Brexit, aka, the UK Shoots Itself


Today’s Brexit idiocy, the UK government is throwing a tantrum because various UK cities won’t be allowed to be the European City of Culture in 2023. You know, the competition that is only open to EU/EFTA member states.


It’s like they expected Brexit would mean they get all of the benefits of being a member of the EU without any of the responsibilities.


Wasn’t that the explicit pitch by pro Brexiters?


🇬🇧Operation Cake🇬🇧

  1. Have it
  2. Eat it too

  1. Have cake.
  2. Throw it away.
  3. Eat it?
  4. £350m for the NHS


As an American, with our regularized (at least in theory) elections and our written constitution, I’m used to the idea of being able to undo a bad political decision. Here in California, legalized marijuana was voted down a couple of times, until recently it was voted in. Also, there’s a good chance that next year, Congress will change parties and that will have a major impact on many things, including attempts to undo much of the harm Trump has wrought.

I don’t know that much about the details of the UK system, but is it possible to undo (or redo) the Brexit vote? I mean via democratic and constitutional processes per the UK system. If it is possible, then what would have to happen?


Theoretically possible, but a) politically and practically very difficult, and b) entirely at the whim of each individual EU 27 member state and the European Parliament.

Realistically, to actually undo it, we’d have to have a second referendum, have it go leave, have the government acknowledge that result, and then go cap in hand to the rest of Europe and beg them to let us back in.

Much more likely, but still alas not very likely, the government collapses, an election is called, Labour wins on a manifesto of customs union or similar, and we get EEA membership.

Basically the Tories fucked us twice by first calling the referendum, then doing the article 50 notification before they had a clue what they wanted, how they were going to get it, or even what the implications of Brexit were.


From my perspective, this is the single most incompetent political act ever performed in modern history. There have certainly been worse things done, but they have mostly been deliberate. Brexit was an accident committed by a government that didn’t want it but which reckoned not with the extent of a) popular hatred for its policies, and b) treachery of its leading members.


Referenda in the UK have no legal status, they are only advisory. As such, the UK government remains free at any time to disregard the outcome and to petition the EU to accept them back.


Indeed, but the Tories have staked their fragile existence on the populist uprising they didn’t realize they were provoking with their stupid vote, and so the entire leadership has pledged to obey. And Corbyn is also in favor of soft brexit, because of some combination of bitter ressentiment, plain stupidity, and possibly legitimate distaste for the European style of corporatized state.

So the only way Brexit can be canceled is if there’s a snap election and somehow the maligned, marginal Liberal Democrats go from nothing to an outright majority. For which there is a snowball’s chance in hell.


It’s weird, when did Tories in particular start caring about popular mandates and the will of the people? The UK system has always been a fairly anachronistic take on democracy that very much hearkens back to enlightenment thinkers.


When they realised they were finished as a party if they didn’t push it through.


The Northern Ireland/Ireland issue is still huge and contentious. I don’t know how this will be resolved. If this is stopped (and I doubt it will be), this will be the cause at this point.


I don’t think there’s that much respect for the result, just a practical realization that due to conditions on the ground this thing is going to happen now, it’s just a matter of who gets to be in the drivers seat. For it not to happen would require changes to how the UK views the EU that are incompatible with the time schedule. Or changes to the EU that many (most?) other EU countries would probably not be okay with.


That’s a bit of an oversimplification. Only a minority of Tory MPs were ever pro-Brexit, and whatever losses they suffered to UKIP would have been quickly recovered when UKIP imploded - single issue opposition parties with no organisation/structure do not last.

Aside from that, Ireland twice voted down binding referendums on EU treaties.
Twice the referendums were re-run, and they passed handily with increased turnout and without the baggage as being seen as a vote on the party in power at the time.

Similar happened in Denmark over the Maastricht Treaty.


The Conservatives panicked when UKIP started stealing tiny percentages of their votes and it looked like Labour would roll over them. Brexit was 50% internal infighting from Gove and Johnson, 50% pandering to the far right to reclaim UKIP votes. No one expected it to succeed, not Cameron, not May, not Gove, and not Johnson. And certainly not Farage. But then they didn’t expect to win the preceding general election either. In that respect they are eerily similar to the GOP.


Cameron announced the referendum almost 2 and a 1/2 years before the 2015 election. It was a sop to the minority of backbenchers who were causing him a headache at the time, in the knowledge that a Brexit referendum would never succeed and it would be ultimately harmless.


Brexit, aka David Davis shoots himself.


The text now also says the UK will stay in both customs union and internal market for the time of a transition period, which includes the whole acquis (the body of EU law) and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. While that has always been clear to the EU side, it will be made explicit in the summit resolution “to avoid any ambiguity,” according to one diplomat.

Spelling out what transition means also include making it explicit that the UK will have no representation in any EU body or agency, “neither as a member nor as an observer,” the diplomat said.

I seriously don’t understand what’s even going on with the Brexit thing any more.

If I’m reading this right, is the case that the UK is still effectively in the EU for all intents and purposes, but now just has no representation in any of its governing bodies?

So… just straight up worse for the UK, from any possible measure?


The EU has zero incentive to make it any other way. They have to show that trying to leave is very bad.