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The Guardian puts the boot in

by Frank Schnittger Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 12:48:05 AM EST


The Guardian has been excoriating Theresa May for her Salzburg performance: Macron puts the boot in after May's Brexit breakfast blunder:

The spin from Downing Street had been that Theresa May's meeting with her Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar, shortly after breakfast in the margins of an EU summit in Austria, had been "relatively warm", albeit "frank". The dawning truth later that evening was that, in a premiership littered with missteps, May had made one of her worst errors of judgment as the two leaders and their teams met in a private room in Salzburg's Mozarteum University.


For weeks the working assumption in Brussels had been that, on the Irish issue at least, a major step forward would be made by the next leaders' summit in October. But over the coffee the prime minister dropped a bombshell. She did not believe it would be possible for the British government and Brussels to come to a solution by then. Six months after promising to come up with a fix that would avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland in all possible circumstances, the British appeared to be stalling for time again.

The message reverberated around the Salzburg summit and reached the ear of the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

The intention had been that this would be a good summit for the prime minister, giving her something to work with on the eve of a difficult Conservative party conference. "Things didn't happen as we expected," an EU official admitted.

The French president ripped up the plan to offer Theresa May warm words along with an extraordinary Brexit summit on 17 and 18 November in order to finalise the terms of a Brexit deal. During a two-hour Brexit discussion over lunch among the EU27 heads of state and government, Macron told his fellow leaders that the prime minister should not be allowed to drag her heels. The pressure for a result needed to be increased.

May was to be set a threshold that she would have to reach if she wanted a deal. The EU's leaders were instructed to increase their preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Viktor Orbán, the populist Hungarian prime minister, who had bowed and kissed May's hand the previous evening before dinner, and boasted to reporters on Thursday of being part of a growing camp of leaders opposed to "punishing the British", did not demur. "He did not say a word," said a source.

Parliamentary sketch writer John Crace is no less damning:Theresa May in denial after her Salzburg ordeal.  "PM pretends nothing has changed as EU leaders take turns to rubbish her Brexit plans..."

If it hadn't all been so numbingly inevitable, it might have been possible to feel sorry for Theresa May. Back in the UK, both remainers and leavers had pronounced her Chequers' proposals to be dead in the water, but the prime minister had still travelled to the informal EU summit in Salzburg hoping for a stay of execution. A few luke-warm words and some insincere air kisses at the very least, until after she had survived the Conservative party conference. Her current range of vision really is that limited.

Instead she got a lesson in plain-speaking brutality. No attempts to sugar the pill, as EU leader after leader took it in turns to dismiss Chequers and to mock the UK over its lack of progress in its Brexit preparations. Even the Dutch thought they were better prepared for a no-deal Brexit than us. It was left to Donald Tusk, president of the EU council, to deliver the coup de grace. The Chequers' deal was unworkable because it undermined the integrity of the single market. And, by the way, its solution to the Northern Ireland border was just fantasy.

Moments after being given the bad news in person, May had to face the UK media. The room in which the press conference was held was small and airless, but the prime minister was already sweaty when she walked in. More than that, she looked angry and terrified. Alone and out of her depth, her eyes darting across the room, searching for one friendly face. There wasn't one. There hadn't been one in the two days she had been in Austria.

---<snip>---

There were a few seconds of silence as everyone took this in. It almost felt intrusive to observe the prime minister visibly falling apart. A public humiliation on the epic scale of both her refusal to accept the reversal of the dementia tax during the general election campaign and her car-crash leader's speech at last year's Tory party conference. Then May composed herself as best she could and invited the kicking she knew was coming her way. Bring it on. Everyone else had had a go so she might as well let the media have theirs. The martyrdom of St Theresa.

---<snip>---

The digging became ever more fevered as her facial expressions became more contorted. Too much more of this and she would have become a dead ringer for Munch's The Scream.

It doesn't get any better... Dan Sabbagh, Daniel Boffey and Pippa Crerar continue: May humiliated by Salzburg ambush as she fights to save Chequers plan

A clearly nervous and angry May told reporters that EU leaders were engaged in "negotiating tactics" designed to throw her off course. "I have always said these negotiations were going to be tough," she said. "And at various stages of these negotiations, tactics would be used as part of those negotiations".

The assault on May's plan came shortly after a lunchtime meeting of EU leaders in the Austrian city, where they discussed the Brexit talks in May's absence. EU council president Tusk declared that Chequers "would not work" while French president Macron said it was "not acceptable".

A combative Macron accused British Brexiters of lying about how easy it would be to negotiate an exit from the EU on terms favourable to the UK.

"Those who explain that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be alright, and that it's going to bring a lot of money home are liars," said Macron. "It's even more true since they left the day after so as not to have to deal with it."

But fear not: Ian Duncan Smith rides in to the rescue:

Leading Brexiters have criticised the French president, Emmanuel Macron, for his extraordinary break in diplomatic convention in which he branded prominent leavers as liars who had misled the British people.

While Theresa May's Chequers plan was left hanging by a thread after an ambush at the Salzburg summit, her French counterpart launched an unprecedented attack on Brexiters, warning that leaving the EU was "not without costs".

Furious leavers immediately hit back, accusing Macron of trying to distract from his own domestic woes, with the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith telling him he should "butt out" of British politics.

There! That will put those Frenchies in their place!

The Guardian has never made any secret of its opposition to Brexit, and it hardly speaks for the whole of the UK. However it is difficult to see how Theresa May can recover her authority when her own side is so dismissive of her performance. Bridges have been burned, and both sides appear to be moving further apart at the very time they should be closing the deal.

EU leaders have lost patience with her procrastination and appear not to care any more whether or not she survives as Tory party leader and Prime Minister. If she can't negotiate seriously with the EU, they might as well deal with someone who can. The Salzburg summit was meant to give her a boost heading into the party conference season. Now EU leaders have all but dismissed her signature Chequers plan on which she has built her premiership and for which she lost two senior cabinet ministers.

Theresa May had a pretty disastrous Conservative Party conference last year. A repeat performance this year, and her leadership is over:

It appears that Brexit madness has finally reached its logical conclusion...

(A not entirely accurate geographical metaphor).

Display:
As I wrote in another diary;-

I don't know how it was reported elsewhere but the BBC might as well have been reporting a state funeral. They were all but playing solemn music as they reported on how comprehensively May's proposals were rejected.

The gap over Ulster is just too great, everything else can be finessed but Ireland requires a hard solution.

She did look kinda shell-shocked actually. After months of tough negotiations with Jacob Rees-Mogg to create a set of proposals that avoid destroying the Tory party, she seemed genuinely surprised that she wasn't being applauded to the rafters in Salzburg for her clever proposals. It's almost as if it never occured to her that the EU had a viewpoint that needed to be considered.

It's not long until the Tory party conference and, given this debacle, I'd be shocked if there weren't stand up fights in the auditorium, resignations and a, metaphorical or otherwise, stabbing or two backstage.

And there's already talk of a General Election being called.

The EU has never really understood that brexit was all about holding the Tory party together. So the EU never had a counter-party to negotiate with.

The finnicky details of leaving were never something leavers were concerned with. They were self-styled brexiteers, blue-sky big-picture people. Details were for little people and they were affronted to find that people expected them to actually get off their butts and drive negotiations forward. That was the point when the wheels came off cos they didn't have a plan, heck they didn't even have a clue. They didn't know what the EU did and didn't know how they did it. So, it's no surprise they didn't know how to organise leaving.

May tried to make Davis, Johnston and Fox, the three loudest most pomous windbags the focal point of the leave campaign. But, that was never gonna fly;-
Davis is a fool who, even in a Westminster populated by the vain and stupid is notable for being vain and stupid,

Liam Fox is a man who understands Ministerial Responsibility to involve going to sunny parts of the world, often with his special "friend" and adviser, and having expensive meals with foreigners. the idea that work might be involved baffles him.

As for Boris Johnston; this is a man who, if he was outside the tent, would piss in, but when he is inside the tent he only improves his aim. He wants to be Prime Minister; not because he has idea of how to run the country, but in the Trumpian wants-to-tell-everybody-what-to do tin-pot-dictator kind of way. Everything he does is designed to advance his cause and frustrae those who stand in his way. So he was never interested in brexit cos a succesful one would burnish May, not himself. A No-Deal brexit has always been the catastrophe he sought.

After they spent 18 MONTHS faffing about, we are where we are, which is that the UK is no nearer knowing how to leave the EU than it was before Article 50 was invoked. There is still no concensus of opinion, even within the brexiters, let alone the Tory party at large, about what a good brexit would look like.

Yes, you'd think these things are basic that any normal group of people would do before entering into one of the most complext legal and political negotiations in the country's history. But they're not normal, they're tories. For the last 40 years their entire credo of "governance" has been about the abdication of responsibility for anything.

We have had a summer of chaos on the railways from organisational meltdown for which a Board of inquiry has decided that the problem is that there was nobody in charge. Yet the Minister for Transport is going around TV studios saying that none of this has anything to do with him.

We have a Minister for Ulster who not only doesn't understand the difference between Unionists and Nationalists, she boasts about it on national radio. Because why should a mere Minister in CHARGE know anything about the situation they're managing.

Seriously, even Dilbert's pointy-headed manager is better than this lot.

So May's idiot plan based on customs rainbows and border unicorns and please please can we carry on trading with Europe like before but without all the bits we don't like has run into adult reality and been smashed to bits.

Quite frankly we are in unknown territory. As they said at the start of the TV puppet show "Stingray";-

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE NEXT HALF HOUR!!!!



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 08:13:04 AM EST
Well - this is British public school management culture at its worst.

You have a plan, you tell other people to make it happen chop chop, you go off on your holidays. When you return, there's your plan - or something like it - and you take all the money and credit and don't even say thank you.

If something goes wrong you shout at people and strut around looking and feeling important until someone else decides to fix the problem.

You are master of your universe, the unquestioned alpha monarch in your domain, and it's all perfectly splendid. You get your way, no one else matters, and that's the natural order of things.

Until you meet someone who has more power, money, and pragmatic intelligence than you do.

It's important to understand this is not exaggeration. I've met people like this, and in a few instances narrowly avoided working for them. Their inability to understand how the world really works is quite breathtaking.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 09:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have, unfortunately, first hand experience of the culture you describe. The really unfortunate part is that it is not entirely restricted to the products of public boarding schools.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 09:53:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The elite school background just adds a special extra layer of entitlement and delusion, but I think it's to some extent a natural state for certain people with certain personality types who find themselves in managerial positions, and they're by no means limited to Britain.  The likelihood of dealing with them seems to increase exponentially as one works closer to any kind of political power.

Shit, I worked for people like that for years until I got so tired of banging my head against the wall that I took a large pay cut to get the hell out, and they were all middle-class people who went to generic state universities.  But yeah, swap them for a bunch of Yale/Harvard/Duke/whatever dipshits, and you get all the awfulness but insulated with the cultural reverence for "elite" education.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 12:13:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and worthy of a diary of its own. You have also inspired me to write a diary on the latter years of my working career in London... but that is for another day!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 09:49:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The EU has never really understood that brexit was all about holding the Tory party together. So the EU never had a counter-party to negotiate with. "

I think EU leaders understood this well enough, and were willing to give her as much latitude as possible in order to avoid a mutually damaging no deal Brexit. I think Salzburg finally disabused them of the delusion that she would be able to deliver on a deal and that they had better start working on plan B: Prepare for a no deal Brexit and hope that someone who could deliver on a deal takes her place.

I actually think that someone like BoJo could actually have the audacity to agree a deal absolutely unthinkable now and sell it to the Brexiteers as a win. He needs to find a way to topple her and buy off the DUP with some shameless bribery or chicanery without precipitating a general election.

The almost universal rejection of Chequers is her epitaph - like Camberlain's Munich "peace in our time" agreement with Hitler. Now she just has to go, if she has the wit to recognize it.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 10:39:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree the EU people understood it - but it wasn't really incumbent on them to bother their heads with it. It was up to the UK to do the thinking. Ooops.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 11:59:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The almost universal rejection of Chequers is her epitaph - like Camberlain's Munich "peace in our time" agreement with Hitler.

This comparison seems unfair to Chamberlain.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 12:20:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is unfair to Chamberlain. By the time Chamberlain became PM it was essential for the UK to buy time to rearm. May is just exhibiting feckless folly in the service of her own self-image.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 06:47:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seriously, even Dilbert's pointy-headed manager is better than this lot.

Well, he's survived for a respectable number of years. Which is unlikely to happen to them.

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

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 11:53:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
brava!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 01:48:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would add to those excellent extracts ....

from the Guardian's Jonathan Lis

Don't buy the Brexit hype: it's a border in the Irish Sea or the customs union

which begins

Donald Tusk's clear rejection of Theresa May's Chequers plan at the Salzburg summit yesterday should not come as a surprise. The most important lesson of the Brexit negotiation is that it is not a negotiation, and never has been. Blessed with superior size, wealth and power, the EU has been able to dictate the framework and substance of the talks, and has refused any deviation from its red lines.

and finishes:

The [UK] government has never understood the Brexit process and therefore has always botched it. It expects the EU to treat the UK both as an equally powerful third country, and as a member state still deserving the EU's protection. It is neither. And so in a battle of red lines, the UK will lose. That is the most brutal lesson of all.

and again The Guardian - Rafael Behr

The EU couldn't help May at Salzburg because she's seeking the impossible

Ultimately the EU cannot give May what she really needs, which is a Brexit model that will simultaneously satisfy the whole Tory party and win support from a majority in the Commons, without inflicting harm on the country. They cannot give her that because it doesn't exist, never did, never will.

At politics.co.uk, Ian Dunt applies his usual critical analysis:

Brexit: Brussels just got serious

But today's events suggest something has changed. You could see by May's expressions, which were even more strained than normal, that she had been taken by surprise. Things had fallen apart.

In reality, nothing has changed - Chequers was never going to happen this morning and tonight it remains something that is never going to happen - but it is extremely significant that Brussels has changed its attitude.

Perhaps they grew tired of Britain presenting Chequers as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. After all, May's shock suggests she might have really believed it would fly. We must pray that is not the case because it would suggest that she is so detached from reality that she cannot functionally perform the role of prime minister. [Emphasis added by me]

From the pieces I quote, you will realise I believe that for 27 months there is an inevitablity about the position we have reached.

by oldremainmer48 on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 08:28:04 AM EST
There is something else the Tory government has not understood. The EU may be "Blessed with superior size, wealth and power" which means it has less need to compromise, but it is also quite a different beast from your average economic super power. The EU couldn't act like a Trump even if it wanted to, because no individual has that level of power, and the whole structure is an intricate web of Treaties and laws which cannot simply be cast aside by fiat.

The Commission cannot do anything to undermine the Single Market and Customs Union because they were set up by Treaties signed by 28 sovereign governments. Even a relatively minor change would require unanimous agreement by those 28 governments, and in some countries, like Ireland, that would in turn require a referendum to approve the Treaty change.

There simply isn't time to organise that level of change, and even if there were, would the UK really wish to be held hostage to a referendum in Ireland and some other countries?

So what the UK calls the Commission's "inflexibility" is really the Commission sticking to the actual mandate it has been given by 27 governments within the framework of existing laws and Treaties. These cannot be simply wished away.

So not only is this a contest between unequal economic powers, it is conflict between two different kinds of powers: one without a written constitution and a great deal of power vested in its Prime Minister, cabinet, and civil service, and the other which needs to conform to previously enacted laws and maintain a consensus between 27 member governments and various other institutions and interests if it is to be able to operate at all.

EU leaders were willing to give Theresa May as much PR cover as they could, recognising her difficult domestic political situation, all on the basis that she would ultimately conceded a deal they could live with in due course.

But then she had a breakfast meeting with a young, brash, leader of a small state and former colony who saw no reason to allow her to renege on previous commitments and put his country's peace, stability and prosperity at risk just because she had done a dirty deal with a small, corrupt, sectarian party in N. Ireland.

That is not going to change.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 10:25:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh goody. Teresa is giving a presser

She has correctly identified that the EU27 is only offering two options : Norway or the highway.

And she's perfectly clear that neither is acceptable to her.

Then it gets worse...

May says she wants to clarify several issues. She says she wants to be clear that the rights of EU citizens will be protected in the event of no deal.

She says to the people of Northern Ireland that they will do everything to prevent a hard border with the Irish republic.

... but it won't be possible, is the subtext.

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

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 01:18:00 PM EST
As I told EU leaders, neither side should demand the unacceptable of the other. We cannot accept anything that threatens the integrity of our union, just as they cannot accept anything that threatens the integrity of theirs. We cannot accept anything that does not respect the result of the referendum, just as they cannot accept anything that is not in the interest of their citizens.

A moving moment. She finally acknowledges the hopelessness of her self-assigned task.

Oddly, she finished the presser without resigning.


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

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 01:38:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Madness.

Absolutely nobody has ever explained what it was that the British public voted for. What they do is describe their own personal brexit and then claim that this is what was voted for. To describe it as dishonest is merely remarking that water is wet (news to Donald I know) or that bears shit in woods.

There are many versions of brexit that do not threaten the integrity of the referendum result, the integrity of the UK nor that of the EU. However, to do so buggers up Theresa's personal brexit which involves leaving the European Court of Justice which she personally hates and despises.

And that's the problem. Everybody is wandering around talking about brexit as if it was an entirely accepted idea of what it entailed. There isn't.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 02:03:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was the European Court of Justice even a major issue in the referendum campaign?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 02:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes!

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 03:14:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, never.

Indeed, I wish somebody had compiled a compendium of soft-soap promises from the brexiteers of what brexit would look  like leading up to the referendum, cos they drove a cart and horses through that lot the day after

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 03:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can certainly see why May would be upset about the ECJ today, in particular

Scots judges refer the question of whether the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 to the ECJ.

Scots judges.
To the ECJ.

Carloway, one of three judges to consider the case on appeal after it was initially rejected in June as "academic and hypothetical", noted that the Commons would be required to vote on whether to ratify any Brexit deal before 29 March 2019, "a date which is looming up", and that a judgment from the ECJ would "have the effect of clarifying the options open to MPs in the lead-up to what is now an inevitable vote".

If it turns out that the UK Parliament can, by a vote, solemnly and meekly put an end to the whole train wreck...

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

by eurogreen on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 03:00:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU has been clear the UK 'taking a Mulligan' on the A50 letter is a non-starter.  The letter was sent, accepted, and the UK is outta there.  The discussion is on what "outta there" is.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 04:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Theresa May excels herself in another exercise in futility - John Crace - Political Sketch Writer - The Guardian

John Crace - He who invented the concept of 'The Maybot' with her inadequate operating system and the 'Four Pot Plants' passing judgement on the negotiations - brings his usual pithy putdowns to bear.

Nothing had changed, it was all the EU's fault and she wanted respect. Has she any for herself?

Was this the moment Theresa May finally lost all touch with reality? The day the Maybot's circuits overloaded and reverted to their factory settings. The day when history was rewritten in such a way as to make it virtually unrecognisable.
<Snip>
May, who has turned exercises in futility into an artform during her time in office, excelled herself this time. Nothing had changed from yesterday, when nothing had changed from the day before. Except this time she wanted to appear determined and steely instead of sweaty and terrified. She had looked into the abyss of her own career and decided that if she was going down then she would do her best to take her party and the country with her.

The Salzburg summit hadn't gone very well, she began. Nothing like a statement of the obvious to get things rolling. ....

If that style appeals, then do read on.

by oldremainmer48 on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 08:26:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An op ed by Bobby McDonagh - former Irish ambassador to the UK, Italy and the EU

Why Theresa May's plan to bypass Barnier was doomed. The idea made no sense but fed into the British tabloid narrative about Brussels.

There are probably many reasons for the contrived fiction about bypassing Barnier. For a start it is difficult for anyone to accept that their arguments are simply not gaining traction. It also feeds comfortably into the British tabloid narrative about Brussels bureaucracy. The fiction seeks to shift the focus from the British red lines, which define the limits of a solution but are apparently sacrosanct, towards the EU's stance in defence of its basic principles, which it suits some to portray as inflexible.

Moreover, the nonsense about Brussels bureaucrats helps the British government to argue domestically that a solution would be at hand if only the right people would engage. It helps to keep alive the illusion that the German and French business cavalry are about to appear on the horizon, riding to the UK's rescue, although it is clear that the cavalry are sitting comfortably back at base camp.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 02:58:30 PM EST
Is it just me or is the rising hysteria in the UK evidence that people are coming to grips with the reality of their situation?


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 04:29:08 PM EST
And then I read Oui's diary, the Guardian article on Raab, and Jennifer somebodyorother claiming the A50 letter can be revoked.

So it was just me and the UK Elites are still living along various banks of Denial.  

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

by ATinNM on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 04:36:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU has been saying consistently that if there's another vote and Remain wins, then A50 is dead. A50 needs to be constitutionally binding, and there are serious questions about the legality of vote.

That aside, and in spite of all the bullshit, there's no serious interest in pushing the UK out of the EU, and even less interest in a no-deal crash out.

Both will have inconvenient practical and economic consequences.

The EU is much better placed to deal with those consequences than the UK is. Even so - a crash-out, which is currently the most likely option, turns the UK into an unstable partially-failed rogue state right on the EU's borders. There are any number of reasons why that is not an appealing prospect.

So it's not denial, particularly. The EU is prepared to be pragmatic. It would prefer the UK to stay, but if the UK leaves it will make preparations and take mitigating action - more or less in that order.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 05:42:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A50 needs to be constitutionally binding

How have you arrived at this conclusion?

A50 binding in "accordance with its [the member's] own constitutional requirements".

UK Parliament enacted a bill authorizing the gov to withdraw, March 2017, after the UK High Court dismissed Miller's challenge to the referendum.

Has anyone appealed that "constitutional" judgment to um a higher authority?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 07:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ANDY WIGHTMAN MSP AND OTHERS vs SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNION
doesn't do that.

The "constitutional" question about EU jurisdiction is very narrow: whether ECJ scope of  "supervisory jurisdiction" (advisory function, "Declarator") reaches Scotland's Court of Sessions judgment of disputed separation of powers in UK gov. The SCS settled that constitutional question for MSPs. The question

whether a notice given by a member state in terms of Article 50 may competently be revoked unilaterally before the expiry of the two year period.
concerns events which have not occurred and which SCS would not endorse because "It appears that there is no authority, in Scotland, England or the EU, directly in point on this issue". No UK, no EU procedure to revoke the A50 action. There are none. So, no unilateral effect.

We know, after 31 March 2019, UK might as well simply re-apply for membership. This right is not controversial but in no way simplifies UK procedural chaos.

ECJ accepted the review opportunity in order to affirm, zero interest in creating procedural law for UK revoking A50 notice (observing EU own separation of powers) and limited interests in adjudicating members' nonconforming laws with EU directives. ECJ will affirm UK sovereignty and SCS authority to remand MSPs, I predict. Doing so explicitly establishes EU legal precedent for the issues.

MSPs should have invoked some Art.7 issues and EU case law to stimulate the desired remedy.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 09:26:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leave's actions in the referendum have been referred to the police by the UK's Electoral Commission, after the application of a number of maximum-possible-under-law fines.

At this point there's no possible argument that the result is constitutionally valid in any legal sense.

The only thing keeping the charade moving forward is stubbornness and hope.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 09:44:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But wasn't it unbinding anyway?
by generic on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 10:15:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question at issue is perhaps not whether the referendum was binding - it wasn't, under the UK "constitution" - but whether the invocation of A50 is binding on the UK and irrevocable. I.e. (i) Can the UK revoke it unilaterally, (ii) Can it be revoked with the agreement of the EU Council. and (iii), if so, does a revocation require unanimity on the Council.

A50 itself is silent on these questions which may be interpreted by the ECJ to mean that no legal right to revoke A. 50 exists. However, because of the separation of powers, and because the invocation of A.50 is essentially a political act, there may be no legal reason why the Council and the UK might not jointly agree to a revocation as a political act.

The only question remaining then would be whether the Council can do so by weighted majority vote, or whether unanimity would be required. A. 50 does make provision for the extension of the 2 year notice period under A.50, but only by unanimous agreement. As a revocation most closely resembles an indefinite extension, meaning the notice party never leaves, it seems reasonable to assume a revocation would also require unanimity.

Enter, stage right, some country with a grievance against the UK or the EU, and refusing to agree an indefinite extension/revocation unless their unique and perhaps entirely unrelated grievances are addressed. Gibraltar, treatment of migrants, Irish border backstop, UK budgetary rebate, various UK derogations anyone?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 11:38:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only question remaining then would be whether the Council can do so by weighted majority vote, or whether unanimity would be required. A. 50 does make provision for the extension of the 2 year notice period under A.50, but only by unanimous agreement. As a revocation most closely resembles an indefinite extension,
I would argue that a revocation is a form of final settlement, not a form of extension, and as such can be agreed by qualified majority. Making extension subject to more onerous consensus requirements than final settlement is clearly a measure to ensure that negotiations (and attendant uncertainty) do not drag out indefinitely. Dragooning that provision into governing withdrawal of the A.50 notice seems dubious.

But then, the whole of Art.50 is shabby contract engineering from start to finish - it's clearly a provision that was never intended to be invoked.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 01:34:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ultimately this is politics, not jurisprudence.

If there's a consensus within the EU that it would better if the UK stayed - and I believe there is - then the appropriate legal justifications will be found if the UK decides to change its position. Especially if it changes it after another referendum with a Remain result.

I don't think anyone in the EU wants May or her government to stay, except maybe Orban and some of the other far-right nutcases. But that's a different issue.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 03:17:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the EU's position is a little more nuanced than that. Clearly they are not going to be the ones insisting that the UK must leave if the UK decides that it actually was a bad idea all along. However, I don't think the EU is going to allow the precedent to be set that calling a Mulligan on an Art.50 notice is costless. That would create a world where you can give notice of your intent to leave, faff about wasting everyone's time and attention for two years, and then decide you don't actually like the prospect of leaving under the terms available to you after all.

So some kind of concession must be extracted from the UK to allow them to remain at this point. It's possible that simply changing the government will be sufficient, but it's also possible it might not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 04:54:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You may well be right. IMO it's too early to tell.

At the moment we're some way from the UK remaining. But Corbyn has said he supports another referendum, and there are rumours of another GE soon. (Although there always have been rumours of an Autumn election.)

So currently it's a remote possibility, but not an impossible one.

My best guess is that May is still trying to stall and posture to hide the fact that she's dedicated to a crash-out, and always has been, because that's what she agreed when she was anointed PM.

But I could be completely wrong about that - and she really is as incompetent, passive-aggressive, and delusional as she appears to be.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 02:40:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am sympathetic to the people's vote campaign but just one question: what do they want to vote on? The real 'final deal' won't be available for years. It will be negotiated in the transition period. The withdrawal agreement is only going to contain a vague declaration about how the final deal is desired to be. But if they wait for the final deal then Remain will no longer be an option because the UK will be legally out by then.

Do they want to vote on the withdrawal agreement? That's just a rerun of Remain/Leave dressed up differently.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 03:18:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My tentative understanding is that the vote would probably be on The Deal (whatever that turns out to be) vs Remain.

Or perhaps The Deal, vs No Deal, vs Remain, with transferable votes.

A charitable interpretation of May's actions is that she set up Chequers as The Deal knowing it was impossible, which would leave Remain as the only possible result.

But that's more likely to be wishful thinking than reality.

Meanwhile rumours of a November election - possibly with a subtext of "This is your referendum" - are intensifying.

Of course, that could just be wishful thinking too.

In reality no one knows anything - including the people whose job it is to know things.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 04:24:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not everyone agrees.
The leader of the union that is Labour's biggest financial backer has said remaining in the EU must not be an option in any new referendum on Brexit.

Len McCluskey said it would be "wrong" and would risk pushing Labour voters who had backed Leave in the 2016 referendum to support the Conservatives.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 04:28:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But a "Deal or No Deal" referendum would be pointless, just another example of the UK thinking it's the only player at the table.  The EU's position is basically, "If you want to change your mind, we'll entertain that.  If you don't, the clock is already running, make a proposal."  A "Deal or No Deal" referendum would be seen as nothing but a lame attempt to stave off the deadline, and I don't see the EU being at all interested.
by rifek on Thu Sep 27th, 2018 at 12:13:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To revoke this A50 notice is to terminate (cancel, withdraw, end) the notice ...
and its effects in progress.

To argue tendered termination of A50 by UK gov in lieu of its agreement to 19 Mar 2018 draft settlement (in progress) does not obviate the necessity of its own draft and its acceptance by the Council and EP before 3 March 2019 plenary session.

Apparently there is no form transmittal.

What might this UK document say? Are UK gov and parliament capable of agreement in themselves as to which domestic laws (nacted to date in anticipation of "frictionless" trade) they will admit and which they will repeal? How much time for reconciliation might UK gov stipulate? Further, is UK gov and parliament, under separate cover as they say, willing and able to compensate claims by interested private persons of "damage" by the proceedings of the A50 notice delivered?

Think about those consequences then speculate as to whether unanimity or qualified acceptance of this novelty by the EU Council and EP would or should be forthcoming.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 04:45:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK shouldn't have passed any domestic laws yet that conflict with EU law, since they're still members and bound by EU rules until the end of the notice period. That's how notice periods are generally understood to work. So there should be nothing to reconcile if they decide to kiss and make up, other than whatever symbolic concession the EU decides it wants in return, to discourage this kind of brinkmanship in the future.

As for consequential damages of the aborted attempt to alter public policy, I believe the likely response to such claims will follow the line of reasoning advanced in Arkell v. Pressdram or Cox v. Cleveland.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 07:07:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It has been said in the UK press that the Withdrawal Bill affects some 1,000 statutes. I had joked about EU combing out the nits many months ago just to arrive at a "clean", actionable trade agreement with Tory gov after concluding A50.

The bill is an Act of Parliament now. Which means domestic laws retained and "in conflict with EU law" have most certainly been passed and endorsed by HRM.

Information about the Withrawal Bill is an index of FAQs. Apart from repeal of the ECA,

Why are we repealing the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA)?
the doc Converting and preserving law [AND NOT RETAINING] reiterates legislative purposes of the Act. Indeed, this thing was designed from the start to provide minimum compliance with EU directives needed to secure a UK favorable, bi-lateral trade agreement in the event no A50 settlement were concluded. BATNA.

Hence the "impasse" in concluding the 19 March draft settlement. A cursory review confirms that those items repealed domestically correspond with those remaining provisions UK refuses to endorse in the draft. Assurance of GFA enforcement is not the least of these, certainly.

But this agreement brings the "transition period" into effect. No signature, no transition period. This agreement compels UK compliance with EU directives in the "transition period"; it forbids UK bi-lateral FTAs with third-countries in the "transition period"; and does not restore UK voting rights in Council or EP.

It is no exaggeration to say, unwinding the Withdrawal Act will be as chaotic as it was to establish even if the ECJ were to entertain unilateral revocation of the A50. Before 31 October, which seems to be the Council's latest deadline for UK endorsement of the draft.

Finally, I don't see that either of those case citations appear among UK High Court judgments (with Miller) or pertain to UK torts litigation by persons, foreign and domestic, over, say, securities frauds or other misrepresentations of material fact. Market "uncertainty" as well as legal "uncertainty" are a powerful catalysts for turning investors into ... political activists.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 11:24:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I would argue that a revocation is a form of final settlement, not a form of extension, and as such can be agreed by qualified majority."

A revocation may be a consequence of some final settlement, but I don't think it can be regarded as simply an opening move in a dispute which can be resolved later and simply forgotten about afterwards. Otherwise, why wouldn't other members unhappy with something or other invoke A.50 to provide themselves with more leverage?

Invoking A.50 has certain consequences (and costs) in an of itself. (For instance the Irish stock market has been in marked decline despite a booming economy).

The A.50 process was therefore meant to be time limited and terminated after two years by default, after which the only remedy, if a departing member changes its mind, is to re-apply for membership under A.49.

But perhaps the Council itself has discretion, as a decision making body, to decide whether unanimity or weighted majority decision making is required. The ECJ may be reluctant to be prescriptive, given A.50's silence on the matter.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 09:12:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The legitimacy of the referendum is not the legal question at all.

The legitimacy (legal authority, laws) of UK gov to deliver the A50 notice --or-- is not disputed. Parliament granted gov this authority. (And have been since squabbling with amendments to its "Withdrawal Bill" who expeditiously to curtail gov's authority to negotiate with EU gov.)

The legitimacy of UK gov (excluding parliament) unilaterally to interpret provisions of LISBON in order to "revoke" its own A50 notice is a legal question (argued in this thread with political/legislative speculations) that is not the subject of SCS appeal for review by the ECJ.

More UK "cherry picking" --this time straight to the throat of separation of powers, republics hold so dear.

BWAH!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 05:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid we have entered the phase of emotional irrationality where people are spoiling for a fight instead of solutions. BTW what was it that was deemed so 'humiliating' and 'disrespectful' at the summit? Tusk with the silly cake bit? Macron calling a spade a spade? Which reminds of the good times when Sarkozy told Cameron to "shut up".

'You're gonna respect us even if we have to jump off the cliff to show you!' The downside being not just the damage on British side but also a long-term strategic splintering. It will be very toxic. Will they turn themselves into an American colony (like some Brexiters are dreaming) just out of spite? A remarkable reversal of fortune and irony of history. Anyway, not good for Europe's wealth and security.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 08:25:45 PM EST
Sometimes if you over-play your hand in a negotiation the situation deteriorates to the point where solutions which might have been available a short time ago are no longer on offer. The EU's collective patience with and tolerance of May has effectively run out to the point where they don't care anymore whether she survives or not.

Paradoxically this may play well at the Conservative conference where at least some Tories may rally around their disrespected leader. Being insulted by the rotten boche can be a badge of honour.

But certain battle lines have been drawn. May is on her last chance. If the October summit is a wash, there may not be a November one.  At the very least May has to come up with a credible solution to the Irish border issue.

There have been suggestions that the Tories will look for a mandate from the N. Ireland people for a solution different from the mainland. This could be done by re-running assembly elections or having a referendum.

The DUP will probably go mad, but they can hardly object to new assembly elections given the current one is defunct. If nothing else it would buy the Tories some time.

From a N. Ireland perspective it would be refreshing to have a vote on something other than a pure sectarian tribal headcount. My only concern is that the vote should be on a very clearly worded "solution". Otherwise it will all just become a sectarian vote over sovereignty again, something which shouldn't be at issue.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 21st, 2018 at 08:59:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't imagine May running a separate NI ref when she's relying on the DUP to prop up her non-majority.

I think the plan is to stall for time and crash out.

Psychologically, May is an extremely dangerous person. Every single thing her government has done has been violently angry, destructive, dishonest, and abusive - as the NHS, the police, the EU, and the various victims of institutional xenophobia and racism will confirm. (Among many others.)

So i think it's realistic to expect her to pick the option that will do the most damage to everything around her - which of course is a no-deal car crash.

When you consider that rich Tories will be able to move their money out of the UK, wait until the pound crashes, then buy up the smoking rubble on the cheap, there's no particular reason for them to want a deal.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 09:50:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rich Tories and the rich men they represent. Those who want unregulated fuck-you capitalism aboard a floating casino/tax haven. Who've spent years poisoning the minds of the ill-informed with a continuous media onslaught on EU regulation couched as Brussels' dictatorship.

If the Tory party has a soul, which I doubt, there is surely a battle going on within it between these (and their very considerable influence) and the stodgier representatives of business-as-usual who fear the destruction and spoliation to come.

The frightening thing is that business-as-usual, in the absence of a champion, can only hope that May will serve their cause with a fudgy soft Brexit. I'm not sure she's dedicated to a crash-out. I doubt she has the consistency of mind for that, though you may be right she'd go there just out of spite.

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

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 04:12:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
owed so much to afew...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 05:27:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...been about to get ripped off by afew.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 08:06:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or be saved by even fewer?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 09:34:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Never forget that Theresa May is primarily a representative of the "unregulated fuck-you capitalism aboard a floating casino/tax haven" 1% of the 1%. She married one.

Her husband, and presumably herself, will benefit mightily in the Shock Doctrine shark frenzy to come after "No Deal".

The business as usuals are simply useful idiots for lobby votes, turkeys voting for Christmas in a very loyal "the farmers knows what they're doing" kind of way.

The rest of us are roadkill

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 07:38:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the Parliamentary Tory Party no longer represents the concerns of a traditional Tory constituency of bosses engaged in trade, manufacturing, services, the "real economy", who are shuddering at the thought of the disruption a crash Brexit would cause. So May is intent on producing a crash-Brexit endgame. She will go before Parliament with whatever she (and the EU, if...) have cobbled together, in hopes she will be defeated and forced to resign and be replaced by Rees-Johnson or Boris Mogg.

OK, she's as mad as the rest of them. But as a way to stake your political career, it beats me.

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

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 07:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The one real remaining imponderable in my scenarios for the future is what May will do when/if "her" Brexit deal is rejected by the House of Commons.

Will she resign the leadership and make way for Johnson-Mogg - who will then sail merrily towards a WTO rules Brexit - not realising that Trump has more or less destroyed the WTO and that the future could be trade wars?

Or will she "go to the country" and campaign for acceptance of her deal as the only way to avoid the "chaos" of a no deal Brexit or a Corbyn Premiership?

It depends on whether her primary loyalty is to her party or to the country.  If her primary loyalty is to herself, I suggest there is more dignity in going to the country and losing than simply resigning the leadership as an abject failure at the one main task you set yourself.

Given Corbyn would approve any decision to go to the country is their any constitutional impediment to her doing so - say if there is a prior challenge to her leadership in the 1922 committee? Is there any way Brexiteers can stop her?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 09:54:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, she won't resign but, and this is unlikely, the ERG might force her to go.

Right now there is a lot of smoke and fury around the Tory party. We will know far more about what it signifies after conference next week.

May's Strasburg conference was supposed to give her a bounce to see off her oppoents, just like her previous General election gamble. She is a serial stumbler, which is not a good look for a party of Government. But the Tories are still in compromise mode to maintain party unity. The brexit fanatics know they can bring May down anytime, but at the cost of destroying the Tory party. The Remainers and pro-business leavers know hope they can cobble an alliance across the Commons to prevent a "No Deal".

But a General election would be an end to all of their hopes. So, that's the least likely option unless a binding vote on the brexit deal is brought to the Commons. But even then, right wing anti-Corbyn Labour MPs will probably support the govt.

who knows? Really, it's all unknowable. People are plotting and planning in every corner, all hoping to advance their agenda and place themselves in positions of influence. the only thing they're ignoring is the well being of the country at large, which is stagnating and disintegrating due to the absnce of direction and leadership.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 10:25:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Strasbourg Salzberg

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 10:27:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jonny Foreigner being nasty to our PM may actually help her with some of the Tory faithful. Corbyn re-positioning himself in more centrist mode, supporting a referendum, will make it more difficult for most Labour right-wingers to rebel. I think the party system could reassert itself with minimal rebels on either side, meaning it could be all down to the DUP. I don't see how May could survive a Commons rejection of her deal without either resigning or going to the country, but who knows? This shambles gets more pathetic all the time.

If I were her I would call the DUP's bluff. If she follows through on the Backstop agreement with Ireland, the DUP have only one choice: suck it up or cause an election which might bring Corbyn to power. They will also be facing the Northern Ireland electorate having put Irish re-unification back on the agenda, ignored the N. Ireland vote to remain, not delivered on the £1 Billion in extra spending they promised, not restored the assembly or executive, in the middle of the Renewable Heat Scandal inquiry, and with Ian Paisley narrowly missing recall for taking over 50k in Sri Lankan bribes/holidays. If they end up with less votes than Sinn Fein their days could be numbered. Do they want to take that risk?

Looked at from the EU side I sense they scent blood and are preparing ever more seriously for a no deal Brexit. All have decided that no deal is better than undermining CUSM. If they play hardball enough, they may even get a new government/referendum with some possibility of UK remaining in a somewhat chastened state. There is almost zero incentive for them to seriously compromise at this stage. They're winning, so why give a sucker an even break?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 11:35:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Parliamentary defeat on such an essential plank of government policy should normally, logically, in conformity to conventional rules (but how comical those words sound these days), result in the government's immediate resignation or in a motion of no confidence bringing about same.

May might hope to survive as party leader going into the ensuing election, because she's delusional. My tenner would be on Boris Mogg.

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

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 01:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Mogg and the EU would be an ideal match. Neither want the other and would be delighted to be shut of each other. No need for complex deals or to worry about N.I. (Where?) An absolutely fabulous and utterly harmonious parting to the ways - until reality intervenes. But that need not be for some time yet. In the meantime Mogg's Dublin based investment funds clean up. Jolly good!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 05:21:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh I don't think she, along with many Tories, is the deepest thinker and probably does not recognise the contradictions between being pro-business and a distaer capitalist. To her they are all legitimate profit making enterprises.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 10:16:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Special Relationship.  The US ginned up the pseudo-intellectual "reasons" for the neolib/neocon cancer, raised the funding, built a lab in the UK (the Tory Party), and created a Frankenstein's Monster in Maggotty Blather, who in turn captained the test run for the real deal, the reign of The Blessed St. Ronnie Ray-gunz.  And it's been a Transatlantic race to the bottom of the tenth level of Hell in an undersized handbasket ever since.
by rifek on Thu Sep 27th, 2018 at 12:25:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The DUP will probably go mad

Umm, maybe you hadn't noticed, but madness is their defining characteristic

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 11:01:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I suppose there is this...
Key points from the [House of Commons] standards committee's findings

    Mr Paisley went on three luxury holidays to Sri Lanka at the expense of the Sri Lankan government in 2013.
    The committee found the cost "much higher" than the £50,000 Mr Paisley estimated.
    In 2014, Mr Paisley wrote to the prime minister to lobby against supporting a UN resolution on Sri Lanka over alleged human rights abuses.
    By failing to declare his trip, Mr Paisley "breached the rule against paid advocacy, the committee said.
    The committee acknowledged that there was "inconsistent guidance" in relation to registering such trips, but it did not "exonerate Mr Paisley from breaching the advocacy rule".

The recall petition failed by 444 votes to achieve the 10% of the electorate required to force Ian Paisley's dismissal. His constituency is the safest, most loyalist dominated constituency in N. Ireland, so many voters may have taken the view that his recall would be pointless: He would easily win the resulting bye-election thus providing the DUP with a public exoneration and propaganda victory. This was the DUP remains tainted by his corruption, although DUP leader, Arlene Foster's misbehaviour over the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal is a far more serious issue.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 10:56:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Up above I noted;-

They didn't know what the EU did and didn't know how they did it. So, it's no surprise they didn't know how to organise leaving.

then I read this. In it he talks about the dangers of people in Government who simply hve no idea of what their departments do or how they do them.

Guardian - Alex Bladsel - Michael Lewis: The Big Short author on how Trump is gambling with nuclear disaster

Lewis was contemplating the nation's dire risk portfolio when Trump tapped the former Texas governor Rick Perry to be secretary of the Department of Energy. Five years earlier, Perry had said in a presidential debate that he wanted to eliminate that cabinet-level department. At least, he had tried to say it: in a moment that helped sweep his ruinous candidacy into oblivion, Perry forgot the department's name.

"It's bad enough Rick Perry has no sense of this," Lewis thought after hearing of his appointment. But he had to acknowledge he didn't know anything about the department either. So he decided to find out. "It took about two phone calls before I learned, `Oh, that's where the nuclear weapons are. Oh my God.'"

What Lewis went on to discover was even more shocking. On the morning after the presidential election, as the balloons from the previous night's parties are still settling on the ballroom floors, the president-elect is expected to send teams into every department of the US federal government to begin the transition of power. But at the Department of Energy last November - and, it turned out, at many of the country's 14 other federal departments - one day passed, and then another, and no one came.

Bureaucrats in the Obama administration had worked for a year to prepare thousands of pages of briefings on the risks their successors could face. Yet by Thanksgiving, no one from the Trump team had arrived to receive them. "I was fucking nervous ... ," Steve Bannon later told friends about Trump's handling of the transition, Lewis reports in the book. "I go, `Holy fuck, this guy doesn't know anything. And he doesn't give a shit.'"



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 11:13:30 AM EST
The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 at 11:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I cannot figure out is how any Brexit method would get through Parliament. Even if the EU leadership were to agree with May's proposal, and every EU country to agree with everything she proposes, how on Earth would she get it approved on the UK side?
by asdf on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 01:59:35 AM EST
with the DUP she has a majority. The Lords can reject it once, but not twice if it is sent back to them

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 09:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So in this hypothetical scenario, ERG members would vote for Chequers having described it as turning the UK into a vassal state??

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 10:26:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it won't be Chequers, it'll be a much slimmer Norway or even Canada+. Anything that is bettr than no deal. Because there remains a substantial portion of the opposition who would vote for anything in preference to a "No Deal".

Both the SNP & Lib Dems would carry it through. And I suspect there would be a few Labour votes too.

But the capacity for the ERG to throw spanners in the works to ensure no deal should not be under-estimated

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 01:10:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not Chequers, that was a poor sickly child at birth and died soon after. But some fudge, call it Ghost of Chequers Attempts to Return 3, that a significant number of Tories will refuse to vote for despite being brutally whipped (those public-school lads like a good whipping anyway).

All the more that May is not the Thatcher she has tried to mimic, that she will never unite Tory MPs behind her, and that the hard-Brexit leaders dream of nothing better than her downfall and replacement (by ME, says Boris).

So getting the ghostly fudge through Parliament would seem to call for help from Labour MPs. Corbyn would doubtless like to see the UK out of the EU before he takes over. Iirc around 200 Labour MPs followed his lead (three-line whip) in voting with May on triggering Article 50. How much have things changed since?

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

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 01:38:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeremy Corbyn has said he will back giving the British people a final say on Brexit in a new referendum if party members vote for it at Labour's conference this week.

...

Mr Corbyn also said he would join forces with rebel Tories to vote down Theresa May's Brexit plans in parliament if they did not meet Labour's tests, with The Independent reporting on Saturday that the party would then maximise pressure on the prime minister by seeking a motion of no confidence in the government if her proposals fell.

Labour will launch a plan to force an election by seeking a motion of no confidence in the government within days if Theresa May's Brexit deal is defeated in parliament, The Independent has learnt.

Jeremy Corbyn and his top team will launch an attempt to force the Conservative administration to go to the people at what they believe will be a moment of maximum weakness for the prime minister.

Multiple sources confirmed party chiefs have game-planned their approach if Ms May's beleaguered proposals are vetoed in a crucial commons vote or if she fails to get a deal in Europe, which looks increasingly likely after EU leaders torpedoed them earlier this week.

Seems clearer, but there's still some wiggle room.

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

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 07:04:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corbyn is slowly but surely getting his act together on Brexit. According to a You Gov poll, 86% of Labour supporters now want a second referendum on any Brexit deal actually negotiated.

As one Labour trade Unionist put it some time ago: You have one poll to decide on whether to take industrial action, and then another on whether your members accept whatever deal you have negotiated on their behalf.

The precise form of any referendum question still has to be decided, however, and depends on whether May actually negotiates a deal. Will it be Remain vs. May's deal, or May's deal vs. No deal? (A three choice -vote 1,2,3 in order of your choice - with votes for the most unpopular option recounted on the basis of their second choice) seems much too complicated for a British people used to a FPTP system.

If there is no deal, it becomes a simple Remain vs. no deal Brexit choice. If the House of Commons votes down May's deal, arguably that option is defunct too, so the choice is Remain vs. No deal Brexit.  The choice which must be avoided is No deal vs. May's deal, as it would disenfranchise everyone who voted Remain before.

That is probably why May, and any deal she might negotiate has to go. Corbyn is right to look for a general election to remove her, but would also be right to promise a second referendum as part of his manifesto for the election.

The EU needs to be clear it is not going to negotiate a new deal with Corbyn having failed to have any deal they negotiated with May rejected by the House of Commons or the British people. What they offer Corbyn must be no different to what they offered May so the choice in any referendum will be Remain or a no deal Brexit.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 08:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not realistic ... putting options before Labour Congress.

A 2nd referendum is acceptable to no one and time has run out. The Tory government may fall, that won't solve the Brexit deal ... London in panic mode. Finally!

Great presentation Frank! They should have listened.

Indeed Kabuki theater from the onset ... wrote that in a diary too.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 11:23:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well there seems to have been a sea change in Labour supporters attitudes, with 86% now wanting a referendum on any deal negotiated. In a democracy, people are allowed to change their minds. If Labour puts a pledge to that effect in their manifesto, they might well win the next election, if there is one any time soon. The issue is will May negotiate a deal this autumn, and will it be passed by the Commons. If not all bets are off.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 11:47:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My comment from July 15th ....

Kabuki theatre

I can't help it, but these last weeks of Downing Street 10 appears to me part of a Kabuki theatre of the Tories with May, Johnson and Davies in the lead roles.

There is no way Michel Barnier and the EU nations will accept the Chequers White Paper as a new start for negotiations. Intent to let the "negotiations" fail and place blame on EU intransigence.

Once the talks have failed, the real Brexiteers will become part of government again, perhaps under a new Tory leader.

That's my take of things that pass. It couldn't be utter stupidity, can it?

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Mon Sep 24th, 2018 at 03:56:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU is intensifying its preparations for a no-deal Brexit amid heightened fears in European capitals that Jeremy Corbyn will order his MPs to vote down any deal struck in Brussels, a leaked document reveals.

Labour's stated goal to reject Theresa May's deal in order to spark a general election has provoked a rush of activity in Brussels, where the party's plans are regarded as one of the substantial risks to the negotiations.

Shortly after Corbyn ends his leader's speech at the Labour party conference, one of the European commission's most senior officials is to address EU ambassadors on contingency planning in the event of a breakdown in talks, or the likely failure of the UK parliament to ratify any agreement struck in Brussels.

Emphasis mine

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

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Sep 26th, 2018 at 12:27:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know to what extend you have been following our discussions here, but my mainstream 80% probabiity scenario has always been that while May's government may or may not negotiate a deal, it will not be a very substantial deal, not covering future trading relationships, for instance, and that the chances of the House of Commons passing it will be quite small.

Hard line Brexiteers will reject it because of the compromises it will inevitably contain, include not a lot of substance for the £40 Billion up front payment. The DUP will reject it because the possibility of "regularity divergence" does not rule out to possibility of controls "in the Irish sea", and Remainers will reject it because it is so obviously far inferior to full membership or the sort of promises the Leavers made during the referendum campaign.

It's hard to be sure because there are a few Leavers in the Labour party who owe no loyalty to Corbyn and who are crazy enough to think that Brexiteers care for their constituents.

If anything has changed in my perception in the past few weeks it is that the May government has exceeded even my wildest expectations in its own incompetence, with the result that the probability of both a no deal Brexit and of Remain has increased perceptively.

The Labour Party's slumbering advance towards supporting a second referendum has increased both its electability, and the chance of Tory Remainers bring down the Government. Some achievements all round.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Sep 26th, 2018 at 03:05:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland's difficulty becomes England's opportunity
According to the well-known model created by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the first three stages of grief are denial, anger and bargaining. In their approach to Northern Ireland and the Irish Border, the Brexiteers have broadly followed this pattern.

First, clothing their naked indifference in wilful ignorance, they denied that the problem existed at all. Next, they resorted to anger at the bloody Irish, the perpetual disturbers of the British peace without whom Brexit would have been, as promised, the easiest deal in the history of the world. And now we are at the bargaining stage.

But there is a dramatic twist: the bargaining is not so much about Northern Ireland. It is bargaining with Northern Ireland. The sheer cynicism of what is going on is so breathtaking that it is hard to credit and thus easy to miss.

The British approach to Brexit has been so chaotic that it has seemed silly to look for method in the madness. In relation to the Irish dimension of Brexit, we've become inured to magical thinking (the wonderful efficacy of not-yet-invented technological solutions), blithe misapprehension and sheer fatuousness (Boris Johnson's insistence that the Border is just like that between two London boroughs).

This has been oddly comforting. Since this stuff is so evidently childish, we can wait for the adults to enter the room.

But the comfort is false. The adults did enter the room. The Brexit negotiations are now in the hands of serious, skilful professional mandarins. And they've done something remarkable with the Irish Question. Remarkable in that it takes some nerve even to contemplate it.

For what it comes down to is a strategy of using the human suffering of the Troubles to try to extract a favourable post-Brexit trade deal from the EU. You have to be very clever to think of trying this - and utterly shameless.

Essentially what Fintan O'Toole is arguing that the British position is to force the EU to concede the benefits of the Customs Union and Single Market membership without the responsibilities, as the only way to ensure there isn't a hard customs border in N. Ireland.

The EU have been prepared to concede this for N. Ireland as a special case, because it is relatively small in the context of the EU as a whole, and because of the special historical circumstances surrounding it.

However the EU has not been prepared to concede this for the UK as a whole, or even just for industrial products as opposed to services, thus creating a need for customs controls somewhere between Great Britain and the EU.

Worse, from Theresa May's point of you, most in her own party have rejected her Chequers proposals as well, as turning the UK into a "rule taker" and vassal state of the EU.

Hence the impasse, with the DUP standing in the way of the obvious solution.

It is really quite something to seek now, in the midst of a self-inflicted crisis of authority in Britain, to turn the North's suffering and the EU's care for it to advantage. The dead are surely not to be bargained with.

The next stage in the grieving process after bargaining is depression. Perhaps we are moving into it now, for it is deeply depressing to find what is still in many ways a great country giving way to such cynicism.

It is a reminder that the damage from Brexit is not just economic or political. It is also moral.



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 11:38:28 AM EST
The DUP deal that May cobbled together in her panic after she lost her majority at the last election is causing no end of pain. Her protestations about not wanting to "break up the Union" are all so much hot air.

If the SNP were to proffer all their votes for getting an enhanced deal though against the wishes of the ERG at the expense of Ulster, the DUP would find the very doors of Westminster slammed in their faces.

Things are getting wldly chaotic in Whitehall and the Conservative party conference is gonna be the hottest journalist ticket since the gladiators fought in the Colosseum cos they're gonna have a ringside seat at a bloodbath.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 01:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Using Northern-Ireland to cherry pick the single market through the backdoor is one of the lows in this very low saga. The fundamental problem being that HMG can not make a very difficult choice. Single market in or out? Norway or Canada? Hot or cold? It's trying to square the circle which is impossible. 2000 years ago someone had the right words for the impending no-deal Brexit apocalypse:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.

Revelation 3,16-17

Those knackers voted for Brexit - they should own it and accept the consequences instead of whining around. If it turns out brilliant: wonderful! If it doesn't then we need the British people to employ the stiff upper lip and walk, eyes open, into the darkness.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 03:39:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 05:08:08 PM EST
This one's older: <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Sep 23rd, 2018 at 05:15:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rees-Mogg will be next Tory leader and will face off in a GE with Jez before Xmas.
At which point Monty Python will be superannuated, and Britannia will rule ad eternam in peaceful, harmonious prosperity. :)

'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 Tue Sep 25th, 2018 at 09:49:02 AM EST


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