Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Deal done?

by Frank Schnittger Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 02:10:14 PM EST

The EU and UK negotiating teams have finally come to a deal just in time for a November EU Summit and a pre-Christmas rush to have "a meaningful vote" on the deal in the House of Commons. There is no telling what mood conservative law makers will be in after they have been exposed to the Tory faithful back in their constituencies over the Christmas period. So the UK government strategy seems to be to get this over with as quickly as possible.

Initial reaction in the UK has been almost universally hostile even before the precise text of the deal has become known. This is where various Brexiteer delusions meet the harsh winds of reality: Boris Johnson is not altogether wrong when he claims that the deal is "vassal state stuff" with the UK continuing to be subject to some of the rules of the Single Market without having a direct say in their development over the years.

Ostensibly that has all come about because of a shared EU UK commitment to avoid a "hard" customs border within Ireland. Had it not been for Ireland's continued membership of the EU, the fate of the Irish border would not have merited a moments thought on the part of Brexiteers, and indeed it it did not occupy any media or mind space during the referendum campaign, despite the Irish government's frantic efforts to raise the alarm.


So Theresa May's solution is for all of the UK to remain within the Customs Union and Single Market (CUSM) for a limited period, to be ended only when all sides are agreed an alternative mechanism for avoiding a hard border in Ireland has been found and implemented. For Brexiteers, this may mean never, and even Remainers are aghast: The deal is so obviously inferior to remaining a full member of the EU with a say in how the rules of the CUSM are developed in the future.

Most people in the UK are probably puzzled as to how such a seemingly peripheral issue as the border within Ireland could have become such a central driver of the progress of the negotiations and the shape of the final deal. But this would be to misunderstand Theresa May's negotiating strategy: In reality, Northern Ireland, and the risk of a return of "the Troubles" there, was merely the lever Mrs. May used to prise open continued access to the CUSM and maintain "frictionless trade" for British business for the foreseeable future.

For the EU, this solution was only acceptable if British business continued to be subject to the rules of the CUSM so as to maintain a "level playing field" with everyone else.  The Brexiteer dream of striking out onto the world stage and negotiating their own trade deals with countries all over the world will have to wait until membership of the CUSM has been replaced by a Canada style free trade deal and an agreed mechanism for keeping the Irish border open.

Basically all the more difficult decisions have been postponed. British business can continue to trade with the EU (and the rest of the world) on current terms and thus avoid the disruption and chaos that no deal would have wrought. In fact very little will change on 29th. March except that the UK will no longer have a direct say on the future development of the EU.

Trade deals can take a very long time to negotiate and may never be ratified, as the aborted EU US trade deal has shown. Trump has shown more interest in tearing up existing trade deals rather than negotiating new ones, and even within the EU, new trade deals are no longer the preserve of the technocratic elite: they are coming under increasing scrutiny in national parliaments (all of which must ratify any new deal) as the benefits of globalization are no longer unquestioned dogma.

So what are the chances of Theresa May getting this deal through the House of Commons? Almost none, has been my view for the past two years, such is the gulf in expectations within the UK between what the Brexiteers promised, and what can be delivered in reality. Brexiteers must shout "BETRAYAL" as otherwise their little ruse to "take back control" (for themselves) will be uncovered. Somebody else has to take the blame for the obvious disparity between their promises and reality, and Theresa May is the designated fall girl.

The Labour opposition must do what oppositions must do: Oppose, even though what Theresa May has delivered looks very similar to what they themselves have been proposing. The important difference, of course, is that they want to be the ones to take back control, and it is more than convenient that it is the Tories who will take the fall for the obvious, and inevitable short comings of the deal. The consequences of Brexit must always be someone else's responsibility.

For Remainers, the deal probably represents the least worst option if they can't get their expressed wish for a second referendum to reverse the Brexit process. It avoids the chaos of the no deal option and raises the hope that the economic status quo can be maintained almost indefinitely, until a second opportunity to have a re-think on Brexit presents itself. But do they really want to be associated with such an unpopular deal? At best, they will hold their noses and claim they are only doing this to save the UK from the disaster of no deal. Some may vote against in the hope of precipitating a crisis that will lead to a second referendum. It's a high risk strategy.

The DUP will be hypersensitive to any clauses which indicate that N. Ireland is being treated any differently to the rest of the UK. They too, want to take back control - of N. Ireland - something which has been denied to them by the Good Friday Agreement's insistence on cross-community governance and "parity of esteem" between the Unionist and Nationalist communities. They claim to speak for N. Ireland even though they only received 28% of the vote in the 2017 Assembly elections.

And so they are happy to enforce differences between N. Ireland and Great Britain on marriage equality, abortion services, transparency of political funding, recognition of non-English languages, and the regulation of animal health and food products on an all-Ireland rather than on an all UK basis. But they have to be in control. Ceding control to the EU, Ireland, or even a future UK government is not an option.

So the choice for all in the House of Commons is to accept the current deal, or hold out for something better. For Labour, that something better is obviously a general election and the prospect of power. For Brexiteers and the DUP it is the prospect of toppling May and putting one of their own in charge with a mandate to conduct a more robust negotiation with the EU. They crucially need to convince the waverers that a better deal is still possible. May loyalists need to convince any waverers this is the best deal possible and the only alternative is the prospect of a no deal Brexit.

The EU can bask in a glow of satisfaction that they have discharged their primary obligation under A. 50 of negotiating an exit deal with a departing member. They have done so without throwing a continuing member (Ireland) under a bus or creating any damaging precedents for any other member who might seek to leave. If the UK now chooses to reject the deal and leave without any deal, then so be it: the choice and responsibility for the consequences is theirs.

The EU can afford to wait until expectations in the UK have moderated sufficiently in the aftermath of no-deal chaos to impose almost any deal they like. Certainly they are unlikely to revisit and substantially revise the existing deal on offer under any circumstances, including in the event of a change of government in the UK. Why would they?

For Ireland, the deal represents a triumph of diplomacy to be shouted about as little as possible in order to avoid making political life for Theresa May even more difficult. Ultimately, the Irish government is agnostic as to whether Theresa May survives or not - the Tories are no friends of Ireland - but it is in Irish interests to see this deal succeed. Seeing the DUP squirm may add some vicarious pleasure, but is not the point of the exercise. The hard won benefits of the Good Friday Agreement must be safeguarded, and this trumps all other considerations.

The consequences of this deal being rejected by the House of Commons are for another day. In the meantime we can watch as the British political establishment tries and perhaps fails to come to terms with the reality of Brexit. This is no time for schadenfreude.

Display:
I'm by no means convinced that Labour would be happy with May's deal. Among other things, she had do sign up to "baseline" alignment with EU standards on a whole bunch of subjects... including state aid  and competition.

I'm not clear on whether they can take back the railways or have an industrial strategy within that framework.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 03:08:02 PM EST
Labour has said it will negotiate "access to" the CUSM without saying what it will concede in order to persuade the EU27 to agree to this. They know the EU27 won't agree to this without at least a "level playing pitch" of UK businesses signing up to the same rules and regulations as the rest of the EU27.

But as an opposition they don't have to spell out their negotiating strategy. They remain free to criticize the May government even if they know they wouldn't get any different deal themselves. That's politics.

As for taking back the railway's, the railway's in Ireland - as well as many other infrastructural utilities - are run by semi-state organization (read nationalised entities). I'm not sure there is any specific EU directive or Treaty outlawing this. EU directives are mainly aimed at preventing "unfair competition" whereby one state backed company in one country puts a private enterprise out of business by leveraging it's state subsidies.

I don't think the UK, and in this instance the Labour party, has ever fully explored the potential scope of implementing their policies within an EU context, even where this might involve putting their own private companies out of business. The point of EU "state aid" restrictions is to prevent a company in country A putting a company in country B out of business by utilizing its state backing.

To me, that seems a fair restriction, even if I am in favour of public utilities being run by state companies, especially where they involve "natural monopolies" like electricity, telecommunications, public broadcasting, water, gas, and even broadband.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 04:48:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Legal opinion seems to be that the contention that EU rules require nationalisation is just justification for policies that UK parties wanted to implement.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 01:58:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 02:50:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes : governments all over Europe sell up natural monopolies and squander the money, while claiming "Brussels made us do it" and trying not to smirk.

That said, the EU directives are framed in such a way as to favour this "solution", by demanding that utilities be run like a business... And what business does government have running businesses? Eh?

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

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 02:57:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, sorry.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 04:39:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 03:13:48 PM EST
`We will not re-run the referendum', May tells British MPs
As soon as the breakthrough was announced, however, Conservative Brexiteers said they would vote against the deal, which former UK foreign minister Boris Johnson described as utterly unacceptable.

"It's vassal state stuff as for the first time in 1,000 years this parliament will not have a say over the laws that govern this country. It is utterly unacceptable to anybody who believes in democracy," he said.

"For the first time since partition, Dublin would have more say in some aspects of the governing of Northern Ireland than London. So I don't see how you can support from a democratic point of view."

So partition was the democratic choice of exactly which sovereign nation?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 04:27:04 PM EST
135 days left and this is the only deal that can be made.

The Tory party is split.  By my guesstimate she's ~150 votes short.

Without Labour Party votes it doesn't happen.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 05:07:36 PM EST
Corbyn is keeping his powder dry. If he strikes a deal with May to push through her brexit, what would be his price?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 05:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can he? Isn't he pretty much boxed in by his prior commitments, his bases hatred for the Tories, the hostility of his MPs and the prevailing wooly thinking about that whole Brexit thing?
by generic on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 07:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
His price would be his own self-immolation as leader. If Labour can't oppose this Tory government and their  Brexit disaster, what would be the point of having an opposition, or indeed a Labour party at all? Who would ever be bothered to vote for them again?

It would be worse than US Democrats facilitating Trump rule. There may be some areas where their preferred policies are not all that far apart, but they have to at least pretend there is a huge gulf between them in order to motivate their base to come out and vote.

When the public start saying all politicians are the same, that it's a case of tweedle dum and tweedle dee, that voter apathy becomes dominant and the elite can do more or less as they want, freed from the fear of voter retribution at the polls.

Like it or not, it is voter perceptions of relevant differences that animates politics. If anything, it is Corbyn's perceived sincere Euro-skepticism that is holding the Labour party back as the natural recipient of popular disillusion with Tory Brexiteer rule.

Calls to end division in politics are generally the call of the elite for everyone to unite behind them.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 07:32:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JUST TO ADD SOME MORE FUEL: Why the Left Should Embrace Brexit  Jacobin

Nothing better reflects the muddled thinking of the mainstream European left than its stance on Brexit. Each week seems to produce a new chapter for the Brexit scare story: withdrawing from the EU will be an economic disaster for the UK; tens of thousands of jobs will be lost; human rights will be eviscerated; the principles of fair trials, free speech, and decent labor standards will all be compromised. In short, Brexit will transform Britain into a dystopia, a failed state -- or worse, an international pariah -- cut off from the civilized world. Against this backdrop it's easy to see why Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is often criticized for his unwillingness to adopt a pro-Remain agenda.

The Left's anti-Brexit hysteria, however, is based on a mixture of bad economics, flawed understanding of the European Union, and lack of political imagination. Not only is there no reason to believe that Brexit would be an economic apocalypse; more importantly, abandoning the EU provides the British left -- and the European left more generally -- with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show that a radical break with neoliberalism, and with the institutions that support it, is possible.


The authors argue that the economic arguments against Brexit are contaminated by the neo-liberal assumptions embedded in the economic analysis.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 11:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've long suspected that Jacobin is a Heritage Foundation operation.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 01:24:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The WSWS calls it "the unofficial mouthpiece of the DSA". That's not meant as a compliment.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 01:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jacobin has been around a few years and does not appear to be a cheap magazine to publish. I have my doubts about the funding coming from the DSA.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 06:19:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL! I thought that this article is so far out of the context of anything I have seen discussed on the subject of Brexit that I have got to see what is the reaction.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 06:14:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brexit may indeed offer the left a good opportunity for a Mandate of Heaven in UK.
by das monde on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 06:50:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a stretch.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 07:22:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ouch
....Many months ago I sent in a hit piece on the really annoying, Sanders-style magazine Jacobin (in fairness to them, I've never made it much past a paragraph on that website). I am grateful the CP editors were mature enough not to publish my piece. Still, I'll venture to include a paragraph here that may capture who I see Sanders et al. representing: What Jacobin and all their confused posturing proves is that among the upper and middle class there is no such thing as a revolutionary. ...
hmm, closer to the historical "brand", I'd think, than Mountain. But let Bernard weight in.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 01:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fundamental assumption appears to be that the EU is a neo-liberal institution. Certainly it has embraced some neo-liberal economic policies as its member state governments have drifted ever further rightwards, but I would argue that the EU - especially in relative to USA terms - is a fundamentally social-democratic concept seeking to prevent increasingly globalised capital from dividing and conquering small states, playing them off against each other, and capturing the smaller ones. One of the fundamental drivers of Brexit is the failure of global capital to completely capture the EU, preferring instead to deal with a smaller and weaker target in the UK.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 12:16:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, Frank. I agree that the current Commission has learned to make the right noises on fighting globalised capital, and has even started moving things in the right direction on certain dossiers, but the problem is that the damage is already done.

 The EU has suffered profound neoliberal ideological capture, at every level (particularly during the deathly Barroso years) and has been the principal agent of enforcing the doctrine at national level. National governments, whether conservative or social democrat, just recite "Sorry folks, Brussels makes us do it" while trying not to smirk.

There are signs that recent progress is being rolled back. It appears, for example, that the Commission is working hard to prevent municipal governments from regulating their rental markets, on the pretext that this would be unfairly discriminatory against transnational platforms...

It is vital to push back against euro-neoliberalism, and it is vital not to leave the subject to the right-wing nationalists.


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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 11:50:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... but you are of course right that the EU offers a certain amount of protection (if only through inertia) against globalised capital, which an isolated "sovereign" nation lacks.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 11:51:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debatable. I think we have to think about the nature of the threat posed by globalised capital before we jump to conclusions.
Number one is being thrown out of the international trade system through loss of access to the payment system (see Iran) and piracy(see Argentina).
We'll have yet to see if the EU offers any kind of protection against this. Iran is a test case.

Otherwise, all we are left with is this:
What Is Foreign Investment For? - J. W. Mason

The final argument is that, if you have committed yourself to permitting the free creation of cross-border payment commitments, you will be unable to honor those commitments without a sufficient willingness of foreign units to take net long positions in your country's assets. [6]

This one is correct. If, let's say, banks in Argentina have accumulated large foreign currency liabilities (on their own, or more likely, as counterparties to other units accumulating net foreign asset positions) then their ability to meet their survival constraint will at some point depend on the willingness of foreign units to continue holding their liabilities. And unlike in the case of a bank with only domestic-currency liabilities, the central bank cannot act as lender of resort. In other words, the central bank can always maintain the integrity of the payment system as long as its own liabilities serve as the ultimate means of settlement; but it loses this ability insofar as the balance sheets of the domestic financial system includes commitments to pay foreign moneys. [7]

This, probably, is the real practical content of stories about how important it is to maintain the goodwill of footloose capital. If you don't honor your promises to foreign investors, you won't be able to honor your promises to foreign investors. The weird circularity is part of the fact of the matter.

by generic on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 12:41:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland is obviously a case study in this regard, having foolishly taken on net liabilities of c. €60 Billion on foot of the bank guarantee (c. 30% of GDP) the Commission and ECB prevented the government from burning bank bond holders - even junior unsecured bondholders - putting ordinary taxpayers on the hook instead: taxpayers who had, almost universally, never even heard of the investment banking entities who required much of the bail-out. Apparently this was for reasons of moral hazard, if you don't regulate your banks sufficiently, you pay...

Hopefully lessons have been learned - by all sides from that debacle - the ECB has since moved to make junior bond holders the first line of liability. That debt is still on the Irish government books despite a massive turnaround in economic fortunes since. But much of that economic turnaround was also enabled by ECB policies in the meantime, with QE providing v. low cost finance for the national debt to the point that the interest burden now is less than it was after the economic crisis of the 1980's - before the advent of the Euro.

It is perhaps this history, and this experience which makes me and c. 90% Irish people such pro-EU advocates. Most would trust the ECB/Commission before we would trust our own financial watchdogs. The peculiar perspective from a very small state with a very open economy makes us appreciative of whatever small mercies the Draghi ECB visited upon us.

We are still close to being captured by global corporates, and particularly by US ICT corporates like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple. Our government could/would never have contemplated what the Commission has done in seeking to rein in their most egregious tax and regulatory excesses. We need the EU to do what our government simply hasn't got the bargaining power to do. Perhaps this is a particular "small country" perspective, but let us not forget the the bulk of the remaining 27 EU members are economically small countries. The view from France/Germany may be somewhat different.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 02:53:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but all this is mere politics...

Without a majority for the brexit package, we're in uncharted territory, politically, institutionally, diplomatically and, especially, economically. The full train wreck, with no clear way to cut the Gordian knot.

That's where politics needs to give way to statesmanship.

Corbyn wants neither a hard Brexit nor to stay in the EU; so pragmatically, though he would no doubt have done a less worse job than May, he would have ended up with a broadly similar package for the 2 year transition.

If his price for getting it over the line were a general election, would it be worth it, for Labour, and would May accept it?  

Given that the real business is the final bilateral agreement, then if Labour won the ensuing election, that's a pretty good outcome for Corbyn.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 08:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would be the point of voting for Labour if both May and Corbyn were campaigning on the basis of the same deal? It would be open season for UKIP and Tory Brexiteers to blame all the short comings of the deal on May/Corbyn - and with May having been displaced as Tory leader and already consigned to yesteryear.

Labour would be on their own campaigning for a Tory deal with the Tories having already abandoned it and elected a new leader.

If Labour can pin this deal on the Tories, and the Tories alone, on the other hand, there would be a historic opportunity to cast the Tories into outer darkness for perhaps a generation, with the Lib Dems perhaps even displacing them in the Westminster duopoly.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 12:28:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour could secure Commons majority for compromise Brexit, McDonnell says

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, told the Today programme this morning that Labour could secure a Commons majority for a compromise Brexit plan. As the Press Association reports, he said that when the government of the day was unable to command a Commons majority, the constitutional convention was that the opposition should be invited to form an administration. He also suggested Labour could seek support for an alternative agreement with the EU based on a permanent customs union and a "close collaborative relationship" with the single market.

McDonnell told the programme:

   I think we can secure a majority. What is absolutely certain is that the government's proposal won't command a majority in the House of Commons.

    Anyone having seen what happened in the House of Commons yesterday realises that the proposals that the prime minister brought forward will not command a majority and therefore there has to be some discussions. There has to be some movement.

    You saw in the debate yesterday, and certainly some of the discussions that have taken place around the House of Commons, people have looked over the edge of a no-deal Brexit and realised it could be catastrophic for our economy.

    I think our European partners also have looked over the edge of a no-deal Brexit and seen what an impact it could have on their economies.

    So I think what is emerging within the House of Commons now is almost a unity platform to avoid a no deal, and therefore get down to serious discussions about what could construct a deal which would enable us to protect jobs and the economy.

    I think that is beginning to emerge around the permanency of the customs union, the relationship with the single market.


He also rejected claims that it was too late to re-open negotiations with Brussels on the terms of the withdrawal agreement.

"We have met [EU chief negotiator] Michel Barnier and others. If you can create the right atmosphere and relationship, there can be negotiations that are constructive.
I think everyone realises the dangers that there are of a no-deal Brexit, both for the UK but also for Europe itself. I think there is a sense of urgency now about getting on with a proper negotiation."




It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 12:33:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing Corbyn should be maneuvering for is keeping the Tories in government through the post-Brexit slow-motion train wreck.
by rifek on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 10:33:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I can tell, even the right wing Labour rebels are preparing to vote against this deal. Even Steven Kinnock, who massively embarrassed himself on TV at the last election and has nothing to lose by defying Corbyn, has stated he will vote against.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 08:30:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What incentive is there for any Labour MP to support May's deal? This isn't the Brexit their constituents voted for. Why take the hit for Tory incompetence even if you lack confidence that your own side would have done any better. Some may be intimidated by the prospect of a no deal Brexit, but they have to be convinced that that is the only alternative at this stage. I don't think we are there yet, for most MPs. Even the most deluded ones.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 09:57:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Generally their motive is to stick it to Corbyn, so voting with the govt against his wishes works for them.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 09:20:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Much as they hate Corbyn, the prospect of power beckons...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 12:30:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed.

Meanwhile the ERG are calling for a vote of no-confidence in May. Interestingly this suggests that in spite of the chaos, they don't already have the numbers they need.

So the vile Mogg has just tried to sell a change of leadership. Unfortunately for him, a leadership win would change exactly nothing. At least one minister is saying that if the Ultras try to swing it, they will campaign for a People's Vote and an end to Brexit. And some remainers would resign the whip, which would guarantee a no-confidence vote.

It's a stalemate, with a theoretical advantage to Remainers. The Ultras will try it on, but unless they can persuade the army to stage a full-blown military coup, their odds of success are debatable - not zero, but less than 50:50.

Being delusional, the Ultras may not have realised this yet. They're selling the usual stock rhetoric they've been using since before the referendum.

It has its admirers, but a lot of people are finding it very tedious now.

Also, this: Leave Voter Cries and Apologises

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 03:12:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the consensus seems to be the Labour Party will not pull May's ass out of the fire by whipping & voting for the Deal?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 01:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't see Labour ever whipping their MPs in support of the deal. A few Labour anti-Corbyn rebels maybe, but even they must be wary of supporting such an unpopular deal. They can always say "this isn't the Brexit my constituents voted for" and claim they could do a better job themselves.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 12:33:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't imagine even the stupidest, neolib, Blairite Labour MP not wanting to hang this sack of sewage entirely on the Tory doorpost.
by rifek on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 11:03:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, even Hilary Benn (without referencing Corbyn by name) said he would back Labour's position on the deal.
As for Labour's non-position on Brexit and the EU in general, silence prevailed.
Not so for Rees-Mogg, slyly sliding the shiv into his leader and party, imitating John Cleese imitating him, with the requisite plummy tone he cartoons so effectively.
The best touch was his wearing what looked like his grand-father's double-breastfed suit, baggily hanging from his scarecrow shoulders and making him look like a boychild playing dress-up.

Sigh, you have to take yer comedy where you find 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 Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 10:19:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the brexiters are not happy

EvolvePolitics - Senior Tory Brexiteers to "call for no confidence vote" in Theresa May "tomorrow"

Senior Tory Brexiteers have indicated that they are so angry with Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal that they are likely to trigger an official Vote of no Confidence in the Prime Minister tomorrow, it has emerged.

The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg broke the story with a tweet stating:

"Senior tory tells me Brexiteer anger so high that seems likely there will be a call for no confidence vote tomorrow - letters going in -"



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 08:13:24 PM EST
So far Theresa May has won the initial support of her cabinet, although it remains to be seen if there will be any resignations. There are so many potential candidates for the Tory leadership all will be calculating whether remaining a "loyal" member of the cabinet now, or resigning in a huff of principled protest is the better option for endearing themselves with Tory MPs and the Tory faithful - who will ultimately decide the leadership question.

Triggering a leadership contest is the easy part - only 48 MPs have to write to the Chairman of the 1922 committee requesting an election. reportedly, nearly that number had already done so last January. After that 158 Tory MPs have to vote no confidence in her leadership - a more difficult hurdle for Brexiteers to surmount. The question is whether now is the time to topple her. Few want her to lead the party into the next general election, but would it not be better for her to complete the Brexit process and then topple her?

Even if she loses, Brexiteers still have to make sure one of their preferred candidates makes the top two in a series of run-off ballots among MPs. That shouldn't be too hard to do. And then it is down to the Tory party membership who have an average age of 70+ and are reportedly somewhere to the right of Attilla the Hun. That should ensure a hardline Brexiteer succeeds her.

But would the EU be prepared to reopen negotiations with a hard line Prime Minister? I doubt it. It's then either a no deal Brexit or a general election. Whoever wins, there are three options:

  1. May's deal
  2. No deal
  3. A new deal negotiated with a new government if the EU agree to an A.50 extension, which they might only do if there is agreement to put any new deal to a second referendum.

We live in interesting times...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 09:47:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"support of her cabinet", waarf.

They support her like the rope supports the hanged man.

Seriously. I suspect there are no résignations purely because they know she will lose in the Commons anyway... for the same reason they will not ditch her, because nobody wants the job. Not just now.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 08:42:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dominic Raab and Shailesh Vara [Who He??!] have resigned and speculation that Ester McVey may go too after creating severe friction in yesterday's meeting
by oldremainmer48 on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 09:13:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, the rats are running. The deal may not reach the Commons, I think May will face a confidence vote. Right now, I'll be surprised if the Govt survived the week

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 09:17:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then what next?

Sincere question.

The government of the UK has placed the nation in an untenable position. No Conservative Prime Minister could get the current Brexit deal through parliament; no other deal is on the table, or could be negotiated before deadline.

I'm not asking for prédictions, just evocations of possible paths.


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

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 11:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, the best solution would be a request to the EU for a delay in the A50 process of 6 weeks and then declare a General Election.

I'm pretty sure that a Corbyn administration could bring about the softest of soft brexits in a matter of weeks.

But, otherwise, realistically it's no deal or no brexit. Those Are the only options.

 Given that May keeps reaching for the comfort blanket of a referendum vote that demanded we leave, I suspect she will opt for no deal

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 12:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but "No Deal" is a phase, not an end point. What next?

Apart from the obvious : bank runs, food riots, emigration of the young...

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

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 02:54:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yea, all of those.

tbh, predicting which bits of the economic supply chain  will implode first is pretty impossible.

I imagine that once it becomes inevitable, all sorts of things will just begin to wind down. Food supplies will crawl to a halt simply because no EU lorry driver is gonna risk being caught on the wrong side of the channel.

Thre will be a run on the pound as people stash their money abroad in safer currencies.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 04:02:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sooner or later, surely (SURELY?), politicians will go into crisis mode and sort out some sort of shonky compromise to keep the shops stocked.

That's the gist of what I'm saying about Labour helping to push the current deal through.

How bad will they let it get?

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

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 04:56:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In my youth I used to be a sort of Hegelian believing that politics is like a pendulum - if it swings a long way in one direction, it will swing a long way in the opposite direction sooner or later. The assumption was that there was a natural state of equilibrium somewhere in the middle.

As I grew older, I realised that the centre, too, could move, and there was no telling how far it could move in one direction or the other. It was like Jews in Germany in the 1920's and 1930's thinking "how bad can it get?", on the assumption that sooner or later a central equilibrium based on human decency would re-assert itself. After all, they were on such good terms with their neighbours.

Now my advice to those who say it has to get worse before it can get better is "just don't go there". There is no guarantee things will not just get worse and worse and there are virtually no depths to which the collective human psyche cannot sink. Even atrocities get rationalised and normalised if they happen often enough.

So you will often find me here advocating for slow incremental steps in a better direction, not only because they are better in themselves, but because they can build a positive momentum and make more incremental improvements more likely in the future. At worst they can stop any momentum in the opposite direction.

Not very exciting, I know, and very far from the flights of idealistic fancy of my youth, where the assumption was that if you break things up, things can only get better. They can, but unfortunately the opposite is often more likely, especially if you disturb the human beast of anxiety, insecurity, fear, anger and felt deprivation.

We may laugh at them now, but the Tory Brexiteer idiots may soon become the new normal, the new moderates, to be displaced by something far more dangerous. The EU is built on a lot of these realisations. Unfortunately the generation which learned those lessons the hard way is fast dying out.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 06:03:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU may be built on those realisations, but that didn't stop Hungary, didn't stop Austria and isn't stopping Poland much either.

Every Presidential election France flirts with Front National, the german secret service seem to be working hand in glove with people far beyond AfD.

Yes, Britain could do lots of things, but I look at europe and I'm not reasured the EU exists to pour oil on troubled water.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 06:23:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The former communist bloc countries didn't go through the same learning experience as "western" Europe. East Germany is still very different from West Germany. They washed away their war guilt by replacing right wing totalitarianism with what morphed into Stalinist totalitarianism. Not a whole lot different in many ways but without the guilty association with Nazism, Fascism, and collaborators.

Yes every country has its unsavoury undercurrents, and sometimes they can seize power. So far, the EU, for all its faults, has been able to hold the line. Maybe it too will succumb in time - with more and more national governments moving to far right, there is only so much the EU can do.

But defeating Brexiteers and the politics they represent will be an important victory, even if it results in significant economic dislocation all round. It will signal that there are some values the EU is not prepared to compromise on. It will not throw Ireland or a beleagured nationalist community in the North under a bus. It will not sacrifice free movement or worker rights on the altar on de-regulated capitalism. It will not allow UK disaster capitalists to game the system and have their cake and eat it.

That cake has been very painstakingly built up, and is for our children and grand children to inherit. Nobody eats it without contributing to its continued growth and welfare.

You can point to Greece and any number of other shortcomings in the EU. But lets not ignore a kleptocratic Greek elites role in their disaster. Ireland had a similar bad experience when our economic and political elites "lost the run of themselves". Mistakes were made at EU level as well, but generally the institutions were as helpful as they could be within their limited mandates.

The rise of the far right in Europe has many causes - fears about immigrants overwhelming traditional cultures, the legacy of government austerity in the wake of the financial crash, globalization and its impact on regional, economic and social inequality. The EU is not blameless, but generally it isn't the primary causative factor either, however much nationalists like to paint it in those colours.

The reality is that many of the factors cannot be addressed satisfactorily at national level and the EU needs more powers, not less, if it is to make a more effective contribution towards alleviating them. The success of the nationalists has been to simultaneously blame the EU for being all powerful and at the same time ensuring that it is as ineffectual as possible.

We will not miss UK nationalism in that regard.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 07:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We may not have time for anything to swing back.  Let's not forget that the real backstop here is climate change, and we have a government here in the US Hell-bent on making it happen.
by rifek on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 11:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And climate change and resulting unprecedented droughts is one of the causative factors for the northward migration of Africans which is causing such political trauma in Europe. It is not coincidental that Trump is against both climate change remedial action and further migration into the USA.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 11:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How did you arrive at that conclusion?

My understanding is, here in the USA, "drought" is a popular alternative hypothesis for migration of Syrians, Palestinians, and Afghans out of country of origin to Europe.

Let's go with that assumption for the sake of ... satire. From which African countries are migrants --mostly detained in Libya-- fleeing "drought" to enter the EU?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 05:51:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a migrant population of 22 Million non-EU citizens resident in the EU of which c. 2 Million arrived in 2016 from non-EU countries. Approximately 1 million were granted EU citizenship in 2016 a number which has been increasingly slowly every year since 2010. Most of these came from Morocco, Albania, India, Pakistan and Turkey. Approximately one million asylum seekers have moved to Europe from sub Saharan Africa since 2010.

I haven't been able to find a breakdown by country of origin of those fleeing Africa for Europe via Libya. However those fleeing Syria are obvious fleeing war, not drought or other factors. Afghan refugees are hosted mainly in Pakistan and Iran, not Europe. Palestinian migrants are hosted mainly in Jordan 3,240,000, Israel 1,650,000, Syria 630,000, Chile 500,000 (largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East), Lebanon 402,582, Saudi Arabia 280,245, and Egypt 270,245. Israel actively "assists" Palestinian emigration in their efforts to maintain a Jewish majority and an apartheid state in Israel.

Much of this migration is forced by war, deprivation, racism and drought, with drought being the most important factor in sub saharan Africa. Which part of this human tragedy do you find funny?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 08:40:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
re: "drought being the most important factor "

That's all you've got?

I wouldn't have asked the question if I didn't know the answer. I have been monitoring a variety of public data sources purporting to estimate the number of arrivals to the EU, from country of origin, since the first PR breakdowns (semantics) in administrative preferences: What is "human trafficking"? Who is a "migrant"? Who is a "refugee"? Who is an "adult"? and so forth.

I've seen your source several times before from the CA Cohort of Petty Landlords ... since 2013. I was waiting for it. For that lot, US-CFR authority enhanced their assumption that "drought" was pretext for Assads' dynastic scheme kill his people, populate Europe with Islamic terrorist child assassins, or both, inexplicably. Which was ironic because so few of them trusted climate science, and none were familiar with historical bases for this sudden "drought" alarm --in that particular state but not, say, the verdant plains of Eritrea or Afghanistan.

More amusing is the extent to which some people reach for an explanation other than NATO conflict coupled to economic ruin by "structural adjustment" of every.single.region from which these migrants come. Interrogating Hegel (Nazi or not Nazi?) is just icing on this cake of NEW! origin stories.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 09:33:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you have a bone to pick with the "CA Cohort of Petty Landlords" - whoever they are - please take it up with them but don't try to involve me in your arguments. I would be the last person to excuse NATO's role in creating various refugee crises. I don't find their involvement amusing either. As for your questions, please don't bother me with them if you think you already know the answer. I have better things to do with my time than engage with someone more interested in fighting battles that have nothing to do with me. Most of your comment I just find unintelligible and certainly not relevant to anything I have said.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 11:48:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The CA Cohort of Petty Landlord is a stereotype, Frank, of republican with a keen interest in money marketing and wealth accumulation. For the Petty Landlord the purpose of government is to siphon by taxation and careless expenditures real property and unearned income value to line the purses of equally petty bureaucrats who have been trained in communist propaganda in any case. One might even say, regardless of the Petty Landlord's physical location, gender, religion, or partisan inclination, this person is comforted by security in status quo --in so far as inequality insures profit, guaranteed income, and temperate indoor/outdoor conditions for recreation. It is a parochial worldview.

A conservative observer, the Petty Landlord is quick to detect threats, slow to assimilate opportunities which cannot be validated by prior experience, or plain English, whichever comes first. These instincts and generally thin distribution of the cohort present difficulties for the casual ethnographer who is interested in cataloging its range and customs by any other name.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 02:23:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the explanation. We have a landlord class in Ireland as well, who are obsessed with property values, rent seeking, law and order, personal and financial security, and who see themselves as the backbone of the economy and the moral order. Never mind that their "work" and output consists largely of exploiting inequality in order to exacerbate it.

Still not sure what any of this has to do with anything I have written above...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 09:56:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to an article in a dead tree paper, Swedish municipal power and heat plants that uses mainly garbage imports a lot of British garbage. Now they have started to look elsewhere, because they don't know what rules will be in place after March. Apparently, there is no lack of garbage in Europe, so we will not need to turn down our heat (set to comfortable temperatures), but the Swedish importers expressed worry about the UK's landfills.

Probably not the most immediate concern, but add it to the list.

by fjallstrom on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 08:22:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 08:50:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think China has been taking in waste for recycling, but not handled it very environmentally friendly (to say the least). I recently read an article about a town in China that is the center of Chinese plastic recycling and it's an environmental and health nightmare. (I can't find the link now.) So it's probably a good thing that China stops destroying their environment for what amounts to green washing.

For those concerned about Sweden's dependence on trash for energy, the plants can run on wood too, and we have huge forests. No trash would be better than burnt trash, but burnt trash is better than landfills.

by fjallstrom on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 11:25:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Waste to energy might have its place, but incineration has some rather nasty byproducts: carbon and numerous other air pollutants, some highly toxic, but most particularly the ash, components of which require disposal as hazardous/toxic waste.  This is expensive and ultimately a future threat to water supplies.  Beyond that, my experience has been that local authorities are often motivated to reduce costs of monitoring and enforcement.
Burning wood is only minimally efficient, and then only if transport distances are short, I believe.
by Andhakari on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 09:44:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Burning waste only looks good in comparison to some alternatives, such as landfill and burning peat in Ireland, which not only produces similar carbon emissions, but destroys natural bog lands as well. Shipping waste all the way to China can hardly be energy efficient as well. So you are looking at the least worst solution, in many cases - other than actually focusing on reducing waste itself.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 09:51:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apres May, le deluge?
by rifek on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 11:05:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a day ending in "y."

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 01:47:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who is this 'Senior Torry'? A representative from Gibraltar?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 06:25:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From a negotiating process point of view it is telling that the final negotiations were conducted almost entirely at Official level. Even new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab was largely out of the loop. If you want a deal done, you call in the professionals - those who hadn't already resigned or left in despair.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 09:53:50 PM EST
Prince Charles celebrates his 70th. Birthday...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 10:03:19 PM EST
Brexiteers must shout "BETRAYAL" as otherwise their little ruse to "take back control" (for themselves) will be uncovered. Somebody else has to take the blame for the obvious disparity between their promises and reality,
I was under the impression that hardline Brexiteers can shout whatever illogical nonsense they like. If they just back this thing to get over the line (they should take a hint from Gove there), then they will have Brexit - lifelong dream achieved. Also, because of its 'impurities' they will still have things to moan about after Brexit and a lot of chances to blow things up again. To me there doesn't seem to be a big risk of exposure or embarassment. It would require shame. So just go for Brexit. That's what I would do.

Meanwhile, the mainline leaver who is not particularly interested in the details, will just hold onto "Leave means leave!" Everything else being secondary. Oh look not much has changed! Project fear refuted! Time to turn off Brexit for the next decade while the long-term agreement is negotiated.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 at 10:45:29 PM EST
Would this still count as exiting the EU according to the Article 50 rules? If the UK decides it wants back in while still in the transition period, would the re-entry application be "from scratch" or would it be counted as a reversal of the Article 50 withdrawal?

I'm inclined to think that May's strategy is to minimize the economic damage of leaving, while giving the public a chance to see the effects and then hopefully to reverse course. But the re-entry could be pretty painful.

by asdf on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 12:38:52 AM EST
The UK leaves the EU regardless of any deal on the 29th. March unless the EU Council and the UK extend that deadline by unanimous consent. After that the only way back in is via the A.49 accession application process, which also requires unanimous consent.

There is an argument that an A. 50 notification can be withdrawn prior to the end of the 2 year notification process and the Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland has referred this matter as a question to the ECJ. I have argued, in response to that article, that no unilateral right to withdraw an A.50 notification exists, and no one there has yet sought to refute my argument.

I have been thinking of doing a diary on the subject.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 01:06:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2 resignations so far this morning, a rather anonymous and lowly N Ireland "minister"/bag carrier.

But also ...pause... Dominic Raab.

This deal is unravelling before our eyes, it may not reach the Commons to be debated at this rate.

The Government could fall this week

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 09:15:51 AM EST
Now Esther McVeigh has resigned from the Cabinet.

Man I love the smell of napalm in the morning

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 10:15:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Braveman is number four.

My reasons are simple. Firstly, the proposed Northern Ireland Backstop is not Brexit. It is not what the British people--or my constituents--voted for in 2016. It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU. This robs the UK of the main competitive advantages from Brexit.

Emphasis mine. The 2016 Brexit referendum is a convenient Rorschach.

by Bjinse on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 10:54:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh good grief yes. Every time somebody stands up and claims that their personal brexit is "what the country voted for", I have to consciously restrain myself from picking up a brick and hurling it at the television

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 12:37:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please forgive my ignorance, and this seems silly, but i wonder if there might be a solution to this mess.
May's task has been to negotiate an exit with the EU.  The arrived at agreement resembles that which might have been negotiated by Corbyn.
A significant number of Tories loath May and the settlement.  Labour can't support anything sponsored by the Tories.
My question: could May hand the government over to Corbyn and Labour?  She has no future with the Tories.  She actually did her job, but only if the deal passes.  Labour might support the deal if implementing it was under their control.  Is it even possible?
by Andhakari on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 09:34:03 AM EST
No, this isn't a deal Corbyn would have negotiated.

May instituted several "red lines" right at the beginning, such as leaving the Customs Union and the aegis of the European Court of Justice that took us further than anything which had been suggested during the Campaign.

Although I cannot say for certain, I suspect that Corbyn would have gone for a fairly soft brexit which protected trade.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 10:18:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And no, she can just "hand" Government over to Labour.

Only a party or coalition which forms a majority in the house of commons can form a government. Labour cannot do that. An election is needed

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 10:20:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.
by Andhakari on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 10:24:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 12:42:13 PM EST
This is hilarious. In a "we're all going to die" sort of way.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 02:00:15 PM EST
Ten bucks US currency sez the DUP is tossed out and NI merges with Ireland by, say, next summer. Or maybe I should bet in UKP which will be worthless by then.
by asdf on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 03:03:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dollars to donuts, eh?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 03:49:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's hope they buy Italian bonds, it'll bring down the spread. ;)

'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 Nov 15th, 2018 at 05:32:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll take the bet. In 10 years, maybe. 10 months, no. (Things move slowly around here. We think in centuries...)

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 at 05:33:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a small chance this could still survive on tactics alone? The council session is next week and then there will be a vote before Christmas (?). So a few weeks to debate and actually read the deal. Time to cool off after venting frustrations. Also, the 'unpalatable' alternatives (no-deal, no-Brexit) will come into view. Could the maths be overcome because everything else is so bad?



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 12:19:50 AM EST
A lot will depend on how many MPs believe this really is last chance saloon and there is no chance of negotiating another (better) deal. But as time goes on No deal will look the increasingly inevitable alternative and may persuade some to swallow their doubts.  It is also unclear at present how remainers will vote: FOR, as it is the softest Brexit on offer. Or AGAINST, in the hope of precipitating a crisis that will lead to a second referendum. If there is a leadership challenge that will suck the air out of the room for a couple of weeks. It's still all to play for.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 01:13:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's quite a spectacle to see the Daily Mail (!) trying to whip the hardline Brexiteers into backing this deal, not just the remainers. Maybe their magic will work?!

For remainers this could seem like soft Brexit. All roads would logically lead to a withdrawal agreement like this. It looks like a min-cut/max-flow problem: the minimum you get is the maximum you could hope for.

But when it comes to the future relationship this essentially blind Brexit with the hope that circumstances/inertia will lead to something soft?! Or that Brexitism has exerted itself just by getting actual legal Brexit and there will no further appetite to keep going like this for a decade after March.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 08:48:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The mathematics on this topic is complicated because traditional binary voting systems don't handle multiple choices very well. A ranked vote ("instant runoff") approach could be used to select the least objectionable preference.
by asdf on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 03:51:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by generic on Fri Nov 16th, 2018 at 01:43:37 PM EST
by das monde on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 01:48:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Michael Gove leading Cabinet 'gang of five' with plan to force Theresa May into last-minute Brexit changes (Telegraph)

At last some serious people are taking things in hand.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 12:56:35 PM EST
[Torygraph Alert]
The "gang of five" believes it is not too late for Mrs May to go back to Brussels and demand a unilateral exit mechanism from the so-called "backstop" arrangement over Northern Ireland.
(my emphasis)

Seriously?

Brussels won't allow Brexit deal do-over

We cannot "compromise" or engage in "cherry-picking" or "bargaining," Barnier told ambassadors, referring to requests to reopen the draft deal that was agreed by the British Cabinet on Wednesday. He added that he expects "difficult negotiations" ahead.

Barnier also expressed a desire to help the British government in its efforts to ratify the text in a vote of MPs. And he said that there could be room for movement on the EU side in specific areas, such as enhanced cooperation on phytosanitary regulations and so-called technical barriers to trade. It is a moment not for triumphalism, he said, but for "encouragement."

The chief negotiator's presentation at the more than two-hour meeting reflects a dilemma for Brussels. While EU countries want to help May get the deal through parliament, there is a reluctance at such a late stage to radically unpick the agreement -- despite threats to May's leadership and a series of ministerial resignations over the deal.

by Bernard on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 05:08:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seriously?

That lot? Never.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 07:55:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"While EU countries want to help May get the deal through parliament, there is a reluctance at such a late stage to radically unpick the agreement"

Maybe not:

France is pushing the UK to incorporate future European climate change directives into law automatically in return for an ambitious trade deal with the EU. But the extra demands on the UK are likely to be unwelcome to Brexiters, who fear that the government is allowing the UK to be permanently sucked into the EU's regulatory orbit. The EU has been steadily ratcheting up its targets as part of the 2015 Paris climate change accord, and France wants the UK to be bound to them.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/17/france-wants-uk-climate-pledge-brexit-trade-deal

by asdf on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 09:34:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially serious is that apparently the principal point to "renegotiate" would be to obtain the UK's unilateral right to end the backstop.

Now that's exactly something the EU would be willing to consider.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 09:28:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole point of the backstop was to prevent the UK from unilaterally causing a situation that necessitates a hard border across the island of Ireland.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 04:13:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
even within the EU, new trade deals are no longer the preserve of the technocratic elite: they are coming under increasing scrutiny in national parliaments (all of which must ratify any new deal)
That's not entirely correct. The EU has exclusive competence over a narrowly defined "trade" policy, and so a free trade agreement that is limited to those areas of exclusive EU competence does not need to be ratified by the national parliaments. Of course, such a limited trade deal would be inadequate to the economy of the 2020's. But if the UK and the EU must reach a quick agreement of a future relation so that the UK can exit the transitional post-Brexit regime, that will have to do. A so-calles mixed agreement dependent on the assent of all EU national parliaments can wait for a second stage of negotiations. But in particular the services sector would be hard hit by growing from the Brexit transition to a narrow trade deal.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 03:37:20 PM EST
Yes, but the Brexiteers keep talking about a Canada+++ deal which most certainly couldn't be passed without all parliaments agreeing. In addition movement to a free trade deal also required an agreement to avoid a hard boarder in Ireland, so even a "narrowly defined" trade deal would require at least a bilateral deal with Ireland, and probably EU agreement that N. Ireland remains within the CUSM even as GB leaves. So I think your point is moot in this context.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 09:36:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if the DUP votes against the current agreement, their value to May is eliminated, so the sensible next step for her would be to throw NI under the bus.
by asdf on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 10:03:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That, I think, will be the next step if the DUP do vote against the deal. Take GB out of the CUSM - and thus out of the backstop agreement, and give it the freedom to conduct its own trade deals - but leave N. Ireland in. I doubt most conservatives care all that much about N. Ireland, and giving the UK the freedom to take its own place in the world might be reason enough to ditch N. Ireland. After all the DUP have also (eventually) signed up to the Good Friday Agreement.

The problem for May is that she doesn't have enough votes to pass that deal even if all Brexiteers vote for it.  She would need to find some more votes from somewhere. The SNP might vote for it if Scotland, too, can stay in the CUSM, but that would mean a hard England/Scotland border and be even more controversial as it really would "break up the UK". The Lib Dems presumably would only vote for it if the resulting changed deal was put to a referendum.

Ultimately, if Parliament can't vote for ANY deal, a second referendum might be the only way of breaking the gridlock. Both May and Corbyn would have to agree that a second referendum is preferable to a no deal Brexit "which no one voted for". A second referendum might also require an A.50 extension unless they get their act together very quickly. Indeed that might be the only circumstance under which an A.50 extension would be agreed. In the meantime, the threat of a second referendum might be the only way to persuade the DUP and Brexiteers to vote for this deal.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 11:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Giving NI a special economic status - the obvious outsider solution to the Irish border conundrum - would not be throwing it under the bus. It would be throwing the DUP under the bus.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 04:12:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the DUP is no longer a key player in the deal-making process, would the other parties in NI bow to inevitability and support unification and EU membership?
by asdf on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 12:36:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
N. Ireland voted 56%-44% to remain in the EU and the other parties would be happy with that outcome - with the proviso for the UUP and the Alliance party that there is no change in the constitutional position of N. Ireland within the UK. This situation would be analogous to the position of Denmark and Greenland. Greenland remains part of the Kingdom of Denmark but voted and was allowed to leave the EU while Denmark remained a member.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 01:07:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This sign language interpreter on the Beeb has apparently become a national sensation.

by Bernard on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 09:45:21 PM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 09:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Brits have discovered the non-verbal half of the Italian language.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 04:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are stark raving bonkers.

Leave-voting MP Nadine Dorries slams May's Brexit deal because UK won't have seats in European parliament

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the quality of our politicians right now," one Twitter user noted. "The intellect of a boiled cabbage."



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 02:11:42 AM EST
And no commissioners in Brussels either.

Oh, and did you know that Britain is an island? With the Dover strait as the main trade route to and from the European continent?

Not everybody did, apparently.

All at sea: Raab's ignorance of Dover-Calais stuns critics

Opposition parties and pro-remain groups have criticised the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, after he admitted that until recently he did not fully appreciate the importance of the Dover-Calais crossing for UK trade.

Speaking at an event on Brexit and the tech industry, Raab said that consumers would lose out if new rules create delays at the border.

In comments reported by the Politico website, he said: "I hadn't quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing."

At least, he went to negotiation meetings in Brussels more often than his predecessor. David Davis hasn't visited Brussels for Brexit talks yet this year (March 2018)

by Bernard on Sun Nov 18th, 2018 at 09:13:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Come now. David Davis didn't need to. It was a cakewalk, see?

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 06:29:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corbyn on a second referendum, if one were to be organised :

Pressed on how he would vote on Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Mr Corbyn said he voted to Remain at the 2016 referendum and said there are "reforms needed" in the EU.

"I don't know how I am going to vote - what the options would be at that time," he said.

(...)

Referring to the prime minister's deal, he said it was a "one-way agreement" in which the EU "calls all the shots".

He added: "We'll vote against the deal because it doesn't meet our six tests. We don't believe it serves the interests of this country, therefore the government will have to go back to the EU and renegotiate rapidly. (The Independent)

The British are being sold a pack of lies by the entire political class, you're thinking? You could be right.

On Labour's stance, a good piece by John Harris in the Guardian:

Brexit is a class betrayal. So why is Labour colluding in it?


I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 06:51:20 AM EST
Corbyn's problem is that a lot of tabloid reading Labour voters opted for Leave. He's worried about losing seats at a general election.

Equally, he actually is a democrat who feels compelled to respect the referendum, however crooked the campaign and stupid the vote.

Also, nobody has really looked into how many working class Leavers actually do vote Labour. Personally, I think this is still the thatcherite working class who, as a group, haven't voted Labour since the early 70s. But, who really knows?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 10:47:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you look at the polls before the last GE there's a huge crash in support for UKIP, which happens at the same time as a huge spike for Labour.

Presumably Labour has more detailed polls that actually quantify the shift. I understand it was something like 1/3 for Labour vs 2/3 for the Tories - enough to be a problem if those votes are lost.

Hence the reluctance to become a Remain party.

This has been a viable but frustrating position for the last couple of years. But now the number of Leavers who also want a People's Vote is increasing. I would love to see what the polls say about that shift.

It's plausible - but could also be wrong - that in a GE, promising a PV would be a campaign winner. I don't think anyone knows for sure without seeing the numbers.

There's also an obvious struggle happening between Corbyn - who really does seem to be a secret Leaver - and the rest of party, where the Remain majority is absolutely clear.

My guess is that the hardcore Leavers just don't care any more. They'll sit out another GE unless there's a change of leadership and a no-deal Brexiter kook takes over the Tories.

So in fact losses would be more obvious for the Tories in a May/Corbyn GE, and coming out pro-PV is an easy winner.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 12:17:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's this poll by Yougov from the beginning of the month. Though not on self-identified Leavers.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 01:53:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is important for persuading existing MPs to support a "people's vote", but not as important as the attitude of people in Tory held marginal Constituencies Labour would have to win in order to get an overall majority at the next GE - if Corbyn were to get his preferred outcome of another GE.

However, it seems to me that the Fixed Term Act makes it almost impossible for anyone to force an early general election even if the current government cannot obtain a majority for its Brexit deal, or indeed any Brexit deal at all. May could, if she wished, continue in office as a lame duck PM unable to pass critical legislation and consequently allow the UK to drift into a no deal Brexit by default.

If a majority of the Commons oppose this their only recourse to break the logjam would be to pass the final decision back to the people by way of a second referendum. It will take some time before we get to that point, but it seems the logical end point.

If the DUP/hard Brexiteers want to prevent such an outcome (and risk of no Brexit), their only option is to hold their noses and vote for May's deal as the only way of ensuring any sort of Brexit happens at all. Indeed May's strongest argument for her deal is to say that the alternative is a People's vote which might very well lead to no Brexit at all.

Basically, everyone's been boxed in, by accident or design. The EU had an incentive to offer a very poor deal if it still hoped that the UK might change their mind. Failing that they have demonstrated that nothing beats full membership and that any country considering leaving should think carefully about its options. Further, it has stood by an existing small member (Ireland) providing it with a negotiating leverage it could only dream of on its own.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 03:18:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've decided that May's timing, delivering a sketchy Brexit agreement at the last workable minute, is the essence of her strategy : stampede her MPs into rubber-stamping an accord they haven't read.

It's not much of a plan, but what else did she have to work with?

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 05:11:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She will try to force a vote before Xmas, before hard-line constituency Tories have a chance to really get to work on her MPs. Problem is, I still can't see where she will get the votes to win.

So we could be entering the new year without a deal and without an obvious way of resolving the impasse. It is not even clear what concessions the EU could offer to secure a majority.

Maybe May is hoping a looming no-deal Brexit will concentrate minds wonderfully, if not for her deal, then for the only alternative which is a second referendum.

Problem is, would Corbyn go for it when his obvious preference is for an election? I can't see May being allowed by even loyal back benchers to agree to a GE, so a second referendum it would probably have to be.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 07:29:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here we go...
Brinkspersonship in Brussels
Theresa May is to make an emergency dash to Brussels on Saturday to complete the Brexit negotiations after the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, threatened to pull the plug on the Sunday leaders' summit.

As she emerged from talks in Brussels lasting nearly two hours with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, the British prime minister admitted that there were some major issues to resolve.

It's all going according to May's timetable...
The current UK political sequence would certainly have ended with May's head on a pike, had she presented Parliament with the detailed "end status" statement she needs the EU Council to agree to on Sunday. The plan is, she gets some sort of apparent trade concession, which is supposed to cover the shame of coming home with a perpetual rule-taking customs union... Good luck with that.

Next week will (also) be fun in Westminster!

Minutes of last week's fraught cabinet meeting obtained by the Daily Telegraph underlined the concerns of some ministers about the deal.

The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said that it risked becoming a "Turkey trap" - a reference to the country's drawn-out negotiations to enter the bloc.

Well-spotted! And guess who the turkey is? (he's such a Jeremy)

Oh, and Gibraltar. Quite likely the Council, in order to preserve unity, will support the Spanish demand for a veto on trade arrangements applying to the Rock. Well-timed, Mr Sánchez.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Nov 22nd, 2018 at 09:02:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gibraltar spat holds up Brexit
"No one wants to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement. That would lead to the crumbling away of the whole Brexit agreement and lead us all into no-man's land," the diplomat said. "If they want solidarity they must be sensible," said another diplomat.

Madrid is demanding tighter wording in the text to make clear that negotiations on the future relationship between Gibraltar and the EU will be conducted separately to those between the U.K. and EU -- and that they can only proceed with Madrid's approval. But two diplomats said that the Council's legal service made clear that there's no need to specify this.

However  "as of today, if there are no changes with respect to Gibraltar, Spain will vote no to the agreement on Brexit," Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Tuesday.


Also:
"It seems Sánchez has his eyes on the elections in Andalusia," said one of the diplomats, referring to the region which goes to the polls on December 2. It is the first major electoral test for the country's ruling Socialist party since Sánchez took power in June.
by Bernard on Thu Nov 22nd, 2018 at 07:45:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of Jeremy Hunt, remember his off the cuff comments likening the EU to the Soviet Union.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, the Soviet-born (Lithuanian) EU Commissioner for Health was not impressed. Still isn't.


by Bernard on Thu Nov 22nd, 2018 at 07:59:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank: If the DUP/hard Brexiteers want to prevent such an outcome (and risk of no Brexit),

We've debated this several times: The default alternative to the deal negotiated with the EU is not 'no Brexit', it is Brexit without a deal.

by Bernard on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 07:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is that if Brexiteers want to avoid a second referendum and the risk that people might vote to stay in EU they will have no option but to support May's deal as a way of pre-empting that risk.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 01:01:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
130 days until Brexit.

May doesn't have the votes.  

And the whole thing is a shambles

... the lack of agreement on all sides leaves a stalemate which, effectively, means an orderly Brexit cannot go ahead. In the Commons, there is no majority for a hard Brexit, soft Brexit, a People's Vote or remain.

Prognosis: No Deal

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 06:17:21 PM EST
given no deal is almost everyone's least favourite option...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 07:32:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To have a referendum the current agreement has to fail to pass parliament, May has to acknowledge her failure to get the current agreement past parliament, then there has to a parliamentary agreement to have a referendum, then the referendum has to be scheduled, there has to be time for "debate" (using the term loosely) and campaigning, and then the voting.  Plus time for everyone and their aardvark to make speeches, offer amendments, debate amendments, vote on amendments, posture, quiver with outrage in the Daily Mail, & etc. etc. etc.

In 130 days?  I submit it is highly unlikely.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 07:47:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not familiar with Westminster timetabling and some of the legal niceties that will have to be addressed, but from a psychological point of view the following timetable seems feasible:
  1. Deal is voted down in Commons before Xmas.
  2. Everyone goes home for a couple of weeks to consider their options. May may try to re-negotiate deal over Xmas and may come up with some minor changes, chiefly to the political declaration. Perhaps she will try to buy off DUP opposition, but they will reject her overtures: "Ulster says NO"
  3. Early January Commons is recalled early from Xmas recess to consider May's new deal. Everyone agrees it is hardly any better than first one, and vote it down again.
  4. The EU make it clear that the negotiations are over.
  5. Late January everyone realises they are heading for no deal and the fully horror of the UK's almost complete lack of preparation for that becomes clear to even the most dim-witted.
  6. In desperation "moderate" MPs in all parties come together to lobby for a second referendum so that voters have the opportunity to take full and direct responsibility for the consequences - or reverse Brexit.
  7. May & Corbyn do a deal to head off growing panic and rebellion in both their parties. They agree second referendum to be followed by GE if May's deal is rejected. Choice is between May's deal or no Brexit.
  8. 2nd. referendum is held by Mid March. EU Coucil agree to accept revocation of A.50 notification is vote is to stay in. In the meantime EU governments/Parliaments acting in parallel ratify May's deal as EU's full and final offer to UK if it chooses Brexit.
  9. If votes is to stay in, nothing changes. If vote is for Brexit, transition period kicks in 29th. March.
  10. If vote is for no Brexit, General and European elections take place early May. Farage retires again. Corbyn elected Prime Minister. Pledges to "reform" EU.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 12:54:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... and everyone gets a pony for Good Friday?

There's one thing that's off the table, and that's Britain participating in the EU elections in May. The UK seats have already been redistributed, for one thing.

Actually, I'm with you until point 7. I don't see Corbyn agreeing to a second referendum

So my version is :

  1. May & Corbyn do a deal to head off growing panic and rebellion in both their parties. They go together to Brussels, extract some token concessions, leave the statement on Final Status deliberately vague, extension of a year to transition period.
  2. They get a majority for Brexit in the Commons from Lab and Con loyalists.
  3. Transition period kicks in 29th. March
  4. General and European elections take place early May. Farage retires again. Corbyn elected Prime Minister. Pledges to "co-operate closely" with EU. Has a couple - three years to define final status.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 12:16:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find the notion of May and Corbyn working together even more far fetched than my scenario, and I don't think Corbyn's presence would make the EU any more likely to make concessions.

In my scenario, Corbyn agrees to a referendum only if May agrees to a general election if her deal is voted down. The problem is would her MP's even agree to her deal to call a GE in that event, because it would be a case of Turkeys voting for Christmas. So Corbyn would need a legal guarantee of a GE if the referendum goes against May. Is it even possible to pass a compound bill in Parliament providing both for a referendum followed by a GE if the referendum is lost?  Cause no Tory is going to vote for an early GE after a referendum is lost.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 12:51:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tieing the referendum result to a new election is a non-starter on democratic grounds. Many would vote against May's Brexit in order to get an election, and vice versa. Also, turkeys, Christmas.

I agree that Corbyn's presence would make little difference in Brussels (but the promise that the agreement would actually be deliverable might). The main concession they would need is to leave final status hanging, to be negotiated by the winner of the subsequent elections.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 01:17:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect you may be right. It may be impossible for Corbyn to force a general election with the Fixed Term Act even if May loses crunch vote after vote. Really an early election can only happen if both the Government and opposition want it and right now it would be Turkeys voting for Xmas. Winning a referendum may be as good as it gets for him.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 08:34:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The latest news is that the DUP are on the verge of bailing on the government, and voted against the Tories in the Finance Bill.

The Tories still won the vote, partly because Corbyn and some other Labour MPs weren't present - which is bizarre enough in itself.

Meanwhile Momentum are reporting there are preparations for a snap election.

It's tempting to wonder if there's a mad plan in which a GE effectively becomes a vote on the deal. If May gets a mandate (she won't...) she can go back to Parliament and say "Here's my mandate - now vote for my deal."

This is, even by Tory standards, a completely bonkers idea.

Even more bonkers would be a vote of no confidence from the 1922 Committee in the run-up to an election, in some kind of insane attempt to replace May with an ultra-brexiter before votes are cast.

The next few weeks are likely to be very weird.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 09:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They could - but they won't - have a referendum with the three options (remain, negotiated Brexit and no deal Brexit) and instant run off and at the same day have a general election. Then the people could choose what they want done and who should execute it.

What I instead expect is that Corbyn will not wade in, but instead stay at the side and heckle May while calling for a general election, making the Tories own their Brexit.

May will hesitate, waffle and stall. Then she will come up with things it is to late for. Then more stalling and at the last, a desperate move. Which I don't know.

Maybe some owners explain that her post-political fortunes hang in the balance and she (as PM) withdraws the Article 50 declaration and then resigns and cashes the cheques. (Can she? She already did, so it's too late. She can't hear you over all the money flowing in.)

Or maybe some owners prefers to rule in hell and gives her cheques if she does a hard Brexit, in which case she just stalls until April and then blames Brussels and Corbyn.

Maybe the owners call a Tory conference and explain one on one how much dirt they have on the MPs since their boarding school days and wouldn't they prefer some nice cash? And then suddenly the deal passes (with the help of "rebellious" boarding school Labour MPs).

I dunno. I just think that it will continue to be a lesson in how not to exit the EU.

by fjallstrom on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 11:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I think you should be more explicit here in step five."

by asdf on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 09:38:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh OK... John McDonnell gives us some more clues about how Labour gets to do Brexit

John McDonnell: Labour should form minority government if May deal fails

So we diverge at point 5.

5. May's government is incapable of passing any legislation at all. Her Majesty asks Jeremy Corbyn to form a government.

Not sure what comes next. But it sounds like fun.


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

by eurogreen on Wed Nov 21st, 2018 at 02:52:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... In other news, May no longer commands a majority in the Commons. She has not yet been defeated, but has accepted a number of opposition amendments to avoid defeat, because the DUP is abstaining.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Nov 21st, 2018 at 02:58:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Favourite selling point of the Brexit deal so far:

'We're going to make the immigration system fairer by extending the hostile environment to EU citizens!'

What's the argument here? Maybe something like: 'We will end freedom of movement and then we'll have additional capacity to let more brown people in!' Does that sound remotely plausible?

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Mon Nov 19th, 2018 at 11:13:49 PM EST
by generic on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 12:06:59 PM EST
This is a safe no vote for Spain because the Brexit deal only requires a weighted majority vote of the Council. It will also make Varadker look good because he got what he needed from the deal.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 12:40:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, the Spanish are back on board after the advisers (Sherpas in the EU lingo) pulled an all-nighter, in one of the oldest EU traditions.

EU summit to go ahead as Tusk recommends Brexit deal

EU leaders in Brussels reached an agreement with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Saturday to ease Spain's concerns about Gibraltar and clearing the path for EU27 leaders to approve the Brexit Withdrawal Treaty at a summit on Sunday.

The accord between Brussels and Madrid was clinched after all-night work by advisers and phone call between Sánchez and Council President Donald Tusk, allowing Tusk to recommend Saturday afternoon that EU leaders approve the deal.

And what about Gibraltar?

The second declaration states that "after the United Kingdom leaves the Union, Gibraltar will not be included in the territorial scope of the agreements to be concluded between the Union and the United Kingdom. However, this does not preclude the possibility to have separate agreements between the Union and the United Kingdom in respect of Gibraltar."
by Bernard on Sat Nov 24th, 2018 at 09:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The dispute was useful, from an EU perspective, in demonstrating that it is not just the UK that is unhappy with aspects of the Brexit deal. There has been an attitude in the UK that the EU will cave if the UK shouts loud enough, and demands certain changes.

Not only is this unlikely, from an EU perspective, because it is by no means certain that there are any changes, acceptable to the EU, which would bring a majority in the House of Commons on board, but re-opening the negotiations could open a Pandora's Box of demands from other members among the EU27.

Sánchez could get his hour in the sun (or rather his people got to pull an all-nighter) and was made look strong in relation to Gibraltar ahead of the Andalusian elections. Merkel could perform her favourite adult in the room routine, and the UK is reminded that any renegotiation, even if agreed, would not be a one way street.

Mind you, if Gibraltar can be treated differently, why not N. Ireland? Anyway, the EU Council can go ahead and have their big meeting later today. Tusk can do his Presidential thing and act nice to Theresa, and Barnier and Juncker can be thanked for their hard work and told to look forward to their retirement.

Until the House of Commons rejects the deal, that is. Someone is going to have to work over Xmas...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 24th, 2018 at 11:08:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2pts for most obscure, animated, international news feed w/o 18 Nov.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 20th, 2018 at 07:23:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Nov 21st, 2018 at 03:00:08 PM EST
Brexit: Dominic Raab says deal is worse than staying in the EU
Britain's former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has hit out at the British prime minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal, branding it worse than remaining in the EU.

The prominent Leave backer said the agreement would see the UK bound by rules it had no control over.

So you expected the EU to give you a better deal than full membership????

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 23rd, 2018 at 03:20:35 PM EST
Leavers cannot wrap their minds around the facts that exiting the EU means they are no longer members of the EU with the rights and privileges of membership in the EU.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Nov 23rd, 2018 at 07:13:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is literally true.

It's a running joke on pro-Remain groups that everyone knows someone who lives in Spain or Portugal or France who voted for Brexit, and thinks that when freedom-of-movement ends it won't end for them, because they're British.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 23rd, 2018 at 07:47:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know British "expats" living in Spain who voted for Brexit because there are too many "brown people" immigrating to Britain and who don't see the irony of them living in Spain because they are expats, not immigrants. When asked what the difference is they struggle a bit because they don't want to say colour so they end up saying its something to do with having money and not being a burden on the state. But most are pensioners without a lot of money who moan about devaluation of Sterling losing them income, don't work, don't declare their income in Spain, and worry about losing their European Health Insurance card - free emergency healthcare - because they don't have and can't afford private healthcare insurance. They also don't seem to be aware that most EU immigrants into the UK
a) aren't brown,
b) work and pay tax in UK
c) keep essential services like the NHS functioning
d) have been educated/trained at somebody elses expense
e) are relatively young and healthy and therefore less of a burden on NHS services

When they start moaning about welfare tourism I remind them that Irish unemployment benefit is about three times the UK rate and yet our unemployment rate is declining rapidly (down from 16 to 5% in 5 years) and we can't get enough immigrants to build enough houses for our growing population.

Some even complain about immigrants disrupting the culture of British towns while making little effort to learn Spanish or integrate into Spanish society.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 23rd, 2018 at 11:53:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some even complain about immigrants disrupting the culture of British towns while making little effort to learn Spanish or integrate into Spanish society.
I'd say that is precisely the difference between expat and immigrant.
by Bernard on Sat Nov 24th, 2018 at 08:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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