Well, that’s it. Without the danger of No Deal, she has no leverage, so no strategy was going to work until the deadline was looming. Hence all her delays.
I think you’re correct. And - as is obvious - there are so, so many people (including 308 MPs) who still don’t grasp the consequences of Brexit. Which is perhaps not surprising, because - of course - no one can predict with certainty what is going to happen with the complexities involved in the situation and the uncertainties of the future.
That being said, there are some things which are obvious:
- Trade with EU, with which the UK runs a huge trade surplus, will suffer; there is, quite simply no way to negotiate a better trade deal than the current. Also, the UK is going to be screwed in whichever trade agreement is made. The EU has all the aces: time, expert trade negotiators, and greater economic power; and it won’t be afraid to use those muscles. The UK is going to get screwed either way, but “no deal” is the absolutely worst-case for UK trade negotiators, as it gives them zero leverage to work with.
- Industry that has the majority of its sales to the EU will relocate. That can be staved off - possibly - but the consequence of doing so would be billions of pounds of tax relief to compensate the companies for the losses they’ll take in trade duties, so either way the UK is screwed out of billions.
- The London financial services sector is going to lose out big-time. It is as strong as it is, thanks to the EU, and it will suffer irrespective of the type of Brexit; and there is literally nothing the UK can do to compensate that loss.
And all those guaranteed negatives should really be more than enough to give anyone pause.
The problem is that it’s not as obvious to people that the benefits they think they’re getting are either “maybes” or plain just don’t exist. For example, the sovereignty that @draxen thinks the UK is getting, which is just hilarious. The EU is, by a humongous margin, the UK’s biggest trading partner. Trade (esp services) require a common rule book; which means, de facto, the EU rule book. Which means UK industry will be forced to follow literally thousands of EU decrees and regulations (all the ones they already follow, plus a few extra piled on as various EU countries exploit the UK’s weakness), with the big difference post-Brexit being zero ability to influence that legislation. The UK is basically gaining sovereignty to do exactly as the EU dictates.
As Sir Rogers points out, the only thing that the UK is really gaining (and for which it is willing to throw everything else overboard), is the ability to close the UK’s borders to immigrants they don’t want.
It’s hard to understand how people look at that equation and can still think “Leave” makes any kind of sense, but it just goes to show that the world is 50% full of:
- Racists (i.e., those who think it is worth it, no matter the cost, to keep the foreigners out).
- Optimists (i.e., “it looks bad, but we survived two world wars, we’ll survive this”)
- Truthers (i.e., the alternative “I feel my facts are better than your facts” crowd).
This and @Mark_Weston’s posts are very good, thanks. And it looks like Tusk is (perhaps) trying to help May pass her deal, by signaling acceptance of a long delay; which is sure to encourage Brexiters to try to avoid any delay request.
I can’t help feeling that 4 years is nicely calculated to guarantee that there has to be a general election and a new UK government before the next deadline expires.
But you’ll be able to confirm the will of the people! Despite two years of Tory mismanagement, Walter Mitty ERG, MPs who don’t understand a representative representative democracy. I thought all Brexiteers loved the will of the people but then as i’ve been told time and time again over the l ‘I just don’t get it.’
Somebody that is having fun at the moment is John Bercow:
He may not get to go the ‘other place’ but I’m sure that there are lots of ERG MPs would currently like to see him in hell.
For those not paying close attention Mark Francois is that MP who complained he wasn’t going to be bullied by Germans as ‘my dad is bigger than your dad and he fought in WWII’ and had a staring contest with Will Self after we discovered that he couldn’t pass an 11 plus English Comprehension test.
Let’s get Farage and another batch of EU hating kippers in there, I’m sure that’s going to make the EU run better, they can team up with the liberal EU hating politicians that are sure to join and really make a mess of the whole thing.
Some excellent points above.
I’d be a little less castigating about the 308 MPs. The bill they were voting against had just been amended from “don’t leave without a deal on 29th March” to “never ever leave without a deal”. Still seems a reasonable thing to vote for, but the government position was to vote it down and they were whipping (out of desperation afaict), so Tories voting for the motion were putting their jobs on the line. I’m very happy enough of them decided to approve it anyway. I’m pretty sure the unamended bill would have passed by at least 200.
Or as The Independent put it: “Theresa May planned to defeat herself, then decided not to defeat herself by defeating herself, then lost. To herself.”
Heh. A Danish news anchor talking about yesterday, basically apologized “It’s not on purpose that we’re making it this confusing, dear viewers - that’s just how it is.”
I love Sabine Weyand’s quote (EU’s deputy chief negotiator): Voting to rule out no deal, she said, was “like the Titanic voting for the iceberg to get out of the way.”
It’s fun to laugh at, but it is missing the point. Motions rejecting a “no deal” exit are Parliament expressing its wishes to her Majesty’s government, not some kind of attempt to change reality.
No, I think the point is Parliament offers no clear alternative. No deal is inevitable without some alternative, and voting against it while failing to coalesce around something else is, well, risible.
Edit: It’s of a kind with pretending that an open NI border is somehow compatible with exiting the customs union / common market, while offering no explanation of how that would work other than waving one’s hand vaguely in the direction of unspecified ‘technical’ solutions. The whole thing is an exercise in failing to come to grips with the essential problem: That Brexit is premised on false promises that can’t be met.
No, I think you’re missing the constitutional point I was making, and the nature of the communication that’s happening between Parliament and HM Government. Parliament is not negotiating with the EU, and doesn’t have an opportunity to build alternative plans or negotiating positions because in general Government sets the agenda for Parliamentary business.
Parliament is instructing the government as to what is an acceptable outcome, and it’s the government, in its negotiations with the EU, that’s being asked / told to achieve it. And we all know that the government does have options it can use to achieve that outcome (article 50 extension, withdrawal of article 50 and reconsideration, changing its own negotiating position, etc).
Your second para just seems to be more generalised anti-brexit sentiment without any relation to the point we were actually talking about.
Edit: Also, there’s the simple point that they haven’t actually finished. It’s not like they voted no to “no deal” and moved on to something else.
No, I grasp that point quite well, but think it is irrelevant to the question of whether many MPs should be mocked. Those MPs seem able to say only what they do not want (e.g. May’s deal or no deal or canceling Brexit), not what they actually do want. And there are mechanisms by which Parliament can wrest control of the agenda from the Government, which I know because people have been pointing at them for weeks, if not months. If someone has a better answer for an achievable deal than May’s deal, they are sure keeping quiet about it.
Yes, that’s fair, but the likely outcome is they’ll ask for the can to be kicked down the road a bit.
There was massive Russian interference and half the basis of getting people to vote for Brexit was lies (the red NHS bus). I don’t know how you can call it “Democracy” when the foundation of this movement was built on deceit.
Yes. You can’t put major policy votes to referendum if you allow the vote to be swayed by Big Lie tactics, and if you don’t work against foreign propaganda. Conditions for a corrupt vote were put in place by the Conservatives and tacitly supported by Labour. The whole thing was a disgraceful farce arising from a Conservative party power struggle that Labour thought it could exploit. Since a new referendum would be subject to the same conditions including a generation of know-nothing voters whose ignorance was encouraged by successive elitist governments of both parties, there’s no point to it at all.
I’m glad you agree the EU treaties are undemocratic.
Not that that’s a categorical condemnation of them, but the fact that there’s no way to change or get out of an EU treaty short of:
a) Exit, or
b) Unanimous agreement of all EU states
Does rather point out the fundamentally undemocratic nature of the entire enterprise.
(on further consideration most of the effect of EU treaties is in terms of delegating powers up to the EU, which are then wielded in a quasi-democratic way through QMV and Europarl. It’s still all deeply unsatisfactory though. The only real fix is much tighter integration and a true European demos, but the national populations don’t want that. So it is what it is).
Don’t you see that if the elites weren’t so intent on sabotaging Brexit (mainly to ensure freedom of movement for the lizard people) they’d conduct a proper negotiation with Jerry and the Frogs, who when faced with genuine British resolve would be so terrified of losing trade access to Britain that they would give Britain a deal that is just like membership, except no free movement and Britain can make independent trade deals with other countries.
I think the problem is they are being widely represented as having some kind of legal force, whereas really they are “would you kindly try to prevent this thing we do not like”.
Since you’re talking about constitutional points it’s important to remember Parliament does not have the power to instruct the government. Parliament is advising the government of its preferences (which may be highly relevant when in comes to what legislation parliament is willing to pass).
Parliament does of course have the power to remove and replace the government, but that’s a whole different ball game.
Quite. The endless denunciations by the fringe of May as a some kind of traitor in league with Tusk are just baffling to me.
OK, yes, I was compressing the truth. “Instructing” in the sense expressing a preference backed up by the threat of a) blocking the government’s own agenda and b) asking the Crown to appoint a new government, neither of which look theoretical at this point.
That is itself a process determined by representative democracy. It’s like saying Alabama can’t change Federal law so Federal law is undemocratic.