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  #51  
Old 09-05-2019, 04:36 AM
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But "The Piffle" Johnson can get his general election if and when the "No No-Deal and further extension" bill goes through, as it now appears it will - because Labour will vote for an election in those circumstances. So why try to obstruct the bill?

One assumes HM's fountain pen is ready filled and primed for the weekend. Of course, if he were to go and advise her to refuse assent, she'd be in a position to say that the fact of his doing so, especially since his own choice to expel 20+ of his own MPs, rather suggests he's lost the confidence of the Commons: how does he propose to demonstrate otherwise, or should he or the Speaker advise her to send for someone else to have a go?

Whether an election will actually resolve anything is another matter. Chances are it will still be a narrowly - and deeply - split electorate and no solid majority in the Commons. And what sort of Tory party will emerge from it - who knows?
  #52  
Old 09-05-2019, 04:45 AM
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But "The Piffle" Johnson can get his general election if and when the "No No-Deal and further extension" bill goes through, as it now appears it will - because Labour will vote for an election in those circumstances. So why try to obstruct the bill?
Given the abandonment of the fillibuster maneouvres in the Lords, this does seem to be the tactic - let Labour pass the bill and move swiftly to a pre-Oct 31 election, running on a platform of: Labour "surrendered" to the EU iwth their anti-democratic shenanigans, only I, the mighty Boris, can beat the EU but you have to give me the power in Parliament.

On the other hand, if you're committed to No Deal then running the risk of a Tory majority in mid-October seems unwise. Better to hang on until at least mid-Oct to ensure that No Deal is avoided and then have the election. The downsides to this is that it gives the Tories 6 weeks of pre-election campaigning about how you're cowards afraid of the judgement of the British people; the upside is that you get a similar amount of time showing Boris as weak, ineffective and incompetent.

It's a hard call, but I tend to think that once the election is happening a campaign based around "They wouldn't let an election happen" isn't going to be very effective, so I'd probably favour keeping Johnson twisting in the wind for as long as possible.
  #53  
Old 09-05-2019, 04:57 AM
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Given the abandonment of the fillibuster maneouvres in the Lords, this does seem to be the tactic - let Labour pass the bill and move swiftly to a pre-Oct 31 election, running on a platform of: Labour "surrendered" to the EU iwth their anti-democratic shenanigans, only I, the mighty Boris, can beat the EU but you have to give me the power in Parliament.
John McDonnell is now floating that royal assent might not be enough, and that Labour might want to "go long" on the date of the election.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 09-05-2019 at 04:59 AM.
  #54  
Old 09-05-2019, 05:12 AM
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Labour's avoidance of an election seems somewhat hollow. A bill put forward to override the FTP rule and hold the government to a specific date would hold just as much legal weight as the current bill to rule out a no deal Brexit but that option is not being put forward by anyone.

In any case there is no way of completely avoiding a no deal Brexit short of revoking article 50 (which this bill does not do) The E.U. will now simply call our bluff because they've seen our cards. They will indeed be hoping for a revocation, as they have wanted all along.

Labour, by not allowing a GE and seeking to rule out the threat of a no deal have ensured no possibility of any meaningful renegotiation by any future government and at the same time shielded themselves from the implications of that. I'm not sure where the deviousness and political positioning ends and the incompetence or cowardice begins.

Boris may be a clown but he is dead right on one thing, ruling out a no-deal ensures you have to put up with what the other side offers and if they offer you something they know is unpalatable to you then you are fucked.
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Last edited by Novelty Bobble; 09-05-2019 at 05:13 AM.
  #55  
Old 09-05-2019, 05:49 AM
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Boris may be a clown but he is dead right on one thing, ruling out a no-deal ensures you have to put up with what the other side offers and if they offer you something they know is unpalatable to you then you are fucked.
But what could they possibly offer that would be worse than No Deal? There are no potential trading arrangements that are less favourable than basic WTO, no potential citizens rights agreements that are worse than "none", no potential Irish border deals worse than "full hard border", no potential data sharing agreements that are worse than "you can't"; no potential nuclear material management agreements that are worse than "that's your problem", no potential joint counter-terrorism approaches worse than "we're not telling you".

This Institute of Government explainer makes interesting reading. On pretty much every issue involving shared standards, the UK government says it will recognise EU regulations unilaterally; the EU says it will institute a full inspection regime. This is a clear indication of which party is worried about failing to get a deal. No Deal isn't the fall back option that stymies the EU, it's the threat the EU uses to get a deal it wants.

If the UK's position is "we're going to stick with the status quo until we get a deal we can pass" that's a much stronger position than "we're going to put you in a position to shaft our trade, security and health".

Last edited by Stanislaus; 09-05-2019 at 05:50 AM.
  #56  
Old 09-05-2019, 05:58 AM
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From that explainer, here are the points that directly compare UK and EU response to current deals evaporating in a No Deal scenario.

The border
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The UK has committed to continuing to recognise most EU standards for goods to ease their transit into the UK. However, the EU has said it will check imports from the UK as it would imports from any other non-member, putting major burdens on businesses.
Agriculture, fisheries and food
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The government has said that it will continue to allow EU-approved agri-goods into the UK after a no-deal exit. But UK exporters would need to get approval before being able to export any product of animal or plant origin to the EU. After that, they will face greater checks than now and will have to pass through a border inspection post.
Health
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The government will continue to accept EU-approved medicines and medical products. The EU has said that UK companies will need to re-register their medical products in the EU to continue to sell them in the Single Market.
Transport
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Increased border checks at EU ports will potentially cause traffic delays in Kent, while UK hauliers and coach companies will no longer be able to serve the EU market. The EU has only put in place limited and temporary measures to mitigate road transport disruption, and many of these will expire at the end of 2019.
Law and justice
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The UK cannot recreate the EU’s existing cooperation mechanisms on its own: it will have to rely on outdated or less secure methods to work with EU counterparts, as the EU’s tools are only for member states or countries with special agreements.

Sajid Javid, then Home Secretary, wrote to his counterparts asking for contingencies to be in place – there has been no move from the EU to agree these.
The UK is looking for ways to get around the implications of No Deal; the EU is ready to enforce them. No Deal is not negotiating leverage for the UK.
  #57  
Old 09-05-2019, 06:16 AM
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But what could they possibly offer that would be worse than No Deal?
From a point of negotiation it doesn't really matter. The worst case scenario for both the UK and the E.U. may well be a no deal (that is very much open to question) but if either side takes it off the table they are fucked and the other side has them over a barrel and can offer a deal that maximises their own benefit.

I assume that you wouldn't recommend the E.U. start their negotiations by saying a "no deal" is not an option?

I think it is true to say that the UK has potentially more to lose from a "no deal" than the E.U. does. That doesn't mean that the E.U. loses nothing with a "no deal" and by the UK taking it off the table completely it means that the E.U. can now draft a deal that ensures they lose as little as possible, that is so obviously the case that it beggars belief that anyone can think otherwise.

I do wonder whether people failing to see this have ever actually negotiated before. Try walking into a car dealership and stating upfront that you will not accept walking back out without a vehicle no matter what. The other party has to believe that your commitment to walk away is credible otherwise you are walking out with shitty 1998 hyundai and paying 20k for the privilege.
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  #58  
Old 09-05-2019, 06:24 AM
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From that explainer, here are the points that directly compare UK and EU response to current deals evaporating in a No Deal scenario.
All the things you mention involve additional administration and hassle for the E.U. as well, extra checks and administration don't happen by magic. Not to mention that continuation of the frictionless movement into the UK suggested is not guaranteed if a no deal scenario occurs. It doesn't just hurt one side.
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  #59  
Old 09-05-2019, 06:38 AM
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From a point of negotiation it doesn't really matter. The worst case scenario for both the UK and the E.U. may well be a no deal (that is very much open to question) but if either side takes it off the table they are fucked and the other side has them over a barrel and can offer a deal that maximises their own benefit.

I assume that you wouldn't recommend the E.U. start their negotiations by saying a "no deal" is not an option?
Well no - as I said, I think No Deal works very well for the EU as a threat. Clearly, so do they.

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I do wonder whether people failing to see this have ever actually negotiated before. Try walking into a car dealership and stating upfront that you will not accept walking back out without a vehicle no matter what. The other party has to believe that your commitment to walk away is credible otherwise you are walking out with shitty 1998 hyundai and paying 20k for the privilege.
But there's a massive difference between this analogy and the EU/UK negotiations. In the car dealership analogy, my walk away position is the status quo. I get back in the car I drove to the dealership in and drive away, no worse off than I was before I came to the dealership. That isn't what No Deal means. It is not a return to the status quo. It is, in the analogy, setting fire to my current car. Pointing to that burning wreck and saying "I'm quite prepared to drive off in that" isn't credible. And credibility is what counts.

No Deal is such a catastrophe that it's not credible for the UK to suggest they'll accept it. We've seen this. The Withdrawal Agreement is widely believed to be bad for the UK; the EU have been given plenty of opportunities to renegotiate it since March and have declined them all. Clearly, they're happy with it. And while this deal was being made, the consistent rhetoric of May's government was that No Deal was better than a bad deal. If that were a credible threat, the EU would have given the UK more of what it wanted. It didn't. It called the non-credible bluff and got the deal it wanted.

Last edited by Stanislaus; 09-05-2019 at 06:40 AM.
  #60  
Old 09-05-2019, 06:55 AM
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But there's a massive difference between this analogy and the EU/UK negotiations. In the car dealership analogy, my walk away position is the status quo. I get back in the car I drove to the dealership in and drive away, no worse off than I was before I came to the dealership. That isn't what No Deal means. It is not a return to the status quo. It is, in the analogy, setting fire to my current car. Pointing to that burning wreck and saying "I'm quite prepared to drive off in that" isn't credible. And credibility is what counts.
In the analogy the walk away position is to return to other modes of transport that other people use, some of which are the equivalent of a burning wreck and some are not. The E.U. currently don't think we are willing to take the bus or cycle.

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the consistent rhetoric of May's government was that No Deal was better than a bad deal. If that were a credible threat, the EU would have given the UK more of what it wanted. It didn't. It called the non-credible bluff and got the deal it wanted.
Which is exactly my point. They don't believe we mean it and so are free to craft the deal very much in their favour.

Remember, "no deal" is not an existential threat to the UK. The evidence for that is the existence of countries that sit outside of the E.U. and still manage to come to alternative arrangements and not descend into anarchy and a mad-max wasteland.
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  #61  
Old 09-05-2019, 07:13 AM
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Remember, "no deal" is not an existential threat to the UK. The evidence for that is the existence of countries that sit outside of the E.U. and still manage to come to alternative arrangements and not descend into anarchy and a mad-max wasteland.
That does not follow. You yourself keep making the "unprecedented" argument about Brexit. None of those other countries have left the EU and none have had such an abrupt change of interaction with the EU without time to put appropriate policies and infrastructure in place. None have an issue similar to the Irish border; few have a sizable portion of the country already close to having a majority demanding independence as Scotland is. No deal is a very real existential threat to the UK.
  #62  
Old 09-05-2019, 07:23 AM
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Which is exactly my point. They don't believe we mean it and so are free to craft the deal very much in their favour.
Right. If they don't find it a credible threat, then it doesn't matter if Parliament has officially taken it off the table. It didn't mean anything when it was on the table so it doesn't mean anything to take it off.

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Remember, "no deal" is not an existential threat to the UK. The evidence for that is the existence of countries that sit outside of the E.U. and still manage to come to alternative arrangements and not descend into anarchy and a mad-max wasteland.
1) Things can be disastrous without being an existential threat. If your bar for considering a deal acceptable is "won't technically destroy the UK" then you would presumably accept literally anything else no matter how shit. I don't think that's your actual position. Also, I haven't referred to No Deal as an existential threat, nor used the terms "anarchy" or "mad-max wasteland" so while I appreciate hyperbole as much as the next man I'd appreciate it if you applied it to your arguments rather than mine.

2) "Manage to come to alternative arrangements" is doing a lot of work here. No Deal is precisely the absence of alternative arrangements. The EU is the UK's major trading partner; there are no countries, bar perhaps North Korea, that don't have trade agreements with their major trading partners. No Deal means in the first place that there will be enormous short term disruption (which the government believes will lead to food shortages, mass culling of lambs and deaths) followed by... a long period of negotiation with the EU to "come to alternative arrangements". Going back to the analogy, we are in the end going to buy a car. We can't not trade with the EU, and we can't do that indefinitely without a FTA. So all No Deal does is give us short term pain and put us back a the negotiating table thoroughly over a barrel. The idea that we could put ourselves through that mill and realistically claim we were basically in the same position as Indonesia just doesn't fly.
  #63  
Old 09-05-2019, 09:10 AM
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Right. If they don't find it a credible threat, then it doesn't matter if Parliament has officially taken it off the table. It didn't mean anything when it was on the table so it doesn't mean anything to take it off.
They don't think it is credible because right from the start the U.K. didn't committ to no deal being an option. That is the problem. No deal should have been the starting point. To do anything else and to show so publically that the parliament was a remain parliament meant it was doomed from the start. It was weak and the E.U. knew it.

The only way to get the most beneficial deal was to mean it from the start. That is absolutely the iron rule of any negotiation. Don't get involved in any negotiation that you aren't willing to walk away from. It sounds glib and simplistic but that's becuase it is.
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  #64  
Old 09-05-2019, 09:36 AM
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They don't think it is credible because right from the start the U.K. didn't committ to no deal being an option. That is the problem. No deal should have been the starting point. To do anything else and to show so publically that the parliament was a remain parliament meant it was doomed from the start. It was weak and the E.U. knew it.

The only way to get the most beneficial deal was to mean it from the start. That is absolutely the iron rule of any negotiation. Don't get involved in any negotiation that you aren't willing to walk away from. It sounds glib and simplistic but that's because it is.
But the point is that the UK could never put itself in a position where the threat to walk away was credible, because No Deal was such a colossal shift in its relationship with the EU,and had so many negative short term ramifications, that the only way to make it seem like an actual option the UK might pick would be to spend a minimum of 5 years investing a fortune in preparation. Even if a government committed to doing that, the politics of saying "We won't submit A50 for the next five years because our negotiating position is too weak" just don't stand up. May would have been slaughtered by the right of her party and Farage's lot and utterly monstered in the press if she'd attempted such a thing.

Parliament made a massive error in allowing A50 to be submitted before the UK had worked out its negotiating strategy. Pretty much everything that's happened in the negotiations and in UK Brexit politics since then has simply been the consequences of that decision playing out. But given that it did make this error, legislating now to avoid No Deal in 8 weeks time is exactly the right thing to do for the country, because we're not prepared for it.
  #65  
Old 09-05-2019, 10:26 AM
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But the point is that the UK could never put itself in a position where the threat to walk away was credible,
So we come back to the point that, if you don't think it is ever possible to leave the E.U. then at what point was that line crossed and why are you not outraged that there was no referendum to endorse such an irreversible change to the country?

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Parliament made a massive error in allowing A50 to be submitted before the UK had worked out its negotiating strategy. Pretty much everything that's happened in the negotiations and in UK Brexit politics since then has simply been the consequences of that decision playing out.
I agree we should have taken our own sweet time to work out what we wanted to do and how and only then invoke article 50. Corbyn, the dense shit, wanted to invoke it the day after. Astute political mover that he is.

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But given that it did make this error, legislating now to avoid No Deal in 8 weeks time is exactly the right thing to do for the country, because we're not prepared for it.
At this point there is a pretty large of chunk of the country that would happily vote for a no deal or revoke the whole thing and the recent electoral results back this up. They at least have the benefit of being decisive and final. If the "no no-deal" passes and an election looms then the agony continues. I don't see a decisive end absent an article 50 revocation or a no deal.
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Last edited by Novelty Bobble; 09-05-2019 at 10:28 AM.
  #66  
Old 09-05-2019, 10:27 AM
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Parliament made a massive error in allowing A50 to be submitted before the UK had worked out its negotiating strategy. Pretty much everything that's happened in the negotiations and in UK Brexit politics since then has simply been the consequences of that decision playing out. But given that it did make this error, legislating now to avoid No Deal in 8 weeks time is exactly the right thing to do for the country, because we're not prepared for it.
But No-Deal Brexit happens on Oct. 31 regardless of how often they vote that No Deal can't happen. The only alternatives are:

1) Withdraw Article 50, which nobody will suggest because then they'd have to admit they made a mistake;
2) Vote for May's Deal, the only one on the table, which they've already voted down seventy-bajillion times;
3) Ask for, and get, an extension from the rest of the EU.

"Just insist that no deal can't happen and hope the universe aligns" is not a viable option.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:48 AM
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So we come back to the point that, if you don't think it is ever possible to leave the E.U. then at what point was that line crossed and why are you not outraged that there was no referendum to endorse such an irreversible change to the country?.
That's not what I think. We could have left in March if hard-core pro Brexit fanatic MPs from the ERG had voted for May's deal instead of against. Their votes were decisive in defeating the bill. But for them, we'd be out. If May hadn't set her contradictory and stupid red lines, we could have had cross party support for a soft Brexit EEA deal and been out by now. It's very possible to leave the EU. What's not possible is to leave and keep all the trade benefits of remaining. That self evident truth has been the case since 1975, when we had a referendum. But even if we hadn't had a referendum, I wouldn't be outraged because referendums are anti-democratic exercises in dodging accountability and need to be avoided at all costs.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:54 AM
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But No-Deal Brexit happens on Oct. 31 regardless of how often they vote that No Deal can't happen. The only alternatives are:



1) Withdraw Article 50, which nobody will suggest because then they'd have to admit they made a mistake;

2) Vote for May's Deal, the only one on the table, which they've already voted down seventy-bajillion times;

3) Ask for, and get, an extension from the rest of the EU.



"Just insist that no deal can't happen and hope the universe aligns" is not a viable option.
Yes, and Parliament are currently successfully legislating to force the government to ask for an extension. The EU will agree because the UK will shortly have an election eg create a material change in circumstances. This is a Bill with teeth, not an indicative vote with no effect.
  #69  
Old 09-05-2019, 12:37 PM
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Yes, and Parliament are currently successfully legislating to force the government to ask for an extension. The EU will agree because the UK will shortly have an election eg create a material change in circumstances.
Boris has made it quite clear he will not ask for an extension and, as the bill does not in fact have teeth, nothing will happen when he doesn't. Macron has also made it clear that he will not allow an extension even if one is requested.

So, for an extension to happen, two men known best for their stubbornness and lack of concern for consequences will have to change their minds. That is about as likely as Trump sending a gramattically correct tweet.
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:51 PM
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We could have left in March if hard-core pro Brexit fanatic MPs from the ERG had voted for May's deal instead of against. Their votes were decisive in defeating the bill.
This needs to be repeated over and over and it drives me mad when the BBC interviewers don't challenge hard-core brexiters when they claim that the likes of Ken Clarke et al want to overturn the result of the referendum.


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If May hadn't set her contradictory and stupid red lines, we could have had cross party support for a soft Brexit EEA deal and been out by now.
Yes, again. May was more concerned with keeping her party together than keeping her country together. After a referendum that split the country almost down the middle, for her to tack way over to the right was irresponsible and insane.

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It's very possible to leave the EU. What's not possible is to leave and keep all the trade benefits of remaining. That self evident truth has been the case since 1975, when we had a referendum.
I'm enraged that the pro-Brexit people are still denying this obvious truth.
  #71  
Old 09-05-2019, 03:05 PM
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From a point of negotiation it doesn't really matter. The worst case scenario for both the UK and the E.U. may well be a no deal (that is very much open to question) but if either side takes it off the table they are fucked and the other side has them over a barrel and can offer a deal that maximises their own benefit.

I assume that you wouldn't recommend the E.U. start their negotiations by saying a "no deal" is not an option?

I think it is true to say that the UK has potentially more to lose from a "no deal" than the E.U. does. That doesn't mean that the E.U. loses nothing with a "no deal" and by the UK taking it off the table completely it means that the E.U. can now draft a deal that ensures they lose as little as possible, that is so obviously the case that it beggars belief that anyone can think otherwise.

I do wonder whether people failing to see this have ever actually negotiated before. Try walking into a car dealership and stating upfront that you will not accept walking back out without a vehicle no matter what. The other party has to believe that your commitment to walk away is credible otherwise you are walking out with shitty 1998 hyundai and paying 20k for the privilege.
I don't see the difference, everyone already knows how catastrophic no deal would be to the UK, any real negotiation already starts from the point of understanding no deal is not viable.
  #72  
Old 09-05-2019, 07:23 PM
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Boris has made it quite clear he will not ask for an extension and, as the bill does not in fact have teeth, nothing will happen when he doesn't.
The Bill imposes a legal obligation on a public officer, which is enforceable through court action.

But it probably won't come to court action. A Prime Minister deciding that he is not going to comply with the law is effectively overthrowing the rule of law, the notion that government actions must be lawful, which is a necessary foundation of democracy. Even the present-day Tory Party will find this hard to stomach. The monarch certainly will.

If Johnson find the legal obligations attached to his office uncongenial the proper courses open to him are:

- Peform the obligations, while whingeing about them
- Persuade parliament to change the law, so that the obligations no longer apply
- Resign, and make way for someone who is willing to do the job.

Clinging to the office while refusing to perform the office is not an option and it's absurd to say that there are no sanctions for doing so. He can be compelled by court order to perform the duty; if he defies the order he can be imprisoned for contempt. But political constraints are likely to operate more rapidly than judicial ones; the party will put up with a lot, but it will not put up with coup d'etat, which is what Johnson announcing that he is no longer subject to the law would amount to.

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Macron has also made it clear that he will not allow an extension even if one is requested.
I don' think he has, actually.

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So, for an extension to happen, two men known best for their stubbornness and lack of concern for consequences will have to change their minds. That is about as likely as Trump sending a gramattically correct tweet.
Um, Johnson is noted for changing his mind. About Brexit, to pick but one example.
  #73  
Old 09-06-2019, 04:03 AM
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Very much what UDS said.

Johnson is the guy who was going to lie down in the front of the bulldozers at Heathrow; when it was time to merely vote against the third runway, he didn't even show up. He can put on a good show, but when it comes to doing anything remotely difficult, he caves.
  #74  
Old 09-06-2019, 05:00 AM
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Clinging to the office while refusing to perform the office is not an option and it's absurd to say that there are no sanctions for doing so. He can be compelled by court order to perform the duty; if he defies the order he can be imprisoned for contempt.
I hope you're right about this. I've tried to find out what would happen if he did ignore the bill, I've asked here and elsewhere, and not gotten an answer.
  #75  
Old 09-06-2019, 05:26 AM
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This needs to be repeated over and over and it drives me mad when the BBC interviewers don't challenge hard-core brexiters when they claim that the likes of Ken Clarke et al want to overturn the result of the referendum.
The BBC, and its news division in particular, are now pretty much overrun with Tory appointees. For example, Sarah Sands, the editor of the Today programme since 2017, is formerly of the Telegraph and a friend of Boris; her son and husband are both materially involved in pro-Brexit advocacy work and the current government.
  #76  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:01 PM
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Remember, "no deal" is not an existential threat to the UK. The evidence for that is the existence of countries that sit outside of the E.U. and still manage to come to alternative arrangements and not descend into anarchy and a mad-max wasteland.
A revival of the Troubles -- bombs, bloodshed, fortified police stations, etc. -- sure sounds like "Mad Max" anarchy to me.
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Old 09-06-2019, 03:04 PM
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Definitely not anarchy. If it were then I'm sure people would have name-dropped the Troubles in a famous song about anarchy.
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Old 09-06-2019, 03:23 PM
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Remember, "no deal" is not an existential threat to the UK.
Yes, it is:

If Scotland leaves, there is no more UK. The Kingdoms are no longer United. There will be England and Wales on one side of a hard border, and Scotland on the other, with Scotland being inside the EU and England and Wales being outside of it. The UK was created by the Act of Union in 1707 and it would cease to exist were that to be undone. By Scotland leaving, most likely. Cease to exist means existential threat.
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Old 09-06-2019, 03:24 PM
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For those of us having a hard time keeping score: Who (parties or prominent individuals) are opposed to Brexit, and what are their current numbers? Is there anyone who might plausibly get into power and say "Nope, sorry, Brexit's off, if you want it back, then negotiate a deal first"?
I don't get it. Why hold referendum votes if TPTB can just say "Nope, sorry"? Makes it seem like a suggestion, not a mandate.

Last edited by Ashtura; 09-06-2019 at 03:26 PM.
  #80  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:52 PM
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I don't get it. Why hold referendum votes if TPTB can just say "Nope, sorry"? Makes it seem like a suggestion, not a mandate.
Democracy is not one and done. If the people really want something, they'll elect representatives who will do it. The current Parliament is more recent than the Brexit vote, so it has greater democratic legitimacy than the referendum (which was billed as "non-binding" in any case).
  #81  
Old 09-06-2019, 04:32 PM
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I don't get it. Why hold referendum votes if TPTB can just say "Nope, sorry"? Makes it seem like a suggestion, not a mandate.
It was supposed to be a suggestion, not a mandate, because it was an "advisory referendum."

It's more complicated than that but it certainly isn't as clear as we told you what to do, now do it.

Even Nigel Farage agreed it was advisory (from the cite above):

Quote:
That’s why Nigel Farage, for example, accepts that the referendum result was technically advisory only, but says that “I would now wish to see constitutional change to make referendums binding”.
This might be the only time I've ever agreed with him. It would be too complicated to explain to everyone whether a referendum was advisory or binding, and people have the impression that they're binding, so it would be better to make them binding from now on, and oblige the campaigns on either side to comply by really strict rules, because it's binding and a big deal.

But the rules under which the Brexit referendum was conducted were advisory and very vague. It went ahead pretty quickly and there was still debate about what age to allow people to vote, because there'd been a referendum in Scotland not long before, and the age there was 16.

We don't have a lot of referendums on the UK and almost all of them in the past 40 years have been related to devolution: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involv...eld-in-the-uk/ I'm 43 and had one opportunity to vote in a referendum before the Brexit referendum. For most people in the UK, they'll have voted in one or possibly two since the original EU referendum in 1975, they were old enough then, and if you live in England outside London you won't have voted in any other referendums since then.

They're not a common occurrence and the rules are different for almost all of them.

But the way it was phrased, it seemed like a mandate, which is why people are assuming it was. So Brexiters will feel rightly cheated if their choice is taken away from them even though, technically, they were only meant to try to advise MPs in the first place. Those voters were wrong on a technicality but it's really quite an obscure technicality that it's unreasonable to expect most people to know.

And most of the areas that voted most strongly in favour of Brexit lived in areas where the only referendum they've ever heard about prior to Brexit (a change to the first past the post system, put forward by the LibDems in 2011 as part of their coalition deal with the Tories) got bundled up in a lot of other stuff and was largely ignored.

TLDR: It was advisory, but there are reasons that many voters didn't realise that.
  #82  
Old 09-06-2019, 04:43 PM
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If Scotland leaves, there is no more UK. The Kingdoms are no longer United.
Yeah, I think people are deliberately looking away from the fact that Brexit has the potential to both undo the United Kingdom as "United" by pushing Scotland to split off from England/Wales, and to turn Northern Ireland back into the powder keg it was until 1998 (just 20 years ago). It's not just a risk of some people losing money, the country is at risk of splitting and part of the country is set to become effectively a continuing militarized zone again. This isn't the kind of decision that should be made based off of a single 52% vote that didn't even have concrete proposals for the two options.
  #83  
Old 09-06-2019, 06:06 PM
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Yeah, I think people are deliberately looking away from the fact that Brexit has the potential to both undo the United Kingdom as "United" by pushing Scotland to split off from England/Wales, and to turn Northern Ireland back into the powder keg it was until 1998 (just 20 years ago). It's not just a risk of some people losing money, the country is at risk of splitting and part of the country is set to become effectively a continuing militarized zone again. This isn't the kind of decision that should be made based off of a single 52% vote that didn't even have concrete proposals for the two options.
I don't think that was talked about much in the referendum. And it should have been.

It's not really one country deciding to leave the EU, it's four countries voting, two of whom did not vote to leave the EU, and both of those countries - NI and Scotland - have had major movements to leave the UK for quite a long time. I really can't see how England and Wales can force NI and Scotland to leave the EU when they didn't vote for it. I mean, I can, because it's technically possible and might well happen, but it just doesn't seem right.

Some Brexiters I know think losing Scotland and NI would be great, though. Not for any grand ideas about giving them independence, or any thoughts about the troubles, just getting rid of them because reasons.
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Old 09-07-2019, 05:53 AM
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The shuffling of feet goes on


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Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
IMO Labour is long overdue for a proper leadership challenge. I would have thought they'd reached that particular tipping point long ago, but they flounder on.
Corbyn has the amazing ability to not be able to defeat the Conservatives despite the fact that the latter are seriously unpopular and also divided among themselves. But Labour has a long tradition of not getting its shit together and of being deeply split most of the time. Part of the problem is that a left-wing party has on board just about every shade of option from neo-Marxist to centrist, and divisions are to be expected. Since Corbyn appears to be the former, this puts off the centrist voters who would otherwise vote for the Lib Dems or the local nationalists.

A number of countries are run by coalitions, the best example that comes to my mind is Germany, which has had coalitions for over 15 years now. And that has showed two things; coalitions lead to government by paralysis, and they are often the kiss of death to the junior party because of their association with the senior party, which in Germany has been the conservative CDU/CSU, of which Merkel is the head. The UK has no obvious coalition, since the minority parties are too small to make any difference unless there is a hung parliament, or nearly so. Labour and the Conservatives will never get into bed with one another, and there is no other combination that could form a stable coalition. What makes it harder is that both Labour and the Conservatives cannot agree on a common policy over Brexit, both are more or less split down the middle and in each case the leader tried to skirt the issue by making noises but doing very little. Now BJ comes along, like a bull in a china shop, and tries to curt what he perceives as a Gordian knot. It is not as easy as that.

But since only the minority parties will commit themselves to Remain, the shuffling of feet will continue in the attempt to find a solution that is not totally unacceptable to all and will not cost the major parties too many votes in an election. I assume that BJ felt that strong leadership was called for, and felt he was the man of action to do the job. Others see him as a blundering amateur.
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Old 09-07-2019, 06:06 AM
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I don't think that was talked about much in the referendum. And it should have been.

It's not really one country deciding to leave the EU, it's four countries voting, two of whom did not vote to leave the EU, and both of those countries - NI and Scotland - have had major movements to leave the UK for quite a long time. I really can't see how England and Wales can force NI and Scotland to leave the EU when they didn't vote for it. I mean, I can, because it's technically possible and might well happen, but it just doesn't seem right.

Some Brexiters I know think losing Scotland and NI would be great, though. Not for any grand ideas about giving them independence, or any thoughts about the troubles, just getting rid of them because reasons.
IMHO, the Brexiteers don't think, they just react. I have seen it said that Remainers like myself use logical arguments, such as economics and the possibly of NI going ballistic, and the Brexiteers have emotional argument son the basis of "getting our sovereignty back, without being aware of what is involved, and with no clear idea of what they want. The advisory referendum did not specify how the UK would exit the EU, for obvious reasons, as such a referendum can only be a choice of two options. So the Leavers voted for an exit on unspecified terms. It now turns out that both the consequences and the terms are not what the Leavers thought.

The problem in NI is that a "hard" border will reignite the issue of the division of Ireland, as well as making life more difficult by having a border between an EU and a non-EU country. The Brexiteers, Little Englanders to a man (and woman), did not think of Ireland. Well, most English people don't either, but they are there and the one thing they do not want is anything that could cause a resumption of the Troubles. The EU has financed efforts at reconciliation; will a post-Brexit British government step in and put up the cash? I'm not holding my breath.

NI does not have an independence movement as such; the IRA was (and still is) campaigning for a united Ireland, preferably a Marxist one run by them. The future of Ireland depends hugely on people finally getting over the Troubles and finding that they have more in common with one another than differences, but we are talking about a country that has holds a march every year celebrating a victory in 1690 and the parade takes great delight in going through areas inhabited by descendants of the losers. Not a recipe for harmony.
  #86  
Old 09-07-2019, 06:19 AM
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Yeah, I think people are deliberately looking away from the fact that Brexit has the potential to both undo the United Kingdom as "United" by pushing Scotland to split off from England/Wales, and to turn Northern Ireland back into the powder keg it was until 1998 (just 20 years ago). It's not just a risk of some people losing money, the country is at risk of splitting and part of the country is set to become effectively a continuing militarized zone again. This isn't the kind of decision that should be made based off of a single 52% vote that didn't even have concrete proposals for the two options.
Exactly!
  #87  
Old 09-07-2019, 09:11 AM
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They literally are combing the dungeons of Whitehall looking for a precedent....they doubtless are aware of every single letter on this subject.

Hmm - I see a job opportunity as their Canadian consultant ...
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  #88  
Old 09-08-2019, 07:56 PM
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I hope you're right about this. I've tried to find out what would happen if he did ignore the bill, I've asked here and elsewhere, and not gotten an answer.
Here's a blog by the English lawywer and commentator David Allen Green outlining various sanctions to which Johnson would be exposed if he chose to flout the law.

But to my mind the political penalty for this would probably kick in more quickly than even the quickest legal sanction. The rule of law is a fundamental condition without which democracy cannot survive; even the ranks of hard Brexiters include many people who would understand this, and would be appalled at an attempt to overthrow the rule of law in the UK. If the PM announces that he can pick and choose which laws to observe, and certainly if he acts on that basis, he will be lucky to be still in office by breakfast the next day, and he'll certainly be gone by dinnertime.

Johnson has said that he won't implement the law requiring him to seek an extension. People are interpreting that as an indication that he will resign rather than do so.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:30 PM
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I wonder if there are some in the British estabalishment who wish they had never heard of Ireland.
Everytime the seem to have handled the damn question, it arises. Again.
1798, 1916, 1922, 1968....2019.

No doubt in 2250, the one world government will fall due to the Irish question.
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Old 09-09-2019, 03:37 AM
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Here's a blog by the English lawywer and commentator David Allen Green outlining various sanctions to which Johnson would be exposed if he chose to flout the law.
Thanks, that was an interesting read.
  #91  
Old 09-09-2019, 07:32 AM
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Yes, it is:

If Scotland leaves, there is no more UK. The Kingdoms are no longer United. There will be England and Wales on one side of a hard border, and Scotland on the other, with Scotland being inside the EU and England and Wales being outside of it. The UK was created by the Act of Union in 1707 and it would cease to exist were that to be undone. By Scotland leaving, most likely. Cease to exist means existential threat.
Fair enough, More accurately I should have said that a no deal brexit was not an existential threat to the countries of the UK. Sure, if as a result of such a move the other countries decide on independence then fine. Were they all to leave the UK there'd technically be no UK left but each would survive just fine.

I think self-determination is probably the most important power that a nation has. I supported the Scottish Independence vote and would do so again. Same for Wales and Northern Ireland. Though I wanted to remain I also extend that same courtesy to the UK's relationship with the E.U.
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Last edited by Novelty Bobble; 09-09-2019 at 07:33 AM.
  #92  
Old 09-10-2019, 01:17 PM
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I think self-determination is probably the most important power that a nation has. I supported the Scottish Independence vote and would do so again. Same for Wales and Northern Ireland. Though I wanted to remain I also extend that same courtesy to the UK's relationship with the E.U.
None of this high-flown language means anything until someone tells me how you're going to pull off a no-deal Brexit without violating the Good Friday Agreement and without making the Orangemen and their pet terrorist groups as unhappy as they'd be if Northern Ireland were to be swallowed up by Ireland. Truly a question to vex Gladstone.

(I'm also somewhat amused you didn't mention Cornwall. Or Sealand.)
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:37 PM
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And who will respect the ancient privileges of Kent?
  #94  
Old 09-10-2019, 02:30 PM
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We in the Essex Independence Party will soon throw off our English oppressors and reclaim sovereignty for our beloved homeland.

Dick Turpin on the back of the Twenty Geezer note, Smack My Bitch Up as the national anthem, Russell Brand as King...

It brings a tear of pride to my eye just imagining it.
  #95  
Old 09-10-2019, 02:53 PM
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Russell Brand as King...
Shouldn't that be Joey Essex? I mean...the name alone .
  #96  
Old 09-10-2019, 03:40 PM
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Shouldn't that be Joey Essex? I mean...the name alone .
Oh God, we were rather hoping that knowledge of Joey Essex had been safely confined to the borders of our benighted land...
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:51 PM
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Oh God, we were rather hoping that knowledge of Joey Essex had been safely confined to the borders of our benighted land...
About a year ago I somehow picked up the habit of watching a few UK panel shows on youtube. Essex certainly made an impression. Kinda like a good-natured black hole of thought . I do have to give him credit for being willing to poke fun at himself and his reputation for being vacuous.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:58 PM
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None of this high-flown language means anything until someone tells me how you're going to pull off a no-deal Brexit without violating the Good Friday Agreement and without making the Orangemen and their pet terrorist groups as unhappy as they'd be if Northern Ireland were to be swallowed up by Ireland. Truly a question to vex Gladstone.
So self-determination must take second place to the threat of violence? and High-flown language? it was a fairly standard statement that I'm sure most people would go along with. I try to avoid hypocrisy where I can, I can't be in favour of allowing Scotland or Wales a vote on separation from the UK and not support the UK voting to leave Europe.

If the threat of terrorist violence makes you cringe so, then I'm sure you'd be flat against any referendum on the reunification of Ireland?

Quote:
(I'm also somewhat amused you didn't mention Cornwall. Or Sealand.)
Why?
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:04 PM
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Self-determination sounds like a good idea, until you actually think about it. A nation should be able to decide whether it's independent or part of another nation... except, what counts as a nation? Why shouldn't the people of Essex be able to decide that they should be independent from England? Or the city of Essex independent of the rest of the county? Or one neighborhood in that city? Where do you draw the line?

And yes, formal agreements that ended wars, like the Good Friday Agreement, should absolutely take precedence over non-binding referenda. In fact, everything binding should take precedence over non-binding referenda. That's what "non-binding" means.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:38 PM
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So there should be no nation states, such as the USA, and instead a single World Government? I thought such Utopian ideas went out in the 1950s.

Every person could be their own sovereign, but it should be obvious that there are advantages in pooling sovereignty. The only question is to what degree we share it, and experience seems to suggest that something about the size of what we call countries is the optimal degree. Essex might work, to take you example, but what's the point when it is part of a larger region that is also a viable nation?
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