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 (312 comments total) 101 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 [51 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 [73 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 [48 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 [6 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 [9 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 [17 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 [2 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 [4 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 [19 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 [6 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 [10 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 [5 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 [9 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 [7 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 [30 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 [19 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 [8 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 [5 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 [4 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 [6 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 [5 favorites]


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