Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Brexit was sold as different things to different audiences. Though not honest, was in the nature of things.

What should have been done as soon as the result was in was to nail down what Brexit there was a majority in parliament for, create forms to maintain that majority through the negotiating process, investigate all the thorny questions that are likely to come up in negotiations, establish your BATNA and so on. And then (a year or so later) trigger the exit process. Then all the possible Brexits would be boiled down to one Brexit with some negotiation space on the margins.

They still haven't done this even though they signed the Withdrawal Agreement. So now they are going back on what they recently agreed to do.

Like a college student that keeps changing topic of studies, they are choosing their direction through their process of avoiding an active choice. Reacting to things, but not acting. And time is ticking, there will be a day when everyone else has become tired and they drop out without even making that decision for themselves.

by fjallstrom on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 09:31:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you recall, there wasn't a majority in Parliament for any particular vision of Brexit, and so Theresa May was effectively paralysed. She triggered A.50 to try and force the issue (and prove her Brexiteer credentials) but that just made the divisions worse. Eventually Boris got a mandate to "get Brexit done" but did so by signing a withdrawal agreement which still left some true believers unhappy. Of course it was just a ruse to create the appearance of a clear end game and win an election.

But the biggest problem was always the totally unrealistic expectations of virtually all Britons, Brexiteers and Remainers alike, as to what they could get out of a negotiation with the EU. Basically it was a have cake and eat it strategy because "they need us more than we need them".

That was always the main reason I expected a hard Brexit, even if no one have predicted just how incompetent the once hallowed halls of Westminster and Whitehall would prove to be. An empty echo chamber where only Brexiteer clarion calls could be heard.

It isn't over yet. The UK still has a long way to fall. The surprising thing is how reasonable they make the EU by comparison, allowing the EU to take an increasingly hard line in response. Basically anything goes, now that Boris has chosen to break the law.

The reality is the UK neds international law more than anyone to provide cover for its weakness and isolation. With the WTO effectively paralysed and out of the game and Trump likely to lose in the US they will soon find themselves friendless, isolated, and in catastrophic decline.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 12:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remainers had no unrealistic expectations at all. We always expected Brexit to be a complete shit show, and so it has proved. The problem with the NI border was flagged as a showstopper before the dust had even settled on the vote. No one on the Remain side had any illusions that the EU needed the UK more than vice versa. That was always and exclusively a stock Brexiter trope.

The only unrealistic expectations we had were of the intelligence and integrity of the Brexiters. They started low, kept digging, and still haven't hit bottom.

The worst thing about Brexit is the way that a gaggle of chinless entitled idiots and semi-literate buffoons have captured the media narrative. In reality support for the EU is higher than ever in the UK, but you won't hear about that from any mainstream media outlet or any mainstream politician.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 02:54:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 'semi-literate buffoons' didn't have to capture the media as the media was there from the start and, in fact, captured a majority of  the electorate on the behalf of the buffoons. It used to be 'no bishop, no state'. Now it is 'no media, no government'.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 08:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They will cozy up to Harris, Biden being a ventriloquist's dummy. What do they call a reanimated corpse? A Golem. If not Harris, then Pelosi, another geriatric wreck, will be the power in DC.
In any event, the billionaires will back Britain because of their investments and to maintain a facade of international agreement for the wars.
by StillInTheWilderness on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 08:44:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the billionaires will back Britain because of their Investments

You don't get to be a billionnaire by backing losers. You cut your losses and move on.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Sep 21st, 2020 at 02:41:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the thing about money:  It's just electrons on a computer balance sheet.  It's easy to move it to another jurisdiction, and there is always a jurisdiction that will give you a tax-advantaged transfer.
by rifek on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 04:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There wasn't a majority in Parliament for any particular vision of Brexit, but one could have been created.

One can imagine a different approach from May (or someone else being PM) where you start with formulating the options, holding indicative votes in her own Conservative party group, trying to formulate a consensus. Failing that, checking with the opposition parties to formulate a common majority in exchange for influence over the negotiations. Failing that, she could have held indicative votes in parliament to show that there is no majority for any particular visions.

Then either going for no Brexit failing a majority for any particular Brexit and blaming parliament (gambling on events making Brexit less of an issue down the road, which it probably would have been in that alternative 2020) or commiting to a particular vision of Brexit, purging her party of opponents and then taking this particular Brexit to the country in a new election.

Instead she triggered the declaration and went to elections which even if she had won had not given her a majority for any particular Brexit.

To further my simile it is if the college student had decided to graduate within two years, but still haven't decided what to graduate as. It forces the situation, but only in making it worse.

Hard Brexit by incompetence.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 at 12:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indicative votes were held in parliament, and none yielded a majority. But the big problem was May refused to work with Corbyn, who would have supported a version of Brexit which included effectively staying within the Single Market and Customs Union. That would have caused huge ructions within the Tories and within Labour, dividing both, and possibly imperilling her Premiership, but would also have yielded a majority in the country at that stage if she had called an election before the Brexiteers could oust her.

It would have been high stakes politics, requiring real leadership, and a willingness to work with the devil (Corbyn). May was capable of none of this - too dyed in the wool, true blue, unionist conservative. She went for the road of least resistance, every time, and eventually ran out of road.

Boris, in fairness to him, was always capable of the extravagant gesture, such as working with Corbyn, but by the time he got into office the die was cast, and his only option was to cobble together some sort of deal and then run to the country to get a mandate to get it done.

Even here he was favoured by fortune and the pusillanimity of Farage, who abandoned his own party to the wolves and made way for Boris by withdrawing candidates from key marginals. Had he stood his ground, arguing for a "pure" Brexit rather than Boris' opportunistic deal, he would have divided the Brexit vote and perhaps enabled a Corbyn win.

The Brexit party could then have replaced the Conservatives in bipolar UK electoral system and lived to fight another day, banking on Labour divisions under Corbyn to have failed to deliver Brexit and resulting in another general election soon.

But of course his Billionaire handlers couldn't have that - Corbyn in power under any circumstances - and so he meekly made way to become a complete has been in politics, probably never to be seen again, except on some Billionaire's yacht.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 at 12:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IIRC, the indicative votes weren't held until article 50 had been triggered and negotiations had run a lot of its course. In effect, it was far to late to discover that there was no majority.

Yes, there was a clear lack of leadership, which in the end lead to a very short premiership.

I wonder what someone like Merkel would have done. While one can say a lot about her politics, and lack of real leadership for the eurozone, her instincts for political survival are top notch. Probably would have realised the lack of a majority and appointed a patsy (Boris?) she wanted to get rid of to run down the process of creating a majority and then blamed him for failing.

I still find it remarkable that a major state can fail this spectacularly in formulating what it wants in a crucial issue. It points to problems not only in the leadership but also the government bureaucracy.

by fjallstrom on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 at 01:29:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't imagine Johnson working with Corbyn. The Tories, the Blairite crypto-Tory Labour right, and the not quite so crypto-Tory LibDems all loathe Corbyn and the Left with an almost supernatural intensity.

I also don't think No Deal is an accident. It's more likely it was always the plan, so there was nothing unfortunate about the "mistakes". Especially considering how many of them there were, and how consistently they all enabled No Deal.

May was always just a seat warmer. Getting her Not-Quite-No-Deal over the line was Plan B, not Plan A. She didn't have the majority to make it happen - which was unfortunate, but whatevs.

Now that that problem has been fixed we can see what Plan A always was.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 at 01:40:54 PM EST
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I can't imagine Johnson working with Corbyn.

Well... Churchill worked with Atlee.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 06:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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