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Brexit Leadership

by Frank Schnittger Mon Nov 26th, 2018 at 01:11:26 PM EST

Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds, Leader and Deputy Leader of the DUP.

The phrase "Brexit leadership" may seem to many to be both oxymoronic and moronic...

We don't normally talk much about political personalities and leadership on this blog, preferring to analyse events in terms of economic, social and political processes. But one of the most striking features of the Brexit debacle is the incredibly poor leadership the UK establishment have shown on the issue from David Cameron onwards. What other major European power would have clowns such as Boris Johnson, David Davis, Liam Fox, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Jacob Rees Mogg, or Nigel Farage in elected or high office?

I don't agree with their neo-liberal economics which has condemned a generation to housing and healthcare shortages, but Leo Varadker and Simon Coveney have been masters of the political process by comparison. Barnier has done a remarkable job, and even Juncker has been made to look competent by comparison to his UK tormentors. But what prompts this observation is that Theresa May, for all her many faults, is belatedly showing signs of leadership in stark contrast to her earlier role as hapless messenger girl.

No one can doubt the enormity of her task in converting Brexiteer delusions into an actual agreement, no matter how flawed from everyone's point of view. She had a mandate to negotiate a Brexit agreement, and saw that through even if there were many miss-steps along the way. Now she has an even greater task to persuade the House of Commons to vote for her deal and seems to be about to take her case directly to the people of the country, over the heads of the House of Commons, in a general election style campaign.

Whether this campaign ends up being successful, or leads to an actual general election or second referendum, no one can yet tell. But it will certainly put the wind up both Brexiteer and Remainer MPs who would rather not face the people again just now. Cleverly, she is keeping all her options open in the event of losing a vote in the Commons - resignation, general election, a second referendum, or no deal - putting the fear of God into Brexiteers that they could lose Brexit altogether, and into Remainers that no deal is the default alternative.

If it were down to just the British people her strategy of encouraging unity and an end to divisive debate might just succeed, if only because many people are utterly fed up with Brexit and squabbling politicians and just want to "get on with it". But I fear she may not have reckoned with just how obtuse her DUP "allies" can be. Divisiveness and obnoxious contrariness are their bread and butter. They are also impervious to how political sentiment may be changing "on the mainland," and concerned solely with their survival as the leading force in unionism in N. Ireland.

If the DUP lose this Brexit battle, their credibility in N. Ireland will be shot. The Unionist vote could fragment between them and the Ulster Unionist party and various splinter groups allowing Sinn Fein candidates to capture a plurality of the vote and the seat in even unionist majority constituencies. Nothing could be a greater nightmare for the staunch loyalist vanguard. Right now they are still in the fight and could probably hold onto their core vote, but if May's deal wins out they are in for a day of reckoning. It was they who brought Brexit into N. Ireland against the wishes of the vast majority of the people and put a united Ireland back on the political agenda.

In any normal democracy, the recent transgressions of the DUP leadership would have disqualified them from public office. They used dark money to help fund the Brexit campaign in Britain, they oversaw the Renewable Heat Initiative which used hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds to encourage energy wastage in N. Ireland, they have been unable to form a government/Executive in N. Ireland for almost two years and have done what they could to undermine the Good Friday Agreement and cross-community relations in N. Ireland. Not much change then, from the early days of their founder, Ian Paisley.

But it may well be down to them whether Brexit happens and on what form it will take. It must be very rare in history that the fate of a great nation depends on such a poor bunch of leaders.

What other major European power would have clowns such as Boris Johnson, David Davis, Liam Fox, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Jacob Rees Mogg, or Nigel Farage in elected or high office?

Er Transdnistria.

(What do you mean, they're not major?)

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 26th, 2018 at 03:40:13 PM EST
Vote is scheduled for Dec 11th.  

We will see if May can manage to rise to the occasion.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Nov 26th, 2018 at 06:29:55 PM EST
It is yet to be disclosed whether or not May engineered all this to prove that remaining in the EU was the best course: Lay out all the options, negotiate aggressively, accept any insults, arrive at a political impasse, then hope to reverse the Article 50 letter.
by asdf on Mon Nov 26th, 2018 at 08:15:02 PM EST
This is not going to happen, bar an supernatural interpretation and orders by ECJ before 29 Mar 2019
parliamentary act by Scotland
tabled by Westminster
plurality affirming the motion
documented request
extraordinary meetings of EP and Council to "reopen" negotiation of the A50 action
simple majority Council affirming and EP consent to that request
(rather than UK application to rejoin 2021 per Art.49 once UK has its shit together and EP election and budget are concluded).
pull the other one.

the hearing on the reversibility of article 50 (case number C-621/18) will take place on November, 27th

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Nov 26th, 2018 at 08:40:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 27th, 2018 at 04:49:20 PM EST
Excuse me?

EU officials have dismissed Theresa May's suggestion that extending Brexit talks could result in renegotiating the deal, as Brussels awaits the next twist in the British political drama.

EU officials were perplexed by the prime minister's comments to the House of Commons liaison committee on Thursday that extending article 50 would mean "you are then on the business of renegotiating the deal". Although May went on to say that the current deal was the only one on offer, her remarks raised eyebrows in Brussels.


Article 50 could only be prolonged if the UK made a big change to its Brexit position, such as dropping the demand for an independent trade policy to join the customs union, or requesting membership of the single market, through the European Economic Area.

"We could potentially reopen article 50, but not within the current frame, not within the current redlines," one diplomat said. "There is just very little to talk about anymore - you could change the font."

I bet European sherpas are cursing as they cancel their Christmas holidays. Need an extra couple of summits, but first the UK needs to have a plan B in order to earn an article 50 extension.

Perhaps get on the phone to EEA leaders?

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

by eurogreen on Fri Nov 30th, 2018 at 12:37:25 PM EST
My view is that for the moment, UK politics is going to descend into a vortex of doom and nothing very useful is going to come out of it before January. Lots of talk and flailing and posturing, not a lot of real action.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 30th, 2018 at 01:03:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's so difficult to tell what's happening right now.

There is NO chance the current deal will get through parliament. What remains unknown is what happens then. After all, even Theresa May probably realises it's a forlorn hope and will have "priced" defeat into her plans.

Things look very open, but I've also noticed a deadening effect with the public. People are just sick to death of the uncertainty. Many now realise the country is inflicting serious harm on itself, even those whose Leave convictions remain intact. But beyond that, there's a feeling that Westminster has failed us. This has not been a demonstration of shining competence, of a government rolling up its sleeves and steeling itself for a difficult task; rather of grubby personal vanity and shambolic amateurism. Nobody involved has emerged with credit.

And meanwhile, in so so many ways, the country is going to the dogs. There's a sense that brexit has become a distraction from actually more urgent issues. Perhaps 1 in 200 people are officially homeless, millions are reliant on food banks. Yet this is the 6th largest economy in the world, with nearly 1000 billionaires and nearly a million millionaires !!!!

People aren't talking about brexit so much as a feeling that the entire country has gone badly wrong.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 3rd, 2018 at 07:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
V: Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, whereby those important events of the past, usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.
uncanny, yes?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Dec 3rd, 2018 at 07:37:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, there is something of that in all this.

We have brought it all upon ourselves. Or rather we have let orselves be led by the nose, too many chose to read tabloids that didn't just provide infotainment, but which actively mis-informed the public for the benefit of the ownership. Too many of us voted for political parties which stole from the poor and called it hard medicine while giving to the rich and calling it rightful incentivisation.

And every time the poor were demonised, we played along.

BUT. There's only so much self-flagellation before you remember that we are part time pundits with lives and other distractions like earning a living, or at least trying to. The people who fooled us, who organised this got paid to do it. Studied for a generation and moved with malign purpose. If 17 million carry some of the blame, perhaps 1700 shoulder most of it.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 3rd, 2018 at 08:10:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if you read this piece by Fintan O'Toole in the Guardian, but it brings together a few themes that seem to me to underlie Brexit:

  1. Unresolved tensions within the UK as to its true place in the world post empire, post WWII, and post the economic decline after the war.

  2. The idea of the EU as a Nazi fourth Reich

  3. The need to have an enemy to fight, on the beaches or wherever, in order to keep the UK united.

  4. A preference not to be part of "Europe", but rather a world power in its own right, playing off the EU against the USA.

If so there is no deal with the EU which can be agreed. No deal is the ideal, forcing a separation, and the re-emergence of the UK as a world power in its own right. Any concern at the economic disruption caused by no deal in the meantime is for weaklings, for people unable or unwilling to make the sacrifices required for war or for greatness.

The whole point of Brexit is to break those ties and dependencies the UK currently has with the EU. Of Course the little people will suffer. But they can always be conscripted into the army and inculcated with the values of discipline. Ultimately, tey are but cannon fodder in the great battle to make Britain Great again.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Dec 3rd, 2018 at 08:00:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what can we say? You can fool most of the people most of the time, or at least you can, like Trump has discovered, get a certain proprtion of the population invested in supporting things that upset or anger the rest of us because they think that cutting off all our noses spites us more

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 3rd, 2018 at 08:12:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Over thinking.

Why did the first Lisbon fail?

Foregone conclusion and protest vote.

Brexit is similar.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 3rd, 2018 at 08:51:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm surprised he doesn't mention Fawlty Towers.

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 Thu Dec 6th, 2018 at 03:35:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which makes it the perfect time for a constitutional crisis. [Monty Python music intensifies...]

May is refusing to release the secret Brexit legal advice prepared for May and demanded by Parliament. So most of the other parties - the DUP notably absent, but hardly missed - are asking the Speaker to start Contempt of Parliament proceedings.

Against the Attorney General. And by proxy the entire government.

I'm sure someone who knows more about British Constitutional History will be able to dig out the last time this happened.

Call it a hunch, but I suspect this is not a regular event.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 3rd, 2018 at 09:23:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
given some of the forces gathered in the wings, I think the mood music comes lesss from Monty P and more from Jaws

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 4th, 2018 at 09:07:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But now the ECJ has spilled the beans... cinematic anticlimax.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Dec 4th, 2018 at 10:01:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plan A is immediate withdrawal from the EU (Art.50.3). UK gov did not exercise that prerogative.

"Plan B" is TWO YEARS "cooling off" in withdrawal negotiations (Art.50.3, clause 2) that automatically conclude 29 Mar 2019.

UK gov evidently is not agreeable to signing off  PLAN C (Art. 50.3, clause 3) adding TWO YEARS more "cooling off", concluding 31 Dec 2020
wait, what's this?

after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
Let's try to contain our disappointment with UK gov ahh sensibilities. It's not as if UK gov was fucking off in the FIRST TWO YEARS "cooling off" period. 1000[!] UK laws were changed, WTO declarations initiated, undesirable persons "self-deported", GBP dues impounded, EU gov businesses relocated, while Arlene the Paisley oils her rifles; but no barricades at the "borders" are yet reported.

What was the question?

o, right: Should or would the ECJ "legislate from the bench"?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 30th, 2018 at 04:09:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will be PM to take Britain out of EU, says UK's May

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 2nd, 2018 at 03:32:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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