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Utopia Talk / Politics / A 50 extension
Fri Mar 15 05:33:39
I'm not sure I'll following you jergul. It's been a busy few days, so I might not be getting you.

But as I see it:

A50 has a two year length, but can be extended by unanimous approval of the council plus the departing state.

Any extension I think by nature needs to be fixed in length.

As the UK has foolishly bound itself in law to leave on the 29th, parliament will need to pass an act amending this legislation. This could be done before the UK Govt and council agree any extension (ammending the leave date to some point in the future, or just removing it entirely and giving the govt totally free reign to agree whatever it needs wth the EU), or after.

In law, I'm not clear how much the council could attach legally enforceable conditions to the extension that go beyond what the council could agree. Nor that they could attach conditions that the UK didn't accept or agree to at the point of the agreement which is documented as proceedings / communique.

So I'm not clear what you mean by all this legal challenge stuff, but it sounds like you are suggesting that the EU could add conditions to the extension beyond what the govt agreed to at the point the council and UK agreed an extension. Which I don't think is true.

Nor can I quite see that the EU council would be able to revoke an extension one agreed if the UK failed to fulfill a commitment. Obviously that would be a big bad faith move but equally trust is dead at the moment. I might be wrong about this last part, but I'm pretty sure an agreement in council cannot extend its jurisdiction.

large member
Fri Mar 15 05:51:40
"UK didn't accept or agree to at the point of the agreement which is documented as proceedings / communique"

This is where we disagree.

Once agreement on giving an extension is reached, the EU council can pass any form of extension it likes.

It would take a court ruling to overturn that extension. Alternatively an act of Parliament (which would amount to unilaterally leaving the EU, but in practice would be no different than a hard brexit).

Mechanisms for invoking an extension would need to be put into the extension bill itself (an extension is given until such time that all British nationals fail to wear red hats every other tuesday).
large member
Fri Mar 15 05:56:31
revoking an extension*
Fri Mar 15 06:08:27

"Once agreement on giving an extension is reached, the EU council can pass any form of extension it likes"

The council meets, the UK is there, a joint communique is issued with the new end date. It's a one step process. The council cannot unilaterally declare an extension, and it can't change it after the fact. It can certainly get the UK to agree stuff as the price for the EU 27 to sign an extension. But those have to be whatever is agreed at that meeting. If the UK doesn't sign up to it, no extension exists. And it can't suddenly vary those conditions.

The UK could certainly take them to court, and the ECJ would say that what was agreed between the UK and the council stood, not anything varied.

In retrospect, I think the UK actually needs to amend the withdrawal act before the govt can sign.
large member
Fri Mar 15 06:32:00
The council reaches its decisions in the form of conclusions, not in the form of joint communiques.

Its at least a two step process.

1. The UK asks for an extension in any format it likes.

2. The council gives an extension in the form of a conclusion in any format it likes.


I agree that the UK could immediately issue a communique dismissing the extension (though legal trouble would follow)


Parliament could make an act dismissing the extension (a hard brexit by way of unilateral withdrawal)


Courts could rule that the extension was invalid (hard brexit if EU court. Unilateral withdrawal brexit if UK court).

I am putting weight on agreeing on an extension is covered by the treaty.

Do the EU and UK agree that an extension is needed? Yay!

Do they agree on the terms found in the Council's conclusions? Perhaps, perhaps not. Who represents the UKs position anyway? Who knows. Parliament? The Government as a whole? The PM?

Impossible to tell. And don't think an act of parliament will clarify that (is a mandate to seek an agreement the same as a mandate to reach an agreement? Who knows).
large member
Fri Mar 15 06:38:33
Essentially, I am suggesting that courts would likely find a disputed extension to be void.

Which does support your view that actually, there needs to be full EU agreement on the wording (the EU is excluded for its normal right to agree, but included again in the treaty wording).

But it does give the EU the leeway it needs to put into place any wording needed to get the votes for an extension.

Something that would be impossible if the UK also has a say (as seen by your parliamentary procedures recently).
large member
Fri Mar 15 06:39:08
the UK is excluded from its normal right to agree, but included again in the treaty wording).
Fri Mar 15 09:54:07
I think the force of by "unanimous agreement with the country in question" is that the member is included in the council , so any conclusion would have had to have the UK govts explicit agreement.

Parliament is only needed here because the UK has made the 29th March a law. Parliamentary motions are not binding on govt, only laws. So in theory may could completely ignore all these motions and it would be legally unchallengeable. The one thing she can't ignore is the date in the withdrawal act.

large member
Fri Mar 15 10:13:47
The treaty is pretty clear that the UK cannot take part in the council.

"For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3 [paragraph 3 covers extension] , the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it."

Unanimously refers to members not enacting article 50.

End of paragraph 3
"unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period"
Fri Mar 15 12:27:38

So how exactly is the council going to get agreement extend this period then?

Ultimately it needs the UK to agree. This idea of request, conditional council decision and extension comes into effect, UK then objects seems an odd procedural approach that would not be followed in practice.
large member
Fri Mar 15 14:14:27
Requesting an extension is agreement to one being given. The UK would never object to an extension because voiding an extension gives an immediate hard brexit.

The only realistic outcome here is an open ended extension.

A time limit would have to be based on a completely unrealistic belief that the UK simply needs more time.

There is a very real chance that one or more EU countries simply do not want the UK around in the May elections.

They might accept that an indefinite extension pretty much is the end of Brexit (what is supposed to happen that will allow the EU and UK to conclude an interim or permanent agreement that does not include the 3 freedoms within a customs union?)

Fri Mar 15 14:36:23
I don't think an indefinite extension is a thing.

Politically, yes, its difficult to see why the UK would reject an extension having asked for one, but it depends on the circumstances. Also the UK govt not acting rationaly at the moment means it is unwise to assume that because a course of action lacks internal logic it can be discarded.

Legally though, I think the process plays out a little differently.

A short extension makes no sense really except to allow Europe to prepare a bit more for no deal (spoiler alert, everyone is going to ignore lots of EU regulations for a year and the commission isn't going to look to closely).

A longer extension probably means we have to participate in May.

And I don't think any EU country will be the one to veto an extension request if asked because of the political capital it will cost them in Europe.

But we shall see shortly

Fri Mar 15 14:59:00

Leaked paper.
large member
Fri Mar 15 16:02:59
Interesting read.

An extension to the day before MEC take their seats with an 4 year extension given thereafter if and only if UK MEC take their seats (the same logic that applies now would apply for the next election too. UK participation a condition for extension).

Not much of a spoiler alert. You knew under NDA, I guessed under jergulmath. Customs and trade arrangement limitation will have to be enforced only as capacity allows.
Sat Mar 16 13:26:15
No, guessed roughly. This is an EU doc, and not related to withdrawal so I have no access.

N.b. interesting that there's no conditionality re Rebate (perhaps we've effectively lost this already due to the way the budgets set? Fucktard Brexiteers.)

Also framing length conditional to the elections and a choice for the UK is very wise. No need for UK back and forth and less opportunity to be claimed that we are being forced into this.

I'm a little confused by the July date though, because in theory the UK could revoke the day of the deadline, so the legal risks to the integrity of the EP exist under this proposal. It would require the UK at least six weeks to organise elections.

So I thought the deadline would be linked to the may elections rather than the parliament sitting in July.

That seems more in line with risk management.

Presumably this means they do have a plan to handle UK membership beyond July in the event we haven't held the elections. But this is convenient in forcing things to a conclusion. Alternatively it's a risk they can bare in the event of revocation, but would not be prepared to do so just to prolong the faffing.

Sat Mar 16 13:28:19
Oh sorry, misunderstood - you mean customs arrangements etc under no deal... Yeah, lots of stuff we are still not to speak of.

Let's say multilaterally orchestrated unilateral measures at officials level.
large member
Mon Mar 18 12:12:13
"John Bercow has ruled out another vote on the government's previously rejected Brexit agreement if the motion remains "substantially the same".

He told the Commons that parliamentary conventions dating back to 1604 meant MPs could not be asked to vote on precisely the same subject twice.

MPs rejected Theresa May's Brexit deal with the EU by 149 votes last week.

Mr Bercow's ruling came as the government considers a third attempt to get the deal through Parliament.

He said the second vote on the prime minister's deal last week was "in order" but any further votes must pass this "test" in order to be allowed.

The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg said the Speaker's intervention could have a "massive" impact on the Brexit process - with 11 days to go before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March. "


Mon Mar 18 13:22:10
Well that's amusing.

So it shouldn't be so disruptive tbh. For example the Stormont lock (promise that Stormont would need to approve any divergence of UK from EU standards post implementation period) would be a substantive change; as would making approval subject to confirmation referendum.

The rule on not repeatedly bringing the same proposition back again and again exists explicitly to prevent Mays strategy of the exec bullying parliament. So what we are seeing is the reassertion of Parliamentary sovereignty over this weird quasi presidential system May has cobbled together by appropriating a personal mandate from the referendum, the direct mandate of Tory party members over the Tory Parliamentary party, and the timidity of MPs generally to submit to a GE.

Without the rules and, more importantly, norms set up to constrain such a presidential system, she's managed to take the UK constitutional system to the brink.

The wisdom of trying to take the UK out of the EU against the will of parliament; on a vote held three years ago that's sufficiently demonstrably corrupt that the high court has ruled that it would be quashed were it not advisory (so nothing to quash!); on terms rejected at a GE, rejected twice by Parliament, which breach both her own red lines and her interpretation of the referendum mandate, and which polls show the population also rejects; using procedural trickery - let's say it's questionable. I'm sure Shannon considers failure to brexit a betrayal of democracy but the truth is the opposite. May has stretched the famously flexible UK constitution to it's absolute limit, so good for Bercow to step in.

It appears she is now going to ask for an extension. If she is sensible, she should resign. She has failed abjectly in all the aspects of leadership.

Meanwhile, those of us tasked with delivering brexit continue to plan and put in place the measures needed to leave under a no deal scenario, and will do so until instructed otherwise, as the feckless continue to make up conspiracy theories as to how we are sabotaging Brexit even as Brexiteers refuse to vote for a Brexit that the population might unite around.

large member
Mon Mar 18 16:22:06
"that the high court has ruled that it would be quashed were it not advisory (so nothing to quash!"

That is a huge deal.

The high court misruled in my opinion. Factually, the referendum is treated as if it were binding. The ruling should have reflected that.

But it certainly undermines ideas that Parliament is committed to providing a brexit at any price.
Mon Mar 18 17:16:25

Hmm, if the referendum is non-binding and only indicative, there is nothing that the courts can set aside.

The courts (rightly) don't have the power to over-rule parliament, and if Parliament wishes to treat the result of the referendum as a binding mandate, there's nothing that the courts can do about that.

Constitutionally speaking, there is nothing that can be done. They have no other remedy.

The best they can do is write up in their ruling "if this referendum led to a legally binding outcome, we would quash it, but we can't actually stop parliament and govt from doing something it has the right to do had there been no referendum in the first place".

Even ordering the referendum be re-run, which is the only possible thing they could have done, is a bit weird. Legally, it would have no effect, so would purely be an act of politics and it's not the courts job to interfere on political issues.
large member
Mon Mar 18 17:31:03
Your constitution is one of tradition as it is not codified into basic law. Traditionally, advisory referendum are treated as if they are binding.

A court could have ruled on that basis and simply quashed it. I am not sure the result would be a new referendum ordered by parliament (surely Cameron would not be that stupid?)

Ordered the referendum rerun without the irregularities would have undesirable effects.

The long term effect is of course that referrenda would become constitutionally binding unless wording specifically formulates that they are advisory and serve only to assist Parliamentary decisions.

All speculation of course.

I will just add your justice system to parties responsible for the folly by way of skirting their responsibilities.
Mon Mar 18 18:04:20

Firstly, it's not true to say we don't have constitutions embedded in basic law - we have a range of statutory, customary and normative constitutional laws.

Secondly, it is not true that advisory referendums are treated as binding. The fact that a government has not to date decided to go against a referendum result is in part related to the fact that by and large it has won the vote in that it has campaigned for the side that won. But there have in relatively recent years been explicitly binding referendums (demonstrating clear distinction between binding and non-binding in law) and there have been advisory referendums that have not been fulfilled e.g. March 1979 Scottish devolution referendum, albeit because the 40% threshold was narrowly missed, however as a very close advisory referendum should it not have been implemented?

But more importantly, I don't understand what you expect the court to quash here?

If the referendum had been binding, the act legalising the vote would contain the law dictating the outcome (e.g. "Should the public vote to leave, the Government must then bring forth legislation to ensure the UK leaves the European Union by such and such a date").

Here, there is no legal instrument *to quash*, that is the issue.

The courts have no power to over-ride parliament's law making power. All it can do is rule on whether the laws that parliament has made have been discharged as parliament stipulated. Thus, actions arising directly from the operation of a law that is conditional on a referendum result - as would be the case in a binding referendum - is conditional on a referendum being conducted in a certain way as proscribed by parliament in law. These actions can be quashed because the referendum wasn't carried out correctly. The law stipulating the outcome deemed not in effect because the referendum result is set aside.

But for a non-binding referendum, where parliament interprets the result and passes fresh legislation, nothing can be done. Parliament must act, not the courts. The courts have no power to reach inside the minds of MPs or the PM and change their interpretation of what the vote meant. Nor do they have the power to strip the government or parliament of powers they have. If government and parliament were free to withdraw from the EU (as they were) without any referendum, and the referendum itself contains no legal mechanism to quash, what is it that the courts should quash? The EU withdrawal act? That was an act passed by Parliament in the full knowledge that the referendum was advisory. All the facts available to the court are available to Parliament. If Parliament chooses to persist, and allow the government to persist, that is surely Parliaments prerogative, and the courts are subordinate to that.

But referrendum has no legal force. There is nothing to quash. they can only say "Whelp, this vote was conducted illegally".

"The long term effect is of course that referrenda would become constitutionally binding"

Sorry, I think you are simultaneously over-thinking and under-thinking this.

You are suggesting that a future court would be able to compel Parliament to pass a law to fulfill a mandate of a referendum - when the act creating the referendum stipulated no such thing - should Parliament fail to do so.

That would break several fundamental tenets: firstly it would violate parliamentary sovereignty, secondly, it would mean that the courts were assuming that when parliament approved a vote, the failure to stipulate in law what would happen should the vote pass was accidental and not a deliberative choice by Parliament. Generally, such omissions are treated by courts as deliberate (except in narrow circumstances where a previous overriding act of parliament is assumed to fill the void, e.g. EHRA) specifically so as not to usurp Parliaments law making power.

So I think there is absolutely zero chance of what you describe coming about.
large member
Tue Mar 19 02:39:48
I am referring to basic law in its customary sense (laws afforded special protections from being overturned).

Referendums have binding force through custom. In the same way as say the custom that no same vote can take place twice (the 2nd vote should technically be overturned, no?).

My point was merely that the court should have made the customary law argument to claim jurisdiction. Balance of power principles suggest that courts must own something if no one else will.

This vote was illegal and any obligation stemming from it is invalid.

If the court did such a thing, then it would confirm that referrenda are part of the customary basis of your constitution.

I tried to directly state that it is not a particularly good idea for the court to order a new referendum. Overturning the last one is sufficient.

Its too late for it to come about. The moment passed.

But I will add your justice system to those culpable in the shamefest we call brexit.
Tue Mar 19 02:57:41

Yes. I know what you mean by basic law.

There are laws in the UK protected from the doctrine of assumption of implicit repeal and require a specific act of parliament to specifically repeal them, for example.
large member
Tue Mar 19 03:30:27
I was thinking in terms of super majority as a special protection. Not all jurisdictions have implicit repeal at all (but require harmonization - this is mostly the case in Norway - which is vexing to vapers here).

But you knew that.
Tue Mar 19 09:52:40

It would be odd to limit the kinds of protection basic laws should have, no?

If you're saying the UK system isn't the same as Norways, I agree.

But I think you are off when you assume that simply because most times unbinding referendums are subsequently put into force, some magic of traditional woulec then allow the courts to treat referendum results as if it were a law.

For example, imagine if the UK parliament decided to ignore the EU referendum.

How would the courts go about giving this legal effect? They'd what, assume implied repeal of the ECA and EHRA? Both considered constitutional laws? Seems unlikely if parliament hadn't specifically said these would automatically be repealed.

Let alone the rest of the framework of legal changes that would flow from that.

Similarly, given there is no direct effect in law of the act passing, what law specifically should the courts quash in the reverse situation we find ourselves in?

large member
Tue Mar 19 10:54:51
Your system is a bit irregular and the safeguards limited in scope. It would not qualify as a constitution in maligned countries.

I trust you can see that.

Was not an act of parliament passed authorizing the referendum? That would be the act to strike down.

The ruling would simply render the referendum moot and the court would have had both its say and its impact.

Parliament would be entirely free to leave or stay in the EU without the coercive pressure of a fatally flawed expression of the peoples will.

What happens if Government does not follow what "it must abide by?" Well, we certainly know the courts cannot create law.

So no, it could not enact the results of a referendum by passing or squashing laws.

What does happen incidentally? I am sure there is historical precedent.
large member
Tue Mar 19 11:13:50
The EU is signalling it is unlikely to give the UK more time unless May has a concrete and realistic message that the indicated time will in fact resolve the British impasse.

Tue Mar 19 11:14:49

And yet it has provided centuries of stable and effective govt, longer than most designed constitutions. Complex systems are best grown.

"Was not an act of parliament passed authorizing the referendum? That would be the act to strike down."

1. No, because act of holding the referendum is perfectly legal. It was the conduct of the referendum subsequent to the decision to hold one that was illegal. Indeed given that the laws stipulating how the referendum was to be conducted were in said act, you are proposing to strike down the law which was broken. Which seems odd.

2. In practical terms, what does that change? All force of that act has been spent. The referendum happened, and the results are known. The courts cannot unconduct the referendum. What legal effect would that have?

"Parliament would be entirely free to leave or stay in the EU without the coercive pressure of a fatally flawed expression of the peoples will."

Except the Parliament has always been free to do so. There is no law that compelles them. Only the political fact of the referendum. The facts concerning it's conduct are well known. The court has further publicised the criminal nature of the conduct to the point of more or less saying it *should* be ignored. But ultimately, if MPs wish to disregard these facts and pursue leaving anyway, the courts cannot limit Parliament pursuing that objective. If the vote had been specifically binding, say the referendum act included a clause providing that on a vote of leave, that the govt trigger A50 and conclude a deal to leave, then that law could be quashed and the govt would then no longer be bound by it. It could then decide to proceed anyway or revoke, or chose to seek guidance from parliament.
But for a non binding referendum, well, the courts can't push on string.

"What does happen incidentally? I am sure there is historical precedent."

Surprisingly, not. We generally haven't used referendums. But for other votes, where a legal effect occurs (e.g. the candidate is appointed to an office) that legal effect would be quashed, the official would no longer hold office, and the result re-run.

Tue Mar 19 11:18:56

Yes, have seen that. Good idea.

The danger is her Schrödinger's request would allow her to take the vote again twice: once after extension request reveived, once as a choice between MEP elections or her deal. Both are substantive changes to the proposition. After that, back to limbo.

Parliament has still failed to take control of the agenda or dispatch May, and May is still showing intent to continue to persist flogging a dead horse.

Though MPs have an opportunity in that an amendable bill must be tabled by the 25th iirc. If I were the EU I'd not trust MPs to step up either. Best to force the issue.

large member
Tue Mar 19 11:34:19
I don't actually know enough about it to argue the point further than I have.

Precedent on Parliament not following what "it must abide by?" Not isolate to referrenda.

A couple years in limbo might do the UK some good. It will negotiate a relationship with the EU eventually.
Tue Mar 19 11:39:52

The principle is parliament can always decide to do what it wants. And the courts enforce that. But sometimes the courts will assume parliaments first decision carries more weight than a subsequent decision unless parliament has specifically said it's setting it's old decision aside.

Basically it can't be compelled. But the govt can. However, leaving the EU is a complicated legal act and as May is finding out, you can't force parliament to pass laws.

large member
Wed Mar 20 11:16:22
My understanding of Tusk:

1. The non-binding political statement can be modified. Mainly to allow for a 3rd vote in the UK to ratify the withdrawal agreement.

2. An extension can be given on or before the 29th if and only if:

3. The UK ratifies the withdrawal agreement before the 29th.
large member
Wed Mar 20 11:38:57
Ratification by the house of commons* Presumably its ok that the house of lords signs off at a later date.
Wed Mar 20 12:37:15

I think he said "an extension to June". Which does lead to the idea that if she failed and parliament imposed a referendum or some other political process, that might be different.
Wed Mar 20 12:42:33
My reading is that May's letter is basically "I need a substantive change to get another vote, an extension would be one" and council has responded "ok, but no fucking about, pulling your vote and wasting time you must pass your vote next week".

So my bet is either it passes, or it dies. But if it dies MPs know they *must* set out an alternative (over the head of govt if necessary).

I do not see, at this point, why the EU would want (or would risk) a no deal scenario if it received the long request for new politics it suggested last week.

The only thing that's changed is Mays increasing dishonesty, and she would not survive her bill falling and a long request.
Wed Mar 20 12:46:40
Frankly I think May has gone mad.

Passing her deal now would lack such legitimacy, while creating such tensions in NI and leave voters, and such resentment in remainers that it stands little chance of not leading to conflict.

This isn't the basis for a long term relationship with the EU. She's lost, whether it passes or not.
large member
Wed Mar 20 14:15:55
The interesting thing was always going to be what tusk had to say.
large member
Wed Mar 20 15:55:34
The nuclear option of withdrawing article 50, then invoking article 50 is of course available.
Wed Mar 20 17:47:44

May's speech tonight was unhinged.

Last week she was threatening Brexiteers with a long extension. Now she's threatening them with a short one or no deal, which they want.

Then she's gone and attacked the whole of parliament.

Now she's gone to give an inept speech to the people who have no say and pretty much positioning parliament as the enemy of the people.

She's going to lose next week.

A50 revocation is now breaking through as an option.

large member
Thu Mar 21 16:18:07
Am watching now. Sadly, the EU realized the 7th was also VE day in some time zones.

It tickled my fancy that date.
Thu Mar 21 18:04:38

7th May is the last day in UK law that we could call MEP elections in time for them to be complete by the 30th. April 11th is the corresponding date for the 23rd.

This is interesting as it implies the EU is maximising the time for the UK to sort out May.

large member
Thu Mar 21 18:30:50
Yah, I understood why 7th was suggested, but the historical connentations would be ludicrous. Better then the 6th.

I missed the actual statements just now, but caught the pundits. I will check out what the peeps actually said tomorrow.
Thu Mar 21 19:09:31
Whelp. 11th of April. This is going to bugger up my holiday plans.

I wonder if Shannons silence is because he's stuck out on Farrages march?
Thu Mar 21 19:33:28
I think the odds on the UK actually leaving are now lengthening.

And it is because Brexiteers adopted attitudes like Shannon's: alienating half the country, failing to plan and prepare, refused to understand anything.
large member
Fri Mar 22 05:08:48
The UK still has a choice between the deal, no deal, a longer extension, and revoking article 50.

A brilliantly orchestrated press conference aimed at building relationships to compensate for May's lackings.

Very nice use of humour and the term hell (repeatedly).
large member
Fri Mar 22 05:10:30
I will steel myself for no doubt a cringe-worthy showing by May last night. So I will perhaps watch it this evening.
Fri Mar 22 06:02:04

"The UK still has a choice between the deal, no deal, a longer extension, and revoking article 50. "

It was an adroit manoeuvre in line with the strategy I'd been expecting. They want to keep their hands clean, and make sure the choice is made by the UK. May made it very easy for them with her clumsy letter expressly ruling out elections.

I couldn't watch May again last night. Decided to read stories to my daughter then have a beer.

I've seen a few clips of the Tusk and Junker show, quite funny.

But the decision still needs to be taken here, we need to start taking some of them off the table.

And we need to get May out but I'm not sure that's possible by the 11th. If she was no confidenced on Wednesday, unless parliament could form a coalition and agreed pm (not happening), we don't even call a GE until the 8th.

Anarchist Prime
Fri Mar 22 12:12:04

Sky News Breaking‏Verified account @SkyNewsBreak

Follow Follow @SkyNewsBreak

 More

Sky News can reveal the armed forces have activated a team in a nuclear bunker beneath the Ministry of Defence to step up preparations for a 'no-deal' Brexit

10:17 AM - 21 Mar 2019
large member
Fri Mar 22 12:22:11
That was before the meeting. "Redfold"
Fri Mar 22 13:10:47

Am I missing something or is May getting exactly what she wanted? This seems like it's now a binary choice, her deal or no deal.

Further extension has been ruled out, and there's no time to negotiate a new deal even if she were replaced.

Unless I'm completely confused the UK's final answer is due by next week and there's only two choices.

Fri Mar 22 13:30:39

Until Brexit actually happens, it should be assumed that all of this drama has been fancy theater that will ultimately serve to subvert the will of the people.
Fri Mar 22 15:44:12
Yes, it sounds super duper etc.

But the truth is the MoD building is being slowly emptied as it's being sold, and the basement is designed as a nuclear bunker, fitted with network and telephony, and vacant.

And while it is military staff, is because we couldn't recruit civies.

The "command centre" means glorified contact centre where issues get escalated for unplanned eventualities "shit, the tailbacks mean nobody in Kent can get their kids to school".

Though at the outside there's always the risk of fire and looting.

Ever dept has their own contingency C2 setup being stood up for day 1.

The military and civil contingencies get to pick silly cool names like redfold and yellowhammer because that's is what they do. HMRC, which run a lot of the borders, just call it "command centre" and "day 1 readiness".


Not quite. If we hold an election for MEPs, a longer extension is possible. The EU threw the ball back in our court.

May wanted 30th June in the hope we could sleep walk past the point of return and at some point we would have missed the boat for MEP elections and have only the choice of revoke or her deal. Instead, the cliff edge is the point of return, and parliament can choose on the 11th April to call the elections for the 23rd of May rather than opt for no deal.

The choices remain the same:
No deal.
May's deal.
General election.

These last two require a long extension that in turn requires we partake in elections for MEPs

I'm off to get yellowhammered. So, so done with this shit.


It's not the will of the people. This is why May wants to avoid another referendum. She knows - because all the polls show it - that there's a 20 point margin for remain over her deal, and a 15 point one for remain over no deal.

If it was the will of the people, having a simple confirmatory referendum, as many leavers suggested before the result of the first one, wouldn't be at all controversial.
Fri Mar 22 16:16:57

There you go again, with the whole "keep the people voting until they choose the correct option" mantra that has become a hallmark of the EU.

It's important to remember that Parliament is almost entirely a Remainer body, completely out of step with the electorate. That the body has been trying to sabotage British independence from the start should surprise no one.
large member
Fri Mar 22 16:23:23
Did not your president lose the popular vote by about as much as the remainers lost the advisory referendum?
Fri Mar 22 16:32:16

And I'd totally give a shit about that if the United States was a unitary republic.
large member
Fri Mar 22 16:44:43
And I'd totally gives a shit about that if the UK was a direct democracy.
Fri Mar 22 16:50:19

1. Yes, people vote repeatedly and regularly in democracies. That is a hall mark feature of democracy in fact. I'm surprised this seems odd to you.

2. We had two general elections in less than two years. If that's legit, why shouldn't have two referendums on Brexit in a three year period?

3. It's not even the same referendum as the proposition is fundamentally different: the leave campaign specifically did not pick any single type of brexit. Some of the leave campaign leaders floated the idea of a confirmatory referendum then. The one thing the leave campaign did explicitly promise is that the UK would not leave until we had clarity about our future relations with Europe - which we absolutely know will be the case here.

In this case we would be voting for a very specific deal, the only deal on the table and ideally a strategy for our future course of action (which remains everything from being a member in all but name, or going for something like Canada, but accepting that this will likely mean NI staying in the customs union or having a border poll)- vs remaining.

This is clearly a different question than previously.

4. You then say "It's important to remember that Parliament is almost entirely a Remainer body"

This I find rather surprising, as Parliament was elected in 2017, after the referendum. The Govt has repeatedly rejected demands for a confirmatory referendum on the grounds that both Parties, capturing a cumulative 80% of the vote, stood on a platform of honoring the vote.

However, as I have pointed out earlier, the two propositions TM is holding out: leave on her terms and leave with no deal are both terms that breach her own red lines and also breach substantially elements that the leave campaign campaigned on.

So it is clear that neither party are able to uphold and honor the mandate of the referendum - which is a more credible explanation for the refusal to pass May's deal.

But if we are to entertain the idea that somehow, in 2017, the public elected a majority pro-remain Parliament, doesn't that undermine your fundamental proposition that Brexit is the will of the public?

In any case, surely if you think Parliament is blocking brexit over the will of the people, MPs having hoodwinked the public into voting for them, then why are you against a referendum which would allow May to take Brexit back to the people and out of the hands of this supposedly perfidious parliament? Surely that is the obvious democratic way to secure brexit now, if Parliament is thwarting the will of the people?

Is it because the polls show now a huge and protracted majority against any brexit option?

5. Finally, you may entertain bizarre notions that TM is a "remainer" (yeah, right, she only supported remain reluctantly because Cameron made her - look at her history and her obsession) and has conducted a bad negotiation leading to a now false choice. Well, ok, but these are the options on the table now. If you believe that the negotiations are botched and the country backed into a corner, the sensible thing to do is remain now and take the next few years coming up with a workable plan before triggering article 50 again at a future date. Right now, Brexit has proven utterly un-deliverable (in the sense of a process that leads to the desired outcome of the UK improving it's freedom and actions). Therefore, best to abandon this attempt, pause, and try again later rather than proceed with an inferior form of brexit negotiated by a manifestly incompetent leader.

6. I do not need to document the flaws in the original referendum, the rampant criminality of the leave campaign, the subsequent fines, criminal convictions and the fact that the UK high court have specifically ruled that had this been a binding referendum they would have quashed the result, but as it is non binding they are unable to.

But you really ought to have a pause and think about points 1-5 - they show your arguments are completely incoherent and illogical. At least from the perspective of someone sincerely pursuing the common good of the UK. Granted, you don't - your best interests are to see the UK exposed to predatory negotiations with Donald Trumps admin and this is probably skewing your perspective here.

There is no real case at all to say at this point a decision by Parliament to revoke would be anti-democratic; and the idea of a people's vote is in fact the absolutely logical and sensible thing if you genuinely believe that Parliament is a roadblock and the deals available are desirable beyond a pause and a better attempt at brexit later.

Fri Mar 22 17:11:14

I of course would not expect a Sovietphile to have any sort of respect for legitimate democratic institutions.

Nevertheless, I am available if you need someone to explain the differences between structures of voting within a federal system of sovereign states and a popular referendum willingly called by the government.
large member
Fri Mar 22 17:14:13
It was known that the referendum was advisory and that Parliament has the last say on the matter.

The people did not so much speak as advise Parliament on its position.

I think it fair and fine to bludgeon MPs over the head with the "will of the people". Much stronger measures than that are often employed to ensure voting discipline.

So bludgeoning is another known feature of the UK democratic system.

But inferring that Sovereign decisions by parliament lack legitimacy - is beyond the pale.

large member
Fri Mar 22 17:17:26
What part of "advisory" don't you understand? The UK is a representative democracy, not a direct democracy.

I am frankly not even sure that a binding referendum is constitutionally allowable in the UK as that would undermine the legislative supremacy of Parliament.
large member
Fri Mar 22 17:21:17
Seb could probably answer the last one (a well crafted binding referendum is probably legal is the likely answer)
large member
Fri Mar 22 17:25:11
A logical approach to an advisory referendum would not be binary in any event.

Hmm, the people are pretty much divided on the issue.

We should probably opt for leaving if we can secure a deal that is representative of what people want.
Fri Mar 22 17:54:37
We have binding refs. It's simple enough, you craft the law and embed it into the legislation calling the ref.

Both the referendum and the law agree passed by parliament, so there's no contradiction.
Fri Mar 22 17:54:46

First of all, as a friendly FYI. When Trump says "build the wall," he's not directing that at you.

Funny how Brexit is the one thing that should be subjected to repeated referendums. I never heard such rhetoric for, say, voting on whether to stick with EEC/EU treaties every three years. Maybe the British people should be asked whether to affirm or revoke Scottish & Irish devolution on a regular basis as well? Perhaps a Scottish independence vote should be put on the calendar for the first of every month going forward?

I've never been a fan of the Westminster system and that includes snap elections, for the record.

Lack of specifics aside, Brexit does in fact mean Brexit. "Should the United Kingdom...leave the European Union" is a pretty self-explanatory concept. I'd also argue that "leave" can be implied to mean "substantially leaving," not just nominally withdrawing from the membership while basically keeping the preexisting relationship intact.

The 2017 election was tanked by May. Support for the Conservatives was at record highs when she called it. You don't go from that level to nearly getting Comrade Corbyn in power unless you are insanely incompetent.

I'd also point out that elections do not give the masses any real opportunity to choose party candidates.

Let's not even get into the fact that Parliamentarians seem to infinitely prefer to have the EU around to shape your regulatory environment than be forced to undertake the job themselves.

The point being that your political system is always going to be geared toward attracting people who are going to have a natural bias toward Europe, regardless of the will of the electorate. It's like how here in the US you'll never be able to elect a Congressman who would be willing to reform Congress' spending habits even as support for that body plunges to near-single digits level.

Recent polling says that the voters don't really know what they want at this point. To the extent that support has Brexit may have eroded, I'd blame that on Parliament's aforementioned stonewalling of the process, as well as the rabid fearmongering campaign carried out by the opposition since 2016 which has totally twisted the national narrative. If you were to simply rephrase the question to say "should the United Kingdom be an independent and sovereign state," I can't imagine that would not still be supported by a clear majority.

I just don't know how you can credibly claim that there isn't a major disconnect between Parliament and the people on the issue. Even Boris Johnson was basically a Brexiteer solely for the power prospects.

I've expressed my frustration in the past over the whole Brexit process. Take N. Ireland out of the equation (granted, easier said than done), and the whole thing should have been extremely straightforward. That would have required a government and/or Commons that had both the desire and competence to actually deliver Brexit though. Instead, we have a gigantic mess that has completely clouded the withdrawal. One could be forgiven for thinking that was the intent.

You're also off the mark in thinking that my attitude on Brexit is equivalent to the Trump administration's. I couldn't give a fuck less about the NHS or anything else. This is an issue of principles for me; I don't stand to make a dime off of Brexit. Personally I'd be happiest if Trump did the UK a solid and executed an agreement that would help keep you guys on your feet in the event of no-deal.

The overall point is that the British establishment has overwhelmingly been pro-Europe for the start, putting narrow economic interests above all other priorities. Your Parliament and media figures think that Brexit represents doomsday, and have been phrasing the debate accordingly. Such anti-independence efforts have only increased following the referendum. It's no wonder your country seems to wallow in a sense of pessimism these days.
Fri Mar 22 17:56:08
A binding ref on leaving the EU prior to the negotiations is therefore not possible. You could only really go as far as triggering A50.
large member
Fri Mar 22 18:13:27
This law comes into effect if and only if the referendum says so kind of law?

Conditional legislation is easily within the powers of Parliament.


That is really also exactly how far an advisory referendum should have gone.

There are democratic problems as voters would never get a clear choice as the EU will not commit to what the UK is leaving to until after the UK has left.

But it would be more orderly:

2 referendums:

1. Shall we invoke article 50?
2. Shall we revoke article 50?

The 2nd one for after a transitional agreement is reached.
Fri Mar 22 18:30:55

"But you really ought to have a pause and think about points 1-5 - they show your arguments are completely incoherent and illogical."

Yep. Thoroughly dismantled.

Sat Mar 23 04:37:34
Rugian, you haven't really addressed the points I raised and your subsequent one is rather disordered but appears to be asserting that the public were voting to leave without any intent beyond out; such that the very different outcomes in different approaches to leaving are irrelevant and the various arguments for leaving put forward were also irrelevant.

I find that bizarre. The public cares about outcomes. That's precisely why the leave campaign put "let's spend £350m more a week on the NHS" on the side of their bus, not "let's leave the EU".

You also appear to be arguing for some mythical public desire to leave, whole ignoring or setting aside the evidence that shows this is no longer the case.

I'll go into detail later, but this is desperate stuff. You might want to consider if this is coming from an emotional rather than rational response.
Sat Mar 23 05:07:03
"Take N. Ireland out of the equation (granted, easier said than done), and the whole thing should have been extremely straightforward"

Except you can't take NI out of the equation.

And even if you could, what on earth makes you think unwinding 40 years of trade and standards integration (particularly when the trade integration depends on standards integration) would be at all straightforward? It means disrupting and destroying businesses and many jobs being lost across the UK, and systemwide, the decrease in efficiency can only be borne within the UK. That's inevitable. Did you really not see that as this reality dawned (contrary to the lies of leading Brexiteers) and millions of people realised it was going to make them poorer, that you would not suddenly find a huge popular backlash?

A modicum of understanding of economics, trade and politics makes this glaringly obvious. I think you probably just didn't want to see the obstacles and fooled yourself by thinking purely through a process aligned to the happy path.
Sat Mar 23 05:10:21
In the 50s, Anthony Eden saw that he and France could concoct with Israel a plausible scenario to justify seizing the Suez canal and toppling Nasser.

He saw that the UK as France could easily defeat Egypt.

But he neglected to consider that while the Russians and the USA would object, the US could add would tank the pound, and if they did that, UK public support for an initial adventure world quickly shift when they realise it would cost them personally in wealth.

Sat Mar 23 05:33:06
There will be no Brexit:


An open letter to Theresa May
My Dear Theresa,
We have known each other for over 21 years since you became our MP. You visited my home in Sonning, where you also lived. Three years before you became Prime Minister, I predicted your victory when I showed you Winston Churchill's spoon on my Cadillac, which I asked you to touch.
Despite popular public opinion, I also predicted that Donald Trump would become the 45th President of the United States.
As you might have read, I am ensuring that Jeremy Corbyn never gets the keys to Number 10 Downing Street, with the power of my mind which I have proved over and again.
I will ensure that they bend out of all proportion to ensure that he never takes up residence there.
My power has been validated by the CIA, MI5 and Mossad.
The CIA concluded: "As a result of Geller's success in this experimental period, we consider that he has demonstrated his paranormal perceptual ability in a convincing and unambiguous manner."
It is easily verifiable. Just look at the official CIA website.
I have influenced many high ranking officials around the world.
On one occasion, Senator Clayborne Pell, then the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, directed me to bombard the mind of Yuli Vorontsov, the Soviet Union’s chief nuclear negotiator, to influence him telepathically to sign the Nuclear Arms Reduction treaty, which I did successfully.
Now to the point of my open letter to you.
I feel psychically and very strongly that most British people do not want Brexit.
I love you very much but I will not allow you to lead Britain into Brexit.
As much as I admire you, I will stop you telepathically from doing this - and believe me I am capable of executing it.
Before I take this drastic course of action, I appeal to you to stop the process immediately while you still have a chance.
Although I currently live in Israel I am still a British citizen and feel very passionately about the country and the people I came to love.
Much energy and love

large member
Sat Mar 23 10:43:04
1.4 million new voters have reached voting age and 1.1 million old gits have died since the referendum.

The result may no longer be representative of population's views due to demographic changes alone.
Sat Mar 23 12:47:10
All the major polls have remain with a 20 point lead.

The factory closures have demonstrated project fear was project reality.
Sat Mar 23 12:48:00
I love Uri's letter. So very very bonkers but more sane than Theresa May's political strategy.
Sat Mar 23 14:02:59
”1.4 million new voters have reached voting age and 1.1 million old gits have died since the referendum.”

This is a good reason to hold a new referendum.

”All the major polls have remain with a 20 point lead”

Another valid reason to hold a new referendum. Or to just cancel brexit altogether, immediately.
Sat Mar 23 15:46:25
Ok, proper reply to Rugians second post:

I'm not sure why you mentioned the Wall, but when it comes to trade, we know that Trumps demands involve opening up the NHS, reducing food standards etc. The disparity in food poisoning cases in the US vs UK due to farming practices and cheap stop-gap measures in place of proper animal sanitary standards is alarming. And if we meet those criteria, it defacto means that we will have a very difficult set of customs controls with the EU to filter out products not meeting EU standards, which means either a hard border between the mainland and NI or a hard border between NI and the republic. Both of which break the Good Friday Agreement.

But even if we were to look beyond the obvious self interest of the US here in non-reciprocal standards harmonisation (take back control? ha) - the Irish caucus in the US means we are unlikely to get any deal unless we maintain the Good Friday agreement, and that means cutting Northern Ireland loose.

So, that's where the Trump comment comes from.

Now, regarding referendums: we have had multiple referendums (we have had several on devolution) - but normally these are considered settled for at a decade or more. But the issue here isn't settled at all. Leaving is supposed to be a means to an end, but that end (even among leave campaigners) is totally unsettled. Are we leaving to engage in rampant free trade? Or are we leaving to engage in protectionism? Are we trying to stay closely aligned the single market and customs union, but opt out of freedom of movement? Or are we trying to deregulate?

So simply saying "Ah, but we voted to leave" is kinda nonsensical. That's an action, not a result. And once again you contradict yourself, on the one hand saying "the ballot paper clearly said leave the EU" and then later arguing that to not leave the single market - both of which were not on the ballot paper - amounts to staying in (which will surprise Turkey and Norway).

You argue that the 2017 election was tanked by May - but has it occurred to you that the reason hordes of Tories stayed home is because she set out a manifesto for a hard brexit which was not what they wanted? Corbyn came nowhere close to power, and benefited enormously from people who expected him to oppose this. Hence the fact he polls worse than this govt right now. And while people do not have the option to chose party candidates, the entire system is built on the fact they can chose their representative who is a representative, not a delegate.

Indeed, let us not get into the discussion about MPs wanting the EU involved in shaping the regulatory environment (because they feed into that process) - lets not either get into fact that this regulatory system that underpins the single market (necessarily, like your interstate commerce clause and the role of the federal govt as a regulator) was not only a British invention, but a conservative one!

I don't see how the system is "always going to attract pro Europeans" - clearly it doesn't looking at the substantial ERG caucus in the Tory party. The incentives in the UK are nothing like in Congress: we have tight spending limits, we don't have open primaries, and far stronger transparency rules on donations - we have very, very limited role of pork-barrel politics because of the centralization of parties and the legislature; the tight coupling of legislature and executive; and as you have pointed out the role of pan EU institutions in regulation means that splurging money on MPs is a very expensive way of achieving regulatory capture.

But this is again somewhat a strong argument for putting the question back to the people directly if May is the obstacle.

"Recent polling says that the voters don't really know what they want at this point."

Which recent poll are you referring to. The latest Yougov poll shows a 20 point lead for remain. Other polls support that. Don't knows are below 10%. I see no basis for your statement at all, but I'd love to see a source.

"To the extent that support has Brexit may have eroded, I'd blame that on Parliament's aforementioned stonewalling of the process"

Why does that matter if the basis is the will of the people, it doesn't matter *why* the people have changed their mind - just *that* they have changed their mind.

If on the other hand it is some deliberative agent that is trying to discern the common good, who now says "well, the will of the people may have changed, but it was illegitimately changed by the stonewalling of parliament" then that fundamentally undermines the argument that the referendum must be respected no matter what. Particularly when you look at the fraud, criminal charges that have led the courts to rule the referendum was sufficiently improperly held as to be quashable.

"as well as the rabid fearmongering campaign carried out by the opposition since 2016 which has totally twisted the national narrative."

Except, of course, the car manufacturers are closing, and the financial industry has transferred 10% of assets out already.

The fear mongering has turned out to be quite accurate.

"If you were to simply rephrase the question to say "should the United Kingdom be an independent and sovereign state," I can't imagine that would not still be supported by a clear majority."

Yes, but we were an independent and sovereign state when we were a member of the EU too. I'm sure you can come up with all sorts of false dichotomies that you can get people to vote for. This is why the wording of any referendum needs to be approved by the independent Electoral Commission.

"I just don't know how you can credibly claim that there isn't a major disconnect between Parliament and the people on the issue."

There is: Parliament is still trying to figure out how to conduct an acceptable brexit that meets the mandate of the referendum without damaging the country too badly.

The overwhelming evidence is the people now wish to have a say again.

"This is an issue of principles for me;"
Yes, but that is exactly my point. You are weighing some principles that you are projecting onto the situation without having to think or care about any of the practicalities or realities or trade off with actually living with your decision.

"Personally I'd be happiest if Trump did the UK a solid and executed an agreement that would help keep you guys on your feet in the event of no-deal."

Do you not see the massive cognitive dissonance here: you are advocating as a matter of principle something that would mean putting our country into a position where we needed to be rescued by a foreign power to "keep us on our feet" - and yet we all know Trump would do no such thing. He would screw us for every penny like the US has always done when it has the opportunity, whether fighting global fascism or staving off a global financial collapse.

"The overall point is that the British establishment has overwhelmingly been pro-Europe for the start"

This would surprise Europeans, and the EU, where we are not known for Europhilia. But to the extent that the British Establishment believe being in is better, has it occured to you that this is because they have a better appreciation for the detailed facts that have informed 40 years of strategy?

large member
Sat Mar 23 16:27:02
"which will surprise Turkey and Norway"

Not really. We are members of the EU in all but name and enfranchisement.

Neither are a big deal for 5.5 million people. We can negotiate future relationships while maintaining the current one. Which is a huge advantage as it turns out from the UK experience.
Sun Mar 24 07:05:25

Is Norway a member of the European Union?

Is Norway a participant in the Single Market?

The question on the ballot paper was "do you wish to remain a member of the European Union"

Rugian can hardly stand on the principle of both rigorous literal reading of the question *and* untested interpretation of the question to infer a more detailed policy.

It's contradictory.
Sun Mar 24 10:49:03
Wow. Rugian got wrecked by Seb.
Mon Mar 25 18:04:33
Lol. Parliament just bundled the govt up and locked them in a cupboard.
Mon Mar 25 19:33:04
Kinda worried we haven't heard from Shannon. He might be on Farrages long walk, but he also might have just died of rage.
Mon Mar 25 19:46:19

Is Parliament making their own binding decisions now, or are these going to be nonbinding votes?

large member
Tue Mar 26 01:27:40
Indicative (non-binding). The Government would be crazy to ignore them as Parliament can pass laws (We hereby say fuck brexit and pass this law that revokes article 50).
Tue Mar 26 08:55:57
It's non binding for now.

By the sounds of it a first pass straight up vote of support for each option, then an AV runoff to find the compromise option. The talk is that they focus on outcome, not process, so ref isn't an option.

There are really only four options
1. No deal
2. Parliament revoke
3. Canada
4. EEA + CU

Option 1 and 2 will be taken off.
Canada will lose to option 4.
Which will likely then be put to a referendum Vs revocation in the grounds it is so far off what leave campaigned for.

If the govt tries to derail this, very good odds they'll use the same process to pass a full act making it binding on the govt.

The only other option is May gets her vote passed. But I think that's unlikely now.

large member
Tue Mar 26 11:45:48
Yepp, that would be my understanding of it too (my answer to murder is a shorthand version of that).

Canada is not realistic. The only way past a back-drop is a transitional relationship that includes the entire UK in the backstop (for example like 4.).

Parliament is busy trying to secure an transitional arrangement with the EU, the permanent arrangement comes later.
Tue Mar 26 13:11:07

Er... Yes and no. On paper it's transitional. But really that's not really what it's about.

The spectacular disingenuity of the EU (phasing, backstop) and UK govt (WA, backstop, pretending this is with intent to Canada) is being surfaced and unwound.

All the problems with brexit stem from phasing: you cannot create a workable exit plan from the EU if you have to leave before you can discuss the future.

Any state leaving in the future should just cause mayhem until the council agrees to pre-negotiation.
large member
Tue Mar 26 14:03:43
Right now its all about finding an interim agreement parliament and the EU will both accept without further negotiation.

The only possible incarnation is either May's deal, or a deal that includes all of the UK in a backstop instead of merely Northern Ireland.

The only acceptable final solution would also need to be borderless. If that looks impossible, then opting for a hard brexit now might be an idea.

But opt for it. Don't let it happen by mistake.

"Mayhem" is just another name for a two-tiered system.

Precedent is set. There will never be formal pre-negotiations.
large member
Tue Mar 26 14:05:56
Actually, you should be in favour of revoking brexit in order to cause mayhem until the EU agrees to pre-negotiation.

You should send Farange to the EU. Or something outragous like that. Wait... You have already done that :D.
Tue Mar 26 14:57:44

Thats really not what is happening.

Tomorrow will focus on EFA plus Vs Canada, and mechanisms to make revocation the default over no deal.

May's deal is just the WA which isn't going to change. The reason parliament won't endorse it is because we don't know where we are heading after that.

large member
Tue Mar 26 15:38:24
You mean the Parliament will pass May's deal once it has a feeling for the direction it wants to head in?

That seems a bit odd, so I must have misunderstood your position.

Tue Mar 26 18:17:25

May's deal is just the withdrawal agreement (WA), plus the political declaration (PD) which is non binding. The PD allows basically any kind of future agreement, but includes the EU's commitment to best endeavors to figure out a way to let the UK exit the CU and SM and diverge from EU without requiring a customs border in NI - which the EU has absolutely no intention of seriously trying to do, hence the paramount need for the backstop from Irelands perspective).

The WA is not renegotiable under any circumstances, the PD is if the UK's red lines change.

The great irony of much of the hoo-hah over "May's deal", particularly Labour's position, is that actually as the PD is non binding - it would make no difference for Corbyn to support the WA being signed.

The significance of the current PD and WA - "May's deal" if you like, is that it allowed a lot of people (EU included) to get the UK to sign, then leave the EU, with the widespread expectation amongst brexiteers that the UK could opt for a Canada arrangement and that we would find a solution to NI. May figured that shattering this delusion would be a problem for later, as did the EU.

In my view this was insanely dangerous, as it would quickly become apparent that the EU have no real intention (and with the backstop, no need) to try and make that work. Instead the UK would have to put a hard border in the North Sea.

Now much overlooked, but this is *also* a breach of the good Friday agreement for Unionists who have already been trying to judicial review the WA.

The net result would likely have been the Backstop being broken, much conflict between the UK and EU, and violence in NI between unionists and nationalists.

However, if the UK set out an approach explicitly intending to align with the CU and SM, then all this becomes moot (though brexit becomes rather pointless).

But any Brexit requires signing the WA as it stands - it's not up for renegotiation and never will be.

So the significance of tomorrow is to work through the main options for the future, which basically boil down to Canada - but now with the explicit debate over the implications for NI so that nobody can pretend they were not aware - or alternatively our own clone of the EEA.

There are some funny little things in the margins you can do - and some options that sit between EEA and Canada that really serve as distractions as they create complications without benefits and do not solve the essential problems.

And having locked down what Brexit will actually mean, as opposed to merely agreeing the terms of exit ("may's deal"), and once that becomes crystallised, the issue of whether Brexit makes any kind of sense or is in any way desirable beyond false sense of "sovereignty feels" comes to the fore, and with it the near inevitability of a second referendum and revocation.

However, if we proceed to Brexit, yes, any type of brexit means essentially signing "May's deal" - the PD is non-binding. This is all about getting the UK to understand what the actual outcomes of leaving are likely to be.

And I appreciate this is obvious. Hell, I explained this essential choice enough during the referendum campaign. But a strain of mad solipsism has entered parts of UK parliament where politicians believe if they pretend not to know or understand something, they can make false promises to people.

Hence Boris, who surely knows better, continuing to talk about using transition (which exists only in deal scenarios) as a means to mitigate the consequences of no-deal.

The limits of this kind of bullshit have of course become clear, to the extent that the Govt has basically had it's executive authority removed by Parliament.

It is all very silly but hopefully what will come from this is a greater degree of maturity and responsibility in politicians going forward.
Tue Mar 26 18:18:29
excuse the stream of consciousness. Another couple of long days.
large member
Wed Mar 27 12:52:42
Ding, dong the witch is...?
Wed Mar 27 13:14:14
... no longer relevant!
large member
Wed Mar 27 16:44:16

You know why.
large member
Wed Mar 27 16:44:34
(see timestamp)
Wed Mar 27 17:40:13


Clusterfuck! They should lock all the MPs in a room, and no one gets out until they reach consensus.

Wed Mar 27 17:44:52

So what exactly happens now? There is no majority for ANYTHING ... including doing nothing. :o)
Anarchist Prime
Wed Mar 27 17:45:38
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