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

A new deal emerges?

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jan 25th, 2019 at 01:27:28 PM EST

Faced with the possibility of Brexit being delayed, or even reversed, members of the DUP and ERG are beginning to moderate their positions and are suggesting that May's deal could be passed if only the hated Irish Backstop clause could be removed or time limited in some way.

For their part, the Irish government is coming under increasing pressure to moderate its absolute insistence that there can be no border infrastructure of any kind. Critics are pointing out that a hard customs border will be legally required from the 29th. of March if a no deal Brexit occurs.

Officially the Irish government is still insisting that this is a problem for the UK side to overcome, and that it is awaiting firm proposals from the UK side so it can respond accordingly. The problem is that no one trusts Theresa May's ability to deliver on her promises any more, so what is the point of making concessions now when there is no guarantee these will secure a deal and that the UK government won't come back again looking for more?

But the outlines of a potential deal have been visible for some time if only the political skill was there to realise it...

Suppose the House of Commons were actually to pass a bill ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement ("May's Deal") subject to an amending clause time limiting the Backstop to a maximum duration of (say) 5 years similar to the amendment proposed by Andrew Murrison MP (Cons).

May will have gotten her infamous deal across the line. Brexiteers will have achieved Brexit, even if it doesn't become fully operational until the EU and UK have agreed a new future relationship, or failing that for 5 years. Remainers will have secured a relatively soft Brexit with industry spared the prospect of the chaos of a no deal Brexit. The EU will be assured that one simple further concession will secure an orderly Brexit and they are no longer subject to the whims of the DUP and extreme wing of the Tory party.

But what about Ireland? The Irish (minority) government will be pilloried by all opposition parties for conceding the principle of a hard border in at most five years time, unless the EU and UK can agree a deal which has so far eluded them. Realistically, that can only happen if N. Ireland remains within the Customs Union and Single Market (CUSM) and we know the DUP will oppose this as it would created a customs border "down the Irish sea" unless Great Britain, too, remained within the CUSM.

In vain the Irish government will plead mitigation because the alternative "no deal" scenario would have required a customs border from the 29th. March. In politics, there is a world of difference between agreeing to something, and having it forced upon you by the decisions of others despite your strong opposition.

But is there also another way out of this dilemma? Suppose the Irish and UK governments were to agree a critical amendment to the Belfast Good Friday Agreement (GFA). At the moment the GFA only explicitly refers to a referendum in N. Ireland in the event of a proposed United Ireland. The EU is hardly mentioned, because all assumed both Ireland and the UK would remain members indefinitely. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty didn't exist then.

The GFA has, effectively, become the constitution of Northern Ireland in the absence of a formal, written constitution. Supposed the proposed amendment provided that the status quo in N. Ireland (membership of the EU) could only be changed with the explicit approval of a majority in N. Ireland in a referendum. The Irish government could then point to the the 56-44% Remain vote in N. Ireland as providing a reasonable guarantee that no hard border would  ever come about.

The DUP would then be placed in the awkward position of opposing a referendum in N. Ireland on EU membership - not that that ever stopped them. This scenario could therefore only come into play once the House of Commons had actually voted for the (amended) Withdrawal Agreement and the DUP's critical votes could no longer block it.

The DUP could always vote no confidence in May's government and prevent any change in the GFA, but would they still hold the balance of power if the Irish Government insisted that its support for the (amended) Withdrawal Agreement was contingent on the amended GFA?

Would a majority in the House of Commons really countenance a no deal Brexit if the price was a simple referendum in N. Ireland giving its people a choice of remaining within the EU or not when that principle has already been conceded in relation to a United Ireland?

It can be pointed out that it is quite possible for N. Ireland to remain in both the UK and EU - arguably the best of both worlds, from a Unionist perspective - as Greenland remains part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but no longer part of the EU.

The EU has already conceded the principle of extending full membership to N. Ireland in the event of Irish re-unification, so agreeing to it somewhat in advance of any such development would not be a major change of principle. It would also remove the pressure on the EU to agree to effectively full membership of the CUSM for all of the UK (in order to keep the Irish border open) without the concomitant costs which Norway pays, and restrictions on the UK's ability to control immigration and negotiate FTAs.

Of course a referendum in N. Ireland wouldn't be required if, in five years time, the UK government of the day were no longer dependent on DUP support and were happy for N. Ireland to remain within the EU.

Probably the strongest argument against it from a UK perspective is that Scotland would demand a similar referendum which could, potentially, create a customs border on the Scottish English border. But that would be an argument for another day, and would many in England actually care at this stage?

But all of this is contingent on the House of Commons actually passing the (amended) Withdrawal Agreement and amendments to the GFA. Nobody will trust the UK until it clarifies exactly what it would actually take to achieve an orderly withdrawal. Hence the constant refrain from EU leaders for the UK to actually state what it wants and what it is prepared to concede. No further confused speeches on red lines from Theresa May will suffice.

Theresa May may not yet have lost the Confidence of the House of Commons, but she has certainly lost the confidence of the EU.

Hence, the refusal to date of the EU to budge from the Withdrawal agreement as previously agreed. Hence the public refusal, to date, of the Irish Government to re-negotiate the GFA. The DUP has to be taken out of the equation first. Exactly what is it a majority of the House of Commons will support?

The world wants to know.

NI is not a sovereign state. Call the territory by whatever euphemism you prefer, is a political division of the UK. That train left the station in '22.

Amended UK-EU withdrawal agreement? No.
24 Jan 2019: Barnier says time-limited Irish backstop not possible

Amended Uk-IE GFA after 29 March? Possible, low-probability. Besides this would require a referendum in both countries, no?
Amended UK-IE GFA on or before 29 March? No.

Why? The answer to all these questions is, no one trusts Tory gov or HOC, not even the dread Arlene the Paisley.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Jan 25th, 2019 at 03:11:32 PM EST
Greenland is not a sovereign state.
Barnier is also waiting for the UK to tell him what will swing the deal - and needs the certainty of a HOC vote to that effect to confirm it actually would.
The UK "constitution" does not require referendums to ratify Treaties - hence probably no referendum on May's deal or any other withdrawal deal.
The GFA is actually two deals - an inter-party deal and an inter-governmental deal. It is the latter that would require amendment.
Amending the GFA would require a referendum(s) in Ireland - this would not be problematic if the objective is to avoid a hard border.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 25th, 2019 at 03:47:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me that the responsibility for putting up border infrastructure is naturally going to fall on the side that has the net import/export/smuggling problem.

A bit of "Internet research" suggests that the current trade volumes in each direction across the border are about equal. But the question is, what will they be after Brexit?

by asdf on Fri Jan 25th, 2019 at 03:58:56 PM EST
Currently there is some alcohol smuggling and diesel laundering across the border because of tax/price /currency differentials but it's not of a significant scale in economic terms even if it breeds a culture of lawlessness in some quarters.

I would expect, post Brexit for North south smuggling to increase significantly if there is a depreciation of Sterling and the imposition of tariffs on some products. Overall, however, the volumes are small in an EU context. It is the legal precedents and implications for general tax compliance which are likely to be most problematic.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 25th, 2019 at 04:45:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another "new deal" proposal summarily dismissed:

Ireland dismisses suggestion it should quit EU and join UK

Ireland has dismissed the suggestion that the best solution to the Brexit impasse might be for the country to quit the EU and join the UK.

Questioned about the possibility by the BBC Today presenter John Humphrys, Ireland's Europe minister, Helen McEntee, said it was not contemplating quitting the EU, that polls showed 92% of the population wanted to remain in the bloc, and "Irexit" was not plausible.

She told the Radio 4 programme on Saturday that, in the event of no deal, Ireland was "not planning for the reintroduction of a border", and urged the UK to honour its commitment to ensure the border remained invisible, as it had since the Good Friday peace deal was signed nearly 21 years ago.

by Bernard on Sat Jan 26th, 2019 at 09:28:31 PM EST
John Humphrys is just trolling her. Everyone with any poltical awareness knows that won't happen and those who think so show a stunning ignorance of history.

I have written about Irexit here. Nigel Farage and a couple of cronies have been trying to whip up a few discontents here. He hasn't been getting very far.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 26th, 2019 at 09:38:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
May is the Preventer of Deals.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 04:34:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard that interview live. Helen McEntee's calmness under provocation from Humphrys was exemplary. Humphrys attitude caused me, for the first time ever, to lodge a complaint with the BBC. It is not Humphrys' job to act on behalf of ERG loonies.

It will be interesting to see how many other follow suit. It got coverage on Twitter after Ben Bradshaw, MP, commented.

by oldremainmer48 on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 12:26:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen McEntee is a 32 year old junior Minister for European affairs in Simon Coveney's Ministry for External affairs. She is often accused of just being a token inclusion in photo ops with Varadker and Coveney to provide some eye candy and gender balance. As this interview shows, she is anything but. I suspect her next job will be a full cabinet appointment should this government be re-elected...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 02:30:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of trolling:

British Lord Brings Up 'Idea of Recolonising Zimbabwe'

The Zimbabwean government has described as regrettable and unfortunate remarks by UK lawmaker Lord Adrian Palmer calling for Britain's recolonisation of Zimbabwe. Speaking in the House of Lords, independent cross-bench peer Lord Palmer asked: "Has the minister even considered the idea of recolonising Zimbabwe? It is tragic to see what is going on." British Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad said he had not considered that option.
WTF is wrong with these people? Too much inbreeding?
by Bernard on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 02:50:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too much inbreeding was already a problem 2 centuries ago.

We are deeply into the weeds of how much the madness of King George has spread amongst them

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 09:04:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the BBC does seem to have begun acting as supporters and explainers of the ERG position.

I've begun to find BBC News unwatchable because the bias is just too overt

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 09:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile the British government is preparing for martial law: SkyNews: Brexit planners could use martial law against civil disobedience:

Brexit planners are examining the possibility of martial law in Britain in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit, it has emerged.

Whitehall officials are looking at how to use powers available under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to stop civil disobedience after the UK leaves the EU.

According to a report in The Sunday Times, the legislation gives ministers the power to impose curfews, travel bans, confiscate property and deploy the armed forces.

A source told the newspaper: "The over-riding theme in all the no-deal planning is civil disobedience and the fear that it will lead to death in the event of food and medical shortages."

I guess Brexit means dictatorship then.

by IdiotSavant on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 08:53:01 AM EST
And the British military is stockpiling ammunition: UK begins stockpiling at military bases to prepare for no-deal Brexit:

Britain has begun stockpiling food, fuel, spare parts and ammunition at military bases in Gibraltar, Cyprus and the Falklands in case of a no-deal Brexit, Sky News has learnt.

Extra supplies are also being built up at bases in the UK to reduce the risk of the armed forces running short and being unable to operate if it suddenly becomes much harder to import and export day-to-day goods after 29 March.

Which invites the question: who are they planning to shoot after Brexit?

by IdiotSavant on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 01:02:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In case the Spanish start looking at Gibraltar a little too fondly. Brexit doesn't mean a fascist drift only at home: external enemies are always needed to distract the populace from the real culprits who plunged the UK into this clusterfuck.
by Bernard on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 02:55:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in anticipation of widespread civil disturbance.

We are the country of Peterloo and Tonypandy. The upper classes always think the lower orders must occasionally be kept inline by the scent of blood and close quarters gunpowder. This is just the latest excuse

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 09:17:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as they don't pass the idea across the channel...
by Bernard on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 02:51:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Suppose the Irish and UK governments were to agree a critical amendment to the Belfast Good Friday Agreement (GFA)."

Seems to me that a deal based on amending the GFA is pretty optimistic. The GFA took decades to negotiate, and depended on cooperation between organizations that haven't even been able get a government together in NI now for two years.

There are 60 days left.

by asdf on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 06:44:52 PM EST
The GFA consists of two agreements, an inter-governmental Treaty and an inter-party agreement. It is the former which lays down the holding of a referendum if Irish Unity is contemplated.

Technically, and given the fondness of the UK for unwritten Constitutions, no amendment to the GFA is required. The UK government could simply agree a new Treaty stipulating that it will hold a referendum on N. Ireland remaining in, or re-joining the EU, should a majority there wish it and if no other way is found to avoid a hard customs border within Ireland.

That would solve the Irish border issue. Varadker could say it is up to the people of N. Ireland to decide whether they want a customs border with the south, and it is up to the UK to decide whether one is required down the Irish Sea - by deciding that Great Britain is leaving the CUSM. The Irish government will have had no hand, act, or part of deciding whether a customs border is required, and where it should be located - something it is politically impossible for it to do.

In the event of one being required down the Irish sea, the EU would require extra territorial control or supervision of that border as it would be within the UK, but also the EU's new external frontier. So a new three party UK/IE/EU agreement would be required.

The EU has already agreed N. Ireland can join the EU automatically in the event of Irish re-unification - a la East Germany. That agreement, too, would have to be extended to include a circumstance where N. Ireland remains within the UK, but also has democratically expressed its wish to remain within the EU (or rejoin it if after Brexit day).

Not being a sovereign territory, N. Ireland would have its own MEPs (as currently) but not its own Commissioner or representation on the EU Council etc. That part of its external affairs would effectively be handled by Dublin rather than London.

In my view an elegant solution to the GFA's requirement to guarantee parity of esteem for both traditions in N. Ireland. It would remain in both the EU and UK, and it's citizens could continue to opt for British or Irish (and EU) citizenship, as at present.

Of course the DUP would oppose it as a step towards a United Ireland. Hence it is something the UK government could only agree after the Withdrawal Agreement and other essential amending legislation to enable Brexit is passed by the House of Commons.

That is why I am suggesting May's deal should voted on by the house of Commons NOW with an amending clause limiting the backstop to two years after the transition period is concluded - i.e. Dec. 31st. 2022. That is beyond the life of this Parliament (and the DUP's likely control of the balance of power) similar to the amendment proposed by Andrew Murrison MP (Cons).

Of course the EU and IE will continue to insist on the Backstop until such time as the new tri-partite EU/IE/UK agreement is in place. That will be the EU/IE's price for ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement with the Backstop sunset clause and can only become public once all related legislation has been passed by Westminster and everyone is shit scared of an imminent no-deal Brexit.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 27th, 2019 at 08:33:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politico has published a very different view of the use of the GFA as a way of resolving the impasse.

UK to warn of Brexit backstop's threat to Irish peace treaty

The detail is beyond my understanding, but the (UK) argument seems to be that the WA as it stands conflicts with the provisions of the GFA.

It follows accusations from DUP MPs and other leading unionists that the backstop itself contradicts the very historic peace agreement that it is designed to protect.

I'll leave others to comment if it is thought worthwhile to do so.

by oldremainmer48 on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 10:12:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Politico Chief UK correspondent in discussion with himself ...

Tom McTague:  EU officials NOT best pleased. "It's pretty desperate stuff," one diplomat said, rejecting the claim that the backstop itself undermined the Good Friday Agreement. "It's a bit rich. It's something of the devil quoting scripture for his own benefit." Remember: DUP opposed GFA 6/

by Oui on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 10:59:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, McTague uses that very same quote in the body of his article:

That is "politically impossible" for either the Irish government or Brussels, according to one senior EU27 diplomat.

"It's pretty desperate stuff," the diplomat said, rejecting the claim that the backstop itself undermined the Good Friday Agreement. "It's a bit rich. It's something of the devil quoting scripture for his own benefit."

I'll also freely admit that this game of three-dimensional chess is way too subtle for my understanding. I suppose it's like the rules of cricket: you have to be English to understand.

by Bernard on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 08:06:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There aren't really any rules in cricket. We established after the bodyline tour of Australia in the 30s that it was about winning in a ruthless way that would make even an American blush

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 09:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I used to know the the 10 ways a batsman can be out in cricket, for my sins, although I only ever played the game with a pint by my side - in my view, the only way to play the game.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 10:24:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually not that different from my proposal of a referendum. Instead the DUP want ANY border controls to be subject to the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly agreement - where they have an effective veto. Thus any divergence between GB and N.I. simply will not be allowed to happen forcing the EU and IE to implement customs controls at the Irish border.

The problem with their proposal is that the Executive has not met for over two years because of an impasse between the two major parties - the DUP and Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein will never agree to its re-establishment if the purpose is simply to enable the DUP to block any divergence between N.I. and UK. - thus deepening community divisions still further.

Hence my proposal to extend the GFA's insistence that N. I. can only become part of a united Ireland by majority referendum vote to a circumstance where it can opt to become (or remain) part of the EU but remain part of the UK.

The DUP is playing a game here. They only got 28% of the vote in the 2017 Assembly elections and 36% in the Westminster elections. They lost the Brexit referendum 56-44% in N. Ireland and yet they are trying to impose their will on all in N. Ireland. They would therefore probably lose a N.I. referendum vote on EU membership, but successfully block it in the Executive (which requires explicit bi-community support).

But which is the greater constitutional change in N. Ireland, Brexit or some customs controls in the Irish Sea? I think my proposal of a referendum is fairer, less divisive, and won't block the re-establishment of power sharing in the interim. Brexit should not be driven entirely by one minority party but should require the support of a majority in all communities.

Basically my proposal just requires a simple agreement between UK/IE/EU that N.I. can rejoin the EU if a majority there vote in favour in a referendum to be held if no other means of keeping the Irish border has been agreed by end 2022. Alternatively, the agreement could stipulate that N.I. just rejoins the CUSM - thus also keeping the border open. The problem here is that N.I farmers would lose their CAP payments and farming would become uneconomic - their call...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 01:18:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The bottom line in the politico article is
"The senior U.K. official said it is imperative for the U.K. to win a legally enforceable concession from Brussels to win back the support of the DUP -- and with them potentially scores of Tory MPs.

"The DUP want to be able to say to their voters: `We made Theresa May make Leo Varadkar do this.'"

revealing the tribal partisan nature of all of this. Varadker has the opposite imperative of not letting the DUP call the shots for all of Ireland.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 01:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think there is time for any sort of a deal at this point. Even May's deal. Remember when the "ultimate deadline" was the middle of December?
by asdf on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 05:16:42 PM EST
A50 extension is doable.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 05:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Utter chaos today. We're approaching peak "I can't even".

When the major supermarkets are asking the government to avoid No Deal at any cost, while the same government is making plans for martial law - things probably won't end well.

There was more drama about the backstop, but everything the Tories do is bonkers anyway, so who knows where we'll be by the end of the week.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 06:48:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are only seeing the beginning of the end game, the blame games, the panic, confusion, shouting, screaming, changing of minds, xenophobia, self-pity, suicidal ideation, pleas for help, and prevarication between insouciant rebellion and abject submission. Much like a sex game, really, UK style.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 07:24:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anyone know the safe word?


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

by eurogreen on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 03:05:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know Mark Rutte tried to push a sort of "Martial Law" through Dutch parliament .. he failed. A plot of EU Conservatives to abuse the system?

Can't the Tory government simply move on a national security paradigm, due to universal stress in the UK, and call out Martial Law which would include a House of Commons shutdown with no reimbursement of lost income.

It's time to forget the games ...

How to apply for "settled status" for EU citizens

Brexit App Still Only Works on Android as Shitshow Continues

Cross-posted from my diary - Pre-Brexit Chaos Ensues .

by Oui on Mon Jan 28th, 2019 at 08:12:48 PM EST
I'm not sure the brexiters are consciously aware of it, but the idea of a "time-limited backstop" would effectively put Ireland in an invidious position in the event of the time limit running out.

Ireland is uniquely vulnerable to Brexit with respect to trade with the UK. If any Brexiters have Indeed thought through the time-limit thing, it will be in terms of being able to impose very unfavourable terms of trade on Ireland (with or without an invisible border).

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 03:09:40 PM EST
My rule of thumb?

If I have thought of it, someone else has, too.

The pertinent question then is, How should I act?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 03:26:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me that someone concerned about the backstop becoming permanent would not support a six- or nine-month Article 50 extension. If two years is not enough time to come to an agreement on the trade relationship between the EU and the UK, how is six months going to be enough?

Because it is the general agreement that is the sticking point, not the specific wording of the treaties. If general agreement can be reached in six months, then 18 months should be sufficient to get the treaties written up.

by asdf on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 06:34:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The order of voting is crucial! As soon as an amendment gets a majority, all others are dropped and will NOT be voted on. That's what I understood from a BBC report ...

The opposition amendments first and the Brady amandment last. The DUP will suppport the Brady or Brexiteer (ERG) amendment.

Full list: amendments to May's statement on defeat of her Brexit bill

Below are the amendments which will be voted upon, as selected by Speaker John Bercow. This is the order in which they will be taken:

    A: Labour's

    O: The SNP's

    G: Dominic Grieve's

    B: Yvette Cooper's

    J: Rachel Reeves'

    I: Caroline Spelman's

    N: Graham Brady's

If the Labour motion is passed, the SNP's one will fall (that is, it will not be put to a vote). And if the Cooper amendment is passed, the Reeves one will fall.  

by Oui on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 03:29:49 PM EST

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 08:07:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
B. Yvette Coopers amendment failed
Votes yes 298 ; no 321
Going May's way and the Brexiteers (ERG) - ultimate chance is Tory amendment by Brady.
Counting on the EU to reopen negotiations on the backstop deal . 🙃
by Oui on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 08:03:54 PM EST
Voting according to party lines ... Tories held hostage by the Brexiteers ... keeping the Conservatives united and failing the citizens of the United Kingdom. Coopers amendment failed due to 12 Labour MPs crossing over to the Leavers. Others abstained.

Ominous development ... UK CRASHING OUT ON MARCH 29

by Oui on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 08:20:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When Cooper's amendment failed the pound took a hit .

Now voting on the Spelman amendment ... is carried
318 to 310 to prevent a no-deal
A small majority, is not legally binding!

Now the vote on the Brady amendment takes place.

by Oui on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 08:29:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really. eurotrib has "mulled" a few earlier versions. But you made me look.

Forget that this ... thing ... is "not legally binding"; there's no action specified by the bill which to "bind" parliamentary acts. Not even appropriation for funds to print a commemorative postage stamp.

(US-Eng.) The Spellman amendment "expresses the sense" of the House of Commons that "leaving the European Union without [signing the] Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship [ETA]" is not a desirable policy choice.

The Brady amendment to the UK (Withdrawal) Bill is equally stupid in that it does not propose what "alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border" to the "backstop" for consideration by parliament. The only feature keeping it alive for vote is

Theresa May has ordered Conservative MPs to vote for this amendment.

Some Conservative rebels, who voted against the prime minister two weeks ago, have said it is too vague and does not address their other concerns about her deal.

Others, such as former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, said they would support it if Mrs May indicated that she will press the EU to re-open the withdrawal agreement to make changes to the backstop that would be legally binding - something she has told MPs that she will do.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 09:03:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Result of the Graham Brady amendment to reopen the negotiations with the EU on the Irish border and put a limit on the Backstop ...
Yes  317 ;  No 301
Still splits the nation ... keeps the Tories united.
by Oui on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 08:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"put a limit on the backstop"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 09:05:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 09:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this amendment allows Westminster to blame the EU for wrecking the wonderful brexit of Britain's dreams.

I'm sure they will light fires with such accusations to keep us warm as the wolves circle

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 09:53:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
May wins support to renegotiate Brexit backstop... but EU says no | Sky News - Live! |

Yet to find an original source from the EU Council spokesperson ...

by Oui on Tue Jan 29th, 2019 at 09:13:05 PM EST
by Cat on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 12:16:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This week the British citizens were interviewed on the political crisis, all sides wanted an end to the bickering and clarity no matter what. No extension and in constituencies of Leave majority simply wanted London to comply with the referendum.

Don't expect any leniency from Brussels. The mandate of PM May is to keep the Tory party together at all costs. The EU already made clear the preferred outcome was a partnership in the common market and a deal between friends. Westminster and the British MPs have shown a bellicose attitude towards Brussels and encouraged the Brexiteers (ERG) to come forward with an idiot proposal.

What needs to be done in the media and on blogs to spell it out very clearly what a fools' game te Conservatives have played these two years of "negotiations". The trade deal to be negotiated will start with a Dover cliff hangover. Good luck with that London! Only a few persons will be smiling ... Trump will be one of them. Sue the EU!

by Oui on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 12:29:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Michel Barnier to the EU Council and MEPs, one voice of dismissal :: NO!

Brussels sees through the British shenanigans and have concluded PM May has failed to unite the House of Commons. One thing Westminster has proven in yesterday's vote: the members of the ERG group and the DUP cannot be trusted. The need for the Irish border backstop as insurance has been made clear. Brussels sees the vote on the amendments as tactical with no substance. The British politicians have failed their constituents and their (former) partners in the EU.

This morning the EU has realized that the no-deal scenario is real and likely preferred because at least it gives certainty. The economic hardship will be great on both sides.

by Oui on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 09:27:46 AM EST
Well done May.

In terms of internal Tory politics, it's a win.
In terms of UK public opinion, it's probably a win too.

In terms of keeping the UK on its delusional suicidal trajectory to the cliff edge, it's a triumph.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 11:19:46 AM EST
It will also feed into the Brexiteer narrative of plucky Briton facing down the big, bad, inflexible EU.

Little matter that the EU is acting largely to protect the interests of a much smaller member state, Ireland, and the voiceless nationalist community in N. Ireland. Sinn Fein is coming in for a lot of criticism in Ireland for its abstentionist policy in Westminster which means that DUP politicians can claim, without blushing, to be speaking on behalf of both communities in N. Ireland.

Sinn Fein's 7 MPs in Westminster may or may not make a crucial difference to the numbers game in Westminster if they took their seats, but it would certainly change the media narrative currently dominated by the DUP.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 11:51:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... the voiceless nationalist community in N. Ireland. Sinn Fein is coming in for a lot of criticism in Ireland for its abstentionist policy in Westminster...

I can understand that the oath of allegiance to the UK Crown, that a sitting MP is required to take, is an impossible act for an Irish Republican representative. This has the unfortunate consequences of loss of voice that you describe.

Apart from the Lambeg Drum Beat of the DUP, we hear far too little opinion from NI. Farming and business BBC programmes occasionally interview a very concerned spokesperson who expresses their concern cautiously as is required by their local politics.

Almost nothing is heard of the nationalist viewpoint. I find that concerning. Are nationalists keeping quiet and letting the Tories get on with destabilising the GFA or are their voices being ignored in the UK?

by oldremainmer48 on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 01:03:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very much a case of their voices are being ignored in the UK. But I would also blame Sinn Fein Leader, Mary Lou McDonald, for being very Dublin centric and not doing the rounds of UK TV studios and newspaper interviews and articles more.

Leo Varadker has no track record on N. Ireland politics or policy, and yet is left to do almost all the heavy lifting.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 01:13:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also the issue that most of that 10% anti-EU vote in IE is probably voting Sinn Fein.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 01:47:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They may not all love the EU, but the issue du jour is preventing the emergence of a hard border. Or isn't that SF policy anymore?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 03:24:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that right? Their MEPs seem... well-integrated (GUE-NGL). Is Sinn Fein officially anti-EU?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 05:37:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not taking about the representatives but a slice of their voters, including older relatives of mine*. It's like abortion: policy was in favour, but a chunk of their vote against which led to some rather strange contortions

* In at least one case because the EU is the vehicle of the antichrist.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 30th, 2019 at 06:31:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sinn Fein opposed Ireland's entry to the EU and pretty much every referendum since then which devolved more sovereignty onto the EU. However that opposition softened over the years as Sinn Fein sought to become a mainstream party culminating in Sinn Fein campaigning for Remain in the 2016 UK Brexit referendum.

Even then there was some debate within the party and mixed feelings about supporting the Remain side - something Sinn Fein is rather coy about admitting now. With the DUP supporting Brexit, it had little choice but to support Remain as the issue became refracted by the sectarian divide in N.Ireland.

As a nationalist party it opposed European integration and as it moved leftward it increasingly embraced left wing critiques of the neo-liberalism, globalisation, and neo-imperialism of the EU.

But now Brexit has provided it with a stick to beat the DUP with and an opportunity to become part of a pro-EU majority in the North - almost as a proxy for a united Ireland. So prior opposition has been replaced by a muted scepticism, if not down right enthusiasm.

Past opposition to almost anything EU has been consigned to a memory hole.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 31st, 2019 at 01:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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