BREXIT - Part 2

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BREXIT - Part 2

Editado: Mar 25, 2019, 2:44pm

Mar 25, 2019, 6:24pm

> 272

"Secondly, any call for dissenters to get out of the country is just the kind of nasty politics used by dictators the world over. It has no place in a democracy. It has no place in this discussion.

Consider this: even if we wanted to up sticks and leave our homes and our country, it is not as easy as that. Our children are in school, our families are here (many of us with family members on the other side of the argument so they can't come with us), and then get this one: we literally just had our rights to live and work in 27 other countries stripped away from us!

So it is not practical even if it were desirable, and it is not desirable because this is our HOME!"

Thank you. You have neatly made my point for me.

I'm British. I was born in England and I have lived here all my life. I have no claim to citizenship of any other country. I can't change any of these things.

I could talk about home ownership, a husband, a child in sixth form college, jobs, family members. I don't need to. I don't need to defend my own patriotism, or to strengthen my claim to this country.

Why should we even contemplate the notion of leaving, just because of this abhorrent mess? Surely now is the time to stay, to rebuild, to try to stop the rot?

The Union flag is my flag too.

Mar 26, 2019, 5:00am

On discovering that parliament is sovereign last night, Theresa May said:

"No Government could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is."

And we are left wondering again if Theresa May really has no sense of irony whatsoever. The advisory referendum is treated by her as a blank cheque, given by the electorate, and committing the country to an outcome, and still, 1000 days later, not knowing what it is.

Editado: Mar 26, 2019, 10:01am

>274 "People* who feel sheepish about having been lied to, by having been conned are not likely to be shouting it from the rooftops."

Right, they aren't. That's because they were convinced at the time they formed their opinions and, having formed them, when they cast their ballot, based on their judgment that they'd reasoned correctly---just as you believe you'd done, no less.

I could say, about those who supported "Remain", just as easily as you believe about those who voted the other way, that these voters were damned fools and didn't understand the issues correctly and that they fell for idiotic nonsense--in effect, they swallowed lies wholesale.

But there's one thing I can't say about them-- I can't say that their ballots as cast did not accurately reflect their intentions at the time.

That, of course, would be foolish nonsense.

When you ask the public to vote on an issue, you don't demand that they prove that they are, in each case, geniuses of political affairs; could you prove such a claim?

We take voters as they are; in the referendum, not a single "Leave" voter went to vote in ignorance of the fact that his opponents were LOUDLY proclaiming, warning him, that he'd been treated to a prolonged campaign of lies, disinformation, distortions and that, if he believed the claims made by those who'd convinced him to vote "Leave" he be falling for a blatant pack of ticked out lies and, in sum, he'd be a prize dope, moron.

NO "LEAVE" voter could possibly have escaped hearing that OVER AND OVER about himself and his views.

Now, guess what? After decades of scandalous abuse, these same voters who favoured "Leave" had had enough; they felt zero confidence in or sympathy for those in the "Remain" camp who were mocking their intelligence and telling them that only idiots could favour voting "Leave."

So, your lot tried--foolishly--to convince them not to support "Leave." They definitely heard you; and they were anything but persuaded to alter their views. Your side failed to sway sufficient "Leave" voters. And you had EVERY CARD IN THE DECK in your "hand."

What's really due--and shamelessly lacking on your side--is a very long, deep and serious period of self-examination and introspection.

>2 pokarekareana:

"It has no place in a democracy. It has no place in this discussion."

Rank hypocrisy. You forfeited the right to appeal to devotion to democracy when you demonstrated that, though you may vote you do not hold yourself accountable to respect the outcome of a vote--unless, apparently, the outcome is in your favour. Thus, you're a declared faithless voter. Such people literally have no place in a democracy.

"Why should we even contemplate the notion of leaving, just because of this abhorrent mess? Surely now is the time to stay, to rebuild, to try to stop the rot?"

The open betrayal of Britain's democratic principles by faithless voters IS THE "ROT" ! AND the root cause of this present crisis.

What good are your family, your home, your job, your possessions, your friends, and your puny idea of "patriotism" if, to have them, you're intent on selling out democracy's most essential principles?

Mar 26, 2019, 11:55am

> 4 - I was quoting someone else further up the thread. Phew! Does this mean I'm still entitled to my place in our democracy? I had always thought that a democracy would make space for all citizens to have a voice, so I'm not sure why I would lose my place - is it just because I don't hold the same viewpoint as you?

Surely any democracy which gives credence to statements like "such people literally have no place in a democracy" ceases to be a democracy?

What is a "faithless voter"?

Editado: Mar 26, 2019, 12:48pm

>5 pokarekareana: You need to understand that Proximity1 has a very specific definition of democracy that he has certainly been pushing since December 2016. See messages 19-21 in the previous thread.

His line is ad hominem of course.

If there were a like button, I would like your message for this line:

Surely any democracy which gives credence to statements like "such people literally have no place in a democracy" ceases to be a democracy?

It does seem rather unfortunate to me that those who shouted the loudest that they were voting leave "for democracy" seem to have very little idea of what that actually means.

Oh and the reason he quoted your message to answer my point is simply because Proximity1 continues to pretend he does not read my posts. :)

Editado: Mar 26, 2019, 12:43pm

>5 pokarekareana:

What is a "faithless voter"?

It borrows an aspect from the term "faithless elector" and adapts it to any voter in a system of universal suffrage to describe someone like you and others who, rather than see the "Brexit" vote respected, would favor the outright revocation of Article 50, or who would like to see a re-vote in which the options are changed to exclude what's described in loaded language as Britain "crashing out" of E.U. membership.

You're one. A person who wants the all the advantages of voting--and only the advantages--with none of the disadvantages: you get to vote and if the result suits you, if you like it, you go along with that. If, however, you don't get the result you like, you refuse to respect the outcome, you attempt to sabotage its implementation, using extra-legal devices to undermine it and reverse it. You deny that your opponents understood what they were doing in voting in a manner contrary to your way of seeing things. You invent spurious excuses for why they, in this example, a majority, are not entitled to see their vote implemented.

A faithless voter is analogous to one who enters into a game under certain assumed rules and, later, when the game doesn't go his way, demands to change the rules in the middle of play in order to gain an advantage. Or, it's like a banker with which you have a small-business account and this banker manipulates the conditions of your banking services in a way designed to promote the failure of your business--so that the bank may seize the business and sell off its assets for its own profit leaving you holding debt you must repay.

No one is "entitled" to live in a democracy who lacks the sense to understand its working principles.

"Surely any democracy which gives credence to statements like "such people literally have no place in a democracy" ceases to be a democracy?"

uh, no. It doesn't necessarily. A 'democracy' in which there do not number amongst the losing side's voters enough to accept and allow the vote's result to be acted on, in any voted-question, that is a 'democracy' which has ceased to be a 'democracy.' Britain today, for example. The United States today, for example. In each case, a very large part of the electorate has betrayed its responsibility to respect the outcome in a key vote which did not produce the result that these voters had hoped should occur.

Editado: Mar 26, 2019, 6:49pm

>7 proximity1: 'It borrows an aspect from the term "faithless elector"'

Well that, of course, is a term in your American political system. In the UK we directly elect our representative. We do not have to elect someone to elect the person we wanted, so faithless electors do not exist.

'No one is "entitled" to live in a democracy who lacks the sense to understand its working principles. '

And there you go, demonstrating again that you just do not get democracy. In the UK we do not deport people who fail a democracy exam.

As for your complaint that no one should be able to change their mind until all the unintended consequences of their choices have been forcibly played out, Theresa May addressed this yesterday in parliament. She said:

"No Government [referendum] could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is."

She may not have used the exact word "referendum". I guess I would have to check, but whether she meand "consultation", "advisory vote" or "indicative vote", I am sure you would agree that she is right on this point. Until one knows the outcome of a decision, informed consent is impossible. A point that was always well understood.

Perhaps that was why we had the right to a second referendum in law... until the government quietly used the Henry VIII powers to repeal that right last summer.

It does seem rather unfortunate to me that those who shouted the loudest that they were voting leave "for democracy" seem to have very little idea of what that actually means.

Mar 26, 2019, 5:54pm

> 7 - "No one is "entitled" to live in a democracy who lacks the sense to understand its working principles."

Rather a flawed argument, I think - there is no politics test prior to voting, in this country at least. All you need is to be of voting age, and to meet the relevant nationality/residency requirements (and not be currently residing at Her Majesty's pleasure).

I think you've also misunderstood the argument put forward by the People's Vote campaign. They propose a referendum to approve any deal agreed by parliament, with an option to remain if the deal isn't palatable. It isn't, as you describe, a "re-vote". We haven't been asked this question yet.

I certainly don't favour the idea of revoking Article 50 without a strategy of what to do afterwards - acting without planning is what got us into this mess in the first place.

Mar 27, 2019, 5:27am

>8 sirfurboy: " In the UK we directly elect our representative. We do not have to elect someone to elect the person we wanted, so faithless electors do not exist."
Nitpick for pedantry because not everyone knows the UK political system well. We don't elect the PM directly. They're automatically PM as the leader of the party that wins the most directly elected seats in a general election. They can be challenged and a new leader appointed via MP votes, again not directly elected from the populace. Only ~38k people directly voted for May, as their MP in her constituency.

Editado: Mar 27, 2019, 6:17am

>10 reading_fox: Indeed, but that is not what I said. I said "we directly elect our representative." I.e. our MP. The executive is essentially appointed. Theoretically appointed by the Queen, but in practice the PM on the recommendation of the legislature, and the cabinet on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The executive is not directly elected, and need not be made up of directly elected members - there can be members of the House of Lords in the executive.

In the US they have a directly elected head of state too, and that is the President. We do not elect our head of state either. We have a hereditary monarchy.

Editado: Mar 27, 2019, 8:24am

>9 pokarekareana:

Never mind the legal technicalities of it. Nature imposes her own "stupidity-tax" and, with "democracy", the tax burden is heavy and the imposition severe.

Of course the law--beyond a minimum voting-age and ordinary "sanity"--imposes no test for voting; and this is how it must be if not, indeed, also how it ought to be since, despite their insistence on the contrary, "Remainers" are not proof of the existence of omniscience in one or another faction of the electorate. So any mad-man just sane enough to remain at large and on the voting-rolls is entitled, legally, to vote.

But none of this will save democracy from an over-abundance of faithless voters--like you.

It's a poor nation which never had among its members a mind like that of Judge Learned Hand and a pathetic nation which forgets or never acquaints itself with his wisdom:

“Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.”

... ...

“…a society so riven that the spirit of moderation is gone, no court can save; that a society where that spirit flourishes, no court need save; that in a society which evades its responsibility by thrusting upon the courts the nurture of that spirit, that spirit in the end will perish. What is the spirit of moderation? It is the temper which does not press a partisan advantage to its bitter end, which can understand and will respect the other side, which feels a unity between all citizens—real and not the factitious product of propaganda—which recognizes their common fate and their common aspirations—in a word, which has faith in the sacredness of the individual.”

... ...

“We may not stop until we have done our part to fashion a world in which there shall be some share of fellowship; which shall be better than a den of thieves.”

"I certainly don't favour the idea of revoking Article 50 without a strategy of what to do afterwards"...

True enough. I read that Boris's water-canon trucks had been sold off for scrap--and a huge waste of public money.

Now, I guess your camp's "strategy" shall be to depend on the majority-Leave-voters' "good-will" following the flushing, (with a smile or a look of grave seriousness at having come "so close" to the disaster of allowing the Brexit-referendum to stand and be implemented) of their votes down "the shitter."

Shall that "do" for looking to "what to do afterwards"?

Editado: Mar 27, 2019, 10:11am

>12 proximity1: Your argument, largely ad hominem, seems to boil down to this:

Once the advisory consultative referendum was complete, all voters should insist on implementing the outcome regardless of what that outcome turns out to be, and regardless of any unknown consequences at the time of the referendum. In your view, to be a "faithful voter", it is necessary that I, and others like me, should literally change my mind and fall in line behind the slender majority, without taking any notice of the fact that what was offered was unimplementable, contradictory, based on lies, and won by a foreign influenced and funded campaign that recorded the largest overspend in British history.

Even if the campaign had been well run, and if the campaigners had not told a pack of lies, and even if the promises of the leave campaign had not included the likes of "we do not need to invoke article 50 at all if we can negotiate a better deal with the EU", and "no one is talking of leaving the single market". Even if the entire vote had been predicated on your preferred destination of not actually getting any kind of deal with the EU at all, there is simply no reason why I or anyone else should be required to change our minds.

If we remained a minority, what would it matter? Now we are the majority, it only matters to you because the will of the people has changed. A very narrow victory has certainly been reversed, which is why you cannot countenance asking the people whether it is their desire to exit on any clear destination. You know that you will lose, as suggested by the Election Maps information above.

The referendum asked people whether they wished to remain or leave, and the results of that consultation have already been enacted. Article 50 was invoked. The withdrawal agreement was negotiated. We are where we are because for two and half years and more we have been enacting the result of that referendum, and where we have arrived at is the current impasse. We have a withdrawal agreement that is being sabotaged by the Chequers Daytrippers themselves. It is Brexiters who are voting against that one (although no one likes it). We have no deal that has no support from the sovereign parliament of our democracy, and we have an option to remain that everyone is too scared to consider either.

The solution - the only solution IMHO (but we will see if parliament finds a better way) - is to put it back to the people. That is the solution with the greatest democratic legitimacy, and if you stopped to think about it, I think you would agree too.

If we are to have no deal Brexit then sure, bring it on, but as our representatives in parliament have ruled that out, the only way that could gain democratic legitimacy is to put it - that particular option that literally no one was talking about before - on the ballot paper. If people back that, knowing it will wipe out UK manufacturing industry, cause short term hardship and very significant permanent losses, then at least they will have made an informed decision.

They were promised a Brexit dividend. There is no Brexit dividend, but if they were to make an informed choice to be worse off, then that would be what we call "informed consent".

There really is no beating this beautiful piece of parliamentary analysis:

Mar 27, 2019, 2:49pm

So Theresa May has told the ERG and their ilk that she will resign if her deal goes through and is currently in negotiations with the DUP about which bribe they will accept. So if she can push it through we can expect a bloodbath within the Tory party as the hard line Brexiteers fight the moderates for control. Yet again we see that this is about the Tory party and not the country. How can a bad deal become a good deal if May resigns?

Mar 27, 2019, 6:40pm

>11 sirfurboy: In the US they have a directly elected head of state too, and that is the President.

Sorry to be pedantic, but it ain't necessarily so.

The US electorate elects representatives to the Electoral College, which elects the US president. Most recently, Clinton won the popular vote against Trump (65,853,514 to 62,984,828), but lost the Electoral College, which voted for Trump 304 to 227.

Otherwise, I essentially agree.

Editado: Mar 28, 2019, 5:05am

>15 Cynfelyn: Yes, but that was where we came in! :) (ETA: but on reflection, I think i was ambiguous in saying ‘directly elected’ when I had used that term differently above. Apologies.)

It is the electors in that electoral college who are elected to elect the president, and who are faithless if they vote for someone other than the candidate they were elected to elect. That is the definition of a faithless elector.

I almost qualified it when I said Americans have a directly elected head of state but I was only trying to point out that the president in a republic is more equivalent to a monarch in a monarchy (i.e. head of state) than a Prime Minister, although the Prime Minister heads the executive branch of government in a constitutional monarchy such as ours, so in that sense they are similar to a president.

Then we could get pedantic and point out that some republics with presidents do not head the executive either (such as the German president for instance).

(ETA: Extra credit: can you name the German president without googling? :) )

And as for America, that is a peculiar democracy, where you get to choose between just two candidates and the one with the most votes sometimes wins. :)

Mar 29, 2019, 5:44am

Happy Non Brexit Day. May it be the first of many more.

Although cabinet insiders believe that when Theresa May loses her MV3 vote today she will be going full steam ahead for no deal. Monday is likely to be crucial.

Mar 29, 2019, 6:49am

>17 sirfurboy:

Well some cabinet insiders would believe that, it is what they have wanted for a long time. At the moment I don't think the cabinet know what is going on.

I think what Nick Watt (on Newsnight last night) said he was told be a cabinet minister - "'Fuck knows. I'm past caring. It's like the living dead in here'" - is more likely to be closer to the truth.

Mar 29, 2019, 7:13am

At least the DUP vote according to their sincere beliefs. Today I fear too many Tory MPs will vote with a view to how it makes them look in the leadership contest that will soon happen. How can the buffoon Boris trash the deal for months and now say it is the best thing ever since someone sold sliced bread.Boris is the most public example but of course this applies to many others in the Tory Party.

Let us hope May loses today and Parliament decides on a sensible plan before she comes back with MV4.

Abr 2, 2019, 3:31am

So we are still stuck in Franz Kafka's Brexit - unwilling to leave without a deal and unable to agree on a way forward. The solution being to the same thing again and again until people just vote for anything to break the deadlock. (Although a more likely solution may be the EU saying enough is enough and waving us goodbye).

Abr 2, 2019, 4:14am

>20 Jargoneer: Indeed.

More than one person I knew claimed to vote leave because the EU were undemocratic, and when I pushed on what they meant by that, they cited the Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty and said "the EU made them[sic] vote again until they agreed."


Abr 2, 2019, 5:51am

without an agreement on a departure-plan, Britain is OUT without any deal at all. Unless Parliament's cowards revoke the effect of Article 50.


Abr 2, 2019, 7:28am

>22 proximity1: Indeed, and as I pointed out earlier in the thread, that is an illegal outcome that will spawn immediate legal challenges. Meanwhile the EU's judgement is we would not stand that for long and would be forced back to the negotiation table pretty quickly. Constitutionally it becomes a full blown crisis, as parliament has rejected that outcome too. A legal default in defiance of the instruction of parliament is uncharted territory. Although, in fact, it is hard to consider what we have now as anything less than a full blown constitutional crisis.

We are not at the end of the indicative vote process yet though, and the government are clearly preparing another roll of the dice.

Clearly one undesirable outcome that has become much more likely is a general election. If parliament has reached an impasse, than Theresa May's words were quite right that we may be at the limit of what the parliamentary process can achieve and the only solution in ordinary times would be to hold a general election. If that happened before April 12, the EU would approve a long extension to allow for it.

The option is undesirable to conservatives, who do not want Theresa May leading them into a general election. However, I think her judgement might be that the part will stand on the manifesto of her deal. If they won a majority, then the new government would be compelled to enact her deal.

What would Labour stand on though? They should stand on a People's Vote manifesto, but Corbyn may try to stand on the Labour Brexit plan and that will just be messy. If they stood on the People's vote, I think we might see a Labour coalition government.

The conservatives know this though. They will seek to avoid it which is why Hammond is pushing for a People's Vote - something that they really should have gone with yesterday too, as the only way to get parliamentary agreement to Theresa May's deal. Sanity in the tory party may yet prevail, in which case a People's Vote on the deal will be the outcome.

What will happen?

No one knows.

Editado: Abr 2, 2019, 10:24am

>23 sirfurboy: - from what I have read the Conservatives would struggle to fight a General Election even if they wanted to. The party of business has been found out and the money has stopped flowing. For that reason they may eventually accept a People's Vote - better to be beaten and remain in power than be beaten and lose everything.

Abr 2, 2019, 10:24am

>23 sirfurboy:

I can see why the Tories don't want a general election.

At the moment they are way behind in the polls. They would have to have May as leader into the elections, but everyone knows that she has already said she would resign if she got her deal through. So not a long term leader, and also one which wasn't very popular in the last election and her popularity has taken a big hit (and not just about Brexit) since.

I would say that if there was an election tomorrow the Tories would have no chance of a majority.

Editado: Abr 2, 2019, 11:33am

If there was an election tomorrow---it wouldn't matter and it would be a waste of time and money.

Britons (other than a scant 40%-48%) don't seem to care about living in a democratically-based political order--if they even understand what that would mean. They seem to want the wealthy to determine all such matters for them. It's easier that way; and they can go back to sports and video games.

The British people have to decide a number of things as a priority:

1) Do they even care about electoral politics in the first place?

a) if not, they don't believe in democratically-based government; they can thus skip holding elections.

b) if so, are they ready to participate in and abide by electoral outcomes, win or lose?

b1) if no, then their belief in democratically-based government is sheer formality and a vain concept; they can thus skip holding elections.

b2) if so, then they can plan and conduct elections on that basis. Then, they'd need to have some valid and practical working knowledge of what democratically-based electoral politics means-- most fundamentally, it means decisions (elections of office-holders, etc.) are typically determined by majority-vote. In certain other issue, a two-thirds or three-fourths vote is needed. These touch on changing or restricting (where it is admissible) fundamental rules and restrictions on liberties, etc.

There is not much to indicate that any of these prerequisites are in place.

Abr 2, 2019, 11:41am

>26 proximity1: "Britons (other than a scant 40%-48%)... "

Sources? Methodology? No?

87.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Abr 4, 2019, 7:26am

Here is an excellent book I have just finished. Balanced, fair, but merciless in its analysis of the mistakes that brought us inevitably to the current Brexit impasse.

9 Lessons in Brexit - Ivan Rogers

If I had any criticism, it would be that the author's lessons tell us what we did wrong, but perhaps do not tell us how we get out of it. he is quite right, however, in his call for greater honesty from politicians.

Ivan Rogers is the former UK ambassador to the EU. He has no rose tinted glasses, when it comes to looking at the EU, but he understand the institution better than almost anyone in the UK, and puts to bed plenty of misinformation being promulgated by all sides.

Mayo 18, 2019, 8:57am

Please not Boris. We do not want a right-wing buffoon in charge to make Britain an even bigger laughing stock.

Editado: Mayo 19, 2019, 5:29am

> 29. Boris? Boris the Animal? Boris Karloff? Not Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Johnson?

Mayo 31, 2019, 10:53am

But to return - as alas we must - to Farage; he's made a big mistake. By refusing to publish a manifesto, or even to announce any policy decisions other than on Brexit; by choosing to run TBP Ltd as a single position on a single issue 'party', he made these elections a proxy vote on no-deal. And by coming in at 31%, he lost. Badly.

The figure of "17.4 million voted to Leave" will still be trotted out by Brexiteers on a tiresomely regular basis but it's going to ring rather hollower given that, offered the chance to reaffirm their position, 12.2 million of them, for whatever reason, chose not to.

Neither Farage nor his cheerleaders will ever admit it, but somewhere in that sclerotic heart of his he knows he's blown it.
Mitch Benn, writing in The New European.

Jun 1, 2019, 2:34pm

>31 sirfurboy:: It will be interesting to see what happens in the Peterborough byelection next Thursday (the sitting Labour MP lost the seat because she was a convicted crook. And as far as I can see not many political commentators on the European elections are saying that Farage lost at all, let alone badly.

Jun 1, 2019, 3:13pm

>32 PossMan: Yes, that will be interesting.

Mitch Benn's piece certainly is unusual in saying Farage lost badly, because by all accounts, he gained about 3% on his 2014 performance. The Lib Dems and Greens, of course, did significantly better than that. The point he is making, though, is that Farage's claims that everyone voted for a no deal Brexit, have shown up to be false. If a third of people voted for that, that is well short of a majority.

As you say, Peterborough will be interesting.

Also it will be interesting to see how the Brexit Party Ltd does once they start revealing where their money came from, and with other bad headlines probably set to follow. I expect they will not suffer too much for it, but I expect the forthcoming scrutiny will throw up some shady dealings.

Jun 2, 2019, 2:09pm

I live in Peterborough, but in a neighbouring constituency so don't have a vote. The city is pretty marginal in its politics both at national and council level.

No-one really knows what the outcome will be. The Libdems could bounce back to the 2010 level of around 20% and even exceed that. UKIP got 16% in 2015 so the Brexit Party is likely to get at least that. I think it will be less a matter of who wins but more of percentages. Peterborough was 60/40 for leave in the referendum although that isn't exactly the same population as the parliamentary consitutency. So exactly the same story as the EU elections.

Editado: Jun 3, 2019, 3:54am

>33 sirfurboy: - it depends on how you look at the vote. If you look at the graphic in the article - - on who won which areas in England the Brexit Party won virtually the whole country (in Scotland the SNP did win the whole country. Scottish (& NI) voting patterns mean that the more pro-Brexit figures in England are skewed a little. In the original referendum Leave won England by almost 7%).

If the Brexit Party were to win the Peterborough the big question is what do the Labour Party do next? Do they decide that it's time to accept a deal, possibly even a re-heated version of the May one, or do they push for a second referendum? This highlights the problem with the FPTP system, even if the polls say Remain are stronger than ever it doesn't really matter because Labour may come to conclusion that in order to win a general election they can't risk losing seats in strong Leave areas. (Although I'm still not convinced that when push comes to shove in a GE that people will not vote for one of the big parties).

Editado: Jun 3, 2019, 6:27am

>35 Jargoneer: Yes, no one denies that the Brexit Party Ltd won a third of the vote, topping the poll across most of England. The point Mitch Benn makes is that as they are a public limited lobbying company with no manifesto and a single issue to vote on. They won one third of the vote and had fewer people voting for them than signed the revoke Article 50 petition, which lays bare the claim that a majority of people want to leave on those terms. There was no single party single issue remain side in the election so any analysis of the results has to recognise that. The point I made is that the BPL only marginally increased their 2014 vote share, whereas pro European parties (Green and Lib Dem) have increased by a lot more.

You are right to express caution about what would happen in a general election. The European elections use a form of proportional representation, whereas we have FPTP in the national election, as you say. Furthermore, many people - and especially europhobes - treat European elections as a protest vote, because they are unaware of what their elected representatives do in Europe. They are less likely to do that in a national election. In a general election, the best projections, based on data from the European elections is that the BPL could maybe gain 15 seats in parliament - which would be a lot more than they ever managed before (UKIP only ever returned one MP) but still fairly insignificant.

The analysis is here:

Look at table 2.

I am not sure Labour can be pushed to accepting a deal with the Conservatives. They know they face electoral carnage if they end up being blamed for allowing a conservative Brexit through. Think of what happened to the Lib Dems when they allowed the Conservatives to ramp up tuition fees (introduced by Labour). It is not the party that messes things up that loses most - it is the party that betrays its voters by allowing the other party to mess people up.

Labour will support a deal that is Brexit on their terms. The Conservatives won't go with that for the same reason. It is an impasse, and the only solution is a general election. What manifesto will the parties fight on? Well Conservatives will probably go with hard Brexit, and Labour will probably be forced to go with a People's Vote. To go with a Brexit manifesto will see them suffer huge losses, and their polling confirms this.

Also, the "leave areas" thing is a bit of a myth. It assumes people don't move on the issue. The Left Wing (LEXIT) side is wherepolling shows there has been the largest collapse. LEXIT voters are the most likely to have moved to remain. Even in leave areas, the best chance for MPs to be re-elected is, in almost all areas, to stick up for a people's vote. That is likely therefore to be the Labour manifesto position.

Ago 10, 2019, 1:19pm

So, what's happened since the last flurry of messages in early June?

6 June. Labour held Peterborough in a by-election, but hardly covered themselves in glory: Labour (30.9%), Brexit Party (28.9%), Conservatives (21.3%), Lib. Dems (12.3%).

20 June. The fourth and fifth ballots of Conservative MPs for the leadership of the party, eliminating Javid and Gove, and forwarding Hunt and Johnson to a ballot of the party membership.
It's pretty pointless speculating whose were the two spoilt votes in the fourth round and the one spoilt vote in the fifth, but I'd guess David Davis, the 'Brexit bulldog', was responsible for at least one.

23 July. Result declared of the ballot of the c.160,000 members for Leader of the Conservative Party: Johnson (92,153), Hunt (46,656), spoilt votes (509), turnout (87.4%).

25 July. Parliament goes on holiday until 3 Sept.

c.28 July. Johnson and his ministers start calling the Northern Ireland backstop the "undemocratic backstop", and refuse to meet with the EU until it is abandoned.

31 July. US congresssional leaders warn there would be strong bipartisan opposition to any UK trade deal that threatened the 1998 Good Friday agreement, and the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Which sort of encapsulates the backstop. The UK can't have terms for US hormonal beef, chlorinated chicken, broccoli with added neurotoxins, and neonicotinoid soybeans - all very much banned in the EU - and all the other benefits of a "no leverage" (Larry Summers) US-UK trade deal unless the border between the Six Counties and the Twenty Six Counties remains as frictionless as, say, between Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

1 August. The Lib. Dems win the Brecon and Radnor by-election on a cross-party Remain ticket: Lib. Dems (43.5%), Conservatives (39.0%), Brexit Party (10.5%), Labour (5.3%).

8 August. Government chief of staff cancels all leave for government advisers until 31 October.

Halloween, 23:00 (BST). "Brexit Day II: Do or Die".

Anyone still inclined for a little gentle banter, or are too many "million-to-one" chickens coming home to roost?

Ago 10, 2019, 1:34pm

Whenever you're in a tight spot, try to imagine yourself marooned on a beautiful desert island... Be on the look out for things that make you laugh. If you see nothing worth laughing at, pretend you see it, then laugh.--(The Little Book of Calm, via Black Books)

Ago 10, 2019, 2:12pm

>38 LolaWalser: On which note, with my fascination with all things Ransome, I'm currently listening to pieces by Cécile Chaminade on YouTube. In Picts and Martyrs, ch. 18, the Great Aunt sets some piece by Chaminade as a summer holiday task:

Nancy: ". . . And then came tea and after that we had a dose of Chaminade . . . just as bad as reading . . . you know . . . getting the time wrong. . . . 'Please Ruth, those two bars again.' . . . 'Ruth, you must try to remember the difference between a minim and a semibreve.' . . . 'Ruth! Andante does not mean Staccato any more than Piano means Fortissimo.' . . . 'Ruth!' Ugh! . . ."

I'm not in the same league as the Great Aunt, so I've bet my youngest to get her to work up a "dose of Chaminade"!

Ago 10, 2019, 2:44pm

Ha, I should look for that. I've only read that first Swallows book.

I have a lovely disc of Chaminade's songs with Anne Sofie von Otter...

Ago 10, 2019, 3:36pm

I was getting so continually and severely exasperated by UK politics that I decided to ration the news. I stopped looking at newspapers, listening to the radio or watching any telly where I'm likely to get a news bulletin, and now I just spend an hour or two every Sunday catching up. I feel so much better for it.

One of the last straws was reading this BBC article:

In his second chart there's a little pustule of information that the author didn't address. If you look at it carefully, you'll see that there are 1% of the electorate that support the Brexit party and want to remain in the EU. I did the arithmetic and that's 457,000-odd people who claim to support the Brexit party and claim to want to stay in the EU. Words quite literally fail me. Can't get my head around it and can't think of anything to say about them (nothing that's not obscene, anyway).

Ago 16, 2019, 3:23am

>41 alaudacorax: I expect that result is an anomaly. The source is given as a selection of polling companies, so this is aggregate data from various polls with differing questions, and each poll is a small sample. 1% could also be rounded up.

I used to do Yougov polls years ago. They paid a pittance and asked so many unrelated questions in each poll that I took to randomly clicking to get through the things. I thus treat such polling with some scepticism.

If a few people answered a question wrong by accident or carelessness, or one or two misinterpreted a question, or the pollsters misconstructed a poll with leading or ambiguous questions, you would get a few Brexit Party PLC supporters saying they want to remain. This might get rounded up to 1% but in no way implies there are 457,000 such people in the country.

What is sad, of course, is that there are so many supporters of the extreme right Brexit Party PLC in the first place. (And they *are* extreme right. That is the grouping they sit with in the EU parliament).

Ago 28, 2019, 9:11am

Welcome to Banana Republic Britain. It turns out it's not really the EU that Johnson and his cronies don't like, it's democracy. I was going to write more but I've been summoned to the Ministry of Love.

Sep 5, 2019, 2:58am

If the Brexit coverage doesn't win BAFTAs for Best Drama and Best Comedy it will be a disgrace.

Sep 7, 2019, 6:43am

I read somewhere that the BBC Parliament viewing figures have gone through the roof this week.

Sep 7, 2019, 10:37am

Perhaps like the Roman circuses of old it's time to bring in the lions.

Sep 7, 2019, 10:49am

It's a zoo already. Even after everything we've witnessed since the referendum, all the howling and rioting still shocked me. And that despicable asshole flaunting his casual nap in your parliament... who elects such characters, why do you still produce such characters...

Sep 7, 2019, 7:54pm

>47 LolaWalser: - The baying and howling is tolerable because that's not a new development. The mother of parliaments has a long and distinguished tradition of exercising government with all the poise of a group of toddlers.

The pajamaed fool having a snooze on the government benches whilst posing as leader of the House is a novelty, and not one that many people here are impressed with. And yet some elements of the press remain insistent that Corbyn and co would be worse at governing than the current circus. These are strange times we're living through.

Sep 17, 2019, 10:16am

>48 pokarekareana: - if Jeremy Corbyn cared about the Labour Party he would have stepped aside. The last couple of years have proven time and time again he is utterly unsuited to the role, with the Tory Party in complete disarray he has managed to take no advantage of the situation and actually go backwards in terms of electability. He probably would be better than May or Johnson but that's like comparing a half-wit with a imbecile. In a time when the country could really do with a great leader we can't even find someone vaguely competent.

Editado: Sep 18, 2019, 7:51am

>49 Jargoneer: "In a time when the country could really do with a great leader we can't even find someone vaguely competent."


LOL! Neither Britons nor Americans (of the United States) would even recognize a "great leader" if one was staring them in the face.

Instead, they have they have " 'clown' government" and, with it, the political mess they deserve: puny, pretend-leaders--and yet, even so, thus far, Boris Johnson has actually demonstrated a certain amount of rather plain old common-sense in negotiating tactics and strategy and, in the process, shown up--though not necessarily intentionally--Theresa May for the incredibly incompetent idiot that she was and is.

Britons and U.S. Americans, behaving like the moral infants which so many of them are and long have been, allowed themselves to be seduced by very clever wealthy interests to sell themselves and each other out; they allowed the wealthy organized interests to take a battered and broken-down democratic order and hock it at a pawn-shop. In return, they (these publics) got the political equivalent of $1.08 (USD) or about 87 pence (GBP) at current exchange-rates, and they blew that on candy and soft-serve ice-cream and video-games.

In the realm of public and private high-finance just as in the political realm, supposedly very bright people have shown themselves to be morons. But the general publics, which these charlatans have left holding the bag, have proven themselves even bigger chumps.

In Britain, there was a public referendum held on the matter of Britain's keeping or renouncing its membership in the "European Union" treaty organization. Instead of respecting the clear result--more than a million votes separated those voting "remain" from the majority which favored "leave"--and thereby strengthening the meaningfulness of a rather thread-bare democracy, millions of Britons proved themselves political spoiled-sports, refusing to respect, honor and defend the ballot's outcome.

In the U.S., something of a similar political significance happened when Donald Trump was elected president of the United States (under the long-standing terms of the Electoral College system) and a bit less than half the adult electorate immediately flew into a hysterical fit and undertook to undermine their political order, their Constitutional order and their electoral order all from an insane drive to get rid of Trump no matter the cost to the nation's political institutions or what remains of the 'social fabric'.


fom the fucking piece-of-shit Financial Times (London) :

"Martin Wolf: 'Why rigged capitalism is damaging liberal democracy' :
'Economies are not delivering for most citizens because of weak competition, feeble productivity growth and tax loopholes' " (

Editado: Sep 17, 2019, 12:24pm

>50 proximity1: You rather duff up your own argument when you say these two opposing things:

1. Britons should have accepted a once for all decision won by a bare majority, that had no legal or constitutional significance (as it was a "consultation" in law) and should thus leave the EU without revisiting the question at any point - because it was a majority decision; and

2. Americans should accept a *lack* of a bare majority support for Donald Trump, because the majority support had not legal or constitutional significance, as the US president is elected by an electoral college.

In one case you argue that the majority rules, regardless of what the constitution says. In the second case you say the majority does *not* rule because of what the constitution says.

So which is it? It can't be both.

I think you may be demonstrating your own biases here.

Editado: Sep 18, 2019, 12:42pm

"Aidan O'Neill QC, the lawyer for the group led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who brought the Scottish case to court" ( ---

is hunched over a table rambling on in a bizarre monologue which leaves one wondering how and why it could be that a panel of high court judges have the time or pateince for such stuff.

No lawyer would dare stand before the U.S. Supreme Court and attempt such a "walk-in-the-park" ramble. Nor would the Justices sit still and allow such a waste of their time. Instead, points are made by direct and brief application to the facts and their relevance to controlling law--arguing why or why not there is such relevance, etc. What a farce! (This right here is a fine example of why governmental power-relations ought to br set out clearly in a written "constitutional" founding-document. The government's legal counsel, Sir James Eadie, QC, (that is, defending Prime Minister Boris Johnson's act adjourning Parliament), is sitting at a table just to the right of Aidan O'Neill--struggling to stay awake. He had to stifle a yawn!)

This is sheer grand-standing, playing to the viewing-audience at home (or office).

Insomniacs, save your money! Download and play U.K. Supreme Court hearings' lawyers' statements to the bench. You'll sleep.

Sep 24, 2019, 9:48am

>52 proximity1: I didn't recognise your characterisation above, but to this:

'This right here is a fine example of why governmental power-relations ought to br set out clearly in a written "constitutional" founding-document.'

Today's ruling does show that our system works without such a document. The ruling is another textbook example (literally) of how the British constitution actually works.

Editado: Sep 25, 2019, 6:35pm

I don't think today would count as a good day at the office.

Sep 27, 2019, 5:29am

I see they have possibly found a loophole in the act- let us hope they block it soon and whilst they do it possibly make a legal requirement to ask for a fifty year extension to Article 50

Sep 27, 2019, 8:44am



Dic 3, 2020, 11:45am

1624 days since the advisory referendum, and with 28 days still on the clock until the activation of "the easiest trade deal in history" (or 32 days until it kicks off in earnest, if you discount New Year's Day and Saturday and Sunday the 2nd and 3rd as slack days), what have we learned?

In some cases, not a lot.

In others, "let's add another couple of dozen tins to the cupboard now rather than later".

Dic 4, 2020, 1:03pm

>57 Cynfelyn:

Shh! Don't start the b*****s hoarding again ...

Dic 11, 2020, 4:54am

10101 days to Global Britain.

10101 days until Johnson is "dead in a ditch" (assuming he is a man of his word), and the Northern Ireland/Great Britain Irish Sea border is built "over my dead body" (always assuming he is a man of honour).

10101 days until we can start cashing those £10,100,110,111,001,001,001,110,000,000 cheques.

Dic 11, 2020, 5:45am

Yeah, I'm getting ready for another miserable year. Putting efforts in the Electoral Reform Society and Make Votes Matter as the only way forward for us (unless we can borrow Jacinda from the Kiwis).

Dic 11, 2020, 6:32am

>60 sarahemmm: She'd do nicely. Or AOC. Heck, I'd settle for Angela Merkel. Anything instead of these Eton-"educated" jingoists, with their over-developed sense of entitlement, poorly-developed attention spans, shambolic, cack-handed lack of competence, and their cronies and enablers.

Dic 11, 2020, 7:03am

>60 sarahemmm: >61 Cynfelyn:

The big problem is the UK papers, and not just the red-tops anymore. They do not just enable those people cynfelyn describes but actively act as cheer-leaders as they egg them on to further idiocies.

Dic 31, 2020, 6:00pm

Well, that's it. Midnight Brussels time, and we're out. Some would have us believe it's bright, sunlit uplands from now on.

The Brexiteers had best go to the front of the queue to collect their unicorns, as they own what happens from here on in.

Abr 10, 9:21am

After having ruined the future of the country by Brexit Johnson and his cronies have displayed total incompetence through the Pandemic. The only exception is the vaccine rollout but probably that was inevitable as even a stopped clock is right twice a day

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