Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
To some extent, whatever the feverish atmosphere in Westminster, the politicians have become trapped by the mood of the electorate.

The public have been infected with a virulent hatred of the EU over 30 years of vitriol from the tabloids, it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion about the EU because to do so we'd first have to scrape away 30 years of deliberately mis-informed prejudice, much of which began with Boris Johnston's 3 years of propaganda in Brussels.

The publi don't hate the EU, they don't know anything about it. But they hate a cartoon version of the EU that has accumulated over the years.

And politicians are terrified of this electorate. A majority know that voting for brexit will destroy the economy, but they also know they'll be voted out of office if they do so.

That's why Corbyn cannot really oppose May over this. He can't stop it and knows that Labour will suffer at the polls if it tries.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 08:55:17 PM EST
Square this: a large majority wants to have full access to the single market. A large majority also wants immigration to be controlled/curbed. It's wishful thinking. And/or they want to inflict damage on the system to punish those who they feel have broken the rules, even if they themselves will be damaged (a phenomenon known from game theory).

Or is it all some weird form of self pity?

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 11:20:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is a failure to recognise just how much their power base has declined.  They fondly imagine they will be able to negotiate better trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world from outside the EU. They believe everyone else will be falling over themselves to do business with them. They imagine that the EU, without them, will collapse. They believe Scotland and N. Ireland will continue to follow them wherever they go.  That Trump and Putin will treat them as equals. That British ingenuity and talent will conquer the word.

I have no doubt they will have some successes, but no more and probably less than they could have had within the EU.  I also think that Brexit will exacerbate class divisions within England to the point where they won't even end up being a United England.  I don't wish them misery, but I think Brexit will be an epic fail and get worse with time.  I also can't think of a way in which they could reverse that decline.  All in all, a pretty sad demise.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 11:39:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To expect logic on a mass level is illogical.
by rifek on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 11:51:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and a plea for attention and a cry for help, all at once.

Once the supposed financial wizardry of the City is fully revealed as the racket that it is, (as if rigging Libor weren't enough of a red flag) then the game is pretty much up for the vaunted prowess of overpaid spivs shovelling dirty money into places where it shouldn't belong.

Teresa May is like some old actress pretending the world hasn't moved on from her halcyon youth, delusionally foisting herself on the world stage.

A sad bluff that fools few, I suspect.

(Confirming the British propensity for futile tenacity to the wrong cause even when everyone else has seen the writing on the wall for years.)

If it rubs out the Tories, maybe Brexit will be worth it.

It's their bed, even if we all have to lie in it.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 26th, 2017 at 02:44:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen, with this logic Labour is doomed. No one will ever go in History for being terrified. It is at times like these that great politicians emerge, by doing what they think is right, not by hiding themselves being the mob.

In any case, I do not think Corbyn lacks the courage, I think he is just happy for leaving too.


by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Thu Jan 26th, 2017 at 03:51:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't even have to be a great leader to see this is making Labour irrelevant.  If you are pro-Brexit, you vote Tory or UKIP. If you are for Remain, you vote Lib Dem or Scots Nationalist. By whipping his MP's to vote for A.50, he is making Labour complicit in the outcome.  If it turns out to be a success, the Tories will benefit, if it is a disaster, as I expect, the Lib Dems will become the main opposition and perhaps ultimately the dominant Governing party.

He could have said he supported the referendum outcome, which was to remain in the Single Market.  That way his hands are clean when the Tories screw up the negotiations and he can legitimately claim it is all their fault for not having a proper plan and negotiating strategy.  This way, it is Labour Lose Lose.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 26th, 2017 at 04:51:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]

So suppose May tells them they can save on toilet paper if they use soft paper for their amendments? Will he whip for A50 or not?

by generic on Thu Jan 26th, 2017 at 09:03:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
675 likes over a period of hours.

From the leader of the Labour Party.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jan 27th, 2017 at 01:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's mostly because his Twitter account sucks. A bit more effort here could go a long way.
by generic on Fri Jan 27th, 2017 at 08:30:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour may oppose Article 50 Bill if amendments rejected, Diane Abbott says | The Independent -
Labour may yet oppose the Article 50 Bill if its amendments are thrown out, the party said today.

Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, created further confusion about Labour's stance when she said it would "review our position" if it failed to change the legislation.

So why not say that in the first place?

by generic on Fri Jan 27th, 2017 at 02:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know, Frank, never underestimate the Lib Dems' ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
by rifek on Fri Jan 27th, 2017 at 12:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well they are so used to defeat, winning would be quite disconcerting for them.  But this isn't really about them or their organisational prowess. Where else have the 48% Remain voters to go to? Where else have those Leave voters who were merely protesting against austerity to go to when they realise austerity is going to get worse even as corporate taxes go down? Where else have those who thought they would be staying in the Single Market to go to when they realise that is no longer on offer? Where else have those who feel the Tories are making a complete mess of what may have been a legitimate choice to go to? Labour are now committed to supporting the Tories all the way...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 27th, 2017 at 12:20:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Where Else Do You Have To Go?" has always been the Lib Dems' marching song, and they went straight down the rat hole with it under Clegg.  Maybe people have short enough memories that they'll buy it again.
by rifek on Sat Jan 28th, 2017 at 04:44:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Corbyn doesn't lack courage.  He just doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jan 27th, 2017 at 01:05:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly, I think that Labour is doomed on the short term.

As I've argued previously, corbyn is the problem. He's a nice guy, a solid MP but he's a terrible leader. Secretive, passive-aggressive and reluctant to explain himself.

I welcomed his election in 2015 because he offered more hope for an alternative than the Blairites and that, even if he himslef were not the leader to win, he would at least set things in place to take Labour forward.  Sadly, to use a Churchillian phrase, "I had hoped we were hurling a wildcat onto the shores, but it seems we have merely beached a whale". He has done nothing to advance the cause, there is no policy, no strategy, no tactics, not even a coherent messaging scheme to build an idea of where Labour is hoping to go.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jan 27th, 2017 at 05:45:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For what it's worth I'm starting to agree. The Freedom of Movement question was massively mishandled. Somehow Corbyn central repackaged the exact same position in a way that made him look like he was going wobbly on racism.
A50 is even worse. The position now seems to be:

  1. Vote in favour because of the referendum.

  2. Try to amend.

  3. Vote against if amendments fail

Though I'm still not sure if that really is the official position and I follow Corbyn's Twitter account.
Now if clearly argued that would be an OK position though an opposition party has rarely suffered for voting no on a bill. And it also risk alienating core supporters since they are probably the ones most opposed to racist immigration policies and cutting ties with Europe.
Clumsiness by the leadership wouldn't add up to doom without the unresolved conflict with the PLP of course. Despite press coverage that was basically libellous labour was gaining on the Tories before the chicken coup. Yet now there is no way to pretend to know what you would get for a labour vote. 70s socialism? UKIP light? Poor hating neoliberalism?
One way or another this has to be resolved before the parties prospects can improve.

by generic on Sat Jan 28th, 2017 at 04:35:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]