07 AM on September 24


Ah yes, the Lib Dems and their centrist radicalism.
posted by acb at 9:36 AM on September 24


I was left to wonder about the BBC editorial view on everything; i.e, what way does their bias run?

Probably depends what your politicial views are - historically the right has howled that the BBC's a lefty stronghold. More recently their political editor Laura Kuenssberg has been lambasted by the left as a Tory stooge. The BBC themselves would probably tell you that if they're being criticised by both sides, they've obviously got it about right.

But, really, that's not very relevant for the actual question you're asking, which is - Why are the BBC saying this is all about Johnson?

The first answer is that the Court stopped short of saying it was all about Brexit; they didn't stop short of saying it was all about Johnson.

If you read the judgement, it systematically tears apart the lies that Johnson (and his allies, but he's made himself the figurehead) told in order to achieve proroguement. Try reading paragraphs 58-61 of the judgement and you'll see how the court dismantles his repeated claims - made in public, as well as to the court - that a long proroguement was necessary to prepare for a Queen's Speech. Paragraph 61 is particularly glorious is its icy refusal to literally call him a Brexit-faced liar, but they don't need to say it was because of Brexit to make it all about him:

It is impossible for us to conclude, on the evidence which has been put before us, that there was any reason - let alone a good reason - to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for five weeks, from 9th or 12th September until 14th October. We cannot speculate, in the absence of further evidence, upon what such reasons might have been. It follows that the decision was unlawful.


The second answer to why the BBC are making it all about Johnson is - How could it possibly not be about him, to any informed commentator?

He's made it all about him. He's alienated swathes of his own party, making it clear that this is the hill he's personally going to die on. He's painted himself as a maverick and a strong leader, who'll take daring decisions that others were too scared to take - and doing that turned out to be wildly illegal. He lied to the Queen when requesting the proroguement (which sounds quaint, but we're not talking about offending an old lady, we're talking about lying to the State). He as PM is the head of the Government, which has been reminded by the Supreme Court today that it derives its authority from Parliament, and doesn't have the right to close Parliament down for political convenience. In the English case (which was one of the two being heard on appeal by the Supreme Court today) The Prime Minister was specifically named as the respondent.

Johnson's fingerprints as a man not afraid to make wild judgement calls are all over it every step of the way, and he put them there, loudly and publicly, himself. Whether as the engineer or the figurehead, he's painted himself as the man behind everything that's happened, thinking it would bring him glory. So it doesn't take any kind of bias to take him at his word and point the finger at him now.
posted by penguin pie at 10:05 AM on September 24 [26 favorites]


So Labour are Communists and abolishing tax breaks is "confiscation of wealth"? Sometimes this place feels like the Daily Mail comments section.

The actual conference motion that was passed.

So in addition to charging VAT on private school fees to pay for free school meals in the last manifesto the plan is also to cancel charitable status, public subsidies, and raise business rates. Those "public subsidies", by the way, are the money the MoD contributes towards boarding school fees so that soldiers on deployment can keep their children in UK education, rather than say, in a warzone. I'm sure state boarding schools will be opening up to fill that need straight away.

However, they also enthusiastically voted for:
"Endowments, investments and properties held by private schools to be redistributed democratically and fairly across the country’s educational institutions.”

That's seizing their money and property, by the way. There's the "confiscation of private wealth", in case you weren't following.

So the private schools will be both open -paying more than their current 4 billion taxes to pay for various other spending pledges - and at the same time, shut down and their land redistributed so state schools can have some playing fields back after they had to sell theirs off.

No mention made of what happens to the 600,000 odd pupils that go there, or the hundreds of thousands of staff who will be sacked when all the private schools are shut. Feel free to read above for my feelings about that.

If you don't want people like me or my wife, or the 300,000 like us to have jobs feel free to just come out and say it.

And no, we won't suddenly be getting jobs in the state sector, primarily because there's not actually going to be any more money to pay for staff to teach all those ex-private school pupils. Parents don't get a rebate on their taxes for volunteering to take their children out of the state sector and pay for their education twice over, so when you shut down the private schools all those fees will just stay with the parents, and you won't even get the taxes the state does now.

Perhaps you need to spend less time at the Canary yourself.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:24 AM on September 24 [17 favorites]


I don't believe the BBC is institutionally biased, but whenever something like this happens they do give untold amounts of airtime to incoherent idiots. Take this evening's 6 o'clock TV news, for instance. We've got a lengthy report from a shopping centre in Stoke-on-Trent, talking to random people who happen to be hanging around the Potteries Centre on a Tuesday afternoon. That's not representative of the people, that's representative of mostly old, retired or unemployed people and the opinions on offer are as uninformed as you'd expect - guff like "I think Boris has the people at his heart, duck".

Why do they always go to Stoke or Grimsby or similar towns and wander around talking to whoever's loitering? Why is it never Cambridge or Bristol or Manchester, or nowhere for a change? Please stop it. The national airwaves are for people with an informed opinion, whichever opinion that may be. Vox pops off.
posted by winterhill at 10:25 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


David Allen Green got chosen by a French radio station for a vox pop at Westminster. Perhaps they should be asked in future to do the selection of interviewees.
posted by scorbet at 10:36 AM on September 24 [5 favorites]


Thanks, penguin pie.
posted by nubs at 10:54 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


I feel like the BBC’s hideous vox pop selection (which mostly feels like they have a dedicated camera crew constantly touring the top gammon pubs of little England) is some kind of half-developed instinct that they must get out of their London bubble, stymied by a terrible bigotry about what the world outside their bubble is actually like. It’s like the thought process goes:

We can’t just vox pop people like us, that would look bad. Therefore we must vox pop people not like us. We’re reasonable, well-informed, multi-ethnic metropolitans from London. Therefore we must vox pop people from The Rest Of The Country, who are unreasonable, white, badly-informed provincials.

The idea that there could be a multiplicity of views, ethnicities, intellects etc. outwith London is just not even on their radar.
posted by penguin pie at 11:03 AM on September 24 [14 favorites]


It's not even a London bubble as most of them aren't Londoners.
It's a privately-educated Middle-class bubble situated in London.
posted by fullerine at 11:15 AM on September 24 [5 favorites]


I don't watch much TV, but the radio vox pop selection is most definitely heavily salted with non-Londoners. Seems at times to be mostly Gruff Northern Leavers saying "I just want to leave, that's what we voted for' in infinite variations (actually, not much variation at all).

I've never liked vox pops. Recently, I've grown to detest them.
posted by Devonian at 11:23 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I'm told that one of today's Radio 5 Live vox pops was at Povey's Oatcakes, an oatcake shop in Leek (near Stoke-on-Trent).

A tiny amount of basic research would have revealed that owner Alex Povey and his late dad Steve Povey have both stood for Ukip on numerous occasions. What are the researchers doing if they aren't checking out the people they stick on the air?
posted by winterhill at 11:38 AM on September 24 [12 favorites]


I've never liked vox pops. Recently, I've grown to detest them.

It's all about which pops get to have their vox heard, really.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:57 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Devonian: I've never liked vox pops. Recently, I've grown to detest them.

Try doing them:)

They were one of the worst jobs for all junior (print) reporters on evening papers. As a young white female journalist in Cambridge (UK) I was sent out far too often to quiz the public, usually near the newest multi-storey car park, about the Issue of the Day.

People would spot you coming - with your desperate smile, notebook and the usual weirdly misanthropic photographer in tow - and flee. You were obviously about to waste their time.

You would be left with the jeering teenager ("Show us your tits, then") or Attila-the-retired-also-white-person with time on their hands and issues. The results were rarely representative.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:12 PM on September 24 [31 favorites]


In my newspaper reporting years the most wretched vox popper I ever saw was the work experience lad who was sent out to get five vox pops (a 30 minute job for an experienced reporter in the city centre) and came back six hours later, saying: "I've been spat at, called a paedophile, only two people would talk to me".

Turned out when he'd written up his quotes and given his headshots to the picture desk (taken himself on a little digital, budgets for photographers had been slashed by then), that he couldn't remember which quotes belonged to which photo, so we couldn't use either of them. Someone else had to go out and spend 30 minutes getting another five. I wonder what the poor boy's doing now...
posted by penguin pie at 12:56 PM on September 24 [9 favorites]


Motions at conference have to be passed by a 2/3 majority on a card vote to be binding, I'm pretty sure. Even then the final policy details are up to a committee composed of more invested and less radical folks. Most conference motions are significant in the way they get public attention and publicity rather than the effect they have on eventual policy. The points above about the effect this nonetheless has on public opinion are not affected of course, but I mention it in case anyone thought this was going to go straight into the manifesto for the no doubt imminent General Election.

No doubt someone more knowledgeable can explain the details. This is more like the times the Young Conservatives vote at conference to bring back the death penalty than an actual manifesto commitment to nationalise public schools. (Also to be fair I believe these days the Young Tories seem more likely to display their radicalism by opposing Brexit).
posted by GeckoDundee at 1:42 PM on September 24


BBC vox pops have always been a thing of ridicule: think Monty Python and then much later with Fry and Laurie.

Talking of ridicule, I see that the PM has gone into full-on Trumpian bluster mode to deflect, deflect, deflect.
posted by scruss at 1:44 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


This is why journalists love Twitter so much, they can dig up a bunch of vox pop tweets without having to go outside and talk to those pesky people.

And it's just so easy to find the just-get-on-with-Brexit opinions they're looking for! Thousands of people tweeting exactly that and nothing else! All day every day!

How incredibly convenient for them!
posted by automatronic at 1:46 PM on September 24 [11 favorites]


Somebody should start a string of diners across the country so you can send reporters there to get to know The Real Voters.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 1:48 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]




eponysterical there, automatronic. :)

And yeah, the only time I've seen the BBC out and about getting vox pops was on Arbat in Moscow, so they're not usually where I want to be.
posted by ambrosen at 2:01 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Somebody should start a string of diners across the country so you can send reporters there to get to know The Real Voters.


Wetherspoons.

I'm glad to say I've never done the kind of journalism that involved vox pops. Closest I came was being asked to go down the queue outside an Apple Shop for some launch, but I declined.

After all the madness today, I'm a bit of the opinion that nothing much has actually changed. Johnson, lacking shame or honour, will not resign. Labour is full of glee at defeating the real enemy - its own people - as always, and Parliament may be back but it still doesn't know what to do. 31st October gets ever closer - and how the hell is the EU supposed to deal with (in any sense) the boiling box of frogs that is the UK?

Still, one day at a time, sweet Jesus.
posted by Devonian at 2:06 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


The Remainiacs podcast this afternoon points out (/hopes?) that the strength of the judgement - the 11-0 unanimity, and the absolute clarity and heft of the judgement - will hopefully stop Johnson executing his supposed plan to just re-prorogue in the event of a finding of illegality by the Supreme Court. And may even give him pause for thought when it comes to his other bold plan to just ignore the Benn Act and refuse to go ask the EU for an extension. We can only hope.

Closest I came was being asked to go down the queue outside an Apple Shop for some launch, but I declined.

There's a branch of journalism where you're entitled to refuse to do shit jobs and won't get the sack? How did I miss that all these years?!
posted by penguin pie at 2:14 PM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Absolutely No You-Know-What:
So in addition to charging VAT on private school fees to pay for free school meals in the last manifesto the plan is also to cancel charitable status, public subsidies, and raise business rates. Those "public subsidies", by the way, are the money the MoD contributes towards boarding school fees so that soldiers on deployment can keep their children in UK education, rather than say, in a warzone. I'm sure state boarding schools will be opening up to fill that need straight away.

However, they also enthusiastically voted for:
"Endowments, investments and properties held by private schools to be redistributed democratically and fairly across the country’s educational institutions.”

That's seizing their money and property, by the way. There's the "confiscation of private wealth", in case you weren't following...

If you don't want people like me or my wife, or the 300,000 like us to have jobs feel free to just come out and say it.
As I've said before with links, Labour hasn't committed to anything except that they would " scrap the “tax loopholes” that benefit private schools in its first budget". The redistribution is something conference wanted, but it won't become manifesto policy which is set after the Clause V process.

My employer has to somehow pay my wages after paying taxes too. Taxes are useful because they pay for public services. I don't see why you and your wife can't be part of the same tax system as me and everyone else. What makes you too special to be taxed?

The UK's private education system is unusual in Europe. In most European countries, private education exists mostly for particular religious groups, and specialist education. The idea that the richest 7% of children are separated from the masses and given a different, better quality of education is something we take for granted, but isn't necessary for a developed nation to thrive. It's also a big part of the UK's oppressively rigid class system. It also reduces the incentive to improve state education when the most politically powerful part of the population can opt out of it tax-free.

So, I don't want you and your wife to not have jobs. But I don't see why your employers can't pay the same taxes as mine. I also don't think that the system of class and money based privilege you're part of needs to be further encouraged with tax rebates.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:33 PM on September 24 [20 favorites]


Parliament may be back but it still doesn't know what to do.

Easy - pass a law that requires Bojo to answer[*] Prime Ministers Questions from now on while wearing his underpants on his head.

[*] Yes, actually answer, not just regurgitate irrelevant blather.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:34 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Shami Chakrabarti calls for Johnson's resignation.

Also for another drink.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:57 PM on September 24


Shami Chakrabarti calls for Johnson's resignation.

Also for another drink.
I was about to say that's out of order but my word Shami's been celebrating hard.
I think she deserves a ton of credit for being that pissed on live TV and not calling Johson a twat.
posted by fullerine at 10:35 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


The key thing in any election where the future of the country is at stake is DON'T SCARE THE NORMIES. So Labour decides this is the election to have a plan to remake the entire education system SCARING THE NORMIES.

If the Australian Labor Party had taken that advice a few months ago, Australia would not now be saddled with the Trump-licking glad-handing god-bothering policy-free toadie we're currently pleased to call a Prime Minister, and we might even have something resembling an energy policy.

It's good advice.
posted by flabdablet at 11:52 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


And it's just so easy to find the just-get-on-with-Brexit opinions they're looking for! Thousands of people Twitter accounts tweeting exactly that and nothing else! All day every day!

Unless @jack has had a recent Damascene moment, I think that's still a distinction that does make a difference.
posted by flabdablet at 12:07 AM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Loving this thread and think the title brilliant, but when its successor arrives I'll be glad to finally be free of the earworm that has plagued me since September 12th, when the OP was posted.
posted by valetta at 2:50 AM on September 25 [11 favorites]


Bercow, guzzling throat sweets and gargling mouthwash, limbering up. Only a few weeks left in the Chair. "It's ooooooooon, bitches! Let's do this thing! I am Bercow, hear me roar!"

I wish more than almost anything that I wasn't on day shift at the village pub today; streaming live news would not go down well...
posted by deeker at 3:23 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


That sounds unfun, deeker: be the horrible goose you want to see in the world.

Bercow, if mispronounced /berCOW/, has a certain wild-west gunnery/pew-pew lasers sound to it.
posted by scruss at 3:34 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


UK Parliament live stream
posted by flabdablet at 3:42 AM on September 25


Interesting how Geoffrey Cox keeps hitting the refrain that the Supreme Court "made new law" yesterday, when I had the impression that the nature of their pronouncement was effectively to clarify what has always been law, especially given how many ancient statutes they cited. Like a sculptor chiselling out a statue that was already within a given block of stone - it was already there, they just elucidated it. He's clearly trying to paint them as being way out there, radical, extreme.

Aha! And as I type, Rory Stewart is on his feet asserting the very same thought.

Jesus. Geoffrey Cox, a shining example of how far in life a powerful voice can get you, no matter what it is you're actually saying.
posted by penguin pie at 4:15 AM on September 25 [7 favorites]


The Attorney General is carrying on like Brian Blessed calling for FRESH HORSES.

When you have neither the law nor the facts on your side, pound the table!
posted by flabdablet at 4:16 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


Ooft. And the opposition asks GC if the Government will comply with the Benn Act...

GC stands:

Yes.

And he sits.
posted by penguin pie at 4:26 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]






Mark Elliott, professor of public law at Cambridge, wrote a thousand word summary on the Supreme Court judgement. It's wordy and dense but pretty succinct.

His argument is that, far from making new law, the precedents were such that the court "would have been in dereliction of its constitutional duty if it had declined to intervene".
posted by Eleven at 6:59 AM on September 25 [11 favorites]


Meanwhile in "Of COURSE he did" territory, a thread on the Jennifer Arcuri & Boris Johnson story & why it’s a bigger scandal than you think.

Because who's just wandered on from stage far-right but our old pal... Milo!
posted by Devonian at 8:58 AM on September 25 [22 favorites]




This current 'government' doesn't have the power to change the oil filter on a Mark III Ford Cortina, let alone the court system.
posted by Devonian at 9:23 AM on September 25 [10 favorites]


So Johnson stands to make a statement "About yesterday's Supreme Court Decision" and immediately starts talking about his Brexit policy. I thought you said the proroguation was nothing to do with Brexit, man?
posted by penguin pie at 10:35 AM on September 25 [10 favorites]


Currently Johnson is repeatedly calling the Benn bill "the surrender act" whilst people tell him not to, one after the other. I've never seen the house quite so furious. It sounds like he's given up trying to get an election and is instead trying to get himself lynched.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:02 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Yes. Bercow has suggested, if not in terms, that he stops; he continues. It is vile. I'm shaking with anger.
posted by deeker at 12:10 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


It's not himself he's trying to get lynched.
posted by fullerine at 12:10 PM on September 25 [15 favorites]


It's not himself he's trying to get lynched.

This.

Pound shop Nazi.
posted by deeker at 12:12 PM on September 25 [16 favorites]


@ashcowburn [video]: An MP makes an emotional plea to tone down the language - citing death of her friend Jo Cox. The prime minister responds saying “humbug”.

I thought that was a summary, but upon watching the video, no, he gave a literal humbug.
posted by zachlipton at 12:20 PM on September 25 [20 favorites]


I feel like he's taken a lesson from his own shambolic appearances in the house before proroguation - then he tried to engage with the arguments and was exposed as a buffoon of no substance. So now he's given up engaging, and has reverted to what he did throughout the referendum campaign, and throughout his leadership campaign - to just repeat, no matter what he's asked, or whether it's relevant to the question: "The best thing to do is just get on with Brexit".

No nuance, no discussion of how he's going to do that after three years of deadlock, no engagement with thoughts or ideas. Just "Let's get on with Brexit" ad nauseum. And to the people he's aiming to be heard by, it'll probably be music to their ears.
posted by penguin pie at 12:41 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I really thought I was numb to outrage, but Boris just did it: he literally just said that the best way to honour Jo Cox's memory is to get Brexit done. Jo Cox, ardent Remainer, brutally assassinated by a fascist terrorist.
posted by skybluepink at 12:44 PM on September 25 [42 favorites]


@ashcowburn [video]: An MP makes an emotional plea to tone down the language - citing death of her friend Jo Cox. The prime minister responds saying “humbug”.

I cannot get over how much Bercow sounds like he's trying to order appetisers in French when he calls for order.

Johnson is unforgivably callous. One MP has already been killed. I suppose he reckons a few more will thin the opposition.
posted by Dysk at 12:46 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


It sounds like he's given up trying to get an election and is instead trying to get himself lynched.

Or solidify the demagogic foundation of a Brexit “do or die” Johnson vs. “parliamentary traitors” election campaign for an Oct. 31 GE.

Sky News has a video clip:
Paula Sherriff makes an emotional call for the PM to stop using "offensive" and "inflammatory" language like "surrender act, betrayal, traitor" which she says often appears in death threats received by MPs.

Boris Johnson says he has "never heard such humbug in all my life."
The Brexiteers are absolutely eating up “surrender act” and this sickening spectacle.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:54 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I have a higher tolerance for parliament rigmarole than anyone else I know - Parliament TV has been the highlight of my days sometimes - but today has been dreadful.

Cox at least responded to some questions with a line drawn - the judiciary should be respected - but then we got Gove and his X-Men-like power to say hours and hours of intelligible sentences that mean absolutely nothing. And then we now have Johnson, who ups the ante by saying hours of hours of intelligible sentences that replaces content with the utmost venom and inflammation. And we have MPs from the opposition benches repeating themselves over and over again with (understandably) increasing emotion and wrath in the face of such a sneering stone wall.

From reading commentary, I do agree that at least this stone wall shows just how desperately cornered the Tories are, but that doesn't make this sorry sight any easier to swallow.

An honest question - is there anything that the opposition can say/ask him in the House of Commons to get Johnson to say anything of substance? Or will we have to wait for another month of sound and fury for this stone wall sneer to fall?
posted by facehugger at 12:56 PM on September 25 [3 favorites]


He's making a good argument for destroying the public schools and covering the grounds with salt, especially Eton. I've never seen anything so vile and contemptuous in the House, and this is a couple of week's after Rees-Mogg's performance.
posted by daveje at 1:04 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


and this is a couple of week's after Rees-Mogg's performance.

Hold tight, he's up next.
posted by deeker at 1:08 PM on September 25


I understand that Boris Johnson has said that "the best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox is to get on with Brexit". From the times I met the aforementioned Jo Cox, I have the distinct impression that this would very much not be the case.

She was a decent human being, unlike a certain Prime Minister. Many lines are being crossed recently, but the memory of this incident has never really gone away around here and I'm really angry at Johnson for using her name in this way. How must her family feel, listening to this unhinged man using their relative's name to make a cheap political point?

Were Jo in her rightful place in the House of Commons right now, she would be giving Johnson a good, hard, well-deserved old-fashioned Yorkshire kick up the arse. This is a rugby league town, after all.
posted by winterhill at 1:18 PM on September 25 [26 favorites]


Oh god deeker

I forgot that we have one more million dollar gas bag to face

At least Rees-Mogg is such an extreme character that there's always the chance he'll make a remark/action that becomes a strategic mistake. Gove is polished enough to have no content whatsoever, Johnson can offer bluster in lieu of content, but Rees-Mogg can't help but be his inherently odious self at all times - which provides an immediate and searing look of the true heart of the "Nasty Party."
posted by facehugger at 1:18 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Hannah Bardell giving it laldy, but opening herself up to a an easy soundbite of a response.

But honestly every answer is either "get brexit done" or "why not have a general election"
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:19 PM on September 25


But honestly every answer is either "get brexit done" or "why not have a general election"
Who remembers the Maybot, all those decades ago?
posted by winterhill at 1:22 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


i used to be opposed to brexit but then boris johnson told everyone in parliament that getting brexit done would end sexual harassment so i just don't know what to think
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:28 PM on September 25 [9 favorites]


What the hell is Boris Johnson doing with his bizarre and offensive Jo Cox statement? It is insane! It is an insane thing to say. Is he trying to say that more politicians will be assassinated if Brexit does not move forward? That is the only reasonable interpretation of his comment that I can come up with, and it's not a very reasonable interpretation at all.
posted by Automocar at 1:32 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I am so angry at Boris Johnson for what he said about Jo Cox. I didn’t think I could be shocked anymore but this is just unforgivable.
posted by motdiem2 at 1:34 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon, not only would Brexit end sexual harassment, it would also end the UK being another colony of the EU. Imagine, we can join our friends in the Commonwealth in celebrating our very own Independence Day!

I heard an MP mention "vassal state" once more today, I hope to one day forget that phrase again because it's one of the most revolting entries in the Eurosceptic dictionary.
posted by facehugger at 1:36 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


I said this in the last thread, and it's probably worth repeating: the outrage is the whole point, it's not an accident.

It's red meat to the Brexiteer base (Johnson and his coterie have been paying Trump close attention), and it's to goad the opposition into doing what the Tories want, or at least, not doing what they're afraid of. It's one thing to force the opposition to pass the Benn act, for which there was widespread agreement. It's another to expect the opposition to agree on anything else substantial when there's so much genuine rage.
posted by daveje at 1:41 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


the outrage is the whole point, it's not an accident

In many ways, Brexit is a dead cat that's been dumped on the table to disguise the abhorrent cruel clusterfuck that is austerity.
posted by ambrosen at 2:04 PM on September 25 [19 favorites]


Though can I just say - it's absolutely stopped being dreadful since Johnson left Commons, and now we've had a few exchanges between Bercow and the Opposition that have been so graceful in how somberly and seriously they've taken the issue of Jo Cox and inflammatory language. These cross-house declarations of decency in process are so refreshing compared to US politics right now, and they show one of the most striking parts of UK parliamentary politics, that the unwritten constitution (among other things) emboldens MPs to constantly work on bettering parliament in all sorts of ways.
posted by facehugger at 2:09 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


These cross-house declarations of decency

These cross house declarations are too fucking late.
They said nothing when johnson was talking shit about a murdered MP, they get nothing!
NOTHING!

Anyone supporting the tories is supporting that.
Go be a lib dem if you have to. but not that.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:24 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I've been away from the news since lunchtime as I couldn't take much more - now I return this evening to see what I've missed, and I'm greatly disturbed to see that it got markedly worse. I can't bring myself right now to watch Boris's performance, just reading about it is bad enough. Thankfully he left shortly after I rejoined the livestream, and what I've seen since has been more heartening.

But I'm afraid. It's clear that the executive has no intention of dialling back the rhetoric, but on the contrary are intent on ramping it up and up. There's a very real risk of violence as a result of this. I fear for not only members of parliament but for people on the streets of Britain. It's going to get much worse before it gets better, and the PM is clearly going to take no responsibility for any of it.

We are dealing not with out-of-touch aristocrats or spoilt posh boys - these are jackbooted thugs in fancy dress. They make the nasty party of old look positively tame. They want power and they don't care who has to die for them to get it. They should be jailed for inciting terrorism.
posted by Acey at 2:31 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


Just this guy, don't get me wrong, when Rees-Mogg is saying nice things about tempering language, I'm not forgetting that, as a woman, he fundamentally doesn't seem me as a human being. Please don't slag me off by accusing me of supporting the Tories or "the Lib Dems if I have to."

I'm just comparing it to the context of US politics, which is in all ways several magnitudes uglier, and pointing out that these declarations of decency, since they were also coupled with several suggestions that the Speaker took seriously, seem to be pointing towards some significant progressive developments.

Ian Dunt: Something potentially important happening here. A sense among MPs that the prime minister went over the line. That's mercurial. It's not a law that you can hold him to account on. But there is a clear sense of shock and outrage at the manner in which he conducted himself.

Lewis Goodall: The PM didn’t apologise for an unlawful prorogation but I wonder if he’ll have to apologise for this.
posted by facehugger at 2:35 PM on September 25 [12 favorites]


You'd have thought at some point Jacob Rees Mogg should surely have learned the difference between politeness and condescension, but it seems not.
posted by dng at 2:41 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


I'm not supporting the Tories or Lib Dem, please don't slag me off by saying "go be a lib dem if you have to."

Oh, i should clarify that:
a) I've chugged a lot of wine
b) I was referring to conservative MPs (and to a lesser extent supporters/members), not you personally and I apologise profusely if that was not clear.

What I meant there was that any conservative MP who still identifies as such is tarred by this. You either stand up and say no, or you are as complicit as he is for this language.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:42 PM on September 25


I'm just comparing it to the context of US politics,

Why compare cholera with paraquat in the first place, though?
posted by ambrosen at 2:43 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


I'm 75% sure that the reason the government won't let the house debate uncontroversial business during the conservative party conference period in lieu of asking for a conference recess is not any lack of trust, but awareness that it would be terrible optics for opposition MPs to spend several days moving forward legislation that everyone agrees to be a good idea while government MPs are dicking around at a conference.
posted by confluency at 2:57 PM on September 25


What I meant there was that any conservative MP who still identifies as such is tarred by this. You either stand up and say no, or you are as complicit as he is for this language.

I agree, and I am still astonished (naive, I know) that there are still close to 300 MPs in the Conservative Party who are full-steam-ahead supporting unicorn accelerationist Brexit.

I've been jumping back and forth between The Guardian's US/UK politics liveblog today, which is why I've been comparing cholera and paraquat, and in the US, at least the Republicans are supporting something tangible and (unfortunately) achievable. On the other side of the Atlantic, so many of these Tories, based off of various media leaks, legitimately believe that Johnson can get a deal within a month AND that it will significantly differ from May's AND that it's a deal that will smoothly solve Northern Ireland. 300 people voting for greed, sure, but 300 people voting for unicorn Brexit?

I'm still young enough to be constantly astounded at how powerful power can be in stripping away any shred of morality and intelligence.
posted by facehugger at 2:57 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


(On the other hand, Rees-Mogg's semi-ominous promise of some kind of fun surprise to be announced tomorrow may mean that they're about to wheel out a horse with a fork stuck in its head and make everyone vote for it.)
posted by confluency at 3:02 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


confluency, what are the chances that they'll self-VONC tomorrow?

Gotta up the ante from the Supreme Court declaring you unlawful, there's not much else more shameful than that.
posted by facehugger at 3:05 PM on September 25


facehugger, that would need a simple majority -- my understanding is that they don't even have that right now, unless one of the other parties helps them.
posted by confluency at 3:08 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


that would need a simple majority -- my understanding is that they don't even have that right now, unless one of the other parties helps them.

Is the behaviour today an attempt to provoke the other parties into going along with a VONC? Because it is breathtaking in its contempt.
posted by nubs at 3:17 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


That's what I wondered. I can imagine a galaxy-brain idea where they try to galvanize the Parliamentary majority into finally putting together a unity government, giving them a more concrete establishment to run against in the election (since the plan is to run against Parliament regardless).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:21 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


I can't tell the difference between 5D chess and "lol, let's mash all the buttons and maybe we'll do a finishing move by accident" anymore.
posted by confluency at 3:24 PM on September 25 [12 favorites]


After today's performance, any Opposition MPs still tempted to vote for any deal that has Johnson's name on it, is going to run like hell in the other direction.

Again, the outrage is the point.

On preview: my opinion was (still is) that the Tory strategy was to goad the opposition into something like the Benn act and then get them to trigger a VONC, on the reasonable basis that Corbyn had been doing nothing other than calling for a new election. That was a miscalculation, and while they're trying to provoke the Opposition, it's more to position the Tories as the only serious Brexit party in whatever election the UK ends up with.
posted by daveje at 3:24 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


You know, I haven't felt this way in over three years, but the invocation and abuse of the memory of Jo Cox has brought it all back to the surface. I feel physically ill. And I think you folks could be on to something. What if this is all just trolling? What if their game is to bring us down to their level? Because I'm struggling with the idea that anyone could be so callous, so devoid of shame or contrition, to persist with this utter contempt. But on the other hand I've seen no evidence that they are anything but the most self-serving, deceitful, hateful human beings they appear to be. So perhaps it's both, and they are betting that the electorate are too stupid to see through it and too tightly wound from years of this culture war to back down now, even in the face of such naked cruelty and hatred. And I'm terrified that they are right.
posted by Acey at 3:34 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


The deliberate callousness, other than being conservative in-group-signaling performative cruelty, appears to be a classic Lynton Crosby dead-cat, probably to divert attention from the Jennifer Arcuri affair (which appears to have far more to it than the “naughty can't-keep-it-in-his-pants BoJo embezzles money to his latest squeeze's ‘tech entrepreneur’ scam” pantomime it has been dismissed as; for one, certain international far-right figures recur in this particular story as well).

We're meant to get outraged by the man's piggish callousness long enough to take our eyes off the ball that has just landed on the ground.
posted by acb at 3:41 PM on September 25 [8 favorites]


I'm beginning to suspect that a lot of Johnson's strategy genuinely comes down to handwaving and not thinking through the details, and assuming that everyone around him is going to be exactly as reckless and lazy. I don't know how else to explain the apparent surprise that the opposition parties refuse to do things that the government clearly wants them to do, and which they pinky swear are not any kind of trap, after the prorogation debacle burnt the trust bridge down to stumps.

I suppose that the behaviour of every Tory other than Boris can be explained by each individual person's conviction that while of course Boris is placating all those other people by telling them what they want to hear, they alone can be sure that everything is going according to his genius plan and they specifically will get exactly what they want out of it in the end.

Part of me worries that this must all be some kind of extremely clever plan, because surely all these people can't really be this daft. But sadly I think that all these people can, in fact, really be this daft.
posted by confluency at 3:42 PM on September 25 [7 favorites]


I've been thinking a lot recently (especially in respect to climate change denialists) about how a lack of empathy leads to increasingly bad decision making, because it inhibits your ability to actually think a problem through from any other position than you're own, or understand any perspective beyond the moment.

There's no long term plan, no deep strategy, because there's no plan at all beyond winning this immediate argument, whatever it is, however you can.
posted by dng at 3:53 PM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Some sociopaths have plenty of empathy; they just don't act on it in the same way as normal people.
posted by acb at 3:56 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


One last comment and I'll shut up. Another thing that has been bothering me is this idea that if we just get Brexit done then it'll all be behind us and we can move on and get on with our lives. That seems to be the thing that Boris keeps repeating so presumably they've been polling people who say the same thing. But it's a fiction. It's not going to go away, not if we leave or if we remain, not at this rate. It'll get worse and worse until Britain is as starkly divided as the US is, which is pretty much the case already. I thought Jo Cox's murder amidst the fierce rhetoric leading up to the referendum was going to be that wake up call, but it wasn't, the referendum went ahead and things just got worse and worse from there.

And now here we are, in a showdown between the government and parliament, with both claiming democratic legitimacy. I wrote in a thread back in 2016 when the news broke about Jo Cox that I feared for the rule of law. And now the government is threatening to defy the supreme court and the very idea of parliamentary democracy. I naively thought that with this week's judgement - and with moves to impeach Trump on the other side of the Atlantic - that finally some sanity was returning. But we're not out of the woods yet, not by a long shot. If anything they just set the woods on fire.
posted by Acey at 4:05 PM on September 25 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: sadly I think that all these people can, in fact, really be this daft.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:07 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


Part of my future Utopia requires the ruins of Eton to have big sign in front of them with the following words on it:
This place is not a place of honor…no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here… nothing valued is here.
What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:07 PM on September 25 [23 favorites]


I have little to add to the righteous disgust at the Conservative front bench's words this evening, expressed better here and elsewhere.

However, there **is** something you can do.

1. Attend the People's Vote March, "Let Us Be Heard", on Saturday the 19th of October, in London. The last march had over 1 million people and changed the narrative forever. This could be the last chance to demand a further referendum and express your support for continued EU membership. Bring yourselves, bring your family, bring your friends. This is important.

2. Help to fund Marcus J Ball's private prosecution of Boris Johnson, for abusing his public office to lie about our EU spending. It seems unlikely to succeed. In my view it's worth a shot.

Thank you.
posted by Quagkapi at 4:12 PM on September 25 [6 favorites]


What gets me is that in the US, the GOP can block anti-45 moves and fuck knows if the impeachment stuff can do more good than harm.

In the UK, the non-Governmental parties and independents could, if they wished, have Johnson out on his ear, starting tomorrow. They could have this motley collection of bullies and psychos away from the levers of power.

Tha AG said Parliament was dead and no longer had the right to sit. It isn't. It's duly elected, it's following the rules, and the non-Tories have a majority. For a dead parliament, its unusually alive and well-armed.

A VONC, a caretaker government, a Brexit extension, a referendum to sort out what the country wants there and a GE to decide on post-Brexit decision domestic policy, in that order, is within their power. It is their right to do it, unlike Johnson's shutdown. If they wanted to do it, nobody could stop them. Fully democratic, completely spikes the guns of these... these... proto-authoritarian schoolboys, and even if they get back in there's nothing they can do to complete their current fucking awful agenda. Whatever that is, if they have one.

That is what really rankles with me. We're not doing that, and it's all there to be done.
posted by Devonian at 4:14 PM on September 25 [15 favorites]


I am, I think it's fair to say, quite cross about this.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:14 PM on September 25 [5 favorites]


Devonian, there's a theory that if Johnson lost a VONC, he could refuse to resign and wait out the period after which it becomes possible / mandatory for other parties to attempt to form a government. No new PM, even if there were a caretaker PM who could get the support of the house, could then be appointed, because the outgoing PM has to recommend the incoming PM to the Queen. Neither the resignation nor the appointment is an automatic process. In the meantime there would be no PM and therefore nobody to ask for an extension. Whoops, no deal!

I'm not any kind of expert, so I don't know how accurate this is, and whether this is an interpretation which could be challenged (possibly in court). But even if a way could be found around it, it's possible that it would take so long that the clock would run down anyway.

I believe that this has been established as the reason that the opposition parties are refusing to agree to call a VONC in addition to refusing to agree to an election.
posted by confluency at 4:38 PM on September 25 [9 favorites]


I believe that this has been established as the reason that the opposition parties are refusing to agree to call a VONC in addition to refusing to agree to an election.

Yep. Everything that these clowns have been baiting for is a trap to make sure either Bojo comes back with a majority or no deal by default is assured.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:44 PM on September 25 [2 favorites]


Some sociopaths have plenty of empathy

Lou Bloom: What if my problem wasn't that I don't understand people
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:41 PM on September 25


get a deal within a month AND that it will significantly differ from May's AND that it's a deal that will smoothly solve Northern Ireland

All that and it still has to pass in parliament.

I have a couple of questions about the U.K. parliament:

Parliaments I'm more familiar with require that ministers address the question directed at them. If they blow off the question, the speaker will tell them to answer the question - is this not a thing in U.K. parliamentary procedure?

Why is it that when [say a question is directed at someone], the speaker calls their name to answer, but a bunch of other people on both sides of the house jump to their feet at the same time?
posted by HiroProtagonist at 9:16 PM on September 25


Lewis Goodall:
Just heard from well placed MP that there is talk of a motion of censure against the Prime Minister (even, wildly, impeachment) after today. “Utter disgust from many Tories too. He had very few with him on his benches by the end.”
posted by Chrysostom at 9:46 PM on September 25 [1 favorite]


I’m not really surprised he’s making such a mess of being Prime Minister but I am surprised that the mask slipped quite so quickly. That eccentric buffoon act has worked really well for his political career, well enough to keep him going even when there were glimpses of what lay underneath. Conspiring to have a journalist’s ribs broken? Oh, not our Boris, he was probably just making an obscure Latin jape or something! That moment of fury we very briefly saw on his face when he lost his majority? Even if a couple of papers ran with that photo, most of them ignored it in favour of Boris Looking Confused yet again.

That act has helped him fail upwards for his entire political career. But a few weeks of people saying ‘no’ to him and, gosh, look what we get.
posted by Catseye at 12:01 AM on September 26 [11 favorites]


1. Attend the People's Vote March, "Let Us Be Heard", on Saturday the 19th of October, in London. The last march had over 1 million people and changed the narrative forever. This could be the last chance to demand a further referendum and express your support for continued EU membership. Bring yourselves, bring your family, bring your friends. This is important.
Sure. I live in Yorkshire. You paying?
posted by winterhill at 12:22 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


There are reasonably-priced coaches heading to the march from all over the UK.

I was sorry that the date got shifted from the 12th, because I'd already committed to being out of the country on the 19th. But I made it along to the rally in Edinburgh on Saturday and took some photos. Didn't get any of the handful of leavers holding up signs saying that more people in Scotland voted Leave than voted for the SNP. Compelling logic there.
posted by rory at 12:47 AM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Confluence - yes, I've seen that theory. Against that, Parliament can and has passed laws directly against the wishes of the PM, it could pass one compelling a PM under those circumstances to go to the Queen and, if the PM did not, for the House to ask the Queen. Or whatever form of action best fits existing protocol.

Because all that is protocol. The House is sovereign, and the courts can annul Royal prerogative, and with those two tools in place there is nothing the Prime Minister without the House can do.

It's all unprecedented, but certain things are established.
posted by Devonian at 12:57 AM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Devonian, perhaps it could pass such a law, but at the moment it hasn't, attempting to pass it would take time, and I can see why they're unwilling to risk a VONC with no such safety net in place. Johnson has already demonstrated that if there is any loophole that he could conceivably exploit, he will exploit it, even after strongly suggesting that he wouldn't (as happened with the prorogation). And he's already implying that he has found some clever way to fulfil the letter but not the spirit of the Benn act (although that could just be a desperate bluff; who knows).

The problem with all of this is time and ordering, and I can understand the reluctance of the opposition to shift the status quo from one set of narrowing options and loopholes to a new set of options and possibly exploitable loopholes which have not been adequately thought through.

I'm not saying that this is the correct strategy. It may well turn out, in retrospect, that they should have attempted to remove him as soon as possible, because of whatever fresh hell is about to be sprung today. But I can understand why they currently see it as risky and potentially a catastrophic error.
posted by confluency at 1:12 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


HiroProtagonist,a slightly over-simplified answer to both your questions lies in the arcane mechanics of House procedures. In a sense, nobody is asking the PM anything as everyone addresses the Speaker. It is Not How Things Are Done directly to address another Member.

You'll find that in the very mode of address: "May I ask the PM why he is a lying, proto-fascist, hollowed out simulacrum of a human filled with wasps and shit?" Or, "Does the PM agree with me that he's actually a god-man who alone can save our country from the idiots who would destroy it with their facts and reason and such Marxist idiocy?"

So, when the Speaker invites the PM to speak, he too is addressing the Speaker and it's kinda up to him what he wants to say and nobody can pull him up on it as he wasn't actually asked anything by anyone: someone said some stuff, now he says some stuff.

Conceivably, though, as the PM wasn't actually asked anything, anyone could next "contribute to the debate," if the Speaker so chose, so people jump to their feet.

I mean, it's next level bullshit that allows the person who was - as all can see - asked a fucking question to avoid answering it unless it's the second example above, as you note, but that's a very short version of an answer and part of the reason our country needs a Guy Fawkes more now than ever before.
posted by deeker at 1:22 AM on September 26


our country needs a Guy Fawkes more now than ever before

oh God, don't.
posted by Catseye at 1:47 AM on September 26 [27 favorites]


Yeah, sorry
posted by deeker at 1:50 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


To be honest, with the way these last few days have been going, I'm waiting for Boris Johnson and his entire cabinet to start turning up to parliament in their V for Vendetta masks soon.
posted by dng at 3:12 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


So... the current opposition plan is for Johnson to be tolerated until Oct 31 when he will be required to sign an extension if offered. That done it's time for a general election.

If Johnson keeps calling the Benn act the "Surrender, humiliation, capitulation" bill or whatever string of nonsense verbiage he's ramped it up to by that point then it's pretty poor optics for him going into an election.
Which, I assume is why he's desperately trying to goad folks into doing it now, before he has to.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:05 AM on September 26


So... the current opposition plan is for Johnson to be tolerated until Oct 31 when he will be required to sign an extension if offered. That done it's time for a general election.

Doesn't the Benn act require him to seek an extension if he hasn't got a deal by the 19th of October?

This seems like a minor nitpick, but 12 days if Johnson more or less doesn't feel minor.
posted by Dysk at 4:14 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


Ah yes. You're right.
Oh, well it says that if he hasn't got a deal by the 19th he has to seek an extension. So presumably it's 12 days minus the time taken to seek and sign the extension.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:20 AM on September 26


Current Brexit minister doing a good job of dodging questions about the Benn act in Parliament today. Was clear that the Government would abide by the law, but would not confirm when asked directly if this meant the PM would sent a letter requesting the extension, as the law required him to do. Some waffling about why the PM said "no" when asked that yesterday. They're obviously implying that they've got some loophole or some Plan B involving new legislation but at this point I can't imagine what they could do that would hold.
posted by Catseye at 4:30 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


Boris Johnson's constituency majority is pretty small.
If he lost c2500 votes (that's 3.5% of the electorate) he'd lose his seat.

Given his seat is in London (albeit west london) and that he picked up a lot of votes by lying about opposing Heathrow, that's not even remotely unlikely.

Of course he could just up sticks to a safer seat, but that's pretty unprecedented and is a very very bad look. (not that that would stop him)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:45 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


If Johnson keeps calling the Benn act the "Surrender, humiliation, capitulation" bill or whatever string of nonsense verbiage he's ramped it up to by that point then it's pretty poor optics for him going into an election.

He's desperately trying to stop the Brexit party in its tracks after rejecting a non-aggression pact.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:38 AM on September 26


> there's a theory that if Johnson lost a VONC, he could refuse to resign and wait out the period after which it becomes possible / mandatory for other parties to attempt to form a government. No new PM, even if there were a caretaker PM who could get the support of the house, could then be appointed, because the outgoing PM has to recommend the incoming PM to the Queen.

So, my understanding was that this is not the case and that all that is required for a new government to be installed is for a motion of confidence to be passed in it. However: the actual text of the FTPA states that the 14-day period is cut short if and only if a motion of the form "That this House has confidence in Her Majesty’s Government" is passed. Which, I think, is where there's room for shenanigans: in order for that motion to pass there has to be a new government in which it has confidence, and I think this is where Johnson could hold everything up, by not recommending the new government to the Queen?

Given how things have worked out in the last week, if Johnson were actually to dig his heels in at this point I'd expect a bunch of condemnatory SO24 motions and/or rapid SC judgements. However this seems largely a moot point right now: for it to become a real-world consideration would require a VONC to pass and a caretaker government to be waiting in the wings with a clear majority in the Commons. I don't see a GNU forming very easily, but moreover the opposition parties seem to be taking the (sensible!) approach right now of staying away from VONCs until an extension is sewn up.
posted by doop at 5:40 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure if some Remainer in his district wanted to unseat Boris all they would really have to do is fake being a Brexit evangelist, become a member of the Brexit party and get themselves preselected for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. No campaign needed. Just sit in the corner and split the Tory vote through name recognition. Boris loses seat.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:42 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


The last time Johnson got elected, though, a significant proportion of his votes would have been from moderate people, perhaps not even dyed-in-the-wool Tories, who thought he was an agreeable character. A lot of those votes aren't coming back, and whether there are enough foaming-at-the-mouth votes to replace them is an open question.

I imagine the Lib Dems could do well in Uxbridge and South Ruislip come next election.
posted by acb at 5:48 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


The recess motion just failed, so we're about to find out what the fun surprise is. :/
posted by confluency at 6:07 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


It was actually a nice surprise -- the domestic abuse act is coming back, apparently.

So... a lot of theatrics to announce something they should have just done in the first place.
posted by confluency at 6:12 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


Bruce Sterling weighs in on Johnson's cyber-flavoured logorrhoea at the UN.

It looks like more of Johnson's one skill: pulling hats out of a costume chest and playing dress-up. He tried doing Erudite Classicist, but got bounced out of that by the eldritch intensity of Rees-Mogg claiming it as his own turf, has been doing Jolly Boris' Boys' Own Big Boffo Book Of Britishness for a while, did an overwrought yet unconvincing Churchill for a bit and more recently an equally unconvincing Oswald Mosley that was more Cartman. At the UN, it seems that he was trying his hand at Elon Musk, presumably lifted from his new ladyfriend's cocktail-party acquaintances.
posted by acb at 6:22 AM on September 26 [4 favorites]


I made a thing.
posted by rory at 6:24 AM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Jesus, that UN speech. The man's off his fucking rocker. Even his sister is against him:
Rachel Johnson, the prime minister’s sister, has joined those condemning the PM for his language, and on Sky she singled out this comment for particular criticism. She said:

"I do think it was particularly tasteless for those grieving a mother, MP and friend to say the best way to honour her memory is to deliver the thing she and her family campaigned against. I think it was a very tasteless way of referring to the memory of a murdered MP, murdered by someone who said “Britain first”, of the far right tendency, which you could argue is being whipped up by this sort of language."

In an interview with Sky, Rachel Johnson also criticised her brother’s language generally.

"My brother is using words like surrender and capitulation as if the people standing in the way of the blessed will of the people as defined by 17.4m votes in 2016 should be hung, drawn, quartered, tarred and feathered. I think that is highly reprehensible language to use."
posted by Acey at 6:56 AM on September 26 [23 favorites]


HiroProtagonist,a slightly over-simplified answer to both your questions lies in the arcane mechanics of House procedures. In a sense, nobody is asking the PM anything as everyone addresses the Speaker. It is Not How Things Are Done directly to address another Member.

I wouldn't really call it arcane, that's just how meetings work. It's called speaking through the chair and the Speaker of the House is a chairperson who controls the debate.
posted by Pendragon at 7:17 AM on September 26


Other things Rachel Johnson said about Boris Johnson in that interview, when asked about his aggressive stance in the Commons (online here, from 19:50 in):

"It could be Dominic Cummings advising the prime minister to be extremely aggressive and to face down opposition from all sides of the establishment in order to secure his position as the tribune of the people.

It could be coming from my brother himself, he obviously thoroughly enjoys being prime minister.

It also could be from - who knows - people who have invested billions in shorting the pound or shorting the country in the expectation of a no-deal Brexit.

We don't know."


Presumably she is in a position to believe that these are all credible explanations, rather than just ones she's pulled out of thin air.
posted by Major Clanger at 7:27 AM on September 26 [7 favorites]


That is pretty radical coming from a sister!
posted by mumimor at 8:23 AM on September 26


What I think is curious is that she's in the same boat of having to conjecture as us - if she knew, if she was close enough to be privy to the information, she would presumably keep her mouth shut. He must be really alienated from his family right now.
posted by Grangousier at 8:37 AM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Or maybe she does know and she is scandalized -- the whistleblowing might be contagious across the Atlantic
posted by mumimor at 8:41 AM on September 26


I've been wondering since the election why Wales voted Brexit, most people I know who are heavily dependent on EU funds know it. Well it seems the Welsh in Wales do know: English people living in Wales tilted it towards Brexit, research finds
posted by mumimor at 8:45 AM on September 26 [2 favorites]


Also, recall that brother, Jo, resigned from the cabinet a scaramucci or two ago. It looks like this year's Johnson family Christmas may be an uneasy one.
posted by acb at 8:45 AM on September 26 [5 favorites]


I follow Danny Dorling via recordings of all his talks (as a podcast) as I've no doubt mentioned before, and bow to his opinion on most things apart from Jeremy Corbyn, but there was someone on Twitter who subjected his "It was all the English Immigrants" thing to some analysis and it's not quite as simple as that (correlating the vote in different areas of Wales with actual numbers of English incomers and numbers of Welsh speakers). I'll see if I can find it.
posted by Grangousier at 8:51 AM on September 26 [3 favorites]


I don't think it is as simple as that either. But I also think it's a partial explanation that makes a lot of sense, with the huge disclaimer that I don't know anyone in Wales.
posted by mumimor at 9:02 AM on September 26


Most of the UK’s leave votes did come not from the north of England but the south, with the highest numbers in areas populated with affluent older people, such as Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon ... "Everyone blames Wigan and Stoke for Brexit but we should really be blaming Cornwall and Devon.”

A useful corrective when it comes to the North, but we shouldn't throw Cornwall and Devon under the bus for the same reasons as Wales — there are a lot of retirees from the South East in the South West.

Singling out particular regions feels too simplistic, in any case. Even in my remainier-than-thou city of Edinburgh, three in ten voters wanted Brexit in 2016, and Scotland's million Leave voters would have swung the entire UK if they'd voted Remain. Wherever you are, it's like being in They Live: that harmless-seeming soul in Tesco could be the very person calling you a traitor on Twitter.
posted by rory at 9:04 AM on September 26 [12 favorites]


Singling out particular regions feels too simplistic, in any case.

I think the thing we can all agree on is that most of the problems in the UK come back to England. England keep voting to send the country off the deep end out of spite that they might actually have to consider the opinions of the Scottish or Catholics.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:07 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]




That's the kind of thing that I feel would've been said with a lot more nuance and a whole lot more productively if it had been written by someone in the UK, Your Childhood Pet Rock.

It'd be really nice to be sure a place where resentments aren't being stoked up by people who don't really know what their stoking up. I say this as a tries-to-undo-my-programming English person.
posted by ambrosen at 9:50 AM on September 26 [7 favorites]


That's the kind of thing that I feel would've been said with a lot more nuance and a whole lot more productively if it had been written by someone in the UK, Your Childhood Pet Rock.
Yeah, screw this crap. This kind of generalisation needs to stop now. I'm English - it's just a country like any other. We don't condemn America and all Americans because of its unhinged president.

People outside the UK should perhaps listen more and post less. They are so often the highest volume posters in these threads.
posted by winterhill at 10:09 AM on September 26 [26 favorites]


To my English ears, worrying about the Scottish and the Catholics sounds like something from the 17th century. Maybe 16th.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:22 AM on September 26 [6 favorites]


It's in the National Anthem, in the lesser verses that no one outside of CCHQ can be bothered with.

I don't think it is as simple as that either.

Sorry, that was me having not enough time to write something more subtle. I think what I mean is that Mr D tends to go for Little Known Facts that play well to an audience, and they can sometimes be a bit less clear-cut than he suggests.

Whatever happened in June 2016 was the culmination of a number of quite separate narratives all playing out at the same time, and I think we have a tendency to choose our favourite three that support our model of the world. So it was racism, and austerity, and Little-Englandism, and opportunistic power-grabbing and a lot of other things all tangled up. All sorts of people had been feeling more and more out of sorts with the world for a very long time, and Cameron made the mistake of tying a sign to his back that said "Kick me in the arse to leave the EU", so people did.

In retrospect I'm impressed the vote was so close.
posted by Grangousier at 10:34 AM on September 26 [5 favorites]


To my English ears, worrying about the Scottish and the Catholics sounds like something from the 17th century.

One of the biggest culture shocks I had moving from England to Scotland a few decades ago was the sectarianism. You think we've left all that behind with the Gordon riots, and then next thing you know your boyfriend's dad is explaining to you that if you own a business you should always hire one Catholic (so you don't look bigoted) but never ever more than one (otherwise they'll plot against you). ("Present company excepted though Catseye! You're all right!" Um...)

Anyway, sectarian bullshit is a really good illustration of why we're not inherently nobler than England up here. It's also one of the parts of national life that seems to be getting more unpleasant recently.
posted by Catseye at 11:28 AM on September 26 [9 favorites]


Though isn't Scottish sectarianism (as manifested in the Old Firm football rivalry, for example) more a play-acted version of Northern Irish sectarianism than anything rooted in Scotland itself? The satirical crime novellist Christopher Brookmyre suggested this.
posted by acb at 12:04 PM on September 26


During the last three years we seem to have forgotten that many EU countries had their large lying -exit parties and movements before the UK referendum. It's only after seeing the chaos of reality the others have withdrawn. The English aren't better or worse than anyone else in that matter. Still, I think it is interesting to examine the details.
I was at a lecture, before the referendum, where the lecturer (whom I don't remember who was, I wasn't sufficiently alert back then) pointed to the big waves of urbanization as one indicator of far right, or just nationalist conservative movements. He took it far back, but I best remember the differences and likenesses of the conservative "revolutions" in the 70's that brought us Thatcher and Reagan, and today's hard right movement. There was a lot, but for some reason it stuck out to me that he pointed out how in the 60's and 70's before the economic crash, the movement was from villages to towns and small cities, while during the 90's and 00's before the crash, it was from those towns and small cities to the big cities, and in Europe most prominently "The City" of London which is globalized in every sense of the word, and more disconnected from the rest of England than those smaller places were ever disconnected from their surrounding country. But his point was that it's been the same in most of Western Europe, both times, and that it was mostly conservative politicians who led the centralization and at the same time profited from the resulting disenchantment of the voters, compared to the Social Democrats including Labour. I've looked for more reading material on this, but haven't yet found it, probably because its a bit outside my field of research and I don't know where to look.
As anecdata, I know the theory fascinated me because I then had a colleague who hated the elites and globalization and the EU and blamed the left for politics that were 100% conservative & nationalist in origin. The first couple of years I knew her, I thought she was joking, because it was so detached from reality.
posted by mumimor at 12:11 PM on September 26 [12 favorites]


Though isn't Scottish sectarianism (as manifested in the Old Firm football rivalry, for example) more a play-acted version of Northern Irish sectarianism than anything rooted in Scotland itself? The satirical crime novellist Christopher Brookmyre suggested this.

*Rolls eyes so far back in my head I can see my optic nerves*. I don't even know where to start with that sentence. Does it really matter where its roots were when it results in deep-seated, multi-generational, home-grown hatred? People have been rioting in the streets in Glasgow this year after sectarian marches where they walked behind banners from Saoradh, the organisation generally thought to be behind the murder of young journalist Lyra McKee; the marching season in Scotland results in deeper division every passing year, and accidentally wandering into Scottish sectarian Twitter is such an unbelievably poisonous experience that you'd be escaping to read the Brexit Party's feed for light relief.

Play acting? Give me strength.

(I realise this puts me in the odd position of saying: "No, no, we're worse than you think!" about my much-loved, adopted home country, but in the wake of winterhill's suggestion that "People outside the UK should perhaps listen more and post less" I really think comments which profess to know best about a complex and serious issue on the basis of having read some satirical crime novels are not helping).
posted by penguin pie at 12:53 PM on September 26 [35 favorites]


Thank you for your comment penguinp. I had no idea. (Not that I have much of one now but it's better.)
posted by aleph at 1:01 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Guardian: Most of the UK’s leave votes did come not from the north of England but the south, with the highest numbers in areas populated with affluent older people, such as Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon ... "Everyone blames Wigan and Stoke for Brexit but we should really be blaming Cornwall and Devon.”

rory: A useful corrective when it comes to the North, but we shouldn't throw Cornwall and Devon under the bus for the same reasons as Wales — there are a lot of retirees from the South East in the South West.

The other reason we shouldn't throw Cornwall under the bus is that is isn't true that Cornwall voted Leave in unusually high numbers. The overall count was 56.5% for Leave, which is lower than four entire English regions, (East Mids, West Mids, East of England, NE England). Even the most Leave part of Cornwall was only 64% leave, which is about 80th in the worst constituencies. Wigan was 63.9% leave, so directly on a par with the worst Cornwall constituency and much higher than the Cornish average. Cornwall, in every part, is well below the 71-72% leave vote in both Stoke constituencies.
posted by biffa at 1:11 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]


Perhaps we shouldn't throw anywhere under the bus based on the geographic breakdowns of votes from 2016. We can talk until the cows come home about the likes of Stoke, but it's just another dividing line. We're already divided left/right and remain/leave - do we have to sit here blaming individual towns?
posted by winterhill at 1:16 PM on September 26 [20 favorites]


I'd tentatively suggest that people feeling (often with some justification) that their towns and localities had been thrown under buses is another of the reasons we're in this mess to begin with.
posted by Grangousier at 2:11 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


Can we not go into Scottish sectarianism here? It's a huge, fascinating, scary and hard to understand subject, but it's not part of UK politics as a whole and it's not part of the Brexit/Indy equation.

In its place, can I suggest the quiet despairing contemplation of Johnson berating everyone but him and his clique for 'trying to stop the Brexit deal' by removing the No Deal deadline - his argument being that the EU will only do a deal if it stares into the abyss of an actual No Deal - when the EU is revulsed and more and more minded to let us go to hell because of Johnson's own antics?

Of the many, many ironies of late, this is quite a good one.
posted by Devonian at 2:15 PM on September 26 [8 favorites]


Oh, and Radio 4's Briefing Room podcast this week is on the British Constitution, spinning off from the Supreme Court's decision, and has some excellent contributors.
posted by Devonian at 2:24 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


Comes out of lurking for a rant...

I also hate it when places are maligned based on their so-called Leave Percentage. What about all those poor sods across the country who, for whatever reason, did not vote that day?

The people who thought remain would walk it and have been kicking themselves ever since
The people who thought they didn't understand the question (opposite of Dunning Kruger?)
The people who didn't care about the EU at that point
The people who thought voting changed nothing
The people who forgot to register, had no transport, were ill, couldn't get childcare, or who had a busy day at work...

Anyway, you get me. Just under 13 million eligible voters didn't make it to the polls that day. People act like it's canon that 69.4% of adults in Stoke-on-Trent are [insert preferred words for those who voted leave], but the actual numbers are 45% leave, 35% did not vote, 20% remain.

With extreme hindsight, I can't help thinking that stats like these could have easily been cited by May as a way to tack away from the exit towards what is now known as Remain and Reform, i.e. an expression of dissatisfaction but not enough incentive for a Brexit. She'd be stubborn enough to get that to stick if she had chosen. Perhaps her desire to end FoM got in the way and so we got "Brexit means Brexit".

Anyway, I'd just really like people to stop impuning the good people of Stoke, or folks up North, or down South, East or West, or entire bloody countries, based on Cameron's lazy, arrogant exercise, run with a question that even the lowest opinion pollster would regard as simplistic. Especially if you aren't particularly up on what it's like to live and work in the UK - or even in the EU.

(My finest teacher was a Stoke man and rarely has a better person walked this Earth. RIP D.W.)

/rant
posted by doornoise at 3:14 PM on September 26 [30 favorites]


Scottish sectarianism … [is] not part of the Brexit/Indy equation

It is very much part of both. Traditionally, even the most impoverished Orangeman would vote Tory, because they were the Unionist party. Unionism means being loyal to the (protestant) Queen, as only her and her true heirs were defending the British shores from popish intrigues.
posted by scruss at 4:53 PM on September 26 [5 favorites]


I've looked for more reading material on this, but haven't yet found it, probably because its a bit outside my field of research and I don't know where to look.

How to Lose a Country will probably be worth your time. Here's a recent interview with the author on ABC Radio National's Late Night Live. In particular, her points about the death of shame are particularly apposite given Johnson's inexorable ascent via sinking ever lower.
posted by flabdablet at 10:49 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Sorry, got my interviews crossed up. The comments about the death of shame are from Ece Temelkuran's appearance on Big Ideas.
posted by flabdablet at 11:08 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


Jess Phillips spoke in the House of Commons yesterday and pointed out that use of the words traitor, betrayal & surrender had been workshopped and were being used very deliberately to divide.

These words are not only being used to divide, they are being used to distract. It's barely 3 days since the government was found to have illegally suspend parliament and it's hardly on the radar anymore.

We're a month from (probably) dropping out of the EU and into the sort of chaos usually only seen in disaster movies and this government is not only doing nothing to avoid that, but is hinting that it will break the fucking law again in order to do it.

And you've now got Cummings saying that the only way to stop MPs being abused is to deliver Brexit. The last quote of the article is particularly telling, when talking about the pressure brought on by the Supreme Court ruling
This is a walk in the park compared to the referendum, we are enjoying this, we are going to leave and we are going to win.
We are going to win - you might see it as winning, but the rest of the country won't.
posted by jontyjago at 12:26 AM on September 27 [9 favorites]


Steve Rogers, author of a book on UK Prime Ministers, Why Boris Johnson has learnt the wrong lessons about leadership from his predecessor:
The smartest modern prime ministers are astute readers of the space available to them and adapt accordingly. Johnson acts as if he has not even contemplated the impossible constraints he is under...

In their very different ways Wilson, Callaghan, Major and Cameron thought ceaselessly about how to manage a hung parliament, wooing other parties, seeking to keep their own party more or less on board, legislating stealthily. In contrast, Johnson has withdrawn the whip from several prominent MPs, making his party’s parliamentary position even more precarious while giving himself no room to manoeuvre...

Johnson and Dominic Cummings act as if they possess more power than Thatcher had at her peak. The problem with this strategy is that even in the UK’s unwritten constitution the legal barriers are not easily overcome. Look at their failed attempts to hold an early election. Highlighting the surreal nature of British politics, Johnson has begun his election campaign without calling a general election.

The big election winners are not those prime ministers that call early elections. They are instead political teachers in constant dialogue with the voters seeking to make sense of what they are doing. Even if they speak nonsense, it is accessible nonsense...

Johnson is not a framer of arguments. He coins some memorable and provocative phrases, but looking back over the last few years since the referendum, where is his coherent case for leaving with or without a deal? He says Brexit will happen on 31 October, but an assertion is not the same as an explanation. His populist juxtaposition of “parliament versus the people” could be potent, but it is about process, not an accessible account of why Brexit will take the UK to the promised land. The most effective leaders constantly explain their actions... Being a political teacher is not an bonus for a leader but an essential qualification – as is an ability to keep a party united...

Based on the prime ministers of the last four decades, the qualifications for leadership include a capacity to read the crowded political stage, a talent for being a political teacher, an ability to keep a party together, a forensic awareness of when and when not to call an election, and a skill for linking ideological verve to detailed policy implementation. No prime minister has possessed all these qualifications. On the basis of his leadership so far Johnson does not possess any of them and has shown no great interest in the art of leadership.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:35 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


where is his coherent case for leaving with or without a deal?

It's not just Johnson. I'm struggling to think of anyone who's recently tried to argue for Brexit on any other basis that "getting Brexit done". The sunlit uplands have been completely forgotten, it's now being argued for purely and 100% on the basis of the referendum result, delivering on the 'democratic' vote.

I'm looking at this now as another variant of the Brexit blame game. The Brexiteers have been happy to blame non-Brexit on everyone other than themselves: Remoaners, EU, MPs, judges, aliens, whatever. Now that the negative consequences of any form of Brexit are becoming more apparent, the groundwork is being laid to put the blame back onto the voters: it's not the Brexiteers fault, they just tried to implement "the will of the people".
posted by daveje at 1:56 AM on September 27 [8 favorites]


On the subject of Stoke, perhaps people who've never been there and are sitting on MetaFilter slagging off the place because of a single statistic might like to take a look at We Are Stoke-on-Trent, a very recent series of short non-Brexit-related videos about the city on the BBC website.

They gave the same treatment to Bradford a few months ago and it was pretty good stuff.
posted by winterhill at 3:06 AM on September 27 [9 favorites]


Haven't been to Stoke, but The Great Pottery Thrown Down was a joy and I'm very positively inclined towards it as a result.
posted by rory at 3:41 AM on September 27 [5 favorites]


Dominic Cummings: This is a walk in the park compared to the referendum, we are enjoying this

Mmm. I wonder how much that view is shared by Boris Johnson (lost his majority, lost all of his parliamentary votes, lost his Supreme Court case to keep Parliament prorogued, lost various MPs including his brother) or the various Tory MPs and Lords who are watching all this very much not go as they had hoped.

I also wonder* why none of the Brexit supporters are suggesting that Boris Johnson is one of the MPs trying to foil the will of the people and stop Brexit. He voted against Theresa May's deal, he is notably failing to work on any deal of his own, he is alienating the opposition rather than courting them to get them to vote a deal through. No matter what you think his true desires and motives are he isn't exactly going about this very successfully, is he? How come he's the brave hero of the people on this one?

(*not really. Because Cummings et al. have been successful in pitching a no-deal Brexit as the purest and most Brexity of Brexits. But May went all-in on a hard Brexit, stuffed her Cabinet with Brexiteers and was the "New Iron Lady" tabloid darling for a while... and they turned on her in the end, too.)
posted by Catseye at 4:02 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


How come he's the brave hero of the people on this one?

Because he's telling the people that he's the hero. He's invented "enemies" and he's battling them and because he doesn't have to do anything to get Brexit, he will "beat them". That is literally all he is doing. What a fucking hero indeed.

I also think a lot of focus is being put on the dark forces behind Brexit and what they will gain from it, but what is being forgotten to a large extent is the massive damage that any Brexit would do to the 99.9% of the country who are not Bad Boys of Brexit. Why this is not being hammered home by everybody outside of the Tory party, I have no idea.
posted by jontyjago at 4:26 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Because they own the hammer?
posted by Grangousier at 4:36 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


It's interesting, I feel like a lot of us are having to deal with huge amounts of cognitive dissonance about this whole thing (tbh I'm speaking personally but guess this might chime with some other folk).

To us, it seems so obvious that Brexit is a bad idea, that to suppose there are people who are even vaguely normal and intelligent, who might think it's a good idea, is just really hard to comprehend. Uncomfortable to comprehend. It's much easier to suppose that there are locations, away from us, that are Just Different. And people that are Just Different. It's comforting to be able to blame Brexit on certain distant locales, when in reality everywhere has some Leavers and some Remainers. It's the same discomfort that makes me have to mute the telly every time the BBC reverts to one of it's god-awful-and-now-apparently-nightly "We asked the people what they think" slots. Because it just hurts my brain to see people who are smart enough to run businesses, saying "I think the best thing is to just get on with it". I just cannot compute, and it's uncomfortable trying, and I'd rather just not bother.

What's really interesting (to me, I may be alone!) is that I'm suddenly on the opposite side of the fence from where I was during the Scottish Independence referendum. I was a waverer, tending towards (and eventually voting) No. One of the most enraging things about the whole campaign period was Yes campaigners making patronising facebook posts along the lines of "Can I just ask that anyone who doesn't think they'll vote for independence reads this excellent article, explaining (x,y,z)". Which, I know, was furthering the debate through an exchange of ideas, and is much more civilised than abuse. But somehow, however they wrote them, they came across as "Yes voters are much better informed than no voters, you poor, in-the-dark idiots. If I could just explain it to you properly, you'd be as well-informed as I am and vote the same way as me". I just wanted to shout "No! I just have a different opinion than you! It doesn't mean I'm stupid!" Which I imagine is how many Leavers feel about Remainers.
posted by penguin pie at 5:15 AM on September 27 [16 favorites]


Though isn't Scottish sectarianism (as manifested in the Old Firm football rivalry, for example) more a play-acted version of Northern Irish sectarianism than anything rooted in Scotland itself? The satirical crime novellist Christopher Brookmyre suggested this.


Play-acting? What is that supposed to mean?

Scottish sectarianism and Northern Irish sectarianism are in many ways the same thing. No play-acting necessary. Read about The Ulster Plantation and subsequent Irish immigation in Scotland.

Arlene Foster lookalike Robbie Coltrane did a good turn as a Scots Orangeman, Mason Boyne.
posted by AillilUpATree at 5:18 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


Because they own the hammer?

Yes they own large tracts of the MSM. And yes, the BBC has stuck its head up its own arse in search of impartiality.

And I know you're only making a joke and I shouldn't be so po faced about it. But it's the sort of joke that lets us off the hook. Everybody outside the Tory party should be hammering this home, and maybe we don't own tracts of the MSM, but we have good game in the non-MSM.

The reason this isn't happening is that the non-Tory forces don't share a common view, and certainly don't share the view that any Brexit would do "massive damage [...] to the 99.9% of the country". I have serious reservations about the Lib Dems' "revoke without a referendum" position, but the killer is that the Labour party is committed to negotiating a deal with the EU. That only makes sense if you believe there's the possibility of a deal that doesn't do massive damage to the 99.9%. If you don't it's time-wasting nonsense. Between Labour (too Brexit-positive) and the Lib Dems (too distrustful of the electorate) the remain message is going to underperform at the next GE. My best hope is for a hung parliament. The result I think is most likely (55/45), and which makes me feel ill, is a Johnson majority.
posted by dudleian at 5:23 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


It wasn't just a joke. I honestly don't know what we're going to do. People witter on about "bias", but what's happened at the BBC is nothing to do with bias, it's explicitly a takeover of parts of the media in order to form a specific public narrative. It's bad enough that Brendan O'Neill was apparently on the telly at lunchtime bigging up the prospect of rioting in the case of things not going their way, but what the fuck was the tosser doing there in the first place?

All the people I know are doing such hammering home as they can already, and all the people on the other side are doing their own hammering, and it's all just noise. And the BBC is amplifying some of that noise so that it drowns us out a lot of the time.

Thing is, where we are now isn't just the Bad Boy Takeover, it's also the culmination of ten years of Tory rule. Throughout the last ten years, the primary opposition to the government hasn't come from people at all. It's come from reality itself. And they've reacted to that by amplifying the fantasy, and reality has come back to bite them in the arse again. The reality of the structures that society needs to maintain itself, that they've been systematically destroying, and which they seem intent to wash away with Brexit. But the need won't go away.

The enemy are very good at taking over media outlets, social media streams, public narratives to get what they want. They just want to win. What I can't work out is what they think is going to happen after that. Something something live happily ever after? Recently history has been comprised of relatively lengthy periods of relative calm punctuated by violent (or if not violent then certainly vigorous) periods of transition. We're in such a period of transition now.

The enemy can do vigorous transition no problem, but I've no idea what their concept of relative calm is: their only strategy is permanent revolution. They've managed to tap into a groundswell of (actually quite justified) resentment, and maybe they'll use it to destroy all the institutions that are, at the moment, opposing them. But what do they think they will replace those institutions with? It's not clear to me that they've given it any thought at all, they just seem to be tumbling between one confrontation and the next, and if they come off badly they just front it out and crank up the aggro. This uses a fantastic amount of resources - they're just burning through fuel like ... I don't know ... a SHIELD Helicarrier or something. It's not sustainable.

Presumably Cummings can go on doing this shit forever, or at least until the cocaine runs out, but it's going to wear out any mortals on their team quite quickly.

The thing is that while they may have control of the hammer, it's the only tool they have. Good for smashing things up and relatively simple carpentry, and they don't do woodwork.

But looking at the hammer is... that's the misdirection. That's where they want us to look. Where don't they want us to look? I suspect it's that they have no idea what happens next either.

Apologies dudleian, that's a bunch of random typing. Trying to see what it is that the people waving their hands in front of my face and screaming don't want me to see.
posted by Grangousier at 6:05 AM on September 27 [8 favorites]


It is very much part of both.

What I mean is that it's not a variable, it's not significant and there's nothing to be done about it in the context of Brexit. NI and Scotland both voted Remain, so inasmuch as there's a group of bigots who practice a particularly fucked-up brand of patriotism it doesn't matter much in this context. Talking about them is not going to be fruitful.

Now, Nicola Sturgeon saying she could live with Corbyn as a caretaker PM - there's fruity.

That only makes sense if you believe there's the possibility of a deal that doesn't do massive damage to the 99.9%. I

There IS that possibility. There are a huge range of potential deals that are much better than no-deal, and you can have one that retains a very great deal of the economic benefits of membership. You lose control of EU policy, of course, and there's no deal that's not worse in some way than remaining, but massive damage can be avoided.

Leavers won't like it, but they won't like No Deal either. Brexit is simply a very stupid idea that will fuck off everybody in some way, but it can be engineered to not fuck them up as much as it might do.
posted by Devonian at 6:12 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


(By the way, I don't actually think they're smart enough to do actual ten-dimensional chess. But screaming and waving your arms about is basic, simple misdirection that can be easily achieved by anyone. That doesn't stop it being misdirection.)
posted by Grangousier at 6:20 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Stephen Bush, Is Boris Johnson's electoral strategy working? Here's why it's so hard to tell:
One group of polls – Ipsos Mori, YouGov, Kantar and Opinium – show that Boris Johnson’s gamble is working: his leadership has resulted in the defection of a group of voters who backed the Conservatives under David Cameron and Theresa May to the Liberal Democrats, imperilling a slew of seats in the south of England, and putting his 13 Scottish MPs at risk, but crucially the Tories have also pulled far enough ahead of Labour that they ought to, all things being equal, more than make up for losses to the SNP and Liberal Democrats with gains at Labour’s expense...

But the other group of pollsters – Survation, Deltapoll and ComRes – show a very different pattern: that the Conservatives have paid the price, in that they are losing many more votes to the Liberal Democrats, but they have failed to pick up the prize. The party has picked up some Brexit Party voters but not enough. As a result, they are in a position in which they look to be losing seats to the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, but without making enough gains to offset that. In fact, if ComRes is right, then the next election could see Jeremy Corbyn enter Downing Street on as little as 25 per cent of the vote...

So it’s not true to say that “the polls are all over the place” – we actually have a very stable polling picture, with few changes outside the margin of error, it’s just that we have two groups of pollsters showing two very different stable pictures.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:52 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


But looking at the hammer is... that's the misdirection. That's where they want us to look. Where don't they want us to look? I suspect it's that they have no idea what happens next either.

I realise I've been thinking they've got too much contempt for the electorate to even bother with misdirection.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 7:01 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


A case in point - the 3pm news today on the Pulse radio station in West Yorkshire, whose national news is supplied by Sky in common with most commercial radio stations. The top story, verbatim, read out by the local presenter:
"Boris Johnson says the law he refers to as the surrender act is damaging the chances of a deal with the EU."
This was followed by a clip of Boris Johnson saying the above with no discussion or alternative viewpoint offered, and no questioning or debate of the term "surrender act". This, not LBC and not the Today Programme, is the radio and news that ordinary people are listening to in large numbers - little local commercial stations playing pop music to cars, factories and warehouses.

This is the type of media easily captured by trite soundbites about the surrender act and getting Brexit done - there's not the time nor the space for a reasoned debate in a 60-90 second news bulletin, just unquestioned parroting of government bullshit, usually quickly followed by a "Get Ready for Brexit on October 31" ad.
posted by winterhill at 7:07 AM on September 27 [5 favorites]


If I could just explain it to you properly, you'd be as well-informed as I am and vote the same way as me". I just wanted to shout "No! I just have a different opinion than you! It doesn't mean I'm stupid!" Which I imagine is how many Leavers feel about Remainers.

I just wrote and deleted a long, clumsy comment about equality of validity of opinions and their content. I see what you're getting at with the last sentence that I've quoted above, but there comes a point where, as Grangousier points out, reality is going to come and bite arses and it won't care whether you're a Remainer or a Leaver.

Isaac Asmiov said (about the US, but it applies here): "The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." (emphasis mine).

Maybe I'm living in a bubble, but I would love it if Leavers started arguing by promoting an exchange of ideas - Remainer attempts to do so are dismissed as "Project Fear" even as they come true time after time. It would certainly be a step forward from the death threats aimed at MPs, and threats of terrorism and violence that currently underpins the zombie-like chanting of Leave means Leave / Brexit means Brexit / Traitors / Surrender / Voting again is anti-democratic...
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:07 AM on September 27 [10 favorites]


I just wanted to shout "No! I just have a different opinion than you! It doesn't mean I'm stupid!" Which I imagine is how many Leavers feel about Remainers.

Sometimes having a different opinion means that you are choosing to reject the obvious conclusions of your senses. If my opinion is that the sky is green but just looks blue because of chemtrails, I invite you to consider me stupid.
posted by PMdixon at 7:15 AM on September 27 [10 favorites]


Thank you, PMDixon, I tried and failed to write something that succinct and on point. Ultimately, the content of all opinions is not equal.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 7:22 AM on September 27


Yes, all very fair points, Nice Guy Mike, and ones which I have great cause to ruminate on as I contemplate where we'd be now if I'd listened to them and voted Yes in the IndyRef!

PMdixon: True, though I'm inclined to point out that calling anyone stupid isn't going to persuade them to your point of view. If you actually want to change anyone's minds, you have to engage with them with a modicum of respect for them as a person, even if you think their opinions are stupid. You have to find out why they think that. One thing which nobody addressed when they tried to persuade me on independence was that I was going through a shitty time with anxiety, had zero risk tolerance, and therefore had a different set of priorities from them for how much I wanted the world around me to be plunged into the unknown. I had different needs and a different world view in ways they'd never even contemplated.

Watching a TV news vox pop the other day, there was a woman running a business who was just so desperate to have some idea, any idea, what was going to be happening in three months' time that she'd reached the point she'd rather have a confirmed Brexit than to keep having no idea, even if it meant things getting worse. At least then she could plan for something, instead of existing on a continual knife edge for longer and longer. And for the first time I could see why some people might want to 'just get it done'. I still think they'll regret that massively a year into a no deal Brexit, but I could see a glimmer of why they might think that, for reasons that I'd not comprehended before because their circumstances, needs, and world view are different from mine.

You might be past the point of wanting to persuade anyone, so maybe you're not bothered, and it's definitely easier and more comfortable to just think 'you're all stupid.' But it won't make them go away.
posted by penguin pie at 7:38 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


True, though I'm inclined to point out that calling anyone stupid isn't going to persuade them to your point of view.

No but sometimes it can shame onlookers away from supporting dangerous ideologies and sometimes that's the most pragmatic goal.
posted by PMdixon at 7:47 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Not when shame is dead and buried.
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 8:15 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


There was some chatter a few days ago that there was probably now a majority in the Commons for a People's Vote. This is the route that the Opposition parties need to follow now, and it could be the nightmare scenario for the Tories.

Give Johnson another few weeks to 'get a deal'. When (not if) this fails, take back control of Commons business, and push through a binding People's Vote, with the choice of May's deal, or Remain. There are simply no other viable options at this point.

In the meantime, Parliament continues to resist any attempts to call a new general election, on the basis that it's this Parliament's job to find a resolution.

Apart from the obvious, which is that it gives the choice back to the people, what I like about this is that it takes the initiative away from Johnson/Cummings and puts them in an impossible position. What do the Tories support? The toxic Withdrawal Agreement, or the even more toxic Remain?
posted by daveje at 8:40 AM on September 27 [3 favorites]


Presumably they would boycott in an effort to cast the vote as illegitimate.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:44 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


And presumably they'd then go into the next election on a third referendum promise..

But yes, I've been wanting to see the VONC->Second Ref path taken for a long time, especially since Johnson shat any chance of a majority out of his bottom by sacking twenty-odd MPs. He deserves to fully enjoy the fruits of that act of genius.
posted by Devonian at 9:19 AM on September 27 [2 favorites]


Presumably they would just go into the election on the promise of an immediate No Deal Brexit, without a referendum. The Tories are now the hard-Brexit party, and the gamble that they can hoover up Brexit Party votes while the opposition is divided between SNP, Lib Dem, Labour and Green wouldn't have changed.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:24 AM on September 27


Presumably they would just go into the election on the promise of an immediate No Deal Brexit

If the Conservative and Unionist Party wants to destroy itself, who are we to stand in the way?
posted by doornoise at 9:26 AM on September 27


I'm arguing for a People's Vote before any VONC or GE. It's imperative that control is taken away from Johnson/Cummings - they can't be trusted not to screw around with the timetable or to force a no-deal through shenanigans.

Brexit needs to be resolved though a non-GE mechanism, since a GE isn't a reliable proxy.
posted by daveje at 9:28 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


A bill for a pre-election referendum or a VONC -> GNU -> Referendum would be disastrous for Labour so I can't see them going for it.

A 2nd referendum gives the LibDems an oppurtunity to eschew a General Election and "reach across the aisle" to form a centrist Tory-Lite government and allows the SNP to demand a 2nd Indyref out of it. So if those two parties wanted to stick it to Corbyn then that would be a very good way of doing so. Labour would be in the position of having to vote against a 2nd referendum or risk another 2 years before a general election.

Labour need a General Election before a referendum.
Tories need Brexit before a General Election
Lib Dems and SNP would fare better with neither of the above.
posted by fullerine at 9:33 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


You seem pretty sure Remain would win a 2nd ref. A lot more sure than the people in power. If Labour thought Remain was that popular they wouldn't be so split as to be able to form any kind of coherent agenda. It seems like you'd have to have 3 options on the ballot, a No Deal Brexit, a soft Brexit (May's only possible deal, apparently), and Remain. If you left one off you'd be leaving out a large amount of the constituency. But with 3 options, you'd never get a majority for any of them. Parliament has voted against No Deal, voted against May's deal, and voted against Remain. What makes you think the public would be any different? There's no compromise position and no incentive to make 2/3 of the voters hate you (unless you are Boris Johnson).
posted by rikschell at 10:21 AM on September 27


It seems like you'd have to have 3 options on the ballot, a No Deal Brexit, a soft Brexit (May's only possible deal, apparently), and Remain.
Just to query this - the May deal was never anything like what was originally proposed as "soft Brexit". Soft Brexit was remaining in the single market, probably EEA or EFTA membership and remaining part of the customs union. It's a measure of how far they've managed to shift the Brexit Overton window that the May deal - no single market, no customs union, no free movement - can now be termed as soft Brexit.
posted by winterhill at 11:04 AM on September 27 [20 favorites]


Can I suggest again that people who don't have direct knowledge of the current situation perhaps take a step back? We don't clutter up the US politics threads with depressing and inaccurate takes on your likely future.

At least I hope we don't? Ulp.

Maybe I'll head over there and suggest that Nancy Perosi, the Leader of Congress and Prime Minister of the Democrat Party should join up with the Canadians to impeach immediately because then she can repeal fifth amendment gun laws. And that I reckon endemic racism is just play-acting old rivalries because I read a book once. That'd put the cat among the pigeons.
posted by doornoise at 11:47 AM on September 27 [32 favorites]


You seem pretty sure Remain would win a 2nd ref.

Nope, not in the slightest. But IMO it's the only route to get some kind of closure one way or the other, and minimise the dissent from the losers afterwards.

The original referendum asked a question without defining the answer. A second referendum says to the electorate: this is the best deal we could get. Is this really what you want?

I understand the argument for putting no-deal as an option, but I believe it should be omitted, for two reasons. First, it was made abundantly clear before the original referendum that there would always be a deal, so adding no-deal at this point isn't an answer to the original question. Secondly, it risks splitting the Brexit vote, and leaves open the accusation of a stitch-up in the event of a Remain victory.
posted by daveje at 11:48 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


It seems like you'd have to have 3 options on the ballot, a No Deal Brexit, a soft Brexit (May's only possible deal, apparently), and Remain. If you left one off you'd be leaving out a large amount of the constituency.

No responsible government can seriously propose No-Deal. There really is no such thing as even after a crash-out some sort of relationship would have to be formed with the EU on exactly the same topics. A referendum with that as an option is pre-broken even before the result comes in.
posted by vacapinta at 11:50 AM on September 27 [10 favorites]


@peterwalker99:
Woah: Greater London Authority has referred Boris Johnson to Independent Office for Police Conduct so it can assess if it should investigate him for misconduct in public office - which would be a criminal offence. In connection to claims over Jennifer Arcuri.

Worth stressing: this is a first, statutory stage. Does not by any means conclude guilt, or even that proceedings over misconduct in public office - which can be v hard to prosecute - will now follow

In response to question - why the IOPC? It's because of the London mayor's role as the equivalent of police and crime commissioner, officially Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).
*fingers crossed*
posted by Buntix at 1:07 PM on September 27 [9 favorites]


If Labour thought Remain was that popular they wouldn't be so split as to be able to form any kind of coherent agenda.

I thought the issue was that there are Labour MP's (including Corbyn) & voters who want some kind of Brexit, although probably not for the same reasons or with the same goals as the Tories or Brexit Party members.
posted by soundguy99 at 1:57 PM on September 27


The potentially brilliant thing about Labour policy is that the process of choosing between remain and a Labour WA should mean that there’s an objective evaluation of the tangible and intangible impacts of both options, possibly even an independent evaluation—for example by the OBR—in order to help the government decide which to recommend to voters.

Only a public and independent process like that would give you a chance to strike No Deal from the options on a referendum.

That said, the leave side have done such a brilliant job of talking up No Deal (which I agree is a nonsense option) that I think it would be very hard to exclude from the ballot—imagine the fun Johnson and Farage would have with charges of ballot rigging.

I can only see a 3 option ballot with a single transferable vote.

Though if the Labour party got a 50 seat plus majority they’d have to be sorely tempted to bin the idea of a referendum at all...
posted by dudleian at 2:14 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I thought the issue was that there are Labour MP's (including Corbyn) & voters who want some kind of Brexit

And where they got really dumb was thinking that there was any possibility that there was any remote fucking chance of anything approaching a left-wing-justifiable Brexit to be gleaned from the ashes of the current Brexit movement: which is very much a far right / tax haven / disaster capitalist birthed and funded affair.

If they were of the belief that exiting the EU was in the best interests of the UK as a whole they could state that position, and that it would require a whole lot of planning and pre-negotiation. And then wait till they were in power in order to attempt to deliver on it. Because a Tory government will never put through anything like that, frogs, scorpions, lions, tigers, etc. Oh My.

They could then be unified in opposition to the Tory/UKIP/BXP Brexit that is the only one currently on offer or possible.

Instead they... I dunno, can't even imagine what sort of stoned-out-of-their-gourd 10 dimensional hungry hippos they thought they were playing.
posted by Buntix at 2:26 PM on September 27 [5 favorites]


Somehow, at some point, people will need to understand that 'No Deal' is simply the point you cross between Deal-Then-Exit and Exit-Then-Deal. And Exit-Then-Deal has two downsides: no transition, and a bargaining position that gets rapidly worse with time. That people will inevitably understand that once we pass the point of no return is scant consolation.

A deal vs. 'No Deal' is a false dichotomy, since it's pretty inconceivable that 'No Deal' will be an end in itself without work on a deal beginning pretty much the following day. For that reason, it makes little sense to me to offer a referendum with 'No Deal' as an option, as it's not actually a destination in the way that 'Leave' or 'Remain' are.

A lot of work does need to be done to educate people about what 'No Deal' is, in practical terms. Laying out the potential chaos of leaving in that way has so far not worked. I think the approach that 'No Deal is just the beginning and you'll be hearing about this every day for ten more years' is much more promising. As always, it's all about messaging.
posted by pipeski at 3:00 PM on September 27 [12 favorites]


There's no such thing as No Deal. It's one of those ways they've managed to use a phrase to shape the narrative (in defiance of reality). The Withdrawal Agreement is a definition of the terms by which the UK and the EU will engage in the process of negotiating the future involvement. It's not a deal. It's the frame of reference within which a deal might be struck.

What they're calling No Deal isn't, therefore, an alternative to the Withdrawal Agreement, but rather it's delaying that agreement. That's what's so annoying.

Anyway, No Deal is nonsense. It means nothing of any use whatsoever.
posted by Grangousier at 3:50 PM on September 27 [11 favorites]


And where they got really dumb was thinking that there was any possibility that there was any remote fucking chance of anything approaching a left-wing-justifiable Brexit to be gleaned from the ashes of the current Brexit movement: which is very much a far right / tax haven / disaster capitalist birthed and funded affair.

Trotskyite accelerationism?
posted by acb at 3:52 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


He says Brexit will happen on 31 October, but an assertion is not the same as an explanation.

This is 2019. Sound bites have been dominating the public discourse since the invention of television news, and social media in general and tweets in particular have made that domination almost complete. Via the media that most people - ordinary people, people who do not spend most of their waking lives thinking about politics and/or policy - use to obtain the raw material for building their opinions, assertions have been completely indistinguishable from explanations for decades.

I would love it if Leavers started arguing by promoting an exchange of ideas

The Leave position doesn't stand up to an exchange of ideas. The only way to maintain a Leave position is to stick your metaphorical fingers in your metaphorical ears and shout "La La La I Can't Hear You" whenever somebody outside your own opinion bubble offers any apposite fact.

And because Leave is no longer a political position but a tribal marker, contemplating abandoning it is literally unthinkable. By and large, Leavers don't become Remainers on the basis of reasoned argument. When Leavers become Remainers, they do it because somebody they would previously have been happy to rub shoulders with has just done something so appallingly awful that in the immediate aftermath they can no longer bear to be identified with that person, and instead need to risk leaving their tribe and attempting to join the Other.

If you want to outnumber Leavers you need to get more of them to change tribes, and the ones you need to grab are the lost ones in exactly that position. Don't waste your time on reasoned discourse about the merits of Remaining; Leavers have already heard everything you were about to say about that expressed fifty times as eloquently by James O'Brien and they're quite completely immune to it. Instead, jump on any opportunity to build a sense of shared outrage with any apparently wavering Leaver who enters your personal orbit. Do it one by one and do it face to face and do it when it's time. Because this is the only method you can use that 2019's purveyors of universal darkness cannot immediately counter.

You have to find out why they think that.

There's no mystery about why Leavers think Leaving is the best thing: they've been persuaded that it is, by very very skilled persuaders, using every technique that sixty years of intensive research into marketing have shown to be effective. And a huge part of that has been the deliberate construction of Leave as a tribe and Remain as The Enemy.

They think that Leaving is the best thing because Murdoch et al want them to think that and have the persuasion and suggestion tools to make them think that. Essentially, they've been hacked.

And this is not because they're stupid; it's purely because they didn't see it coming. All of us are susceptible to being hacked in these ways, and which of us end up succumbing is a matter of blind luck and statistics.

So use outrage, because outrage works, but only when you use it face to face and one on one. In public discourse it's counterproductive. One on one, you get to see exactly what it is that your interlocutor is currently cross about. If what that is is something Brexit-adjacent, it will be the sound bite of the day more often than not, and you have an instant opportunity right there to (a) furiously agree with the outrageousness of whatever vague outrage-provoking slogan is doing the rounds and then (b) furiously excoriate Johnson, with examples, for doing exactly whatever that slogan hints is the wrong thing.

It's Johnson. This won't be hard.

Don't go after Leave as a principle. You won't win. Go after Leave's incompetent, lying, supercilious, contemptuous and contemptible leaders, and you might.
posted by flabdablet at 12:28 AM on September 28 [10 favorites]


And when you do have an opportunity to sing a one-on-one shared-outrage duet, I suggest employing the phrase "that fucker Johnson" rather than "Boris".

"Boris" is a brand, and it's his brand, and as soon as it appears in the mind it brings with it all of the positive associations that his personal branding machine has spent his entire political life implanting.

You know this, because you can feel all those associations perfectly well in yourself. It's just that what you know to be true about that fucker Johnson because you pay close attention to politics is more than enough to outweigh all the jolly-harmless-clown Boris crap that's swirling around in there as well. For most people, who don't pay close attention to politics, it isn't.
posted by flabdablet at 1:03 AM on September 28 [10 favorites]


I think around a decade ago, when he was running for Mayor of London, a rule was instigated in our household that he was never to be referred to by his first name ("that idiot Johnson" was the preferred alternative), because it was abundantly clear even then that he was able to get away with all sorts of ludicrous shit just because of the carefully cultivated "oh man that Boris wot a ledge" image.
posted by doop at 1:51 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


I don't think he is an idiot, is the thing.

I think he's malicious, vicious, incompetent, venal, power-hungry, manipulative and shameless, and if it were not also for the fact that his overweening self-satisfaction conspires with his intellectual laziness to prevent his obvious intelligence being applied to serve any end beyond raw self-promotion, he'd be quite capable of shredding the body politic at least as effectively as that other fucker Thatcher.

He's a man for our times. And since our times are the direct consequence of the damage done to society at large by that other fucker Thatcher and her ideological fellow travellers in other nations, I am really not enjoying thinking about what my kids will be facing by the time they get to my age once the current shower actually manages to achieve a comparable degree of competence.

The opportunity to drive a wooden stake through the heart of Rupert Murdoch is long gone; the lurching corporate zombie horror he and his ilk have brought into being has made the transition from hunting brains to farming them, and I fear it will take another world war to bring humanity to anything vaguely resembling its collective senses again this time around. Because living memory, always and everywhere, matters more than history does.

On the upside, we do now have rapid access to a hell of a lot more living memory than my parents and grandparents did.
posted by flabdablet at 2:43 AM on September 28 [6 favorites]


In my experience, supporting Leave is most strongly correlated with a class-based reluctance to criticise those wielding power. Like the kyriarchy in general, both those in power and those who've found a niche which shields them from most of the consequences of people in power support it.

These people both resent the rule of law, which is what's intolerable about the EU from their perspective. But local government gets it in the neck from them just as badly whenever it does something which doesn't immediately benefit their demographic or their wish to punish others.

Does this come from the press? Somewhat, but like any circle of dysfunction, you can't pin the blame to any part of it, so blaming it on a propagandist from Australia is, eh. Ask Jess Phillips (from the true "working class" heartlands of Brexit, and also the same suburbs as me) whether that's where she's starting her fight.

Because the way to get urban Leavers to trust government is to start to remind them how much less dilapidated the wards of e.g. central Walsall (poor, Tory and Brexit voting, majority non-white) were when the government worked from 2000-2010. (I lived there for much of this time.)

I don't really have a solution for the old wealthy village and market town living Leavers who outnumber urban Leavers by some way, though. The Barclay Brothers, who literally fought their government to be feudal Lords of the island they live on, can fuck right off with The Telegraph shoved up their arses.
posted by ambrosen at 2:54 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


"that idiot Johnson" was the preferred alternative

You need to be more specific; may I suggest “that dangling idiot Johnson”
posted by acb at 3:54 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]


I mean to be honest it wasn't a great alternative because none of us thought he's an actual idiot - quite the opposite in some ways, and the helpfully distracting buffoon image is only enhanced by the dangling-from-a-zipwire schtick.

(Still quite annoyed that he sunk, what, £45m? of public money into not building a bridge. And that that was far from the only stupid and wasteful thing he did in his time in City Hall. And it still gets eclipsed by the zipwire stuff. While waving union flags! Ho ho what larks.)
posted by doop at 4:52 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


The zipwire stunt was staged.

I can't remember if I've mentioned this on here before, but a friend of mine London went for a go on the zipline a couple of days after Boris had got stuck and jokingly said to the guys "Ha ha I hope I don't get stuck like Boris".

They patiently explained to him that if there was the slightest chance of anyone genuinely getting stuck like that, the ride wouldn't be allowed to operate at all. It was all for the cameras.
posted by ZipRibbons at 5:06 AM on September 28 [20 favorites]


Tories and BXP appear to be turning on each other.

Apparently the biggest cheer at the 1922 meeting of Tory MPs was when Julian Lewis called for an electoral pact with the Brexit Party and Boris Johnson rejected it, arguing it would repel as many voters as it would attract
Tweet from Jim Pickard, 26th September.

Farage: “The reason Brexit party voters aren’t going to go back en masse to the Conservatives is we just don’t trust the Conservative party and we don’t trust Boris Johnson...Is Boris truly a Brexiteer?”
Quote
from Brexit Party rally covered by Lewis Goodall last night.
posted by doornoise at 5:23 AM on September 28


They patiently explained to him that if there was the slightest chance of anyone genuinely getting stuck like that, the ride wouldn't be allowed to operate at all. It was all for the cameras

...none of which were, of course, ever there.
posted by flabdablet at 5:37 AM on September 28 [4 favorites]


Farage: “we don’t trust Boris Johnson...Is Boris truly a Brexiteer?”

He's truthily a Brexiteer and that's the best you'll do in 2019, largely due to the ongoing efforts of arseholes like you, you pompous dog-ended little beer stain.
posted by flabdablet at 5:40 AM on September 28 [2 favorites]


He's an opportunist riding the £350 million Brexit Bus. One wonders when his stop will come up.
posted by bonehead at 9:21 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]


People need to start spreading the rumour that Farage isn't a true Brexiteer because he's not willing to actually declare war...
posted by pipeski at 10:42 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'd rather risk Johnson getting away with something than risk actual war, so maybe let's not try shifting the Overton window that direction.
posted by Dysk at 2:38 AM on September 29 [10 favorites]


Rumours flying around Twitter that Johnson and cronies have been talking to Orbán about blocking any extension to A50.

So much so that the obsequious Marr couldn't avoid asking about it on his show this morning, from the Guardian live summary:

[Johnson] refused to say whether he had asked another EU country to veto an article 50 extension as a means of ensuring the UK has to leave on 31 October. When asked if he had done this, he replied:

"I’m not going to get into my discussions with any other EU head of state about the negotiations, because they are extremely interesting but they are also delicate."

Johnson also refused to comment on whether the government was planning various other strategies to get around the Benn Act: using EU law, using the Civil Contingencies Act or getting someone to submit the extension request on his behalf.


I hope the Rebel Alliance are getting potential last-minute revocation ducks in a row.
posted by doornoise at 4:00 AM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Phil, from “a different bias” talks about Johnson’s potential route to circumventing the Benn act using an “order to council”. Potentially significant since the government will clearly exploit any loophole or trick open to it.
posted by rongorongo at 9:07 AM on September 29


I’m honestly surprised by how much my opinion of Boris Johnson has gone down over the past few weeks. I thought I had a pretty low opinion of him already, but it turns out there was still a lot of room for it to drop.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:30 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


Order in council, sending a side letter and primacy of EU law as means of getting round the Benn Act have all been thoroughly debunked by the usual legal eagles on Twitter.

I also like this nice tweet from Jo Maugham on the floated idea of another prorogation: "Rumours flying about further prorogations. There is an amusing (to me) and potentially excruciating (for it) little trap for the Government if it does."
posted by doornoise at 12:58 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Ian McEwan announces surprise Brexit satire, The Cockroach (Sian Cain, The Guardian)
... the Kafkaesque novella sees a man wake up as prime minister and is described by the author as a ‘therapeutic response’ to Brexit turmoil
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:02 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Europe isn’t the enemy – demonising us is undermining Britain: "The UK now seems to be the country whose government lies about nonexistent negotiations with the EU while threatening to renege on its outstanding financial obligations – often misrepresented as the “divorce bill”. It’s the country whose leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, threatened to sabotage the EU from within if Brexit was postponed. It’s the country, too, whose last prime minister (the aforementioned May) threatened to stop cooperating with the EU on terrorism, inspiring the Sun front-page headline: “Your money or your lives”. The country whose former Conservative leader Michael Howard talked up war with Spain over Gibraltar. Whose cabinet minister Priti Patel suggested threatening the people of Ireland with starvation. Whose foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt likened the EU to the Soviet Union and whose current prime minister compared it to the Nazis."
...
The dominant four newspapers in Britain by circulation are the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Sun on Sunday and the Mail on Sunday, with the more measured but equally pro-Brexit Sunday Times coming in fifth. Each of these publications has been brainwashing its readers with fake news about the EU for years – in some cases, decades – while building up pro-Brexit politicians and stoking divisions. Terms such as “betrayal”, “surrender”, “plots by traitors” and “enemies of the people” are on the front pages routinely. The top 10 British papers by paid circulation does not feature any pro-European newspaper, unless you count the Daily Mirror"

posted by sour cream at 12:39 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Oh hi, I remember you, sour cream. So kind of you to pop in with the doomiest quotes from an very debatable article.

After spending quite a few paragraphs repeatedly equating the words and actions of members of a minority government (all called out at the time as unacceptable) with "the country" as a whole, the author hammers on Johnson then damns us again by stating, "According to the polls this deeply nasty man is easily the most popular politician in the country." No numbers, note. Yes, he's popular with 33% of deeply-entrenched leave voters and Tory boy types, but even when he was in his first honeymoon weeks at Number 10, Boris was significantly less popular than Theresa May when she first took over as PM. The latest YouGov figures, which tend to slant Tory-positive, show that 48% of those surveyed have a negative opinion of him.

The author goes on to claim that the "progressive side of Britain" has "almost zero political representation". I mean, there's a majority in Parliament for blocking the disaster capitalist dream of no-deal, but don't let that get in the way of a good polemic, right?
posted by doornoise at 1:54 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


The dominant four newspapers in Britain by circulation are the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Sun on Sunday and the Mail on Sunday

This is kind of hilarious. I know that technically the Sunday editions have parallel editorial staff to a degree, but acting like the Mail on Sunday is meaningfully a different paper to the Mail (and same with the Sun and its Sunday edition) rather undermines whatever point the dude was trying to make. That's two newspapers not four, come on.
posted by Dysk at 2:33 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


For a further example of the European view of the UK political landscape: this is what the NOS (dutch BBC but not really the same of course) reports about the Tory Party Conference. Translated: Big majority of tories love PM Johnson.

It's almost inconceivable how vile people are and I guess Joris Luyendijk wrote his piece with that same sentiment in mind.
posted by Kosmob0t at 3:22 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


"According to the polls this deeply nasty man is easily the most popular politician in the country." No numbers, note.

As you're using yougov polls to back up your points, the relevant yougov poll does indeed show that Johnson is currently the most popular political figure.

Joris Luyendijk is writing from the perspective of a Dutch journalist who lived in the UK for a number of years, and returned to Amsterdam (where I am, btw) because of Brexit and its increasing toxicity. I've always found him one of the best European commentators on the UK. (And many other things: his books on the City and his time in the Middle East are both excellent.)
posted by daveje at 3:27 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


I didn't write that he was incorrect in stating that Boris Johnson was the most popular politician. I simply noted that he'd failed to present a data set and this gave entirely the wrong impression of Johnson's current standing in the UK.

(Some commentators prefer to judge opinion ratings on a positive minus negative basis, which would put Johnson at -15% . Less popular then than, say, Ken Clarke at -2%.)

I know who Joris Luyendijk is - I've enjoyed some of his past work - and I still take issue with the way he's selectively presented the facts in this case. And deliberately so, since he is an informed commentator.

Where's the mention of the huge and well-organised pro-EU movement? Surely he must be aware of the petitions, the marches, the pressure in Parliament, the court cases? Instead, we get hand-waving about "the kind of country the [UK] is now" and "people relying on social media for their news". What, like Jo Maugham's Twitter feed?

Who is this article written for? WE ALREADY KNOW IT LOOKS BAD. WE LIVE HERE WITH THESE PEOPLE.
posted by doornoise at 3:57 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


For a further example of the European view of the UK political landscape: this is what the NOS (dutch BBC but not really the same of course) reports about the Tory Party Conference. Translated: Big majority of tories love PM Johnson.

Yes, but you may as well write, "Big majority of Party for Freedom members love leader Wilders".

After shaking off its rebel moderates, the Tory party has lurched to the right in an attempt to woo BXP voters away from Farage. A lot of those enthusiastic attendees at conference are far more right wing than the usual Conservative suspects: hardcore ERG faithful / rehomed UKIP members / careerists who'd sell their own grandmother to bring in US healthcare companies to the NHS. Why is anyone surprised that they love Johnson and his no-holds-barred rhetoric on Brexit?
posted by doornoise at 5:27 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Let's not let sour cream derail another Brexit thread.

The Conservatives, and in particular Johnson, keep parroting the line that "we're going to comply with the law and we will leave the EU on 31 October". They're almost tapping their nose as they say it, as if to say they've got some clever dodge that they're not going to reveal.

Various options for doing that have been mentioned above and are all legally a bit dodgy - the Order in Council, using the Civil Contingencies Act, sending a second "we didn't really mean our first letter" letter. This makes me think there's something in the rumours that the Johnson government have tapped up a friendly right-wing EU leader, probably Orbán, to veto the extension. That seems like the only legally sound way to leave with no deal and comply with the Benn act.

If this is the case, then if Parliament have got any balls they'll amend the Benn act to say that in the event of the EU rejecting an extension, Article 50 will be revoked rather than no-deal being the default. Collusion with a foreign state, especially if it's one as dodgy as Orbán's Hungary, to meddle in domestic politics is the kind of thing that would ordinarily bring down a government. It can't be allowed to happen - if they're serious about avoiding no-deal, they really need to close any potential loophole that might allow no-deal to happen.
posted by winterhill at 5:33 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


"According to the polls this deeply nasty man is easily the most popular politician in the country." No numbers, note.

Not this country. I can't find recent post-becoming-PM numbers, but some in the summer had Johnson at around 16 percent favourable, 65 percent unfavourable in Scotland.

I doubt that's shifted upwards, what with Ruthie running for the hills, the spectacular Spodism on show from Number 10. and the Scots Tories becoming sully signed up to the die in a ditch policy.

MEANWHILE... I know we all hate 'highly placed sources tell me', but highly placed sources tell me that the botched coup against Tom Watson at conference was intended to be the opening shots in a coup against Corbyn by Momentum, which has grown tired of his shtick. Watson had to be got rid of first, of course, otherwise he'd ruin the fun, but that move got bolloxed so it's back to square one. The anointed successor is Rebecca Long-Bailey of whom I know little but, a hardened Labour-watcher tells me, is "thick as pigshit and will be just as bad as Jeremy", which fits the MO of anyone Momentum likes the look of.
posted by Devonian at 5:36 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


David Gauke on ConservativeHome: We won’t leave the EU on October 31st – and Johnson will be blamed:
...my money would be on the UK being members of the EU on November 1st.

And then what happens? I know that there will be a huge amount of abuse and criticism directed at those of us who supported the Benn Act. We will take some consolation from the fact that goods are flowing in and out of the country as per usual, our agricultural and manufacturing industries are not facing crippling new tariffs and that the pound will not have tanked.

But what of the man who said – again and again – and who will continue to say this week – again and again – that we will leave on October 31st ‘come what may’? You might blame Parliament for the fact that the Prime Minister will have broken his promise, but Parliament didn’t force him to make that promise. It was a promise that depended upon factors beyond his control. It was a guarantee that he could not, in truth, guarantee.

Not for the first time in the Brexit process, a large part of the public will feel let down...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:38 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Not for the first time in the Brexit process, a large part of the public will feel let down...

I feel like this is a true statement about literally anything and everything that is, has, and will be part of the Brexit process.
posted by Dysk at 6:11 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


Yes, but you may as well write, "Big majority of Party for Freedom members love leader Wilders".

Not really. While it is true a large part of the Dutch public will vote just as likely for vile populists as the UK public seems to do, Wilders'party is not one of the main parties in the Netherlands and isn't even a real party but more of a one man show.

I'm sorry for the derail, just wanted to answer this one argument, please carry on with the more interesting bits.
posted by Kosmob0t at 6:17 AM on September 30




The Sun reckons that Boris Johnson has argued with and frozen out both Lynton Crosby and his previous advisor Will Walden.
One former close ally of the PM’s told The Sun: “The Cummings experiment has palpably failed, but Boris will not turn the ship.

“He’s only listening to two voices now, Dominic and Carrie - and Dominic’s approach is proving a car crash. We’re getting really worried”.
It might be a mistake to overestimate how competent and calculated Boris Johnsons statements and actions are. Dominic Cummings has only really had success with referendum campaigns, and unlike Crosby hasn't had much experience of winning general elections. Carrie Symonds is relatively inexperienced too. A lot of this might be desperate bluster from an inexperienced team who didn't anticipate not getting their way on dissolving Parliament and election timing.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:23 AM on September 30 [8 favorites]


The one thing we must not forget is that any relationship a Johnson statement has with reality is coincidental. He is pure bluster. He is a bullshitter rather than a liar, according to the classic defintion that a liar cares whether they're believed but a bullshitter just wants to have an effect on the bullshittee. Once you stop bothering to react to what they say, only what they do, you're in a lot better position.

This has, I fear, been lost on the LibDems, who said today there won't be a VONC this week because "it's playing into Johnson's hands". No. Don't think in those terms. Do what is right, not what you guess will most bamboozle the opposition. You'd hope that the party's track record on handling the Tories in coalition would have shown them that, but...
posted by Devonian at 8:18 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


Johnson might not need Crosby; Crosby's dead-cat technique is, if anything, a more folksy/amateurish version of the Putinist spin technique of “dramaturgia”, which the transatlantic insurgent right have been adopting.
posted by acb at 8:21 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Opposition parties to start planning for national unity government

"Opposition parties have agreed to start discussing who could lead a potential government of national unity to prevent a no-deal Brexit, Jo Swinson has said, while announcing there would not be a vote of no confidence in the government this week."

"Swinson said the Lib Dems had raised the idea of opposition parties passing another measure to speed up this deadline, thus giving more time before the 31 October departure date, but other parties had disagreed."

"...Swinson said the parties would “use every opportunity to try and hold this government to account” this week, and would focus on using parliamentary mechanisms to seek access to three government reports on Brexit...The other three reports sought will be Snow Bunting, about the police response to Brexit; Kingfisher, about the impact on businesses; and Black Swan, which covers the worst-case scenario planning."


Snow Bunting, Kingfisher, and Black Swan, eh? Black Swan sounds appropriately terrifying.

On the other hand, we're starting to see the opposition parties seriously working together, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Nick Boles: Opposition party leaders are right to insist on waiting 3 weeks before moving a vote of no confidence. Johnson has so far failed to negotiate a revised Brexit deal. He needs to own the consequences of that failure before the voters are asked if they want him to stay in office.

posted by facehugger at 8:29 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


“Snow Bunting” is an intriguingly niche choice of code name… is one the key civil servants a birder? Or a skier?
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 11:59 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Having not heard of the bird, my immediate association was of bunting, but in white.

As in, raising a lot of white flags.
posted by automatronic at 2:13 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Extra extra!

"Alex Crowley, who worked on Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign, two mayoral campaigns and wrote a book about him (!), quit last week. His exit came as several sources with knowledge of No 10 suggested that there was an atmosphere of feuding inside Johnson’s administration."

"One Tory insider told the Sun (!!!) that Walden and Crosby had been cut out of Johnson’s inner circle and had reservations about the prorogation strategy that set up a battle between the prime minister and the courts. “The Cummings experiment has palpably failed, but Boris will not turn the ship,” the insider said. “He’s only listening to two voices now, Dominic and Carrie [Symonds, his partner] – and Dominic’s approach is proving a car crash. We’re getting really worried.”


I read The Sun article, and it looks like the powers that be are starting to accept that Johnson might fail his Oct 31st Brexit, and are prepping by setting up Carrie Symonds to potentially take the fall. Of course, it's a deeply sexist take ("She has him completely mesmerized").

Vis-a-vis the new reports of all the opposition parties wargaming together for the first time and working closer than ever on a potential GNU...

Oh dear, it feels like hope!
posted by facehugger at 6:21 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


“Snow Bunting” is an intriguingly niche choice of code name… is one the key civil servants a birder? Or a skier?

I'm just glad it's bird code-names, because Yellow Hammer and Black Swan remind me too much of cold war rainbow codes for nuclear weapons and suchlike.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:00 AM on October 1


Based on recent statements, the DUP and ERG have realised that it is not the supreme court, speaker, remainiacs, BBC, or EU that are stopping the UK from leaving the EU, but themselves. Who knew? Assuming they don't denounce themselves as traitors and implode, there's a good chance they will will work out how to escape the fiendish trap the EU laid for them (by voting for the WA).

The Conservative and Labour leaderships would love to get Brexit done, reclaim "their" leave voters from the BxP, and go back to politics BB (before Brexit) and will be pretty much behind any WA (NB I say they'll support the WA—both parties have very different ideas about the Political Declaration, but that's basically confetti-in-waiting). Labour can't say that in public, but they have generally dealt very kindly with any rebels.

The Conservatives that lost the whip will vote for a WA—they've done so multiple times in the past. They might reasonably expect this to be a swift route to their rehabilitation in the party.

So everything boils down to whether or not Johnson can come back from the EU with some Heath Robinson WA and whether the DUP and ERG, squinting at it sideways with the sun in their eyes say: "Looks nothing like May's deal. Job's a good un".

No Conservative in the rebel alliance is going to support a VONC until Johnson either brings a modified WA to the commons and loses, or it becomes clear that no WA will be brought and we're crashing out. So, mid October then.

For almost 3 years I've felt most commentators were underpricing a No Deal Brexit. Now I think a deal is marginally more likely—but that depends on Johnson showing competence and spine, and the DUP and ERG behaving rationally, so...
posted by dudleian at 3:05 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


B.Johnson as 'SEO Master'

link is to Kottke, who then further links to wired and etc.
tl/dr: there's some method to the banality of Johnson's choice in words.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:19 AM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Mmm. Hannah Arendt had something to say about banality.
posted by Grangousier at 7:41 AM on October 1 [5 favorites]


 tl/dr: there's some method to the banality of Johnson's choice in words.

Perhaps he is the embodiment of Seraphim Proudleduck after all.
posted by scruss at 1:15 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


The UK EU Irish border plan is out - the Telegraph has the details, and here's a thread about it.

A complete farce. Two borders for four years - NI in some bits of EU compliance, out of others, so there are NS and EW borders. It matches nothing the EU has said is acceptable, and it's being punted as a 'take it or leave it' deal by Johnson.

"The only question is how long it takes the EU to reject it", according to the reporter on BBC radio news just now.

Battle bowlers on.
posted by Devonian at 2:29 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


depends on Johnson showing competence and spine

I guess you're fucked then...
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:19 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


This is going to be a fun day. The Boris Borders Bunkum is designed to fail on every level, which is why the DUP is happy with it despite there being a border down the Irish Sea - they can see as well as anyone that this is proposal as plot point, and it can't happen.

We are going to see the proposal exactly as the Telegraph said, despite - oh, at this stage, I guess we can say because of - Number 10 saying that it wasn't. We are going to see the EU have some period of official contemplation, but that may be hours not days, and then it's going to detail with a huge sigh all the ways that it can't work according to everything said and agreed until now. We will see Johnson say that the EU is rejecting a very reasonable and flexible compromise, and that unless it changes its mind it's No Deal. We are going to see the Tories say that that they KNOW that the EU always blinks at the eleventh hour, and if the EU doesn't then it's the EU's fault, not because what they KNOW was wrong all along.

And then we'll see a combination of - Johnson saying 'now there's nothing doing with the EU, let's prorogue Parliament for that Queen's Speech', Parliament having to decide whether to VONC and if so to what end, various timetable crunches, more "I'll obey the law while not obeying the law' rhetoric, and we'll still be in a ginmormous pickle in mid October.

Meanwhile, guess what - guns, bombs and kidnapping are back in Northern ireland. A typical story.

And none of this will be the fault of the people who made it all happen. Because it's all being forced through by an unelected PM with no majority, without even cabinet discussion, in the name of democracy.

This is going to be a fun day.
posted by Devonian at 12:55 AM on October 2 [11 favorites]


Because it's all being forced through by an unelected PM

He was elected by Conservative Party members. Yeah, it wasn't a general election, but let's not let all the Tories entirely off the hook for dumping the whole country in this mess.
posted by Dysk at 2:52 AM on October 2 [5 favorites]


Prominent Brexiter Steve Baker MP has quoted a line from Milton's Paradise Lost to exalt No Deal. But it seems he didn't check whose words they were supposed to be.
posted by rory at 3:02 AM on October 2 [8 favorites]


The Satanists have already protested people associating them with the Tories.
posted by acb at 3:05 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


the DUP is happy with it despite there being a border down the Irish Sea - they can see as well as anyone that this is proposal as plot point, and it can't happen

This deal won't happen, but if it did it would give the DUP a veto on that point. In practice the DUP would remove the Irish Sea border in 2025. Or rather, move it to the Irish border, with all that implies :-

Ian Dunt - Johnson's Brexit plan: No viability, no decency, no hope.
posted by sourcejedi at 5:27 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


So Boris's border plan is to reinvigorate the NI economy by turning it into a smuggler's den? Is he high?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:18 AM on October 2


an annoying ex-pat asks: are the DUP still kingmakers now that the government are too much of a minority for the confidence and supply agreement to matter any more? I realize that all of this is part of the ongoing dramaturgia plot points, and nothing more is meant by the position on the Irish border than to be seen to have one.

I'm pretty sure that the shouts of “no surrender” at the DUP reception at conference didn't mean what the Tories thought it meant, though.
posted by scruss at 7:27 AM on October 2


Interesting that the reported opinion away from the Number 10 machine, both at the conference and from the EU, is that 31st Oct won't happen and there'll be a further extension - the Tories deciding that they can blame it on everyone else and Johnson can survive it, and the EU thinking that Parliament will make it happen despite the wah-wah.

The other thing coming out is that the 21 sacked Tory MPs are moving towards supporting 2nd ref, on the grounds that they'll lose their seats if there's a GE (well, those that want to carry on). Which if so, and given that the only arguments against a second ref are "RIOTS!" or "YOU CAN'T VOTE IT RUINS DEMOCRACY!" or "GRAAAAR!", is quite encouraging. I wouldn't put it past, in fact I'd rather expect, Johnson to unsack them before that happens, but that may not work out...
posted by Devonian at 7:29 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Here's his letter to Juncker. He writes that "the proposed 'backstop' is a bridge to nowhere, and a new way forward must be found". Well, if Johnson is an expert on anything he's an expert on bridges to nowhere. But I thought we'd had enough of experts?
posted by rory at 7:29 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Yes, but you may as well write, "Big majority of Party for Freedom members love leader Wilders".

Well, since the PVV has only one member, that would be true.
posted by Pendragon at 7:35 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


...let's not let all the Tories entirely off the hook for dumping the whole country in this mess.

I haven't forgiven Lord Liverpool for the Corn Laws yet. Nobody's getting off the hook on my watch.
posted by Devonian at 7:36 AM on October 2 [15 favorites]


Prominent Brexiter Steve Baker MP has quoted a line from Milton's Paradise Lost to exalt No Deal

I was genuinely surprised it wasn't the "Better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven" one.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:03 AM on October 2 [13 favorites]


The Nasty Party has Returned and Bigotry is All it has Left
The Conservatives are looking less and less like a party of stability and common sense and more and more like a rampaging bull that’s been wrapped in a suicide vest. Carnage, waiting to happen.
posted by adamvasco at 11:05 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


@BBCNewsnight: “The point of this is not how long it takes a lorry to cross the border in Northern Ireland. The issue is identity.”
posted by billiebee at 11:53 AM on October 2 [6 favorites]


I'm glad I clicked through because just from reading the quote I thought that was going to be an argument for a NI/ROI border.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:12 PM on October 2


For the curious: if the Queen's Speech is voted down, it's considered a vote of no confidence. It's happened three times, last to Stanley Baldwin in 1924.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:34 PM on October 2 [1 favorite]


True but because of the FTPA it doesn’t mean the fall of the government - only a VONC with the specific wording in the FTPA has that effect now.

I will laugh SO HARD if the Queen’s Speech doesn’t pass, though.
posted by doop at 12:44 AM on October 3 [4 favorites]


The World at One seemed to think that there'd be about 20 Labour MPs who would vote for this proposal, which the presenters and guests kept calling a "deal", despite the fact that it's a government proposal that hasn't been agreed by either the EU or Parliament, so the word "deal" is being made to work pretty hard there.

Having said that, does any of this matter? It's unlikely that this two-borders plan is going to pass muster with the EU, so all of this seems fairly irrelevant. There's not going to be a deal, this is a bit of a smokescreen, and MPs would be better served by concentrating on making sure the Benn act is adhered to.
posted by winterhill at 6:20 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


The World at One seemed to think that there'd be about 20 Labour MPs who would vote for this proposal

Kate Hoey's gonna Kate Hoey; not sure where the other 19 came from, though.
posted by acb at 6:25 AM on October 3


The Brexit steering group of the European Parliament aren't having any of it.
posted by rory at 6:28 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


The Brexit steering group of the European Parliament aren't having any of it.

I love the "Reconvene the NI Assembly part before you rely on them for the backstop" part.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:59 AM on October 3 [5 favorites]


not sure where the other 19 came from

Stephen Kinnock and his lot, presumably.

There's an awful lot of presumption in the media today that every MP who ever wanted some sort of deal will want this deal, which isn't even a possible deal unless the EU agrees to it.
posted by rory at 8:00 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


AFAICS this deal (I know, it's a proposal—just using shorthand) is basically the UK government stepping away from a big chunk of its GFA obligations. As I've said before, I can understand why some Labour MPs would vote for a WA, but this agreement, put forward by this prime minister? Wow. If they did that it would make my head spin. And if the leadership were relaxed about them voting that way... SMH.
posted by dudleian at 9:13 AM on October 3


The Waterford Whispers (i.e., the Irish equivalent of the Daily Mash): British Soldier Has No Idea He’ll Soon Be Screaming At Elderly Belfast Woman To ‘Get Out Of The Fucking Car’; ripe with black irony.
posted by acb at 10:27 AM on October 3 [19 favorites]


For the deal to actually become a deal, it will need to be agreed by the EU parliament and the EU council under qualified majority voting (i.e. 16 prime ministers representing at least 65% of the population), and also the UK parliament.

There is a known flaw of the Benn law; it won't trigger if the UK parliament back the gov in a 'meaningful vote' on a deal before 19th October. However, it will then still have to be passed by Parliament as actual law. So for the ERG no-deal zealots, one legal route out is to help any deal pass the initial meaningful vote stage, but then vote against in the mad rush to pass the actual legal bit, which means the gov won't have to ask for an extension, but will crash out with no deal. This may be Johnson's plan for 'obeying the law but still leaving on the 31st' - dangle enough concessions for the DUP to bite (done) in consultation with the handful of Labour MPs who will vote for a tub of lard pretending to be a deal they're so terrified of the Brexit party (also looking maaaaybe possible with Kinnock's lot) then the ERG yank away the ball at the last minute, and we're out with no deal.

It does rely on the EU council pressuring Ireland into accepting said decomposing tub of lard, which seems super unlikely (both any pressure being applied and Ireland caving in - several states have said they'll follow Ireland's lead on this); and additionally the EU parliament backing it, which looks downright impossible. Not least because neither group are stupid enough to believe a word the UK government says. It's the ultimate end-game of 'the EU need us more than we need them' and it will fail.

Of course, Johnson then gets to try and blame the EU and the 'surrender' Parliament for forcing an extension instead of accepting his marvelous compromise (sic) in the subsequent election as to why we're not out yet, and that is when we're off into the great unknown of whether the great British public really are *that* thick.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 10:28 AM on October 3 [8 favorites]


Bordering on the insane.
A personal take on the present crass lunacy.
posted by adamvasco at 12:58 PM on October 3 [3 favorites]




Rory the Tory is no more-y.

I think he was basically a Tory out of class loyalty, but he’s way too thoughtful and nuanced for the fucking clown car they have become.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:21 AM on October 4 [5 favorites]


And now he's standing for London mayor as an independent. Which should make it at least interesting, given that the opposition to Khan so far was Shaun Bailey, who makes Johnson look like a class act. He'll at least have to try now.

I expect there'll be the traditional round of Momentum frothing and "destroy the real enemy" crap that they've recently rolled out for the LibDem revival. But given that Stewart's main selling point is the decent, thoughtful chap thing, I'm not sure in the current climate that being a mean-spirited cunt is going to work against him.
posted by Grangousier at 3:22 AM on October 4 [5 favorites]


Khan's still seeking another term though, isn't he? He's done fairly well, and by distancing himself from the Brexiters on both sides, he should have the liberal-internationalist and non-foaming-left votes more or less in the bag, leaving little room for centrist candidates to attack from.
posted by acb at 4:17 AM on October 4


As far as I can tell, outside of voting to stop No Deal and not being an obviously frothing psychopath, Rory Stewart is a pretty basic Tory. Loves austerity, voted with the government most of the time on Brexit, etc. I mean, good for him, there is some shit he won't eat, but he's only centrist compared to the headbangers.
posted by skybluepink at 5:57 AM on October 4 [5 favorites]


I guess. I didn't really pay much attention to him until he turned up in a string of James O'Brien interviews I was listening to while working and... He sounded genuine enough. He sounded like an innocent abroad, to be honest. Now, I'm not sure that an innocent abroad is best choice for mayor, but it's interesting from a cultural point of view. Partly because campaigning at the moment seems to be entirely about shitting on your opponent, and I think that that's induced a lot of fatigue.

I don't know how well Sadiq Khan has done, to be honest. Someone asked me what I thought and I realised I didn't have an answer - I don't feel less under seige than when Johnson was mayor, the skyscrapers aren't sprouting more slowly. He winds up Donald Trump, but is that enough? He probably wouldn't have the support of the Labour Leadership and their shocktroops, come to think of it, because he's a Dreaded Blairite, but I really don't give a shit about that stuff any more.
posted by Grangousier at 6:24 AM on October 4 [4 favorites]


I mean, good for him, there is some shit he won't eat, but he's only centrist compared to the headbangers.

I get that, but I can't believe that the whole Tory intake in the house of commons, minus the handful deprived of the whip, are headbangers. To use your terminology there must be a lot of centrist shit eaters, from "loyalists" like May to "swivelers" like Hancock. Likewise I think there are a fair number of centrist / right wing (delete as per your preference) shit eaters on the Labour benches.

That's always been the case, but I think the proportion is much higher today (albeit still a minority). There are large factions in each party that do not have faith in their own top team, and are waiting to "reclaim" it. That's a necrosis caused by FPTP which disproportionately punishes independents and minority parties, and which is well past its sell by date...

Problems—with the constitution, FTPA, FPTP, the role of the monarch, speaker and judiciary... keep piling up, but politicians show every sign of forgetting about them as soon as Brexit is "done".
posted by dudleian at 6:27 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]


Just listening to O'Brien earlier and heard a caller who said that although he'd long been a Labour supporter he'd vote for Stewart over Khan, on the basis that as a Muslim he was just sick of having to deal with the relentless barrage of public anti-Islamic rhetoric that follows from a Muslim being Mayor.

Not sure how either of those candidates is going to feel about that. Public comment on it will be a minefield.
posted by flabdablet at 6:32 AM on October 4


To use your terminology there must be a lot of centrist shit eaters, from "loyalists" like May to "swivelers" like Hancock. Likewise I think there are a fair number of centrist / right wing (delete as per your preference) shit eaters on the Labour benches.

Oh, I think you're absolutely correct about this. I was completely serious in my, admittedly qualified, 'good for him' statement. I just wouldn't vote for him, had I the opportunity, because basically, he is not on my side in any other sense than wanting to stop No Deal Brexit.
posted by skybluepink at 6:38 AM on October 4


The UK government has promised a court that Boris Johnson will send a letter to the EU seeking an extension to article 50 as required by the Benn act.

I can only imagine the political shitfight if Boris gives them the middle finger at the 11th hour. What exactly is there to lose?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:27 AM on October 4 [3 favorites]


It indicates he has another of Dominic's Cunning Plans up his sleeve other than just refusing to send the letter. Hopefully it will be as fruitful as his prorogation plan, as opposed to his 'millions of illegal spending on spamming racist adverts on Facebook' which, well, worked.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:49 AM on October 4


I half expect something along the lines of "Dear Twats, give us more time because I'm being forced to under duress. Go toss yourselves, Boris".
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:04 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


the prime minister accepts “he is subject to the public law principle that he cannot frustrate its purpose or the purpose of its provisions. Thus he cannot act so as to prevent the letter requesting the specified extension in the act from being sent.”
on the face of it would appear to rule out delaying Benn by the kind of procedural shenanigans identified by John Major. Which means that the only hope that fucker Johnson has actually got of achieving his Oct 31 crash-out is by doing whatever he can to ensure that Europe fails to grant the extension Benn binds him to ask for.

Parliament needs to pass another law that would require the Government to revoke A50 immediately under those circumstances.

It ought to be transparently clear to any parliamentarian with two or more working neurons that crashing out without a withdrawal agreement would do even more damage to the UK than leaving under the WA that Parliament has already rejected as unacceptable, that any WA that fucker Johnson presents for their consideration is either going to be identical to May's or worse, and that dealing with the tantrums of disaffected Leavers would therefore obviously be the least of the available evils if no extension can be got, but this is the Stupidest Timeline so who the fuck knows what they'll do.
posted by flabdablet at 8:23 AM on October 4 [8 favorites]


I half expect something along the lines of "Dear Twats, give us more time because I'm being forced to under duress. Go toss yourselves, Boris".

The precise wording of the letter has been set in law by the Benn Act.
posted by doornoise at 8:31 AM on October 4 [5 favorites]


Makes me wonder what Cummings has up his sleeve then.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:42 AM on October 4


The UK government has promised a court that Boris Johnson will send a letter to the EU seeking an extension to article 50 as required by the Benn act.

I can only imagine the political shitfight if Boris gives them the middle finger at the 11th hour. What exactly is there to lose?


He also can't leave the letter until the 11th hour. The Benn Act states that he must send the letter on 19th October, unless he has made a deal with the EU.

Losses: if he chose to deliberately break the law, he would be sacked "within five minutes" by the Queen according to Dominic Grieve, and he would likely be prosecuted for malfeasance in office, maximum penalty life imprisonment.
posted by doornoise at 8:47 AM on October 4 [3 favorites]


Makes me wonder what Cummings has up his sleeve then.

Classic Dom. He never fails to provide.

"Quite something. O’Neill reading out unattributed briefings from Number 10 directly to the Court of Session just an hour after [the statement on the letter has] been issued - that the Government seeks to sabotage any extension. O’Neill pointing out contradictory messages are being issued to court v public" [Twitter thread]

The whole thread is worth a read.
posted by doornoise at 9:13 AM on October 4 [4 favorites]


Makes me wonder what Cummings has up his sleeve then.
Current thinking is that

a) they've done a deal with Orban to veto the extension
or
b) they will vote for the extension, send the letter and then vote against ratification of the WA thereby crashing out but still obeying the law (thanks to the Kinnock amendment)

Option a requires Orban throwing his own country under the bus for reasons
Option b involves a parliamentary majority. That's right kids, Meaningless Vote is back!
posted by fullerine at 6:15 PM on October 4


Someone in the Guardian pointed out that the whole Tory conference was based around an election campaign on the slogan "Get Brexit Done", but that makes no sense at all if you think Brexit will actually be done before the election. The plan is not to get a deal, the plan is to blame someone for the failure to get a deal.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:02 PM on October 4 [8 favorites]


That's a really good read. It's also... dunno quite how to put it... a pretty significant failure of political agility on Team Johnson's part, isn't it? It still can work as a slogan because of truthiness and feels, but it's not particularly robust against predictable events such as not being able to actually trigger an election on demand.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 10:45 PM on October 4


b) they will vote for the extension, send the letter and then vote against ratification of the WA thereby crashing out but still obeying the law (thanks to the Kinnock amendment)

Trying to get my head around the Kinnock amendment, #OperationCheckMate legal shenanigans.

Jo Maugham wrote of a potential No Deal loophole caused by the Kinnock amendment: that if a WA was voted through Parliament pre-19th October negating the need to ask for an extension, it could then be tripped up post-19th October as the "further obligations" referred to in the amendment could not be fulfilled in time for 31st October. Out with No Deal.

Other legal commentators have argued that the Kinnock amendment requires the PM to perform a logical impossibility, so rendering the whole Benn Act null and void. Though in the comments of the linked article, a couple of people quote the debate from the House of Lords calling this amendment "legally inoperable". Apparently, judges may refer to these debate records in their decisions, say if Johnson was to try using the amendment's crappy wording to justify breaking the law.

I'm tied up in knots here, but I hope Parliament treats any Johnson attempt at reintroducing May's WA with suspicion. Could they try to clear time for another Meaningful Vote in the week post-Queen's Speech? This whole double-border debacle could have been a softening-up process to make May's WA look much more palatable to MPs, thus opening up another No Deal trap.
posted by doornoise at 5:05 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Option a requires Orban throwing his own country under the bus for reasons

“Reasons” could include tens of billions of pounds, stripped from British services. That could buy a lot of votes in Hungary.
posted by acb at 5:33 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


No, that's not going to happen. Our democracy hasn't gone down the pan to that extent (yet).
posted by pipeski at 8:25 AM on October 5


We gave a billion to the DUPpies; why not a bunch of equally nice people in Hungary?

Also, unless the US is noticeably less democratic/more corrupt than the UK, the pallets of thousand-dollar bills shipped to Iraq in the 00s set a precedent that such things are very much thinkable.
posted by acb at 8:44 AM on October 5


Something I'm curious about - in America's Inverse Brexit some time ago, when it was clear the effort was a success, great numbers of America's Remainers were able to leave for other British colonies like Canada and the West Indies, or just to Britain. They remained British subjects and even received some compensation from the empire for their losses.

Am I correct in my understanding that this is not that much of an option for British Remainers today? Like the best you can hope for is maybe some residence/labor rights and a chance to go to the back of the immigration line like any other random individual?
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:11 AM on October 5


There was some talk last year of the EU giving the population of the UK grandfathered freedom of movement rights IIRC, but I don’t think it ever came to anything.
posted by pharm at 10:00 AM on October 5


I suspect the UK government have rather burned the goodwill that would be required for such a move.
posted by Dysk at 10:21 AM on October 5 [7 favorites]


The best you can hope for is to move to Europe before the gates close and establish residency rights. This depends on the specific EU country though. You'd be subject to that country's immigration laws however but there is usually a citizenship path and thus a path to regaining full EU citizenship.
posted by vacapinta at 11:59 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


In Sweden, they're now talking about, in the event of no-deal, granting any British citizens resident in Sweden and having means of support a 5-year visa, which should take them up to eligibility for permanent residency/citizenship. This is in addition to a 1-year grace period during which UK nationals resident in Sweden will be treated as EU citizens. I imagine that there are similar plans in other EU countries with significant British populations.
posted by acb at 12:58 PM on October 5 [7 favorites]


Yes, here in the NL no British citizen has to do anything until January 2021 (temp. residence permit granted to all) even in the event of no-deal on Oct 31st. After that, you have to demonstrate that you fulfill the standard EU FoM requirements (employed or self-sufficient, not a criminal) to get a residence permit.
posted by vacapinta at 1:24 PM on October 5 [8 favorites]


Very glad other EU countries are making the time and effort to look out for British citizens. Our (UK) government certainly isn't.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 10:02 PM on October 5 [11 favorites]


‘I hope I got out of the Tory party before it was too late’
Rory Stewart in The Guardian about walking and other stuff
posted by mumimor at 4:24 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


It was too late. Stewart's another poor hating, austerity loving, NHS privatising Etonian tosser who has happened to disagree with some government points but who has a history of voting to reduce EU integration and to stop EU citizens having a right to remain and who favours culling badgers, selling forests, fracking and not taking action on climate change.

Basically the only distinction between him and the other Tory arseholes is a more gentle PR strategy to get himself into power.
posted by biffa at 12:42 PM on October 6 [12 favorites]


The best you can hope for is to move to Europe before the gates close and establish residency rights.

1) Move to Ireland, which you'll still be able to do after the EU gates close because of the CTA [unless that goes due the Tories "burn the land and boil the sea" policies].

2) After 5 years residency you can apply for Citizenship.

3) Profit!
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:58 PM on October 6 [6 favorites]


1) Move to Ireland, which you'll still be able to do after the EU gates close because of the CTA [unless that goes due the Tories "burn the land and boil the sea" policies].

2) After 5 years residency you can apply for Citizenship.

3) Profit!


Literally my plan, along with

4) opt out of the increasingly frenzied politics that will come out of economic and political crisis post-Brexit.
posted by jaduncan at 5:07 AM on October 7


The Courts have decided it is not necessary to make orders for Johnson to comply with the Benn Act. In short, it trusts the PM to comply.

Jo Maugham: "I would rather live in the world the Court believes continues to exist. But I doubt we do."

Daily Telegraph: Boost for Boris: Court of Session dismisses bid to force PM to seek delay
posted by vacapinta at 5:24 AM on October 7


Am I correct in my understanding that this is not that much of an option for British Remainers today? Like the best you can hope for is maybe some residence/labor rights and a chance to go to the back of the immigration line like any other random individual?

On an individual level, many people have ancestry which makes this possible or of course they could move to an rEU country before the UK leaves and eventually establish residency but this is kind of missing the point.

I grew up as an expat so I've had loads of residence visas over the years and the point of free movement is precisely that it is free. You don't need to file loads of paperwork or meet arcane qualifications, or find a job beforehand, or find that you can go but an unmarried partner can't, or anything. You are just free to go and spend some time elsewhere.

That's the real loss to me. I never had a huge amount of love for the EU as a political project but that feeling of an open horizon was wonderful.

Of course people can theoretically still move and will continue to move after Brexit. Just like people can move to Hong Kong or Singapore or Australia if they meet the criteria. But no-one who is subject to immigration bureaucracy is really at liberty and is really able to be at home.
posted by atrazine at 8:27 AM on October 7 [28 favorites]


That Daily Telegraph framing has been criticized on several fronts on Brexit Legal Twitter. While I agree that a win would have been better, David Allen Green (amongst several others, including Dale Vince, who I think has been helping fund these legal challenges), said:

So, in essence

As per my analysis a few days ago, No 10 headed off prospect of a court order by making express statements to the court

That could not have been done lightly or without full legal advice

No 10 Ten knew what it was committing to, even if it pretended otherwise


Basically, the court declined to order the government to apply for the extension, because the government already agreed to do so. The court order also makes it clear that there will be immediate repercussions if the government then fails to do what it has said it would do.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 9:51 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Bad people abuse good faith and the system isn't built for an all out attack like Cummings has in store.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:54 AM on October 7


A better framing is that Johnson surrendered to the Surrender Act.
posted by daveje at 11:55 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


1) Move to Ireland

British people who’ve never given a fuck about any part of Ireland, or who were actively dismissive or oppressive in various ways, deciding they can escape by moving here is one of the very many joys of this situation, like when all the loyalists decided to get Irish passports. Did I say joys? I meant things that make me want to punch holes in walls.
posted by billiebee at 12:47 PM on October 7 [18 favorites]


It's also dumb. A no-deal Brexit is going to throw the whole EU into a recession, Ireland will be hardest hit, followed by The Netherlands. I thought (not that long, but I did...) about going home to Holland but this is a crisis that I could only avoid by having myself towed outside the environment.
posted by atrazine at 1:18 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


There's a recession on the way regardless of Brexit, unless the EU27 manage to turn a green new deal into an economic engine, which might still happen. Unlike 2008, where "everyone" was pretending they hadn't seen it coming, there is a more responsible mood this time round. But they still have to agree across national and political differences.
That said, Europe in general is in a good economical shape ahead of whatever happens, and will be able to support the countries that take a hit from Brexit.
posted by mumimor at 1:34 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


It's also dumb. A no-deal Brexit is going to throw the whole EU into a recession

I thought the discussion was about finding ways of retaining your FoM, though. In any case the EU, being much larger will be able to redistribute the impact better.

Something else my partner and I discussed is that in the case of major upheaval it is possible to be stuck in Britain unable to leave for a while. Ferries, Channel, Airports can easily overload and it is an island. I feel a bit safer being able to drive, train, bike, heck even walk across continental europe if for example we need to get to our families.
posted by vacapinta at 1:40 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


Yup. We have family we usually visit around Christmas, and I'm waiting until there's clarity before booking anything. I'm still pretty sure that an extension is going to happen, but not 100% sure. Mr Cockup might still drop by for a visit.
posted by daveje at 1:53 PM on October 7


The Spectator has this from Cum Stains:
The negotiations will probably end this week. ... at the end of this week [Dublin] may say ‘OK, let’s do a Northern Ireland only backstop with a time limit’ ... then we’ll say No, and that will probably be the end. ...

Varadkar thinks that either there will be a referendum or we win a majority but we will just put this offer back on the table so he thinks he can’t lose by refusing to compromise now. ... his assumptions are, I think, false. Ireland and Brussels listen to all the people who lost the referendum, they don’t listen to those who won the referendum and they don’t understand the electoral dynamics here. ...

Our legal advice is clear that we can do all sorts of things to scupper delay which for obvious reasons we aren’t going into details about. Different lawyers see the “frustration principle” very differently especially on a case like this where there is no precedent for primary legislation directing how the PM conducts international discussions. ...

They think now that if there is another delay we will keep coming back with new proposals. This won’t happen. We’ll either leave with no deal on 31 October or there will be an election and then we will leave with no deal. ...

Any delay will in effect be negotiated between [the EU], Parliament, and the courts — we will wash our hands of it, we won’t engage in further talks, we obviously won’t given any undertakings about cooperative behaviour, everything to do with ‘duty of sincere cooperation’ will be in the toilet, we will focus on winning the election on a manifesto of immediately revoking the entire EU legal order without further talks, and then we will leave. Those who supported delay will face the inevitable consequences of being seen to interfere in domestic politics in a deeply unpopular way by colluding with a Parliament that is as popular as the clap.

Those who pushed the Benn Act intended to sabotage a deal and they’ve probably succeeded. So the main effect of it will probably be to help us win an election by uniting the leave vote and then a no deal Brexit. History is full of such ironies and tragedies.’
Pretty crazy rhetoric on the law, given today's events in court. Emphasis is mine because I think that's clearly Cummings' psychology there. I think the whole spiel is worth reading for that insight. Cummings is off the deep end in his hatred of the EU. He crazy.

Aside from the batshit, I selected quotes which are predictive. I like predictions in unpredictable times. Afterwards, you can go back and see who actually knew what they were talking about.

The Conservatives will gun for no deal in an election. That has gone from unthinkable to the forthright Conservative policy. The polls are terrifying.
posted by Quagkapi at 4:07 PM on October 7 [6 favorites]


Supporting delay will be seen by this government as hostile interference in domestic politics...
Good old Dom, raising the stakes, just like a good revolutionary should. Or it's just another part of his long term plan to appease Rokko's Basilisk by any means necessary.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 5:11 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


Or it's just another part of his long term plan to appease Rokko's Basilisk by any means necessary.

Ironically, nothing now bars AI research. Making a researching party poorer sounds like a way to retard it, though.
posted by jaduncan at 8:17 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]


If restrictions on AI research are ever introduced, it's most likely it will be in the EU first.
If you wanted to avoid the horrifying wrath of the Basilisk it would make sense to get the hell away from the EU.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:51 PM on October 7 [2 favorites]


Also in the Spectator: Can Boris Johnson survive if he breaks his Brexit promise?
...new polling askes this question:Do you think we will leave the EU at the end of October, as the Prime Minister has pledged?

The headline figures are that 36 per cent believe we will leave, 39 per cent don’t think we will, and 25 per cent don’t know.

But dig into the numbers and some properly interesting things emerge. Among those who currently say they will vote Conservative at the next election, 53 per cent say they believe we will indeed leave on 31 October as the PM promises; only 22 per cent of current Tory supporters think he’ll fail. Those backing the Brexit party, meanwhile, are even more inclined to trust Johnson: 55 per cent of them think we are leaving at the end of this month...

First, I think those figures illustrate that among his chosen audiences, Boris Johnson has been pretty successful in landing his key message, and in persuading them that whatever they may think of his general trustworthiness, he will make good on that Brexit promise. That success is surely a key factor in the improving poll ratings of his party...

But this raises questions, one above all others: having put such faith in Boris Johnson to “get Brexit done” by the end of the month, how will all those Conservative supporters respond if he does not do so?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:33 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]




An "anonymous No. 10 source" from that last linked article:
If this represents a new established position then it means a deal is essentially impossible not just now but ever. It also made clear that they are willing to torpedo the Good Friday agreement.
It has been perfectly clear to anybody who has actually thought the thing through that the UK never could leave and never could have left the EU in any way that would be even remotely satisfactory to those whose primary grievance with the EU is the need to stay aligned with its rules and regulations without torpedoing the Good Friday Agreement.

It is absolutely characteristic of the current No. 10 clown car to spin this completely obvious fact in such a way as to make it somehow something the EU is doing to the UK and/or Ireland.

Fuxache.
posted by flabdablet at 3:40 AM on October 8 [16 favorites]


Dysk: I suspect the UK government have rather burned the goodwill that would be required for such a move.

I think the original proposal was mostly just Donald Tusk trolling the UK government, but ICBW.
posted by pharm at 4:08 AM on October 8


Ian Dunt: Following the game plan: Merkel call latest pantomime act in No.10's Brexit's strategy
What we are seeing is the next stage of the No.10 strategy. They put forward a deal they knew would not work. It breached pretty much every EU red line. It made no sense on its own terms. It betrayed the government's own commitments. It was undeliverable and untenable: the crumpled paper an out-of-control British government pulled out its mouth and handed to teacher.

The only reason it was provided at all was so Johnson could try to credible claim he attempted to negotiate with the EU. He probably figured it had a five per cent chance of success, so give it a go just in case. But its primary purpose was to create narrative. They were ever so reasonable. The EU are such dastardly villains. What else can a decent-minded Englishman do but pursue no-deal?

It is so painfully obvious. It's like watching Warner Bros cartoon characters orchestrate a raid on the Watergate hotel. So now the next part of the narrative takes over. No.10 will claim it will not extend Article 50. Then it'll have to extend. Then it'll blame parliament and the courts for undermining the will of the people. And then they'll go for election on a nakedly authoritarian nationalist programme.

No.10 is operating a parallel governance strategy. On the one hand is objective reality- customs checks, legislation, court verdicts. On the other is the narrative - sneaky Europeans, liberal elite saboteurs, heroic patriot prime ministers. The latter has no relationship to the former.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:34 AM on October 8 [6 favorites]


At least they've published the No-Deal Readiness Report today. It is an utterly cynical document: full of deniable promises and fake intentions.
posted by scruss at 7:16 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


It's like watching Warner Bros cartoon characters orchestrate a raid on the Watergate hotel.

… successfully.

That's the maddening thing. This is working, the Conservatives are up in polling.

The crazy thing is political commentators gloating, "oh look at Cummings, not so clever now." as the government loses votes and court cases. His plant was always to win an election for the Conservatives as a Brexit party, that's not a secret, he said that! That is exactly what they are doing.

There is going to be some precipitating event, a short "forced" extension, an election, a Conservative victory and then a departure either without a deal or on the hardest possible deal terms (probably the former).
posted by atrazine at 8:53 AM on October 8 [8 favorites]


an election, a Conservative victory

I mean, a lot of people do really hate that floppy haired shitbag, so there's a decent chance of the Tories not winning. Who knows what will happen then, and who it'll be, though.
posted by ambrosen at 9:20 AM on October 8


Westminster voting intention:

CON: 38% (+2)
LAB: 23% (-1)
LDEM: 15% (-5)
BREX: 12% (+1)
GRN: 4% (+2)

via @OpiniumResearch
, 03 - 04 Oct
Chgs. w/ 27 Sep


Yes, but a large part of the populace just wants to "get Brexit done" I suppose. They probably also think Revoke is a betrayal of the will of the people (LibDem) and Corbyn is an anti-semitic Communist. For the Tories not to win, someone else has to win and the other options appear to not be palatable to the voters.
posted by vacapinta at 9:42 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]


… successfully.

That's the maddening thing. This is working, the Conservatives are up in polling.


Powerful things, those portable holes.
posted by flabdablet at 10:20 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Details have emerged of Boris Johnson's unsuccessful foray into scriptwriting, and it's what you'd expect from his intellectual calibre, substance and self-awareness. Titled Mission to Assyria, it involves an archaeologist named Marmaduke Montmorency Burton facing off against bestial Islamists led by a “horrible cologne-drenched jihadi with an air of mincing menace”. Johnson described his vision as “a mixture of Golan-Globus and Raiders of the Lost Ark”.
posted by acb at 11:07 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


All the more reason to hold a confirmatory referendum. If the Leave vs Remain polling is accurate (and if it isn't, why are we worrying about voting polls), a referendum would put a bullet through the head of Leave and cripple both the Brexit Party and Conservative's new Brexit-ultra policy. Difficult to argue "will of the people" in an election campaign when there are concrete results saying otherwise.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:17 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


For the Tories not to win, someone else has to win and the other options appear to not be palatable to the voter.

Ding ding ding ding. We have a winner, folks.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:01 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Dominic Cummings memo reveals contradictory Brexit policy with demented overtones

Unless you understand your negotiating partner, you’ll find it harder to get what you want from them.

That foundational mistake is written into every sentence of a crucial memo from No 10 special adviser Dominic Cummings and sent to the Spectator magazine on Monday night. We don’t know it’s him of course. It was sent by “a contact in No 10”. But the length, lexicon and attitude of the writing indicates it could only ever have come from him.

The whole cultural approach of anonymising the briefing is starting to become a real problem, allowing the British government to distance itself from aggressive commentary and providing a semblance of plausibility to otherwise quite deranged commentary. The memo was from Cummings and we should say so.


The whole thing is worth a read.
posted by roolya_boolya at 12:51 PM on October 8 [7 favorites]


Unfortunately the private prosecution case I linked above has been closed down. I contributed a small amount of money to this and, though gutted, it was a long shot. Incidentally I am not at all in doubt that the organiser, Marcus J Ball, has been upstanding and completely honest with his backers throughout.
posted by Quagkapi at 1:09 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


 For the Tories not to win, someone else has to win and the other options appear to not be palatable to the voters.

This is getting deeply into Douglas Adams' “Because if they didn't vote for a lizard, …the wrong lizard might get in.” territory.
posted by scruss at 3:16 PM on October 8 [5 favorites]


It has been perfectly clear to anybody who has actually thought the thing through that the UK never could leave and never could have left the EU in any way that would be even remotely satisfactory to those whose primary grievance with the EU is the need to stay aligned with its rules and regulations without torpedoing the Good Friday Agreement.

Quoted for truth.

The thing is, even the remainers know this, otherwise why would they be so hell-bent on getting rid of the backstop? The backstop only existed as a fail-safe in case the remainers airy promises and handwaving about "technological solutions" and "alternative arrangements" fell through. The resistance to the backstop is an admission that they know it was all bullshit.

It was never going to work, and all the wishful thinking in the world won't change that. Anyone without a dog in the fight can see that, anyone in Europe can see that, but it appears that a good chunk of the British electorate wants it to work, and so is prepared to believe the lies.

Did the remainers have so much hubris that they thought because they could bullshit the British public, they could bullshit the E.U. as well?
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:24 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


ITYM "Brexiteers" there HiroProtagonist, not "Remainers"…
posted by Pinback at 8:43 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


ITYM "Brexiteers" there HiroProtagonist, not "Remainers"

Oops, colour me crimson.

Please read "brexiteers" where I stupidly wrote "remainers".
posted by HiroProtagonist at 9:04 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


The backstop only existed as a fail-safe...

That is in fact literally what a backstop is, yes. Insane how many people seem to (or are pretending to) not understand basic fucking English when it comes to this point. It has been a source of constant irritation the last couple of years.
posted by Dysk at 9:38 PM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Adding to the chorus...

IF (all else fails) THEN THIS (backstop)

The sole reason why these fuckers object to the backstop is that they absolutely intend for all else to fail.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 10:55 PM on October 8 [4 favorites]


> The whole thing is worth a read.
These are not optimal conditions for an effective negotiating posture. But the echo chamber of Brexiter dialogue at the top of government has led them to perceive it as some sort of leverage for their position rather than that of their partner. It is like a man trying to play chess with the sea.
Blam.
posted by flabdablet at 11:40 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


For the Tories not to win, someone else has to win and the other options appear to not be palatable to the voters.

The election comes down to who can win the polarization arms race. In the recent past if one of the major parties moved away from the centre, the other would occupy the vacated ground and (generally) reap electoral benefits. But if both parties move to the edge at the same time the centrist voter has nowhere to go. Right of centre voters unhappy with Johnson are unlikely to vote for a “Marxist”; left of centre voters unhappy with Corbyn are unlikely to vote for the destruction of the state. Both parties seem relaxed about cratering the economy, so long as they end up in power.
posted by dudleian at 12:33 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Like two winos fighting over the roast chicken they've just stolen from a restaurant rotisserie. In their bloodlust they fail to notice they've long since trampled the carcass into the mud.

Literally good for nothing else, Brexit is, at least, a friend to the humble simile.
posted by Grangousier at 12:40 AM on October 9 [19 favorites]


Please read "brexiteers" where I stupidly wrote "remainers".

Let's call them “Brexiters”. Using the term “Brexiteers” plays into the whole swashbuckling-buccaneer romantic mythologising that underpinned this whole sorry mess, imagining them as Raleighian rogues running rings around the flatfooted beige bureaucrats of Brussels with True Brit, rather than a bunch of crooks and spivs and bloody nasty people. They don't deserve the extra ‘e’.
posted by acb at 1:22 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


Someone was proposing Brexists, which I quite like.

(Also, once again, if you're unsure about which of the two protagonists are which in a dispute of this scale you probably don't have anything of use to say to people who know only too well who the fuckers are and what they like to call themselves.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:28 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


This is joyous: The Hustle, by musician and journalist Rhodri Marsden, is a disco concept album about Brexit.
posted by rory at 2:02 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Both parties seem relaxed about cratering the economy, so long as they end up in power.

Johnson's plans would actually crater the economy. Corbyn's plans would not. Everything in the Labour manifesto would just make Britain a normal European country:
Another moniker Mr Corbyn’s detractors often apply to his policies are that they derive from some so-called extreme of the political spectrum, that they are ‘hard left’ and ergo hopelessly idealistic and unworkable. To a Norwegian observer such as myself I find this characterisation puzzling. Mr Corbyn’s policy-platform, particularly in regard to his domestic policies are largely identical with the Norwegian Labour Party manifesto. Railway nationalisation, partial or full state ownership of key companies or sectors, universal healthcare provisions, state-funded house-building, no tuition fee education, education grants and loans to name but a few, enjoy near universal support among the Norwegian electorate, in fact, they are so mainstream that not even the most right-wing of Norwegian political parties would challenge them.

And this is not only the case in Norway, but has been integral to the social-democratic post-war consensus in all the Nordic countries.
The thing is that British politics has migrated so far to the economic right over the last few decades that turning Britain into a Mad Max libertarian tax haven, and turning Britain into a normal European country, are seen as equally radical deviations from the status quo.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:50 AM on October 9 [15 favorites]


> Let's call them “Brexiters”
> Someone was proposing Brexists, which I quite like.

I prefer "Splitters", delivered as per the classic Life of Brian scene.
posted by automatronic at 3:15 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Johnson's plans would actually crater the economy.
True

Corbyn's plans would not.
My understanding is that the the economists advising Labour have been saying for 3 years that we have to go "EEA equivalent" in order to minimise damage to the economy. The big difference is that Norway has a sovereign wealth fund of oil money that the UK doesn't have.

Despite people like Starmer pushing for it, Labour has been very careful to avoid committing to an EEA-type relationship. So the potential for a worse-than-best-case Brexit is still very much alive.

You're absolutely right that that No deal is far worse than any deal. My frustration is that I don't see any Labour policy which could not be executed as well or better within the EU than outside.
posted by dudleian at 3:16 AM on October 9 [9 favorites]


TheophileEscargot: I don't think you have to make the case to this group that 90% of Labour's policies are great and are sorely needed. If Britain could become more of a Nordic style social democratic country, that would be fantastic.

I think when we talk about Corbyn cratering the economy, we specifically mean supporting Brexit. Even if there were any value in leaving the EU, which I will not admit there is, to be still attached to a policy that has become so poisonous, so right-wing enabling, so xenophobic, so destructive of the goodwill of our allies and friends around the world - is baffling to me. It has already diminished the country.

It makes me at least question that if Labour can continue to support Brexit then perhaps those 90% of policies I love are part of some grand bait-and-switch. That, like the disaster capitalists, Labour has some end in mind which is not really in the best interests of the British people.
posted by vacapinta at 3:45 AM on October 9 [11 favorites]


The thing is that British politics has migrated so far to the economic right over the last few decades that turning Britain into a Mad Max libertarian tax haven, and turning Britain into a normal European country, are seen as equally radical deviations from the status quo.

Splitting from Europe is not "turning into a normal European country" at all.
posted by Dysk at 4:07 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


To a Norwegian observer such as myself I find this characterisation puzzling.

What might perhaps be lost on a Norwegian observer is the extent to which the entire Anglosphere shares a common set of Overton windows, and the consequential contagiousness of every fucked-up right-wing wet dream seeping out of the US corporate sector.
posted by flabdablet at 4:19 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


What might perhaps be lost on a Norwegian observer is the extent to which the entire Anglosphere shares a common set of Overton windows, and the consequential contagiousness of every fucked-up right-wing wet dream seeping out of the US corporate sector.

It's mostly the Murdosphere (US/UK/Australia); New Zealand seems to have dodged that bullet, and Canada may have as well.
posted by acb at 4:31 AM on October 9 [11 favorites]


Like two winos fighting over the roast chicken they've just stolen from a restaurant rotisserie. In their bloodlust they fail to notice they've long since trampled the carcass into the mud.

Literally good for nothing else, Brexit is, at least, a friend to the humble simile.


This is a good one but overall I find that one of the unpleasant side effects of Brexit has been seeing the British press engage in a desperate arms race over who can make the most tortured similes/metaphors/analogies for the situation. Makes it all feel like a game - a bit like all the twee psuedo-swearing, 'cockwomble', 'shiftpuffin', etc - and reflects poorly on the media's previous kid gloves treatment of Johnson as a charming rascal.

In the grand scale of things it probably doesn't enter the top 50 worst effects of Brexit but it's grating.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 4:55 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that's true.
posted by Grangousier at 5:06 AM on October 9


New Zealand seems to have dodged that bullet

Not so sure about that. They were early adopters (remember Rogernomics?) and the severe arse-kicking they took from that has stuck in their memories; they have consequently spent a smidgen more time than the rest of us on trying to glue their social order back together.
posted by flabdablet at 5:19 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Big news in Labour land. I'm told that Karie Murphy has effectively been sacked as Jeremy Corbyn's chief of staff, with political secretary Amy Jackson and trade union fixer Joe Bradley also gone. Murphy will go to HQ as head of digital - a "non job", according to one source.

Karie Murphy demoted by Labour,
which could spell the beginning of the end for the Corbyn project. If Labour lose seats that the next election he will have no choice but to resign. It’s all in the hands of the electorate now.


Which is all part of the plan to replace Corbyn with Rebecca Long-Bailey after the election, of which only can be said wrong person, wrong timing, wrong outcome.
posted by Devonian at 5:32 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


David Edgerton's piece in the Guardian — Brexit is a necessary crisis – it reveals Britain’s true place in the world — is damning of the process but offers a small amount of hope that something might be learned from the experience.
posted by scruss at 5:57 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


wrong person, wrong timing, wrong outcome.

Right time to dig out my union membership details and rejoin the Labour Party, I guess.
posted by ambrosen at 6:42 AM on October 9


This is joyous: The Hustle, by musician and journalist Rhodri Marsden, is a disco concept album about Brexit.

Yes it is. Damn near perfect.
posted by scruss at 6:53 AM on October 9


New Zealand seems to have dodged that bullet, and Canada may have as well.

Hold judgment on Canada - we're two weeks out from an election, where the leader of the Conservatives doesn't like LGBTQ people and is known to be friendly with alt right types, and the leader of the Liberals is known for wearing blackface and interfering in the prosecution of a big company from his home province. Those are the parties with the best shot at forming the next government. It's not great here.
posted by nubs at 7:55 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


It still seems better than in the three Murdocracies.
posted by acb at 8:07 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


First Boris's brother Jo Johnson quits as an MP, then his sister calls his language tasteless, and now even his Dad has turned against him:
The prime minister’s father has told a crowd at Extinction Rebellion’s London demonstrations he backs their methods and is proud to call himself an “uncooperative crusty”.

Stanley Johnson was responding to a question about comments made by his son, who called environmental protesters occupying sites across Westminster “uncooperative crusties” in “heaving hemp bivouacs”.

Speaking on a panel from a stage set up by protesters in Trafalgar Square, Johnson said: “On the point of non-cooperative crusties, I wear that badge with pride.

“It’s one of the nicest things that has been said about me for a long time. A non-cooperative crusty, absolutely superb – do they taste good? That’s my thought, I think they do.”

posted by Acey at 11:22 AM on October 9 [10 favorites]


> First Boris's brother Jo Johnson quits as an MP, then his sister calls his language tasteless, and now even his Dad has turned against him
But none of this matters to him, after all he's the PM.
posted by farlukar at 11:41 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Just on the bus from Belfast to Dublin Airport (USA here we come! Escaping from bad-haired right-wing shitstain leaders...oh. Anyway...) We were just stopped by the Gardaí who came onboard for an “Immigration check” and we had to show our ID. “Are ye the Brexit cops?” shouted one wag. After they left, there was a weird silence. The bus driver said it was a random check and it happens from time to time, so I’m not saying it was Brexit-related, but it was a foretaste of what we’re all afraid is to come. I’m in my 40s so the GFA has been in force for nearly half my life, and checkpoints and physical borders have faded somewhat in my memory to the point where I take it for granted that I can get a bus North to South and not pass through border control. My husband is in his 60s and lived through the worst of the Troubles and his memories aren’t so faint. I wonder how people would feel stopping at a checkpoint with police or soldiers (it was always soldiers that I remember) when getting a bus from Scotland to England or England to Wales. I wonder how they’d feel about working with conflict-trauma clients who are really anxious right now because the thought of going “back there” is intolerable. I worry about what’s going to happen - not in an abstract “gee aren’t these interesting political times?” way, but in a “I remember being afraid of certain things, I remember my town centre being blown up, I remember my dad’s workmen being murdered, I remember the picture of my 3 year old cousin on my granny’s dresser and being told it was Michelle who was in heaven and finding out when I was old enough that she was blown up in a car bomb meant for her dad...” I could go on and on but I’m going to cry on the bus. I really want this all to go away. That’s all I got solution-wise.
posted by billiebee at 1:13 AM on October 10 [54 favorites]


Crunch talks between Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, supposedly in an attempt to hammer out a compromise.

I imagine Varadkar must be annoyed with having to explain again to Boris Johnson like he's an idiot why Ireland won't commit to leaving the EU customs union in the event of the magic pixie-dust blockchain-drone invisible border not eventuating.
posted by acb at 6:00 AM on October 10 [6 favorites]


magic pixie-dust blockchain-drone invisible border not eventuating.

Ah, but 5G!
posted by Devonian at 6:04 AM on October 10 [5 favorites]




Why, it's almost like Farage has something to hide.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:02 PM on October 10 [3 favorites]


This could be significant
The 7 sentence statement that bodes well for Brexit
posted by night_train at 1:14 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Andrea Leadsom, Business Secretary and mother, has published 11 infuriating "explainer" videos on Twitter:
My department has created 11 explainer videos covering topics from travelling to the EU for business after Brexit, to using the new UKCA mark. Watch and share the videos to make sure your business, and your suppliers, are ready for #Brexit
All the videos seem to say by way of explanation is that you'll need to do plenty of additional research before leaving the UK, because oh boy is there going to be a lot of extra work.

Just from the first video, if you work in the rest of the EU, you'll need to check for visa restrictions for each country, individually. You'll need to check whether your qualifications are recognised. You'll need to pay National Insurance contributions in both countries, instead of just one. And you'll need to check whether you can work permanently or temporarily in each country.

The amount of additional red tape revealed by these -- extremely basic, introductory -- videos is astounding. The EU prevented all of this. And soon it will be on us.

"We are taking your rights and freedoms away, and it's going to cost you more." Brexit is fascism.
posted by Quagkapi at 2:49 PM on October 10 [9 favorites]


I just posted a (verbose, sorry) Metatalk post about what we want from the next Brexit thread, for people who have thoughts on that.
posted by ambrosen at 3:10 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


Crunch talks between Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, supposedly in an attempt to hammer out a compromise.

The general positive sounding spin on these talks may be the preliminary step to a trap. Johnson needs parliament to vote for a deal if he is to avoid having to write and request an extension. The theory (as explained here) is that Johnson proposes to Varadkar, the idea of moving the border to the Irish sea - something that he would find acceptable. The rest of Theresa May's deal is already agreed by the EU - so it good to go. Now he can put her amended deal to parliament. The theory, at this point, is that the combined numbers of leaver-constituency MPs and ERG hardliners voting for the deal - would allow it to be approved. At this point, Johnson only has to block the ability of parliament to vote on the further legislation which would be required to complete the deal- and he is home free: he can get "no deal" because he has stopped a putative deal half way through the process and then ran down the clock.
posted by rongorongo at 12:45 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


Also, I awoke with the tinfoil-hat thought that false "hope" might be a way of priming Sterling for the currency speculators to make the extra killing.

Good time to buy the Yen I might have the chance to use next month.
posted by Grangousier at 1:43 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


At this point, I find talk of a deal is just depressing as fuck, because I don't trust basically any of the opposition to not sell out for a shitty 'deal' (and any deal is worse than the status quo) rather than withdraw 50.
posted by Dysk at 2:07 AM on October 11 [15 favorites]


Good time to buy the Yen I might have the chance to use next month.

I'm wondering whether having paid off my UK credit card bills was as sensible an idea as it usually would be.

(The twist in the story is that the Swedish Krone, in which my finances currently are, seems to be manacled to the GBP and not appreciate or depreciate much beyond it.)
posted by acb at 2:29 AM on October 11


Hahaha, Johnson tried to sneak into Merseyside (a place he does not dare openly show his face) for his meeting yesterday, and got rumbled. They thought they were in Cheshire, but nope, wrong, they were on the Wirral. Plastic Scousers, or no, we're not really any fonder of him than the folks on the other side of the Mersey.

We're looking to move away in the near future, but goddamn, I love the people around here. Merseyside has a LONG memory. Don't buy the fucking Sun.
posted by skybluepink at 4:18 AM on October 11 [19 favorites]


The general positive sounding spin on these talks may be the preliminary step to a trap. Johnson needs parliament to vote for a deal if he is to avoid having to write and request an extension.

Except the positive spin is coming from the EU side. I expect they are putting a good face on it because they are trying to calm the markets.
posted by vacapinta at 5:20 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


The EU do want to generally keep things polite and positive, because they're well aware of the optics* if they're seen to be dismissive and the cause of talks collapsing, whether it results in no-deal or an extension followed by election or possibly even referendum by the rumblings in westminster. They've got their eye (in so much as they still care) on what happens post-october, as they want de piffle to get the rightly deserved blame for his failures, to maximise the chances of getting someone who actually wants to find a solution on the other side of the table, or even have the whole thing go away.

* for the non-deranged, they know the zealots blame them even for existing and are unreachable
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:10 AM on October 11 [1 favorite]


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