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October 16, 2019 2:39 PM   Subscribe

On the eve of a(nother) crunch European Council on Brexit, negotiations on a possible deal are ongoing in Brussels.

Sources suggest the potential deal hinges on resolving the, potentially tricky, issue of VAT. Berlin and Paris are expressing cautious optimism but any deal will rely on convincing the DUP on consent issues in Northern Ireland

This summit is unlikely to see a full Brexit agreement but could pave the way to a further summit before the October 31st deadline, giving Boris Johnson's government some time to finalise a deal before being forced to request an extension.

However, legal action in Scotland seeks to prevent Johnson putting the proposed deal in front of the Commons and could force his hand to an extension.

Note the existence of a MeTa on Brexit threads
posted by roolya_boolya (488 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks for posting roolya_boolya, especially for news links other than BBC/Grauniad where I tend to default to when looking for myself.

Can't begin to imagine where we'll be by the time this thread closes, but I'm crossing everything I've got two of for all our sakes.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 5:01 PM on October 16, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Conservative Party have already printed election leaflets on the basis that Brexit hasn't happened before the election, saying things like "Nigel Farage can't deliver Brexit" and "Brexit Party = more delay, more confusion, more indecision".

I think most of this spin about the possibility of a deal is just about placing the blame for its failure. "A deal was perfectly possible except for the intransigence of X".

Also, Ian Dunt: What the bloody hell is going on now?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:53 PM on October 16, 2019


Been reading that if the DUP isn't on board with the new deal, then the ERG will likely slink away also. I thought the ERG are very "Britain First"?
posted by facehugger at 12:29 AM on October 17, 2019


My impression is that the ERG hew mostly from the buccaneer capitalism wing of the Tory party, which has little overlap with the Britain First fascists. (Apart from the obvious lesson from history that they would probably be quite happy to use Britain First if it suited them & might come to regret that decision some time later...)

For the UK, this feels very much like a “here we go again” kind of week.
posted by pharm at 12:36 AM on October 17, 2019


For people of a certain age: #ReadyBrexit.
posted by rongorongo at 12:38 AM on October 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


On Saturday 19th October there will be a People's Vote march, from Park Lane to Parliament Square, London, starting at 12pm.

"We will assemble on Park Lane, in London, on Saturday 19th October at 12 noon. We will then march through the heart of London to Parliament Square, where we will hear speeches from leading cross party politicians and celebrity voices who support a People’s Vote."

"The march from Park Lane to Parliament will deliver a message loud and clear to the Government and MPs that they should trust the people, not Boris Johnson, to solve the Brexit crisis.

"It follows a series of packed “Let Us Be Heard” rallies in towns and cities across the UK this summer where people from all walks of life have demanded the right to a final say on Brexit.

"This Brexit crisis has now come down to a simple question about whether we live in a democracy: can we allow Boris Johnson to force No Deal - or another vicious form of Brexit - on our country, without all of us having our voice heard?

"The only way to break the deadlock in Parliament, legitimise the outcome and allow us all to talk about something else, is to give the people the final say."

Everything you need to know about the People's Vote march – The New European
posted by Cantdosleepy at 12:43 AM on October 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


A side note to point out that Jolyon Maugham et al's legal petition - if it should go ahead - will argue that any Johnson withdrawal agreement that designates Northern Ireland as a separate legal territory - will contravene this amendment, inserted into the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018 at the request of one William Rees Mogg.

I'm note sure it really needs a court to rule on this: the linked sentence shows very clearly that Maugham is right.
posted by rongorongo at 12:50 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


The website WhatUKThinks.org has a 'EURef2 Poll of Polls', based on the average share of the vote for ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ in the six most recent polls of how people would vote if they were to be presented once again with the choice of either leaving the EU or remaining a member.

March 2018 was the last time that the options were level. Since then remain has been higher, currently at 53% to 47%.

Worth mentally holding onto these kinds of figures, as it is very easy to get caught up in the procedural fog and forget that any justification for past, current and future chicanery comes from specious 'will of the people' assertions.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 1:00 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


ComRes also had a huge poll of 26,000 people (full tables).

A lot seems to depend on how the question is framed. The WhatEUThinks question "In hindsight, do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU?" gets very different results to ComRes' "Regardless of the way you voted in the 2016 referendum, do you support or oppose the UK abiding by the referendum result and leaving the EU?"
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:09 AM on October 17, 2019


I agree the mood music is different with Johnson saying he's willing to burn all the UK's bridges with the EU, but as per Katya Adler on R4 today, this is May's WA, and the sudden willingness of the ERG to vote for it (God and the DUP willing) has the strong peaty aroma of misogyny.

It's abundantly clear that the past several weeks of No Deal brinkmanship was not aimed at getting the EU to blink, but getting the ERG and DUP to do so. The ERG have, the DUP not so much.

The "one country two masters" solution for Northern Ireland looks very complicated to me, even before you add in the notion of consent, but I have to accept that the negotiators know what they're doing and I don't.

The political correspondents in the UK are in danger of behaving like royal correspondents stood outside a maternity hospital—though at least the royal correspondents have the advantage of knowing the outcome they are reporting on, even as they remain in total ignorance of the details.
posted by dudleian at 1:11 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


So along with the DUP continuing to be "the party of no," what are the chances that they decide to inch towards advocating for Remain? Unlike the Tories, Brexit isn't and hasn't ever been their sole reason for living, and they'll probably still be able to sleep soundly at night under Remain. And on the other side, if Brexit leads to a sea border, that ultimately breaks what ***is*** their sole reason for living, the Union.

The DUP would ultimately only be ok with a land border Brexit (they did originally oppose the Good Friday Agreement after all), and now they're seeing that two successive Tory PMs are not willing/able to break the Good Friday Agreement to implement a land border Brexit. I don't understand what they're waiting for now. Do they still believe in unicorn Brexit or something?
posted by facehugger at 1:12 AM on October 17, 2019


this is May's WA, and the sudden willingness of the ERG to vote for it (God and the DUP willing) has the strong peaty aroma of misogyny

While that is certainly a possibility, the question "why should the ERG be interested in backing a deal now at the 11th hour - and why should Johnson appear to be interested in getting one only now?" deserves wider scrutiny.

There is a theory (another Jo Maugham post to explain) that the government have been trying to get a Brexit deal approved by parliament - only to ensure it then gets stuck in parliamentary processing to the point where it would lead to a no deal outcome on the 31st - a loophole in the Benn act. That would explain ERG keenness to help get the initial vote through.

I believe this loophole has now been effectively closed - by the promised policy of Gauke and others to insist there will be a requested delay even if there is an agreed deal. The ERG may simply not have processed this latest twist yet.
posted by rongorongo at 1:30 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


DUP says it will not support Boris Johnson's deal

I think Johnson wanted to give them the magic money tree again but it looks like even that's not enough now.
posted by Chaffinch at 1:35 AM on October 17, 2019


I've been ignoring all the recent machinations and noise around this. It seems obvious to me that it's all a lot of hot air — but I can't see through all the smoke to what's really going on.

My hope is that this is finally the point at which this ghastly endeavour collapses under the weight of its own contradictions and the UK (somehow) ends up revoking and remaining.

Yeah, I know, but I can hope.

My fear is that this is the point at which everyone is so sick of all of it that the UK (somehow) "gets Brexit done" and fucks itself up for at least a generation.

Either way, I'm done torturing myself following all the will-they-won't-they bullshit in the news right now.
posted by ZipRibbons at 1:44 AM on October 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


Yup, I've muted a bunch of keywords from my twitter feed and it's a lot more peaceful now.

Something I've noticed over the past few years but the past year especially is this very British sense of faux exasperation at every issue that is even slightly complex. "Get brexit done" and "We're getting on with it" and so on. I've also noticed my country is full of a lot more vicious, nasty masochists than I had ever thought.
posted by Chaffinch at 1:57 AM on October 17, 2019 [11 favorites]


Tony Connelly (RTE): A deal has been done

I'll bet even the EU had to kick in some money to the DUP.
posted by PenDevil at 2:35 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]




Except the DUP still say they don't support it apparently...
posted by rongorongo at 2:46 AM on October 17, 2019


Barnier press conference should go live shortly.
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:54 AM on October 17, 2019


Two roads:

Caution on all those saying DUP on board. Don't believe it until you hear it from them. Could be attempt to bounce them into it.

and

It doesn’t need their consent today. It needs their consent on Saturday. Along with many, many others.

OR

1/ DUP must be apoplectic- if they haven’t agreed to this and feel Johnson pressuring them, they could feel urge to stand firm
2/ They care more about Union than not embarrassing PM
3/ This deal is much worse for them than May’s and they rejected that 3 times


I still think that the DUP will continue to oppose this deal. The Tories have been in crazy clown territory because they know that their sole reason for breathing now is Brexit, but the whirlwind media keeps underestimating that the DUP's sole reason for breathing now and for all times past is completely different, it's the Union, and that Remain (aka just continually saying "no surrender" until the sun swallows us up) is the DUP's own version of crazy clown territory.

As unconscionable as we imagine the Tories suddenly pivoting to Remain, what evidence do we have that the DUP will suddenly pivot to agreeing to effectively seceding from the Union - and don't forget, allowing Stormont and Sinn Fein to possibly downvote them out of existence?
posted by facehugger at 3:02 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


New Brexit deal agreed, says Boris Johnson.
The PM calls the agreement "a great new deal", but the DUP say they still cannot support it.


It's like he's actually trying to sound like a pound shop Trump now.
posted by Dysk at 3:23 AM on October 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Commission press release on the deal, including links to legal texts.
Key elements according to Barnier presser:
1. NI aligned to EU rules on goods and they will be applied at point of entry
2.Customs duties in NI will align with UK duties but since NI will be an entry point to single market the UK 3rd country tariffs will apply only to goods that will remain in NI. If 'risk' of entering single market, EU tariffs apply.
3. VAT
4. Consent by simple majority in Stormont - for the first time 4 years after entry into force.

It will be hard to put any blame on EU if this deal fails. Will be squarely with DUP.
posted by roolya_boolya at 3:26 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


2.Customs duties in NI will align with UK duties but since NI will be an entry point to single market the UK 3rd country tariffs will apply only to goods that will remain in NI. If 'risk' of entering single market, EU tariffs apply.

Holy shit. I can't believe the EU allowed this. Countries who can't get EU free trade deals will be scrambling to get a free trade deal with the UK knowing they can back door their shit into the EU laundering the goods through Belfast.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:39 AM on October 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Holy shit. I can't believe the EU allowed this.

Doesn't it still need ratifying by both sides? They might yet not...
posted by Dysk at 3:41 AM on October 17, 2019


4. Consent by simple majority in Stormont - for the first time 4 years after entry into force.

Stormont in this case means the Assembly, and not the Executive - there was talk that this was more or less a Sinn Féin veto, as they could collapse the Executive again and prevent a vote, but it is made clear in the UK Unilateral Declaration, that if the Executive doesn't table a motion, then any MLA should be able to do so.
posted by scorbet at 3:49 AM on October 17, 2019


I think what pisses me off the most is that if Corbyn was trying to run this deal, the Sun and Mail would be screaming about Corbyn turning NI into a smuggler's paradise and how much tax money the government will lose once fuel laundering is given a massive shot in the arm.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:57 AM on October 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


Holy shit. I can't believe the EU allowed this. Countries who can't get EU free trade deals will be scrambling to get a free trade deal with the UK knowing they can back door their shit into the EU laundering the goods through Belfast.

It's not as generous as it sounds at first. I looked at the Revised Protocol on Northern Ireland (link at the bottom of the Commission's press release on the deal), and Article 5 paragraph 1 indeed says "No customs duties shall be payable for a good brought into Northern Ireland [...] unless that good is at risk of subsequently being moved into the Union". But paragraph 2 says that everything is at risk unless meeting some very narrow criteria:
[A] good brought into Northern Ireland from outside the Union shall be considered to be at risk of subsequently being moved into the Union unless it is established that that good:

(a) will not be subject to commercial processing in Northern Ireland; and

(b) fulfils the criteria established by the Joint Committee in accordance with the fourth subparagraph of this paragraph.

For the purposes of this paragraph, ‘processing’ means any alteration of goods, any transformation of goods in any way, or any subjecting of goods to operations other than for the purpose of preserving them in good condition or for adding or affixing marks, labels, seals or any other documentation to ensure compliance with any specific requirements.
The fourth subparagraph referred to in point (b) has further details:
Before the end of the transition period, the Joint Committee shall by decision establish the criteria for considering that a good brought into Northern Ireland from outside the Union is not at risk of subsequently being moved into the Union. The Joint Committee shall take into consideration, inter alia:

(a) the final destination and use of the good;

(b) the nature and value of the good;

(c) the nature of the movement; and

(d) the incentive for undeclared onward-movement into the Union, in particular incentives resulting from the duties payable pursuant to paragraph 1.
So you can only move goods customs-free into NI from the rest of the UK if they fit certain criteria that the EU and UK will agree on during the transition period, and one of the considerations for establishing those criteria is whether they would create an incentive for smuggling.
posted by Tau Wedel at 4:23 AM on October 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Christ I’m sick of the word ‘deal’. It’s like living inside a never ending episode of the Apprentice.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:31 AM on October 17, 2019 [15 favorites]


"We're getting a deal" sounds better than "we caused all the problems you're blaming on the EU"
posted by Chaffinch at 4:48 AM on October 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


Labour and the SNP say they won't support it, so that's it really isn't it?
Even with the DUP Johnson doesn't have a majority.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:08 AM on October 17, 2019


DUP statement.

Juncker/Johnson press conference due to start around now.
posted by roolya_boolya at 5:15 AM on October 17, 2019


There are pro-Deal Labour MPs, and expelled Tories like Oliver Letwin, who could vote for a deal. Haven't seen any projection of numbers but might be tight.
posted by daveje at 5:18 AM on October 17, 2019


Cool, now Johnson and friends can blame the EU for not giving them a better deal than we have and the DUP for not destroying themselves for him.
posted by Chaffinch at 5:19 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Apparently there are around 18 Labour MPs who would vote yes to a deal, and the ERG thinks there might be the numbers available even without the DUP. Meanwhile the DUP have said they won't just abstain, but vote it down. (Tweet).
posted by scorbet at 5:31 AM on October 17, 2019


"4. Consent by simple majority in Stormont - for the first time 4 years after entry into force."

Isn't that the only way the DUP could tolerate the quasi-sea border? This way, Brexit (may) happen, they live with this convuluted arrangement for four years, then there's the chance it could be ended by a vote in Stormont, which would then require a hard border on the island, which is actually what the DUP probably wants though of course it would be staggeringly destabilizing. But for them, if there were no time-limit or ability for Stormont to end it, then that could lead toward reunification. If they won't accept any deal at all, that increases the likelihood for an extension and a referendum and/or GE, which could result in a revocation of Article 50 and the failure for Brexit blamed on the DUP. The calculus may be that they have to gamble on choosing what is for them the least worst alternative.

However, I keep trying to square this with Cummings's quasi-anonymous gloating villain diabolical master plan sent to the Telegraph, where this is all knowing theater to prepare for a bypassing the Benn Act somehow resulting in a crash-out and making it look like it's the fault of the EU and those who voted for the Benn Act because otherwise supposedly the EU would have caved and conceded everything Brexiteers want, and a pony.

There are all these moving parts and lying liars and I'm having trouble making sense of what's actually happening, why it is, and how much is a sham.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:37 AM on October 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


You are forgetting how smart Cummings is, as the UK media is so keen to remind us.
I mean, Cummings is playing hyper-chess on a facet of the amplituhedron while the rest of us are playing tiddly-winks in boxing gloves in a dark basement slowly filling with hydrofluoric acid and self assembling mecha-rats.
That's how fucking smart Cummings is.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 5:46 AM on October 17, 2019 [15 favorites]


Heh. I doubt it, but he thinks he is that. I guess we'll see. So far, I'm not impressed.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:18 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Isn't that the only way the DUP could tolerate the quasi-sea border?

Yes and no. They don't want it to be a simple majority of the Assembly, as at least on its current make-up of the Assembly, (all the major other parties seem to be pro-staying with the convoluted arrangements.) Instead what they want is basically a DUP veto, but are at least partially dressing it up as concerns for the GFA.

From their statement:
"The Government has departed from the principle that these arrangements must be subject to the consent of both unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland. These arrangements would be subject to a rolling review but again the principles of the Belfast Agreement on consent have been abandoned in favour of majority rule on this single issue alone.

These arrangements will become the settled position in these areas for Northern Ireland. This drives a coach and horses through the professed sanctity of the Belfast Agreement."


They would then insist to have the motion worded so that it would be asking if NI should continue with this arrangement, so that having to have the consent of both unionists and nationalists basically means a DUP veto. (Wording the motion the other way gives a similar veto to Sinn Féin.)
posted by scorbet at 6:24 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


"EU will not grant any further extension, says Juncker, implying MPs must choose between this deal and no deal"

oh...
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:26 AM on October 17, 2019


I'm walking backwards for Christmas,
Across the Irish Sea,
I'm walking backwards for Christmas,
It's the only thing for me.
I've tried walking sideways,
And walking to the front,
But people just look at me,
And say it's a publicity stunt.
I'm walking backwards for Christmas,
To prove that I love you.
posted by rory at 6:30 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


UPDATE!

He kinda didn't really. But reporters are bad at their jobs.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:31 AM on October 17, 2019




"EU will not grant any further extension, says Juncker, implying MPs must choose between this deal and no deal"

Everything up to this seemed to go according to what I expected, possibly culminating in another extension and a second referendum. This changes everything and I can't see it helping tbh.
posted by Kosmob0t at 6:34 AM on October 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


This changes everything and I can't see it helping tbh.

"Can't see it helping" is putting it mildly.
posted by rory at 6:36 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


And the chaotic circumstances change so fast that my comment above is useless. (At least now I can blame Brexit for another useless comment so there's that)
posted by Kosmob0t at 6:37 AM on October 17, 2019


Juncker said he doesn't see a need for an extension, not that the EU will not grant any further extension.
posted by Pendragon at 6:38 AM on October 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


Yeah, there was a cascade of overexcited headlines based on stuff he didn't actually say.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:40 AM on October 17, 2019


Juncker said he doesn't see a need for an extension, not that the EU will not grant any further extension.

Phew. Yes, that makes sense. The EU refusing to grant an extension, given that they're dealing with a minority government with questionable levels of support, would be uncomfortably close to forcing the UK out against its will. All that Parliament has shown agreement on so far was to set the A50 clock ticking 30 months ago; and that was the previous Parliament. This Parliament hasn't agreed to Brexit in any form yet.
posted by rory at 6:41 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


To further calm people down - this is not an emergency! - from Lewis Goodall:

About to get on a plane back but just on Juncker’s words on extension. EU source says: “It’s not in his gift to rule it out, he is just defending the deal and saying one shouldn't be needed...I am 100% certain EU27 would permit an extension if deal falls on Saturday.

For an election/referendum. “Juncker/commission is selling the deal, of course, that’s their job.”

Have been pointed to his exact formulation of words: "This deal means there is no need for any kind of prolongation.”

Which isn’t quite the same thing as ruling out extension. It’s just saying that with a deal, there shouldn’t be a need for one.
posted by facehugger at 6:44 AM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


“It’s not in his gift to rule it out, he is just defending the deal and saying one shouldn't be needed..

Yeah, Gavan Reilly was pointing out the same. It's either Donald Tusk as chair of the summits, (who I presume could refuse to table the discussion) or the EU27 leaders who will decide on any possible extension.
posted by scorbet at 6:48 AM on October 17, 2019


It was a fucking idiotic thing for him to say. I get that English isn't his first language, but surely "If the deal is approved, there will be no need for further prolongation" would have been a better formulation.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:49 AM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also, remember that the European Parliament has to approve the deal as well. I don't think they'd vote against if it gets through the UK parliament, but there's that time block as well. I don't see how it can be done by the 31st.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:50 AM on October 17, 2019


The EU refusing to grant an extension, given that they're dealing with a minority government with questionable levels of support, would be uncomfortably close to forcing the UK out against its will.

This is just not true given that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50. If you are asking the EU to look "through" a minority government that currently is currently the legal executive of one of its member states and has requested to leave according to all the proper to some claim to popular legitimacy for continued membership, that is uncomfortably close to saying the EU may refuse to permit member states to leave. The fact that the majority of parliament not in government refuses to do the least dangerous thing and take the steps to require the executive to revoke the article 50 declaration is not the EU's to take responsibility for.
posted by PMdixon at 7:50 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Ian Dunt: Saturday is the most important day in the entire Brexit saga :
The government will put down a motion on the deal Boris Johnson has just negotiated with the EU. MPs will try to attach an amendment accepting the deal on the condition of a referendum. If it passes, that will probably happen. If it fails, and MPs back Johnson's deal, Brexit is happening by the October 31st deadline.

If MPs reject the deal, the Benn Act will trigger. There will be an extension of Article 50 and, in all likelihood, an election. Don't listen to the attempts to dispel this notion from the British or EU side. They both want the deal, so they need to pretend otherwise, but the basic reality hasn't changed. British law says a request must be made. The EU will not allow itself to be responsible for no-deal, so it will grant it.

In that election, Johnson will run on the back of his deal. If he won, he'll push it through. If he lost, Labour would renegotiate and then hold a referendum on its deal...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:57 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


There is a lot of posturing going on right now, and much of it will be very effective to its intended audiences.
It's hard to judge the situation on the battlefield through all the smoke.

But what is clear to me, at least, is that there is going to be immense pressure on Parliament on Saturday to pass this deal.

I hate the way the clock has been run down again and again, and that time pressure used to present a deal based on May's red lines - none of which were on the referendum ballot - as the only option other than No Deal. I wrote about that back in April. But there's no denying it's been effective. People do want to "get it over with", including on the EU side. There is a strong sense in the air that it's not going to be enough to just kick the can down the road again this time.

An election doesn't seem like any way out. The Tories are still ahead in the polls, and even the most Remainer journalists are conceding that Johnson has won some unexpected victories here. It will be easy for the Tories, with a compliant press, to relentlessly hammer anyone who votes this down now. Labour are too far behind to be a credible threat; Corbyn is miserably unpopular, and there isn't time to replace him. The likely outcome of an election is merely wasted time and a stronger position for Johnson. Even if Labour could win, I don't see the EU being keen to re-open negotiations for a third time around, and the realities of the situation will not have changed.

The only approach that feels to me like it stands any chance of changing our fate, would be for Parliament to approve this new deal, subject to a confirmatory referendum, via an amendment on Saturday.

Approving the text, albeit with that condition, would show forward progress. It would allow the EU to get behind an extension to allow a referendum to be held. If played well, it could turn things around and put the Brexiteers on the back foot - "we've already voted for the deal", "if this is what the country wants then what's the problem?", "I look forward to seeing those 17.4m people turn out to agree with you", etc. Make them campaign for the reality of the deal on the table, versus the benefits of the membership we have now.

It's wishful thinking on my part to hope for this to happen, or to play out that way if it did. Despite the heroic efforts in Parliament by Letwin, Cooper, Cherry and others to take control and steer the ship away from the iceberg, the opposition parties have mostly remained mired in pointless bickering. I have little faith that they can organise themselves to pull this off.

And even if we secure a referendum on the deal, with Remain on the ballot, I don't know if we'd win it. But we'd have a chance to fight. I think it's the best chance we have left.

So I will be marching on Parliament on Saturday, with a banner asking for a final say. I hope some of you will join me.
posted by automatronic at 8:00 AM on October 17, 2019 [17 favorites]


The last three years have been like the longest, most horrible game of Mornington Crescent ever.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:01 AM on October 17, 2019 [21 favorites]


Dream of Shadows Magazine had a short story contest for sci-fi or fantasy pieces based on Brexit. The winner is published here. Vampires take over a ruined Britain. Not crazy about it, but I might be biased: I submitted a piece which didn't win.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:19 AM on October 17, 2019


Keir Starmer on Johnson's deal.
posted by rory at 8:24 AM on October 17, 2019


The end of Ian Dunt's piece from today really hits the nail on the head. He's been invaluable through all this.
The EU and UK have hammered something together in days that they'll have to live with for decades. Parliament is being given just one day to debate it. It is a quite insane state of affairs, but that is how it is happening. And in that frenzied atmosphere, people can slip either way.

And yet in the back of their heads, they might well be thinking: how will this look in a few years time? How will this deal be considered in the future? And it is surely the case that it will be despised. It is a painful compromise which will make the UK poorer and weaker, made by an unelected prime minister with no majority, in which both sides - Leaver or Remainer - will be able to claim that it could have been much better if things had been done their way.
posted by Acey at 9:11 AM on October 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


I hate the way the clock has been run down again and again, and that time pressure used to present a deal based on May's red lines - none of which were on the referendum ballot - as the only option other than No Deal.

This is head and shoulders the most infuriating thing about this whole mess. At no point was the referendum supposed to be about a 'tow us into the Atlantic' end result - the leave campaign was relentless about saying of course we'd be staying in the single market etc but getting back our 'sovereignty' ala Norway. And this swivel to ever-harder forms of brexit or crashing out as the only possible methods of leaving, under 3 Tory PMs as the 'will of the peeeple' has been endlessly infuriating. Classic bait and switch, and running down the clock has been used repeatedly to try and browbeat opposition politicians into accepting it, 'just get on with it' etc.

I can't go to the march on Saturday, much as I wish I could, but I will be there in spirit. Parliament did manage to get the Benn bill through, we just have to hope really hard it can be convinced to do it again and let the public have their say on what the real choices are, instead of the unicorn-wish-fulfillment the last one was.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 9:13 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Chris Grey has a new piece up:
"We now face a situation whereby, within less than 48 hours, MPs will make a rushed, pressured decision which will shape our future for decades to come."
posted by adamvasco at 10:30 AM on October 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm glad to see that landmark progress has been made today, with our options finally narrowed down to No Deal, Deal or Remain, with nobody having any idea which one will happen.

Such new clarity!

This is so much worse than May's deal, with a ton of worker's rights and other regulatory protections removed from the Withdrawal Agreement and put on the "Trust us" pile. But it does seem custom-designed to further annoy Scotland, which will be the only Remainer nation with no reflection of the fact in a beneficial relationship with the EU and control over how that develops. I really think that will do it for Indyref2.
posted by Devonian at 11:22 AM on October 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


It's amazing how the Conservatives have gone from the unionist party to the actively-trying-to-break-up-the-UK party in such a short time. The SNP only want Scotland to leave the union; the Conservatives seem intent to drive all four countries apart as fast as possible.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:11 PM on October 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


Any news on WTF is happening with Gibraltar?

Or protections for EU27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens living in EU27?

Thought not. FFS.
posted by doornoise at 2:21 PM on October 17, 2019 [1 favorite]




Christ I’m sick of the word ‘deal’. It’s like living inside a never ending episode of the Apprentice.

And with about as much concrete reasoning behind it all as one of Noel Edmonds' ludicrous Deal or No Deal box-openers, trying to fathom what the tone of voice of the banker might have meant down the phone, or whether the number of pigeons watching them through the hotel window at breakfast means the left box or the right box will contain the prize.
posted by penguin pie at 2:39 PM on October 17, 2019


BREAKING: a Brexit deal has been struck between the EU and one of the UK’s 67 million inhabitants [SLTwitter parody account of the former top civil servant for the EU]

[Also has this gem #EUnotperfectbut we'retrying]
posted by roolya_boolya at 2:55 PM on October 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


As well as Gibraltar, the 3,400 Falkland islanders will be shafted.
Falklands export 90% of their fish to Europe.
255 British Military died in the Falklands War 37 years ago.
posted by adamvasco at 5:53 PM on October 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


As an aside, I note that David Cameron has been interviewed about this whole farrago and managed to slip in a reference to Boris as a "greased piglet", with The Guardian then discussing his "pig analogy".


Am I being too cynical in thinking this is Cameron's attempt at changing the search engine results for "David Cameron pig", which are currently mostly about "Piggate"?
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 12:50 AM on October 18, 2019 [7 favorites]


I doubt even Jennifer Aniston would be able to change the google search results for Cameron and his affection for pigs by now.
posted by fullerine at 1:12 AM on October 18, 2019 [5 favorites]


Although there's really only one reason to be searching for "David Cameron pig" in the first place.

So the Tories have just discovered Search Engine Optimisation, and think it's a hyper-modern superpower that only they understand? It's almost sweet.
posted by Grangousier at 1:16 AM on October 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


Seems like Brexit is in the hands of the Labour party now...
posted by dudleian at 2:49 AM on October 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


Seeing talk that if the deal is voted through we can still get a no deal next year if Johnson allows it?

Seems like Brexit is in the hands of the Labour party now...

Even if it weren't Corbyn will get the blame somehow. Not sure why a lot of Labour MPs would vote for the deal given what we know but it is, of course, an omnishambles so anything is possible.
posted by Chaffinch at 3:13 AM on October 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


Seeing talk that if the deal is voted through we can still get a no deal next year if Johnson allows it?

The transition period runs until Dec 2020, to allow time for negotiation of the future relationship, which can be extended by up to two years. During the transition we effectively carry on as we are in single market, customs union and EU regulation etc - legally we're out of the EU but effectively still a member who can't vote on anything. Assuming that time runs out without a free trade agreement (likely) we move immediately to being a 3rd country - bar northern ireland and citizens legacy residence rights, it's the same result as crashing out now, with all the chaos in Dover, lack of food and medicines etc that that implies.

The previous backstop would have kept the whole UK closely aligned to the EU in the event of no FTA until something better could be agreed, to keep the border in NI open and only limited east-west restrictions; that's been scrapped in exchange for a NI-only 'frontstop' that keeps them aligned to the EU regardless, aka pretty much the December 2017 solution May agreed to, then reneged on after the DUP torpedoed it.

Normally trade agreements with the EU take many years; 7 seems about average. Doing one in 15 months is ambitious under ideal circumstances, which these definitely aren't! To get a FTA with the EU will require substantial 'level playing field' agreements, as laid out now in the political declaration, i.e. sticking to EU standards on the environment, workers and quality. It also leaves services (the majority of our exports) in the cold. This is particularly a problem when the plan is diverge rapidly from EU rules post-transition to do a deal with the US instead which will require switching to their food standards and likely allowing the takeover of the NHS by private med companies. You can align yourself with the EU or the US, not both, and we will be a relative minnow in either case.

In short, this deal kicks most of the tough decisions down the road a year, and we likely will end up effectively doing a crash-out brexit at the end of the transition if the tories are in charge - except there's no option to 'remain' as we're already out, and NI will be protected (somewhat, with a complex set of rules that amount to a border in the Irish sea). Brexit won't be even close to 'finished' if the withdrawal agreement passes, no matter how much Boris and the rightwing press lie about it.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 3:37 AM on October 18, 2019 [26 favorites]


Thanks for the answer, that's making a bit more sense to me.

It's clearly very complicated but could it not be made simpler by invoking "the spirit of the blitz?" or repeating "get on with it"? Just a thought.
posted by Chaffinch at 3:50 AM on October 18, 2019 [4 favorites]


the question "why should the ERG be interested in backing a deal now at the 11th hour
..."


@nicktolhurst: ERG members asked AG Geoffrey Cox to provide “assurances” that Britain could, legally, crash out with “no deal” at end of transition phase December 2020.

(More info and sources confirming on the thread.)

They've sussed that getting a no-deal brexit on Halloween probably isn't going to happen, so they're going for the boil-the-frog-slowly approach to get it for Christmas next year.
posted by Buntix at 7:10 AM on October 18, 2019 [4 favorites]


As well as Gibraltar, the 3,400 Falkland islanders will be shafted.
Falklands export 90% of their fish to Europe.
255 British Military died in the Falklands War 37 years ago.


Yup, and they didn't get a vote in the referendum.

I lived in the Falkland Islands for a few years (in fact I wrote for Mercopress, who you link to, for a while!). It's not just the fish, though that's the largest part of their economy. One of the many jobs I had down there included going out to take minutes at the meetings of the board of the EU-certified abbatoir just outside town. They were so proud of this enterprise, which had taken huge efforts not only to build, equip, and staff in such an isolated spot, but particularly to get certified for export to the EU. Sheep farming (and to a lesser extent cattle farming) is at the heart of Falklands culture and has been for generations, but with the wool industry weak and volatile, actually being able to export meat has been a real bonus for farmers.

The only good news is that, being more aware than most of the possibility of getting blindsided by unexpected world events, they've been stashing away their vast surpluses from the fishing industry for years. When I lived there, they had £90m in the bank for a population of 2,500, and I can only imagine that's grown in the years since, as oil exploration has taken off.

It must be a weird time for them in terms of UK allegiances though. Since Maggie's intervention in 1982, some of the most vocal supporters of FI have been the very stuffed blazers who are now the biggest Brexiters. But I digress...
posted by penguin pie at 8:02 AM on October 18, 2019 [7 favorites]




soooo i don’t know if this is bs or something real or a trial balloon, but allegedly corbyn has said in private that he’d support bercow(!) as a caretaker pm to keep the seat warm until a referendum and general election. behind a paywall, but the first few paragraphs are visible
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:41 AM on October 18, 2019 [9 favorites]


Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon I'm having a freaking heart attack at that proposal

My preferred dream scenario was Sinn Fein showing up in Parliament tomorrow but I like yours better
posted by facehugger at 10:45 AM on October 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


“what if we take the guy whose whole deal is defending the rights of parliament against the executive and make him the executive” is such a delightfully weird idea that i think i’d like it even if i didn’t have a crush on bercow.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:06 AM on October 18, 2019 [9 favorites]


Wow I don't even know how to unpack the brilliant weird subversiveness of that idea - can you imagine if that was an institutionalized part of parliamentary politics? Like, if VONCs happen, the interim PM will always be the Speaker. There could be dissertations written about this...

In other news - deep breaths people!!! Slow and steady!!!
Some brief thoughts about the Letwin amendment tomorrow. TLDR - It is very important indeed. It will very likely pass (just look at the signatories). The effect of its passage would be to:

i. Effectively defer approval of the Deal until after the related legislation has been passed
ii. As a consequence require the PM to send the extension request letter per the Benn Act

The amendment has three important benefits (IMO).

i) It closes a possible no deal loop hole in the Benn Act
ii) It provides more time for Parliamentary scrutiny of the Deal
Given the complexity and importance of the deal, this is unequivocally a good thing.
iii) It may provide opportunities for Parliament to seek to amend the Deal.
This is, I think, the most important potential consequence of the amendment.

The Deal has elements that Parliament might now have the space to consider. Incl: the possibility of a WTO exit at the end of trans; the new direction of the future arrangement (ie more distant); the strength of the LPF commitments; and, the pros/cons of the NI ‘frontstop’.

Of course, this all depends on whether or not the EU is willing to provide another extension. Although I appreciate the fatigue point, it would be surprising if the EU had not already considered there was a high likelihood of another extension given the Johnson government’s lack of a majority. More importantly, there is virtually no circumstance in which a better informed decision by the UK does not lead to a more durable outcome for the EU.

This is grown-up politics. All MPs should vote for the Letwin amendment. /ends.
posted by facehugger at 11:19 AM on October 18, 2019 [13 favorites]


I lived in the Falkland Islands for a few years
posted by penguin pie at 16:02 on October 18


Eponysterical.
posted by acb at 12:23 PM on October 18, 2019 [12 favorites]


Looking forward to seeing some of you on the march tomorrow. (I don't know most MeFites by sight, but it will be a sort of warm, comforting feeling to know you're there.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:32 PM on October 18, 2019 [5 favorites]


From the continent I'm wishing you folks the best of luck tomorrow.

Here's the latest Ian Dunt, a reminder of what's at stake.
posted by Kosmob0t at 2:53 PM on October 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


I've never before felt that Westminster was quite so indifferent to my life, and I'm one of Thatcher's bairns. My kids' future is being decided by how some public schoolboys feel about other public schoolboys, plus some guesstimates on just how xenophobic some English constituents are on average. It would already be decided if some fundamentalist fruitcakes had found it more palatable. There would be effective opposition if the privately-educated leader of the Labour party was willing to put the welfare of actual workers above his ideology of the welfare of Workers. I have spent longer discussing IP address ranges than parliament will deciding on the UK's future international status.

When I was working in Germany, I picked up a useful word – "Saftladen". I think it's a good description of the current UK government.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:47 PM on October 18, 2019 [13 favorites]


Ha! In my wider circle we've long referred to the the Job Centre as the Joke Shop. I'll have to pass "Saftladen" round as it seems to serve the purpose.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 3:56 PM on October 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


There are demonstrations on the Continent as well; there's one outside the British Embassy in Stockholm at 13:00, which I'm planning on attending.
posted by acb at 4:58 PM on October 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


Just wrote an email to my MP, so I'm officially That Guy. Think he'll vote against anyhow and doubt it'll get read, counted or considered at this late hour, but figured I ought to try to shore his vote up. Would kick myself if I hadn't.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:29 PM on October 18, 2019 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I emailed mine - he’s solid Remain, but I wanted to show my support.

I’m on a plane to Basel shortly but will be with all you marchers in spirit, and watching this thread for news.
posted by rory at 10:59 PM on October 18, 2019


If the deal passes it will be the growing numbers of Labour Leavers who get it over the line.

I'm just...so angrily confused...as to why there are so many Labour Leavers now? Can they read? Can their team read? Protections are not legally binding anymore, and Brexit won't be "done" because there is a new 2020 cliff edge and anyway, any type of Brexit will result in years of renegotiating our relationship to the EU.

Why and how do so many Labour Leavers not fundamentally understand that Brexit is the start of a process, and why do they not understand that representation does not mean slavish repetition?

"My constituents say..." This is not a choice between painting a building red or blue. If your constituents want to jump off a cliff you provide thoughtful leadership to guide them off the cliff edge. Brexit is the equivalent of a country-side suicide pact and so many MPs just throw up their hands and say - my constituents say...If that's the level of accountability and leadership you are providing you might as well be replaced by a Pop-Idol-style phone call-in voting system. You were elected to be an MP, your job is to spend time and energy and funds on understanding what is best for your constituents, not to just be skimming the Torygraph in-between shouting at PMQs.
posted by facehugger at 11:30 PM on October 18, 2019 [15 favorites]


In other news, it's striking that Brexit coverage is so overwhelmingly white-male, especially compared to US impeachment coverage. I'm sure there's a lot to say for the state of media in the UK today, that only people already well-off can afford to join the media industry etc, but I think what's also striking is that the most active anti-Brexit MPs now are also white men. I feel like earlier in the Brexit saga we had more diversity amidst the major players, like with Yvette Cooper and Anna Soubry, but this past month all the major players have been Hilary Benn, Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin, etc, with the exception of Jo Swinson as the leader of a major party.

I wonder if there's still a diversity of input behind the scenes, but Benn, Grieve, Letwin and et al. have stepped up to be the figureheads since, as white men, they will receive the least vitriol?

I'm just thinking of a recent thread by Yvette Cooper's daughter, Elle Cooper, where she heartbreakingly talks about how afraid she gets for her mother's safety.
posted by facehugger at 12:07 AM on October 19, 2019 [2 favorites]




the Betrayal Act

I'll see your Surrender and raise you Betrayal. Never play over-the-top rhetoric against the Unionists, you'll always lose.
posted by Grangousier at 3:46 AM on October 19, 2019 [8 favorites]


People with longer political memories than me - is the Tory betrayal of the DUP similar to the Tory betrayal of the Lib Dems? Just want to know if I can use it as a pithy statement in casual conversation.

All the journo commentariats are seemingly breath-taken by the ERG's sudden reversal on the DUP, which is hilarious because the first rule of the Tory party is Party Above All. That oak tree in the Tory logo has always been filthy with vipers.
posted by facehugger at 5:48 AM on October 19, 2019


The ERG know the plan. Pass the MV, then do nothing. Crash out with no deal.

The DUP seem incapable of figuring this out and they're fucking it all up for Boris and JRM.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:12 AM on October 19, 2019


Letwin voting RIGHT NOW ppl!
posted by lalochezia at 6:35 AM on October 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


is the Tory betrayal of the DUP similar to the Tory betrayal of the Lib Dems?

If you do a deal with the Tories they will always - always - throw you under the bus. See also letting the Labour Party take the fall for the Scottish referendum (they would have done the same thing with the EU referendum if only Corbyn hadn't been a Eurosceptic).
posted by Grangousier at 7:00 AM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Letwin amendment passes. That’s a relief.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:09 AM on October 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Is it a relief? I’m confused on what happens next. The amendment won’t be law unless it’s part of the main bill as amended and it sounds like they are not going to vote on the main bill now. Did I misunderstand?
posted by toamouse at 7:12 AM on October 19, 2019


That's why the bill hasn't been put up for a vote by the government. And now the Benn act forces the PM to ask for an extension before 11 pm tonight. At least that's how I understand it.
posted by Pendragon at 7:16 AM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Letwin amendment means that if the bill does pass today then it will still need to be voted on again once the enabling legislation is drafted. It’s to stop the ERG types passing the deal and removing the protections of the Benn Act, then trying to force No Deal. I think there’s still a chance that Johnson will withdraw the bill in a fit of pique. Or that he will try to call the bluff of the Benn Act and dare them to take action. It goes without saying that all of this is completely wild and has no precedent.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:17 AM on October 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm incredibly surprised to note that a certain MP for Sheffield Hallam found his way into the chamber to vote.
posted by winterhill at 7:19 AM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Apparently quite a few Sheffield residents were offering transportation to get O'Mara to Westminster just for this vote. Maybe he took one of them up?

People, your actions do help!
posted by facehugger at 7:24 AM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


The gov has abandoned the meaningful vote on the deal for today, because of the Letwin amendment. In short, if Parliament voted for the deal, the letwin amendment attached would have made it provisional until the full withdrawal law passed - so Johnson would have to seek an extension under the Benn act. Since the meaningful vote hasn't passed (it isn't going to be voted on now) the Benn act kicks in and he has to seek an extension. The idea was to make it so he had to seek an extension either way - and close the loophole where the ERG votes for the deal now (which would stop the need to ask for an extension) but scuppering the passage of the deal into law, thus causing us to crash out on Oct 31st.

Or course the ERG swore blind they weren't going to do that, they love the new deal. Since the prorogation, trust in the ERG and Boris in particular has been utter nil from the moderates, and the ejected Tory MPs aren't falling for a word he says, the poor wee mite.

Note, the Letwin amendment forcing him to seek an extension no matter what had the full backing of the DUP; if they'd voted with the government it would have failed, and the deal likely would have passed with their support - leading ultimately to a no-deal crash out on Oct 31st, or Dec 2020 at the end of the transition.

Looks like trying to bounce the DUP into backing a border in the Irish sea has backfired a bit there. Classic Dom...

Next step, court case on Monday to force Boris to send the pre-written letter asking for an extension, courtesy of the Benn act. We will likely see the actual bill on the deal turn up early next week too, given the vote today has been scuppered by Letwin and friends.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:37 AM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Bercow is kicking ass and taking names: "The government is NOT the arbiter of what is 'orderly'," he says, laying down the law about what might happen on Monday, and indeed before then. All kinds of shenanigans going on right now, and Jacob R-M, the leader of the house, has just walked out in a fit of pique, hot on the heels of most of the Tories.
posted by tractorfeed at 7:43 AM on October 19, 2019


Well, I'm just in the door after being out all day, peering at Twitter, thinking "I'll put on the Parliament channel and find out what's going on" and I find Bercow admitting that even he doesn't really know what's going on now, as the Government ministers sit in desperate pow wow somewhere in private, trying to decide what to do next. Would love to be a fly on the wall of that meeting.

I think I wasn't quite on top of what was going to happen today before it happened, and I'm even more lost now, will be off looking for something that takes me back a step, while watching the BBC News Channel for clues.
posted by penguin pie at 7:46 AM on October 19, 2019


It's such a relief to see the House basically cutting off Dom at every turn. It's kind of funny to watch Boris scuttle his own vote and slink away in shame. He didn't even lay down the pretense that he wasn't working with the ERG to use the loophole in the Benn Act to crash the country out by having the vote anyway.

Getting back to the present, Boris's back is against the wall and he knows it.
“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, and neither does the law compel me to do so”
That's exactly what the law compels you to do so get on with it.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:55 AM on October 19, 2019


Majestic deliberate misrepresentation of the meaning of the People's Vote march by IDS on BBC News - he says "The message I'm getting from out there, Remain or Leave, is that people just want us to get it done, and they're now [nods to the exit, indicating the marchers outside] turning their attention on Parliament to tell us to get it done."

No, you mendacious pillock, that's not what the million people out there are telling you, and you know it.
posted by penguin pie at 7:59 AM on October 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


We're now in a weird state. Parliament has declined to approve any deal today, so Johnson must, under the Benn Act, request an extension. He must do so in good faith, and may not take any action other than to earnestly seek an extension.

Rees-Mogg suggested in a point of order that he wants to bring this same deal back to the Commons on Monday for a debate and vote. That can't happen unless it is a substantially different motion than the one voted on and amended.

The business of the House on Monday will be debated in an Emergency Business Motion that the Government must bring. The House can do pretty much what it wants with that, but Bercow is not going to let them try to pass the same deal again.

The debate on the Queen's Speech has to happen as well, and it's unclear if any legislation can be debated until that happens.

The behaviour of Johnson and Rees-Mogg was contemptible, but unsurprising. They've reached the end of the road. The letter must be sent today. The Commons won't let them revisit today's motion. Now they have to present the details of the plan for the Commons to debate, and they don't have that.

Parliament and the executive have been on a collision course for months. The collision is happening now. Parliament will prevail, but its going to be a colossal shitshow.
posted by Combat Wombat at 8:15 AM on October 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


AHA! Combat Wombat, thank you! You've given me the missing bit of information that suddenly makes more sense of everything - the fact that the deadline in the Benn Act is today. ie. If no deal was agreed by today, the PM would have to seek an extension. Now I understand why it's such a big day. Here's a good Benn Act explainer for anyone else who needs a similar helping hand.
posted by penguin pie at 8:25 AM on October 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


I think one of the lessons today is that, once again, the Tories/Johnson/Classic Dom have once again been thoughtless about the non-English. Just as the Leave campaign barely mentioned how the Northern Ireland issue would become an immediate nest of thorns, the Government barely thought about the DUP, and thought that a few mangled clauses and (probably) a secret promise of a few more million dollars would get them to toe the line again.

The minute Johnson's deal was unveiled it should have been clear to everyone that the DUP would be outraged, and they would be even more inflamed by the anger of their constituents (see Unionists and Loyalists organizing for mass civil disobedience just in the past 24 hours). Not for a minute did I think the DUP would even abstain on the Letwin amendment - the Union is their existential mission. It really showed today, in that every DUP member who got up to speak was more forensic and detailed in their criticism of the bill than I had ever heard them been. The fact that the Government was still spending the last hour of debate trying to wheel and deal without substantively changing the bill must have been even more utterly horrifying to the DUP. The Government had never taken them seriously, and it was time for the DUP to show just how seriously they should be taken.

I was pleasantly surprised by the 20 minute or so exchange between the SNP and the DUP in the middle of the debate. For once the House of Commons was full with the sound of the non-English, agreeing with each other on just how careless, traitorous, and nasty the Tory party has been and will always be.
posted by facehugger at 8:41 AM on October 19, 2019 [14 favorites]


Interesting thing. Lots of photos and comments (1, 2, 3) re. Ministers needing large police escorts to allow them to leave the Commons. Why are our government ministers still routinely leaving the Commons on foot? I'm all for accessibility, and always get a kick out of seeing a famous politico striding through Parliament Square, but it seems extraordinary that they don't get into cars, given the terrorist threat of recent years, and even more so on a day when there are a million people who don't like them battering at the doors of Parliament.
posted by penguin pie at 8:43 AM on October 19, 2019


The DUP are delusional because they want three things that are mutually incompatible: Union, Brexit, and no Irish border. They can bitch about all the options but they can't provide one that would work for them apart from Ireland rejoining the UK, which is what I suspect their preferred option to be.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:50 AM on October 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


It’s so they can portray themselves as victims when they tweet about the fanatical Remainers outside Parliament.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:52 AM on October 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


penguin pie, it looks like the only MPs leaving the Commons on foot are Tory frontbenchers. And with Rees-Mogg leaving Commons with his son, I really think that it's the Tories trying to Play the Victim.

It reminded me of a TV program where they had people who were total opposites of each other "try to understand each other." One "opposite pair" for an episode was Rees-Mogg and Jess Phillips. Unlike every other participant in the series, Rees-Mogg brought his son, and it seemed obvious to me that when they were walking around, Rees-Mogg seemed to manoeuver his son around him so that people would be nicer to him than they otherwise would be.

I really think that they were gunning for "Remainer violence" headlines.
posted by facehugger at 8:59 AM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


From what I could work out from the Commons footage, the Government bill did actually pass, as amended by Letwin, without a division. The Letwin amendment meant that effectively the bill no longer constituted an approval of the withdrawal agreement in the context of the Benn act. There was then a kerfuffle as HMG threatened to just bring the unamended bill back, and Bercow was having none of it.

Also, Jared O'Mara was present and voted for Letwin.
posted by doop at 9:08 AM on October 19, 2019



The DUP are delusional because they want three things that are mutually incompatible: Union, Brexit, and no Irish border


The DUP are themselves less bothered about an Irish border. From a policy point of view they would probably even like a nice hard border making NI a bit less Irish. Their issue here is more that this will cause a problem for their constituents- they have a lot of farmers apparently who will be in big trouble with e.g. duty on milk exported to the South.
posted by scorbet at 9:19 AM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]




Sorry for threadsitting but - one last comment!

While the Letwin amendment won, those numbers were way too fucking close. And there were tons of Tories, like Letwin himself, who said that while they supported the amendment, they would also try their hardest to leave the EU by Oct 31st. I really do think that the only option we have now is to VONC Johnson as soon as possible and get a general election. The center of gravity has been shifting towards a deal with every Meaningful Vote, and we can't risk another one.
posted by facehugger at 9:47 AM on October 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


(Many thanks to penguin pie for introducing me to the phrase mendacious pillock. That is all.)
posted by Bella Donna at 12:59 PM on October 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


It seems that Alexander Boris “Rather Dead in a Ditch Than Delay” de Pfeffel Johnson has decided to face reality and request the extension.
posted by saturday_morning at 1:10 PM on October 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


But Sky News reports Johnson didn't sign it himself, he 'allowed' his envoy in Brussels to sign it. And sent an additional 'political' letter saying he doesn't really want an extension. What a twat-faced bollock sack.

(Many thanks to penguin pie for introducing me to the phrase mendacious pillock. That is all.)

My very great pleasure. Every time you think you're all out of names for this shower of lying, self-serving, cocks, another one presents itself.
posted by penguin pie at 2:13 PM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


We now know how Johnson is going to simultaneously adhere to the Benn Act and not request a Brexit extension. This incredible, cunning, wily, four-dimensional why-didn't-I-think-of-that plan is...

...to send the extension letter and not sign it with his name.
posted by winterhill at 2:15 PM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Donald Tusk has already tweeted: "The extension request has just arrived. I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react. #Brexit". So he seems to be treating it like a serious request.
posted by scorbet at 2:25 PM on October 19, 2019


(Possibly his twitter feed is as full of people referring to Padfield and why that means the accompanying letters should be ignored as mine seems to be).
posted by scorbet at 2:32 PM on October 19, 2019


Yes, David Allen Green describes Johnson's childishness thus: "will impress the easily impressed". (For easily impressed read: British Press.)

Another huge and encouraging march, today. At least as large as the last one, in March, which attracted 1 million people. Thanks to all who attended.

The spectacular culmination.

Please would you put your name to this new letter demanding a People's Vote, if you're so enclined.

Given the extension, we just need to convince MPs that Johnson's deal needs to go back to us, to be resoundingly rejected against Remaining in the EU. Remaining will win. All examination of this deal will show that it is infinitely worse than remaining, and that is what this extension can allow.

You can do that directly by writing to your MP: Look at what has been redacted and added. Labour MPs just can't be voting for this.

I cannot commend Remainiacs highly enough, for sane analysis. Three podcasts this week!
posted by Quagkapi at 3:17 PM on October 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


So, "the government sent three letters in total to the EU -- the Benn Act extension, as stipulated in law, but which the PM didn’t personally sign; a cover note from Tim Barrow, Britain’s envoy to the EU; and a letter signed by the PM arguing that further delay is a mistake.".

Weak. It looks like the EU has decided to negotiate with parliament rather than Johnson directly, which is quite right since he won't be in the job long enough to find out where the good coffee machine is. I don't know if the courts will see it as attempting to frustrate the purpose of the law though.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:17 PM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Remainiacs, Ian Dunt’s twitter feed and this place are frankly keeping me sane.

That and living in Scotland, where the general tone is aghast staring southward.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:42 PM on October 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


I am at my parents this week. They voted leave. There have been rows. We no longer speak of the B word.

But today it became clear they have completely detached from Brexit. No interest in the vote, a weary 'of course' when I said how it had gone.

Ian Dunt pointed out this evening that the UK has by far the biggest and most passionate pro-EU movement in the world. It is not we who are running out of energy and options.

Fight on!
posted by Devonian at 4:24 PM on October 19, 2019 [31 favorites]


penguin pie, it looks like the only MPs leaving the Commons on foot are Tory frontbenchers. And with Rees-Mogg leaving Commons with his son, I really think that it's the Tories trying to Play the Victim.


Ding ding. Rees-Mogg and Leadsome were both at this yesterday, Leadsome with a side of police sycophancy too:

Thank goodness for our superb police. Just walked home safely from HoC with their protection - why do the so called ‘People’s Vote’ protesters think it’s ok to abuse, intimidate and scream in the face of someone they don’t agree with? So frightening, and so grateful to the police

It's hardly the worst thing happening, but this calculated performance of victimhood from someone who literally has a police escort available to them at all times is infuriating.
posted by ominous_paws at 10:44 PM on October 19, 2019 [5 favorites]


why do the so called ‘People’s Vote’ protesters think it’s ok to abuse, intimidate and scream in the face of someone they don’t agree with?

Yeah, where would someone get the idea that it's OK to abuse their political opponents, Angela? Like, call them traitors or enemies of the people or something?

It's baffling, isn't it?
posted by entity447b at 11:06 PM on October 19, 2019 [18 favorites]


Number of Leave MPs murdered in cold blood by Remain terrorists: 0.

Number of Remain MPs murdered in cold blood by Leave terrorists: 1.

But obviously the real victim here is Leadsom.
posted by Dysk at 2:22 AM on October 20, 2019 [17 favorites]


Alex Wickham, Buzzfeed News: "Dennis Skinner abstained at MV3 but says he will vote against Johnson's deal... think that is the first switcher the other way / It also I think means Johnson now needs 6 more MPs to switch his way to have a majority, rather than 5"

This got me to look up Dennis Skinner, Labour MP, and man, y'all gotta expand your Bercow love to include him too.

Skinner has been suspended from Parliament on at least ten occasions, usually for "unparliamentary language" when attacking opponents. Notable infractions have included:

* calling David Owen a "pompous sod" (and only agreeing to withdraw "pompous")
* referring to the Minister of Agriculture John Gummer as a "little squirt of a Minister" and a "slimy wart on Margaret Thatcher's nose"
* when referring to the economic record of the Conservatives in the 1980s, making the remark, "The only thing that was growing then were the lines of coke in front of Boy George and the rest of the Tories"

Known for his republican sentiments, Skinner has regularly heckled during the annual Queen's Speech ceremony:

* "Have you got Helen Mirren on standby?"
* "Any Tory moles at the Palace?" [Referring to the recent arrest of Tory MP Damian Green]
* "Yeah, get your skates on, first race is half past two!" [Referencing the Queen's attendance at Royal Ascot later that day]

posted by facehugger at 2:53 AM on October 20, 2019 [12 favorites]


I can understand why the EU would find it a complete PITA, but I don't see how they can refuse an extension. Parliament are in favour, the Supreme Court have ruled against the government's tactics re prorogation and there are ongoing protests involving hundreds of thousands of people, and a petition of several million, for another vote.

Ignoring all of that and siding with a Prime Minister without a parliamentary majority, who has lost every vote he has called (IIRC), and who is behaving like a child, would be staggeringly bad politics. It would effectively be an act of blackmail: vote for Boris's deal or we will chuck you out with no deal—and would be exactly what the people the EU have described as "liars" want. It would also put their failure to back May in the same way in a very bad light.

So, I can see why they are sick of us and want us gone, but IMO they cannot afford to let it happen like this.
posted by dudleian at 3:06 AM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Apparently, Starmer is saying that an amendment to the deal legislation which attaches a confirmatory referendum will be tabled next week. (No link, it's in the Guardian, you all know how to find it.)

I'm not sure the numbers are there for this, even though it would be a good thing. A lot of the people who voted for Letwin yesterday, including Letwin himself and most of the Tory rebels, are in favour of the deal. They just aren't in favour of a no-deal crash-out. I think that once the deal comes back in front of Parliament next week, it'll pass. We won't be out on 31 October, but we will be out over the winter with the deal.

I've had local commercial radio on all morning while finishing up some university work. I haven't heard Get Ready for Brexit once. Peace at last!
posted by winterhill at 4:28 AM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


The DUP are delusional because they want three things that are mutually incompatible: Union, Brexit, and no Irish border.

Given sufficient British exceptionalism, they are compatible, with the proviso that it follows then that Ireland will also leave the EU and remain, if not actually governed from London, at least in Britain's orbit economically and geopolitically. After all, We are the Mighty Lion-Race of Albion who painted a third of the globe pink, appointed by no less than the Almighty to rule, and who are Ireland and/or a bunch of garlic-eating continentals to stand in our way?
posted by acb at 6:04 AM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Putting the evident shittiness of the deal to one side, if that's possible, the possibility that Johnson's withdrawal agreement goes through does at least mitigate some of the enormous damage of dropping out of the EU overnight.

The odds of the current shower in the cabinet actually gettings things even vaguely close to sorted out in the transition period is basically zero, however. No doubt they'll try to avoid asking for an extension again next year, and force another pointless round of 'no deal' (which will in this case actually mean what the words imply) bluffing and legal to-ing and fro-ing.

At least parliament seems to have returned to its intended purpose of holding the executive to account. It all just seems such a waste, though. Bright and motivated people are having to pour all of their energy into holding back a tide of utter shite, when they could be achieving useful and meaningful things in the world.
posted by pipeski at 6:27 AM on October 20, 2019 [8 favorites]


If Johnson's deal goes through the tories will call a GE, win a majority and crash out in December 2020
posted by fullerine at 9:19 AM on October 20, 2019


You guys, masterful thread by Lewis Goodall on just how chaotic good this week can get, with (very positive!!!) implications that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere.

There will be lots of attention paid to the sexiest amendment: a second referendum. But that (prob) still doesn't have enough support. The explosive one is a customs union which probably does and crucially has support from Lab MPs who might back deal but would prefer a CU.

Expect Labour and others to get behind that amendment because it is in effect a massive wrecking amendment to the government's deal. They know Johnson cannot accept it, cannot negotiate it and it would tear the Tory Party apart.

If that happens (and it passes) I don't see any way out for Johnson, other than accepting the reality of the extension and using it to insist on an election where he campaigns for his deal. Tory Party as the Brexit (with a deal) Party.

Entirely possible MPs try and push programme motion for WAB *beyond* this week, so we can't Brexit by October 31st and def enter extension. So keep eye out for programme motion vote, which is usually a formality but actually a big moment this week. Possibly the biggest.

DUP votes now in play also means everything (in terms of amendments) even more fluid. As one MP put it to me: "If it was a matrix of options before it’s now galaxy of variables post Letwin."

posted by facehugger at 12:48 PM on October 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


There is one thing that confuses me.

Goodall writes: "Basically the govt gave up its best chance of accessing the majority that might well now exist for the deal by not pushing the division on Saturday. Virtually everyone I speak to thinks it was a mistake that they didn't."

Does that mean that, after the Letwin amendment passed, the government should have immediately whipped against its deal, so that Parliament wouldn't be stuck to the new schedule of having to approve the Withdrawal Agreement Bill first, instead of the old schedule of approving the Meaningful Vote first?
posted by facehugger at 1:00 PM on October 20, 2019




Does that mean that, after the Letwin amendment passed, the government should have immediately whipped against its deal
I read it to mean that they should have had a proper vote on the motion (Deal+Letwin Amendment) rather than simply letting it pass without a division. That way they would be able to point to a (probable) majority in favour of the Deal, and try and use that to ram the WAB through.
posted by scorbet at 2:54 PM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Huh, I had the opposite reaction to that NYT article.

Imagine I'm a reader who has no idea what's going on, who is not familiar with the players involved. I know Brexit has been a Big Deal, though I don't understand it. For better or for worse I, like many readers, want to understand: who are the goodies here? Who are the baddies? What would different outcomes mean?

I read the headline (Boris Johnson Sends Letter to E.U. Asking for Brexit Delay). Seems like the story is centering Boris as a protagonist, the EU is the other player, Boris must be for a delay, and apparently he is asking politely.

Sub-header: After a rebuke by lawmakers in Parliament, the British prime minister warned that an extension would be bad for both sides. My thoughts: The British prime minister must care about what's bad for both sides. Lawmakers (how many?) rebuked somebody (him?) (for requesting a delay?) and he took action in response. Rebukes are not generally high on the severity scale. Boris is still the focus of the story.

First paragraph: Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a stinging defeat on Saturday as Parliament rebuffed his campaign to take Britain out of the European Union by the end of the month and forced him to seek an extension that he had vowed never to pursue.

Who are the goodies? Why did Parliament rebuff him? (Isn't rebuff kind of a mild word for what's been happening?) Boris suffered, Boris had a campaign, Boris vowed, Boris was forced, stung, and rebuffed. Why? Boris is still the focus of the story.

The turbulent events left Mr. Johnson’s agreement in limbo and threw British politics once again into chaos, with any number of outcomes possible: a no-deal exit from the European Union, a second referendum on whether to leave at all, or a general election that could shift the balance in Parliament. The only sure result was continuing frustration and confusion among the British public.

Chaos is bad, right? Turbulence is bad. Frustration and confusion are bad. Three outcomes are given: what does any of them mean? This Boris, who warned about an extension being bad, had an agreement (with who? To do what?) that would have avoided the chaos and ended the frustration and confusion, which would be good, right? No other person or group has replaced Boris as the focus of the story.

Late on Saturday night, Mr. Johnson formally applied to the European Union, in an unsigned letter, for another extension of Britain’s departure, something he said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than do.

So why did he do it? He's the good guy, right? He doesn't want an extension because he believes it's bad for both sides. Why is he being forced? What does it mean that the letter was unsigned? Does it being sent late on Saturday mean anything? How does any of this affect the chaos and frustration, the origins and nature of which I don't understand? Boris is still the focus of the story.

Mr. Johnson sent a separate signed letter to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, in which he said a “further extension would damage the interests of the U.K. and our E.U. partners, and the relationship between us.”

Boris apparently cares about everyone's interests and relationships. An extension is apparently bad. He is taking action to remedy what he has been forced to do, which he believes is bad for everyone. Boris is still the focus of the story.


I mean, I don't want to post the entire article here. But there are 34 paragraphs. None of them mentions that Boris was positioning himself as being fine with no-deal, as having been one the original major pushers of the Brexit-at-any-cost narrative, of his open war against Parliament, of his role in fanning not just the "frustration and confusion" but also narratives of treason, xenophobia, and hate, of the fact that the reason he's been forced to grudgingly request an extension is because at this point no one trusts him to not bypass the democratic process and undertake a history-changing step unilaterally. Prorogation? Was that a thing that happened?

No-deal is described as a "rupture that some want"; who that "some" comprises is not described. There is mention of "pro-Brexit hard-liners", "Brexit evangelists", and "hard-line Brexiteers", all of whom are presented as being somehow separate from Boris. Letwin is described as "an expelled member of Mr. Johnson’s Conservative Party", and several paragraphs later we are told he "was purged from the party last month for supporting a law intended to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union without any agreement". I usually defend the passive voice, but this is exactly how it should not be used: who did the the purging? Why would Boris's party expel anyone for preventing a no-deal Brexit? Does that mean that the party is actually controlled by these hard-line Brexiteers we've been reading about? What does that say about Boris? Why are these dots left for an unusually attentive reader to connect (pretty late in a long article)? Sorry, I'm being remiss: paragraph 31 does say "Facing competition from the Brexit Party, led by Nigel Farage, the Conservatives have now embraced a hard-line form of exit, a transition that gained momentum last month with the purge of 21 Conservative rebels, including Mr. Letwin." Still not spelled out, still passive, but getting closer, I guess?

Near the end of the article there is a mention of the fact that Boris blasted Theresa May's agreement and did so in polarizing terms. The article does not mention that Boris's own agreement is largely the same as May's.

While the article is careful to attribute most of the opinions it presents, it still gives much more time to pro-Brexit ones than otherwise. We're told Boris says his agreement 'would position the country for a thriving future as an agile, free agent in the global economy — and that any further delay would be “pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust.”' '“I’m not daunted or dismayed by this particular result,” Mr. Johnson said.' 'By keeping the European Union at arm’s length, Mr. Johnson and his lieutenants contend, Britain can set out to transform itself into an agile, lightly regulated competitor in the global economy [...]'

What regulations specifically might be shed? The article doesn't mention anything about human rights, labor protections, environmental standards, money laundering rules, etc. We do read about "the web of rules that critics in Britain consider stifling or a threat to their sovereignty". What benefits has the UK received from being part of the EU? Not mentioned.

What about the arguments against Brexit? We're told that creating new trade agreements would be complicated and take a long time, that the result might be predatory trade agreements, and that Jeremy Corbin is especially concerned about Britain being forced to accept the US's tainted meat. (American readers, most of whom probably eat said meat and don't worry about it, might justifiably find this a relatively trivial objection in the face of the prospect of greater British agility and sovereignty.) Any other reasons to stay in the EU? Not really.

Johnson is presented throughout as a protagonist and the major focus of the story. The language describing him is emotional and largely from his perspective: he "implored lawmakers", he's "not daunted or dismayed", he's "defiant", he suffered a "stinging setback", he's "flamboyant", he "spoke with a tone of gravity and conciliation" (but at least we're told that "that contrasted starkly with the inflammatory language he has used during previous parliamentary debates", though we aren't given any specifics). No other person given any description at all, except maybe May.

There's no mention of the Good Friday Agreement, of the potential consequences to the survival of the Union. There's no mention of xenophobia, immigration, hate crimes, the rights of UK citizens in the EU and vice versa. No mention of what is actually projected to happen under a no-deal Brexit. No mention of three years of bad faith.

There's so much more. It might seem like a decent article to someone who already knows the whole story, but I'd be willing to bet most uninformed readers would come out confused as to the particulars and with the basic impression that Brexit is probably a good thing, that it's basically a matter of better or worse trade deals, that Johnson is probably a decent, passionate guy, and that everyone should just get it done with and end the chaos and confusion, which are the primary bad results to be avoided.

I'm not sure why I spent so long writing all this out, but I read the article before I saw Dunt's comment and found it pretty depressing. Apologies if it's a derail.
posted by trig at 3:54 PM on October 20, 2019 [14 favorites]


> For better or for worse I, like many readers, want to understand: who are the goodies here? Who are the baddies?
None such clear division, it's just fifty shades of shitty.
posted by farlukar at 5:03 PM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Johnson has quietly dumped old Leave referendum lies and fantasies. Instead: simple new slogan of "just getting Brexit done". No accountability for all those broken promises/false expectations. But he's just as dishonest as ever: this self-inflicted misery=still in its infancy
Twitter thread Michael Dougan,
Professor of European Law, University of Liverpool
posted by adamvasco at 6:29 PM on October 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


Does that mean that, after the Letwin amendment passed, the government should have immediately whipped against its deal, so that Parliament wouldn't be stuck to the new schedule of having to approve the Withdrawal Agreement Bill first, instead of the old schedule of approving the Meaningful Vote first?

Whipped for, even with amendment, and concede that you're not going for no-deal by 31st oct. You'd then get those who want to vote for the WA but wanted to block the possibility of no-deal ala Letwin himself; several of the ex-tory rebels, and possibly some more Labour rebels. The gov only needed 8 to switch over.

That then gives you a proven majority for the deal, sight unseen, without changes. You then use that to try and ram the bill through fast, and would help silence opposition in Lords.

Without a proven majority for the deal, by just letting the amended motion through without a division, the gov basically lost on the scheduling of Bill first, without also confirming their numbers for the deal as is; bearing in mind at that point most MPs would barely have had time to even skim the deal, let alone read the details. Now everyone feels its open season for amendments on the Bill, and numbers may change due to back room deals, pressure by whips etc, or even just reading what's actually in there.

In effect, they've lost momentum and a chance to prove that Parliament was actually (just) onside with their plan, which then would've helped with EU leaders delaying a decision on whether to grant an extension, and use that ambiguity to get the Bill through cleanly - no deal on 31st is still a possibility if the EU refuse an extension, after all.

Now the gov is going to try this again on Monday, effectively ignoring Saturday altogether. Which will probably get stopped by Bercow. Then they will have to publish the full bill, it can get bogged down, they still have to deal with the vote on the Queen's speech...

Basically Rees-Mogg screwed up and then stomped off in a fit of pique, and it couldn't have happened to a more deserving fellow.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 8:15 PM on October 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


Parliament are in favour, the Supreme Court have ruled against the government's tactics re prorogation and there are ongoing protests involving hundreds of thousands of people, and a petition of several million, for another vote.

It all adds up to a serious crisis of legitimacy, exacerbated by the Supreme Court decision, which I think, despite the cheerleading here and elsewhere, will come to be seen as a (an?) historic mistake.

To riff on Henry Kissinger's famous question: when the EU wants to get the UK on the phone, who does it call?
posted by AillilUpATree at 1:06 AM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Supreme Court’s decision was a response to a crisis of legitimacy, not its cause. It asserted the primacy of Parliament against an overmighty Executive. The ‘historic mistake’ was for the UK to move toward US-style presidential governance without the check of a written constitution. Although that doesn’t seem to be doing them a whole lot of good at the moment.

I may be misreading your comment but it seems perilously close to the kind of ‘well someone has to be in charge, we just have to get this done’ thinking that led to article 50 being triggered with no plan or agreement on what Brexit even meant and this whole rolling clusterfuck.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:19 AM on October 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


The Supreme Court’s decision was a response to a crisis of legitimacy, not its cause.

That's certainly one way of seeing it: from my perspective the judiciary inserted itself into a dialogue between the monarch and her prime minister, exercised its powers of clairvoyance, and changed what had been a unitary constitution (without a formal distinction between Parliament and executive, imported from US constitutional theory.)

The late political scientist Juan Linz made the point that such a unitary political system was superior to a US-type system, because the sort of constitutional impasse that has plagued the US during recent administrations was impossible: a government that had lost the majority to govern would be subject to a general election, restoring legitimacy and a workable majority. We now see that this is not the case: the opposition refuses to call a general election (which they would probably lose) in order to keep an illegitimate government in office. The supreme court judgement did nothing to resolve this crisis.
posted by AillilUpATree at 2:32 AM on October 21, 2019


Sounds like your issue is with the Fixed Term Parliament Act then, not the SC decision. It was the FTPA that got rid of the automatic fall of any government that can't command confidence.
posted by Dysk at 3:22 AM on October 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


the judiciary inserted itself into a dialogue between the monarch and her prime minister

I am not convinced that there was a dialogue. My belief is that the judiciary inserted itself into a vacuum—or at best a discussion between Johnson and a sock puppet. If there was as discussion, it was not made public—which would seem to me to be a basic requirement for good government. At least the Supreme Court's intervention was public, minutely documented, and scrutinised. It could never by its nature "resolve the situation" but it did throw the problem back to those who can (parliament).

As for the EU, they pick up the phone to Johnson: they have been negotiating with him and his government. He lost his majority in the HoC but made it clear he would continue as PM. He has made it clear that even if he loses a confidence vote he will continue as PM. And so on.

I have a lot of criticisms of the opposition, but to lay this mess at their door is a stretch.
posted by dudleian at 3:30 AM on October 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


I think basically we only have a unicameral system when the government has a solid majority. Then in practice the Prime Minister (Executive) tells the House of Commons (Legislature) what to do.

Now we have a minority government that can't in practice command the House of Commons, we're into a standard bicameral situation where the Executive is at loggerheads with the Legislature. This seems like a weird situation to us because we're not used to it, but it's not uncommon in bicameral systems. It's also pretty common when they're tied that some kind of court has to get involved.

In part the British government is dealing badly with this though. Both Theresa May and Boris Johnson came into power without any experience as a party leader in government or opposition. I.e. neither of them had any experience of winning tight votes in the House of Commons, which is the thing they both needed most badly.

But also in previous crises like the World Wars and the Great Depression, Parliament has formed unity governments to avoid these problems. As far as I know it's unprecedented in the UK to have a government with a fragile or non-existent majority try to deal with a complicated crisis.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:59 AM on October 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


As far as I know it's unprecedented in the UK to have a government with a fragile or non-existent majority try to deal with a complicated crisis.

In a sense it's a no-risk situation now - they can lose votes and keep going. That wasn't possible in the past, so seeking cross-party involvement or buy-in to whatever you were trying was more inherently necessary and non-optional than now.
posted by Dysk at 4:17 AM on October 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Fixed Term Parliament Act then, not the SC decision

A little from both columns, but it's a good point. If the UK Constitution is anything definite (and the grounds are shifting all the time)

I am not convinced that there was a dialogue. My belief is that the judiciary inserted itself into a vacuum—or at best a discussion between Johnson and a sock puppet.

My source is impeccable, sir, it is Private Eye. Link here. There was more: I can dig it up later if necessary. The point is that the narrative that the queen was duped by a rascally prime minister is not necessarily the truth. It seemed extraordinary that the court would rule on the intentions of the prime minister in private communication with the queen.

If there was as discussion, it was not made public—which would seem to me to be a basic requirement for good government.

There's a reason it's known as the Privy Council.
posted by AillilUpATree at 4:17 AM on October 21, 2019


There's a reason it's known as the Privy Council.

Not a good reason, though.
posted by Dysk at 4:20 AM on October 21, 2019


They explicitly did not rule on the intentions of the prime minister, only the effect. It was a central thrust of their judgement.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:00 AM on October 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm hearing a lot of "let's just get on with it", even from Remainers and friends and family outside the UK. The narrative that leaving is the biggest milestone of Brexit and then we can just crack on with business as usual is a fantasy that needs to die.

Once/if we leave, the real work starts and we'll be looking to this government to be guiding and looking out for the nation's best interest. What about the last 3 years gives anyone the confidence that they're up for the job?
posted by slimepuppy at 5:59 AM on October 21, 2019 [10 favorites]


Yep, that "let's get on with it", given how useless this shower is is a big worry.

Really important to argue against it whenever you hear it, is all I can say.
posted by ambrosen at 6:18 AM on October 21, 2019


A lot of the pro-Brexit arguments are being amplified by a huge swarm of Twitter accounts created in January 2017; these accounts are also amplifying Tulsi Gabbard and have had either Trump, MAGA or KAG in their bios. Make of that what you will.
posted by acb at 6:48 AM on October 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


Bercow’s ruled against a meaningful vote today, so they have to bring legislation. Thank God for Ian Dunt, I’d be so lost without him at the moment. Is there some kind of secular canonisation or non-Queen-related honour we can give him?
posted by penguin pie at 7:42 AM on October 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


penguin pie, from what I've read of his Twitter feed, I think Dunt has more earthly concerns than honor and glory. I think he would find it real swell if people contributed to the Remainiacs Patreon, and if you ever see him around London, order him a drink.
posted by facehugger at 8:42 AM on October 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


I pre-ordered his book based on his twitter account :-)
posted by Pendragon at 8:49 AM on October 21, 2019


Cheers, facehugger, will take a look. Reminds me I never got round to replying to your Dennis Skinner comment! You missed his best-known quote -

Skinner: "Half the Tory members opposite are crooks."
When told to withdraw this remark by the Speaker: "OK, half the Tory members aren't crooks."

I had the good fortune to be in the public gallery of the Commons on 22 November 1990, when Thatcher made her resignation speech. Watching Thatcher spar with Skinner that day was my first introduction to the 'game' of politics - where, even for dedicated public servants like Skinner, who knew how much was at stake for the deprived and powerless in the country, there was, from time to time, still pleasure to be had from the quarrel.

If Brexit's only positive legacy is to have introduced a new generation to Dennis Skinner I guess it'll all have been worth it 😉. Maybe....
posted by penguin pie at 9:07 AM on October 21, 2019 [6 favorites]




>It seemed extraordinary that the court would rule on the intentions of the prime minister in private communication with the queen

It would be, if it had, but it didn't. The Supreme Court judgement specifically said (para 15) that it couldn't form any view on the PM's conversations with the Queen:
We know that in approving the prorogation, Her Majesty was acting on the advice of the Prime Minister. We do not know what conversation passed between them when he gave her that advice. We do not know what conversation, if any, passed between the assembled Privy Counsellors before or after the meeting. We do not know what the Queen was told and cannot draw any conclusions about it.
The judges also made it clear that they were "not concerned with the Prime Minister’s motive in doing what he did" (para 58, italics in original). All they were concerned with was whether the prorogation had the effect of "frustrating or preventing, without reasonable justification, the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions", and as we know, they ruled that it did.

>As far as I know it's unprecedented in the UK to have a government with a fragile or non-existent majority try to deal with a complicated crisis

Not completely unprecedented, but you have to go back to 1910 for the last time it happened ..
posted by verstegan at 1:42 PM on October 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Regarding the WAB, JR-M quoth: “A king emperor left in 24 hours, and we are removing an imperial yoke in over a week”. Who could he have been talking about? Is it someone classical that he's neglecting the tiny detail that it took losing a war to do so?
posted by scruss at 2:10 PM on October 21, 2019


A king emperor left in 24 hours, and we are removing an imperial yoke in over a week”. Who could he have been talking about?

It took about a day for the legalities of the abdication of Edward VIII, King of the UK and Emperor of India. (Though it took longer in the then Irish Free State - DeValera used it as an opportunity to remove references to the King in the constitution, so officially Edward VIII was king for a day longer in Ireland.)
posted by scorbet at 2:33 PM on October 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Obligatory xkcd.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:53 PM on October 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


"we are removing an imperial yoke in over a week"

Somebody needs to chlorinate that man's chicken.
posted by flabdablet at 11:33 PM on October 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


Ian Dunt: Brexit legislation: This is a mandate for another year of no-deal chaos:
This does not get Brexit done. It creates a set of internally incompatible circumstances in which the Brexit battle starts again immediately on November 1st, with a new cliff edge at the end of 2020...

...the fundamental structure of the existing Brexit debate is basically copied-and-pasted into the transition period: an impossible timetable, with severe status-quo consequences in case of failure, and no clear idea of what the government wants to do or whether it can find parliamentary approval, here or in Europe...

The deal the UK has struck with the EU strikes a bizarre kind of middle point between possible models. There will be two camps in the post-deal landscape: those who want a close relationship with the EU and those who want to cut themselves off completely and pursue a trade deal with the US. But the deal actually blocks off either of those options...

Pursuing a genuinely close relationship is made legally impossible. The political declaration rules out membership of the single market or the customs union. This cannot be changed by parliament in the future. Section 13C of the legislation states that ministerial objectives for the future relationship "must be consistent with the political declaration"...

But there are other issues too. The US wants countries to come to its orbit on standards - the vast network of industrial methods which operate above the level of regulation - rather than the EU one.

The same applies to geographical indications. These are the EU's protective arrangements for certain products, like champagne, which lock it down to a certain area. The US relies on trademarks instead. It is in a long trade battle with the EU over which system wins.

Here's the thing. The UK caved to the EU in each of these areas. The political declaration pledges that it and the EU "should treat one another as single entities as regards SPS measures" - these are the agricultural standards that would block US imports. It also signs up to "common principles in the fields of standardisation, technical regulations, conformity assessments, accreditation, market surveillance" - which indicates membership of European standards bodies - and geographical indications.

So the government's approach seems to close down both camp's final goals. It would rule out a genuinely close relationship with the EU and rule out a free trade agreement with the US.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:55 AM on October 22, 2019 [14 favorites]


This New Statesman article by Stephen Bush is also quite good "What to look out for as parliament votes on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal"

He mentions that one reason why some MP's may support the deal - despite its manifest problems - is that it approving it would deny the government to go into an election under a "save Brexit" banner. Don't know if there is any truth in that.
posted by rongorongo at 4:49 AM on October 22, 2019


This article, by Peter Oborne, is also worth a read: British journalists have become part of Johnson’s fake news machine
posted by pipeski at 4:59 AM on October 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


This does not get Brexit done. It creates a set of internally incompatible circumstances in which the Brexit battle starts again immediately on November 1st, with a new cliff edge at the end of 2020...

Schrodinger's Brexit. The UK is both in and out of the EU until somebody finally looks into the box.

He mentions that one reason why some MP's may support the deal - despite its manifest problems - is that it approving it would deny the government to go into an election under a "save Brexit" banner. Don't know if there is any truth in that.

It's positively infuriating that conservatives can run pond scum with a mop for a wig and people will still vote for it over potentially scary change that might improve their lives but also might give a disabled person or an immigrant something they didn't "earn".

If there is a hell, Murdoch will hopefully have a lot to answer for.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:52 AM on October 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


Ayes 329
Nos 299

The Ayes have it

Govt wins the 2nd reading vote.
Majority of 30

Fuck.
posted by fullerine at 11:18 AM on October 22, 2019


Programme motion defeated.

Ayes 308
Noes 322
posted by Pendragon at 11:33 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


That's not the important one - the Programme Motion to limit debate to 3 days is more important...

And the government just lost, 322 - 308!

FUCK YES!
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:34 AM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Jesus, my heart was palpitating and I had a slight hand tremor waiting on that one, it would have been pretty much the end of the road had the government won...
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:36 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


And the debate is suspended. There is consternation abroad - in every sense.

What now? I didn't know how little I didn't know before, but I guess Boris goes for an election and Parliament has to decide whether to let him have it. I remain of the opinion that VONC-Caretaker-Ref is the best way forward, but fuck knows what happened with those numbers tonight or where the heads of the MPs - especially those on the left who voted for this - are.

None of this is good for my not-drinking-during-the-week policy.
posted by Devonian at 11:44 AM on October 22, 2019


Jesus, my heart was palpitating and I had a slight hand tremor waiting on that one, it would have been pretty much the end of the road had the government won...

No shit. Rafael Behr in the Guardian has described Remain in the last year or so as "a sequence of tactical, rearguard successes on a long retreat". It's really nervewracking. I'm ready for a big victory now.
posted by tavegyl at 11:46 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


No shit. Rafael Behr in the Guardian has described Remain in the last year or so as "a sequence of tactical, rearguard successes on a long retreat". It's really nervewracking. I'm ready for a big victory now.

Yup. It's funny/ironic, I had a thought at the weekend while similarly refreshing Twitter looking at Behr/Dunt/Allen Green's feeds during the Letwin Amendment vote - it was the IRA's warning to Thatcher: "...but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always".

It's ironic that the forces of the Tory party, so intent on damaging everything, either for a right-wing ideology of deregulation or for personal profit, are those who only have to be lucky once on Brexit votes. Those of us who want to Remain have to keep being lucky until sanity prevails.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:55 AM on October 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


It's hard to hold onto hope right now given that crushing win for the deal bill, with the full consequences of it barely investigated, but it seems any realistic chance of getting the withdrawal bill through by october 31st just died. So an extension at least, assuming the EU state leaders will grant one. Johnson said previously he was going to try again for a general election if he lost on scheduling. Queen's speech for the next two days, and that presumably will *not* attract support from the Labour quislings leavers - so he could lose that. Previously a confidence issue before the FTPA (but no longer) - but that would be a logical time for a vote of no confidence if we're ever going to have one. Either possibility might not go the way Boris et al want.

So not all is lost, not yet. If the gov had won both votes by that kind of margin, I honestly don't see how we wouldn't be leaving on the 31st with the deal, with a very likely crash-out in Dec 2020. We're still in the fight, just.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:10 PM on October 22, 2019


I wouldn't put too much stock in the margin of victory of the 2nd reading - it's the only way to progress the bill to the amendment stage. That allows all sorts of things to be proposed to amend into the bill, including things like a Customs Union requirement - some Labour Leavers would want that - and a 2nd Referendum requirement. A CU requirement would be a poison pill for Johnson's ERG cronies.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:16 PM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Per Ian Dunt, Nigel Dodds (DUP) said that "on second reading, many honorable members voted for that although they were against the contents of the deal . . . it is perfectly proper and right to allow further time for detailed examination of some of the most important legislation we will ever have to consider."

He also noted earlier that because this is legislation rather than a "meaningful vote" the procedural breakdown is different, and MPs who oppose the deal might still want to move it forward to the point where they can offer amendments.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:18 PM on October 22, 2019


That allows all sorts of things to be proposed to amend into the bill, including things like a Customs Union requirement - some Labour Leavers would want that - and a 2nd Referendum requirement.

True, but it doesn't sound there's the numbers for a 2nd ref, and it's hard to put a customs union in as a poison pill because that can be removed later unless they make it necessary to require negotiating one before leaving - and that's a much tougher one to get the numbers to add in. Great thread on that here by George Peretz QC.
@GeorgePeretzQC
Important point for those accepting the deal and relying on amendments to take off the hard edges: such amendments are written on water, as what is in one Act of Parliament can easily be repealed by another.
So putting it in as effectively an aspiration means the gov can still leave with it in place, with the plan to neuter it during the transition. The default will still remain going to WTO status with no deal at all at the end of the transition, which looks to be why the ERG are on board - they're counting in getting us out now, then killing any chance of an agreement during transition.

But we'll see what happens next, I suppose, fingers crossed.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:34 PM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


My brain hurts, I'm constantly struggling to keep up with what's going on and changing, switching tactics and motivations. It's like Game of Thrones but times a million and there's no dragons and everyone is yelling and I want to cry.

Thanks to everyone on this thread for helping me understand the omnishambles though :)/
posted by Chaffinch at 12:35 PM on October 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


At this point, I'm half-expecting Boris Johnson to stand up in Parliament and actually yell "Mornington Crescent".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:55 PM on October 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


After seeing the 30 majority for the 2nd reading it seemed like the program motion was going to pass.
19 Labour rebels seemed disastrous until it transpired that 15 of them immediately then voted against the program motion.

Looks like Corbyn said "ok, you can defy the whip on the 2nd reading but vote down the program motion"

The usual suspects voted aye on both; Kevin Barron, Jim Fitzpatrick, Caroline Flint and John Mann with Hoey abstaining the 2nd reading in solidarity with the DUP.
posted by fullerine at 1:02 PM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


> doesn't sound there's the numbers for a 2nd ref

In the past six months, the People's Vote campaign has organised two of the largest demonstrations in the country's history - over a million people at each march - specifically to ask for such a referendum. There was no other purpose to those marches.

That a majority of MPs could be against such a simple, cheap, peaceful, democratic, complete and unifying solution to this entire problem is utterly unbelievable, and extraordinary. What planet are they on?

Please, write to your MP to request they vote for a second referendum. This deal, vs. remaining in the EU.

Thanks to this evening, there is time to do this; we must do this.
posted by Quagkapi at 1:02 PM on October 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


I wonder how much personal enjoyment Donald Tusk gets out of trolling Boris Johnson every step of the way.
posted by fullerine at 1:23 PM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]




You guys, today was internationally anxiety-provoking.

But the Tories in Canada did not become the majority party!

And we've staved off no-deal and all forms of Brexit at the end of this month (and put down good foundations for defeating the Tories in an upcoming General Election)!

Sometimes success is just being able to stand up to fight for another day.

Today we're still standing. And for that, today was a good day.
posted by facehugger at 1:32 PM on October 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


Never mind Tusk trolling Johnson, Verhofstadt's not holding back on you-know-who.
posted by scruss at 2:23 PM on October 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


Ok, a thing that (I'm quite sure) will happen, and things that should happen.

WILL: EU will grant an extension to January 31st, 2020, as part of the Benn Act. "No. 10 sources" and therefore lotsa journos think that Johnson will negotiate with the EU to only offer an extension to mid-November, but that would be both Johnson and the EU working against official UK law. It's now entirely in the EU's court, and based off of their entire history of taking the high road during this Brexit saga, I don't see them trying to create more of a mess by working secretly with Johnson to frustrate an official letter that has already been officially sent to them, especially since the Scottish Court's nobile officium is still hanging like the sword of Damocles above the PM's head. It would be easy and clean for them to just follow the letter of UK law and extend to January 31st, 2020, so why wouldn't they?

Of course my dream would be parliament voting to revoke or voting for a 2nd referendum, but the amount of Tory and Labour MPs who still swear up and down that they want to "respect the will of the people," has thoroughly convinced me that with this current bunch of MPs, we will never get the numbers for a 2nd referendum. Worryingly enough, we're seeing that the numbers for this current bunch of MPs are starting to slide towards supporting a deal. Even if we ever cobbled together a GNU, that Brexit-exhaustion has become bone-deep. That means that we need to get a new bunch of MPs.

SHOULD: The Opposition should vote down the Queen's Speech this Thursday and immediately vote for a General Election. Johnson and Cummings seem to only be powered by aggression at this point, so I think it's likely that the Tories would jump for it and we'd get the 2/3 necessary under FTPA.

People are scared because of how Labour is polling, but there are two important factors the current polls are not considering:

1) The Tories might be massacred because Johnson pinned everything on Oct 31st Brexit.

2) Corbyn is very, very good at campaigning and Johnson is not. I know the Tory leadership election was several centuries ago, but remember that Johnson spent the entire time as invisible as possible - he rarely did interviews or meeting people on the street. As we've seen in his tenure as PM, we now know it's because he's terrible at both, which are the bread-and-butter of campaigning. I really think we'll see a repeat of 2017, when May went into the election with double digit numbers but pissed it all away because guess what, the Tory leadership party =/ General Election success, and campaigning well to the masses still matters.

3) C'mon man, just plaster that picture of a lounging Rees-Mogg everywhere. Here's a reminder. See? Didn't looking at it again drive you to blinding red road rage? That road rage will drive you to the polls.

If Labour wins the General Election, at this point I'm confident that Corbyn will stick to party policy and will offer a 2nd referendum in good faith, and the new bunch of MPs in parliament will vote it through. Secret Lexiteer etc. but the tenor of his words on this issue has changed drastically since the beginning of this year, and at this point his messaging for a 2nd referendum has been consistent, heartfelt, and clear for months. (At this, we all need to bow down to Keir Starmer, who has been thanklessly pulling Corbyn towards a People's Vote for years. And with the Opposition successes of the two high-wire-act bills this week, we also need to really, really thank Labour's Chief Whip Nick Brown. Fun fact - through all the decades of Corbyn being a serial backbench rebel, he's faced Brown as Chief Whip under two different administrations, and through it at all they have developed an unexpected friendship.

SUPER FUTURE SHOULD: Repeal the damn FTPA!!!
posted by facehugger at 2:39 PM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


1) The Tories might be massacred because Johnson pinned everything on Oct 31st Brexit.

That's only if Farage shows up to play the spoiler. Otherwise, the Tories are the party of Brexit up against the mean old opposition who only wanted to frustrate Brexit at every turn.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:47 PM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Honestly, we've only really seen positive tangible effects of Johnson's macho posturing on MPs and conservative Twitterati. MPs are twisting themselves upside down because Politics often leads to self-docking 50 points off one's IQ, and things get amplified on Twitter that are not amplified in real life.

Look at what's been proven in real life - when Johnson goes out, people heckle him, they don't surround him with support; and Johnson has lost again and again and again, even with his inflammatory language.

Farage will show up - god knows he has nothing else to do - but even if he's more dampened than expected, we can't be so quick to discount the power of the Opposition. I think it's just as naive to underestimate the Opposition (especially with the increasing power and reach of the People's Vote campaign and alliance) as it is to underestimate Farage and the Tories.

I think we are also serially underestimating how much of a disadvantage the Opposition is in, in a parliamentary context, and how different it will be in an election context. So far we've only been seen small steps forward because in the parliamentary context, the Opposition will always be on defense, but all bets are off in a General Election - Labour will be on far more equal footing with the Tories, especially since we will be able to directly use the People's Vote organizing power directly on the campaign, in a way that we haven't been able to at all in a parliamentary context.
posted by facehugger at 3:03 PM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


I really, really, really hope you’re right, but Labour are 10 points behind in opinion polls right now and (unbelievably to me, and I’m far from being a Corbyn fan), Corbyn is somehow currently coming a distant third in a field of two while being beaten by Johnson as prime minister material among every age group and in every region.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:09 PM on October 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Corbyn is very, very good at campaigning and Johnson is not.

Corbyn is incredibly bad at leading the Labour Party. Practically any other Labour leader would have been PM by now. And if you want Brexit stopped, perhaps you shouldn't pin your hopes on someone who fervently wants it to go ahead.

Also, there's the whole antisemitism thing. A year ago there were four female Jewish MPs on the Labour benches. Now there's one, and I wouldn't bet on her staying either. Labour staff members employed to investigate antisemitism are suing the party over their toxic treatment. In fact, Labour, shamefully, is being investigated by the EHRC over these and other allegations. I say allegations, but there's plenty on the open record through Twitter and so forth, everything up to and including allegations that Khazar Jews are working through the Rothschilds to bring down Corbyn so they don't have to pay taxes. And they were behind the slave trade, and drink Palestinian blood, etc. I wish I were making this stuff up. The process of disciplining members for this has been deliberately slowed down, and Corbyn's mates have repeatedly been let off the hook. 85% of British Jews think he's an antisemite. You probably couldn't get 85% of British Jews to agree it's Tuesday.

I don't want Johnson to get in, but if I were in a position to vote you would see me tactically voting against Corbyn, because he is an existential threat to Jewish life in Britain.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:41 PM on October 22, 2019 [9 favorites]


while being beaten by Johnson as prime minister material among every age group and in every region.

Well, but Boris will be dead in a ditch somewhere, won't he? So Corbyn will have that going for him.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:45 PM on October 22, 2019


Corbyn is incredibly bad at leading the Labour Party. Practically any other Labour leader would have been PM by now.

This. Tony Blair, war criminal that he is, would clean Boris's clock in an election any day of the week.

Corbyn on the other hand scares the normies. I realize any dyed in the wool socialist is going to get the eye of Murdoch lanced upon them but Jesus, does Jezza continually have to make it so easy for them?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:47 PM on October 22, 2019 [11 favorites]


His individual policies are actually very popular. His sketchiness on Brexit aside, I would embrace his platform in a heartbeat. I just can’t believe it’s that hard for Labour to find someone 1) leftwing, who can 2) appreciate that for all its faults the EU is waaaay ahead of the UK baseline on labour rights, consumer rights and the environment, and has been used to launder progressive policies into UK legislation for decades, and 3) doesn’t look and act like a geography teacher who is brutally bullied every afternoon by the Year 9s. I know a lot of people who argue that he gets treated unfairly by the press, but that’s the job description for the time being. Anybody to the left of Genghis Khan is going to get monstered by the press. Any party leader needs to control their MPs, control their messaging, and position themselves as a credible alternative to the faltering and failing Tory PMs, regardless of 100% guaranteed uncharitable framing. He’s succeeded in none of that, and instead gets the absolute shit kicked out of him constantly for days on end while the Tories set the country on fire.

Obviously I am going to vote Labour in the upcoming general election, and we go to the country with the leader we have. I just wish that the party had used the evident popularity of his stances to get someone with a faint chance of getting into power while there was still time. Just because I like his policies doesn’t mean he gets a pass from empirical reality, and the man is about as popular as gangrene.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:08 PM on October 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


Tony Blair, war criminal that he is, would clean Boris's clock in an election any day of the week

Tony Blair was a neoliberal centrist, so of course he would have appeal to swing Tories and Lib Dems. Corbyn is definitely left wing and it's a lot harder to sell that to everyone.
posted by Chaffinch at 1:12 AM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think the various arguments about who, out of Johnson and Corbyn, would run the best election campaign, might be over-estimating the relative importance of their parties after an election. Both Labour the Conservative parties currently support Brexit. Those parties which emphatically don't support Brexit - notably the Lib Dems and SNP - will do pretty well with remainers (most voters). Staedtler sums up some of the figures. Polls put the Conservatives ahead on numbers but , even if we assume they might end up with 100 more seats than Labour (say 220 to 320) we could reasonably also have 50 seats for the Lib Dems and 50 for the SNP. The Tories face a tricky campaign if they are to avoid losses of voters to both the right and left. But even if they come out as the largest party, they would still lack the numbers to form a government. It is therefore the formation and behaviour of a non Tory coalition which looks to be all important.
posted by rongorongo at 1:21 AM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


"Labour supports Brexit" is a statement that has been used to try to prick Labour into adopting a clear position against Brexit, because they're really sensitive about not being seen that way.

They're actually being relatively clear that they favour a referendum between some form of 'soft' Brexit and Remain, but don't want to campaign on a particular option. That's kind of necessary when you're both promising to negotiate a better WA, and then to let people choose whether to implement it or revoke. It's not in itself an unreasonable approach, although it's unlikely to sell well when the media won't credit its viewership/readership with any intelligence whatsoever.
posted by pipeski at 2:37 AM on October 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


Centrists (i.e. right-wing economics, progressive on social issues) haven't had a lot of luck getting elected in recent years.

What's significant about Boris Johnson's platform is that he is trying to reach a section of the electorate that some commentators think are unserved: people who want left-wing economics but are right-wing on social issues. He wouldn't actually implement it, but on paper Boris Johnson is trying to sell himself as willing to splurge lots of money on more police, the NHS, and so on

Jeremy Corbyn's popularity rating is low on -60%. But centrist Ed Miliband wasn't much better, on -55. Before that Gordon Brown was down to -62 at times.

Every Labour leader except Tony Blair has had a tabloid monstering campaign which has sunk their popularity. Tony Blair got around that by meeting Rupert Murdoch and personally reassuring him that his policies would be Murdoch-friendly.

It's not going to happen that you're going to get a fresh face for the Labour party who challenges the policies of right-wing press oligarchs but still gets to be popular. Any Labour leader who does that gets a hate campaign in the right-wing press. Each incident in that campaign gets picked up by the "neutral" BBC as obviously how Ed Miliband eats a bacon sandwich is just the Big Story of the day. After that a lot of people who follow the news will decide the Labour leader just happens to be a hapless, hopeless geek, again.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:38 AM on October 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


Assuming the Lib Dems don't form a coalition with the Tories ;)

A combination of David Attenborough and Churchill would be considered unelectable if they espoused the socialist policies of Corbyn. Any Labour leader not running on neoliberal Tory-lite centrism will be targetted by a hostile media. Replacing Corbyn wouldn't make a difference as his successor would instantly suffer the same fate. They would try everything to stop them as the dog-whistling attacks on that lefty firebrand Ed Miliband showed.

At least now there's more oppurtunity to call out the shenanigans directly as the salty Robert Peston is finding out.
posted by fullerine at 2:40 AM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Corbyn is definitely left wing and it's a lot harder to sell that to everyone.

Corbyn is just not very clever. On his first press tour as leader, he had a long meeting with Guardian journalists, one of whom told me at the time that he was deeply unimpressive - he was asked "What are you going to do to win over the Tory voters you need?" and he literally could not answer the question, nor did he even seem to understand it. Another pal, a Jewish chap in tech, drove him back from a meeting in the Midlands to his Islington constituency when Corbyn's own driver was unavailable. "I had to take the opportunity, and the two things I wanted to talk about were anti-semitism and 5G. I thought I'd be on safer ground with 5G, so I asked him what he'd do about spectrum allocation and planning permission for masts. His total conversation on the matter was that during the miners' strike, he'd used CB radio. That was it."

He's been a huge mistake. The polls show him behind Johnson in every demographic, and that's inescapable proof. I wanted him to succeed and I was horrified by the monstering he was given by most of the press when he first got the job, but he's been so massively incompetent as a opposition leader at the most vital time we needed one.

Centrists (i.e. right-wing economics, progressive on social issues) haven't had a lot of luck getting elected in recent years.

I don't think that describes centrists. Here in Scotland, the SNP has been very successful at getting elected, it has a progressive social agenda and isn't scared to spend money on it or put taxes up, but is also pro-industry and very pragmatic on state involvement there. Right-wing economics, as far as such a phrase even makes sense these days, means austerity to me and is inescapably linked to the right-wing agenda of minimising the state
posted by Devonian at 2:56 AM on October 23, 2019 [26 favorites]


I noticed this morning that the motorway signs, the ones that previously said something about freight, now say:
DRIVE TO EU
NEW DOCS
1 NOV
We're paying someone to put this crap on these signs (that we, not the Conservative Party, own).
posted by winterhill at 3:27 AM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


New Statesman: Why the Tories' online ads look so ugly:
“The Comic Sans one is the one that tips you to the fact they’re doing this badly on purpose,” says Cally Gatehouse, graphic designer and lecturer at Northumbria University. “It’s such a cliché of purposely bad graphic design – but some of them aren’t...”

The awfully-designed graphics can serve a purpose. “I can see that they’re trying to portray this isn’t your slick, metropolitan elite graphic designer working on this feed: this is real people, using Comic Sans,” says Gatehouse. “Bad design often can be a way of tapping into a more authentic, grass roots voice.”...

It’s not coincidental that the deliberately poorly-designed posts come shortly after the Conservatives brought in PR firm Topham Guerin, who helped the Australian Liberal party beat Labor in May’s elections in the country. Scott Morrison’s victory there was partly propelled by equally shoddy graphic design – nicknamed “boomer memes” for their gaudy design and crass imagery designed to resonate with older voters, or baby boomers. One person working on the campaign told the Sydney Morning Herald: “We’d make them really basic and deliberately lame because they'd get shares and lift our reach”.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:29 AM on October 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Oh, and on the SNP: they have a radical and far-reaching policy in the form of Scottish Independence. They're centrists on other matters, but they're not trying to appeal to voters on don't-rock-the-boat blandness.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:48 AM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


New Statesman: Why the Tories' online ads look so ugly

That thesis is probably timeless. When I was at university in the 1990s, the Labor student group, greens, socialists and such all had polished graphic design, obviously done by someone with a sense of aesthetics. The conservative (“Liberal”) students' pamphlets, meanwhile were a dog's breakfast of the free fonts that came with Corel Draw, stretched egregiously just because they could be. Presumably because the tories had more important things to be concerned with, if not an Ayn Randian contempt for anything more subtle than brute dominance.

Meanwhile, Charlie Brooker writing in 2009 about the British National Party's ugly design:
Extremist material of any kind always looks gaudy and cheap, like a bad pizza menu. Not because they can't afford decent computers - these days you can knock up a professional CD cover on a pay-as-you-go mobile - but because anyone who's good at graphic design is likely to be a thoughtful, inquisitive sort by nature. And thoughtful, inquisitive sorts tend to think fascism is a bit shit, to be honest. If the BNP really were the greatest British party, they'd have the greatest British designer working for them - Jonathan Ive, perhaps, the man who designed the iPod. But they don't. They've got someone who tries to stab your eyes out with primary colours.
posted by acb at 5:49 AM on October 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


"What are you going to do to win over the Tory voters you need?" and he literally could not answer the question

They don't need to impress Tories, they need to encourage younger people to vote and others who feel disenfranchised. Framing it as winning over Tories as though they hold the keys is an extremely Guardian thing to assume, like American Dems appealing to R voters. It won't happen. The polls aren't worth a damn considering the last election and Labour only need a few gains to be capable of a coalition or outright majority. This is me being optimistic.

I'm resigned to my country voting or enabling Tories again anyway because I truly believe we as a nation (England more than UK) hate everything and want everything to be worse rather than a poor person get a cheap home. Hopefully I'm wrong and if Corbyn's not good enough I hope we can learn a lesson and the genuine left can keep pushing forward because god knows we haven't had a true left wing in this country for 30 years, since which the fruits have been sold off to produce the current climate.

As for the SNP, they are far far more socially left than the "centrists" we've had down here. Free uni, etc
posted by Chaffinch at 7:26 AM on October 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


One problem is that there is a lot going on with the labour party that most people outside it won't ever see.
When Corbyn was elected the party was largely controlled by progress (which is roughly Blair's version of momentum). They had done a fair bit of shady stuff which meant that party members had very little control over (for example) MP selection or policy choice.

Having the party leader onside meant there was just enough of a push to start making some changes, but those changes were not sweeping purges, but replacement of key people over time, and of course the party right made wild noises about stalinist purges whenever they lost control of something.

But that's one reason why Corbyn faced such a desultory start. The media office were against him, the MPs were against him, the NEC was against him. Slowly over time this has got better.

I don't want to bang on too much here, because it's not a thread about the internal working of the labour party, but it's a lot more complicated than it appears. Corbyn doesn't make policy (he steers it, certainly, but the main thing he's done is devolve power away from the leaders office back to the NEC and the CLPs)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:41 AM on October 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


@winterhill: That message used to say 'Freight to EU - Papers may change - Nov 1'.

It's ironic, as before the programme motion vote, the Johnson-Cummings Propaganda Machine (paid for with £100M of our money) seemed to be toning the message down. Now that the vote has effectively scuppered any kind of Brexit on October 31, the JCPM seems to have decided to ignore that fact and are ramping it back up. The old motorway message said things MAY change on Nov 1; the new one says they WILL.

Then there's the Countdown of Fear on electronic billboards: 'There are now only 9 days to get ready for Brexit!' I hope they forget the passwords and the ads carry on counting down beyond October 31, displaying minus numbers.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 10:05 AM on October 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


I hope they forget the passwords and the ads carry on counting down beyond October 31, displaying minus numbers.

Not that I would ever do it but in an election someone could just photoshop one of these, stick it on a flier with the giant heading "THE BETRAYAL OF BORIS!" and endorse the BNP or UKIP or Brexit party or whatever omnishambles people run to when the Tories have too much empathy. It'd be completely intellectually dishonest but then again, so is the right. Split the right for a fucking change instead of the left and the center.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:27 AM on October 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


I hope there's an integer overflow and they end up reading "There are now only 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 days to get ready for Brexit!"
posted by Acey at 11:00 AM on October 23, 2019 [14 favorites]


The legal requirement, under the Sewell Act, for the Scottish parliament to approve the withdrawal bill (since it makes reference to some devolved issues) could be a headache for Johnson.
posted by rongorongo at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


I work on Operation Yellowhammer. We all know what we’re doing is for show.
But if I learned one thing from the Extinction Rebellion protesters who occupied most of Whitehall last week it’s that the impact of all of this will make us wish we had all got angrier sooner.
posted by adamvasco at 11:07 AM on October 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


Huh, apparently the BBC has apologised to Priti Patel because Marr accused her of laughing, but she just looks like that all the time.

Which was impressively thorough and rapid compared to (to pick a name at random) Diane Abbot's treatment by them.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:52 PM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


There's probably a whole separate post to be made on right wing design, but just while we're touching on it, this was a piece of prime batshit UKIP political flyering that came through my door a wee while back. Trying to corner the Scottish Brexit vote with a weird Brigadoon-like sepiatone picture of a steam train on the Glenfinnan viaduct, and sidestepping the toxic name of UKIP by hiding behind EFDD branding instead, the logo of which, for no obvious reason, abreviates its name to EFD2 rather than EFDD.

I mean. Fucking bonkers. But maybe some kind of weird graphic design dog whistle that will hit home perfectly with the people they're aiming at.
posted by penguin pie at 2:42 PM on October 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


You know the fuckers are running scared in Scotland when they daren't even put their party's name on their own election leaflets.

The Scottish Tories have been at this too, check out this one from Colin Clark (MP for Gordon) from a few months back which manages to completely avoid including the word "conservative" anywhere at all.

There were also a lot going around which just had "RUTH DAVIDSON" and "RUTH DAVIDSON'S PARTY" in huge letters everywhere, and scarcely a mention of the c-word or even the local candidate. So much for that strategy now she's gone.

Lately I haven't had anything through the door from them at all. They're done here and they know it.
posted by automatronic at 6:32 PM on October 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


Alas, there's no legal requirement, and indeed no Sewel Act, to require the Scottish Parliament to approve Brexit. I'd love to see Holyrood get a veto, but the only thing they can rely on is the "Sewel convention", which made its way into the Scotland Act, that says that Westminster "will not normally legislate" on devolved matters without a legislative consent motion being passed at Holyrood. Brexit is not normal and given that the phrase "not normally" has to have some meaning (courts don't like interpretations of legislation that treats phrases as empty) it's hard to think of a clearer example of the sort of exception or qualification that Parliament might have had in mind when adding the convention to the Act.

So the Speaker (or ultimately, the Supreme Court) isn't going to insist on an LCM, and I'm sure Blackford is well aware of that. He wrote that letter to the Speaker not because he thinks Holyrood will get a veto but because completely dismissing Scotland in the way that Johnson did in PMQs is thoroughly contrary to the spirit of the convention and shows yet again the contempt in which the tories hold Scotland and indeed anyone who opposes them. But that's nothing new and Johnson and his gang have shown that they will ignore convention every time if it even comes close to getting in their way. This is a PM who lied to the sovereign and then shrugged it off.

It's smart politics by Blackford, and it will resonate with the Scottish voters, but it won't save us.
posted by GeckoDundee at 1:57 AM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ian Dunt thinks nows is the time for remainers to push for a general election rather than get involved in further WAB negotiations. If Johson succeeds in getting the WAB through then he'll ask for a GE anyway - and would have better terms under which to win it. Any WAB would only mitigate the damage of Brexit - and they are not dead-cert wins by any means. The Tories are ahead in the polls but would have a tough fight to grab any more seats on particular constituencies.

[Re Sewel: yes "normally" is a hell of a weasel word here].
posted by rongorongo at 2:46 AM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


I can't see any reason for an opposition party to support a WAB. It will be hard to get any "Lexity" amendments through the lobby, and in the unlikely event they got through they'd be immediately reversed if a GE returned a Conservative government. It seems pointless. You go for a GE or a referendum, depending on which you (think you) have the best chance of winning. Amending the WAB is just PR unless you think you can get a fundamental amendment like a customs union through— which would destroy the Conservative party. I doubt there would be enough support to vote it through precisely because it would destroy the Conservatives.

I worry that Labour just want to get Brexit done with relatively clean hands so they can fight an election on other topics. That's well and good so long as a). you win, and b). you can reverse the damage in the WAB so that (at a minimum) it is only as bad as May's deal.
posted by dudleian at 3:29 AM on October 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


Goddamnit.

I hate that the numbers aren't there for a confirmatory referendum amendment to the WAB. It's insane. It should be the most straightforward, obvious, sensible, moderate -- indeed conservative position on this whole bloody mess, and yet here MPs are, falling for a bullshit narrative framing where apparently the people had their fair chance to vote on this shitty deal in 2016, May's red lines were on the referendum ballot, none of the lies sold by the Leave campaign ever happened, and a followup vote four years later - which it would be by the time it happened - longer than many Parliaments - would be anti-democratic and against the Will of the People.

It's pathetic seeing the People's Vote campaign, after successfully calling two million-strong marches, including probably the largest single protest in the history of the country less than a week ago, and with a week left to the current Brexit deadline, still saying that "now is not the time" to push for a vote on the matter. Jesus fuck, if not now then when?

And yet Dunt is right. The numbers aren't there. It's a choice between pressing ahead with minimal chance in the Parliament we have, or rolling the dice on an election.

Jon Worth's latest flowchart estimates the probability of a 2nd referendum without a GE first at 2%. It's a vanishingly narrow path.

And the circumstances have changed since Johnson last pushed for an election. He's had to put a concrete deal on the table for everyone to see. Project Reality is kicking in. It may not be enough, but it's something.

So go on, let's have this sodding election. At least we'll get to fight.

But fuck me, it's going to be brutal.
posted by automatronic at 3:37 AM on October 24, 2019 [13 favorites]


I find myself returning to the tongue-in-cheek idea I mooted (what feels like) many moons ago in one of these threads - that if we have a GE now, the SNP should stand overtly anti-Brexit candidates in constituencies outside Scotland.

It provides a clear anti-Brexit candidate for people in England who can't bring themselves to vote Lib Dem, and benefits the party by increasing their chance of being granted an IndyRef post-GE.

I mean, I know it wouldn't work, it'd split the anti-Brexit vote, put off English people who don't want Scotland to leave the Union, all sorts of other things. But it's fun to think about.
posted by penguin pie at 6:25 AM on October 24, 2019


the SNP should stand overtly anti-Brexit candidates in constituencies outside Scotland.

If you want to hand certain victory to the Tories, sure. Give Labour more adversaries to battle against and split the vote with.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:26 AM on October 24, 2019


Yes, that idea doesn’t take into account the number of people in England who encounter the SNP solely through the funhouse mirror lens of the BBC/Daily Mail/Express/Sun editorial stances. They’re blood and soil ethnonationalists or whinging subsidy junkies depending on the day of the week/level of threat.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:29 AM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


The election result is going to be determined by which groups tactically collaborate best / split each others votes least: Brexit Party + Tories, or Labour + Lib Dems + Greens. The last thing we need is more Remain parties.

So ironically, if you're desperate to Leave you should hope Jo Swinson does as well for the Lib Dems as possible; and if you're desperate to Remain you should hope Nigel Farage does as well for the Brexit Party as possible.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:04 AM on October 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


It provides a clear anti-Brexit candidate for people in England who can't bring themselves to vote Lib Dem, and benefits the party by increasing their chance of being granted an IndyRef post-GE.

Who are those people, exactly?

The SNP for many people in England is basically what the Lib Dems were before the coalition years: so far removed from the political news they see that they could project whatever fantasy policies on them that they wanted. Like all the people who were shocked to see the LDs support standard Liberal policies when they were in coalition with the Conservative party despite the fantasy image people had of them as a party that was like Labour but not contaminated by Blair.

In a first past the post system, the biggest influence that third parties have (in Scotland, it is the Conservatives who are the third party) is indirectly by pulling one of the two main parties towards them. The larger party does this to protect itself from having its vote split with the smaller party sufficiently to lose seats to the other large party - not to avoid losing seats to the small party. In other words, UKIP pulled the Cs toward it but the worry was never that UKIP would have lots of MPs but that Labour might have many more while both the Cs and UKIP had a few.

Over time, the larger party digests the smaller one, having moved sufficiently to protect itself from vote splitting. The Conservative party has now completely mopped up UKIP (and Brexit party) voters on its Eurosceptic wing.

What analyses of what "Labour voters" or "Conservative voters" wanted from the referendum and since have often missed is that those groups don't matter. Labour voters in Labour constituencies and marginals that Labour could win voted Remain by a majority. Likewise the way that Conservative voters in urban Labour constituencies voted (also Remain for the most part) does not affect Conservative party policy. In FPTP there is no point making yourself popular with "the one Labour/Conservative voter in the village" because their vote does not matter.

Labour voters in Labour constituencies voted Remain by a substantial majority and only Labour's obsession with an outdated image of who the "working class voter" is blinds them to the fact that their Brexit policy is going to be abysmal electoral disaster if even a small number of those people stay home or vote for another party.
posted by atrazine at 7:18 AM on October 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


The sensible thing would be an electoral pact that turns the election into a half-decent proxy for the referendum. But that could never happen, because if Labour wanted to do the sensible thing they could have started any time in the last three years.
posted by Devonian at 8:26 AM on October 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


I find myself returning to the tongue-in-cheek idea I mooted (what feels like) many moons ago in one of these threads - that if we have a GE now, the SNP should stand overtly anti-Brexit candidates in constituencies outside Scotland.

I would humbly refer the honourable member to my previous counter-proposal, only half tongue-in-cheek, to a not dissimilar idea about extending Scottish Labour south of the border.
posted by automatronic at 8:32 AM on October 24, 2019


I.e., internal exile to a virtual Scotland, which is a state of mind?
posted by acb at 8:34 AM on October 24, 2019


I can assure you that Scotland is very much real from where I'm standing in it.

But it is also definitely a state of mind.
posted by automatronic at 8:44 AM on October 24, 2019


There are already two Scotlands, why not make a third?
posted by adrianhon at 8:45 AM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


There will be a vote on Monday about whether to call an election for December 12th. It still needs that 2/3 majority, of course.
posted by ambrosen at 9:14 AM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


**Resolves never to post idle whimsy again because even when you introduce it with the phrase “tongue in cheek” and follow up with the very words “I know it wouldn't work,” people can’t wait to leap on you and point out that it wouldn’t work, actually, thank you very much, you idiot.**
posted by penguin pie at 9:48 AM on October 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown Metafilter.
posted by Happy Dave at 10:06 AM on October 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Sturgeon seems to think Johnson’s GE proposal is a trap - seems a wise call since he seems incapable of anything else. The threat is that he would try to ram through WAB before the GE thus avoiding any impact of voters on it.
posted by rongorongo at 10:49 AM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Looks like there won't be an extension decision tomorrow. The French are saying they want to see what happens about the election.

Johnson is saying that if he doesn't get his election, the government will go on strike.

Brexit was a really bad idea, wasn't it.
posted by Devonian at 11:54 AM on October 24, 2019 [13 favorites]




That and them not wanting a Brexit on the current WA, unexamined and unamended.

I think that's a cogent position in its own right. Some of the stuff in there is very bad, even calibrated for Brexit.
posted by Devonian at 1:16 PM on October 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Okay, so:

Johnson: Demands an election on Dec. 12.

Corbyn: Fine, but only after we hear from the EU whether Brexit is being delayed until after that.

EU: No final decision on the new Brexit Day until we see what happens with this election debate.

Me: *making the sound of a Star Trek computer that's just been asked to define the concept of truth*
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:22 PM on October 24, 2019 [9 favorites]


EU: No final decision on the new Brexit Day until we see what happens with this election debate.


I thought it was just Macron doing his Hard Man act who was talking about delaying the decision or any date not Jan 31st.

Any date which is not Jan 31st will have to be voted on by Parliament.
If the EU agree to Jan 31st it's automatically accepted.

The hilarious thing being if the Tories don't get a majority then there'll have to be another extension to sort out another referendum.
May I suggest March 29th 2019 2020 ;)
posted by fullerine at 1:30 PM on October 24, 2019


Me: *making the sound of a Star Trek computer that's just been asked to define the concept of truth*

Or, may I submit.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:51 PM on October 24, 2019 [5 favorites]


It would be truly excellent if 50 microamps was all it took to let the magic smoke out of the Tory Party.
posted by flabdablet at 8:22 PM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Westminster voting intention...

if "the deadline for the UK to leave the EU has been extended beyond the 31st of October 2019":

LAB: 27%
CON: 26%
BREX: 20%
LDEM: 18%
GRN: 4%

via @ComRes, 16 - 17 Oct


I'm always wary, if not outright dubious about polls but damned if this doesn't scream "Hey Tories support an election or the commie loony left will win!"
posted by Chaffinch at 1:17 AM on October 25, 2019


I'd like to know who the "sources" are that are saying the EU won't issue an extension until Jeremy Corbyn accepts an election date. We had similar "sources" a few days ago saying the EU would tell MPs to accept Johnson's deal or there would be a No Deal. Is it just Dominic Cummings again? Because he tells outright lies a lot.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:29 AM on October 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


The motorway signs have changed again.

Now they say 'Driving to EU - New Documents 1 Nov - Check'.

So the message has changed from 'it MIGHT happen' to 'it WILL happen' to 'it MIGHT happen but probably won't'...
posted by Cardinal Fang at 2:46 AM on October 25, 2019


Sorry because I know this is coming from a place of ignorance, but...

Why doesn't the EU give a massive extension? Like 12-24 months out? That takes all of this cliffhanger bullshit off the table, and no excuse for UK government not to take a sober and full thought out approach.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:36 AM on October 25, 2019


BBC: EU ambassadors have agreed to delay Brexit, but will not make a decision on a new deadline date until next week. EU spokesperson Mina Andreeva said work on this would "continue in the coming days".

This appears to be a game of International Chicken on an epic scale. I can't blame the EU27 for wanting to see how miserable they can try to make Johnson, but I really wish we could resolve this all a bit more sensibly. Even allowing for a bit of schadenfreude on the EU side though, 99% of the fault still lies with the UK.

A quick reminder on how an election might be called, including options for bypassing the FTPA.
posted by Major Clanger at 4:38 AM on October 25, 2019


The problem is that at least 48% of the UK's population are hostages.
posted by acb at 4:50 AM on October 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


I agree that a massive extension would seem to make practical sense, but the EU has good reasons not to offer one.

Firstly, it would mean that the UK was involved in setting the EU budget for the next 7 years and paying into it until it leaves (that's the biggest issue, but there are dozens of similar, smaller ones around the UK's continuing participation in EU processes and institutions). Some UK parties would delight in this opportunity to gum up the works of the EU (e.g. by wielding our veto), and even a government well disposed towards the EU would find it difficult to behave constructively when being harried by the press and vox pops e.g. "Why are we still paying billions into an organisation should have left already?"

Secondly the EU has learned from experience that the UK wastes any time it is given. Rather than trying to resolve the situation (such as by building consensus for a compromise Brexit or having a second referendum) we indulge in navel gazing instead. "Progress" only comes at the last minute, and under extreme pressure—at which point the UK government caves to EU demands.

tl;dr There is no obvious benefit to the EU in an extension and lots of downsides. The only reason they will offer an extension is to ensure they cannot be blamed for a No Deal exit.
posted by dudleian at 6:06 AM on October 25, 2019 [10 favorites]


The problem is that at least 48% of the UK's population are hostages.

100% are hostages. A significant proportion just have Stockholm Syndrome.
posted by Dysk at 6:14 AM on October 25, 2019 [22 favorites]


A different Bias (Phil):Are we getting a longer extension? I think his reasoning sounds persuasive here. The EU will have pre-decided that they will grant a 3 month extension of Johnson’s GE proposal is approved - and a longer one or two year extension if it is not. Johnson is unlikely to get his vote because the Labour Party can make him look weak by not letting him decide his terms. If the GE request fails then Johnson would have time to get the WAB bill approved- but with amendments and scrutiny he wants to avoid.
posted by rongorongo at 8:51 AM on October 25, 2019


Here's an interesting piece on the electoral landscape . from Business Insider One of it's more interesting premises is that it'll be a lot harder for Johnson to turn his poll lead into seats than many think, because the pro-Remain vote is a lot more favourably distributed across the country (ie, it tends to fall into seats where one of the non-Tory parties has got a clear advantage and can pick up on that). The pro-Leave vote is in places which may not translate that well to Tory wins, and that's before any BXP effects.

This theory comes from an Oxford political scholar and looks quite cogent.

There's a lot more in the article, such as

n interesting poll conducted earlier this month found that the sort of Labour voters Johnson needs to target are actually motivated much more by issues such as the state of public services, and cost of living, than they are by Brexit.

It is for this reason that Johnson has spent so much time in recent months touring hospitals and announcing spending increases, in a bid to attract voters in the sort of Northern Labour seats he needs to win a majority.

However, convincing these voters to back the Conservatives for the first time ever, after ten years of spending cuts under a Conservative government, may prove simply too difficult.


and discussion of the various scandals that are bubbling away.

It's not going to be an easy ride for the man, even assuming he can shrug off the narrative that he couldn't be trusted to feed a cat. This is assuming he gets his election, which I doubt he will - I think Labour will stick to their 'We want an election only if No Deal has gone' because why wouldn't it, and I can't see the WAB surviving proper scrutiny. Who knows?
posted by Devonian at 9:01 AM on October 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


While I understand the reasons why they don't, I kind of wish the EU would just say, "The deadline is hereby extended until Parliament affirmatively votes for what it wants."
posted by kyrademon at 9:22 AM on October 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


I hope they've learned that they need to amend Article 50 so that it the declaration expires at the end of the two-year period rather than ending in a cliff-edge. Redeclaration would require a further mandate. That would certainly concentrate minds.
posted by Grangousier at 9:31 AM on October 25, 2019 [11 favorites]


I don't think anyone's going anywhere near A50 for a very long time. The anti-EU movements in other member states have wilted in the fetid blast of Brexit.

Chris Grey raises the interesting prospect that Johnson may call a second referendum. Not because he's heard anything to that effect, but that it would effectively wrong-foot Corbyn, it would free things up for the general election, and Johnson could very well win it (not if I have anything to do with it, mind). A huge U-turn, says Grey, but it's Johnson. And it is the only thing that could cut the Gordian knot.

Meanwhile, the Great Brexit Flowchart has the chance of this at about 2 percent. so...
posted by Devonian at 11:19 AM on October 25, 2019


Why doesn't the EU give a massive extension? Like 12-24 months out? That takes all of this cliffhanger bullshit off the table, and no excuse for UK government not to take a sober and full thought out approach.

Because Macron at least wants this over with. The other 26 are wearily ready to grant a 3 month extension as asked for. Paraphrasing the anonymous bureaucrat comments, every time the Brits waste all the time they're given and only make progress at the last minute, where the gov concedes to EU position, then Parliament can't agree. The French tolerance for further time wasting is growing short.

Supposedly Macron is waiting for the vote on an election; if Parliament (i.e. Labour) vote for one, then he'll agree to 3 months, enough time to hold one. If not, he'll only agree to offer a few weeks; enough time to ratify the WA and that's it.

So on current public stated plans the deadline will move to end of November or so, then it will be the choice between current deal (and probably crashing out at end of transition), crashing out for christmas, or revoke article 50, same as it ever was. Amendments for a 2nd ref or trying to neuter it will be attempted, numbers will be tight for everything. If Johnson refuses to bring back the withdrawal bill though, who the hell knows.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:08 AM on October 26, 2019


A little more on the role of the devolved administrations in approving the WAB. It seems that, while the Sewell Act does not serve as a legal barrier, the text of the WAB itself specifies 16 points on which the devolved administrations must be consulted (points where both the Scots and Welsh wish to withhold agreement). So the document would need to be amended to circumvent these requirements.
posted by rongorongo at 1:45 AM on October 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I hope that GE does not come before WAB legislation. Johnson is pure bullshit and bluster, and he needs to be held accountable for that. Show us your excellent plan in all its glorious detail! With all the impact assessments and other adult bells and whistles that real governments are able to produce. Oh, oops, you don't actually have anything? Yeah, thought so...
posted by Meatbomb at 3:25 AM on October 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


A couple of links relating to the Lib-Dem/SNP plan to trigger a GE by means of an amendment to the Fixed Term Parliament Act: 1) Tweet from Nicola Sturgeon in support (with citation of Ian Dunt's article). 2) Blogger James Kelly's take on the issue from ScotGoesPop.
posted by rongorongo at 3:28 AM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


BBC: EU considers flexible three-month extension
The EU is due to meet on Monday to consider a Brexit extension until 31 January, with an option for the UK to leave earlier if a deal is ratified.

A draft text to be shown to ambassadors from the 27 member countries includes multiple possible dates for Brexit: 30 November, 31 December or 31 January.

There will also be a commitment that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be renegotiated in future.
i.e. "don't even think about making us decide anything for you, UK" and "stop fanatasising about renegotiating, Labour"
posted by automatronic at 2:38 PM on October 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


The EU is due to meet on Monday to consider a Brexit extension until 31 January, with an option for the UK to leave earlier if a deal is ratified.

Strange how some are so actively working towards preserving the Union, while others, of a more narrower mindset, are actively working to dissolve it.
posted by vac2003 at 1:45 AM on October 28, 2019


EU agrees Brexit extension to 31 January (Daniel Boffey and Jon Henley, Guardian)
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:00 AM on October 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm trying to work out whether "flextension" is a worse crime against the English language than "Brexit", but I don't have much incentivization and I keep getting interstracted.
posted by flabdablet at 8:43 AM on October 28, 2019 [16 favorites]


I actually initially read flextension as meaning the stress resulting from repeatedly flexing something. So I was wrong. Maybe.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:07 AM on October 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


No that’s a pretty accurate summary of how the country feels. Like a bit of plastic that’s been folded one way, then the other, for three years now. You can see the cracks appearing and you’re just hoping when it snaps it doesn’t cut your finger.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:06 PM on October 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


Guardian:
Boris Johnson has lost his third bid for a general election, after Labour abstained and he failed to reach the two-thirds majority of MPs he needed for a poll. The result was 299 votes for and 70 against.

The prime minister is now expected to back a Liberal Democrat plan to change the law in order to secure an early election, although the parties do not yet agree on a date.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:44 PM on October 28, 2019 [5 favorites]




A mid-December election, around when university terms are ending, isn't likely to do Labour any favours. A lot of potential for students to find themselves not in the place they're registered to vote come election day.
posted by Dysk at 5:29 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Reminder to any students: you're allowed to register both at home and at uni. Doing so is sounding like a really good idea. Obviously, you don't get to vote more than once.
posted by sourcejedi at 5:44 AM on October 29, 2019 [8 favorites]


That's it. I can feel the final dregs of my will to live draining away into the earth.
posted by Grangousier at 5:58 AM on October 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


Have faith comrade!
Corbyn will be swept to power on the votes of 16 year-olds and EU Nationals.

not really but it'll be fun to watch the Tories come up with reasons why they can't vote
posted by fullerine at 6:09 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


But even if Corbyn is swept to power, that means Corbyn is swept to power. I don't see that as any kind of absolute victory. Anyway, it wasn't the result I was worried about, it was the process. At least three, if not four (maybe more) competitive teams all attempting to grab enough of our attention that they can gaslight us into submission.
posted by Grangousier at 6:17 AM on October 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


Seventeen Guardian columnists furiously working out why Corbyn agreeing to the election is Bad, Actually as we speak
posted by ominous_paws at 6:20 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


From Barry Jeans on Twitter, on the topic of those Brexit 50p coins now being symbolically melted down at the Mint:
This is just to say

I have melted
the coins
that were in
the bank vault

and which
you were probably
saving
for Brexit

Forgive me
They were premature
so vain
and so spaffed
posted by automatronic at 6:59 AM on October 29, 2019 [14 favorites]


The election motion is on its way through the House. Labour would only back it of it was amended to allow amendments (!), and that just passed, so second reading at 6:30 and final reading at 8:30. There'll be amendments for EU petmanent residents and 16-17 year olds to vote, but who knows whether they'll get through. Gov't has said it won't support an amended bill, so we'll have to wait and see.

Ian Dunt is pounding the keyboard like a Fury unleashed. The man's a machine.
posted by Devonian at 7:50 AM on October 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


Headline on the live portion of the Guardian's website right now: "Brexit: Boris Johnson fails in bid to limit debate as MPs start considering early election bill - live news".

Can I just say that every time I see the words "Boris Johnson fails", I get a happy little feeling? I should probably watch it, though...this much schadenfreude can't possibly be good for my blood pressure.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:13 AM on October 29, 2019 [6 favorites]


Because of course those petulant arseholes would, from Lewis Goodall's Twitter: "Government spokesman confirms that if amendment for extension of franchise to 16/17 year olds and EU citizens passes, the government will pull the bill."
posted by ambrosen at 8:34 AM on October 29, 2019


Can't the rest of (the majority of) parliament decide to keep debating the bill if they want to?
posted by dng at 8:35 AM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Because of course those petulant arseholes would, from Lewis Goodall's Twitter: "Government spokesman confirms that if amendment for extension of franchise to 16/17 year olds and EU citizens passes, the government will pull the bill."

That's not really petulant, surely. Any government would pull a bill if amendments to which it is fundamentally opposed pass. It just doesn't happen often that governments don't have majorities.

I find these amendments a bit odd. It's one thing to have a principled view about which group of people should be allowed to vote but the timing makes it look like electorate shopping, at least by Labour which has not previously taken these positions.
posted by atrazine at 8:52 AM on October 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


In the case of EU residents, though, it is transparently unfair that they can't vote in Parliamentary elections. Of course there shouldn't be the sort of chicanery that puts stuff into law without due scrutiny - but there is, and in politics you use every trick you can because the bastards on the other side surely will. And in res Johnson, his moral high ground for complaining about this is somewhere beneath the seafloor of the Marianas Trench.
posted by Devonian at 10:07 AM on October 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


> I find these amendments a bit odd.
Agreed. Reducing the voting age to 16 makes sense (there's a movement toward that in many places), but allowing non-citizens vote in a national election is quite strange and a very big deal, and not a decision to be taken lightly. And then why only EU citizens instead of all non-citizens who have leave to remain?
posted by borsboom at 10:07 AM on October 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


And then why only EU citizens instead of all non-citizens who have leave to remain?

Citizens of Ireland and of Commonwealth countries can already vote in UK elections.
posted by tavegyl at 10:19 AM on October 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


In the case of EU residents, though, it is transparently unfair that they can't vote in Parliamentary elections.

How so? Voting is almost everywhere the most exclusive of "citizen only" rights. The UK admittedly already has a very inclusive franchise in that commonwealth citizens resident in the UK can vote in general elections but I don't think there is broad consensus for expanding the franchise further.

I know Ireland allows UK nationals resident in Ireland to vote in parliamentary elections (but not presidential elections nor in referendums). Vice versa, Irish nationals in the UK can vote in general elections.

New Zealand apparently allows all permanent residents to vote.

From a practicality point of view it would be possible for EU residents to vote in December as they're already on the (local and EU) electoral roll. Adding 16 and 17 year olds is definitely not possible in time for early December.

(anyway neither amendment has been selected so the whole point is moot)
posted by atrazine at 10:27 AM on October 29, 2019


I thought UK citizens resident in Ireland were able to vote in referendums. It's meant to be reciprocal to the voting rights Irish people have when resident in the UK and Irish people can definitely vote in UK referendums. The presidential election is out because we can't vote for the Queen.

Edit: No, you are right. I just checked and they can't vote in Irish Referendums
posted by DoveBrown at 10:40 AM on October 29, 2019


I'd assumed that the tories wanted Dec 12th election over dec 9th because Brunel students would all have gone home by the 12th and Johnson wouldn't lose his seat, but Brunel autumn term runs to the 13th, so now I don't know...
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 11:00 AM on October 29, 2019


9th loses. Next UK election is on Thursday 12th December.

First December election since the pyramids or something. Second in 2.5 years.

Register to fucking vote!

But: If you're going to the effort of changing the date of an election, why not put it on a weekend so more people can vote?

It's a rhetorical question; I know the answer is because otherwise more people would vote.

posted by Quagkapi at 1:25 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


First December election since the pyramids or something.

1923, if you were curious. Baldwin's Conservatives got the most seats, but MacDonald's Labour formed the government with backing from Asquith's Liberals.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:50 PM on October 29, 2019


UP AND AT 'EM
posted by Devonian at 1:59 PM on October 29, 2019


1923, if you were curious. Baldwin's Conservatives got the most seats, but MacDonald's Labour formed the government with backing from Asquith's Liberals.

Goodness, you mean there was a "coalition of the losers"? Like the one we were told would be totally unacceptable and unprecedented in 2010, when Cameron failed to win a majority but Labour + LD could have had one if they'd teamed up - so Clegg went for propping up the Tories instead?

Brace yourself for that line being trotted out again if Johnson falls short of a majority.
posted by automatronic at 3:24 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Well, that government only lasted 10 months. The Tories dominated in the next election, and the Liberals began their collapse.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:32 PM on October 29, 2019


I mean, 10 months would probably do us at this point.

All they need to do is hold the referendum on Johnson's deal.

Once that's out the way, one way or another, a new election will probably make a whole lot of sense anyway.
posted by automatronic at 3:41 PM on October 29, 2019


It just gets wierder and weirder.
Jacob Rees-Mogg: my early career as an avant garde film star
Long before he reclined for the cameras in Parliament, the Tory MP had a career as an actor – in experimental films made by his socialist aunt. He recalls his days of blazers and butterfly-chasing
posted by adamvasco at 3:55 PM on October 29, 2019


I'm afraid the turnout for the election will be pretty low. A lot of people just don't care anymore.
posted by Pendragon at 4:08 PM on October 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Anyone know a good tactical voting site to recommend to others? tactical.vote seems a bit simplistic - in my constituency the tories got 65% of the vote in 2017 and labour only just made it into 2nd place; while the Lib Dems came very close to taking it in multiple previous elections before their vote collapsed post-coalition. But it thinks it's a Labour/Tory fight based purely on 2017.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:46 PM on October 29, 2019


I'm probably going to sit this one out. I'm registered to vote, I'll go and vote, but six weeks of poring over polls and analysing minute aspects of the campaign doesn't appeal at all. I've got 1,000 other things going on, not least my degree. (Speaking of which, it's a very well-timed election if you want students to have difficulty voting, because many university semesters end around this time.)

It's the same old characters, the same old battle lines, the same old attacks. Are there any swingers out there who haven't got their voting intentions and Brexit views set in stone and who will actually be swayed by a campaign, or is it just a case of going through the motions of an election campaign with no real passion at this point? Parliament has been the same for months - no real debate, because everything that can be debated on this subject has been debated to within an inch of its life. Just the same people yelling their same familiar points ad infinitum with the people on the other side not listening, and a narrow numbers game at the end where people vote the same way they were going to vote all along.

We'll have weeks of TV and radio programmes with people yelling the same old insults over each other, Corbyn will be useless, the polls will go up, the polls will go down, a Look North vox-pop from Rotherham will go viral because someone says they're all nobs, Twitter will be full of very clever posts that affect nothing but make the left feel better, the BBC will put Question Time on eight times a week to give Farage more slots, and at the end of it all we'll be treated to the sight of smug git Johnson smirking outside number 10 with his 20-seat majority. I figured out how to get my car to play Spotify and podcasts instead of Radio 4, so count me out of this one.
posted by winterhill at 12:33 AM on October 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


It's the same old characters, the same old battle lines, the same old attacks.
We'll have to see how it works out - but I disagree. Labour and the Conservative parties - the traditional "same old characters" - are going to be challenged to find ways of losing vote share to the smaller parties. The Conservatives have a 10 point lead - but they have a leader that many will find difficult to love. Or trust. Somebody who represents a constituency he may have severe problems retaining. His party now has a Brexit policy that - rather than being an abstract land of milk and honey - is now open for all to examine in the WAB. Labour look incapable of gaining an outright majority - so any victory for them would involve governing within some kind of remain coalition. It seems we will end up with either that or an outright Conservative majority. So - I think we are in for an interesting campaign.

The trick with Spotify over Radio 4 in the case is still a pretty useful one however.
posted by rongorongo at 1:03 AM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


winterhill: Are there any swingers out there who haven't got their voting intentions and Brexit views set in stone and who will actually be swayed by a campaign, or is it just a case of going through the motions of an election campaign with no real passion at this point?

A big part of how we got into this mess in the first place is that a lot of people stayed home for the referendum, thinking that they didn't need to vote because all the news said it looked like Remain would win comfortably. There was a lot of surprise and regret the morning after.

A huge number of people, on all sides ,are going to be thinking that they can't be bothered with this election. The result, as is often the case, is going to come down to which side can get their voters to show up, not which side is successful in actually changing many minds during the few weeks of the campaign.

As a university student, you are exceptionally well placed to help with this. Just trying to make sure all the students you know are registered to vote - whether at home or university, depending where they'll be on the 12th - is hugely valuable. If everyone you know is already registered, spend an hour hanging out at the student union, or the library, or wherever, finding more students to talk to. If they're already registered, find out about their constituency, and help them understand what a good tactical vote might be there. Maybe in the process you find someone who's wavering about how they want to vote, and can nudge them in the right direction. Probably not worth spending a lot of time on anyone who says firmly they're voting Tory or BXP.

But people sitting back and saying they can't be bothered to do this sort of work is how the Tories keep getting in. Because they show up, and they do the work. That's all.
posted by automatronic at 1:38 AM on October 30, 2019 [13 favorites]


The guys at the gym/pool I go to were discussing the election this morning. They were arguing over whether the Prime Minister was The One With The Hair (Boris Johnson) or David Cameron.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:24 AM on October 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


To be fair, who among us wouldn't secretly want to be so uninformed that we missed the last 3 years of this shit?
posted by fullerine at 2:56 AM on October 30, 2019 [14 favorites]


To be fair, general elections are supposed to be every five years now, but look away from the news for a couple of years and you've missed an entire Prime Minister.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:03 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


To be fair.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:03 AM on October 30, 2019


I feel obliged to keep half an ear open on the off chance that a party comes through with a message I haven't heard before, but I wish I could ignore it all.

The pollsters are probably right that the election is hard to predict. We could have a 4 horse race, a 3 horse race, or a 2 horse race depending on whether or not the BxP and / or the LibDems implode during the campaign. Each of those options is likely to lead to a very different outcome. (Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Mefites please forgive my English-centric analysis).

We also have a FPTP system which can multiply differences between parties: in 2017 the Conservative's 2% lead over Labour translated into a disproportionately large difference in number of seats (46 more).

If I were a Labour strategist I'd be desperate to get Johnson into as many open forums as possible (I mean with interviewers / members of the public who'll ask reasonable questions and expect straight answers). History shows that Johnson is much better at the staged photo op than May, and if he's allowed to wallow in that environment (especially with a servile media behind him) I think we're screwed.
posted by dudleian at 3:53 AM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


If I were a Labour strategist I'd be desperate to get Johnson into as many open forums as possible (I mean with interviewers / members of the public who'll ask reasonable questions and expect straight answers). History shows that Johnson is much better at the staged photo op than May, and if he's allowed to wallow in that environment (especially with a servile media behind him) I think we're screwed.

The Vote Leave/Johnson team are also shameless about avoiding that. Cummings is not exactly one for convention. I would fully expect that "get Brexit done" will be mentioned 10,000 times a day - I would think they are aiming for a coalition of Tory voters and random other Leavers, and BXP is the threat to that. Nothing in that entails Johnson being in public too much.
posted by jaduncan at 4:07 AM on October 30, 2019


That said, I have loved V'ahavta since the moment I saw it:
Say these words when you lie down and when you rise up,
when you go out and when you return. In times of mourning
and in times of joy. Inscribe them on your doorposts,
embroider them on your garments, tattoo them on your shoulders,
teach them to your children, your neighbors, your enemies,
recite them in your sleep, here in the cruel shadow of empire:
Another world is possible.
posted by jaduncan at 4:14 AM on October 30, 2019 [19 favorites]


Hm. Click on the link to getvoting.org (tactical voting site) in this tweet from Jolyon Maugham and Twitter tells you it's unsafe:
The link you are trying to access has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful or associated with a violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service. This link could lead to a site that:
  • steals your password or other personal information
  • installs malicious software programs on your computer
  • collects your personal information for spam purposes
  • has been associated with a violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service
Malice or incompetence?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:26 AM on October 30, 2019


More likely organised malicious reporting by bots/trolls to get the link flagged.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:46 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


The thing that worries me the most is Johnson and Farage co-operating, which could happen in a number of ways because their goals are closely aligned and neither has any trace of principle.
posted by Devonian at 4:49 AM on October 30, 2019


I'm not convinced Farage actually wants to win an election and be in power, he seems to prefer complaining about the government to actually being in it and having to work. God knows he never did any actual work as an MEP.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:07 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


The thing that worries me the most is Johnson and Farage co-operating

Very much this.
I think the biggest opportunity for the remain side of the argument would be to get the Brexit True Believers to see that Johnson is offering May's deal. A Deal that Farage and Johnson have both, in the past, claimed to be "not really brexit".

I'm hoping Farage will realise that no one is looking at him anymore and start banging on about voting for the Brexit Party to really get brexit.

What's a bit frustrating is that Labour and the Lib Dems have functionally the same policy (since Lib Dems "Just Revoke" policy only comes into play if they get a majority, which they won't, obviously) of a referendum on the final deal. So they really should stop shouting at each other.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:17 AM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


For me, Ian Dunt's "Last chance for remainers" article is the best summation of why a GE is a good outcome. Johnson had a deal that would have led to Brexit and which came within a hair's breadth of passing through the commons. A people's vote was a logical choice but never a politically achievable one. An election gives remain voters some agency: a tough battle to be sure but better than having to just look on in dread from behind a wall of stockpiled loo rolls.
posted by rongorongo at 5:28 AM on October 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


If it comes down to neither Labour+Greens+SNP nor the Tories+BXP having a majority but the Lib Dems being the kingmakers, what would be more likely: them reluctantly supporting a Labour government to save Britain from Brexit, or them, with a heavy heart, supporting a Tory Brexit, and promising to tut with the greatest vigour at the NHS being sold off to Trump, to save Britain from Corbynista Socialism?
posted by acb at 6:13 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Haven't the Lib Dems been pretty vocal about stopping brexit if they got in power ?
posted by Pendragon at 6:19 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


They lie a lot.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:48 AM on October 30, 2019


A lot hinges on which groups of parties can cooperate better or a least fight least: Brexit Party/Tories and Labour/Lib Dem/SNP/Green (who all want at least another referendum).

With that in mind, maybe we could try to be careful with our language and not be too insulting to other parties in the same grouping? Try to say positive things about own party's policies before going negative?

Also I can't really deal if Metafilter spends the campaign in an armageddon deathmatch between Labour and Lib Dems.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:00 AM on October 30, 2019 [17 favorites]


I don't think the Lib Dems lie a lot per se. I'm not saying they're not complicit in austerity, nor trying to minimise the harm of austerity. But the fact that they were manipulated into it and failed to do anything to extricate themselves from coalition doesn't mean that their intentions were bad.

So given the choice of forming coalitions, it seems less likely that they'll end up in the nationalistic cruel one. Johnson is a whole lot less able to persuade people into coalitions than Cameron, and a lot less able to make people do things against their better instincts.

I'm angry at austerity, but I don't think this is an anger that we can take out against them in this election. They want to remove Johnson, and anyone who is even slightly decent also wants him out of power, so we should acquiesce to their existence.

(n.b., I'm in a Lib Dem held constituency which has a risk of going Tory, so do colour my opinion with the fact that I don't want to feel complete despair at the current situation.)
posted by ambrosen at 7:10 AM on October 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


(n.b., I'm in a Lib Dem held constituency which has a risk of going Tory, so do colour my opinion with the fact that I don't want to feel complete despair at the current situation.)

In that circumstance you should *absolutely* vote LD, and I say that as someone who is probably on the left of the majority of the PLP.
posted by jaduncan at 7:19 AM on October 30, 2019 [7 favorites]


There is so little cross over between Labour and Lib Dem.
I think (but could be wrong) that there are only two labour/lib dem marginals. (Leeds North West and Sheffield Hallam).

That's why it's so frustrating that they're trying to take votes off each other.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:38 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Goodbye Dick Braine.
posted by biffa at 7:55 AM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


From what I understand, the Lib Dems' core value is anti-socialism; everything else follows that. As such, betraying their “Bollocks To Brexit” slogan to back Johnson, whilst a tough decision, would be the lesser evil to being complicit in a Corbyn Labour government.
posted by acb at 8:06 AM on October 30, 2019


I think the biggest opportunity for the remain side of the argument would be to get the Brexit True Believers to see that Johnson is offering May's deal. A Deal that Farage and Johnson have both, in the past, claimed to be "not really brexit".

I think you're missing a fundamental point about the psychology of Brexit True Believers, for whom facts are simply nuisances.

If Johnson's deal feels different to them from May's, which it will do because Johnson has built his entire career on projecting his Can-Do Man Beset By Niggling Naysayers persona and being funnier than May, they will defend it to their last breath regardless of what's in it. Which content, in any case, they could not possibly have bothered to investigate in the first place or they wouldn't be Brexit True Believers.

Brexit True Believers get that way by believing that Brexit Means Brexit. What it actually means is of no relevance to them whatsoever.
posted by flabdablet at 8:11 AM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


And neither, for that matter, is what the European Union actually is or how it actually works.

It's the vibe, man.
posted by flabdablet at 8:16 AM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


We won't know for sure what the various parties will do in different combinations until all the manifestos are out and the questions start, so to some extent trying to guess now is a bit pointless. My biggest concern right now is the number of people who are just giving up - obviously I want Leavers to behave as self-destructively as possible, but natural allies for Remain are equally disheartened. Some of these are because they feel betrayed by the Remain parties not magically getting 2nd Ref through and going for a GE instead - understandable but unrealistic. Some are just tired of it all. Keeping strong for the fight is going to be so important.
posted by Devonian at 8:34 AM on October 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Some are just tired of it all.

Yeah. This. I'm not giving up, but I'm just so tired of having to decide over and over (since 2015: general election, crime commissioner election, town council by-election, another general election, European Parliament election, district council election, town council election, now another general election) whether and how to vote tactically, knowing that in all probability the Conservatives will get more votes here than all the other parties put together anyway. I'm sick of second-guessing, counting up the tallies of different political parties' posters in the windows around town, walking into the polling station still undecided. I don't feel engaged with democracy, I feel trapped and bullied by it.

(This time round, it's actually a relatively easy decision, unless the LDs do something particularly appalling between now and 12/12. I rather wish we could just get it over with though: skip the campaigning, hold the vote next week.)
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 9:13 AM on October 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


Its like having your choice of which flavour of dogshit to eat.
posted by biffa at 9:31 AM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


From what I understand, the Lib Dems' core value is anti-socialism; everything else follows that. As such, betraying their “Bollocks To Brexit” slogan to back Johnson, whilst a tough decision, would be the lesser evil to being complicit in a Corbyn Labour government.

The liberal party is much older than the Labour party and in fact predates the publication of Das Kapital by about a decade, so that's not really true. The problem that the LDs have in a FTPT system is that their political positions get split into other parties. If you want a comparison in terms of recent UK politics, most of the Blairite domestic policy agenda was what Lib Dems believe in.

When they were founded, economic liberalism was a new idea, these days it dominates political consensus so the party can seem a bit colourless and pointless (because the ideas they stand for are the background beliefs of the pundit class).

I think the LDs will pick supporting JC as PM over the kind of hard Brexit that Boris is going for, absolutely.

Something that is apparently worrying conservative campaigners: the seasonal NHS crisis. A few weeks of news reports of beds in the corridors at A&E will not be good for the Tory vote.
posted by atrazine at 11:53 AM on October 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think the LDs will pick supporting JC as PM over the kind of hard Brexit that Boris is going for, absolutely.
Yeah, about that
posted by fullerine at 12:45 PM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


acb: "From what I understand, the Lib Dems' core value is anti-socialism; everything else follows that. As such, betraying their “Bollocks To Brexit” slogan to back Johnson, whilst a tough decision, would be the lesser evil to being complicit in a Corbyn Labour government."

What's stopping them from supporting Labour purely to get Corbyn in a position to secure a second referendum while withholding support for his other legislative priorities?
posted by Rhaomi at 1:18 PM on October 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


I noticed earlier that when asked about coalition with other parties, Jo Swinson's answer was that neither Johnson nor Corbyn were fit to be PM. My take was that that's square aimed at a "dump Corbyn and we can talk" scenario. I've been pretty underwhelmed with the recent trend of snide asides against Labour from the Lib Dems at the Westminster level.

In any case, we're all buggered. With so many Remain leaning MPs leaving politics rather than staying to fight (I'll give Ken Clarke a pass) Johnson is likely to scrape a workable majority and from there can either push his deal through unamended or ERG us out at the end of 2020.

Sounds counter-intuitive, but to me the only silver lining is that the fact Johnson is stealing votes from the Brexit Party. By making himself the go-to Breggles-means-Breggles choice he splits the hardcore pro-Brexit vote, meaning that instead of a smattering of Brexit Party MPs hoping/able to wield DUP-esque influence we might see that vote split enabling other parties to take seats (like the UKIP effect previously).
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 1:25 PM on October 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


atrazine: " The problem that the LDs have in a FTPT system is that their political positions get split into other parties."

The strange death of liberal England.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:37 PM on October 30, 2019


The strange death of liberal England.

What's worse is the Lib Dems sold their soul for a referendum on changing the FPTP vote system and got bagel.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:47 PM on October 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


And by bagel I don't mean some 48-52 close race, they got utterly, never again in a generation, blown out 32-68 on going to IRV.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:51 PM on October 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


IRV is a rubbish system. They got outmanoeuvred into accepting it.

Then Davey C reckoned he was a super clever political operator and started trying to use dodgy referenda to solve all his problems.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:56 PM on October 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


What's stopping them from supporting Labour purely to get Corbyn in a position to secure a second referendum while withholding support for his other legislative priorities?

Corbyn wants Brexit. It's something of great importance to him. He has maintained this position despite the fact that it would arguably have been very advantageous to Labour to back down. He's not going to change: he's been anti-Europe for decades. If there's no Parliamentary majority I could see him tactically supporting a "compromise" PM just to get Brexit across the line.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:27 PM on October 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


Yeah, this is the problem with the guardian article talking about how voters should vote tactically to get enough remain MPs in to outnumber Tories. The guardian counts Labour as remain when it isn't, and all of its MPs as remainers when that is totally untrue. I am sure Corbyn wants to be PM but he could get an amended Brexit across the line if he is PM by using Tories for that single issue, once he is in power in a coalition. LDs get to vote against to maintain their position but good chance they would stay on board to stay in power. SNP would buy in for indyref2. So we could end up with a better deal than Johnson's, maybe with a CU, but still out.
posted by biffa at 2:53 PM on October 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


Always check the small print!
posted by fullerine at 12:07 AM on October 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


The small print on the Lib Dem poll for North East Somerset isn't as misleading as everyone says. They were well ahead in the non-tactical poll survey as well. And 405 respondents isn't exactly a small number for a single constituency poll.
posted by ambrosen at 1:51 AM on October 31, 2019


The poll shown was

Con 38%
LD 32%
LAB 8%

The poll question was "Imagine that the result in your constituency was expected to be very close between the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat candidate, and none of the other parties were competitive. In this scenario who would you vote for?"

The past two GE results

General election 2017:
North East Somerset
Conservative :28,992
Labour :18,757
Liberal Democrat :4,461

General election 2015:
North East Somerset
Conservative :25,439
Labour :12,690
UKIP :6,150
Liberal Democrat :4,029

That seems a smidgeon miselading ;)
posted by fullerine at 2:24 AM on October 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


How are the lib Dems still doing this!

They've got such a reputation for untrustworthiness, yet every time they come up with famously wildly misleading election materials.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:38 AM on October 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Using local knowledge, I suspect that the huge swing from the Tories to the Lib Dems at the last council election*, plus the incumbency bonus of being the local council does mean that the poll showing the Lib Dems being currently ahead is plausible. The 5 Labour seats are all in NES, not in Bath, though. But the non-Labour wards are the leafy villages, and Lib Dem/Con swing. The Labour wards are the coal mining towns.

So the polls do stand at face value, in my opinion.

*I voted Labour and Green FWIW, but with misgivings that the Tories might keep their seat. Thankfully they were routed.
posted by ambrosen at 2:44 AM on October 31, 2019


LibDem bar charts are legendary. You can’t expect them to stop now - the fandom would be up in arms!
posted by pharm at 4:15 AM on October 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


For some light relief, Happy Brexit Day!
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:23 AM on October 31, 2019 [5 favorites]


In other news, Johnson is moving from his marginal constituency of Uxbridge and Ruislip to the ultra-safe seat of Rutland and Melton; an area which, much like him, is known for its pork pies.
posted by acb at 9:17 AM on October 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


Somewhere, Armando Ianucci is clutching his head and moaning.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:24 AM on October 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


And Trump is going on Farage's LBC show tonight.

How come a party leader (mod 'party') is still hosting a national radio show in an election campaign period?
posted by Devonian at 9:56 AM on October 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


In other news, Johnson is moving from his marginal constituency of Uxbridge and Ruislip to the ultra-safe seat of Rutland and Melton;

Rumour is that this is not actually true.
(Not that I have a source on either side, but we'll find out soon enough I guess)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:31 AM on October 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


BRITAIN HAS EXPLODED! (Washington Post)

"While some people had run out of tea bags, others tweeted images of their cats fast asleep in tranquil homes. On one road a lone traffic cone had fallen on its side; on another, a handful of leaves had fallen from the branches of a rather naked-looking tree.
“Absolute bedlam,” tweeted one user as thousands joined the #BritainHasExploded movement to share their own horror stories."

posted by jenfullmoon at 10:51 AM on October 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


For some light relief, Happy Brexit Day!
I also like those who are contributing to the #Brexitriots hashtag today.
posted by rongorongo at 11:08 AM on October 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm not in the UK right now, but I wish I knew exactly how many people have either The Ghost Of Brexit or Boris In A Ditch as their costumes.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:03 PM on October 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Rumour is that this is not actually true.

You could be right; the choice of constituencies is slightly too perfect: there's the pork pies, and the fact that “Rutland” sounds apposite for someone who (a) has a reputation for losing track of children he has fathered, and (b) were he true to the letter of his word, would be located in a rut by the side of the road now.
posted by acb at 1:51 PM on October 31, 2019


UK Polling Report: The First Polls of the Campaign:
It’s worth noting that that Tory lead is largely down to a split opposition. Even in the MORI poll the Conservatives have lost support since the election (in the YouGov and Survation polls they’ve lost a lot of support). This is not a popular government – in the MORI poll, their satisfaction rating is minus 55 – it’s just that the main opposition have lost even more support. The healthy Conservative lead is down to the fact that the Conservatives are retaining the bulk of the Leave vote, while the remain vote is split between Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the SNP, Plaid and so on.

For as long as this is the case, the Conservatives should do well. If it should change they’ll struggle.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:36 PM on October 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Remain vote isn't really split by the SNP as it's not standing outside Scotland and the fairly small Tory resurgence in Scotland which hit it last time is not going to last this time for a number of reasons. I very much doubt there'll be any Brexit love up here.

If Farage gets behind Johnson, which is thoroughly likely, then it could provoke Labour and the LDs to get their act together in England in response. It's still far too early to see how this fight's going to shape up.
posted by Devonian at 4:55 PM on October 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Westminster parties in Scotland are, for the most part, a nonstarter. The SNP seems to have the broad left stitched up, the Scottish Greens are nibbling away at their leftward flank, and on the right, the Tories were essentially the Ruth Davidson Party, and thus are not a contender.

In Wales, much of it seems to be a Labour/Plaid contest, with the majority ethnically English parts being essentially Greater Gammonshire, and thus CON/BXP.
posted by acb at 5:09 PM on October 31, 2019


Perhaps emboldened by his Trump phone call Farage is indeed planning to have the Brexit party contest "every seat". Saying he'd only back a leave alliance if Johnson dropped the deal.

So that's pretty positive news for the Remain side this morning?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:47 AM on November 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


Oh man, what is Farage doing? He's ranting and raving about the withdrawal agreement but the things he's complaining about aren't even in it, they're in the non-binding political declaration.

With Brexit party to its right, the Conservatives had a very good chance of an increased majority with their most prominent Brexit skeptics purged, resigned, or marginalised. Already the Lib Dems, Greens, and Labour have started making local pacts in seats where one of them is much stronger. The Lib Dems are apparently not running a candidate against Dominic Grieve - this is a bit irrelevant to be honest as at the last election the vote share was:
65.3% Conservative
12.4% Labour
7.9% Lib Dem
So those LD votes will go either to Grieve or to Labour but I think whoever the Conservative party stands against him will still win.

Anyway, the point is all the other parties are beavering away and having late night WhatsApp chats about official and unofficial alliances and Farage is just blundering into sabotaging what is supposedly his life's work. Contrary to what he has been going on about for the last three general elections, he is not going to take loads of seats from Labour in the North. He is going to take both Conservative and Labour votes in Northern constituencies which are safe Labour and which will come back as Labour victories, possibly with reduced majorities. Under a FPTP system that is of no use.
posted by atrazine at 5:18 AM on November 1, 2019


Shhh, please let him carry on with these wonderful unforced errors.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:21 AM on November 1, 2019


Farage doesn't want to win. It's a grift.
posted by fullerine at 5:28 AM on November 1, 2019 [12 favorites]


Exactly this.

Farage doesn't really care that much about Brexit. Farage cares about Farage and he's ralised that Johnson has nicked his chips and no one is paying attention to him any more.

He hasn't even been on Question Time that much.
(actually, check out wikipedia's Question Time data, it's awesome!. tbf, Farage hasn't been on question time all that much since 2016)

If Johnson succeeds in Brexiting Farage goes back to being a total irrelevance.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:43 AM on November 1, 2019 [5 favorites]


Exactly.

Farage knows damn well that Johnson can't and won't agree to what he's asking for. That's not the intention. He just wants to be able to claim to have offered something, and to blame the Tories for refusing.

He also knows perfectly well that running against the Tories will split the Leave vote and increase the chance of a Labour minority government, delivering a referendum and eventual Remain result.

I think the last thing he wants is for any sort of Brexit to actually happen. It would be the end of his career. He wants to moan from the sidelines until the end of time.

If that wasn't patently obvious before, it certainly became so when he posted this tweet a couple of weeks ago. And the gammons are even onto him for this - here's him being called out, live on LBC, as not a true Leaver!

The right are eating their own. It's delicious.
posted by automatronic at 5:45 AM on November 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


Certainly heartening to learn that the circular firing squad is not exclusively a Left organizational form.
posted by flabdablet at 5:55 AM on November 1, 2019 [11 favorites]


So those LD votes will go either to Grieve or to Labour but I think whoever the Conservative party stands against him will still win.

Was Grieve a long-serving and/or popular local member? If so, some proportion of that 65% will go with him personally. If the seat is moderately Tory and they parachute in a no-deal headbanger, that'll lose them a few more moderates. The Tories will stay in if the constituency is insulated from the fact that this is not business as usual and the Tories have been taken over by a parasitic organism that shares little with traditional English Conservatism.
posted by acb at 5:57 AM on November 1, 2019


I think the last thing he wants is for any sort of Brexit to actually happen. It would be the end of his career.

Not quite. He doesn't want Brexit to happen without him leading it. If it can happen and sweep him into Number Ten at the head of a column of blackshirts stretching all the way to Cable St., with Civil Contingencies Act and Henry VIII powers awaiting his use, that would do very nicely, thank you.
posted by acb at 5:59 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Certainly heartening to learn that the circular firing squad is not exclusively a Left organizational form.

It never has been, but the media sure love to portray otherwise.

This whole mess is the overflow of a 40-year internal squabble in the Tory party, and yet somehow it's all Corbyn's fault.
posted by automatronic at 6:02 AM on November 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


Grieve's constituency (Beaconsfield) was almost exactly 50/50 leave and Remain.
He, himself is a fairly prominent national name, which will help him.
But his local party have VONCed him.

Conservatives and Labour have yet to announce a candidate.
Lib Dems (as mentioned) are officially standing down.
Greens have traditionally picked up between 1 and 5%
UKIP gets around the same level (and, let's be honest BXP is basically UKIP)

If I had to guess I'd say he'll hold it.
But it might hinge on how many volunteers he gets for a local campaign without the local party to help out.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:09 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


It might be of modest interest to know that Beaconsfield is almost certainly the model for the village of Tadfield in Good Omens - it was where Terry Pratchett was born and brought up.

Also once home to Bert Weedon, probably the most influential guitarist in rock history.
(Tongue very slightly in cheek, there.)
posted by Grangousier at 6:24 AM on November 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


I once saw Bert Weedon play live in Manchester when I was about nine years old. He was supporting Basil Brush. My Mum bought me a copy of his greatest hits in the foyer and he was very nice when I asked him to sign it.
One day all this will be lost, like tears in dirty, cold and endless rain.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 7:19 AM on November 1, 2019 [8 favorites]


One day all this will be lost, like tears in dirty, cold and endless rain

Oh yes, it's November 2019 now, isn't it?
posted by Major Clanger at 7:40 AM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


One of the things Farage is saying agrees with what Ian Dunt was saying in one of his articles linked above:
The US wants countries to come to its orbit on standards - the vast network of industrial methods which operate above the level of regulation - rather than the EU one.

The same applies to geographical indications. These are the EU's protective arrangements for certain products, like champagne, which lock it down to a certain area. The US relies on trademarks instead. It is in a long trade battle with the EU over which system wins.

Here's the thing. The UK caved to the EU in each of these areas. The political declaration pledges that it and the EU "should treat one another as single entities as regards SPS measures" - these are the agricultural standards that would block US imports. It also signs up to "common principles in the fields of standardisation, technical regulations, conformity assessments, accreditation, market surveillance" - which indicates membership of European standards bodies - and geographical indications.
Boris Johnson's deal largely accepts European rules, which excludes laissez-faire trade deals with the US and Asia. If that's why you wanted Brexit, Johnson's deal leaves out well out of luck.

Farage isn't necessarily just pursuing self-promotion, opposing Johnson's deal is consistent with his ideology.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:50 AM on November 1, 2019 [7 favorites]


I grew up in Beaconsfield, home also to one of the BeeGees and Rula Lenska. Pauline Quirke from Birds of a Feather once cut me up on the roundabout outside Waitrose — the very same Waitrose at which I saw Fish from Marillion... browsing the seafood fridge.

I won't reveal who I went to school with, you lot will die of shock and / or murder me.
posted by ZipRibbons at 8:40 AM on November 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


I only know Beaconsfield dimly for its model village, but between that and everything being said about it here, I'm increasingly convinced it must be the inspiration for not just Good Omens' Tadfield, but also the village in Untitled Goose Game.

Now I want someone to put up a HONK IF YOU SUPPORT GRIEVE sign there.
posted by automatronic at 10:09 AM on November 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


I won't reveal who I went to school with, you lot will die of shock and / or murder me.

It wasn't JC was it?
posted by biffa at 10:33 AM on November 1, 2019


Now I want someone to put up a HONK IF YOU SUPPORT GRIEVE sign there.
Not sure that would be canon
posted by fullerine at 10:41 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


ITV are doing a Johnson / Corbyn head to head debate on the 19th November.

Lot of Lib Dems on twitter are complaining that the other potential prime minister isn't invited.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:43 AM on November 1, 2019


It wasn't JC was it?

Ha! No, he's a tiny bit older than me.
posted by ZipRibbons at 10:45 AM on November 1, 2019


> Lot of Lib Dems on twitter are complaining that the other potential prime minister isn't invited.
PM Sturgeon would be nice, I guess.
posted by farlukar at 10:48 AM on November 1, 2019 [7 favorites]


Not anyone else with those initials?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:49 AM on November 1, 2019


Oh my goodness!
I think I know the answer!

It was Dominic fucking Raab wasn't it!
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:54 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


We are normal and we want our freedom
We are normal and we like Bert Weedon

Farage can't support Johnson nominally because the agreements aren't Brexity enough, but both men know that there's still a very good chance of a Yory government with a working majority being far more Brexity than this one and far happier to throw away the WA during the transition period and leave on no-deal terms anyway.

The real reason is, I think,the narcissism of both men.
posted by Devonian at 10:59 AM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not sure that would be canon

I mean, this is probably not the thread, albeit certainly the right site, to argue whether the death of the author should apply to video games, but let's just say I'm more with Barthes than Rowling on this one and leave this tangent there.
posted by automatronic at 11:01 AM on November 1, 2019


Lot of Lib Dems on twitter are complaining that the other potential prime minister isn't invited.

Clegg being in on the debate worked brilliantly for the Liberals in 2010, so their angle is obvious. Labour and Conservative both have paths to majority that require them to put the squeeze on the 3rd and 4th parties. Making the Lib Dems seems irrelevant by excluding them from the debate makes sense for them. The absence of Sturgeon simply serves to make clear that this is all about the English, and the English (!) parliament. I don’t feel great about the stance of any of the parties: debates should be regulated like party political broadcasts IMO.
posted by dudleian at 11:11 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Clegg being in on the debate worked brilliantly for the Liberals in 2010, so their angle is obvious.

I have a hard time seeing Swinson doing as well as I-agree-with-Nick did for them, unless a debate were entirely laser-focused on Brexit (which seems unlikely, given that Corbyn will want to talk about anything and everything else instead if possible).
posted by Dysk at 11:44 AM on November 1, 2019


Boing^2 is reporting "Massive spike in young people registering to vote in the UK. Looked back through the discussion and didn't see anything on this. Probably missed it.

Their data comes from: UK gov site
posted by aleph at 11:55 AM on November 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


Wow - 300k in three days for under 44s, pretty evenly split across the sub-demographics. Only 20k over 55s in the same period.

That is genuinely good news. If only Westminster had PR.
posted by Devonian at 1:05 PM on November 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised this kind of spike has taken three days to be noticed.
posted by aleph at 1:30 PM on November 1, 2019


It was Dominic fucking Raab wasn't it!

Bullseye :)

Honestly, I can’t remember a thing about him. Apparently we were in the same year...
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:22 PM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


That certainly sounds like Dominic Raab.

Full disclosure, I was at school with Tom Baldwin, who isn't as near the corridors of power as once he was, but is a lot nicer than he appears.
posted by Grangousier at 2:25 PM on November 1, 2019


Nicola Sturgeon is not and never has been an MP, and she is already First Minister, thank you very much.
posted by kyrademon at 4:05 PM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Well, snark aside, afaik the PM being an MP is custom, not law.
posted by farlukar at 4:23 PM on November 1, 2019


Would she want the demotion, though?
posted by kyrademon at 4:33 PM on November 1, 2019


That's a fair point. Then again, she'd be a better candidate than the two usual suspects.
posted by farlukar at 4:39 PM on November 1, 2019


The spike in young voter registrations is neither significantly higher nor lower than the spikes in 2015 or 2017.
posted by adrianhon at 4:54 PM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


The spike in young voter registrations is neither significantly higher nor lower than the spikes in 2015 or 2017.

Is that in absolute numbers?

In 2015, there would have been five years' worth of young people newly becoming eligible to vote since the previous general election in 2010, so you would expect a spike in registrations sized accordingly. (I know there were other elections between 2010 and 2015, but it's the generals that get the most turnout).

In 2017, there would only have been two years' worth of new voters - so if the 2017 spike was as big as the 2015 spike, that seems pretty significant - it would mean 2017 had about five years worth of "normal" registration numbers, after only a two year gap since the last GE.

If 2019 is showing the same size spike as 2017, then that means unusually high numbers again for a two-year gap.
posted by automatronic at 5:08 PM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


It wasn't JC was it?

Ha! No, he's a tiny bit older than me.


I meant James Corden. He's from around Beaconsfield and not older than you if you were at school with Raab. Probably better known to the standard Mefite.
posted by biffa at 5:40 PM on November 1, 2019


And did James' feet in ancient time,
Walk upon Beaconsfield so green?
And was unholy Dom of Raab,
In Corden's constituency?

Etc, etc.


(sorry, it's all the JC stuff!)
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:58 PM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


farlukar: "Well, snark aside, afaik the PM being an MP is custom, not law."

Well, they *could* be from the House of Lords.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:35 PM on November 1, 2019


I meant James Corden. He's from around Beaconsfield

Huh, so he is. There's really only one JC in a Brexit thread though.
posted by ZipRibbons at 7:04 AM on November 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


Confusion as NO ONE turns up for huge pro-Brexit rally.

They were going to blockade motorways, march on civic centres, light beacons across the land and picket fuel depots on 31st October - but nobody came.

We can do this.
posted by Devonian at 9:56 AM on November 2, 2019 [23 favorites]


UK Polling Report: A summary of the five voting intention polls in Sunday’s papers:
All the polls continue to show a sizeable Conservative lead, though as ever this varies somewhat from pollster to pollster. The eight point leads that the ORB and ComRes polls show would be quite tight between a Conservative majority and a hung Parliament on a uniform swing (not that I’d expect a uniform swing); the 12 and 16 point leads that YouGov, Deltapoll and Opinium show should give them a solid majority...

Note also that the fieldwork for the YouGov, Deltapoll and Opinium polls was conducted on and after October 31st, when Britain had obviously not left the European Union on time. It does not appear to have either damaged the Tories or boosted the Brexit party... (And I told you those hypothetical “How would you vote if Britain hadn’t left the EU by Oct 31st” questions showing Tory support slumping didn’t have any predictive value. Next time people do them – and they will – please do remember that they don’t work!)
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:17 PM on November 2, 2019 [1 favorite]


After seven failed attempts to become an MP, and despite forming a whole new party for himself less than a year ago, Nigel Farage has now chickened out of standing as a Parliamentary candidate, due to the disturbing prospect that he might otherwise have won a seat this time and thereby become actually responsible for some decisions. He looks forward to a bright future of grifting and whining from the sidelines for many years to come, about how he would have done everything better and it's all someone else's fault.
posted by automatronic at 3:49 AM on November 3, 2019 [12 favorites]


Nigel Farage has now chickened out of standing as a Parliamentary candidate, due to the disturbing prospect that he might otherwise have won a seat this time and thereby become actually responsible for some decisions

He is not standing because the BXP is currently polling at 9%.
posted by PenDevil at 4:24 AM on November 3, 2019


But their support is very localised.

BXP seem to be averaging around 11% over recent polls, which is almost exactly the same level that UKIP were polling at nationally in 2015, a month before Farage's run in South Thanet. He got 32% of the vote that time, coming within a couple of thousand votes of Craig Mackinley, a pro-Brexit Tory who is actually ex-UKIP himself. Even though nationally, UKIP only secured 12% of votes in that election - about in line with national polling.

If Farage had announced today that he was running in a Brexit stronghold constituency, I think he'd have had a real chance at taking a seat.
posted by automatronic at 5:51 AM on November 3, 2019


Of course, the real question we should care about is how many BXP candidates are going to stand in places where they can split the Tory vote. And whether there's any narrative we can amplify that sows discontent amongst Brexit favouring voters.
posted by ambrosen at 6:34 AM on November 3, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think the narrative should just be that this deal is bad. Which should be easy to argue, because it's true, and people on both sides are saying so. Farage is saying it's bad, the opposition parties are saying it's bad, and even Johnson himself is on video saying it was bad, back when the same deal was on the table for May.

Johnson has had to do what he never wanted to do - put his cards on the table with a specific agreement for everyone to see and scrutinise. So take advantage of that. Stay out of the blame game and the rhetoric and focus on the concrete problems. People are tired. They're desensitised to outrage and hysterics. They're sick of being called stupid or evil. So don't do that. Acknowledge how they feel, try to meet them in conciliatory conversation about concrete issues, and talk about why you think this deal is bad.

Different approaches to this will resonate with different people, but there is genuine common ground to be found here between Leavers and Remainers. So build bridges, listen, and meet people where they are. Share points from people they'll listen to. Try to find points for mass messaging that resonate across different sides.

If you can get Leavers to see ways in which this deal is bad, or doesn't deliver what they were promised, then that's a win. It doesn't matter how they end up acting on that - it might push them towards the Brexit Party (to get no-deal/unicorns), Labour (to renegotiate, and have a referendum), maybe even the Lib Dems (to call the whole thing off), or to just not vote at all.

There's no need to hound them towards any one of these answers, because all of them are a win. Tactically, one or the other may be preferable in some constituencies, but any of these results keeps their vote away from the Tories and thereby helps stop Johnson getting a majority to ram this through.

Similarly, if you can help weary Remainers, or apathetic non-voters, to realise just how bad this deal is, then you can encourage them to get out and vote to stop it. Even though they might be feeling like they'd rather just have this over with. Show them that this won't get it over with, that it will just lead to more years of negotiations and deadlines. That's a key point which again, should play to both sides if you can get it across.

The Tories are going to be desperate to keep this about slogans and soundbites, "get brexit done", "will of the people", all of it. They want us to argue those points. But don't take the bait - it's a distraction. Let them rant away. The real story is simple: this deal is bad. Whatever else we disagree about, many people from all sides should be able to agree on that.
posted by automatronic at 8:31 AM on November 3, 2019 [8 favorites]




What was Dominic Cummings doing in Russia for three years?

Investigating telluric currents, using a grey market e-meter, at the Tunguska meteor impact site in case there was anything to give him an edge after he's uploaded to a chunk of computronium the size of Ganymede.
All he found was the recipe for krokodil.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:44 AM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]


Aleksandr Dugin was making him repeatedly wash his car.
posted by acb at 1:19 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]




Brexit Party candidate dropped after claiming she's from a distant star

This is a LOCAL STAR CLUSTER party for LOCAL STAR CLUSTER people!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:49 AM on November 5, 2019 [22 favorites]


Coming over here, stealing our photons.
posted by jaduncan at 4:09 AM on November 5, 2019 [7 favorites]


Well, a *nearby* star would have been fine.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:48 AM on November 5, 2019 [1 favorite]


We will announce our departure from the Local Group and demand freedom from the pernicious gravitational influence of the Great Attractor.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:04 AM on November 5, 2019 [3 favorites]


> "Coming over here, stealing our photons."

Filthy light thieves!
posted by kyrademon at 2:01 PM on November 5, 2019 [16 favorites]


Interviewees: Do not fuck with Kay Burley.
posted by rongorongo at 2:42 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Brexit Party candidate dropped after claiming she's from a distant star
Anything's better than people thinking you're from Batley.
posted by winterhill at 3:24 AM on November 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Interviewees: Do not fuck with Kay Burley.

James Cleverly being non-eponysterical, there.
posted by Grangousier at 5:07 AM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


There's some confusion about what actually happened in the curious case of Cleverly and the Empty Chair. Has anyone got a solid grasp of the sequence?
posted by entity447b at 5:45 AM on November 6, 2019


Tweets from Alex Andreou following the one above:
To all (including "Guido"), excitedly pointing out @JamesCleverly was on @talkRADIO when @KayBurley empty-chaired him, he wasn't. According to their tweet he was "coming up next" half an hour AFTER Burley and was doing it down the line from Millbank, where Burley broadcasts from.

Let's resolve this definitively, shall we? Here is the "Listen Again" feature of @talkRADIO. It time-stamps @JamesCleverly as coming on, almost 20 minutes after he was empty-chaired by @KayBurley. He actually DISCUSSES with Hartley-Brewer the fact he was empty-chaired, ffs.

Clearly, @JamesCleverly says he was *preparing* for the interview. Now, it may be fair to say "I didn't do it, because it would have been tight", but to say he was live on air, talking to JHB when @KayBurley cut to an empty chair, is a straight up lie and @talkRADIO must retract.

There are PRIMARY sources freely available. Why do people not check them?
posted by Grangousier at 5:53 AM on November 6, 2019 [5 favorites]




What’s really going on when we call James Cleverly stupid?
What is it about Cleverly that makes this such a common reaction? A part of it may, admittedly, be his name. Whenever he does anything, it seems, a rather tedious joke pops up on social media that he has been, well, not so clever.
That tells me, I suppose.
There is, furthermore, the added joy of Cleverly’s constituency name: Braintree.

But the recurring trope of Cleverly as uniquely stupid is most often made without any recourse to wit or humour: it’s just a recurring theme on social media to refer to him as “thick”, “dim-witted”, an “idiot”. What is the difference between James Cleverly and Brandon Lewis? I would suggest it isn’t their relative levels of intelligence.
posted by Grangousier at 6:01 AM on November 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ian Dunt: Wave of scandal: The Tory party is becoming a sewer.

The Tory party have always been a sewer, it's just more obvious now.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:28 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Also Ian Dunt:
"After years of watching the Tories set up an open goal and Corbyn kicking the ball into the crowd, it's quite weird to watch him put it in the back of the net."

It's super weird that the Tory party's many scandals and Corbyn's speeches being actually good both come on the same day that Purdah related media and reporting rules come into force.

Have we even covered that the Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has resigned after denying he knew a Conservative candidate deliberately collapsed a rape trial. (After it being proved that he definitely did know)?
Genuinely losing track of the scandals today.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:56 AM on November 6, 2019


In fact. Now that we're actually in Election do we need a new thread?
Because this one is technically a Brexit thread.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:57 AM on November 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


Given that the Tory Party was traditionally the party of landed aristocracy, now redefined for the sake of argument into the euphemism “hereditary meritocracy”, people like Johnson, Rees-Mogg and Cleverly don't actually have to be personally intelligent to be clever. They are hereditarily clever, their wit and wisdom coming from having a good accent and make classical allusions and, when cornered, spout Latin that's more grammatical than Harry Potter incantations.
posted by acb at 7:05 AM on November 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


This is the UK 2019. Every thread is technically a Brexit thread. We are now all-Brexit, all the time, forever.

Woe.
posted by Grangousier at 7:07 AM on November 6, 2019 [15 favorites]


Wikipedia (for now) lists an indepenent candidate for Braintree named “Empty Chair
posted by farlukar at 8:09 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Brexit is clearly a Zahir - "Others will dream that I am mad, while I dream of the Zahir. When every person on earth thinks, day and night, of the Zahir, which will be dream and which reality, the earth or the Zahir?"
(And Trump is a shitty C21st version of Palmer Eldritch)
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:14 AM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Sky News is also (not very helpfully) framing this as THE BREXIT ELECTION in their on screen ticker so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Happy Dave at 8:19 AM on November 6, 2019


Agree we need a GE thread more than a Brexit one. The saga of Brexit is somewhat on ice until Dec 13th. The GE campaign is like an advent calendar with a daily fix of surprise craziness.
posted by rongorongo at 8:23 AM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to remember what it felt like when UK politics was about topics other than Brexit, and I'm honestly having trouble.

Like, intellectually I remember what the issues were, the things that happened, who I agreed and disagreed with about what.

But the experience of it, what it used to feel like to hear and talk about and participate in, is just gone. The endless cliff edge of Brexit just seems normal now.
posted by automatronic at 8:45 AM on November 6, 2019 [5 favorites]


THE BREXIT ELECTION

Can I suggest "The Brexlection"?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:08 AM on November 6, 2019


> Can I suggest "The Brexlection"?
too late
posted by farlukar at 9:16 AM on November 6, 2019


Brexflexion it is then.
posted by flabdablet at 10:39 AM on November 6, 2019


Metafilter user to step down as MP

A real loss as far as I'm concerned, amongst many others
posted by barnsoir at 12:12 PM on November 6, 2019 [14 favorites]


Without wanting to get into the BBC Good/BBC Bad thing, John Pienaar doing a everyman's Brexit explainer on the ten'o'clock news literally just said that Johnson couldn't get his Brexit deal through Parliament hence the General Election.

Except of course as we all know Boris did get his Withdrawal Agreement past Parliament, but wasn't willing to allow it to be scrutinised to the standard of the simplest bill, let alone allow the examination enormous constitutional changes like this demand!

Spitting feathers here!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 2:24 PM on November 6, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's a great pity Tom Watson is resigning. He represented the possibility that Labour might have become a decent party once again. Coincidentally, Chris Williamson has also said that he is resigning - to stand as an independent. It will be very interesting to see whether Corbyn allows anyone to run against him.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:43 PM on November 6, 2019 [3 favorites]


Williamson didn't resign, he was binned by the NEC who have already said there will be a Labour candidate standing.
posted by fullerine at 1:16 AM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


There was a long profile of Tom Watson on the New Statesman a while back. I think at best you can say he was a mixed blessing for the Labour party, his biggest success the pursuit of the phone-hacking scandal.

Otherwise he led the "curry-house coup" against Tony Blair. He fell out with Ed Miliband and briefed against him too. His pursuit of the fake paedophile scandal was an embarrassment when the allegations turned out to be false.

You have to squint pretty hard to see Tom Watson as a loyalist whose principles led him to be a reluctant plotter against the leader in the Corbyn era alone.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:41 AM on November 7, 2019 [4 favorites]


It will be very interesting to see whether Corbyn allows anyone to run against him.

Your impression of how the labour party actually works is very very strange.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:33 AM on November 7, 2019 [6 favorites]


Without wanting to get into the BBC Good/BBC Bad thing, John Pienaar doing a everyman's Brexit explainer on the ten'o'clock news literally just said that Johnson couldn't get his Brexit deal through Parliament hence the General Election.

I saw that same explainer and was spitting feathers for another reason - Pienaar basically said "Oh, allll the party leaders are really hard to trust right now, aren't they?!" and made no reference at all to the fact Johnson had literally lied to the Head of State about the reasons for proroguation in order to prevent Parliament doing its job and holding him to account. I'm all for balance, but when one leader has been found in a court of law to have been telling a massive lie for personal and political benefit, that does not make all the leaders equally untrustworthy.

It's amazing how quickly that whole episode has fallen off the political agenda. His opponents should be all over the fact that he's a proven, massive, unscrupulous liar, not just to his nearest and dearest, but to the country (and hell, to the Queen, if that'll upset the kind of Daily Mail readers who like the Queen).
posted by penguin pie at 5:23 AM on November 7, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's amazing how quickly that whole episode has fallen off the political agenda. His opponents should be all over the fact that he's a proven, massive, unscrupulous liar, not just to his nearest and dearest, but to the country (and hell, to the Queen, if that'll upset the kind of Daily Mail readers who like the Queen).
Have to wait to see how many BXP candidates are standing before attacking Johnson. That message will only move votes from Tory to BXP not Tory to anyone else.
posted by fullerine at 5:42 AM on November 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Its tempting to go and stand somewhere fairly marginal as a Brexit type just to take votes away from Tories, if the BXP won't do it themselves.
posted by biffa at 7:54 AM on November 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


To be honest, it's incredibly tempting to just go and stand somewhere fairly marginal. Skye, for example. Or an island in the South Pacific.
posted by Grangousier at 9:58 AM on November 7, 2019 [10 favorites]


And then you find out Pitcairn is full of Brexiteers.
posted by grahamparks at 12:23 PM on November 7, 2019 [2 favorites]


And then you find out Pitcairn is full of Brexiteers

Ah, Pitcairn. The people who briefly exited British laws on sexual violence.
posted by jaduncan at 12:34 PM on November 7, 2019 [4 favorites]


From the Guardian's Anywhere but Westminster video series: Beyond Brexit, Corbyn and Johnson: Stoke's politics of hope.
posted by Pendragon at 2:21 PM on November 7, 2019


There's something really appropriate about Nigel Farage spouting nonsense just outside of Pontypool.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:36 AM on November 8, 2019 [2 favorites]


Its tempting to go and stand somewhere fairly marginal as a Brexit type just to take votes away from Tories, if the BXP won't do it themselves.

Yes. The BXP is never going to be more than a protest movement domestically, mostly taking ordinarily Tory votes.

If the party is going to succeed, they need to have policies that attract people to their cause, and those policies have to be coherent. The message needs to be more than a "Brexit means Brexit" message.

They need to be able to say "these policies have made a difference to people's lives. They are our values. Vote x party". If it's all about Brexit, then they have nothing to say to those people. The name defined and limited them.
posted by jaduncan at 3:12 AM on November 9, 2019


The most recent (but not that recent) polls are on @britainelects and they're brutal for Labour, especially in London but really everywhere. Hell of a hill to climb. Meanwhile, SNP on 42 percent and Remain on 53 are bright spots. If only either figure set the national agenda, hey...
posted by Devonian at 5:13 AM on November 9, 2019


Russian influence in Britain
With the British Prime Minister personally intervening to suppress a parliamentary report into Vladimir Putin’s ‘active measures’ in UK politics, Peter Jukes reveals what Boris Johnson wants to hide.
posted by adamvasco at 2:05 PM on November 9, 2019 [13 favorites]


UK Polling Report: Sunday Polls Roundup.
All four show the upwards trend in Labour support continuing (though given some of them also show the Conservatives gaining support, we cannot say that the Tory lead is narrowing). All four also show support for the Brexit party falling...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:44 AM on November 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


General Election 2019: Jeremy Corbyn Could Be Succeeded By Co-Leaders If Labour Loses Jeremy Corbyn could be succeeded by two “co-leaders” if he loses the general election, HuffPost UK has learned.

Under a confidential plan backed by senior party figures, the new job-share would feature one MP from a Leave-backing town and the other from a Remain-backing big city.

The aim would be to unite not just the party but also represent the country’s disparate areas, while underscoring Labour’s progressive values on shared roles in the workplace.

The joint ticket would also be gender-balanced to better take on Boris Johnson at prime minister’s question time if he wins a majority or clings onto power with a minority government.


1) There's very little chance Labour will be able to form a government, so this is essentially means they believe Corbyn will leave or be sacked

2) If Corbyn had left a few years ago, I have no doubt Labour would be in power today. Even if he gone a year ago, it might have made a difference.

3) A Labour commitment that they will be unable to resolve the single greatest political issue facing the nation is very on-brand for the Party.

4) The people behind this aren't going to choose one male and one female, one supporting Remain and the other supporting Brexit. They undoubtedly have their chosen candidates picked out and will seek to have them annointed.

5) What a bloody stupid idea. Why would anyone vote for this dogs' breakfast, this stitched-together Frankenstein's monster of a political party whose position will necessarily change as one leader or the other gains or loses a majority?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:24 PM on November 10, 2019 [6 favorites]


The joint leaders idea seems like a gimmick to unite the Labour party, rather than the country. The Leave candidates seem to be predominantly Corbyn supporters and the Remain candidates predominantly “centrists”. The joint leadership would ensure that if Corbyn loses badly in the GE, someone from his wing of the party would remain at the top table—which would otherwise be unlikely.

The thing that’s most worrying though (and maybe the article is giving undue prominence to a minor debate etc etc) is the amount of thought going into what happens if Labour loses. The projections showing Johnson with a 90 seat majority majority make me feel sick. If he wins anything like that big, the joint leadership thing will be an irrelevance.
posted by dudleian at 11:54 PM on November 10, 2019


Even if Labour gets a plurality, how would you sell the joint leadership to potential coalition partners? A potential non-Tory coalition would necessarily be anti-Brexit, so Labour would be asking anti-Brexit parties to be junior partners under a pro-Brexit leader. And who would be PM?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:12 AM on November 11, 2019


2) If Corbyn had left a few years ago, I have no doubt Labour would be in power today.

Given that brexiteer Rebecca Long-Bailey is being groomed as a successor, maybe not.
posted by Dysk at 2:51 AM on November 11, 2019


Labour's election Brexit offering is extremely clearly for a second referendum between a deal (to be negotiated, but with freedom of movement back on the table) and revoke.

I think it's very possible that the other parties could form a government with that rather than the much hated Johnson led Tory party.

We are in a situation where every single outcome has been ruled out by people who have the power to do so, so no one can predict what will happen.

Projecting from that to a fantasy situation where the politician you hate and their party is obliterated seems to just be projection. It's not analysis I've seen anywhere else, and it's coming without acknowledgement of Labour's very clear Brexit policy.
posted by ambrosen at 3:55 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


In probably not good news, Farage has just announced that the Brexit party isn't going to run in the 317 seats where the Tories won last time. As Ian Dunt says:

It's not necessarily a game-changer. The impact of Farage attacking the deal could still subdue Tory vote generally. Standing in Labour Leave seats could split Leave vote. It doesn't do anything to help in Tory target seats.

But it doesn't feel great. And Johnson's probably had to promise him a fair bit in order to get that, including the promise not to extend the withdrawal agreement past the end of 2020, which could hurt us all.
posted by ambrosen at 4:26 AM on November 11, 2019 [7 favorites]


the promise not to extend the withdrawal agreement past the end of 2020, which could hurt us all

On the bright side, while I realise the equation changes if Johnson gets a real majority (heaven forfend), thus far they've not had much of a track record on either keeping promises (affordable starter homes, anyone?) or sticking to Brexit deadlines.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:54 AM on November 11, 2019


I can't see Farage's announcement as anything but bad news, albeit (maybe) not as bad as I think it is. There's still 5 weeks to go, but I'm not sensing the energy that was present in the Labour campaign in 2017.

Pace ambrosen, yes Labour's Brexit offering is clear, but it's not a tub thumper that will set the hearts of either Leavers or Remainers beating faster. It's (intended to be) electoral Mogadon.
posted by dudleian at 5:18 AM on November 11, 2019


On the plus side, it doesn't particularly change the equation much in Labour marginals, which are the key battlegrounds. But it does tie the Tories and Brexit party together which might make some Lexiteer types who had mistakenly joined the Brexit party realise that BXP are just UKIP with new badges.

I don't think it's as bad as it initially sounds.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:30 AM on November 11, 2019


I think a lot depends on how the Lib Dems or "Remain Alliance" respond.

A couple of months back the Lib Dems were talking about a massive breakthrough, and had 80 official target seats. More recently Politics.co.uk pointed out they've been very selective about which polls they publish, suggesting that they might be strong in some areas but weak in others.

If the Lib Dems go full on against Labour in a lot of seats, while the Brexit Party aren't even standing against Tories, it's hard to see how vote-splitting isn't a massive benefit to the Conservatives. Which would mean a hard Brexit with no referendum even if the Tories get a pretty low share of the vote.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:31 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Lib Dem polling position nationally is plummeting if you take the guardian poll tracker as any indication.
Also, note it's a 14 day unweighted moving average, and currently all the lib dem and brexit party dots are below the line, meaning that it's going to be going down in the next few days when the average moves further.

Conversely the Tory and Labour dots are all over the line. So they're probably going to keep going up.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:22 AM on November 11, 2019


So the BBC is neutral...
Boris, very dishevelled, lays his wreath at a Remembrance service upside down.
BBC substitutes 2016 clip, laterissues a not very convincing apology.
posted by adamvasco at 8:41 AM on November 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


Also Farage suggested he was offered a peerage before his lection U-Turn but also says he would turn it down.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:47 AM on November 11, 2019


Hillary Clinton Raps Boris Johnson Over His Suppression of a Russia Report (Mark Landler and Stephen Castle, NYT)
The document on Moscow’s meddling in British politics prepared by Parliament last year is becoming a hot issue as bits and pieces begin to leak out.
UK government delay of Russia report is shaming, says Clinton (Charlotte Higgins, Guardian)
Hillary Clinton has called Downing Street’s suppression of a report into potential Russian infiltration of British politics “damaging, inexplicable and shaming”.

The 2016 US presidential candidate told the Guardian it was “incredibly surprising and unacceptable that in your country there is a government report sitting there about Russian influence and your current government isn’t releasing it”.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:28 PM on November 11, 2019 [4 favorites]


This is an interesting way to visualise polls.

Comparing with this time in the 2017 campaign Labour are at the same place, Lib Dems are up by 6.5. Tories are down by 8.6.

It's maybe grasping at straws but it's at least a positive indication that maybe we're not all completely fucked.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:20 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


This is an interesting way to visualise polls.

I saw that yesterday and still don't understand what it's showing. No axis labels, no scale, it's an awful chart.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:36 AM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


I saw that yesterday and still don't understand what it's showing.

Oh good, it's not just me.

My best guess is that the solid lines represent polling data from the current election campaign, and the dotted lines represent the data from the previous one, with the terminal points of the dotted lines on the right presumably being the actual election results.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:47 AM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Conservatives are going to win this election and they're going to win - by current standards - big. A 30-40 seat majority. They'll win some unexpected seats in Northern England that have never been Tory and the Lib Dems won't have the numbers in the South to mitigate against the huge rump of elderly Tory voters who dominate all those southern England "where the fuck is that?" constituencies.

Personally, I've started to shift my priority and my world view from "how do we stop Brexit?" to "Brexit is going to be shoved through early next year, how do I personally mitigate the impact on myself?"
posted by winterhill at 4:25 AM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's a shame our side wouldn't do something like running a bunch of spoiler fake grass-roots candidates in constituencies the BXP have forsworn under True Brexit or Real Brexit or whatever banners, but I suppose it would only rebound.
posted by Grangousier at 5:57 AM on November 12, 2019


it's an awful chart.

I thought it was ok.
Though perhaps more infographic than chart per se.

As I understand it, it's showing averaged polling positions of each party at the current point in the campaign.
So the right hand side is the election and the left hand side is the start of the campaign (both 7 weeks).
Solid line is current polling, dotted line is 2017 polling.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:13 AM on November 12, 2019


> The Conservatives are going to win this election and they're going to win - by current standards - big.

The failure leading up to this moment was the Lib Dem's failure to secure PR in 2011. It shouldn't have been put to a referendum. PR was the LD's holy grail for decades, and it was sold down the river. It should have been secured in law as a precondition for any coalition. Every single other policy goal, including government positions, should have been sacrificed to securing PR. (I'm usually a LD voter, incidentally.)

My friends think that PR - albeit likely allowing UKIP several seats in Parliament - would have defused anti-EU resentment. I don't know about that. But we'd have more Green MPs and more LD MPs and fewer Tories. The Left is infamous for infighting and the Right goes into lockstep whenever it whiffs power. FPTP, long-term, benefits only the Right. As we're seeing.
posted by Quagkapi at 6:25 AM on November 12, 2019 [9 favorites]


This tweet, in response to a rather heartening poll about the rights of UK and EU citizens to live and work in each others' countries. Um. Are there people who've conflated "freedom of movement" with Schengen?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 12:43 PM on November 12, 2019


Meanwhile, local to me (though not quite local enough - it's a neighbouring constituency; mine's a Tory safe seat), the Lib Dem candidate for Canterbury has stepped down rather than risk splitting the vote for Rosie Duffield. Good for him.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 12:47 PM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


.... annnd it seems the party is proposing to field another candidate in his place. One hour. We can't even play nicely for *one hour*. Good grief.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:51 PM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Serious unrest in Canterbury Lib Dems

Surely they would have gauged the mood of the local party before announcing a new candidate?
posted by fullerine at 2:06 PM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Serious unrest in Canterbury Lib Dems
How is it possible for us to live in a universe where that headline is of any interest to anyone?
I don't want to live in a world where I have to know about the internal politics of the fucking Canterbury Lib Dems.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 5:41 PM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


My friends think that PR - albeit likely allowing UKIP several seats in Parliament - would have defused anti-EU resentment.
Maybe under a proportional system, people might have been less likely to vote UKIP. Under FPTP, you knew you weren't going to get a UKIP MP, so the party became a sort of generic "I'm pissed off" protest vote. Fed up of the traffic? UKIP. Fed up because petrol prices have gone up and your pension hasn't? UKIP. Fed up because the gays can get married? UKIP. Fed up because your council wants you to recycle more? UKIP. By the time the referendum came round, enough people were used to listening to Farage and voting for him to express their general anger at a changing world to swing it to Leave.

I can't believe that enough people really cared enough about the EU and were angry enough about it to want to go through the chaotic and traumatic process of leaving it. The "genius" of Farage - and I use that term loosely - was to recognise that an awful lot of mostly old, mostly white people were feeling generally fucked off with the state of the world and to harness that general resentment. Not having PR and not being able to get any MPs fed into Farage's us-vs-the-establishment narrative - after all, they aren't letting us having any MPs! If voting UKIP had a chance of actually netting you a UKIP MP, I'd hazard a guess that a lot of people might have thought twice.

The flaw in Farage's logic was that the evil establishment EU's proportional system allowed UKIP - and now BXP - to have hordes of MEPs. But if you don't point that out, who notices?
posted by winterhill at 11:41 PM on November 12, 2019


Long comment thread is long. So here's a fresh and new one for the General Election and Brexit.
posted by Wordshore at 12:04 AM on November 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


This tweet, in response to a rather heartening poll about the rights of UK and EU citizens to live and work in each others' countries. Um. Are there people who've conflated "freedom of movement" with Schengen?

One of my coworkers voted leave (and would again) primarily because "It's fine for people to come and get a job here, but I'm fed up of people like those eastern Europeans and africans just coming here to get a free house and benefits and bringing over a massive family we have to pay for." I've had other conversations with people (rural southern county) and seen many voxpops which indicates a similar belief is widespread.

She doesn't appear generally xenophobic about any of the immigrants who work at the same place, and worked in the NHS previously so was well used to working with immigrants. It's just 'spongers' (including UK born) she dislikes.

Farage and the Daily Mail have very successfully managed to redefine Freedom of Movement in the public mind as some kind of free-for-all where anybody can come here from anywhere as they like via an EU country, and the 'no recourse to public funds' change for non-workers in 2014 never happened. That 'breaking point' poster was playing exactly on the emotions they'd fostered. Plus the whole tory 'strivers vs skivers' branding of austerity cuts found very fertile ground.

I have been uable to convince my coworker that there is not a horde of EU-sourced 'spongers taking advantage of us' streaming in because that's not how freedom of movement works, and refugees are a different thing from freedom of movement entirely that has nothing to do with the EU. The irony that she knows personally how miserly our social security system is, yet still thinks immigrants have unlimited access to some sort of secret lap of luxury system.

And thinking about it, that reminds me of an encounter with an elderly gentleman who seemed quite upset that my wife was 'allowed' to take maternity leave, being as she's French.

So when you hear all that stuff about 'taking back control of our borders' and 'freedom of movement must end' that's likely what they mean. Stopping all those (mythical) foreigners coming over here to take advantage of our 'legendary British generosity'. (hah)
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:27 AM on November 13, 2019 [12 favorites]


... likely allowing UKIP several seats in Parliament

The 2015 election had the Tories on 36.8% of the vote and UKIP on 12.6%. If strictly proportional it would have been 239 Tory MPs and 82 UKIP MPs. That's 4 seats away from a majority, but with Ulster unionists with them or Sinn Fein not taking their seats as usual they might well have formed a Farage/Tory government.

Countries with PR systems have problems with far right extremists too.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:17 AM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


If voting UKIP had a chance of actually netting you a UKIP MP, I'd hazard a guess that a lot of people might have thought twice.

Huh, I guess that ties in with the people who voted Leave then afterwards regretted that Leave had won, saying "Oops, I didn't think they'd win!!". UKIP-types were too used to voting for something on the premise they'd always loose.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:48 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]




I would like to call out Renault for making airing "30 Years in the Making" (discussed on this FPP). It is, in one go, a big corporate endorsed fuck-you to both homophobes and Brexit xenophobes.
posted by rongorongo at 1:55 AM on November 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


The irony that she knows personally how miserly our social security system is, yet still thinks immigrants have unlimited access to some sort of secret lap of luxury system.

It's my considered opinion that personal experience with the shittiness of public support systems is exactly how so many people are primed to believe on a hair trigger that Somebody Else is doing better out of them than they are, and that this goes a long way toward explaining why the Right has historically done everything it possibly can to make those systems work as badly as they possibly can. It's not about cost-saving, it's about promoting politically useful resentment.

It's a closely related piece of psychology to the technique the Right has long used to shore up the general perception that politicians in general are a pack of unreliable, lying, venal, self-serving arseholes and that it therefore doesn't matter who you vote for or whether you even vote at all: get as much coverage as you possibly can of yourself and your teammates being complete shits and most people simply don't notice that far more of that shittiness is coming from your side than the other. All they see is yet another pollie getting paid more than they do to be hideous on TV.

The resentment is the point, because the resentment is blinding, and people blinded by resentment simply don't believe that they can alter the status quo. And since preservation of the status quo is the Right's entire reason for existence, this serves them very well.
posted by flabdablet at 1:56 AM on November 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


I would like to call out Renault for making airing "30 Years in the Making" (discussed on this FPP). It is, in one go, a big corporate endorsed fuck-you to both homophobes and Brexit xenophobes.

Similarly, this HSBC ad (and some associated posters I've seen) seem to the the most blatant anti-Brexit-without-ever-mentioning-Brexit ads I've seen from any company. No particular love for HSBC as a company but the ad is pretty good.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:56 AM on November 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


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