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Old 10-18-2019, 07:11 PM
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What's going on across the pond (Brexit)?


I hear that Boris Johnson has negotiated a deal with the EU. What's the significance of it? Does this mean the UK is leaving the EU at the end of the month or are there still additional hurdles to clear (a vote tomorrow?)? Is there still a realistic possibility Brexit will be delayed or cancelled?

In short: Someone please help this poor 'Merica-focused Europhobe understand your strange, foreign ways.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:20 PM
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The vote tomorrow on BoJo's deal is pretty much the same as the votes on Teresa May's deals, only with a slightly worse deal. I can't imagine it passing, but you never know.

If it does not pass, the EU will grant yet another extension, in order to give the PM a chance to try to push the deal through Parliament, because we all know the fifth time's the charm, or else to work out some other plan. Or, possibly, say "you know what? You're never going to get it together. Goodbye," with No-Deal Brexit happening in two weeks. Or Parliament can grow a spine and rescind Article 50.

Cynically, I think that Johnson wants a No-Deal Brexit, and the best way of getting one is to lose the game of brinksmanship with the EU, who will forever be his scapegoat for why things in the United Kingdom of England and Wales are shit. What happens in Scotland and NI, I can't predict.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:32 PM
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Or Parliament can grow a spine and rescind Article 50.
Can you clarify this, please.

I don't know much about article 50 but it's an EU law, right? Is there there a corresponding article in UK law or would the UK have to alter its constitution to undo its withdrawal in "in accordance with its own [but now new] constitutional requirements".

Last edited by KarlGauss; 10-18-2019 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:37 PM
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I think "rescind Article 50" is shorthand for "cancel Brexit and stay in the EU."
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:38 PM
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I'm relying on information like this.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:49 PM
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I'm relying on information like this.
Thank you. That was very helpful.

Still, and I may be getting too hung up on the grammar, would the UK revoke Article 50 or simply refuse to adhere to that law? There may be no difference.

Last edited by KarlGauss; 10-18-2019 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:51 PM
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Thank you. That was very helpful.

Still, and I may be getting too hung up on the grammar, would the UK revoke Article 50 or simply refuse to adhere to that law? There may be no difference.
Article 50 is the provision in the treaty that formed the EU that allows a member state to leave the Union. When people talk about the UK "revoking Article 50," it's a shorthand for "revoking their petition to leave the Union as allowed under Article 50." The UK would not actually be changing the law - Article 50 is going to remain a part of the EU regardless of how Brexit works out - and "refusing to adhere to it" doesn't really make any sense in this context.
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:10 PM
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Article 50 is the provision in the treaty that formed the EU that allows a member state to leave the Union. When people talk about the UK "revoking Article 50," it's a shorthand for "revoking their petition to leave the Union as allowed under Article 50." The UK would not actually be changing the law - Article 50 is going to remain a part of the EU regardless of how Brexit works out - and "refusing to adhere to it" doesn't really make any sense in this context.
That makes sense and I think I understand it better now. Thank you.

At the risk of hijacking this thread even more, I'll offer that "to leave the Union as allowed under Article 50" means that it (leaving) must be done according to the constitution of the nation doing the leaving. So I wondered what if any constitutional issues might be raised in the UK, e.g. who, ultimately, makes the call - Parliament, the PM, or even the Monarch(!).
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
I hear that Boris Johnson has negotiated a deal with the EU. What's the significance of it? Does this mean the UK is leaving the EU at the end of the month or are there still additional hurdles to clear (a vote tomorrow?)? Is there still a realistic possibility Brexit will be delayed or cancelled?

In short: Someone please help this poor 'Merica-focused Europhobe understand your strange, foreign ways.
Y'all know we have a Boris Johnson thread that has been focusing on Brexit that is alive and kicking... https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=879601 Lots of Brits there and some good discussions/debates especially in the last 4-5 pages to date.

Last edited by The Stainless Steel Rat; 10-18-2019 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:51 PM
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Y'all know we have a Boris Johnson thread that has been focusing on Brexit that is alive and kicking... https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=879601 Lots of Brits there and some good discussions/debates especially in the last 4-5 pages to date.
The problem with entering some of the Brexit/BoJo threads as a naif is getting a reception along the following lines:
Quote:
There's only so many times that UK posters can be expected to answer the same questions, and it is sub-optimal when new threads are created on what seems to be random whim.
Which I get. But that sort of reply justifies these occasional orphan threads.
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Old 10-19-2019, 04:20 AM
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...

In short: Someone please help this poor 'Merica-focused Europhobe understand your strange, foreign ways.
You know, with 99.99% of dopers, I'd take this as being tongue-in-cheek. But considering your... positions on... various subjects, I'm not so sure.

In what sense are you a "Europhobe" ?
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:47 AM
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Wait, why is the DUP sitting on the opposition benches? I know they’re voting against the government today, but isn’t the confidence and supply agreement still in effect?
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:10 AM
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I thought they did anyway, not actually being part of the government.

The technicalities of the present situation are that

- Johnson has a revised agreement: the House of Commons is debating it in principle today, but
- there needs to be detailed legislation to write its provisions into law and this will take time, possibly (probably?) longer than 31 October
- even if those hurdles are passed, this is only round 1, leading to the opening of negotiations on the future relationship, which will still need a resolution of the NI question among many others
- if those negotiations do not conclude successfully by the end of 2020 then we are again facing a no-deal future.

The core problem is that we are deeply but narrowly divided as to whether we should leave, how we should leave, what sort of future relationship we should have, and whether everything we think we want can be achieved - and this is reflected in the make-up of the House of Commons.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:37 AM
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Wait, why is the DUP sitting on the opposition benches? I know they’re voting against the government today, but isn’t the confidence and supply agreement still in effect?
I would think that the confidence and supply agreement is not in effect any more. The DUP feel (rightly) that they have been betrayed.

Johnson's deal is likely to lead within a few years to Northern Ireland splitting off from the rest of the UK and uniting with the Irish Republic.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:53 AM
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Now that I think about it ever since Boris lost his majority with the last Liberal Democrat defection, it would be pointless to pretend that there is still a confidence and supply agreement in effect and that became even more evident when Boris removed the whip from the rebel Tory MPs. So, there is no point in the DUP sitting with the government
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:35 AM
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I do not even remotely understand what happened today (Saturday). I read the BBC coverage, which attempts to dumb it down considerably, but it didn't help. The vote is delayed until Monday, because... reasons?
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:42 AM
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Wait, why is the DUP sitting on the opposition benches? I know they’re voting against the government today, but isn’t the confidence and supply agreement still in effect?
It's only if a party is part of the government that it sits on the government side. DUP isn't part of the Government.
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:03 PM
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You know, with 99.99% of dopers, I'd take this as being tongue-in-cheek. But considering your... positions on... various subjects, I'm not so sure.

In what sense are you a "Europhobe" ?
It was intended to be tongue-in-cheek.
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:05 PM
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I do not even remotely understand what happened today (Saturday). I read the BBC coverage, which attempts to dumb it down considerably, but it didn't help. The vote is delayed until Monday, because... reasons?
I think the big development is the Letwin amendment. I could be reading this wrong, but basically it looks like it reaffirms the previously passed Benn Act, which requires the PM to seek a Brexit extension to January if he is unable to avoid no-deal before the current deadline on October 31.

I think the fear was that BoJo was going to find an interpretation of the legislation for the current deal that nullified the Benn Act, and would allow him to pursue or threaten no deal.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics...ments-50098128
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:24 PM
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I think the big development is the Letwin amendment. I could be reading this wrong, but basically it looks like it reaffirms the previously passed Benn Act, which requires the PM to seek a Brexit extension to January if he is unable to avoid no-deal before the current deadline on October 31.

I think the fear was that BoJo was going to find an interpretation of the legislation for the current deal that nullified the Benn Act, and would allow him to pursue or threaten no deal.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics...ments-50098128
So they're still counting on an extension, then. The consensus seems to be that they'll get it (I disagree, but I'm a pessimist). What's the end game? Do they seriously think they can do in three months what they could not do in 31?
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:40 PM
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It's only if a party is part of the government that it sits on the government side. DUP isn't part of the Government.
But they used to under Theresa May, I know there was no formal coalition like 2010-2015 between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:41 PM
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The point of the Letwin amendment was to delay approving until the substantive legislation to implement the agreement has passed: what the government wanted was a simple declaratory vote in favour of the agreement in time for the European Council meeting next week. But with the amendment passed, they decided it would be pointless. Monday is the first day the government can actually start to put the legislation through parliament.

Whether Johnson thinks this is a way of getting everything done by 31 October, or whether he's going to obey the law and ask for an extension, or whether he really is prepared to crash out without a deal, or whether he's calculating that the prospect will bring enough MPs to heel, or whether the opposition parties will move to a vote of no confidence to get Johnson out to give someone else a chance, or even get a second referendum..... Who knows?
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:50 PM
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Here’s a good summary from BBC News and shouldn’t be paywalled.

Brexit delay voted through by MPs: What just happened? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-50110214
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:10 PM
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And another good article in the NYT : may be paywalls, although I was able to read it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/19/w...arliament.html
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:48 PM
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So they're still counting on an extension, then. The consensus seems to be that they'll get it (I disagree, but I'm a pessimist). What's the end game? Do they seriously think they can do in three months what they could not do in 31?
I might be misunderstanding Letwin, but it basically says if there's no deal in place, the govt. has to seek an extension. BoJo is trying to get a deal before the existing deadline, and if he gets the EU and UK parliament to pass a deal before then, the amendment won't matter. This basically protects UK parliament from him just going "whoops I had a deal but it looks like I didn't get it in before the deadline - guess we have to crash out".

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The point of the Letwin amendment was to delay approving until the substantive legislation to implement the agreement has passed: what the government wanted was a simple declaratory vote in favour of the agreement in time for the European Council meeting next week. But with the amendment passed, they decided it would be pointless. Monday is the first day the government can actually start to put the legislation through parliament.

Whether Johnson thinks this is a way of getting everything done by 31 October, or whether he's going to obey the law and ask for an extension, or whether he really is prepared to crash out without a deal, or whether he's calculating that the prospect will bring enough MPs to heel, or whether the opposition parties will move to a vote of no confidence to get Johnson out to give someone else a chance, or even get a second referendum..... Who knows?
I think the other thing is that while BoJo was saying to most of parliament that his proposals ensured that a deal would be made, he told the ERG that they would allow the UK to crash out.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:25 PM
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The problem with entering some of the Brexit/BoJo threads as a naif is getting a reception along the following lines:
Which I get. But that sort of reply justifies these occasional orphan threads.
That was me I think, and I apologise. It's been a long old slog, and some of us were just coming off the back of the Scottish indyref too. Sorry for not being helpful on that occasion.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:03 PM
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That was me I think, and I apologise. It's been a long old slog, and some of us were just coming off the back of the Scottish indyref too. Sorry for not being helpful on that occasion.
This actually kinda reminds me of Boris Johnson’s strategy on Twitter and interviews. ‘Let’s just get Brexit done and move on’ I see this as his way of trying to take advantage of the average person who has Brexit fatigue and will agree to anything just to not hear the word again. Johnson may look like a buffoon, but he isn’t.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:21 PM
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This actually kinda reminds me of Boris Johnson’s strategy on Twitter and interviews. ‘Let’s just get Brexit done and move on’ I see this as his way of trying to take advantage of the average person who has Brexit fatigue and will agree to anything just to not hear the word again. Johnson may look like a buffoon, but he isn’t.
No indeed. BecauseI don't think the point has entirely sunk in, among the people who might be responsive to that line, that this agreement isn't "getting it done", it's "getting it started", in terms of negotiating the future permanent relationship, which is so far covered only in outline in the "political declaration" accompanying the withdrawal agreement.

Though I see references to the idea that if those negotiations fail, then a no-deal exit could be entirely possible at the end of the transitional period. Because the Northern Ireland issue will still be there.
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Old 10-19-2019, 05:27 PM
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That was me I think, and I apologise. It's been a long old slog, and some of us were just coming off the back of the Scottish indyref too. Sorry for not being helpful on that occasion.
Not a problem. 'Brexit' is a terribly complex issue made that much more dizzying by its importance and by the pace of its (potential) implementation. So, it's easy for people like me to have all sorts of 'academic' questions while sometimes forgetting that the crisis is real for those in the UK.

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Old 10-19-2019, 05:44 PM
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Not a problem. 'Brexit' is a terribly complex issue made that much more dizzying by its importance and by the pace of its (potential) implementation. So, it's easy for people like me to have all sorts of 'academic' questions while sometimes forgetting that the crisis is real for those in the UK.
I've tried to answer questions in that thread, and will try to here as well. I've also tried to keep factual answers as politically neutral as possible, although that's not easy.
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Old 10-19-2019, 06:33 PM
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The role of Northern Ireland, and of the DUP in particular, has been a major force in Brexit politics. Maybe the major force.

Why did the DUP support leaving the EU in the first place? What was its fundamental concern with the EU? I suspect immigration, religion and 'colour' may play a role but from the little I've read, support for Brexit and the DUP comes from large segments of both its major religions.

Thanks.

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Old 10-19-2019, 07:06 PM
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Why did the DUP support leaving the EU in the first place? What was its fundamental concern with the EU? I suspect immigration, religion and 'colour' may play a role but from the little I've read, support for Brexit and the DUP comes from large segments of both its major religions.

Thanks.
The DUPs main - overwhelming actually - focus is on maintaining the Union with the rest of the UK. I don't think they are all that fussed about the EU as such, it's just that if the rest of the UK goes they want to go to, so as to prevent any possibility of becoming closer to the Republic.

The DUP is extremely strongly Protestant in nature and support. Like, some of their representatives are actual, literal young-earth creationists.

So why are the DUP the dominant NI voice in Westminster? NI as a whole voted Remain, the Protestant population on the whole is much less militant than the DUP etc

Partly it's that Sinn Fein MPs don't take their seats, partly it's because of the collapse of the Ulster Unionist party, but it would need an actual NI resident to explain all that in detail, I think.

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Old 10-19-2019, 07:08 PM
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The only reason the DUP has had such a big role to play is that the previous Government relied on them to have a majority, so they could make a lot of demands. As the current deal shows, that is no longer the case - it ignores the DUP's demands that there be no different treatment of Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, and they are opposed to it.

Apart from that I'm not an expert on Northern Irish politics by any means, but as far as I'm aware support for the DUP is mostly Protestant, and are a strongly Unionist party (as the name implies), they are a right wing party that are natural allies of the Tories, and they presumably strongly prefer to keep ties with the UK rather than have even closer ties with the Republic Of Ireland.

If you're not aware, politics in Northern Ireland is very distinct from the rest of the UK. None of the main parties are present there, either in Parliament or in the (currently suspended) Stormont Assembly. It's also worth noting that the DUP also has a disproportionately large say in Parliament as the 7 MPs from Sinn Féin (the largest Republican party) do not take their seats in the commons.

I hope this answers your question a little bit, although I rather suspect it will just lead to many more. The whole issue of Northern Ireland, its politics, its relationships with the rest of the UK and with the Republic of Ireland, the legal complexities of the border and the Good Friday Agreement, and many other things would probably take a University course to fully grasp, and as I say I don't know all of it by any means.

ETA Or what the Baron said, basically.

Last edited by Steophan; 10-19-2019 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:27 PM
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Extremely informative, both. Thank you.

So people in Northern Ireland who vote for Sinn Fein are really just casting protest votes? Sounds like a recipe for a perpetual sense of aggrievement. But that's just another cog in all this, I suppose.

Trump et al have caused me for the first time in my life to reflect on societies, government, and international relations. As someone who values the inherently stabilizing effect of things continuous and predictable, but is aware of people's folly, I see only instability on the horizon. There is a growing balkanization of the globe now in precarious balance with the EU and what it stands for. Brexit threatens everything.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:40 PM
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So people in Northern Ireland who vote for Sinn Fein are really just casting protest votes?
That's part of it, but MPs do a great deal of stuff outside of Parliament. I don't know exactly how much Sinn Féin MPs actually do, but it would surprise me if they're not representing their constituents in local issues.
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Old 10-19-2019, 07:47 PM
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That's part of it, but MPs do a great deal of stuff outside of Parliament. I don't know exactly how much Sinn Féin MPs actually do, but it would surprise me if they're not representing their constituents in local issues.
They do everything other than swear the oath to the Queen which would allow them to sit in the Commons. They have offices in Westminster, constituency offices etc.

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Old 10-19-2019, 08:09 PM
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The core problem is that we are deeply but narrowly divided as to whether we should leave, how we should leave, what sort of future relationship we should have, and whether everything we think we want can be achieved - and this is reflected in the make-up of the House of Commons.
It's also worth noting how we got here: parliament voted to hold a referendum offering a massive constitutional change it didn't want and didn't know how to implement.

This was an act of madness for which only the Scottish National Party can be absolved of blame.

The idea that a British government could take the country out of the EU in a fairly organised and relatively painless fashion is by no means a crazy one. But for that we would have needed a government with a clear notion of how it intended to do so, and a clear majority in parliament behind that notion. Absent that, no referendum on the matter should ever have been called.

For example, had our electoral system not made it impossible for anyone to break the Tory-Labour duopoly, we can imagine a situation in which pressure for the UK to leave caused coalitions to form between parties on either side of the Brexit-Remain divide. If the pro-Brexit coalition had gone on to acquire a parliamentary majority, the government thus formed could then have set about planning our departure strategy, calling a confirmatory referendum once the approach was agreed upon by coalition MPs. If the public chose not to veto, then the government would have been able to approach negotiations with the EU - and with non-EU trading partners - from a position of considerable strength, and easily move through whatever legislation was necessary to get the deal done.

What actually happened is that parliament called a referendum on a change it didn't want or know how to make, and thus set popular sovereignty - as expressed in a single yes/no vote - over and above its own, undermining the very foundations of democracy in our country.
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:32 PM
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Had our government been able to negotiate with the EU from a position of solid parliamentary backing, the Irish border question could surely have been resolved long ago.

The biggest difference between the May and Johnson deals is that the former fucked off the Tory hard right to appease the Ulster Unionist hard right, while the latter did the opposite.

Both were shit and deserved to fail.

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Old 10-19-2019, 08:54 PM
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The future looks pretty bleak.

Our Prime Minister is trying to sell parliament a terrible brexit deal that nobody believes in. He backed himself into a corner to achieve leadership of the Tory party, denying himself the flex he'd need to square this circle.
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Old 10-20-2019, 04:05 AM
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Apparently, he has now sent the letter asking for an extension, as required by Parliament.

But he hasn't signed it, instead he signed an accompanying letter saying he doesn't agree with it.

So there, yahboo sucks and no returns.

But this moves on to even trickier ground. The EU have said that previous extensions depended on some sign of something changing; but if the government won't change its stance, what would be the point of another one, and how could the EU in effect say they'll listen to parliament rather than the government that is still in office? But suppose, as the only alternative I can see, a vote of no confidence, aimed at trying to get another government in office, is tried and fails?
  #41  
Old 10-20-2019, 05:43 AM
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IIRC, Johnson tried to get another election back in August or maybe July. Parliament did not agree to one.

As I understand the situation, there are essentially three sides to this tug-of-war:

1. Brexit no matter what
2. Brexit, but only with a good deal
3. Bremain

Johnson seems to be in bloc 1 and Corbyn in bloc 2. I don't know if the last one has any leader. I also don't know what the relative numbers in Parliament are, but I'm pretty sure that #3 is the largest bloc, possibly even a majority. I think the real problem is that these blocs cross party lines, so it's hard for the members of a bloc to get together and agree to a strategy.
  #42  
Old 10-20-2019, 06:42 AM
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Johnson seems to be in bloc 1 and Corbyn in bloc 2. I don't know if the last one has any leader. I also don't know what the relative numbers in Parliament are, but I'm pretty sure that #3 is the largest bloc, possibly even a majority. I think the real problem is that these blocs cross party lines, so it's hard for the members of a bloc to get together and agree to a strategy.
The LibDems (leader Jo Swinson), SNP (leader Nicola Sturgeon, parliamentary leader at Westminster Ian Blackford), Greens, Plaid Cymru and handful who left either Tories or Labour over the issue, are remainers without cavil, but they together might muster barely 60. The numbers are here.

All but a handful of Labour MPs are in their heart of hearts remainers, so are a fair few Tories, but feel bound by the referendum result, and so the argument has been whether or not to go for a second referendum, or at least to tie down the diehard Brexiteers so that they can't engineer a no-deal exit. Labour has been arguing over whether it's better to go for a general election (hoping for a Labour government) or a second referendum (before or after they hope they could do a better deal).

There has been much talk of a single-issue multi-party alternative government to try to take over simply to push through a second referendum, but it's by no means clear there would be a majority, nor who would lead it, since the LibDems wouldnt support Corbyn for it, although the convention would be that as Leader of the Opposition he should have first crack at an alternative if there is a vote of no confidence.
  #43  
Old 10-20-2019, 10:04 AM
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Trump et al have caused me for the first time in my life to reflect on societies, government, and international relations. As someone who values the inherently stabilizing effect of things continuous and predictable, but is aware of people's folly, I see only instability on the horizon. There is a growing balkanization of the globe now in precarious balance with the EU and what it stands for. Brexit threatens everything.
There's ALWAYS instability on the horizon. And there always will be until we develop the ability to predict the future accurately and in great detail.
  #44  
Old 10-20-2019, 10:18 AM
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There is a YouTube channel, TLDR news, that has a whole slew of videos explaining Brexit and a lot more on what the current PM and his party are doing to try and preserve the "Exit by October 30th, no ifs, no ands, no buts" meme.
  #45  
Old 10-20-2019, 10:55 AM
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There's ALWAYS instability on the horizon. And there always will be until we develop the ability to predict the future accurately and in great detail.
I agree it is obviously the case that the future is unpredictable. Do you think populism and nationalism make war and human misery more or less likely?
  #46  
Old 10-20-2019, 11:36 PM
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Will the UK still exist in a year?
  #47  
Old 10-21-2019, 12:30 AM
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Will the UK still exist in a year?
"The year is 2192. The British Prime Minister visits Brussels to ask for an extension of the Brexit deadline. No one remembers where this tradition originated, but every year it attracts many tourists from all over the world."
  #48  
Old 10-21-2019, 06:10 AM
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Will the UK still exist in a year?
Yes, these things take time, even if the mood shifts decisively towards a break-up.

To go back to the OP, the Guardian has been producing a useful infographic/decision tree on what might happen next, at each twist and turn of events. This morning's is here.
  #49  
Old 10-21-2019, 07:06 AM
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"The year is 2192. The British Prime Minister visits Brussels to ask for an extension of the Brexit deadline. No one remembers where this tradition originated, but every year it attracts many tourists from all over the world."
Ha!
  #50  
Old 10-21-2019, 07:56 AM
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There's ALWAYS instability on the horizon. And there always will be until we develop the ability to predict the future accurately and in great detail.
Calling Hari Seldon...
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