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The Johnson and Hunt show

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jul 5th, 2019 at 01:51:04 PM EST

The Johnson and Hunt show is winding its tedious way around the UK with the principals both promising to re-negotiate the Withdrawal Agreement and declaring the Irish backstop to be a dead letter. Well they would, wouldn't they, given the audiences they are speaking to. John Crace is particularly withering about their performance in Northern Ireland. Both are blithely ignoring the fact that the EU has consistently said the A.50 negotiations are finished and the Withdrawal Agreement negotiations won't be re-opened.


Normally a standard part of any negotiation process is to ensure everyone gets something out of it to "sell the deal" to their base, and help them look good or "save face" in the eyes of the media and amongst their peers.

The problems here are that:

  1. As far as the EU is concerned, all the compromises necessary to secure a deal have already been made, and they have no more concessions to make.

  2. If the deal were re-opened, some EU members might also want to resile from aspects of the deal and the EU consensus that it is the best (or only) deal possible could quickly fall apart. (Some may even suspect that that is the Tory intention, i.e. to divide and conquer). One of the most annoying aspects of the negotiation from a Tory perspective is that they have found it impossible to drive a wedge between and exploit differences between member states - contrary to their expectations.

  3. The fear within the EU is also that even if they did re-open the deal and make some concessions, that would never be enough to satisfy some Tories, and would simply encourage the UK to make more demands.

  4. Nobody trusts Johnson (or likes Hunt) or has any particular interest in seeing a Johnson government survive. Most are now reconciled to the probability of a no deal Brexit, consider they would be in an even stronger negotiation position afterwards, and have lost patience with the whole process.

  5. From an EU Commission perspective, the Brexit negotiation was one of the few successes of their period in office. Why unravel it now? The only concession they would be prepared to make, offered previously, is to reduce the backstop to NI only. That would require the UK government to ditch the DUP and take their chances on gaining some Labour back bench support or on a general election.

  6. Only the prospect of an imminent general election and/or second referendum would now induce the EU to further extend the A.50 negotiation process, and perhaps not even that. Macron et al want to move onto other business, and not allow the new Commission's period in office to be dominated by Brexit to the same extent.

I am with those who think Johnson is Machiavellian enough to withdraw the A.50 notification on the pretext that he needs more time to negotiate a better deal and doesn't want to have to beg for another A.50 extension as Theresa May had to do. While this will provoke well choreographed outrage amongst Farage et al, some may be secretly pleased that this gives them more time to make a mischief of themselves within the EU and maintain their political relevance within the UK. What would Farage have to crow about if Brexit was all done and dusted?

I have little doubt that the EU response to any A.50 notification withdrawal would be a blank refusal to engage in any new negotiations and to challenge the validity of the Notification withdrawal in the European Court of Justice if the Johnson government then tried to initiate new negotiations, especially if the UK then issued a new A.50 withdrawal notification. The UK would simply become a pariah within the EU - akin to the North Korea of Europe as described by Gordon Brown. I suspect many EU leaders would even refuse to meet or have bilateral discussions with the UK.

It's bad enough having a bad neighbour, but having them within your own house is the worst of all worlds. This has to end sometime, and the end can't come soon enough for most people in the UK and the EU. The show is almost over.

Display:
There's solid support against Johnson, even in his own party. Hunt is considered more pragmatic, although that's a bit of a joke, considering.

My guess is Johnson will get the nod, a core of MPs will vote against him - less than we hope, because bribes and threats, but still enough - and there will be a move to create a Government of National Unity, which will fail.

Then there will be a GE, possibly with a formal BXP/Con alliance.

Or failing that, a coup.

The subtext continues to be the removal of Corbyn and the destruction of the left-leaning wing of Labour. The anti-Corbyn campaign has started to pitch into high gear, with the usual posts from the usual suspects, and some very curious poll results which would appear to be outliers - compared to other polls, which remain inexplicably under-reported.

The Big Reveal in all of this is how absolutely useless the Tories are at politics. They're used to shouting and huffing and making shit up and generally getting their way with no pushback.

So that's why the UK is where it is. These people literally have no concept of power-sharing, negotiation, or compromise. They want what they want, and everyone is supposed to give it to them, just because.

And if that doesn't work, bribery, threats, and more or less obvious force can be applied.

This is the real ideological heart of Brexit - clueless, self-centred idiots bridling at being told they can't get their way and have to take other people into account.

The real battle is between those who consider this sacrosanct, and those who consider it delusional.

You may feel safe and detached in Europe, but it would be a terrible mistake to assume this is exclusively an English problem. The English have it in obvious abundance, but the political intent of Brexit was to spread this gospel of narcissism, from its spiritual home in the US, the politically mafia-controlled parts of Russia, the far-right in Israel, the Saudi Royal Family, and the Chinese establishment - to the rest of Europe.

That's been halted for now, but it's extremely naive to think it's no longer a problem, or that fixing Brexit - one way or the other - will simply make it go away.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 6th, 2019 at 11:27:17 AM EST
The only way I can see getting more rational policy is to adopt a regulatory policy of 'one person' one media outlet. No one person or corporation being able to own or control more than one media outlet, be it a single TV station, newspaper, magazine or radio station. I am not even sure that would be adequate. This certainly applies to the USA and the UK. Call it an anti-combination act.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jul 7th, 2019 at 03:31:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Antitrust enforcement is weak in both US and UK for predictable reasons. None of those reasons derive from want of government agencies investigating and authorities prohibiting combinations and monopolistic practices.

New titles for persisting iniquities is not a remedy for iniquity.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jul 7th, 2019 at 03:13:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Be that as it may, the task of leadership is to mobilize the public to do what needs to be done for the polity as a whole. That it might not be immediately achievable is just another factor in the calculus.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jul 7th, 2019 at 08:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We used to have such ownership restrictions in the US, but as we drank more neolib KoolAid, we decided we couldn't let independent news sources get in the way of unfettered crapitalism.
by rifek on Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 10:51:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They're used to shouting and huffing and making shit up and generally getting their way with no pushback.

Could be worse.  Could be the Rethuglicans here in the States.

by rifek on Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 10:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking at it from the outside, it would seem that "Macron et al want to move onto other business, and not allow the new Commission's period in office to be dominated by Brexit" should be the driving consideration from the EU's viewpoint. Europe is already into this turmoil for another four months, and any further extension or renegotiation is just a further distraction from other affairs.

It will be ironic if some international difficulty (e.g., Iran) triggers the EU to say "enough with the Brexit distraction" and not offer further discussions, allowing J&H to take the UK out without a deal--just at the time when an international difficulty makes it most imperative that the UK be in the EU.

by asdf on Sun Jul 7th, 2019 at 01:38:06 AM EST
It is not hard to imagine a Perfect storm where Boris takes the UK out with no deal just as:
  1. The world economy slows dramatically
  2. The UK economy goes into recession
  3. Some global event - e.g. Iran, as you suggest - requires maximum "western solidarity" to deliver a coherent response, a response which is no longer forthcoming from the EU because they are at "war" with Trump/Boris
  4. Trump's trade wars queer the pitch for any new FTA negotiations and perhaps lead to a collapse of the WTO system of free trade so beloved by Brexiteers
  5. Trumps difficulties with impeachment or re-election means he forgets completely about his dearest ally, the UK, just as they need his support most.
  6. Scotland votes to secede from the UK, and N.I. collapses into ungovernability
  7. UK government revenues collapse as hundreds of millions in assets are moved overseas...

Of course it will all be Corby's fault even though he is in opposition.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 01:46:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably number 5 is a done deal already, what with the UK ambassador getting caught saying bad stuff about the POTUS.
by asdf on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 03:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The leaking of the Ambassador's memoes is quite murky.

Nobody is too upset about the content, it's widely accepted that these are the sorts of things that ambassadors should be reporting.

But the motive for it? Ooooh, conspiracies abound, but each seems to possess flaws.

The most coherent seems to be that the "journalist" who revealed them is no less than Isabel Oakeshott, who acts more as a political operative than journalist these days, whose Ivanka-esque doll looks enable her to get close to the unsuspecting before razoring their stomach open.

Seems she is helping both Johnston and Farage these days and, with no-deal looking more than likely, Farage will possibly be looking for a job and Washington Ambassador would suit him nicely. Of course he has been careful to remind verybody he is not a diplomat but he has also been suspiciously quick to condemn the ambassor for doing his job.

But, the problem with this is that, while we can understand the movies of those who came into possession of the info,  we don't know the motive of the primary source. Because this is raw data that nobody outside of the foreign Office would see, so it was leaked by a civil servant, for whom this is a crime that carries a jail sentence. So, this is no ordinary leak and suggests an intra-departmental vendetta. At which point the tail gets murky.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 11:37:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Johnston and Hunt show is just a performance for the benefit of the 100,000 odd geriatrics who make up the party electorate.

Not one single promise made during this election has any validity from the moment all the votes are in. So may the most convincing liar win, which means Boris by a country mile.

What happens after that? FSM know, and I bet even she's confused. I suspect that Boris will have to take us out at Halloween, and given how lazy he is, he will sell Ulster and the much-vaunted Union down the river to do it so that it isn't a no-deal which would involve too much work for him.

However, can a government he runs even make it to the end of October? Well, Tories may huff and puff about plots, but when it comes to voting against the government, they just won't do it. So all talk of sensible tories organising governments of national unity in defiance of Boris are just laughable fantasies.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 11:47:46 AM EST
Johnson is 76-24% ahead of Hunt in Tory member voting intentions according to the latest YouGov poll.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 11:58:22 AM EST
Interestingly his greatest margin of victory (82-18%) is among C2DE voters and those who joined the Tory party recently - after the 2017 election - lending credence to the theory that a lot of Tory party members are UKIP entryists and that Boris has greatest appeal to working class Tory members.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 12:06:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Easy win ... who are the Tory party members?

More than half the members are over 55 years old | BBC News |
OMG Britain's Tories are SO OLD | Politico - Oct. 2017 |

Male, southern and middle-aged: meet the Tories choosing the next PM | The Guardian |

If they love their party, Conservative members have an unusual way of showing it. According to a survey by YouGov, 54% of party members say they would rather see their own party destroyed than have Brexit not take place. Sixty-one per cent would prefer to see "significant damage to the UK economy" and 63% would consider Scotland leaving the United Kingdom to be a price worth paying.

...
The extraordinary hardening of attitudes looks to have coincided with the party's membership increasing by 36,000 to 160,000 in the year to May 2019, raising questions about whether the ranks have been swelled by entryists with more hardline views.



Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 08:27:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh if they could guarantee the Tory party would be destroyed with all of its members dying a slow and gruesome death, I might be prepared to accept brexit as a price worth paying.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 09:07:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 10:16:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Illustration of said members (for the lulz):

"We are crying out for a strong person. It is their strength that we are seeking. Boris offers that. We want someone strong. We haven't had a strong leader since Margaret Thatcher. Boris is the nearest and the best. He is a strong man. He is a heavyweight."

Linda Owen, who is 81, says these words while framed by a proscenium arch of Margaret Thatcher photographs on the wall beside her.



Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 05:52:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
`Well what did we have two world wars for? Fun?'
Millions, if not billions of words have been written over the last three years about the causes of Brexit. A divided nation, areas left behind, the London bubble, all the rest of it. But the single biggest and simplest cause has a tendency to be overlooked, not least as so many people simply cannot stomach it.

It is a straightforward loathing of the European Union and its institutions, felt with furious intensity. It is a loathing that is deeply coloured by the Second World War. And yes, precious few people are still around who fought in it, but the postwar generation are profoundly shaped by it, and what it did to their parents' lives. There is a tendency for younger people to glibly overlook and devalue these fierce emotions. It is counterproductive.

"There is this feeling that we've lost our identity," Linda says. She is not young, but she is fiercely articulate. She is well-informed about politics, and she is anything but stupid. She spent 22 years working at Carl Zeiss research, the world-leading optical lens manufacturers.

"We were the postwar generation. My parents went through two world wars and they were horrified at the EU. Your identity is sapped out of you. And in the end, you don't feel any pride in your own country. It's our identity, and it will get worse and worse and worse."

There follows the usual schpiel about having nothing, having to work for everything, and about the younger generation just not getting it:

"As postwar children we had nothing, we only had what we worked for. You struggle and you get things," she says, beginning a story all too familiar to anyone who has seen The Four Yorkshiremen comedy sketch, which is itself 52 years old. "When you see what's happening now, all these youths, with their hats, and their sweatshirts, with Stussy on it. I had one come to my house to fix the boiler. He looked at my house and said, `You're lucky.' I said, `Luck had nothing to do with it.' It's all there for you to grab, but you have to grab it. I said, `Look at your trainers, they must be worth a hundred pounds.' We were lucky just to have a pair of shoes."

When asked what any this has to do with the European Union, she replies with real indignation. "Everything. Everything! It's got everything to do with the EU. We have gone without too much, to now be piled into a big melting pot with everybody else. We want our identity. It's what our forefathers worked for. The UK. England. It's ours. We don't want to be told, by them, what to do and what not to do, and paying a hell of a lot of money to do it. Everything is about them telling us, and our independence going. It's like an elderly couple, coming to the point at which they are asked, `Do you want help?' And they say `no'. We want our independence. And they'll slave on. They want their independence. It is an instinct."



Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 09:34:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the point of winning a war when you have to make peace with your enemies... becoming the equals of those you have defeated? Little matter that you only won the war because the USA came to your side, and now threatens to become your overlord?  What is the point of leaving if it will make you all poorer... Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven.

Old people losing their identity: an identity younger people have embraced. It's about the EU, yes, but its also about cosmopolitanism, immigration, secularism, liberalism, diversity, pluralism, gender identities, class distinctions and younger people having more than you despite the sacrifices you or your parents made.

People used to "know their place", in the class and racial order of things; respect God, Queen, property, status, and Country; have clear gender roles and respect for authority; Worked hard in shitty jobs for bastard employers. Now it is young people, gays, immigrants who demand respect, with workers rights and consumer protections. The state, especially the EU, intruding on all.

We're not having that.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 09:58:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Set this in 4/4 time and four part harmony and it is the refrain heard in Germany and Austria from 1919 to 1939.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 06:40:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whenever I hear some cretin bleating, "we need a strong leader" I remember another bit of fascist irrationality:

"We don't want lower bread prices, we don't want higher bread prices, we don't want unchanged bread prices -- we want National Socialist bread prices!"


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 06:30:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hitler promised "guns and butter" and provided tanks and motorways; a renewed sense of national pride. He stopped runaway inflation so at least you had predictable prices. My father talked of having wheelbarrows of worthless bank notes and the price of essentials doubling from morning to afternoon. What did the EU ever do for us?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 07:06:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The hyperinflation episode was ten years before Hitler came to power, but never mind. People believe what they want to believe, and disregard the rest (to quote the song).

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 08:30:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"People believe what they want to believe", which is precisely what Brexit is all about... hence my comparisons with part mythical Hitler "achievements".

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 10:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What did the EU ever do for us?

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 07:22:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking more of the Monty Python sketch and Patrick Stewart hasn't done a bad job either, but yea, that too...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 10:58:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those Reichsmarks were pretty worthless by the end of '45.  The father of a former professor of mine found a stash of about RM 1,000.  He took my prof and her brother through a series of back alleys to a black market where he bought each of them an ice cream.
by rifek on Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 11:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like my father.  Senility's a bitch.
by rifek on Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 10:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Martin Kettle in The Guardian:

(The debate) had been delayed, by Johnson's team, until the ballot papers had already gone out and in many cases already been filled in. There is plenty of evidence that the 160,000 Conservative members - a tiny proportion of the whole UK electorate - have long ago decided to put Johnson in No 10; some of them joined the party specifically for that purpose.

And Brexit, the central issue of the day, is an article of passionate faith and dogma among most Tories, not an issue where strategies can be weighed and considered for their prudence and consequence.

(...)

Johnson won the debate because he is anyway going to win the ballot among the predominantly rightwing, old, white and male inhabitants of southern England who make up the electorate.



Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 07:30:18 AM EST
"There is plenty of evidence that the 160,000 Conservative members - a tiny proportion of the whole UK electorate - have long ago decided to put Johnson in No 10; some of them joined the party specifically for that purpose."

It is interesting that President T is supported for a perfectly practical reason: to install conservative judges. A comparable practical reason for supporting BoJo is not obvious--at least not to me.

by asdf on Mon Jul 15th, 2019 at 02:13:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He is like Trump. It's not what he says he'll do that matters, it's that he enrages the people who enrage Tories. He has spent his entire career speaking openly that he is shares the same prejudices as the Tory electorate, he's rcist, sexist, misogynistic and homohobic.

Because he shares their prejudices, they believe that anything and everything he does will be rooted in him being the same sort of small minded bigot they are themselves. They don'tcare if it works, they don't care that it's effective. They care that it pisses off the right people


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 15th, 2019 at 12:35:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Practical reason? Will deliver Brexit do or die.

They believe it.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Mon Jul 15th, 2019 at 01:20:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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