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The Inevitable Brexit Thread (1)

(No, I don't know what's going to happen either.)

This isn't really a blog entry so much as the head of a discussion thread about the constitutional crisis currently gripping the UK, to stop Brexit neepery overrunning the comments on anything else I post here for the next month or six.

(We have: a minority government led by an instinctive authoritarian xenophobe who consistently fails to understand the relationship between the Crown-in-Parliament and the Government, not to mention an issue that has split the British public down the middle and similarly split both main political parties so badly that they're already fragmenting. It's being exploited as a wedge issue by the hard right and by foreign actors and unscrupulous investors who want to asset-strip what's left of the state and then repurpose it as a tax haven (there are signs that the hard left is also interested in the potential for what one might call "disaster socialism", but this is probably over-stated). The issue is also acting as a centrifuge on the Union, because majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland opposed Brexit from the outset—indeed, the third largest party in Parliament, the Scottish National Party, are adamantly opposed, but totally sidelined by the dominant Conservative/Labour factions. And we have a bunch of other splinters under the fingernails of the body politic: the DUP (from the quasi-Christo-fascist right of Northern Ireland) propping up Theresa May, for example. And on the other other side, we have the EU27, who are acting collectively and defensively to defend their stability by enforcing the rule of international law—which none of the British factions seem to understand.)

Anyway. What's happening today? What's going to happen tomorrow? Your guess is as good as mine, so feel free to have at it in the comments!

1283 Comments

1:

The 'Inevitable Brexit' thread.

Oh, I do hope not.

2:

Only partly relevant but ... carrying on from before - an article on a vile predecessor in the USA, whose ideas permeate the "No-Deal" brexiteers.

Let's see:
"No Deal" has been ruled out by Parlaiment ... I think we are going to have to go for an extension, now, with the Commons taking over from May, who appears to be about 95% as stupid & obstinate as Corbyn.
Today's House votes will tell us, won't they - check back into this thread at about 21.00 hrs GMT?

3:

I'll ask a peripheral question, because with all the alarums and excursions a lot of questions not at the center ring of the circus aren't getting any play in the American press.

Have many politicians in Ireland been making noises about reunification? It might be premature to actually propose that - but Brexit sounds like a fine excuse to invite Northern Ireland to arrange something with the rest of the island that lets them keep the benefits of EU membership. A more formal marriage could be discussed later...

Surely "fuck the English" still has some support, yes?

4:

No deal hasn't been ruled by the EU, tho'

'Take back control' has become the emptiest political slogan in history!

5:

This is typical. Just because the british parliament has decided that there will not be a no-deal brexit doesn’t mean that it will become true. British politics is so self absorbed that it doesn’t realise that it has to find a compromise with the EU and it’s 27 member state.
At the moment I can’t see any good reason why the EU should extend the brexit date and it only requires one member state to block the extension.

We live in “interesting times” where many democracies are struggling to remain coherent but what is happening in the UK tops everything.

6:

I reckon they'll revoke article 50. They might get an extension first, they might not, either way it is clear that there's no-one who wants to do anything as risky as form a plan, any plan, and enact it. If nobody makes a decision, then nothing is anybodies fault.
I had initially thought this was some kind of conspiracy-make the worst job possible of "negotiations", then cancel Artichoke 50. Now I fear it is worse-they aren't competent to conspire, this really is the result of paralysis and dithering. Whatever hope we had of negotiating anything with anyone is gone.

7:

Have many politicians in Ireland been making noises about reunification?

Which Ireland do you mean? The Republic, or Northern Ireland? There are two countries that'd have to come to a consensus on unification, after all …

Then it gets complicated.

TLDR: NI is poor and backwards (and small) compared to the Republic. In addition, a chunk of the population are vehemently anti-unification, to the point of guns and bombs and ethnic cleansing: they're drawn from a demographic that is currently just over half the population, but shrinking.

Meanwhile: the Republic has a theoretical commitment to unification in its constitution but no actual politicians want to throw themselves on that live hand grenade.

The Good Friday Agreement and common EU membership without a border allowed the unionists in the North (represented by Sinn Fein and, at the radical fringe, the wellspring of support for the IRA) to pretend they'd got it in all but name: they knew demographics were on their side, and with an open border and dual nationality, why get worked up?

But Brexit implies a border somewhere between the EU and the UK (of which NI is a part), and issues with free movement and citizenship, and kicks away one of the key supports of the GFA.

Nobody (with the questionable exception of one or more senders of letter bombs in the past couple of weeks) wants to re-start the Troubles. But the tensions that led to the troubles are still there and the Tories on the mainland are doing their best to spray gasoline on the cooling charcoal for purely selfish local reasons.

NB: please remember that the Protestant community in NI have been living in Ireland since before the Mayflower set sail for the North American colonies. And they were mainly descended from an earlier wave of Irish colonists who settled in Scotland. Suggesting that if they want to stay British they should re-settle on the mainland will go down about as well as suggesting blue-blooded Bostonians return from whence their ancestors came and give North America back to the native peoples.

8:

The UK public, Parliament and government are hopelessly divided and incapable of making a decision. Normally this would lead to maintaining the status quo but that's not how Article 50 works. I would guess it will be withdrawn eventually (after defenestrating Mrs May) but as you point out there are a number of people (in the widest possible sense, beyond even “corporations are people”) who have massive short positions on the UK and need a catastrophe to cash out. They overlap with the ERG and hope to use obstruction to force a crash-out by default.

The best commentary I've seen anywhere is on the Naked Capitalism blog, specially in the comments section:

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/category/brexit

9:

OK, let's get this out the way top of thread.

I believe that both the Con Party and Liebour have now rendered themselves unelectable for a generation.

As a side note to this, at least one Con minister has said that she considers the SNP to be her Majesty's Opposition in effect if not in numbers.

10:

I reckon they'll revoke article 50.

Optimist.

(I hope you're right, but …)

1. Theresa May is an authoritarian and she's staked her claim to the historical record on A50. To cancel it would be to publicly announce the one substantial plank of her tenure as PM is broken. She won't do it willingly.

2. About 100 Tories and a smaller number of Labour MPs are so adamantly pro-Brexit that if she goes back on A50 she'll split the party, possibly causing the emergence of a new right-wing party and effectively depriving the Conservatives of a governing mandate without Labour support. (Under Corbyn. Not gonna happen.)

3. UKIP is currently in the news due to entryism by the hard right—EDL and Britain First members (actual no-shit jackboot wearing sieg-heiling neo-Nazis) are joining in droves, and the party is swinging towards outright islamophobia. The threat to May from a right-of-Tory party is still there; if enough of her MPs defected to UKIP over Brexit, UKIP could actually become an indispensable coalition partner for her. (Note that the Conservative party has a really bad unadmitted internal racism problem, considerably worse than Labour's antisemitism issue: they're anti-immigrant and especially anti-moslem, so many of the ERG would be right at home in UKIP—it's just a matter of the electoral optics.)

What I'm saying is, the worst case could well be that we see Article 50 retracted … and end up with a UKIP-led government implementing actual no-shit neo-Nazi policies as a direct result.

(NB: I am determined to stop calling those shitbags the "alt-right" and refer to them as what they are. Namely, Nazis.)

11:

(In response to Scott @3)

What Charlie said.

It's probably also worth adding the detail of the unholy alliance between the Tories and the DUP (who are rabidly in support of Brexit despite that fact NI voted as a whole to remain, and the DUP only represent about a quarter of the population).

And the fact that Sinn Fein (the only party with a sufficient number of MPs and loud enough voice) aren't meaningfully opposing the DUP and Brexit, because: 1) They don't take their seats in Westminster for ideological reasons; 2) They see Brexit as the thin end of a wedge that they can use to hammer home re-unification.

As Charlie notes, no one really *wants* to re-run the Troubles, but there are few paths from here to re-unification (or to Brexit, for that matter) that don't include a replay in one form or another.

12:

May is only in power because no-one else is stupid enough to want the job-hence the farce that was the tory leadership contest. She's a walking corpse after her supposed deal has failed to get support. With parliament having rejected no deal, I cannot see any other path. Give it a bit longer for the situation to get as desperate as possible, then someone else can stand on a revoke ticket and get all the credit? Or, May will be forced to take the humiliation of revoking.

Regards UKIP...as it happens, my recently retired Dad has taken up UKIPping, much to our bemusement. At local level, there are quite a few in the party (him included) trying very hard to prevent the entryism you describe-although I suspect they are a touch doomed. We (Dad and I) have some quite lively discussions, although at least it's not as bad as when he started the first Gulf war by morris dancing.

Unfortunately, the issues UKIP bang on about have been merrily festering away for a decade or two, with nobody wanting to take time to work out the delicate, nuanced solution that are required. People enduring these problems have two options: be ignored and slurred by the left, or the sledgehammer extremism of the right. Brexit or not, referendum or not, these were always going to come out at some point, and I'm bloody terrified how it'll end.

13:

As you say, but you are an incurable optimist - unlike me! I have nothing to add on the DUP, except that they are unspeakable boneheads. This isn't really addressed to you, because you know it, of course - though you may disagree with my interpretation.

Sinn Fein have been doing very little - because why interfere when the opposition is destroying itself so effectively? - but their few interjections have all clearly been designed to keep things on the boil.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-47601796?ito=amerika.org&fbclid=IwAR3IxlheRSM5f9SDmmH2Qvl_DyM24rwSWK9Wz3gHH79AAn2FqcErZ3u5qqU

It is pretty clear that at least some people within Sinn Fein (and the 'dissidents') DO want a replay and, as I said a while back, it is probable that Sinn Fein would use No Deal or even May's deal as an opportunity to cause trouble - it's what they do, after all (*). I am not sure why the recent 'bombs' were sent - yes, they clearly were designed to show that there is a lot more capability than is currently being exercised - but WHY? And who are they linked to?

The Irish Times (and even Belfast Telegraph) are extremely concerned, but are playing it down to avoid fuelling the flames. However, the former is better on Brexit than any UK newspaper I can think of(except for some satirists) - e.g.:

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-are-the-english-ready-for-self-government-1.3830474


(*) To the flamer who assumed that meant going around shooting blowing and people up, it doesn't.

14:

Unfortunately, the worst case is that article 50 is NOT revoked, we get a No Deal, the current anti-Corbyn campaign manages to split Labour, and we get a neo-Nazi government led by Conservatives who are indistinguishable from UKIP. And, as when Blair turned Labour into Tory-lite, most of the Conservative party will follow the victors.

This is what I have been dreading for some years now, and it's never faded below about third on my expected results.

15:

I will declare my position as a Remainer (preparing to march this weekend).

Here is my highly optimistic chain of events that might get us out of this mess.

1. Extension of 9 months to a year
EU is fed up with us and wants clarity. Equally it does not want to trigger No Deal.
The short 'technical' extension will lead to nothing more than May forcing weekly votes on tiny variations of her deal.
Hence a longer extension.

2. We finally get an investigation into Vote Leave overspend and Russian interference.
This is probably the optimistic bit since May has sat on any investigation so far. Maybe a Newsnight style documentary might embarrass people into finally looking at this.

3. The original referendum can be declared unsafe by legal process, saving any politician from having to drink that poisoned chalice.

4. At this point we can hold a 3rd referendum, or simply revoke.

16:

A couple of questions from Australia:

1. Given that any conventions of cabinet solidarity and party discipline seem to have gone out the window, is there actually a majority in parliament for a second referendum, assuming mischief makers don't frame the referendum question in a monkey wrenched way?

2. Weirdly, hard Brexit, no deal enthusiast MP's have been very useful in voting down May's deal. Given that polling shows about 55 to 60% current public support for remain, are any of the Brexiteers delusional enough to believe they'd win another referendum?

And yeah, I get that there are ugly issues of dwindling time and Corbyn's preference for forcing an election rather than allowing a second referendum.

17:

"I am determined to stop calling those shitbags the "alt-right" and refer to them as what they are. Namely, Nazis."

I like the term alt-nazi. Makes the point that they're scum, while making a taxonomic distinction between today's internet enabled shitposters, and the knuckle draggers of the 80's or the original 1930's model.

18:

Basically, there's no majority in Parliament for anything. While at the same time, you can find a majority against practically anything.

Everyone "knows" that if there were a second referendum tomorrow, between No Deal & Remain, Remain would win - but we legally and logistically can't schedule a referendum for less than (IIRC) six weeks away, which gives all factions time to prepare, and we know that Brexiters fight dirtier than Remainers.

In addition, nobody can agree on what a referendum should say - there's a significant body of public opinion which explicitly says that "Remain" is not a legitimate political aim any more, and that the only choice which won't lead to Brexiters rioting in the streets is between Unicorn Brexit, Mermaid Brexit, and Eating Turnips In The Dark Brexit.

I figure we'll either end up with a two-year extension and an unsubtle push for a referendum, or an implausible series of Parliamentary shenanigans which will basically involve stepping on a rake, ending up with custard down our collective trousers, and accidentally pratfalling into No Deal, whereupon the country descends into neofeudalist anarchy and the nice Indian and African people in white helmets come over.

19:

I can't be the only one finding it grimly ironic that Brexiteers are fuming at being unable to vote again on May's deal, now that they reckon circumstances have changed. At least they now know how some of us feel about their screams re another referendum being undemocratic!

20:

"...between Unicorn Brexit, Mermaid Brexit, and Eating Turnips In The Dark Brexit."

I was rather hoping for Mad Max Brexit actually. I've not spent 2 years building this fleet of implausibly outlandish, post apocalypse vehicles for nothing you know!

21:

As another long-range observer (albeit with most of my relatives in the UK, so I'm not that disinterested), I confess to being intrigued by the lack of speculation in the UK media regarding the EU's negotiating stance if/when the question of an extension comes up.
I know what I would currently offer. One (but only one) extension, with the UK able (within reason) to freely choose the duration, but keeping the 29th of March 2019 as the Article 50 trigger date.

22:

Charlie Stross @ 10,
Are the SNP currently weighing in to the debate, or are they quietly awaiting events? (There were media pieces here in Australia immediately after the Leave Referendum, which talked about a possible push for another Scottish Independence vote.)

23:

How do you have an extension without changing the leaving date?

I think that you are talking about 'transition'.

24:

Long time lurker, first time poster. (UK resident only about a decade, and UK politics still makes only limited sense to me.)

I have always estimated the likelihood of crashing out with no deal to be quite high. I continue to think it is, because every other path requires people powerful enough and motivated enough to force a change, in the face of forces determined to obstruct it.

Referendum? Clearly would be vigorously obstructed by ERG, and support for it among the remaining MPs isn't visible enough to make me think "oh, yeah, that's got a chance of winning."

Revoke? To me it seems subject to the same problems as calling a second referendum, with perhaps even less support.

Pass May's deal? Would of course require contortions to get it before Parliament again at all. Then require an enormous turnaround among the votes. Then there's the question I've heard raised elsewhere (and which I confess to being utterly clueless about myself), that should ERG later manage to wrest control, can/would they just nullify the deal and leave us in a de facto no-deal situation anyway?

Soft Brexit of some Corbyn-pleasing sort? There'd have to be a plan, an agreement, and political will and power to get it done. How much sign is there of these things? (And again we have the what-will-future-governments-do question.)

Brief extension? I tend to think the same people who've successfully obstructed solutions so far can probably obstruct them a little longer.

Substantial extension? That gets us into the EU election season where our participation in the elections is (AIUI) necessary for the formation of the new Parliament. To me this seems like a bigger opportunity for diehard obstructionists to extend their damage beyond the UK into the EU than it does an opportunity for something damage-limiting to occur within the UK.

Personally I feel quite bleak about all of this.


25:

Listening to a Belgian MEP on the BBC R4 "PM" programme yesterday; he's a member of their Brexit steering group. His take was you could potentially have two extensions:

* A short, one-month extension that would allow the Government to come up with... "A Plan" (presumably one that doesn't involve playing No-Deal chicken through repeated attempts to get May's Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament - but the Speaker has stopped that, it appears), and possibly involving a sequence of indicative votes for potential ways forward.

* A second, longer extension dependent on the resulting plan; presumably "a couple of months to allow a second referendum", or "give us a couple of months to propose 'Norway Plus'", or whatever.

26:

Alex Hewat @ 22,
The main debate is between factions of the Conservative party (and the DUP, who are supposedly supporting the government). Labour, as the official opposition, are significant players, and there are factions within that party too. Smaller parties have little impact on UK parliamentary proceedings; within that limitation, the SNP are contributing to the debate.

If Brexit happens, I expect the SNP to start pushing for another independence referendum immediately.

27:

I'm surprised by the response to John Bercow's move yesterday to stop Theresa coming back again and again with the same piece of paper to be voted on. It was clearly foreshadowed in the previous chapter, when Chris Bryant was asked to present his amendment. 'I don't think I have to,' he said, laughing. I knew then he'd had a chat with Mr Speaker...

But even in Parliament too many people's attention is concentrated on their devices to notice what is going on around them.

One thing not mentioned in your analysis was the influence of the English press. After many decades stoking anti EU emotion with lies and distortions - remember Boris began his 'journalistic' career making up stories for the Telegraph - the majority of print news in the UK is rabidly Brexit supporting. I know Paul Dacre has been replaced as Daily Mail editor by remain sympathetic Geordie Greig, but readers expect and want to be made angry every morning by the machinations of the Evil Empire across the water, so he cannot disappoint them. And I'm not surprised by their response to Mr Bercow.

28:

I'm an American, so I really am approaching this from a place of ignorance, but it's stunning how there seems to be negligible interest in reviving the corpse of the Liberal Democrats, to the point where Remainer MPs are forming an Independent Group rather than joining the only party in England & Wales that has a genuine desire to make EU membership work in the long run. I understand that the LibDem/Tory coalition was disheartening, but haven't the last few years shown that "disheartening" is a lot better than nihilocracy?

29:

Yes. Irish Times, and specifically Fintan O'Toole, have consistently provided clarity and analysis that should put the swivel-eyed British press to shame (if, that is, their prime motive was to inform as opposed to Charlie's oft repeated "selling eyeballs to advertisers").

The only thing that I will disagree with you on is the labelling of the DUP as "unspeakable boneheads". They are hypocritical sectarian corrupt bigots, with a side order of fundamentalist religious zeal, and an unsatisfied yearning for ethnic cleansing.

Sinn Fein are duplicitous opportunists (in regards to Brexit), who are leaving the very people that they should in fact be fighting on behalf of to swing in the DUP/Tory-driven breeze. And wouldn't be above urging their own brand of ethnic cleansing.

I have little time for either.

30:

And for anyone interested in real analysis of the "back stop" or Irish Border issues, google "Katy Hayward" or search for her on Twitter.

31:

Following the ball back and forth on this, it really doesn't seem like there's any Brexit plan, hard or soft, that can possibly get the majority support required to get through parliament. Enough MP's on any side of it are sufficiently entrenched that no compromise will gain approval either.

Corbyn's gambit of support for May's plan with a Public Question caveat seemed to have the highest potential of passing, but only because Labour calculated the response to the Public Question would not confirm the plan, paving the way for even more chaos/general election/parliament takeover of negotiations, presumably lead by Labour.

At this point, no-deal seems a longshot, May's deal or anything like it all but dead, and an extension of A50 ranging from 6 months to a year. Assuming little to nothing changes in the entrenched positions, this sets up what I like to call the Zombie Brexit. There'll be perpetual extensions because relatively few MP's actually want No Deal, and the EU is similarly unwilling to allow No Deal. This will shamble on for years until the hard brexiters decide any brexit is better than none at all, or barring that, a decade or more down the road A50, de facto dead, is withdrawn (a bit optimistic here) Under either scenario, perpetual uncertainty slowly strips the UK of foreign investment and industry. The Republic of Ireland, still enjoying the stability of EU membership, is partially harmed by this economic downturn, but the prosperity gap nonetheless tears open the scab that is the Good Friday Accords, and troubles return as bad or worse.

32:

From the US.

For 40 years or more there seems to be a hit TV show over here that is a derivative of a hit (or maybe not a hit) UK TV show. Typically these are not duplicates but shows where the general theme and feel are made into a US version of the show. (I have no idea if this goes the other way or not.)

Anyway, it sure seems to me that the politics in the US and UK are something like this for the last 3 years. Details are widely different but the themes seem to be the same. Even down to the issue of rules of how government works this month. Plus how while it seems at first glance that the R's should likely get totally walloped in the 2020 elections the opposition in many cases can't seem to find anyone who would poll better than the existing R's. And so on...

So maybe there really is some magical invisible overlord pulling all the strings.

33:

Martin @25,
Thanks. We don't get that level of detail in the reporting here, and there's still a strong element of sheer disbelief regarding Brexit in our MSM.
I suppose I am wondering whether at some point the Europeans are likely to want to definitively slam the door. Presumably the ongoing possibility of a Rescission of Article 50 has very real associated costs for both the EU and UK.

Dave Berry @26,
That's what I would have expected.

34:

I'm an outsider without an appreciation for any of the real nuance, but for the last several months have been saying that I expect the politicians to bumble their way into a no-deal exit on the 29th. Everyone seems to believe in one unicorn or another, and all seem to think that if they believe in that unicorn hard enough, the other side(s) will give up first.

Meanwhile, the clock will run out.

35:

I think what musn't be overlooked here is the UK media. The newspapers and the BBC have done a terrible job explaining the complexity regarding brexit for two different reasons.

1. Murdoch and the other press barons want the UK out of the EU so they can turn it into a tax haven (and also avoid the new regulations regarding money laundering that the UK will have to follow if it stays in).

2. The BBC is so worried about the license fee negotiations coming up its effectively surrendered. We've had Brexiter after Brexiter on the radio, tv, Question Time and no push back over the lies, fantasy or nonsense they spread out. The only things you don't have are remainers, or a discussion over why Article 50 being revoked is an option.

Despite all the paranoia about social media, its these channels that push the debate and its these channels that helped create this mess in the first place. Very few people appear to be aware that it requires all 27 states to sign off on an extension. The loss of sovereignty we get for pulling out of the EU is not made clear.

Hence I predict she'll try for a short extension to again push her deal through, and the EU will refuse it because she hasn't a new plan. Instead they will counter offer for a year and ask the UK to stay in the EU elections in May. At that point she'll do one of two things: a referendum to crash out or her deal, and Parliament will try and get revoking Article 50 on the table, which might fail. At that point she'll either resign or call a general election.

I hope after this fiasco the Social and Liberal Democrats will do better because Labour doesn't appear to be doing much as opposition.

36:

On the other side of the channel, we believe we are ready for any kind of Brexit. 200 new custums officers have been recruited and a whole range of ad campains have targeted businesses to prepare them. The mascotte of these campains was the "Brexit Monster" https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47237371
I would like to know if somthing similar is happening in the UK and other EU countries.

37:

I've been finding the Jon Worth's "Brexit - Where now?" flow diagrams immensely useful https://jonworth.eu/brexit-where-now-the-flow-diagrams/
Even if I might disagree with some of the percentage chances of the outcomes, they really help keep track of the process.

38:

I am not disagreeing with any of your statements about either of those two parties, except that think Sinn Fein are the 'acceptable' face of something rather nastier. I regard the DUP as boneheads as they have often let their bigotry obstruct them from getting their own objectives. Anyway, a pox on both their houses, and May and the Tories for shitting all over the 'peace process'.

39:

Which Ireland do you mean? The Republic, or Northern Ireland? There are two countries that'd have to come to a consensus on unification, after all …

I had meant politicians in the Republic of Ireland, shooting their mouths off for local consumption.

Meanwhile: the Republic has a theoretical commitment to unification in its constitution but no actual politicians want to throw themselves on that live hand grenade.

Ah, comprehension dawns. (I think.) It seemed plausible from a great distance that someone might try to ingratiate themselves with their local voters by making the noises they want to hear, without any interest in how that might play elsewhere or if the ideas are physically possible. If the subject is too touchy to take any position on it, that's a different political animal. Perhaps that's a small silver lining, that there's some part of the British Isles where idiot opportunists aren't breaking things for momentary gain.

Thank you for the useful answer.

40:

I could recheck with my contact, but my understanding is that we haven't started to prepare in some key areas, many others are still in pre-planning (i.e. "What if?") mode, and what has been done has often been just plain cocked-up (e.g. HMS "Failing Grayling" and its cohorts). Crashing out on March 29th would at least have the advantage of forcing the seriousness of the matter to the public's attention.

41:

It's probably also worth adding the detail of the unholy alliance between the Tories and the DUP...

Should I even ask? I mean, it doesn't seem to make sense - but I don't know if an explanation would clarify matters.

Honesty makes me admit that American media barely notices that Ireland exists much less tells us about local politics. A few decades ago the US's coverage of Ireland was about what had exploded where so silence is, perversely, an improvement.

42:

For many in Europe, the context of an extension is really painful.

We're already campaigning for the Euro elections, and on the basis of a redivsion of the constituencies based on the UK not taking part.
If the UK is in the EU on July 1, it needs MEPs for legal validity.

So: unless there is a clear outcome that the UK is completely _out_ by July, the elections need to be reorganised. That is, either "Hard Brexit" or "start from scratch, Norway+ or whatever,complete by July, no further extensions."

But the Backstop stays, non-negotiable.

So most likely by April we redo the EU boundaries to allow for UK MEPs.

Then there is the budget - if there is a re-run of the referendum, etc. or perhaps "Revoke A.50 and start again, if possible", is the UK allowed take part in the budget process in the meantime?

All goodwill is burned, by now.

43:

SS @ 3
Irrelevant, unless you a really militant loonie, wanting to throw bombs.
Remeber Irish (re) unifiication requires a majority on both sides of the current border ...
SEE ALSO CHarlie @ 7

DR @ 5
The EU has an interest in postponing Brexit in theor own self-interest - its horrible for us, mee=rely bad for them ,but, if they can avoid it ...

EC @ 14 - agree (!) - except that a Corbyn-led guvmiint whilst we were out of the EU would be 95% (atr least ) as bad, for the geneal popuiace, certainky - Venezueala here we come ...

WreRite @ 16
No, the brexiteers know that a fairly-conducted 2nd Referendum would see them lose - hebce all the shreiking about "will of the people" - disregarding that voters are allowed to change theor minds at General Elections, why not referenda?
And the last fucking thing we need is a General election ....

Dave Berry @ 26
NO Liebour are as deeply split on brexit as the tories - Corbyn wants to institute Venezuela-on-Thames, for instance, but he can't do that inside the EU

DtP @ 29
YES, depressing, isn't it?

44:

Very few people appear to be aware that it requires all 27 states to sign off on an extension.

I am aware of this and I haven't been stewing in Brexit news nonstop for years.

It does bring up yet another unpredictable factor in a mess that doesn't need any more chaos. What are those 27 countries going to want? Will Theresa May give it to them? Can she be seen at home giving in to their demands? (Figure no nation is holding out for another cup of tea and some more biscuits; they've got the UK cornered and they know it.) It's not so much that this is a problem but that it's a problem people should have known is coming and yet doesn't seem to have been discussed much. One might ask if the current government is a bedlam of lunatics and incompetents, but why beat a dead horse?

For fun, imagine some minor EU nation - Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, whoever - telling May, "We don't care. We don't want to see you back here in six months asking for another extension. Write it into this extension that you don't get another one until you've put the whole leaving question to a popular vote. Oh, you don't like that? Too bad. Bye."

45:

The problem is exactly that "nobody knows".

The British political system is designed to deliver power to a single party, and negotiation happens within those parties, usually behind closed doors. Most of the time, that process has worked (in the sense that governments got things done, and - for better or worse - managed the internal consensus building. It did, of course, create a political system in which consensus building was a party matter, often depending on patronage, threats and deals.

The downside was that nobody really has much experience in building a wide consensus - getting a bunch of party members to agree on something is much less challenging than getting cross-party agreement. Not only that - it creates a fairly black-and-white approach to politics - your party is right, everyone else is wrong. On principle.

There is no obvious solution to Brexit that keeps the Union together and also respects Theresa May's red lines. The issue touches pretty much every aspect of political life, and every political opinion, goal or red line is somehow affected. The political system does not know how to build consensus, and the party mechanisms no longer work because much of this affects matters of principle.

Even if we somehow agree a withdrawal deal before the summer, it's just the beginning. How do we agree what the long-term relationship looks like? Do we accept US chlorinated chicken in return for selling Jaguars into the US without tariffs? Do we allow Indian business travelers into the country without a visa in return for investment in our steel industry?

I think "the Union" is only one element that's at risk - I cannot imagine how we will make all these huge decisions without also affecting the way the UK makes decisions.

46:

It's absolutely fair to ask, but like any question that even touches NI internal politics, the answer goes fractal real fast.

The short answer is that in going into coalition with the DUP (a party that is driven by three forces: extreme British nationalism, religious fundamentalism verging on Westboro Baptist Church levels of nuttiness, and bone-deep corruption) introduced the following red lines to the UK Brexit negotiation:
1) Leave the Customs Union & Single Market, and remove freedom of movement (existing Tory red line).
2) Frictionless border with in Ireland (a second-order consequence of maintaining the Good Friday Agreement and NI Peace Process).
3) No border infrastructure between NI and the rest of the UK (the demand of the DUP who refuse to support any policy that segregates NI from "the precious Union" -- do not ask about all the equality laws that they're happy to be different between UK and NI in the name of religious fundamentalism).

Anyone can see that once you accept item 1, items 2 and 3 are mutually exlcusive. Thus the increasingly desperate and ridiculous attempts to square the circle.

As for how the coalition came to be. I can only suspect that typical Westminster ignorance of the facts on the ground in NI lead the Tories to believe that the DUP would be easy to control and quietly supportive of whatever policies were put forward,. Indeed, from a pragmatic point of view, in mid-2017 a cursory glance would have made you believe that the DUP was closely ideologically aligned with the Tories on Brexit. But the reasons for the DUP support of Brexit are unique in many respects to NI, and a result of both recent politics and the long tail of British/Irish history, and therefore attempting to coral DUP support along the same lines as other Tory MPs failed and continues to fail.

(I have summarized much here. Hopefully it offers a little more insight.)

47:

The DUP objective is actually quite simple: Retain Northern Ireland as their own little fiefdom, run on quasi-theocratic rules.

Success or failure of Brexit is in fact secondary to all this.

If Brexit happens and everything goes to hell, they get to blame Westminster betrayal, Brussels interference, and Irish duplicity (in the person of Dublin and their political opponents in Sinn Fein).

If Brexit is cancelled, they get to blame Westminster betrayal, Brussels interference, and Irish duplicity (in the person of Dublin and their political opponents in Sinn Fein).

Either way they win. Their core electorate is conditioned to see anything good as the result of good old fashioned Britishness, and anything bad as the result of underhand Papish influence. Sinn Fein's agitating for a United Ireland refendum (and more recent anti-union moves) only reinforce this fear. Imagine, if you will, a demographic whose entire self-image and self-worth is bound up in being British -- what happens when that is threatened? What hardships would they inflict upon themselves to save, in their own minds, their very souls?

This is not hyperbole. This is reality for a lot of citizens in NI. Nothing matters but the Union.

As I often quote, these are the people who see only unbending pride in the slogan: "We'll even fight the British to stay British!"

48:

Theresa May is writing to the EU to ask for Brexit to be postponed until 30 June with the option of a longer delay, cabinet sources say. ... More details here

49:

I have a question: would a fresh Brexit referendum that reverses Brexit stick? That is would the Brexiters accept the vote result or would it lead to a "Stabbed in the back" narrative where they spend the next 10 years bitching and moaning about the betrayal and poison British politics completely?

50:

tl;dr of that - After Mayhem blew a comfortable majority in the Palace of Oathbreakers, by calling a General Election when she succeeded "Call me Dave" Scamoron as leader of the Con Party, the only way she could achieve an overall majority and formally request Lilibet's permission to form a government was to agree a coalition with someone, and the DUP were the only party who were:-
1) Prepared to make any sort of coalition agreement with her.
2) Large enough to give her any sort of overall majority.

Larger parties were available, but they all said "Awa 'n' play in the traffic" or words to that effect.

51:

@48

Is it me or does that seem entirely too soon? Sure, it's enough time enough to open a new session of parliament and circumvent Bercow's gambit, but not enough for any substantive change of the negotiated deal. I think it assumes more Tories can be won over on the premise that some brexit is better than no brexit, but that's a longshot. Corbyn's People's Vote amendment might have seen in through with Labour support, but the outcome of the vote would likely just add more chaos, making it a tidy piece of brinksmanship on the part of Corbyn.

52:

You should consider a lot more carefully what a UKIP-lite government would do that Corbyn would NOT do, when outside the EU. No, we would NOT end up like Venezuela under Corbyn, and what Rees-Mogg or similar would do would destroy the UK as a civilised (or even independent) country.

53:

Except that it didn't include what many people thought was most likely, and has probably come to pass: May has asked for a SHORT referendum. My current best guess is:

May goes to Brussels and asks for a short extension, but without giving any coherent explanation of what it is for (near-certain), and is refused, conditionally (probable).

She comes back to the Cabinet and tries to get agreement for whatever demented scheme she thinks will convincthe converse woulde Brussels and (preferably) get her deal through (near-certain), and fails (probable).

She then goes back to Brussels, witters incoherently, but is given an extension until the end of June (just probable).

She attempts to bring her deal back a third time, either by suspending standing orders or obtaining a short proroguement, and it narrowly fails.

She later attempts a fourth time, Bercow says "Sothe converse wouldd off", she attempts to get Bercow removed, and fails.

During this, the Cabinet and Parliament in-fighting continues unabated until late June (probable), when she goes back to Brussels and is refused an extension.

We time out and get No Deal - and May is, secretly, fairly happy.

54:

They're going to cry "betrayal" no matter what.

If they get the Brexit they want, it will be disastrous for the country, and they will happily blame the EU for all the ills they have inflicted. If they don't get the Brexit they want, they will claim that "Westminster elites" betrayed the whole thing.

They're swinging a wrecking ball. They don't care what they hit so long as they're last man standing.

55:

Indeed. The only remark I have is about ENGLISH politics:

You say "Either way they win." I am not sure, because their antics may help to cause the breakup of the UK (via a catastrophic Brexit), when Northern Ireland would almost certainly be cast adrift, at least in terms of support from London. And, if we manage to get a strong Labour government of the sort Greg Tingey claims a Corbyn one would be, they may find that their fiefdom isn't as secure as they think.

56:

Honesty makes me admit that American media barely notices that Ireland exists

In general in the US we don't get much mainstream media coverage of things outside of the US unless there are MAJOR riots, laws that piss us off, or a small war somewhere. Otherwise (pick your typical news source) you might get 3 or 4 stories a week about things in the rest of the world.

Some of us news junkies get more. I try and follow European and China news at a high level. And Brexit has gotten me to dig deeper. But unless it is a paid job who can keep track of all of the EU, much less the world at a detail level?

But since the big D came to power his antics tend to crowd out lots of news that used to be carried.

57:

They're swinging a wrecking ball. They don't care what they hit so long as they're last man standing.

Ditto the US just now. They don't say it in public but the extreme hard core DT supports are mostly there. Except for the ones in self denial. It is a really strange mix.

58:

I personally agree, but I do think that the only final losing move for the DUP is reunification (and even then, if they retained some degree of power and influence, I suspect they may even be happier as an eternal protest party), but I honestly don't think that they believe reunification can ever happen. For many DUP pols and supporters it would be like trying to imagine up was down, to them it is against the natural God-ordained order of things (yet at the same time they still fear it).

59:

By the bye, Charlie, if the IRA in NI needs recruits, they should go to the South Side of Chicago....

In '09, the year I relocated here to DC, I went to the Irish-American Heritage Center for St. Patty's Day (nothing better to do, and music). Other than a friend I ran into, and a friend of hers, NOT ONE PERSON spoke to me. In the evening, listening to music, then a popular band came in (don't remember who), and though I was in front, six or ten pushed in front of me, and stood, blocking my view, and the music and the crowd were so IRA!!!!! that it was hostile, and I finally left.

Btw, a few days later, on the actual 17 Mar, I went to a bar that had a weekly ceilidh, and it was very friendly - a woman even asked me to dance.

But South Side....

60:

You should try Boston some time. :)

61:

Not the answer to the question I thought I was asking, which is really a question for remainers. If Brexit is reversed I do not see anyway that will stop the Brexiters from continuing their campaign and if anything I could see their position getting stronger.

The remain position, seems to me, to hang in there, keep explaining the economic disaster that abruptly leaving the EU is, and hope everyone sees sense.

it seem to me that there is a strong correlation between English nationalism and Ukip and that in 10 years time there could be UKip elected on the platform of England leave the UK and EU

62:

I don't refer to them as alt-right, either. It's either neoNazis, or, as I came up with, all-wrong.

63:

Well, there's the answer: Labor and the SNP should surround Parliament with Morris Dancers. The Tories will run....

At one point, when I lived in Chicago, some friends moved into the area, and I told them I was sure the gangs would be gone, given that they were Morris dancers....

64:

TV shows? There is an answer to the magical invisible overlord. He's been known to wear a red-lined coat, or a long, long scarf, and I *wish* he'd get here to help.

65:

It seemed plausible from a great distance that someone might try to ingratiate themselves with their local voters by making the noises they want to hear, without any interest in how that might play elsewhere or if the ideas are physically possible.

The general view in Ireland (the Republic bit) is that Unification is great in Theory (as Charlie pointed out) but in practice would bankrupt us, or something approaching recesssion a la German unification. A huge fraction of the NI workforce is in the public sector, and we couldn't afford to take on that bill. Most of the population are wary of it in practice.

Now Varadkar (the Taoiseach, or Prime Minister) would have an eye on countering Sinn Fein, making sure they don't grow, but they are the most Unionist-friendly party in Ireland. They much prefer to keep the status quo (peace, with them in power in the South). Prior to Brexit, support for Unification was dropping to near single digits (in NI, and lower in the south). The Good Friday agreement was mostly working: co-operation across the border was making the border irrelevant: e.g. single markets for Electricity, vetinary and phytosanitary security; you could go to a hospital on the other side of the border and 'your government' would foot the bill; the Irish government paying for bits of roads that went through the North, etc. the economic damage caused by the border was being undone. This was in very large part a European success, because those involved on both sides were EU citizens, etc.

A common view here is that, if Brexit is not cancelled, A United Ireland is likely; But in the South its only desirable as the second best option to the status quo. DUP support for Brexit, while understandable (they're looking at slow erasure of the border, undermining the point of N.I. as state), but its snatching defeat from the jaws of victory: better to reign in glory in a sinking brexit than slow, successful government of an economically successful, but secular and "beige" European region.

66:
have a question: would a fresh Brexit referendum that reverses Brexit stick?
The biggest question is: what effect would it have. I know a handful of legal scholars have argued that the UK can reverse its Brexit, but that's an opinion that is based on empty words.

The treaty (and article 50) is what is binding. There are no mechanism in it to cancel an invocation of Article 50. Once invoked, the only outcome described in the article is exit from the EU, optionally with an extension of the negotiations, and optionally FOLLOWED by the leaver rejoining the EU as a new member. Everything in Article 50 except a no-deal Exit requires a full unanimous vote of the 27.

So based on that, it's expected that any reversing of Brexit would be subject to a vote at the EU level... and that starts all the political negotiations based on that. Because if the UK wants to remain, it will have to provide a deal to do so. If Romania wants concessions from the UK in exchange for not voting No, they can. And, obviously, they will, unless major EU powers (countries whose name start with FR or GE) push against every other EU member to keep them in line. I think Hungary, at least, would certainly wring every concession they can from the rest to provide their vote, given that, at the moment, EU wants to punish them for being christian white nationalists.

67:

Fazal Majid: a favor, please. how do you pronounce your name? The letter "j" can be "y", or "h" or "jay"....

68:

This! So much this!!

69:

Has the Commission not already ruled that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50?

70:

Has the Commission not already ruled that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50?

The European Court of Justice has issued an opinion to that effect. That's where the question was going to be resolved anyway, so I don't think anyone is seriously challenging it.

72:

A separate comment from my previous reply.

From the EU side, the Brexit is a major hassle in my specific field. I do RGPD stuff about 1/3rd of my week. I have vetted and guaranteed data sharing agreements in the field of health and human biology research for the last couple years...

... and no one has the slightest idea if any of those agreements will be legal past March 29th (or any extension thereof). I have my doubts.

The RGPD is the legal framework for personal data management across all of the EU, and for anything outside of the EU, requires very careful vetting. In particular, any transfer of "protected data" (health, political, judiciary, etc.) outside of the EU requires authorizations from the regulatory bodies of my country. Authorization that were not necessary as long as the UK was an EU member.

Once the UK leaves the EU, there is no data protection legislation in the UK. Theoretically, on March 30th, any of the health research institution we shared data with can disclose all of our patient data to the public... and there are no laws against it within the UK (they might still face EU repercussions since the outreach of RGPD is trans-national). I can even assume that, legally, they could disclose every patient data FROM the UK itself, unless there are specific UK national laws that supersede the RGPD (the RGPD allows you to do that regarding health).

I'm considering taking a two-three weeks vacation following Brexit so that none of our research teams can ask me to solve that particular problem until someone manages to write a doctrine on this...

73:

Ungainly Titan @ 49
No, they would not accept it, both main parties would split with both extremes moaning on for years about how wonderful it would have been - as happened to the tories after 1847/8 or the Liberals after 1921.
But, they would diminish & fade away, rather like theo other people they remind me of, especially if Rees-Smaug is in the picture: The Jacobites, toasting "the King over the Water" ( Trump or Putin, take your pick )

EC
NO ... Ukip & the people to thje right of them would undoubtedly wreck the countrey, permanently.
So would Corbyn
You STILL haven't got it, have you?
Read a very long post I put up about a week or two back about Corbyn & Liebour, please?

withroth @ 62
Can we call them alt-nazis ( lower-case) PLEASE?

74:

Fianna Fáil (junior confidence-and-supply partner) put out a white paper on how Irish reunification might work a couple of years ago. As far as I remember, it was essentially a proposal for a federal Ireland: keep the North as a semi-autonomous region with its own parliament, but switch the roles of London and Dublin and integrate things like education systems. I'm not necessarily a particular fan of FF, but they have at least been thinking about this a bit and it's the most practical starting point I've heard. On the other hand, their white paper didn't get all that much traction, and probably won't unless a reunification campaign really gets up steam.

75:

I did. I don't believe you. Your hatred of Corbyn is looking like something that needs psychiatric attention. His rule would be bad, I agree, but not compared with what we are likely to get if Labour is eliminated as an effective force.

76:

I first visited Boston in 1996, before the GFA was a thing.

As an English friend remarked, on the same trip, it was a good thing the UK didn't deal with terrorist recruiters the way the US did, or Boston Common would be ground zero for a fuckton of Tomahawk missiles.

77:

There's a simple solution that I haven't seen proposed yet: the Malaysia-Singapore approach.

London is substantially different to the rest of the UK. It's avidly pro-EU and voted strongly for remain. Londoners are 35% foreign-born and on average twice as wealthy as the rest of the UK.

So do what Singapore did - declare independence from the rump, stay in the EU, and build a wall at the M25.

The rest of the UK will object, but it's not like anyone in London listens any way.

(Yes, this is ludicrous, but no more ludicrous than the current cluster fuck.)

78:

London is substantially different to the rest of the UK. It's avidly pro-EU and voted strongly for remain. Londoners are 35% foreign-born and on average twice as wealthy as the rest of the UK.

Except … Scotland is a whole lot more white-bread but voted remain by an even wider margin than London. And Scotland is, overall, wealthier than England-excluding-London. (And note that London is skewed heavily by the hyper-rich.)

What I'd favour is, give London nation-status, then have England (ex. London) and Wales leave the UK and thereby the EU. The rest of the UK gets to stay in the EU. Simples!

79:

@77 & @78:

And Northern Ireland also voted remain by a comfortable margin.

80:

At this point, Scottish independence seems certain.

81:

Sorry, I prefer all-wrong, since it sums up everything about them.

82:

And the map would look like an island with a bad case of mange. Especially if the Welsh stayed in the EU. Ideally also Cornwall, just to make a point.

But spitting the other union seems chancy to me, it's even less likely than all the remain MPs getting together and taking control of parliament. Fundamentally (and we are talking fundamentalists) England has the bomb and London doesn't. Where Singapore is an island and can exert some degree of control over its borders, not through military force but just through sheer "to get here you have to come along this wee strip of land we built", London is not. Imagine all the fun and excitement of the Irish border but happening just outside a London that is desperately trying to persuade all the financial wizards not to complete their plans to leave. "It's safe here, it's fun, you'll like {boom}"

83:

There were some not-entirely-joking comments in the Cambridge area that it would like to secede from England and join Scotland in such a scenario.

84:

Jez Weston @ 77
Some of us Londoners wouldn't mind that, actually, though the "frontier" checks at the two places I most-frequently cross the M25 could be interesting ...
HERE
and
Here, too both looking approximately North or N-E &, yes, the M25 is under the road in the second one - in a massive tunnel.

85:

At this point, Scottish independence seems certain.

HOW?

I don't mean "independent in the far off never-never unimaginable future when unicorns fart peace and rainbows over the isle" because sure, that's going to happen and everyone will live happily ever after now go to sleep.

The dirty mechanical side of scoxit requires a British parliament (snigger) to have a meaningful vote (hahaha, also (1)) on a plan (stop, you're killing me) then implement that plan (oh dear) and manage the conflicting sides (raises an eyebrow) to produce a result that all can accept... I presume King Arthur will break into the British Museum, draw the parliamentary mace from the posterior of a statue of Queen Victoria and things only get more realistic from there.

(1) Can someone explain the difference between a "meaningful vote" and any other sort of vote that your parliament commits? I've just assumed it some sort of weird UK jargon meaning "vote"

86:

I have read numerous explanations for this, and yet I still don't 100% get why someone (Parliament? the British government? the Queen?) doesn't just call a second referendum. Presumably because the Conservative party knows it will likely lose this time?

I gather too that there is some kind of legislation from 2011 that prevents new elections from being run, which would also help things along.

One advantage of a parliamentary system is supposed to be the prevention of deadlocks, and yet Britain seems to have both.

When the Brexit vote passed I thought, "Ha! What a bunch of idiots!" Then Trump happened and I thought, "Well, I guess we are the idiots as well."

87:

"...and things only get more realistic from there."

"I am Arthur, King of the Britons."

"'Oo are the Britons?"

"Well... we all are. We are all Britons. And I am your King."

"Well I didn't vote for you."

88:

Greg @ 84: Those roads aren't exactly the border crossing scene from Sicario, but I'm sure with sufficient concrete barriers and bureaucracy, the M25 can become a festering strip of resentment.

Oh wait...

_Moz_ @ 85: Scottish independence proceeds exactly as it would in 2014. The question is put to a referendum and nobody makes any preparations whatsoever for the outcome, then they get caught on the hop, and then everyone makes it up as they go along.

Hey, it worked for Brexit...

89:

Maybe Article 50 should be amended to include something along the lines of "Stop! Who would leave the European Union must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see."

90:

I can only imagine the stockpiling of canned food and non-perishable medicines proceeds apace, as does the installation of propane-powered refrigerators for the perishable medicines. I am heartily sorry for those of you living in the middle of this, living through it and from my distant perspective have no idea what the future will look like over there.

We seem to be surrounded by waves of craziness all the time now, and I’m not sure if the peaks or the troughs are worse. It seems like they are multiple and overlapping, being out of phase and of varying wavelengths and amplitudes. I’m not sure if it was always like this, and I’ve reached a life stage where these things are more noticeable, or that things are uniquely weird now. Perhaps the craziness was at least more predictable when it was focused, and the bigger brands attracted more people and at least sort of got them in sync. At the moment it’s a sort of turbid, abrasive white noise.

91:

Hello from Greece.

Scott @44: "What are those 27 countries going to want?"

Nobody knows. There are at least three competing answers to the Brexit question in basically every EU member state. In most EU members states, at least two of these factions are part of (or can exert pressure on) the ruling coalition.

The mainstream political right tends to see the EU mainly as a means to promoting free trade, fighting graft, and preventing divide-and-conquer attacks on our economies on the part of the US and China. These people, generally speaking, want the UK to stay because its large GDP contributes materially to EU power and because it has historically been a strong and consistent force for good governance. If you're a fiscal conservative or a classical liberal, you see the clientelism of e.g Italy or Greece and the corruption of e.g. Romania and Bulgaria as one of the continent's main problems, and you want the UK at your side.

The political left is internally divided on free trade and fiscal policy questions but is broadly in favor of deeper political unification. Many on the left want the UK out because it has never really been on board with political unification and has regularly thrown wrenches into the works. Remember that the UK has demanded and received a large number of special exemptions, rebates, and perks that have been damaging EU cohesion in an equally large number of areas. The left is also unhappy about the way the UK has been conducting itself as an extension of the US. If you're a lefty Bulgarian, you don't want to feel like you got rid of the Russians only to be made a subject of a bunch of even angrier, even more foreign imperialists, and you especially don't want to be told it's only for your own good by a bunch of third-party concern trolls.

(Of course I'm oversimplifying here. There are some committed European Federalists on the right. There are some Corbyn-style Euroskeptics on the left who believe the EU too hopelessly neoliberal to be worth it. There are some people who want the UK out temporarily because they think the UK is an immensely valuable contributor but needs to lose its divisive exemptions, rebates, and perks. As a rough first approximation, however, the above is probably defensible.)

The far political right is horrifically complicated and basically impossible to summarize. Generally speaking, of course, the far right dislikes the EU... but:

  • German nationalists (think AfD) don't like the EU, but they also don't like the way the Daily Mail and the Leave campain have been painting Merkel as the second coming of Hitler and the EU as basically the Fourth Reich. (Remember that we can read British newspapers and Twitter feeds even if British can't read ours. Also remember that just because I hate my government doesn't mean I won't get reflexively defensive if I see presumptuous foreigners ripping into them.)
  • Polish nationalists mostly don't like the EU but their more moderate segment is divided on the question and their radical segment has been angry at the Brits since the Betrayal of 1939.
  • Austrian nationalists don't like the EU, but Anglophilia is associated, due to a number of historical accidents, with fuck-the-proles classism and with a branch of authoritarian Catholicism that they've been hating with a passion since the 17th century, i.e. since before they were nationalists.
  • Greek nationalists don't like the EU, but they are very well aware of the fact that British immigrants tend to refer to themselves as "expats", tend to refer to Greek people as "the locals" with a visible sneer, and are somehow capable of spending twenty years on Corfu without learning two words of Greek. Hardcore Greek nationalists also despise the Germans, but they despise Muslims even more and Muslim refugees the most, and they remember who did and who did not support the military adventures in the Middle East that made a million Arabs cross the Aegean in rubber boats.
  • The list goes on.

Bottom line, just because someone theoretically wants the EU broken up doesn't guarantee they won't choose to punish the UK even at the cost of proving the EU correct in the process. (You know you have lost the plot when you have replaced the Germans as the avatar of anti-Slavic bigotry in the minds of a significant number of Slavic people within a whopping three generations of the Generalplan Ost.)

In addition to these ideological divides within each country, there is extra unpredictability due to power struggles between the member states. The current ruling parties in Poland and Hungary have a broad authoritarian streak; they are aggressively undermining the independence of their local courts and universities and are seriously endangering their respective opposition parties' ability to function. The EU looks poised to give these two governments a hard smack across the gob. What if Poland and Hungary decide to use Brexit to blackmail Brussels – leave us alone or we sink your precious deal for good? What if, on the other hand, they go about this clumsily enough to make it backfire?

Anyone who claims they can predict the outcome at this point is more confident than traveled.

92:

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords should be a system of government.

Right now, I'd take it.

93:
Following the ball back and forth on this, it really doesn't seem like there's any Brexit plan, hard or soft, that can possibly get the majority support required to get through parliament. Enough MP's on any side of it are sufficiently entrenched that no compromise will gain approval either.
What he said. A large part of the problem is that the referendum in binary - in or out - while negotiation is basically trying to set up as in on some points and out on others. As others have alluded here, when you get to negotiated specifics, there are probably a lot of folks who'd previously voted exit but would now vote 'remain' rather than taking any of the deals negotiated so far.

What's really needed is a Australian-style ranked preference referendum - stay in, exit with current negotiated deal, or hard exit. "Negotiate a better deal" shouldn't be an option; I think the EU has pretty much put a kibosh on that.

94:

Strange women lying in ponds

I thought it was running through fields of wheat?

95:

Scottish independence proceeds exactly as it would in 2014. The question is put to a referendum and nobody makes any preparations whatsoever for the outcome, then they get caught on the hop

Not even close.

In the run-up to the Brexit referendum, the Leave campaigners put together a whole whopping 35 page prospectus of what they'd do if they won, including graphics of unicorns and rainbows.

In the run-up to the 2014 IndyRef, the SNP published a detailed 130 page manifesto, pointing to about a decade of policy papers they'd already produced. Then the national (mostly English) media Swift-Boated them over what they'd use for a currency (initially a Scottish Pound, pegged to Sterling).

They're not going to make that mistake again: if they get a second IndyRef they'll bury us in draft legislation from the outset. (Only if they win, then the shower in Westminster will do their best to FUBAR the divorce negotiations because a whole lot of English MPs can't cope with the idea of anyone not needing them and will use it as a rallying point for petty-minded English nationalist xenophobia.)

96:

I think the messaging out of EU today has not been fully parsed.

Remember that everything you hear out of EU right now is tempered and muted by the "comity rules" which prevent EU officials from influencing the interior politics of the member countries.

With that in mind:

First: Forget about a short extension, it doesn't matter to EU if it is march 29th, april 29th or may 29th but after that it starts to become a problem.

What everybody heard was that a long extension will only happen if there is a referendum on the May-EU deal or a general election, but most people seemed to miss the bit about this having to come from the Parliament.

Forget the general election, that can be fitted into a short extension, and from EU's point of view, it is unlikely to bring any improvement.

The crucial thing is the bit about the parliament.

The letter May is currently writing about an extension does not carry any weight, until Parliament tells EU what they want to use the extension for.

They voted to have an extension, but they havn't voted for what they want it for.

Second, a long extension will be conditional on UK not using the extension politically inside EU.

At the very least it casts the May-deal in stone, so that UK cannot use veto-threats in the extension period to blackmail a better brexit-deal.

But restrictions are unlikely to stop there, for instance, what if UK is the decisive vote in an expensive long term project ? That brings us to:

Third, a long extension will come with a non-negotiable, non-refundable and expensive ala-carte price-tag.

EU will require that UK pays "any and all" expense related to the extension, which is for UK's sole benefit, and that will include a LOT of "Misc. office expenses."

So it is very hard to see in the first place how any PM, May or otherwise, can bring home a long extension, with the strings attached that "EU insisted on a referendum", "EU limits UK's influence" plus sticker-shock, and survive (in any meaning of the word!)

But before we even get to that, parliament must find a majority for a second referendum, and agree to EU's demands for an extension, soon enough for EP elections to be held in UK.

I guess in theory you could squeeze in a general election, have new parliament agree to EU's terms for long election in the second week of May and be in time to hold EP elections.

But how close will UK be to civil war if they do ?

And keep in mind, that even if that miracle happens, neither the election nor the referendum are likely to make the shit-show stop, which is the main objective for EU right now.

My prognosis:

Unless general election is called this or next week: No short extension.

Unless returning parliament & government much more empowered: No long extension.


97:

In one of those weird things, you basically typed, if not word for word, what I was just thinking

98:

As far as I can see, the Ireland backstop is a method for politicians to stick their head in the sand while claiming to be moving forward. I'm with Katy Hayward - at some point, there's going to be a hard border between the UK and the EU.

No matter which side of that border that Northern Ireland lands on, the Good Friday accords will be dead as a doorknob, and we'll return to blood in the streets.

99:

Charlie, can I ask a stupid question about indyref2 ?

Suppose SNP calls it, wins it and then starts implementation.

What happens to the big, now ex-pat, land-owners ?

I guess QEII might get special treatment, and maybe CoE as well.

But what would happen to a random earl or lord owning a large chunk north of the border ?

100:

Dutch NRC's Caroline de Gruyter has written a piece: https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2019/03/14/perhaps-theyd-better-go-a3953265 which I very much agree with (and I learned more things about UK-EU relations). Yes, there's a sentiment of "now just get over it, enough of the antics" on the continent. I feel sorry for those who get bitten by Brexit - deal or no deal - but perhaps having the crash right now is better than to watch this in slo-mo? ("Besser ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende", we say in german).

101:

what would happen to a random earl or lord owning a large chunk north of the border?

Nothing.

Scotland already has an independent legal system, a parliament, and a bunch of infrastructure of its own like a land registry and tax-raising powers.

Under the Scotland Act, only certain powers were reserved to Westminster: defense, foreign policy, drugs (the criminal kind), immigration, and the Exchequer. (In fact part of why Brexit is unpopular in Scotland is that a lot of stuff we dealt with via the EU is being land-grabbed by London, who will be a lot less amenable to Scotland's needs.) Scotland is already rather more autonomous than most people outside Scotland realize.

Presumably anyone living in England or overseas and owning land in Scotland would be treated just as they are now—as an out-of-Scotland landowner.

102:

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords should be a system of government.

That would fit right in with the present moment! I mean, the last time we tried Gynospathodonocracy, the result was rule by an authoritarian warlord who got into a sex scandal, saw his leadership team splintered by mystical religious experiences, and died (excuse me, was spirited away) in a fight with his illegitimate son. And he's still fondly remembered, showing how hard it is for authoritarian memes to die.

Today, all he'd have to do is spray tan and go shirtless while riding a stallion and waving that sword around, and he'd Make Alba Great Again!

103:

Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the Mountbatten-Windsor's have a more legitimate claim to the throne of Scotland than that of England and Wales.

104:

Kramler @ 90
The current ruling parties in Poland and Hungary have a broad authoritarian FASCIST streak or so it seems from here ...

PKH @ 95
The crucial thing is the bit about the parliament.
THIS
IF may can be voted down to having Parliament decide, THEN we might have a chance - which depends upon votes in the House itself.
Any bets?

A General Election now would be an utter disastrous total clusterfuck - we would leave without a deal with either people to the right of May or Corbyn & Momentum ( who are the people who scare me, rather than dimwit Corbyn ) in charge.
End of UK plus at least 20 years of utter misery.

105:

The DUP also don't really care how Brexit affects border communities as none of them are their constituents. Nearly all the border constituencies are Sinn Fein territory.

Also, I suspect that it's not a coincidence that the Stormont assembly hasn't sat since May 2016, now Sinn Fein have exactly the same number of MLAs (27 out of a total of 90) as the Democratic Unionists.

106:

Hardcore Brexiters won't respect the result of any referendum that they didn't win.

They didn't respect the result of the 1975 Referendum, after all.

107:

Having voted Mays deal down rather conclusively twice, I don't see any way that the current Parliament can or will satisfy EU's demand for clarity in favour of an extension.

Indeed even if somehow Mays deal was approved in third try, EU would have every reason to consider that result infirm come the next general election.

(UK bringing up Vienna Convention Article 62 before ratification, didn't exactly inspire confidence in their good intentions the first place.)

A general election might shuffle the cards enough, but that again first requires May accept failure or Parliament to impress it on her, and second that enough of the electorate has come to their senses to send a clear message (either way!)

My impression is that many of the MP's who resist a second ref, including May, do so because they fear it will only dig the hole deeper.

They may have a valid point there. Imagine if ref#2 comes out 50/50 ± epsilon ?

108:

Both the DUP and Sinn Fein benefit from the lack of the Stormont executive, neither have significant incentive to work to restore it.

(Another thing to factor in to any assessment of the DUP is that their own narrative paints them as the victims, as the put upon and the downtrodden, they genuinely believe that.)

109:

There's a material technical definition of sovereignty.

I don't mean the legal one; I mean the equivalent of the "when you pick up the phone, people do what you say" definition of power.

That requires a couple-three things; people usually focus on the "enforce laws" and "maintain borders" parts, but the third part is this interesting intersection of legitimacy and finality; there has to be a functioning political process which is agreed to possess legitimate authority and which can make lasting decisions. That can be a king or a warlord or Parliament, but it has to have those two characteristics of legitimacy and finality. ("Those whom we agree may settle things have settled things".)

The UK is no longer having a crisis; the UK is having straight-up sovereignty collapse.[0] The customary political mechanism, split along an unfamiliar authoritarian-populist/anti-authoritarian-anti-populist axis AND generally completely unwilling to deal with the certain demise of the status quo[1] has straight up failed.[2]

One way to evaluate a leader is by who they surround themselves with; exceptional leaders fine and support colleagues who could replace them. A lot of notable politicians have the opposite effect, and view any potential rival as a threat to be eliminated. From over here, it looks like this is a general problem in the politics of the Anglosphere but is way-bad in the UK so far as Westminster politics goes. The idea that in the next ten days, someone is going to put together a Parliamentary coalition able to do something sensible -- which means acknowledging the certain demise of the status quo, then creating a new party from nothing, and it would not have a majority because the "we're going to pretend it's 1890" faction is numerically dominant -- doesn't seem to me to plausible.

So it looks very much like the sovereignty collapse is going to wind out. Which means no basis for forecasting outcomes.

Other than the sense of dread arising from "whatever that post-plastic-deformation ping noise is the metaphor for? Yeah. That. That's what's going to happen."

[0] the UK press has been trying to arrange this since forever by attacking the fundamental legitimacy of government. How you maintain society with reasonable degrees of freedom of expression and keep corporate entities from destroying the place because panicky people spend more money is not inherently obvious.

[1] The great political question of our time is "what are we going to do instead of the status quo?" We can't keep it; we're losing the Holocene, we absolutely aren't going to keep the status quo. The UK case seems to have something more acute than even the current global round of will-not-deal going on with climate change; the UK is having a specific case of will-not-deal with it not being 1890.

[2] Not the "given a bad result" sense of failed, but the "after the plastic deformation comes a noise" sense of failed.

110:

I think you are probably right and have myself wondered if UK was a "failed state" for some time.

Given the backstop of QE2, that diagnosis is probably premature, but that brings us to the subject to intensive care and risky treatment options.

I think EU repeatedly stressing the finality of May's deal indicates a similar concern.

Or as somebody once said with reference to the outside-pissing-in/inside-pissing-out argument: That's presuming they aim in the first place.

111:

What happens next? No idea. At all.

Some possibilities;

The EU (and presumably anyone else) won't want an extension to the Article 50 timescale which results in the situation just continuing as it is at the moment i.e. no sign of a resolution, and no meaningful progress towards a resolution. So they link any extension to a solid undertaking that there will be a substantial change in tack from Westminster, and that change has to have the possibility of delivering an agreement.

Effectively, that translates to; May can come up with new proposals (and I don't believe that she is able to do that, so I'm discounting that option), or she agrees to call a general election (the EU leaders may well want the election scenario a _lot_, but won't want to suggest it directly, as it would be pounced upon and portrayed gleefully by various interests as the EU leaders meddling in UK domestic politics).

May's stubbornness could well prevent her from calling an election - which results in Article 50 expiring, and either no deal exit or much more likely the EU and UK allowing things to continue as is despite the deadline having passed, maybe with long lasting court cases being launched n response by various interests. Also the entire UK negotiating team gets replaced by a PC running modern business-grade robotics software and no-one notices.

If 'the men in the grey suits' somehow mange to force May out, and a general election is called, then we have to wonder what likely election results could happen. With feelings running high on the brexit issue, and both Labour and the Tories being largely pro leave at the party leadership level, who do the pro remain group have to vote for? Here in Scotland that factor could lead to the pro remain SNP picking up enough of a swing from pro remain voters to increase its already large majority. In England in particular, however, where does that 'remain' vote go? The 'Independent' group/party may pick some votes up, and the Liberals might also draw some of the vote, but many 'remain' voters might just not vote - i.e. I have no idea where that battle might go.

For the Indyref 2 scenario in Scotland - the question is both when and if - When because in times of uncertainty people flee to the familiar, and the no campaign's approach of spreading FUD in indref 1 definitely helped win it for 'no'. Presumably the SNP's preferred timing will be to have the referendum at the point in time where the fear uncertainty and doubt about brexit are at their height - perhaps just before brexit actually happens, and presenting the 'yes' option as the familiar/safe 'stay in/rejoin the EU' option.

'If' it happens is another factor - Westminster can attempt to block a referendum - and both sides fear the effects that heading to the courts would have if they open the can of worms that is the potentially legally flawed Act of Union. So do the SNP try to sidestep that by using another device such as calling an election for MSPs in Holyrood, but declaring their manifesto to simply be secession, with another white paper to back it up?

However in the time I've taken to write this, the whole situation has probably already changed.

112:

Isn't what will happen obvious?

The UK will crash out with No Deal on 29 March.

Because accomplishing anything else from here would require either co-ordinated competent leadership by the UK Govt, or courage by May and her inner cabinet.


Europe's sick of Brexit, they want it over. Why on earth would the EU nations unanymously agree on an extension of that misery unless the UK govt offers them something? What could May offer them without that requiring either courage or competence?


When in doubt, assume that politicians will dither ineffectually while the clock runs down.

113:

After Brexit (assuming it goes that way) there'll still be the trade negotiations with the EU and it's not going to happen over night, Canada's FTA with the EU took 7 years for example. Given the UK's a service economy that exports 90 billion pounds worth of services to the EU and has a healthy surplus in this area you can reasonably expect the EU to demand a lot of concessions to ease access to the single market for the UK service sector. The UK government seems blissfully unaware of how important this sector is... The pain hasn't even started yet.

114:

"I suppose I am wondering whether at some point the Europeans are likely to want to definitively slam the door. Presumably the ongoing possibility of a Rescission of Article 50 has very real associated costs for both the EU and UK."

I imagine that by now the EU leadership have changed from Normal Negotiations to How to Handle Terminal Chaos in the UK.

Hard bargaining is doable, win or lose, but when you realize that the other party is clinically insane.

115:

It's absolutely fair to ask, but like any question that even touches NI internal politics, the answer goes fractal real fast.

Yes, so I see; now I am reminded that hoping something could be simplified down to a single-digit number of factions is naive.

< snip lots of good stuff >

(I have summarized much here. Hopefully it offers a little more insight.)

Yes it does. This doesn't tell me how to get out of the current mess - nobody knows that - but it fills in another piece about how we got into it.

116:

Her Britannic Majesty is 92 years old.

At 60, yes, perhaps, but!

The EU isn't going to negotiate with a non-democratic leader. They just can't.

Her Majesty can, technically, dissolve Parliament. There is no possible way in which this improves anything because it gives the constitutional crisis another large dimension and would contribute to the collapse of legitimacy even if an election were immediately called. (This happened, sort of, via Governor-General, when Canada was a Dominion. King–Byng affair was a major political driver for decades thereafter. For it to happen now in the UK would sow different flavours of chaos.)

Even in some sort of neo-royalist utopia where Brenda says "We are not amused. William, deal with this" and it turns out William is a genius politician (he isn't) able to exploit May's government summoning the powers of Great Harry (Henry VIII) back from the dark (which they have done!) on the grounds that if Parliament has them, the Crown must and after some time there's a sane elected government and much that needs dealing with is dealt with, it can't possibly happen in less than a year. Three to five would be nigh-miraculous.

The UK has ten days.

The economic hit is permanent; the UK has been coasting on historical first-mover advantages for a couple of generations because it's been Tory policy to remove material capability since (arguably) 1945 and certainly since 1980 because the more the economy is based on things you can measure with a micrometer the less valuable it was to go to Eton. I don't think anyone is really looking at how unrecoverable the economic hit is; the UK, already massively troubled by regional economic disparity, could lose half their GDP, and have no mechanism of recovery.

I'm generally an advocate of income and asset caps for natural persons; Brexit is making me think there should be scale limits on corporations.

117:

Her Majesty can, technically, dissolve Parliament. ... The UK has ten days.

So she would have, at most, ten days to completely replace the existing government with competent people, have those people find a Brexit solution that has so far eluded everyone in Britain, while simultaneously convincing the population that she has done the right thing. Oh, and as you point out, she's 90. But if you add in "monarch resigns and her replacement is anointed" that also has to be wedged into those 10 days.

Like I said, "King Arthur and the Parliamentary Mace" is a more likely solution.

I think it all comes down to whether the 27 nations of the EU say "that's really sad, how can we help" in 10 days time, or whether they say "great, now you can't keep kicking us in the bollocks because you're not even in the room any more".

118:

What about NI as an independent EU-member nation? It’s bigger than Luxembourg.

If they wanted they could go on feeling English by keeping Elizabeth Windsor as their queen, like Canada and New Zealand. Heck, they’re close enough to her digs that maybe she’d come visit to open their parliament in person instead of sending a Governor General.

119:

The U.K. thinks they're getting a blow job tonight. The EU thinks the U.K is getting divorce papers. This will not end well.

120:

“find a Brexit solution that has so far eluded everyone in Britain”
There’s an obvious solution that I’ve seen discussed by UK people: Cancel Article 50.

121:

By "solution", I mean an actual thing that resolves Brexit, not another dollop of wishful thinking. At this stage there's a whole heap of things that are not technically impossible, they just don't have enough support to go anywhere.

122:

Like I said, "King Arthur and the Parliamentary Mace" is a more likely solution.

Ten days isn't long enough for His Ur-Majesty to knock on the head everyone it would be deemed necessary to knock on the head with the Parliamentary Mace.

Though I expect the arguments about whether or not the bookies were correctly describing the techniques employed would be entertaining; was that really a rising roundhouse? Could be called mostly flat... Do you still call it the pear-splitter when it's a mace? I wish to express no disrespect of his ur-majesty whatsoever, but that, that was plain graceless thumping...

123:

London is substantially different to the rest of the UK. It's avidly pro-EU and voted strongly for remain. Londoners are 35% foreign-born and on average twice as wealthy as the rest of the UK.

Except … Scotland is a whole lot more white-bread but voted remain by an even wider margin than London. And Scotland is, overall, wealthier than England-excluding-London. (And note that London is skewed heavily by the hyper-rich.)

And you've already got a wall to keep the English barbarians out! Dust it off, put in a few guard stations with wifi and electric kettles, and Bob's your uncle.

(The ludicrous and silly suggestions would sound more ludicrous and silly if there were serious proposals to provide contrast. Turning the city of London into a free city within the EU is, if anything, less crazy than some plans.)

124:

“We’re not doing it” resolves it.

Once any possible delays are over I see only three possible end-states:
Hard Brexit
May’s deal
Call it off
If the 51% of Indyref “Leave” voters are split between the first two, and the 49% of Indyref “Remain” voters agree on the third, then the third is by far the most popular. It’s a failure of the political system that it’s not even being discussed.

125:

Whoops, not “Indyref,” whatever it was called.

126:

If the 51% of Indyref “Leave” voters are split between the first two, and the 49% of Indyref “Remain” voters

To me a solution is necessarily one that the great majority of people will regard as legitimate. "ha ha now we have 51%" is just going to prolong the agony. If you really do split three ways on a two choice situation that doesn't say much for your population. I've already written off your leadership, unless a parliamentary child sex ring or similar comes to light my opinion of them could not be lower.

I'm increasingly convinced that the pessimists are right. Britain is going to exit the EU with no deal and take whatever the rest of the world chooses to give them.

One tiny glimmer is that I expect a lot of the Brexit push people will leave once it becomes obvious that their plans for the UK can't work. I foresee a brief period of legislative excitement where they run round saying "oh boy do we have a deal for you" and "you need to fix your tax laws" and other fascinating things, then various other countries and trading blocs go "yeah, that's not how it works" and block whatever amazing scam is proposed or implemented. At which point most of the shady billions will disappear along with the very important people who rely on that money.

Meanwhile people in Britain will settle into their new position in the world, somewhere between Somalia and Yemen on the various rankings of public health, GDP per capita and so on. The difference being that you'll still be much more democratic... you voted yourselves into this, and you refuse to vote yourselves out of it. I say that living in Australia, where we have a similar solid majority of the population who will not ever change their vote in any significant way. We are just as bad, but in a subtly different way (we run concentration camps, you whatever brexit is).

This, plus the global warming catastrophe, make me wonder whether democracy is actually a viable form of government. I mean, we had variations on slavery and serfdom for millenia without doing much damage but 200 years of democracy and things are looking pretty grim. I am pretty sick of nihilists looking at the not-terrible options and saying "I'd rather die". Or more accurately, sick of the "and I'm taking you and everything you care about with me" part.

127:

It’s a failure of the political system that it’s not even being discussed.

Nah. Your political system has failed, all right, but well before that point. The failure stems from a simple thing, which a subsequent combination of propaganda and a convention that of course there has to be a rational reason defensible in quantitative terms as advancing the common good for policy proposals has made very very complicated, and really, it's not.

Basic primate status is defined by who can tell you what to do.

The deeply held self-image of pretty much everybody who votes Tory (and some who don't) involves a self-image in which the UK is an important, special nation possessing great power in the world and they belong to that special nation and people who don't must acknowledge these things.

That's not even slightly factual today.

The whole point of Brexit is to tap into the Those People Can't Tell ME What To Do norm-violation affront involved in having to consider admitting that, you know, the long term trend for the UK's economy is, in at least relative terms, down.

That's it. That's all there is to this. And since it's a conventional political axiom that the UK is still an important, special nation possessing great power in the world, it isn't possible to say "you know, this is wrong".

Yes, there are disaster capitalists. Yes, there are Russian agents. Yes, there are horrid people who greatly desire authoritarian outcomes up to and including genocidal ethnic cleansing. Yes, there's a general lack of political competence.

But the beginning and the end of it comes from wanting something impossible to be made true. The hierarchy in which English politics (and trade, and many other things) operates is not defined by English preferences and power. This is completely intolerable, and they won't have it.

Which is stark staring bonkers.

But it's also axiomatically true in the available set of political and social norms.

128:

So do what Singapore did - declare independence from the rump, stay in the EU, and build a wall at the M25.

Except Singapore didn't declare independence from Malaysia - Malaysia kicked Singapore out a few years after the republic was formed.

129:

Re: 'Her Majesty can, technically, dissolve Parliament.'

Can May prorogue Parliament - put it into limbo - until she can con her MPs into voting for her strategy? My understanding is that proroguing would still allow the gov't Offices/Departments/Ministries to continue doing their jobs.

130:

Her majesty doesn't have to dissolve parliament or force an election, just summon the current PM and give them a letter advising that they no longer have the confidence of the crown. Exeunt former PM with a sigh of relief. The 2011 election act governs the form a no confidence vote must take in the commons and what happens after but does not constrain the crown in either regard.

Then her majesty has the tough question of whom to ask to form a government. If she asked Labor chances are Mr Corbyn would decline because it's a poison chalice. So to make this work the Crown would need to know that whoever they asked could carry through their program. She would also need to deal with the problem of deadlock in the commons, that's a slightly easier problem as she could break the deadlock through a joint sitting of both houses.

131:

Re: '... guaranteed data sharing agreements in the field of health and human biology research for the last couple years...

... and no one has the slightest idea if any of those agreements will be legal past March 29th (or any extension thereof)'

It's insane that the Pols and official media haven't discussed this. Do Brits not understand that the EU has the best legal protections of PII on the planet? I'm guessing that any research study that has UK-EU data sharing will have to meet EU standards otherwise risk losing its partnership status with their EU counterpart.

If PII or other sensitive data are at risk, maybe the UK institutions could do what the EPA did when Trump was elected: send all of their at-risk data immediately to a reliable research partner (Canada - University of Toronto) for safety/storage. Which EU university does the UK partner with most often or has the best data storage capability?

132:

Re: 'Then her majesty has the tough question of whom to ask to form a government'

How about the Speaker of the House of Commons? My understanding is that this position is voted on by all MPs to fulfill a necessary non-partisan role. The Speaker is usually someone that has the personal/professional trust/respect of the majority of MPs. Sorta like the SecGen of the UN.

133:

There's a saying.

When you're up to your arse in alligators it can be hard to remember the goal is to drain the swamp.

In other words, they (the elected government) is running around with their hair on fire. Details, no matter how sensible and/or urgent, will just have to wait.

134:

How about the Speaker of the House of Commons? My understanding is that this position is voted on by all MPs to fulfill a necessary non-partisan role. The Speaker is usually someone that has the personal/professional trust/respect of the majority of MPs.

It sounds reasonable under the current circumstances. (That is, the house is on fire and there's some guy standing near a hose.) How is John Bercow seen by the British public in general? How popular is he with other politicians?

He seems to have gained points with sane observers for pointing out that May has to follow parliamentary procedure even when inconvenient to her. How that translates into the strange space of British politicians I can't guess.

135:

"Do Brits not understand that the EU has the best legal protections of PII on the planet?"

They don't care. A guaranteed way to give myself a violent internet culture shock is to stop reading a discussion of computer privacy on here, go pretty much anywhere else (either online or in meatspace), and try and initiate a similar discussion. It simply can't be done. The incredible opacity of the wall of just-do-not-give-even-a-microgram-of-shit-ism is utterly impenetrable. It would be easier to get Greg to believe in God than to get the pseudo-sapient entity on the Clapham omnibus interested in what happens with their data.

"How about the Speaker of the House of Commons?"

Being the Speaker and forming a government are mutually exclusive. The Speaker is an impartial umpire, who enforces the rules but does not play the game.

136:

Yes, more importantly it washes out the Erskine May rule that you can't consider the same question twice. Shortest prorogue was about two days but really it need only be a couple of hours. All getting a bit sporty now!

137:

"The EU isn't going to negotiate with a non-democratic leader. They just can't."

Thanks to Denmarks constitution EU can, but only in very limited subjects and only for few days, but I doubt they would even want to contemplate that.

I do not expect her to get involved in any way, as I see no reason to belive she is a hard core EU-federalist, quite the contrary.

What I meant was that between the current situation and Full-On-Mad-Max stands QE2, and 92 years or or not, she is very much in the way there.


@119:

Cancelling the article 50 note solves nothing for anybody, because it would just light a fire under the hard-core tabloid-brain-washed brexiteers and their puppet-masters.

I think the only stabilizing paths involve compliance with the referendum and taking UK out of EU.

There are a lot of rational and reasonable arguments for holding another referendum, but as I said above, there is no guarantee that will make the situation better and many reasons to expect it to make things worse.

The fundamental issue here, is that the referendum was not called on the terms one would normally require for such a consequential decision.

It should have been called binding and on "qualified majority" terms, for instance: "A majority of more than 40% of the elgible voters or ⅔rds of the cast votes".

Deciding anything of this sort in away that make all the even house numbers drag all the odd house numbers along is never a good idea.

138:

Consulting my crystal ball I think that EU27 will be inclined to give a short extension because Ireland is under prepared (to put it mildly) for a no deal exit. Bottom line is the Republic needs time to get ready to re-occupy the border and get it's customs arrangements in order. That should not be surprising to Whitehall as the 27 are all about looking after the interests of the 27. After that short interregnum though l reckon it'll still be a no deal...

139:

Von hicthofen @ 105
YES
Also, the apparent writing of a letter/article in today's "torygraph" empahsises that. ( Trump Jnr has apparently written, saying how wonderful brexit is - which with any luck will turn significant numbers against it ?)
The brexiteers are, as then, an unholy Nazi-Soviet pact.
Then it was the BNP & the CPGB, now it's the Ukippers & right of the tories plus momentum & Corbyn.
Meanwhile May doesn't have a clue - oh btw, I retract my earlier comment about Eden's gvumint in 1956 being worse - this is a even bigger utter fuck-up than Suez ...

Matt S @ 112
Yes
The first step on our way to becoming modern Greece from Athens of the Classical period ....

RvdH @ 123
YES
But this requires Parliament taking control from May -see my final paragraph

SS @ 133
J Bercow is deeply unpopular with many tories, though he is one.
He is JEWISH & some on the ultra-left don't like him, either, what a suprise.
However, he may be our unlikely saviour - it's happened before, only this time it's not the Monarch who is the villain.

PHK @ 136
But HM is a "unionist" in the best sense of the word.
A break-up of the UK, perpetrated by the brexiteers is NOT on her agenda.
And a second referendum would solve the other problem

May has/is writing to the EU asking for 3 months ...
It is to be hoped that Parlaiment wrests control from her - we could then get Referendum2

140:

NI is not an economically functional state on its own. Currently it is completely dependent on Westminster subsidies to survive, remove those subsidies and you’d have to reboot the NI economy from scratch (it would be close to the economic basket-case that the Republic of Ireland was until the latter decades of the 20th century). This is also a big part of why the Republic is ideologically keen on reunification but practically want to keep it at arms length (see previous poster’s comments up thread).

141:

No-deal Brexit is emotionally satisfying to many voters, personally enriching to a few politicians (while not harming the other politicians significantly), and most importantly doesn't require any positive action to happen now. Isn't this the most likely outcome? By far?

142:

NI is not an economically functional state on its own.

That would have been my guess; I had a substantially similar conversation with a Canadian regarding Quebec years ago.

Would it be right to say that Northern Ireland is functional as a region within a larger nation? If yes, good, sucking the teat of the UK has worked for a while and reattaching to the Republic of Ireland would be... a horrible mess in many different ways. We've already figured that out. But if no, that implies that Northern Ireland has problems beyond merely not being self sufficient.

Brexit puts me in mind of the classic home remodeling sequence where you start tearing things apart to fix a known problem only to discover that, wow, here's a totally different problem that means rebuilding something else.

143:

I think a bigger factor than inaction is that any effort to avoid no-deal, no matter how concerted, wise and well executed, dies on the doorstep if just one single minister out of the 27 says "I'm sick and tired of this shit, let's get it over with!"

Even if Parliament offers up a silver platter with a second referendum and a large wad of cash to pay for the extension, that would still cost EU another year in limbo for no guaranteed outcome.

I can point to a number of PM's who already feel that way when they meet tomorrow, where they will punt on Mays application for extension, because HoC has still not explained what they need it for.

And they will feel even more so, when they get dragged to BXL on the 27/28th, because one has to do the last minute thing in this kind of situation, even if the conclusion is foregone.

And then on march 30, with UK no longer being a member country, rules of comity no longer applying, they are free to say, and will say, what they have been botteling up for the last two years.

144:

Or, alternatively, the leader of the SNP grows some backbone, then the SNP win another overall majority at Holyrood, then, since the Palace of Oathbreakers have broken the terms of the "Treaty of Union Between England and Scotland" repeatedly, the first time in 1708CE, present a 1 clause bill the "Act of Union with England (1707) Repeal Bill", and push that through in a day. At which point the TUBES (I only just noticed that just now) is deratified and most of Charlie's comments on separate systems become actual benefits.

145:

And now there's this turd in the already full punch bowl: Theresa May should have taken my father's advice on Brexit by Donald Trump Jr.

So the whole mess is the fault of "elites" but not him or his father. Other elites. Someone else.

146:

Bristol would want in on that approach. My ward was the most pro EU in the country, outside of London.

147:

Before delving into an attempt to answer Scott's question @142, here's an article the describes the incredible level of ignorance of NI and the "border issue" in the Leave campaign prior to the referendum:

Why Brexiteers forgot about the Border

Of course, most Brexiters have continued to display such ignorance with chest-thumping pride, encouraged to a great extent I believe by the mendacity of the DUP (who, as discussed already, have their own reasons for misrepresenting the border issue, and investing in unicorns).

148:

Or, alternatively, the leader of the SNP grows some backbone, then the SNP win another overall majority at Holyrood, then, since the Palace of Oathbreakers have broken the terms of the "Treaty of Union Between England and Scotland" repeatedly...

Now you've sent me to look up the text of that. (Thank you.) Do you know anything about legal precedents?

It occurs to me that just as people object to a guarded border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland with the observation that this would violate the Good Friday Accords, likewise people could object to some kind of customs check between Northern Ireland and whatever is left of the UK after the Brexiteers get done shoving things into the Atlantic. Article IV reads:

That all the Subjects of the United Kingdom of Great Britain shall from and after the Union have full Freedom and Intercourse of Trade and Navigation to and from any port or place within the said United Kingdom and the Dominions and Plantations thereunto belonging And that there be a Communication of all other Rights Privileges and Advantages which do or may belong to the Subjects of either Kingdom except where it is otherwayes expressly agreed in these Articles.

At first glance this certainly sounds like a promise Charlie can visit Belfast if he feels like it. Would this be a thing to fuss over or are internal checkpoints de facto accepted?

149:

DATA PROTECTION on leaving the EU ... yes?
Start by looking at THIS WEBSITE then go to the link marked "Persona Data & Consumer rights - OK I do hope this helps people?

SS @ 145
I ALREADY TOLD YOU ABOUT THAT, back @ # 139!

150:

Brexit puts me in mind of the classic home remodeling sequence where you start tearing things apart to fix a known problem only to discover that, wow, here's a totally different problem that means rebuilding something else.

Hopefully the Irish Times article I linked @147 will help to explain why this is a good analogy, although perhaps with the added detail that after you've started tearing things apart, you suddenly discover that you're in your neighbour's house.

Would it be right to say that Northern Ireland is functional as a region within a larger nation?

Not really, no. The closest that you could come is to say that for its entire history NI has been functionally dysfunctional (with the socially dysfunctional element decreasing steadily over the last 20 years, but the economic dependency remaining high).

151:

In broader terms, you could say that Northern Ireland was a fudge, a half-assed attempt at fixing a problem that couldn't be quickly fixed, combined with kicking the can down the road. Everything that the UK government has done sine partition of Ireland can be summarized as further fudges and can-kicking.

How to get to an actually livable workable permanent solution from where we are now (and hopefully without bloodshed)?

Who knows.

152:

So she would have, at most, ten days to completely replace the existing government with competent people, have those people find a Brexit solution that has so far eluded everyone in Britain, while simultaneously convincing the population that she has done the right thing.

That's easy!

There's one party already in Westminster with a disciplined team who have a clear focus and know exactly what they want and how to fix Brexit.

We just need Brenda to tell May and Corbyn to fuck off and ask Ian Blackford to form a government. The first act of which Prime Minister would then be, using the precedent Theresa May herself set, to unilaterally withdrawn Article 50, then walk up to the despatch box and give the Brexiters on both sides of the divide a solid scolding.

What happens afterwards would be … interesting: it's pretty likely there'd be another referendum, though (as a quid pro quo for going into coalition with whoever the hell emerges on the centre-left after the Conservatives and Labour disintegrate), and thereafter the UK would be a little bit smaller!

… All it takes is for Lizzie Windsor to remember that she's also Queen of Scotland.

153:

"Hardcore Brexiters won't respect the result of any referendum that they didn't win.

They didn't respect the result of the 1975 Referendum, after all."

This is an important thing to remember when dealing with right-wingers, in any country and system:

They are revolutionary powers.

They don't want to merely struggle within the system to get more; they want to destroy the system.

They will demand adherence to 'norms' and 'custom', right up until they destroy them without hesitation.

As somebody said about Nazis, they use words like bricks, not words, and only until they can lay their hands on actual bricks.

154:

"Indeed even if somehow Mays deal was approved in third try, EU would have every reason to consider that result infirm come the next general election."

Somebody pointed this out on another blog: 'no Parliament may bind another Parliament' will be a major problem in trade negotiations. Particularly since the old British system of 'what is done' and 'what is not done' seems to be breaking down. Given the ERG/UKIP ability to shut things down and eagerness to break any constraints on their power, the governments of other countries will likely understand that they are dealing with Trump-like people.

155:

I retract my earlier comment about Eden's gvumint in 1956 being worse - this is a even bigger utter fuck-up than Suez …

Ah, no.

I think the history books may record Brexit as a bigger disaster for the UK than the Second World War.

WW2 nearly bankrupted the nation, killed 1% of the population, and cost an empire. But the UK was not invaded, and survived as a coherent nation.

Whereas Brexit may lead to the disintegration of the UK.

(This is not to minimize the enormous damage WW2 did to basically everyone. But the UK got off relatively lightly.)

156:

Charlie can visit Belfast if he feels like it...

...but he won't be able to drive to Dublin? Good grief, Charlie Brown.

157:

This is my ignorance of UK constitution speaking, but doesn't both the Monarch and the Parliament have a role in affirming the Prime Minister?

I'm reminded of the farce that was the Swedish parliament this autumn and winter.

158:

I'd been wondering about asking the SNP to form a government. Does there have to be an actual vote by Parliament confirming it, or does it just go into effect until there's a no-confidence vote of some sort?

159:

Currently I can get the car ferry from Larne to NI, hit the road, and drive through Belfast until I hit Dublin (then gridlock, because Dublin traffic).

There is a sign at the border. "Speed limits now in km/h." (And the converse sign going the other way.)

What happens in 10 days time is going to upset this applecart just a little.

160:

Hopefully the Irish Times article I linked @147 will help to explain why this is a good analogy, although perhaps with the added detail that after you've started tearing things apart, you suddenly discover that you're in your neighbour's house.

That's a good link; I'm losing an hour or two reading things on that site and trying to see the mess from Ireland's perspective.

The specific incident I had in mind typing that analogy was when my uncle set out to plaster a wall, then discovered the ancient lath & plaster had to be replaced, and then discovered the wall held a gigantic nest of wasps.

161:

Fazal rhymes with "puzzle".

Majid with a j as in "jay", not "hay" (Arabic in origin, not Spanish, although Spanish certainly has a lot of Arabic influences).

162:
2. About 100 Tories and a smaller number of Labour MPs are so adamantly pro-Brexit that if she goes back on A50 she'll split the party, possibly causing the emergence of a new right-wing party and effectively depriving the Conservatives of a governing mandate without Labour support. (Under Corbyn. Not gonna happen.)

The scary thing is Tory MPs are actually considerably to the left of their grassroots, which are 80% in favor of a hard crash-out no-deal Brexit. The nonlinear nature of the British First Past The Post electoral system leads to chaotic results, as could be expected...

164:

Charlie and other UK people, have you thought about a bank account outside the UK?

I don't see how without replacing the current government brexit stopping, pausing, or reversing. They don't want to.

165:

Alas: not gonna happen.

166:

I got it right!!! :-) It looks like I am at least learning how to pronounce Arabic rendered in Roman script correctly.

167:

Oddly, I am paid in US dollars for books sold in the USA.

Not so oddly, I have a US dollar deposit account for receiving these payments.

It's with a British bank, but one that's unlikely to go under (they already did the nameplate move out into the EU).

Yes, a Sterling crisis will fuck with my sterling-denominated savings (and, eventually, the book value of my home). But I have a modest personal hedge: as in, I've done my damndest to minimize drawings from that account ever since the Brexit referendum in 2016, even to the point of living off Sterling savings instead.

It's not exactly a hedge fund, but ...

168:

What I meant was that between the current situation and Full-On-Mad-Max stands QE2, and 92 years or or not, she is very much in the way there.

This gets into the weird relationship between the British Monarchy and actual power; it works by tradition and deference.

The people with the legally mandated power -- May's government -- have a tenuous to non-existent relationship with tradition and deference. So it would be a very diffuse anything if Her Majesty attempted, breaking two hundred years of tradition, to express a specific operant political opinion in public.

The people who would be most likely to listen are precisely the people who, right now, most want violent ethnic cleansing. (Starting with the former Ms. Markle.) The army is too small to do anything useful, and most of the police seem to be in on the "yay authoritarianism!" Leave faction.

I don't expect England to be a monarchy when this is over. The ritual of deference has worn thin. (Scotland, maybe.)

169:

That's a fairly spot on analogy.

When thinking in NI terms, ask the question: What needs fixed first? Answer: Everything!

170:

Actually, WWII did bankrupt the nation! It also triggered the breakup of the empire in a rather chaotic fashion, but that would probably have happened anyway. But it also led to an era of remarkable political consensus, which lasted for some decades, and handled that surprisingly well (with hindsight) as well as improving most social conditions considerably.

I agree - if Brexit goes the way that seems likely, it could well be a lot worse. Whether the country will come to its senses in a few decades from now, I can't say, but I am not expecting to see a recovery in my lifetime. Yes, I am still working towards emigrating north of the border :-)

171:

That is exactly why I cannot forgive That Blair for what he did in 1998 (and later) and why, when I read it at the time (*), I would have voted "no" to the agreement if I had lived there. It might have taken another year, but there COULD have been an agreement that would have led towards a long-term solution, but That Blair was determined to claim the mantle of "The Person Who Brought Peace to Northern Ireland", no matter who he trod on nor whether it outlasted his rule.

(*) I read it as a contract between two companies, both of which were totally unscrupulous and would be happy to destroy the other. So far, things have progressed and are progressing exactly as I thought they would, as far as the general direction goes.

172:

Whether the country will come to its senses in a few decades from now, I can't say

We don't have decades: climate change is already a snowballing avalanche, as witness the warnings yesterday that England is going to run short of water within 25 years. Like all such environmental forecasts this is probably optimistic/conservative …

The UK has had a decade of idiotic austerity (economic snake-oil, basically, inflicted by people with an agenda to harm those they consider subservient and who don't actually understand how money works), most recently compounded by 3-4 years of legislative paralysis, in which nonsense like mandatory porn blocking for internet users continues to proceed while vital, important stuff like decarbonizing the economy and ensuring resilience against extreme weather challenges are largely ignored.

Worst case: breakup of UK as a unitary nation, followed by water wars circa 2050-2060 (Scotland is wet) and subsequent starvation/die-offs by 2100.

173:

DtP @ 150 & SS @ 142
"Right Said Fred", only NOT funny, in other words ....

Charlie @ 155
Agree - except - the biggest disaster since 1776 is more likely, actually .....
& @ 159
Like me being stopped at Ameins Street station in Dublin inthe Bad old Days & being asked if I had any contraceptives? Only worse ...
& @ 172 - even if I live to be 105, as I hope, we'll both be long-gone before that happens - fortunately

174:

It is not to be underestimated that certain EU leaders and MPs are very interested to make Brexit as hard as possible on the UK, whatever then "solution" is.

To elaborate,

1) The EU has a vested interest to make an example pf the UK to dissuade other members and smaller regions in those members to try for independence. Think Greece, Italy, Catalonia, Bavaria, etc.

In a No-Deal scenario to the worst effects, as the UK descends deeper into turmoil and chaos, separatists will be confronted with something like this:
"You want independence? Look over there... that's what would happen without the EU."

2) A hard Northern Ireland border and escalation of violence there would be a fantastic pretext for advocates of a combined EU military force to raise their voices again/even more.
The loss of the British nuclear capabilities may also fuel this.

3) The EU has potentially more levers to exert pressure on the UK when the UK is not part of the EU any more.
Trade deals, military deals, intelligence. In all aspects, potential partners that have the EU as a partner will likely look in their direction first.
Also, the EU as partner will likely not be as amendable to give "favorable" conditions to the then independent UK as exist now.

4) Being cut off from the financial market in the EU might as well have serious repercussions on London's stock exchange and whole status as financial hub, strengthening the position of EU exchanges, especially Frankfurt (Remember when the Frankfurt stock exchange planned to move to London). This is actually already happening, with large financial cooperations and banks at least opening a offices there. Certain factions, elected or unelected, are very "interested".

This is of course very generalized.
If you look at the whole mess as a game, it leads to consider what "win condition" the players might have.
"Players" in this sense are politicians, cooperations, and every person, citizen or not, really.

175:

The most likely scenario I can think of for HM stepping in is if the EU grants a delay conditional on Parliament having chosen a course of action by midnight on March 27th, and it failing to do so. She could then state (publicly) that, on the advice of her Privy Councillors, she was proroguing Parliament sine die because her government clearly did not have the confidence of the House, and appointing (say) the Father of the House as temporary Prime Minister :-)

Perhaps 1%, if that :-(

176:

As I understand, there are currently twelve stars on the EU flag, one for each founding member. UK was one of those. I'm from a country that didn't get a star, as we joined later. We are wondering if the UK's star can now be ours. Thanks.

177:

You're welcome to this interpretation. As for the number,

"Against the blue sky of the Western world, the stars represent the peoples of Europe in a circle, a symbol of unity. Their number shall be invariably set at twelve, the symbol of completeness and perfection."

Though I wonder if we might change the stars into Derleth's Elder Signs?

(Short term delurking, too much going on, I even get somewhat quiet in RL because meeting said friend on Monday brought back some memories. It was quite nice, though I still apologzed for being too talkative and boring...)

178:

"What's going to happen?" asks OGH; along with an awful lot of people.

The odds are on that we will crash out on Friday week. Having been told that she could ask for an extension to sort things out until before the European elections on May 23rd, or for 12 months likewise, Supreme Generallisimo May has written a petulant demand to the EY for an extension to the end of June on the lines of "it's all everyone else's fault".

At this point, the EU must now regard us as a failed dictatorship whose leadership, such as it is, is inimically hostile to the EU and will if allowed to stay further Putin's dream of breaking the EU up. No matter how they may like us as individuals, they won't grant any extensions.

I hope to be proved wrong on that, but I expect that's what will happen.

On April 1st, Russia cuts itself off from the internet as an "exercise" in controlling its people from reading and broadcasting fake news. This would also protect Russia's infrastructure from any pre-planned nasties currently waiting patiently on the Internet to activate. As always, yesterday is the right time to back up your important stuff, but today will do in a pinch.

Within a few weeks, there will be food shortages. Not all foods, but a country used to everything on the shelves all year round at affordable prices will understand with their guts what the recipients of the bags of porridge oats and cheap soup they occasionally tossed into the foodbank at Tescos feel like.

There will also be shortages of some medicines and other things such as short life radioactives used to keep people alive and reasonably healthy rather than chronically ill and dead. Some of that group (or their family/friends), faced with an imminent and avoidable demise, may consider the old WWII slogan. (Not "Keep Calm and Carry On", but "You can always take one with you".)

Oh, and for some nightmare fuel, imagine what could be done using the same Arsebook / Cambridge Analytica method that brought us the referendum result being used to target that group and "team" them up with a target list...

The good news is that the sun will continue to rise and set, and that most of us have the capacity to be kind, most of the time, whatever happens.

179:

You will not be surprised to know that I have been shouted at at $WURK this week for Being Obstructive by saying I'm not inclined to approve a new IT project storing Personally Identifiable Information in Dublin, given the current situation.

I didn't even mention the "B" word.

180:

So, June 30th is the ask from May on the extension. Is it me or does this seem wildly optimistic? It's not enough time for substantive change, and if meaningful vote 2.0 didn't muster the votes when it was do or die, why would they change? Presumably most of the "some brexit rather than no brexit" crowd was won over on vote 2.0, and not many more will switch. I don't see how this impasse is (realistically) resolves short of a general election or 2nd referendum. Sure, everyone towards the center in both parties could ditch Corbyn & May respectively and form their own government, but even writing that feels like wish fulfillment.

181:

Yes, the EU is under no obligation (nor, I think, likely) to extend the exit date.

However, there was a ruling a year or so, supported by the EU executive, ago that Britain _could_ unilaterally _revoke_ Article 50. So, we could still end up at square 0, when May discovers she's not permitted to leave without a deal (by the UK parliament) or to extend the leave date (by the EU parliament).

182:

Brexit does seem of have done a remarkably good job of undermining the case for unity. Catalonian separatism in Spain only really took off after the PP undermined the autonomy statute negotiated by the Spanish and Catalonian governments, severely calling into question the plausibility of Spain as a framework for Catalonia. Here in Canada, similarly, controversy over the ratification of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the early 1980s has been a consistent issue for Québec.

Thinking particularly of Scotland, where it seems many people voted against independence in 2014 because of the risk it posed to the existing constitutional setup only to be confronted with the radical constitutional shift of Brexit that Scotland had voted against by a large majority, I think it perfectly plausible that soft Scottish nationalists might come to support independence. If Scottish desires are not respected in the Union and not going to be respected in the Union, then independence looks that much more credible.

183:

Surely one can be both an "unspeakable bonehead" _and_ "a hypocritical sectarian corrupt bigot, with a side order of fundamentalist religious zeal, and an unsatisfied yearning for ethnic cleansing."

184:

There are a lot of "what ifs".

After a long time in thought I agree that the GFA was flawed (and there is no doubt that Blair had some highly suspect self-serving reasons for pushing it), but a lot us knew it was flawed at the time and voted for it out of a sense of optimism and hope. And that wasn't totally misplaced -- lives have undoubtedly been saved, and a generation has grown up in relative peace. Without Brexit I think we would have stumbled on until the gradual die off of politicians ossified in Green/Orange politics and the demographic shift provided a crack into which real change could be inserted.

What happens now though? Anyone's guess. I don't expect a full re-run of the Troubles, but neither do expect violence to be completely avoided (indeed, the recent letter bombs have already proved that right).

185:

EC @ 175
THAT would be "FUN" - especially as the Father of the House was the best Chancellor we've had for many a year & is a thoroughoing Remainer - Kenneth Clarke.

Jim D @ 180
it's EASILY time for a 2nd Referendum - if it can be passed by the House ... which is the difficult bit.

R McD @ 182 ( & everybody )
the trouble with the SNP is that they are Scoxiteers, with all the same problems that brexit brings ....

186:

I wasn't talking about NO agreement, but about spending another year in getting a better one. Your "undoubtedly" is another "what if" compared to that, I am afraid, and I suspected at the time that it would not be true. Yes, I expected something like Omagh, though not on that scale, and it was only half 1998's total.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hRidYe3-avd7gvlZWVi1YZB7QY6dKhekPS1I1kbFTnY/edit

Anyway, my beliefs are clearly a "what if" where the preconditions did not come to pass, so are not of importance. But it's why I had and have the views I do.

187:

when May discovers she's not permitted to leave without a deal (by the UK parliament)


I must have missed something. I thought that unless there is an extension granted by the EU (all 27 of them) the UK is out on March 29 no matter what the current Parliament wishes. Yes/No?

I have a bit of a personal interest in all of this. I have a week booked at a nice hotel in London in mid June. It would be nice to know how much fun it will be to get there then.

188:

Some of that group (or their family/friends), faced with an imminent and avoidable demise, may consider the old WWII slogan. (Not "Keep Calm and Carry On", but "You can always take one with you".)

That's what the lamp posts are for. (Make sure you stock up on rope before they stop importing it.)

189:

Re: 'Here in Canada, similarly, controversy over the ratification of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the early 1980s has been a consistent issue for Québec.'

From Canadian media & family discussion --- Alberta is currently far likelier than Quebec to opt out of Confederation. Reason: oil production. Canada esp. with Trudeau has been leaning toward more environmental protections and less handing out gov't incentives to corporations to underwrite corporate undertakings. Alberta ever since its oil sands production ramped up has been a 'have' province. They were so sure that their oil could carry their provincial economy that they didn't bother to collect enough income taxes and ridiculed provinces with higher tax brackets (all of the rest of Canada). This low-tax worked for decades until OPEC dropped production, climate change became a real political issue, and to a lesser extent, the realization that the 'jobs' left at the tar sands are a helluva lot fewer than when the project was being built. (Seems there's some 'confusion' about how many people actually work there, their pay, etc.) Now that the cash cow has been running dry, and the Liberals are running Ottawa (Albertans hate Liberals - it's tradition!), right wing Albertans are putting up signs that Alberta should exit Canada.

But, it's a great place to ski!

190:

Re: Alberta's oil hand-outs

Here's the official prov gov't campaign to promote/attract oil companies to Alberta.

https://www.alberta.ca/royalty-investment-job-creation.aspx

Personally, I think it's sooo stoooopid to keep putting increasing numbers of eggs (jobs/% of your workforce/economy) into one basket - and a tipsy-by-outside-forces basket at that. But, hey! - I'm not a pol.

191:

And that has got to be the filthiest way to get oil in use currently. Dig up vast (really vast) stretches of sand with some oil mixed in it. Boil it to get the oil out. Dump the left over sand and water (and LOTS of it) back on the ground. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Pictures of the area are incredibly dismal.

192:

Alberta politics is driven by oil, which captured the government a few generations ago.

Not to mention a resentment-shading-to-hate of "the East" (ie. the rest of Canada) and a desire to get their own back.

193:

As a Scot, and someone who pretty much needs IC engine transport (live on island a ways from anywhere, so need either an aeroplane, or some combination of ferry and road vehicle or train (and lines from ferry ports are not electrified) to get anywhere I might be expected to take a "we need oil" stance.

There's more to it though; if you want plastics, oil cooled and/or insulated electrics, or even lubricants you pretty much need at least some oil.

194:

Tusk just said no (short) extension unless May agreement approved by parliament.

That leaves only four scenarios:

1. Cancel Article 50.

2. Approve Mays deal, optional short extension (what for? The deal is approved...)

3. Use second referendum to ask EU for long extension.

4. No-deal on march 29th

My probabilities: 0.05/0.25/0.1/0.6

195:

Well, Macron has stated he will veto the extension request so it does look like it's now down to crash out or revoke A50...

196:

"Meaningful vote" is a trace of a previous row.

The original version of the EU Withdrawal Bill allowed the Government to ratify a Withdrawal Agreement without having to go back to the Commons.

The Commons kicked up a fuss, and May brought an amendment that required the Commons to vote on a motion noting the Withdrawal Agreement - but would still allow the Government to ratify the agreement even if the Commons voted it down.

This was promptly nicknamed the "meaningless vote" and there was then a battle to put in a "meaningful vote" which would not allow the Withdrawal Agreement to come into force without an affirmative vote in the Commons. So that's why it's called the "meaningful vote".

197:

Also, Berkow won't allow a vote on Mays deal without an extension, so it's catch22 unless you turn Parliment off and on again...

198:

As a general rule, ANY party with a monopoly on power is a disaster, no matter what their stated policy or purpose. They alway shut down feedback, and they always ignore vitally important matters.

Current example: The way the Irish Border problem was basically ignored during the framing of the Brexit agreements. To assume malice is more than I think the evidence indicates. I think what it indicates is that they just wouldn't listen when people told them it was important. (As in: "We've got more important things to think about.")

199:

Re: Alberta - bye, bye tax advantage!

FYI - the Frasier Institute* is a Tory/Libertarian think tank - several former Tory & Reform Pols on its board.

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/end-of-the-alberta-tax-advantage

Overall, think that the UK is facing similar issues re: regional industrial, economic disparities.

BTW, have no idea what the tax difference between various countries within the UK are, if any. Differences in taxation schemes play a big role in national cohesiveness/policy.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraser_Institute

200:

Parliament can suspend their own rules if they want, so May just have to win two votes instead of one to send the same deal in front of the house again.

201:

Later reports on Macron's current position are ... more nuanced; here's a HuffPo story suggesting that he'd agree (probably grudgingly) to a long delay for a referendum or election, but not to let Parliament just thrash around more (which is the only thing that May's letter offers as a plan).

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/france-contemplates-refusing-brexit-delay-as-theresa-may-seeks-article-50-extension_uk_5c923cd0e4b0dbf58e468696

How that squares with Tusk's more recent statement is anyone's guess. Up until recently, "long extension only with referendum or election" was pretty much a common line from the EU side; it's possible May had her chance at that with this letter, and has blown it.

202:

It squares fine, short and long extensions are very different beasts.

203:

I remain as unsure now as I was then that anything better than the GFA could have been produced.

204:

(PS: I don't think you mean it this way, but you really don't need to lecture me about death tolls in NI, it rankles, to say the least, when you're seeming to do so.)

205:

I apologise. It wasn't meant for you, because I know that you knew. It was meant for other readers, who might have not realised what actually happened.

I am sure that something better could have been produced, but I agree that it would almost certainly have been blocked by someone - and the mandarins in Whitehall would have been (and possibly were) among the worst culprits there.

206:

Agreed.

I need to go find something cheerful to think about for a bit. Between remembering NI's sad past and looking at the rather gloomy near future, the shine is coming off my usually sunny disposition!

207:

I don't think democracy is viable in large countries, because of the cost of getting elected. The candidates are always bought before they are elected.

I'm for sortilege, i.e. selecting office holders by lottery. This does mean that power needs to be decentralized, but that would be a good idea anyway. I really think a lottery would have a hard time turning up worse candidates than the recent election have chosen. And at least it would be representative. You *do* need to take steps to prevent corruption. I suggest that retiring office holders be given a salary of twice the median income, and prohibited from taking emolument in any form from any other source. I'm not certain that one should be allowed to decline appointment.

208:

What is the capital of the Britain?
What is your favorite color?
What is the size of all your bank in total?

ARRRGHGHGHGHHHHHHH!!!!!

209:

You don't need oil, though; you need mechanized transport.

One of the things I find slightly cheering is that the US defense establishment may have got serious about non-carbon pumpable fuels. (Alkaline fuel cells and ammonia looks like the workable option. Certainly for ships and trains and it's been done with cars. Air travel is a nice-but-not-necessary in a post-Holocene world.
Quite a lot of work has gone into direct hydrocarbon synthesis because the USN would like to have carriers that can make jet fuel. This isn't anything like as efficient as the ammonia cycle, so it'll likely stay relatively expensive and restricted in application.)

Same with plastics; you need inputs, they don't have to be fossil carbon inputs. I suspect we're going to see a lot of lipid-extraction from sewage to make lubricants, by and by. And an electric-motor world needs far less POL supply than an ICE world.

In the specific case of Alberta, the whole province is to the west of the 100th meridian of descriptive meteorology; it's going to go desert. (So is at least half of Saskatchewan; maybe right into Manitoba. Sask grows half Canada's food output. People do not pay enough attention to this point.)

Some of Alberta is far enough north to keep getting rain, and I'd expect that the axis of utility is going to shift off the east-west watershed of the Saskatchewan River/the CP and CNR rail lines to a north-south one along the Mackenzie River (Slavey language: Deh-Cho IPA: [tèh tʃʰò], big river or Inuvialuktun: Kuukpak IPA: [kuːkpɑk], great river; French: fleuve (de) Mackenzie).

The part that's going to get powerful dry (which does include Calgary and Edmonton and both Calgary and Edmonton are entirely dependent on river water for drinking water at this time....) is a good place for geothermal and they've got a bunch of skills and hardware there to do the drilling required. It would make sense to put in as much geothermal as can be arranged and then figure out what to do with the electrical power.

BC is technically better for geothermal; BC is going to get hit with sea level rise, an eventual truly major earthquake, and has general tectonic stability problems which are bad for geothermal bore holes. Saskatchewan could do geothermal but is getting further from the hot spot in BC and you'd have to drill much deeper.

210:

Well. The clock ticks closer to midnight on a no-deal brexit. Tusk has made a short delay harder while not explicitly ruled-out longer, but May doesn't seem keen on a longer delay. On the bighter side (though still dark) given the likely need for Labour support to get anything passed, this might make a deal with required People's Vote to confirm it more likely, or even a second referendum (very unlikely though). Passing either would probably be enough to appease Tusk. I wonder if May would let anything along these lines come to a free vote though. Is it possible Tusk & the EU is now willing to let no-deal happen? I would have thought that unlikely a day ago.

211:

Would you mind very much if I copied your whole post, to post to a small mailing list of mine? Credit to your username, or "anon", or...?

212:

If I were May, I'd cancel article 50 and say a second referendum is required now that people really understand what the issues are.

Given the huge unpopularity of any thus-far negotiated output, it should be a more specific binary choice: remain, or crash out. The EU isn't likely to put up with another long set of negotiations; from their point of view it probably seems there's no negotiated settlement acceptable to both Parliament and to all 27 members. So it's in or out.

Or maybe the second referendum could be a three-part vote with a kicker? Use a preference-order ballot between these three:

Choice 1: Remain.

Choice 2: Crash out.

Choice 3: Attempt to negotiate a new agreement, with a deadline: At 30 days before the article 50 deadline, there will be another referendum. If the UK and parliament have successfully negotiated something by that date, that referendum will be to remain, to crash out, or to accepted the negotiated deal. If there has not been a successful negotiation, the referendum will be to either remain or to crash out.

Nah, I'm probably dreaming.

213:

Side note: As a US follower of Brexit news, I think this interests me so much because even the minute possibility of backing away from Brexit, or a very soft Brexit at least, is the equivalent of the US getting a do-over on Trump. I'm still not sure which is the worse, though Brexit seems a bigger existential threat to the UK, with fewer relative international knock-on effects.

214:

So long as they're actually *strange* women, not dull (ignorant and stupid), boring, and greedy.

215:

That's *quite* unfair. He was chosen as a warlord by the various kings, the so-called "sex scandal" was nothing more than a new, anti-sex and misogynist religion being used against him by malcontents, who then pushed his illegitimate son into rebellion.

Now, could someone on that side of the Pond, perhaps, knock at the door that goes into Glastonbury Tor...?

216:

Based on the results from the time, and the comments I've seen over and over, I'd think that remain would win by at least 52% absolute, and possibly significantly higher.

Democracy? I think we need to remember that it's almost impossible to separate economics from politics... so democratic socialism, with a side helping of maximum wealth for individuals and "artificial persons" (companies).

I want tax laws to make millionaires out of billionaires....

217:

Perhaps you could write a letter to your (Scots) queen, recommending this? Perhaps get co-signers? Or maybe an op-ed, along with the letter?

I'd sign, if I were a citizen there, unless you wanted me to sign as "friend of the UK".

218:

Thank you, including the accent on your first name.

Yes, I do ask folks I've just met how their name should be pronounced, if I've a question.

The Arabic pronunciation - I don't know any Arabic, so I had no clue.

219:

I have the distinct impression that Theresa May thinks the can win at Russian Roulette with only one round missing.

As bad as the Trumpster fire is, I believe (hope, fingers and toes crossed) that the damage he's doing can be fixed in a decade—so long as he doesn't actually get re-elected. That's speaking of politics, as for social aspects, that'll take longer.

Brexit on the other hand, if it happens, looks like it'll take at least a generation to heal the wounds. Once the Baby Boomers have died out enough to no longer be a political force. Maybe.

Much sympathy to you all.

220:

Wouldn't Dublin be better than London? It sounds like London is going to lose all data protection regulations, and Dublin will keep theirs.

221:

>I have the distinct impression that Theresa May thinks the can win at Russian Roulette with only one round missing.

Possibly worse than that: It's not a revolver, it's a pistol, and there's already bullet in the chamber.

222:

As bad as the Trumpster fire is

As speaking of incompetence.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/the-real-reason-president-trump-is-constantly-losing-in-court/2019/03/19/f5ffb056-33a8-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html

I've said to others that if his admin would pay attention to the "rules" their wreaking ball would be hitting a lot more targets.

223:

Plastics have been made from many things, e.g. waste corn stalks, sawdust, etc. Oil refinery residues are just the cheapest current source.

It's too bad that all renewable sources of liquid burnables tend to be low in energy density, but that's really predictable, as the high energy ones take a lot more energy to make. It should be possible to polymerize methyl- and ethyl- compounds, but that's going to take input of research and input of energy. And it may not be possible to do it cheaply. OTOH, batteries have gotten good enough that there have been electric airplanes recently. (I think they were just demonstration models, though.)

224:

"I believe (hope, fingers and toes crossed) that the damage he's doing can be fixed in a decade—so long as he doesn't actually get re-elected."

The problem is Trump is just a symptom of the modern republican party. And with the poor governance structure of the US (aka the Senate) its sadly probable that the republican party retains enough power to keep the billionaires looting.

225:

I suggest that retiring office holders be given a salary of twice the median income, and prohibited from taking emolument in any form from any other source. I'm not certain that one should be allowed to decline appointment.

Nice try, no cigar.

I earn more than double the median UK income (hint: middle-aged, earning for two). Indeed, that median income is so low (about £27,000) that you can't easily afford to live in London on it, other than in a precarious HMO situation (room in shared house) or raise a family on double it outside London.

If you tried to draft me on those terms—which would mean taking a significant drop in income and being forbidden from practicing my calling, i.e. writing—I'd probably refuse to serve, or actively sabotage the process. I'm pretty sure you'd get that reaction from a lot of high ability/high earning office holders.

You might get a better result if income was either current income, index linked, or double the median, with an equal-sized annual pension thereafter (i.e. never work again for life), for those folks who can't take 5 years out from their profession without falling off the planet. (Hint: surgeons, software engineers … or novelists. Who lose traction rapidly if they take a career break.)

But then you also run into the happy fun problem that the average member of the public is utterly unsuitable to hold office, and probably suffers from Dunning Kruger syndrome on top. (I know I'd make a terrible politician—I'm probably somewhere on the ASD spectrum—so I don't even try. What about the idiots who voted for Brexit because they hate the Eurovision song contest? Or who want to bring back hanging and flogging?)

It's the job of an educated and effective politician to lead public opinion, not reflect it slavishly, let alone trail it (by getting their policies from Twitter or the Daily Mail.)

226:

On Brexit... well i guess. Maybe May wins? Gets labor to vote for the deal?

227:

The judges and auditors in EU have a very generous pension, well north of 100K€, in order to make it a lot harder to bribe them.

Once we get into that level of compensation, scaling is an issue.

228:

Not gonna happen.

(It'd require a radical and controversial action on the part of a very rich, very conservative, 92 year old woman who has been aware, for the past 60-plus years, that her historic legacy can blow up in her face if she makes one wrong move.)

229:

Once we get into that level of compensation, scaling is an issue.

Agreed. But as polities with term limits learned, the learning curve is a problem: so you'd ideally want to draft legislators for at least a decade (the first few years amounting to an accelerated degree in civics and constitutional law, followed by a period of practice, then a mentoring cool-down as they pass knowledge on to their successors).

Also, implicit in this suggestion is that it breaks the local representation provided (in theory) by the FPTP/constituency system; people are selected at random on a population basis, i.e. nationally. So you can decouple the number of electors from the size of the legislator and radically downsize the legislative chamber from the House of Commons (currently 650 MPs).

But it's still problematic.

230:

Interesting. You have a slightly higher income than I do, and I regard myself as well off - of course, my wife has a (much smaller) income, too.

The competence and Dunning-Kruger problems can be largely dealt with (as in Heinlein and others), but the personality ones are harder. As someone way out on the Asperger's scale, I could be the sort of political appointee who is told by the (Prime) Minister "We have this problem - work out how to solve it, write it up and come back", possibly even "Now go on and deliver on that", but NO WAY can I persuade people. Indeed, I make the joke I have negative charisma, and can actually point to evidence of that :-)

However, we positively do NOT want people with what I call Blair's syndrome - the mindset that starts with a decision, fits mere facts around it, and convinces itself of those invented facts (and the falseness of any conflicting ones), irrespective of how much hard evidence there is to the contrary. And, unfortunately, our so-called representative democracy favours such people :-(

231:

Blair's syndrome

Over here we name it Donald.

232:

It's too bad it's edging towards spring in the UK.

Picking up an earlier thought, I'd love to anonymously start an internet rumor that the next PM would be whoever found a sword in a natural UK pond without SCUBA before March 29, fished it out and presented it to the Queen.

Of course this would predictably result in a run on underwater metal detectors, especially by a certain segment of UKIP, and it would predictably annoy all the rescue divers who'd be fishing out the hypothermic drowning victims for the next week. However, properly done (e.g. with Merlin-level magic), it would paralyze the wingnuts for a week while they were off searching for the Grail Sword, and everyone else could try their hand at solving the mess.

Anyway, hope this cheered you up for a couple of seconds.

233:

What's needed, instead of an upper house and a lower house (by whatever names) is a House of Charismatic People and a House of Fact-Based people.

234:

Supposing the EU vetoes an extension, and supposing Parliament continues to faff around not doing anything much;

given that they have voted against a no-deal exit, does that require May to wait until the last few seconds of March 28th, announce the withdrawal of Article 50, and presumably resign in disgust?

If not, what am I missing?

235:

You are missing the fact that May would triumphantly celebrate the no-deal brexit and not even contemplate cancelling the article 50 notice ?

Listen to what she says all the time: The most important objective in her mind is to deliver the brexit, doesn't matter how, doesn't matter what it cost, doesn't matter that it kills people, "brexit means brexit" and that is it.

236:

Then what did the vote against a no-deal Brexit mean?

237:

As pretty much everybody involved have been saying all the time: It meant nothing.

No-Deal brexit is the default.

To avoid no-deal a deal must be approved.

Only deal on offer is the one UK's PM has negotiated with EU over the last two years.

238:

It occurs to me that future historians are likely to write about this under the heading "Tragedy of the (house of) Commons"

239:

Or maybe they'll write about it only as the last footnote of "The History of the Decline and Fall of the British Empire".

240:

Well, since we're past 200, a very minor derail:

I'm currently reading Brooke Harrington's Capital without Borders, which is a sociological study of the wealth management field. Prof Harrington did it the hard way, by going through the training to get herself certified as a Trust and Estate Planner. While she was open about also doing the sociological study, her willingness to totally embed in the field gave her access she wouldn't have had otherwise.

With that background, the wealth managers are the knights of the new plutocracy, tasked with setting up offshore tax havens and similar to protect the wealth of people worth more than $30 million. They ethics verge on the aristocratic and feudal, as their main task is defending the property of their lords, which property happens to be extremely fungible, rather than a castle with associated manorial estates and serfs.

The context in regards to Brexit is the following statement from the book:

"Still others have observed that many of the microstates that have become leading global centers of wealth management activity are a “feudal remnant,” their territories and sovereignty created from duchies and principalities predating the Westphalian political order by centuries. These include the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey—the last sovereign fragments of the Duchy of Normandy, once held by William the Conqueror—along with Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Malta, among others.7 The most important of these feudal holdovers is undoubtedly the City of London, the self-governing square mile enclosed by but distinct from London, the national capital. An estimated $1.1 trillion in personal wealth originating outside the United Kingdom—11 percent of the private offshore finance business worldwide—passes through the 1,000-year-old City, making it literally “a medieval commune representing capital.”

So, if we're slicing and dicing the UK post-Brexit, why does everyone want the City of London to be allied with them on the outside of whatever goes Brexiting off from the EU? Isn't that the center of power for some of the people who are funding this whole miserable thing and stand to profit by it? To me, that seems rather like the chickens carefully building the chicken pen to include the fox den inside the coop.

241:

No. But that's one of the reasons I think perhaps people should be allowed to decline. But then the rich and successful wouldn't get a voice in the government. Good? Bad? I'm uncertain.

The trouble is, people with income from other sources are biased in favor of those other sources. And the retirement package needs to be tied to the median income to give the rule makers an investment in the "common herd". Perhaps you could argue in favor of three times the median, or an average of the median income (for the area they legislated/executived over) and their current income. But I'm dubious. It might be better to just let people decline.

242:

The current crop of politicians is what made me start thinking sortilege would be an improvement. I agree that the current systems would need lots of alterations, as I said, centralized power would need to be dispersed...but as I also said, that needs to happen anyway.

That said, it's true that there are an extremely large percentage of the people who would be unsuitable. Unfortunately, that seems to include those who are able to get elected. If it were done by sortilege, at least the dingbats chosen wouldn't agree with (and reinforce) each other.

243:

On the one hand, the United Kingdom is an island, and given the existence of desal tech, there is no excuse for it to ever run short of potable water, on the other hand, this does presume you actually solve problems that can be solved by building infrastructure by building infrastructure, and.. Well, look at the UK grid.

Step one: Privatize, leading to zero investment in anything other than gas turbines and some guaranteed-profit wind turbines, as the private sector pays out all excess cash flow in dividends.

Step two: Notice the entire foundation of the Grid is about to go out of service due to extreme age. Oops.

Step three: Hand over the entire mess to EDF, and sign terms with said quasi-government entity which are about as extortionate as you would expect from negotiators with their back up against the wall and only one bidder. But at least this means the French will build some generation capacity which will probably keep the power on for the next century or so, right?

Step four: Leave the EU.

So, what I am saying is, I am not sure the Tories will build desal, even if the water is running out...

244:

No problem, go ahead.

FWIW, having sobered up I'm not actually super happy with my comment anymore and I probably sorta regret having posted it. The first half isn't telling anyone in this thread anything new and the second half is simplifying too much and too little at the same time.

(Austrian nationalists and Brexit, for example: The short version is that the Freedom Party knows there is no alternative to the EU but occasionally hints at wanting to leave because it's cheap extra turnout. Just like Cameron used to be, they're positive they'll never be in a position to have to deliver. No plausible Brexit outcome is going to affect their strategic outlook very much, so they only care about short-term tactical effects.

The long version is twenty thousand words and talks about 19th century German unification, Habsburg discrimination against Protestants, 1920s Austrian police brutality, the Sudeten question, British diplomacy in the lead-up to the Anschluss, British spies in 1950s Vienna, and the Nazi dogwhistles of the Haider era.

Anything in between is just muddying the waters without adding much of value.)

Credit to my username or "anon" or Random Inebriated Mediterranean or whatever suits you.

245:

The post-sit-in-office salary should be a percentage of the salary - maybe 2/3rds. And an absolute ban on taking money from any company or industry they regulated while in office.

A non-compete with teeth and claws.

246:

God help us, YES! I have just listened to the inanities. Corbyn was a complete arsehole (yes, Greg, I agree there) - but, compared to May, he looked like a statesman!

If we ignore the platitudes and summary of the situation, her speech (as many people said) blamed the MPs for her failure, but what flabbergasted me was that she said that she would bring her deal back to the HoC, and otherwise said absolutely NOTHING about what she would do! Please, Your Majesty, ennoble Leo Varadkar (as I believe is still possible) or virtually ANYONE who is even half-sane, and make him your prime minister!

247:

JPR @ 219
Excuse me ... I'm a baby boomer. I neraly voted leave, realised th trap at the last moment & am now very angry with the leavers for so-nearly conniong me.
SOME of us want "remain" ( quite a lot, actually) it is NOT an "age" thing ...

Charlie @ 225
Which is why I've been called a "fascist" in the past - becaue I believe in competence & education & Dunnink-Kruger

Heteromeles
EXCEPT that "The City" & "The Corporation" ar horribly c=scared by a no-deal brexit & all thero power & influence has bee symied by "We don't need or want experts" - the rallying call of brexiteers & trunmpskins everywhere ...

EC @ 246
Ah yes Loeo Vardkar for PM!
A brilliant idea & do you know - I think yoo've got my vote!

248:

I took it to be an indication she has advance word about the EU Council, the wheels are about to come off entirely, the Council is going to blame Parliament, and she wanted to get the first shot in.

249:

The current crop of politicians is what made me start thinking sortilege would be an improvement.... That said, it's true that there are an extremely large percentage of the people who would be unsuitable.

I am much less convinced of the latter than other people here are.

In practice when the experiment has been performed people have overwhelmingly taken their responsibilities seriously. This is obvious when jury deliberations are made public, and remember that the weird shit you occasionally read about is exactly that: remarkable, unusual and weird.

For a lot selected government to work I think you would need to outsource a lot of the bureaucracy and technocracy. A lot of what parliaments do is boring, monotonous and essential. It also only rises to parliamentary levels of importance as policy rather than detail, despite the way politicians love to pervert whatever policy they make to their own benefit. That's where we may struggle in the "who makes the rules sortitioned members operate under", and likewise with appointing top bureaucrats.

On that, though, there is good evidence that whatever systems we use now do it badly so it may be something where a jury does better simply by not making the same stupid mistakes as shareholders and ministers make. This paper has recently done the rounds although the research is more interesting than the headlines suggest.

250:

whitroth @ 62: I don't refer to them as alt-right, either. It's either neoNazis, or, as I came up with, all-wrong.

Fascist Assholes is accurate and succinct.

251:

whitroth @ 64: TV shows? There is an answer to the magical invisible overlord. He's been known to wear a red-lined coat, or a long, long scarf, and I *wish* he'd get here to help.

I thought "he" was currently "she"?

252:

There's one party already in Westminster with a disciplined team who have a clear focus and know exactly what they want and how to fix Brexit.

While I like the idea and agree with the sentiment, I think it plays against the whole "taking back control" narrative to the extent that The Herd might end up being your band of choice. They're ours

253:

Ideally it'd be a label they're willing to accept or at the very least can be printed in the media. Fucking neonazi scum fits that, although perhaps not for the outlets that are forced to be more politically correct. But those outlets find it hard to criticise the wee petals of the all-wrong without getting into trouble, regardless of their terminology (I refer to the ABC, BBC, CBC and other 'explicitly neutral' outlets who are supervised by politicians, to be clear (and yes, that's the ABC of BC's)).

254:

vincent.archer @ 66:

have a question: would a fresh Brexit referendum that reverses Brexit stick?

The biggest question is: what effect would it have. I know a handful of legal scholars have argued that the UK can reverse its Brexit, but that's an opinion that is based on empty words.

The treaty (and article 50) is what is binding. There are no mechanism in it to cancel an invocation of Article 50. Once invoked, the only outcome described in the article is exit from the EU, optionally with an extension of the negotiations, and optionally FOLLOWED by the leaver rejoining the EU as a new member. Everything in Article 50 except a no-deal Exit requires a full unanimous vote of the 27.

So based on that, it's expected that any reversing of Brexit would be subject to a vote at the EU level... and that starts all the political negotiations based on that. Because if the UK wants to remain, it will have to provide a deal to do so. If Romania wants concessions from the UK in exchange for not voting No, they can. And, obviously, they will, unless major EU powers (countries whose name start with FR or GE) push against every other EU member to keep them in line. I think Hungary, at least, would certainly wring every concession they can from the rest to provide their vote, given that, at the moment, EU wants to punish them for being christian white nationalists.

I'm pretty sure there was a recent news article to the effect that the EU's highest court ruled that until Brexit actually went through, the UK could revoke Article 50 if they wanted to.

255:

meaningful explanation...
thanks.

256:

On the subject of May's announcement, here's what I tweeted (while at a restaurant with only a smartphone, so no blog comment at the time):

“ … the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?“

Brecht channeling May on Brexit: nothing is new under the sun.

257:

"But then you also run into the happy fun problem that the average member of the public is utterly unsuitable to hold office, and probably suffers from Dunning Kruger syndrome on top. (I know I'd make a terrible politician—I'm probably somewhere on the ASD spectrum—so I don't even try. What about the idiots who voted for Brexit because they hate the Eurovision song contest? Or who want to bring back hanging and flogging?)"

YES !!!


A small tale to confirm the idea: before 1981, in France, well-meaning leftist were criticizing criminal jury composition (at the time drawn by lot from lists prepared by mayors), as "class warfare juries loaded with bourgeois reactionaries", because juries effectivelly tended to be loaded with "notables".

So, when they won, they changed the composition, removing the mayor filter, giving us "popular juries".

To their great horror, these egalitarian popular juries were much more likely to push for harsh sentencing. Because educated "notables" are much more likely to be swayed by the arguments of a defense lawyer about difficult upbringing and so on, than the average everyman, who generally would have loved to sentence everyone to death (luckily, the socialist also suppressed the death penalty in the same timeframe, narrowly escaping greater shame).

Beware of what you ask for. You may get it.

258:

In the case of juries, the reason they are as effective as they are is in large part because of the constraints imposed by the judge, on top of limits in subject matter and the nature of the question.

259:

Its been obvious for some time that Brexit will be soft, strong and very very long.

260:

It might be easier to find a small country somewhere that would be willing to swap, say, 100 anti-EU MPs for a number of their citizens. Maybe make the deal more attractive by making an appropriate number MPs when they arrive?

Think of it as a form of sortition :)

I'd suggest some of the sinking pacific island nations but I don't want your toxic waste in my ocean. Although, thinking about the likely eventual destination of the people concerned, Hunga Tonga could perhaps be spilt off as an independent nation and that would give those concerned time to acclimatise?

261:

I want tax laws to make millionaires out of billionaires....
Likewise. It's depressing how the GINI coefficient for the US has been steadily increasing since the Reagan cuts in the top tax rates. (via)
This is a bit US-centric; I'd like to see a substantial progressive tax on money used for "political speech", with a large standard exemption, but it would almost certainly be ruled unconstitutional. (And would be interesting to enforce, and workarounds would also often be ugly.)
The opaque monies that were spent on Leave are pretty disturbing.

262:

You're going to have to explain that; last I knew they have just as bad a claim to the Scottish throne as to the English, since the coup in the late 17th century that installed the William of Orange and then Hanoverians.

263:

Parliament also has limits, and not all governments are good at navigating those. Mind you, rather than pointing at Trump we could perhaps reflect that the UK isn't doing so well at recognising the limits of its ability to make laws, or the limits of those laws they do pass. The "no hard brexit" instruction from parliament, seems likely to be as effective as the famous "no high tide" ruling that they're probably ignoring because it happened in... {spit} ... Europe.

Those examples perhaps show that the problem is not "random people off the street sometimes make bad decisions" as "*people* sometimes make bad decisions". Saying "well then, we just won't have people involved in government" isn't a great answer.

That was also why my post emphasised the need to support and constrain citizens juries.

264:

Picking up an earlier thought, I'd love to anonymously start an internet rumor that the next PM would be whoever found a sword in a natural UK pond without SCUBA before March 29, fished it out and presented it to the Queen.
It's not hard to start/spread internet rumors (not a habit for me FWIW), but this one is now dead, sadly. :-)

265:

Random trivia question:
Thomas Erskine May & Theresa May - related?

266:

It's an interesting idea.

I've always suspected all three countries would be run much more competently if the Norvegians elected a parliament for Sweden, Sweden elected one for Denmark, and Denmark elected on for Norway.

I similarly wonder if not both France and UK would be run better, if they elected each others politicians.

267:

"It is not to be underestimated that certain EU leaders and MPs are very interested to make Brexit as hard as possible on the UK, whatever then "solution" is."

Note that the EU has in fact been quite willing to negotiate a reasonable deal with the UK.

The first problem is that the UK has been sold Brexit as a sparkling unicorn, when at best is would be a healthy donkey.

The second problem is that the EU is not rolling over, and not compromising core principles.

The third problem is that enough of the UK leadership wants to break the system.

The fourth problem is that the leadership of the UK can't handle that faction.

The fifth and final problem is that (as Graydon said), the UK is in a constitutional crisis, in the sense that the normal decision-making process has broken down.

268:

"I'm pretty sure there was a recent news article to the effect that the EU's highest court ruled that until Brexit actually went through, the UK could revoke Article 50 if they wanted to."

Yes. That was sorted out pretty early on - when the Lead Lady* had just jumped in and gone straight to firing off A50 without thought for what comes next, and more sensible people were frantically looking for possible escape routes and mitigations. There was a collective sigh of relief when it was established that yes, we can revoke it off our own bat without needing all 27 states to agree or indeed any of them. I'm not sure why some commenters are now trying to claim otherwise, when the relevant court has already decided that they're wrong.

* That's "Lead" pronounced not as in "Führerin", but as in "Pb": dense and toxic.

269:

"Approve Mays deal, optional short extension (what for? The deal is approved...)"

To get the needed laws in place. Right now, at the end of next week a massive body of law in both the UK and EU becomes moot, with nothing to replace it.

And it's not just laws on the law books, but regulations written in the government, all the way down to what people on the ground must/must not do.

270:

"I have the distinct impression that Theresa May thinks the can win at Russian Roulette with only one round missing."

This is the biggest issue to face UK politics since WWII, and that was simpler (if vaster and more horrible). This means that the entire political class in the UK is dealing with a problem they've not been trained or prepared for.

271:

What EU laws become moot? As far as I understand it, all EU laws remain in force in the EU and the EU needs to do nothing.

In the UK, the fact that the legal system is going to be messed up is one of the lesser problems they will be facing.

At the moment, I'd give about a 60% chance of a no deal Brexit, 15% that May's deal is adopted and 25% that the Article 50 notice is revoked.

272:

all the way down to what people on the ground must/must not do.

Yeah. What are the soon-to-exist customs inspectors and border guards and such being told to do and not do?

273:

For some reason I'm reminded of Scandinavia and the World comic. Just in general, but also in the way they tease each other in the comic. And pick on Finland.

274:

"Listen to what she says all the time: The most important objective in her mind is to deliver the brexit, doesn't matter how, doesn't matter what it cost, doesn't matter that it kills people, "brexit means brexit" and that is it."

From what understand (from over on the other side of the Pond), the Tory party is held hostage by the Brexiteers. If they come to believe that May won't deliver, she's gone.

And depending on the electoral breakdown of their constituencies, they might be able to (indiviudally) politically survive the Tories losing power. That gives them the option of toppling May and her entourage, purging the party, and coming back into power in a few years with a Pure British Party.

275:

Yes - every account I've read by someone who's been stuck with jury service seems to go pretty much the same way: at least eight of the twelve are the kind of thick small-minded arseholes who think the defendant must automatically be a criminal because they look like one (ie. are in the dock, look dishevelled from being in custody, and have those guards standing behind them - if they weren't guilty they wouldn't need the guards, stands to reason, etc.), and think the law is what they think it should be rather than what it is. The situation is only saved by the one jury member who does have a brain and the desire to use it, the one jury member who disagrees with the rest because they always reflexively disagree with everything, and the judge and other court officials. Trial by jury is really a pretty terrifying prospect.

276:

OK. I'll play:

brexit depends
upon

a red spy
colonel

practising
judo

against the
white people.

277:

What are the soon-to-exist customs inspectors and border guards and such being told to do and not do?

At this stage formal preparations focus on Article 50 being revoked. So trivia like tens of thousands of new government staff to police the borders are still down the list next to "meteor wipes out Cornwall" and "volcano erupts in Essex". The preparations to date focus on making sure the ruling class are not unduly inconvenienced - a few more police, some army stockpiling, even a ferry or two should they need to evacuate.

It's hard to conclude otherwise when nothing much is being done for a monumental transition. Needing 10,000 new customs officials is the least of it. You're going to need a phenomenally focused and productive parliament to create all the new legislation, then amend that legislation as the situation changes. Everyone affected will need to be run a new "Législation Du Jour" app... Sorry, post Brexit that will be "Today's Laws".

Not kidding, a huge volume of UK law basically says "refer to EU law {reference}" and a lot of that will become irrelevant on the date of Brexit. While I imagine that at least some of it is ready to go, there's been no sign of the amount of consideration and preparation your parliament would normally provide for such substantive legislation. So it may well be a case of "pass this 10 reams of legislation right now by voice vote or we are all fucked"... and would you trust the current government that all of that text will be fair, reasonable and responsible? Me neither.

The problem of telling people what the new laws are and getting them enforced is a different level of excitement. Because down in the doobly-doo you're not running the tax or criminal systems on "yeah let's just keep doing what seems right", it's very much "according to S4.23.II.4.c of the Very Longwinded Act Bringing Together 200 Years of Judicial Rulings on the Tax Exempt Status of Sundry Items and Services(2002) this plate of baked beans on toast wot I have purchased can be claimed against the earnings of my rental cottage in Dublin".

Less seriously, I do wonder whether you're going to be allowed to continue using that filthy French Système Internationale d’Unités :)

278:

We're all screwed, aren't we?

279:

If they come to believe that May won't deliver, she's gone.

The Tories have a (fairly recent?) rule that says they can only have one no-confidence motion in the leader a year, and they had theirs. They lost. So now they have to either persuade her to resign or wait for her to die.

This is why there's excitement about her "I'll resign if this goes on past the end of June", because it means she might actually resign. Then the circular firing squad inside the Tory party can resume until one again a lone survivor is pushed up to the parapet to announce "I am your leader".

280:

Re: Fungible

Says it all - portable with absolutely nothing to tie you down to any gov't, territory, culture, etc. Zero loyalty, zero risk.

What I'd be watching for with BrExit is any change in the uptick/conversion among the moneyed to an even more fungible form, something that's even less traceable/trackable by police/gov't, e.g., BitCoin. For the old fashioned, there's always art. (Too bad there's a pushy historical society that oversees/inventories major art works - public and private.)

281:

Hmm. This petition has hit 283,000 signatures within a few hours.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584

282:

"I thought "he" was currently "she"?"

Nope...

Long, long scarf is the last appearance before things break down; the last point at which whitroth's proposed solution remained a possibility.

Fencepost uncertainties led to a conditional fifth appearance, known as the Vet, who existed in a state of superposition - he may have been elsewhere in the universe with a crew of bickering and treacherous dicks, but he may also just have been somewhere in Yorkshire with his arm up a cow's arse. It's hard to tell.

BBC BASIC infinite-loop one-liners using the RND, GCOL and PLOT 8[0-7] commands, and everything subsequent, are simply artefacts of a dysfunctional universe. So are pages on the internet which argue to the contrary. You, and they, are being confused by The Great 1979ish Reality Disaster (of which other consequences include Thatcher, and the breakup of Pink Floyd.)

283:

think the law is what they think it should be rather than what it is

One thing that made me really angry was the harsh restrictions on information the jury is permitted to have. Everything from the law under consideration to the actual evidence is by default not allowed in the jury room and to get it someone has to beg the judge. There are many opportunities for negative social feedback from both the criminal system people and the other jurors.

I think we need to extend the medical research paradigm into our criminal system(s). Study the way the system works and try to move towards a system that reliably produces justice. What we have now is a "Justice System" in the same sense that the "People's Democratic Republic of Korea" is a democracy.

284:

A lot of British EU regulations about bendy cucumbers and such are covered by Statutory Instruments which are a crude form of end-run around Parliament by the Government, basically delegated powers used by various Ministries to set tariffs, limit operations, regulate stuff and do all the sorts of things the "unelected bureaucrats in Brussels" are supposed to be inflicting upon us. They can be changed, revoked or converted into British law as needed but even though Parliament doesn't really have to lay hands on them there's still a lot of work by the Ministers involved. You hay have noticed the turnover in Ministers recently? That's why, if the report I saw was correct, there are still approximately 600 Statutory Instruments are still waiting suitable revocation, reworking or fine-tuning so that when we Leave the things they concern will work well enough we don't starve to death in the dark. Much.

285:

Not kidding, a huge volume of UK law basically says "refer to EU law {reference}" and a lot of that will become irrelevant on the date of Brexit.

Serious question -- why does that have to change on day one? It's a pointer to some text. That text was suitable on March 29; why is it not suitable on March 30? In the US state where I was on the legislative staff, there were lots of statutory references to outside text. Sometimes standards set by engineering organizations. Sometimes federal statute or regulation. Part of the staff's job -- not mine, thank the Elder Gods -- was keeping track of when that outside text changed and bringing the issue to the attention of our legislature as to whether they should accept the change, or write their own text. Why can't Parliament pass a law that says "As of March 30, excluding sh*t like treaties, we continue to follow EU statute and regulation until such time as Parliament changes them"?

286:

‘a huge volume of UK law basically says "refer to EU law {reference}" and a lot of that will become irrelevant on the date of Brexit.’
Does it necessarily become irrelevant? Or could it become "refer to EU law {reference} until Parliament gets around to replacing it?” Of course being ruled by the laws of a political entity you have no voice in is the opposite of regaining your sovereignty - oh well.

287:

whitroth @ 216: I want tax laws to make millionaires out of billionaires....

I'm leaning more and more toward making Soylent Green out of 'em.

288:

JamesPadraicR @ 219: As bad as the Trumpster fire is, I believe (hope, fingers and toes crossed) that the damage he's doing can be fixed in a decade—so long as he doesn't actually get re-elected. That's speaking of politics, as for social aspects, that'll take longer.

The real damage is the way Mitch McConnell has been packing the courts with friends of Adolf Federalist Society judges. And that won't be fixed for a generation.

OTOH, maybe we could just have Mitch McConnell & his ilk fixed.

289:

Petition is at 322,908 - each update seems to add another 10-20.

290:

dsrtao @ 236: Then what did the vote against a no-deal Brexit mean?

Parliament has ordered the tide not to come in.

291:

Paul @ 259: Its been obvious for some time that Brexit will be soft, strong and very very long.

... and the toilet paper (bog roll) holder will be empty.

292:

On the other hand, nobody really wants to talk about this too loudly, but Her Majesty isn't going to be around that much longer. How much does she really have left to lose, given that it's all going to be someone else's problem anyway in a few years? Especially if the choice is between Britain becoming a republic and Britain violently buggering itself to death for no particularly sensible reason.

293:

Brexit + Devolution = Revenge of the Celts!

If the UK breaks up (as many of you assume) as a result of Brexit then the Celtic parts (Ireland, Ulster, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall) can form a Celtic Union to replace most of the UK

And thereby freeing themselves from the shackles of their Anglo Saxon/Norman/Germanic overlords who have lorded over them since the invaders arrived in the year 441 ("The British provinces, which to this time had suffered various defeats and misfortunes, are reduced to Saxon rule."); since Henry II ("The Lion in Winter") invaded Wales in 1187; since Ireland was first invaded by Richard "Strongbow" de Clare in 1170: and since Edward I Longshanks invaded Scotland in 1297.

It will be time for the people of Brian Boru, William Wallace and Llywelyn the Great to reclaim their heritage.

(Yes, as an Irish American I am kidding - sort of)

294:

The Royal Family is a PR firm which has converted an historically sovereign position into a lucrative gig conveying a specific cultural norm.

This has historically worked because observing the ritual norms gives you social cohesion in your upper class and it keeps the "top of the heap" position safely away from achievable ambition. We know who is on top of the heap, you can't get there, and there's a system of apportioning status which is both complex enough to feel real and difficult enough to absorb ambition. (Think of the Queen as a combination of taste arbiter and swank referee.)

It only works if they don't do any sovereignty. It only works if the cultural norm is fundamentally non-controversial.

"Until the times do alter" is pretty much the worst circumstance imaginable to the royals. If there's any way for the Queen to think "maybe I should do a sovereignty", it would have to arise from the cultural norm. And there's a duly elected prime minister and a duly elected parliament and they're theoretically trying to do a democracy. The norm violation is too new for there to be any possibility of overt royal disfavour.

295:

(Ireland, Ulster, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall) can form

The Celtic Union Northern Territories?

There's all sorts of ways that could go wrong, but the name is one of them.

296:

I once lived in the town of Fontana, CA, which runs, so help me, the Fontana Unified School District - The Eff You SD.

297:

The associated map of whose voted where is really interesting, although I'm not sure that a deadline of 20 August 2019 really captures the in your face urgency of the issue.

298:

could it become "refer to EU law {reference} until Parliament gets around to replacing it?

It all will/is, the problem being all the bits that say stuff like "covered by this EU regulation" or "from outside the Schengen zone" or other stuff that gets quite tricky when you're on the outside of the thing instead of inside. In theory they've had years to grind through every single bit of legislation and case law and correct it all, but I haven't see the new legislation passed to patch it up. I hope it's there and it's just too boring to make it into the media.

Viz, if the EU reg is that all motor vehicles approved by an EU government are allowed to do X, then after Brexit British vehicles will not fall under that rule... so it might not be legal to drive a British vehcile on British roads, but legal to drive a French one :) Plus a lot of things will work steadily less well over time, and I expect that people will discover things that haven't been considered but are problematic. By people I mean criminals... well, people who would be criminals if the law meant now what it meant before.

The situation with standards and other documents is mostly problematic when the law binds us to things we can't afford to find out about. It's all very well saying "but BAC.12345 is only $10", it's just that the reason it has a 5 digit serial is that there are 34,000 of them so knowing the law relating to BAC is going to cost you $340,000, and BAC is unlikely to be the only set of standards enshrined in law.

I like the movement in the US to say "everyone is entitled to free access to the text of all laws" and enforce that. I suspect there will be push-back from standards bodies at some point (related: Bob help us if some smart person decides that filibustering via reading a copyrighted work would be funny).

299:

I've just realised what the March surprise is:

"Control" is a small stuff animal

The whole taking back control operation is because Boris lost his teddy bear.

300:

Charlie @ 256
That quote from Berthold Brecht, was from 1953. IIRC. After the workers uprising against the communist state (!)
Even Brecht would have been sent to the Gulag for that, but he was allowed to get away with it, because he was dying.

guthrie @ 262
WHAT "coup"?
That was "The Glorious Revolution", because Mary had a legitimate claim to the throne - as did Anne ....
Tough.

Moz @ 277
APPARENTLY
Most ports that are "$NOT_DOVER" already have customs inspectors, because "stuff" is coming in & going to non-EU destinations - even Felixstowe has about 50% non-EU traffic, so minimal adjustment will be needed in those places.
I know of one railway TOC who is pre-preparing themselves for this, just in case, as there would be a large increase in rail traffic from those ports.

The SI system is bound into many international treaties & both English & Scottish law. Which is fortunate as some of the ultra-bonkers-even-more-rabid-than usual exiteeers want to get rid of the International System, because "We don't understand their metric nonsense"
Given that I started using the m-k-s sytem (as it was then called ) in 1960 or '61 ... WHAT THE FUCK?

EC @ 281
SIGNED - thanks
Now at HALF A MILLION.
Please everyone - sign this & tell everybody

301:

I am mesmerised watching the numbers on this petition. Currently it’s climbing by over a thousand every minute. At the current rate it will top a million by lunch time today.

302:

Re the sudden absence of EU law and the need to fill that vacuum

I'm concerned that the body of replacement law has already been drafted — undoubtedly with great attention to the demands of ERG / big donors / big media barons / redacteds / assorted other puppetmasters — and is ready to be thonked onto the table immediately post-29th. To be passed en bloc and with all dissent answered with something amounting to "oh, so you're a lawlessness-advocating anarchist, are you?"

303:

and would you trust the current government that all of that text will be fair, reasonable and responsible?

And no typos?

304:

Why can't Parliament pass a law that says "As of March 30, excluding sh*t like treaties, we continue to follow EU statute and regulation until such time as Parliament changes them"?

That would be a betrayal of Breixt. At least with the hard core. Current Tories in the UK parliament seem to be stuck dealing with them like the R's in the US House had to deal with the 20 or so hard core conservatives.

To ignore them meant a coalition with the "other side" and that was just a bridge too far.

305:

And with no delegation of essential services to organisations unable to provide them? e.g. ferrying to companies without ferries, healthcare to firms without doctors or hospitals, fresh water to...

306:

Re the Revoke Article 50 petition (thank you EC @ 281), I think it's worth noting that

"Only British citizens or UK residents have the right to sign"
(on the page you reach after clicking "Sign this petition")

would seem to indicate that not only citizens may sign, but residents can too. So Ms. Vector and I have been circulating the petition accordingly.

307:

And the parliamentary petitions site has gone dark. Brief “down for maintenance message”, and now just getting “Bad gateway 503”.

Make of that what you will.

308:

Back up now (for me at least).

309:

Yep. Hats off to whoever was firefighting in the background, that can’t have been a fun half hour!

Numbers climbing fast again.

310:

That is a malicious quarter-truth - do not be taken in by it. The claims of Great Britain's republicans (note: GB republicans are unrelated to NI ones) are about as truthful as those of the Brexiteers.

The Queen (as her father before her) regards her primary duty being to serve her country and Commonwealth, and has worked harder at that over a longer period than any politician. Yes, there is a PR aspect, as there is an accumulated wealth one, but those are secondary. According to all reports, she is one of the best statesmen in Europe, and has given successive Prime Ministers invaluable advice - but that is useful only to those who listen.

As OGH, you and others have said, she does nothing more than that, with the occasional call for national sanity when important, and I agree that she is unlikely to. But she might surprise us - and she might even judge the PR aspect right - I doubt it, because I don't think there is ANYTHING that can be done that won't piss off at least 30% of the UK.

311:

You should know better! Omitting King Mark, indeed!

312:

I am almost certain that it hasn't been - I don't think that you realise how deeply the lack of governance goes in Whitehall as well as Westminster. What HAS probably been drafted is the USA/UK trade, services etc. treaty - by the USA corporations - but I doubt that anyone in the UK government has seen it yet. The former's agents in the latter are being, er, whipped to support it in advance of knowing its contents, and have already started doing so.

313:

Re: 'Now at HALF A MILLION. Please everyone - sign this & tell everybody'

You got your wish only the web site has crashed!

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47652071

Headline: 'Brexit: Revoke Article 50 petition crashes Parliament website'

314:

How about Arthur King of the Britons! (aka the Romano-Celts) who fought the invading Anglo-Saxons (and probably was a real person), and whose capital Camelot was located at Tintagel in Cornwall?

You make think the "Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government" - but could it be worse than what you have now?

(Cue other obligatory Monty Python and the Holy Grail jokes)

315:

When you think that Brexiters will suffer the most from the economic collapse caused by Brexit:

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2018/07/these-are-areas-will-suffer-most-economically-after-brexit

and Trump supporters have suffered the most from his economic policies

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2018/05/15/daily-202-trump-supporters-suffer-unintended-consequences-of-his-policies/5afa0c8830fb0425887994fd/

and Red States will suffer the most damage from climate change:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/29/politics/climate-change-irony-brookings/index.html

...maybe there is a God, or at least Karma.

316:

Mark was definitely real, and so was his kingdom, though neither were quite in the form described in legends. Whether Arthur was real is debatable (he is probably a composite), but his kingdom definitely wasn't, and the Tintagel aspect was taken from the Kingdom of Cornwall/Dumnonia, though I am pretty sure it never was the capital.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Cornwall
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_of_Cornwall
http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/celts_12.html

317:

More important question:

Does PM May have "huge ... tracts of land"?

Must.. resist... further... Holy Grail... nerd... references...

318:

So it may well be a case of "pass this 10 reams of legislation right now by voice vote or we are all fucked"…

You missed May granting herself Henry VIII Powers (to amend existing legislation by decree).

I wish I was making this shit up. (Henry VIII was the nearest thing to a Stalin that England ever had …)

319:

That quote from Berthold Brecht, was from 1953. IIRC. After the workers uprising against the communist state (!)

Just pointing out that Theresa May would have been totally at home in the upper ranks of the Stasi, personality-wise.

320:

She's the role-model for the Home Sec in, um, err ... "Annihilation Score" - isn't she?

321:

Yes. And subsequent books through "The Delirium Brief". (At the end she's briefly promoted to Prime Minister, but stands down rapidly … in favour of The Mandate. Who is currently looking like he'd be a distinct improvement over what we've got, except he's only a fictional eldritch horror from beyond spacetime, dammit.)

322:

With current anxiety levels, I'm actually struggling to do anything productive today.

Fuck Brexit. And fuck those that hauled us to this precipice.

323:

Yep, Brexit has totally nuked my work productivity this week.

I have a book I should be editing and I just. Can't. Focus.

324:

Hah. It's ruined mine for nearly three years now.

325:

A lot of the anti-Liberal feelings in Alberta stems from the National Energy Program, which many Albertans blame for a down turn in oil prices which in turn led to lay-offs which led to many Albertans losing their homes. It doesn't matter that oil prices are international and that the government program was strictly national. All that matters is that it was Trudeau's fault!

The hatred runs so deep that I have seen normally rational people declare that everything wrong with this country can be blamed on the Trudeaus (father and son). When asked about problems that occurred before the elder was elected, they conceded that some of the problems could be attributed to Pearson. The level of hate is amazing.

The local media (print, radio and tv) were all culpable in bringing about this about. Since these sources were all heavily influenced by money from oil companies and the oil companies were almost entirely foreign owned, it could be argued that foreign influences have been at work disrupting Canadian politics for decades. Then again I guess it could be argued that Canada only exists in it's present form due to foreign influences (GB).

326:

I've lately been fond of Richard Hutton's recounting of which specific waste-of-oxygen institutions and individuals pushed for Brexit, and why (as an accidental side effect of trying to wheedle a locally more-piratical business environment) -- although, in his zeal to name all of the relevant names, it's super-long. Were I a UK citizen, I'd be taking careful note of that villain taxonomy.

327:

If you think the amount of money you have quantifies your worth, and you really need to toss facts to keep doing what you see as your most reliable route to having as much money as you think you deserve, there's no telling where you'll end up.

(the whole "middle class = sole asset, house" thing isn't helping either.)

Hard political problem, though; the Prairies generally are going to get hammered as agriculture collapses and it's not like we're actively planning what to do or where to put people or how to feed them.

328:

The other fly in the ointment is the lack of suitable soils. The chernozemic soils in the Canadian prairies do not extend into the northern portion of the prairie provinces. Other than some small stretches of soil near Hudson Bay, there is not a lot of land suitable for agriculture without extensive modification. I suspect the same will be true of Russia (this is just personal supposition as I have never looked at any soil maps for Russia).

You are correct about the desertification issues on the prairies. Palliser's Triangle is a thing and I imagine it could easily reach it's full extent. On one hand, when I worked for the Canadian Wheat Board, Canada used to export 80% (or was it 90%, my memory isn't what it was) of it's grain production and in theory we could get by producing a lot less grain but the loss of income would have a terrible effect on Canada's economy. The CWB, in it's heydays, would bring about $6,000,000,000.00 (net Canadian) into the Canadian economy every year which made it the largest conduit of foreign capital into the country.

Nation's that import a large portion of their calories are going to be screwed. This includes the USA. Of course, they do have a huge military so I guess they will just roll the tanks north to prolong their death throes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palliser%27s_Triangle

329:

On an unrelated note, I used to comment here under Maruad but I gave up my LJ account awhile back and my attempt at renaming my Yahoo account nickname seems to have not worked.

330:

If I'm reading this right (and even accounting that I'm on the ignorant side of the Atlantic that's an ever larger stretch,) there's a significant chance that not only will you folks crash out of the EU with no plan as to what comes after, you'll also have no laws and no functional government to make new ones. And maybe no Prime Minister.

You folks are likely soooo screwed. Have you considered hanging the lot of them as a warning to others? Maybe you should...

That whole "keep calm and carry on" thing may be your only hope.

331:

You know, I just popped up to post the weird idea that perhaps an underlying goal of Brexit is to turn the UK into the world's biggest offshore tax haven.

After all, the City of London, the Isle of Man, various Channel Islands, and the British Virgin Islands are all well known offshore financial centers, and the UK was where the idea of a trust originated. Rather than hive them off, the idea may be to grow their models as big as possible, to swallow the UK in fact.

This would make a certain amount of sense: Russians were involved, not just to destabilize NATO, but because they've been using BVI and City of London real estate as one of the main ways to shield their wealth from being appropriated back home. As have many others.

While I doubt that the impoverishment of the masses and the building of giant manorial estates to house the skimmed-off wealth of the world appeals to most British, it may be hard to stop it after a No Deal.

While you might not want to be a peasant right now, if you were guaranteed a small share of a farm, sufficient to feed your family, if you worked for a trust (owned by a Someone Not To Be Named) that proposed to buy your land in, say, Cheshire or Wales, would you say no? You've got to eat, and if you can't eat and own your land at the same time, what are you to do?

If such a scheme exists, I suspect that they'd be perfectly happy if the "liberal thieves" who want to steal their profits through taxes and redistribute them to the "lazy poor" would all just bugger off to Scotland and leave them to enjoy the power and privilege that their "hard work" had brought them. They'd probably also be happier if those liberal Celts all just buggered back off to the EU, too. After all, being offshore means having some distance.

Anyway, your daily dose of unreal-class-warfare-as-entertaining-speculation. Enjoy(?)

332:

That petition just crossed a million. Remarkable.

(For scale, Office of National Statistics claim there were ~46,148,000 voters in the electoral registers as of Dec. 2017.)

333:

perhaps an underlying goal of Brexit is to turn the UK into the world's biggest offshore tax haven.

Sadly not a new thought, and there is significant evidence that a lot of the big money donors to the Leave campaign have exactly this reason for encouraging Brexit lunacy.

Personally I have often remarked in the last two years that the Leave slogan should have been: Brexit - Building the worlds largest tax haven, with added serfs.

334:

You know, I just popped up to post the weird idea that perhaps an underlying goal of Brexit is to turn the UK into the world's biggest offshore tax haven.

There's nothing weird about it: it's a big part of the rationale for a hard brexit on the part of certain ERG members. Remember, the EU 5th directive on money laundering must be implemented in EU national laws by January 20th, 2020. One suspects certain hedge fund owners are totally not happy about that, and neither are some beneficial owners of rather opaque investment vehicles with substantial assets in London.

335:

Yeah, it's always sad when a bit of black humor fantasy fails when it turns out it might not be a fantasy.

To fill the others in, the salient traits of a offshore financial center are given (per that fascinating little Brooke Harrington book I'm reading) as:
"-politically stable government
-stable economy
-geographical and convenient accessibility so far as time zones are concerned (as this promotes administrative efficiency and also facilitates a closer customer working relationship)
-a wide choice of reputable banks and other institutions
-modern, reliable communications
-a low-tax or tax-free environment
-an appropriate official language (English?)
-excellent support services, including a choice of quality legal and accounting firms
-sensible and effective regulation and supervision
-high ethical standards in government, the professions, and commerce
-laws that are clear and fair, applied by a competent judiciary."

The UK sort of qualifies, if the brisk broom of a post-Brexit new election and reworking the post EU laws results in what a billionaire might consider a "politically stable government" with "sensible and effective regulation."

This all sounds pretty reasonable until you realize that the high ethical standards described here put things like loyalty to clients above things like the public good (cf climate change). The more I read of this thing, the more I think Trump is a fairly typical denizen for his world of high-flyers, and the only mistake he made was getting involved in politics, becoming over-exposed, and refusing to stop shooting his mouth off.

336:

I can't be bothered trying to chase a web link for the chart, but apparently the rate at which people signed that petition "took off" after Mayhem's speech last night!

337:
gone straight to firing off A50 without thought for what comes next,

There was absolutely nothing coincidenta about the timing of May's A50 notification. Like much else to do with Brexit, it relates to the absolute need of the UK kleptocracy to avoid implementing the EU 5th directive on money laundering. (See link in Charlie's post a couple above this one.)

338:

That was when the penny dropped and everyone who hadn't been paying attention though "Holy shit! there isn't even going to be an attempt to resolve this!"

340:

Interesting but, as DtP and OGH say, it's not new knowledge - however, that isn't a deprecation of his work, which OUGHT to be very valuable :-(

It is also interesting to see which widely and vociferously condemned organisation does NOT appear in his article as lobbying for Brexit!

341:

Have you considered hanging the lot of them as a warning to others? Maybe you should...

My personal opinion is that a lot of politicians in the U.S. require such a warning... 'nuf said, I think.

342:

Yes. I miscounted months, and it seems that it had remained somnolent for a month, and exploded last night.

343:

Thanks very much for that link. I've been reading it very, very carefully.

344:

Yup.

It looks like it really gained traction with a number of Twitter political pundits yesterday, and then picked up steam after May's speech. Slowed over night as you'd expect and then exploded at about 8:30 this morning.

I was watching the number climbing at over 2000 a minute around then, then the servers overloaded (insert conspiracy theory of choice here), but according to one (unverified) source it peaked at over 5000 signatures a minute.

I've been watching through the afternoon and it has slowed down to around the 1000 a minute mark, but I wouldn't be surprised if it surges again this evening since major news outlets have picked up on it through the day.

345:

The more I read of this thing, the more I think Trump is a fairly typical denizen for his world of high-flyers, and the only mistake he made was getting involved in politics, becoming over-exposed, and refusing to stop shooting his mouth off.

Apparently back in the 70s and 80s, when coincidentally Trump was getting started, it was perfectly legal to wander into a real estate office in New York with a suitcase full of money and buy property. No one cared where it came from.

Unfortunately the 90s rolled around and the war on drugs and terrorism became serious and some regulations about money-laundering came in and actually were enforced occasionally. Many real estate developers saw the writing on the wall and went squeaky clean, nothing to see here. Others of course found ways around, shell companies, trusts, that sort of thing. Because there were people who wanted to invest their money there but for, I'm sure perfectly reasonable reasons (perhaps they were concerned about the political situation in their home country) wanted to conceal exactly who owned it.

After 9/11 they were basically left with one of two paths. Either they were above board, or they were open to the, ah, grey money, and that made your business a convoluted scheme of multi-national shell and holding companies, nominees, trusts, foundations, offshore banks etc etc. The sort of thing that meant it might be a bad idea to make their tax returns public and have half the investigative journalists in America chasing down the leads from it.

The really interesting thing about money laundering is you don't need to make a profit for your clients; they expect to lose money on the deal. So you can have big schemes that don't give much return.

Anyway who were we talking about again?

346:

Oops, I didn't know about the EU's 5th Directive. That does explain a lot.

I suppose my mordant speculations about Scotland dealing with scads of illegal border crossers coming north, post-independence, by nationalizing and redistributing the highland estates, are also something that has been planned for years?

On a sillier note, I do hope that if The Real Gentry come to rule the UK again, they have a smaller impact on the real UK than your fictional version did in the Nightmare Stacks.

347:

Being American I haven't dug too far into the site, but I'd be curious whether the site prevents a single person from voting twice. Does anyone know what precautions are in place?

348:

Apparently the Parliamentary Petitions site has just imploded again.

Last count was just shy of 1.1 million signatures.

349:

You have to supply a name, active e-mail address and valid UK post code, and then confirm the vote by responding to an e-mail. That won't stop people who already have multiple e-mail accounts voting once for each account, but how many people are going to go to the effort of creating multiple actives that they don't have already?

350:

Someone on the site I've been checking has done some digging, and believes that the Petitions site is in fact hosted from a data centre in Ireland. I do so so soooo hope that is true. The irony would be incredible!

351:

Heteromeles @ 330
Actually "the City" are against Brexit - which is another thing I don't understand, since, nprmally, that would guarantee that Brexit would never happen.
AND @ 334
Yes, but leaving the EU removes "the City's" financial intra-EU passporting rights & forms are already moving, if only in part to Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris ....


Rick @ 331
Assuming the web-site doesn't crash again ... it will be interesting to see how many million DO sign it.
IF it exceeds 17 410 742 then life would be very interesting indeed. ( The number who voted leave back in '17 )
Checks ... it's down AGAIN - suspicious, or simply not capable of taking the load?

352:

You missed May granting herself Henry VIII Powers (to amend existing legislation by decree).

Yes, I missed that. What's the normal response to PMs who try this? I'd imagine there would be some corrective reaction, likely more than a quiet word in the break room but less than cracking her head with a blunt instrument and feeding her to the corgis. (The royals may be saving that one for March 30th.) Or is this so unprecedented that nobody else tried this in the last 450 years?

353:

Another (unconfirmed) source indicated that the site will buckle once the load goes over about fifty submissions a second. Although it's been struggling all day with less than that.

354:

DtP @ 352
HOLY FUCK
A submission every 20 milliseconds!
It really COULD go over that "17 million" figure - what then?

355:

True... but I haven't even seen her. Haven't seen the show for several years: first, it used to be on Sat nights, now I just found out it's Sunday, and I never new when new shows would be on....

And I haven't turned on the tv, literally, since the worst horror show ever on air: election night, Nov, 2016.

356:

Well, the powers were granted as part of the withdrawl act on the understanding that they wouldn't be abused too much.

There is nothing beyond good manners to prevent them from being abused.

357:

It will be written off an meaningless online poll.

Yes, the money is important; that's where the funding came from. The support comes from "Those People Can't Tell Me What To Do", and there's a whole lot of people asserting strong willingness to gnaw roots in the damp dark if they can just be certain their understanding of normal will hold. (Which includes "they get to enforce it violently".)

358:

It will be time for the people of Brian Boru, William Wallace and Llywelyn the Great to reclaim their heritage.

You'd better be kidding. A large part of their heritage was inter-tribal feuding. The great leaders were exceptions, and only appeared when there were strong external enemies. Read the Red Branch. Read the Mabinogion.

359:

Better: a law that says

1. money is not free speech (objections can provide me,
personally, and anyone who requests it, with a billion (US) dollars to match the Koch bros.
2. 527's are gone, and all organizations doing anything that even resembled political advertising are required to list ALL contributors, and the amounts they contributed
3. There is a limit of $2500 to ALL organizations doing political campainging or advertising, in total, per person, end of discussion.

360:

Well, for some reason the First Unitarian Church of Kensington, in Kensington, CA, has for it's official name the First Unitarian Church of Berkeley (a place just to the South).

361:

Dunno bout there, but I've been called in Philly, Austin, TX, Chicago, IL, Washington, DC, and Montgomery Co, MD (DC 'burb). I've been actually empaneled three or four times, and was on one jury that gave a verdict.

In my experience, there's only a few idiots out of, say, 40 people (how they call us up). All the rest take it *really* seriously.

362:

Oh, we were just speculating.

I guess this is why I'm not ultra-rich: I don't understand how somebody who's well known to work in the gray world would have any interest in becoming a social media personality, let alone a highly targeted politician. It's sort of like a rat thinking they can shoot a gun and keep the cats off its back while they walk around on the streets at high noon, rather than living safe and sound in a well-stocked storm drain.

363:

Couldn't someone in Parliament throw a Spaniard, er, spanner in the works, by trying to table a bill to spend for 10,000 customs inspectors, and customs buildings, and...?

364:

Brexit, the election of Trump in my adopted country, the election of the current government in my native country (Italy)... sounds like Paul Anderson got it exactly wrong in Brain Wave: we were in the fast zone, and have now entered an intelligence-damping field.

365:

And we don't have that at present? It's less directly bloody, but there have been a lot of deaths due to it in the UK.

366:

The really interesting thing about money laundering is you don't need to make a profit for your clients; they expect to lose money on the deal.

Of course. Having $10mil you can't ever spend or even admit to having is a waste. Converting it to $8mil or even just $5mil that you can start spending in a few years is a much better deal.

367:

I dunno, they'd probably be pretty fatty, but if we do Texas barbecue, 24 hours of slow cooking, we'd get most of the fat out....

368:

EXCEPT
UK company law is amazingly transparent
Unlike German or US, for instance.
The company's filing documantation must show who owns it.
Unfortunately, that can be another company, which is itself owned by a third & so on ... until you DO run into a "foreign" company with opaque ownership ....

369:

Saw an article yesterday, that McConnell is *asking* for the Dems, when they take control of the Senate (hopefully in 2020), to pack the courts the other way.

And there's talk of expanding the number of Supreme Court Justices (rather than impeaching Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and that MFSoB Thomas!!!!!!!!!!!)

370:

Dunno bout there, but I've been called in Philly, Austin, TX, Chicago, IL, Washington, DC, and Montgomery Co, MD (DC 'burb).

The randomness here is interesting. My wife has been called 3 or 4 times and served all but one of them. Once for 2 YEARS on a federal grand jury[1]. Those typically meet once a month for 1 or 2 days.

Me, I've been called once. When I was doing the dad watching kids during the day and self employed. I was excused and allowed to no show.

[1] In the US if you get called to a federal grand jury get your affairs in order. It is very rare to get excused out of it. Basically is there a physical reason you can't show up for a day or two each month? No? Please raise your hand....

371:

The local incompetant idiots who run the Montgomery County buses have one named, and I couldn't make up something this stupid, the L8 bus, presumably, not one anyone would willingly want to ride....

372:

Here you go. The gaps in the lines are server issues. The flatness of the lower graph after 12:30 today is due to rate limiting at ~80k-petitions/second.

[[ link repaired - mod ]]

373:

Link is broken.

374:

The parliament petition site seems to be going down at regular intervals. Managed to submit mine, but not received the email to confirm the submission yet.

The site does ask for UK post code and name, which gives a good link to the electoral register. (UK post codes are typically around a dozen homes in size). A sample could be checked for duplication, or invention. A valid email address provides some impediment to impersonation. Would give some idea of the scale of invalidity.

Not like a UK election, which seem to have very low rates of impersonation, or fraud, despite not having to present ID. You just have to say who you are at the polling station. A criminal offence to do so though.

These petitions have only an advisory role and are a very recent thing. At best, above a certain number, you get a "we will debate it in the house" commitment. Maybe, possibly, if we feel like it. Maybe when most of the members are taking a long lunch, or when they've mostly set off for home on a Friday afternoon.

375:

Sorry, the self-proclaimed "Tea Party" in Congress are not, in fact, "hard core conservatives" (and Paul Krugman agrees). I prefer to call them what they actually are: neoConfederate (and yes, that's as in the Confederacy) traitors.

A few years ago, I looked up a summary of their policies, and then I looked up, online, the Constitution of the Confederacy, and other than the items in the Constitution of the Slave-holding traitors that explicitly refer to slaves, it's *exactly* the same. They want to break the Union, and turn it back to a confederacy, thus enabling the wealthy to *buy* it, wholesale.

376:

For about an hour, hour and a half, it was offline. Now:

1,166,259 signatures

100,000
Parliament will consider this for a debate

Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate

Waiting for 1 day for a debate date

*******
I've emailed my ex-pat manager, to ask if he's still a citizen...

377:

Nope. Cadbury Castle was Camelot. Ashe led a dig there in the late seventies, and found a ruined Romano-British fortress there....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Ashe

378:

This continually drives me crazy (I know, I know, short distance).

I use the classical definitions, meaning that "middle class" meant doctors, lawyers, private practice, small business owners. What the media now calls middle class is NOT: it's middle *income*.

Btw, I make good money as a sr. sysadmin (which will go down by more than half when I retire in a few months, but that's another story). I have interest and dividend income that can barely push me one line on the tax tables. I *know* that I'm still a workin' stiff, and proud of it. Us workin' stiffs is what makes the world as we know it happen, and without us, enjoy your caves....

379:

The post-war prosperity was driven by automobile sales and suburb development. It took a lot of social engineering to convince people who had survived the Depression to risk debt.

And now that leaving the Holocene means we need to replace the entire housing stock, most active voters tie their self-image as a good person to home ownership.

380:

_Moz_ wrote w/r/t sortilege: In practice when the experiment has been performed people have overwhelmingly taken their responsibilities seriously. This is obvious when jury deliberations are made public, and remember that the weird shit you occasionally read about is exactly that: remarkable, unusual and weird.

An interesting idea, but there is already a number of significant weeding processes happening. In the area of the US where I live, you have to clear the following hurdles to make it onto a jury:

• Be a registered voter
• Pass the challenge by the judge that you're suitable (called voir dir, I think)
• Pass the challenge by the prosecuting attorney
• Pass the challenge by the defending attorney

At least in the cases where I served, more folks were rejected than were kept.

Overall, I'd guess the cumulative reject rate is at least 80%. So I don't think jury selection is a good example of the broader sortilege discussed.

381:

Re: 'I don't understand how somebody who's well known to work in the gray world would have any interest in becoming a social media personality, ...'

Flaming narcissism. Consider reading 'The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump'. Besides, DT even boasted about his 'special relationships' with Russian mob construction firms. (Recall watching a TV interview with DT when he said that the Russians could pour a concrete floor in high-rises better than anyone else. He was visibly enraptured by this memory. When asked whether he was concerned about the mob ties, DT said that it wasn't his business to ask or care about his contractors ethical or legal behaviours.)

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/05/donald-trump-2016-mob-organized-crime-213910

PM May's personality meanwhile comes across as a mix of: fill-in-the-blank values, zero empathy interspersed with flashes of smug. The Dolores Umbridge of the real UK. DT gets furious when ignored whereas May doesn't even seem to notice and just continues steaming ahead. So from this perspective, functionally, she's even less competent at behaving/interacting like a socialized human being.

382:

My take, all along, was that the Malignant Carcinoma was encouraged to do it, and he figured that he wouldn't win, but would wind up with the biggest name brand anywhere, and everybody would know who he was (which he desperately wanted). Winning was an utter disaster for him... but when crowds started cheering, his ego took over.

He's used to working in a world where he can give one set of lies to one group of people, and a contradictory one to another, and the two groups will never know what the other heard. Suddenly, everything he says is recorded, and everybody knows what he's said to everyone else.

And he has no idea how to deal in this world.

383:

Oh, and about May, and her speech last night: there's an op-ed in today's Guardian by a female Labour MP, and she's saying MPs, esp. women MPs, are "receiving credible threats".

384:

Now at about 1.25 million and adding about 280 per minute.

Per minute.

But I wonder how much of that is bots, non-UK folks, etc.

385:

Sorry, the self-proclaimed "Tea Party" in Congress are not, in fact, "hard core conservatives" (and Paul Krugman agrees).

Who cares? My point was on both sides of the pond, a small group of hard core Leprechauns or whatever we call them hold enough votes to stop legislation. And the way around it, work with the other side, is not an option these days. So these 2 small groups hold enormous power.

The get to wield this power due to governments on both sides of the pond apparently holding to the principle of "majority of majority".

386:

...every account I've read by someone who's been stuck with jury service seems to go pretty much the same way: at least eight of the twelve are the kind of thick small-minded arseholes...
Which certainly doesn't match either of the juries I've served on - one county, one federal. In both cases, 100% reasonable and thoughtful people (and 100% for conviction in one case, for acquittal in the other. Deliberation not much more than a couple of hours in both cases).

I suspect the difference between my experience and "every account I've read" is that nobody bothers to write an account unless something has gang a-gley.

387:

Re: 'But I wonder how much of that is bots, non-UK folks, etc.'

No idea, but there's a map showing location of each signature. How long would it take to program a bot to do this? Also, someone up-thread mentioned an email verification stage which could be used to confirm legitimacy of each signatory - if you had to.

This BrExit Article 50 petition is getting coverage across networks over here mostly as 'Over 1 million signatures!'.

388:

most active voters tie their self-image as a good person to home ownership.

Not arguing. But I've seen a lot of retired people who are very upset when selling their home. But in an odd way, or so it seems to me. (This is a US viewpoint here.)

Most people in their later years in the US wind up downsizing at some point. Health, kids gone, fixed income in a hot real estate market area, whatever.

What I've noticed is many of them only want to sell their house to people who will treat it as a finished monument to the seller's home ownership. I.E. they will not remodel, tear down, change paint colors, etc... It really upsets them when someone buys their precious thing and changes it. I'm thinking to them they view it as a rejection of the choices they have made over the last 20, 40, or more years.

In my mind this ties into the election of the Trump and Brexit. An implied promise to make things they way they once were. But without the things they didn't like in that glorious past.

389:

Well, time to amp up the craziness. May has decided (per FT reporting) that if her deal doesn't pass, No Deal is her preferred alternative -- regardless of the non-binding Commons vote directing her to avoid it. Or, for that matter, her rather pointed refusal to say what she'd do if the deal got voted down a third time, to either her Cabinet colleagues or the members of the European Council, when both of them asked her about it yesterday and today. Or the joint press release from industry (the CBI) and the Unions (the TUC) describing the prospect of No Deal as a "national emergency" that it's imperative to avoid.

One of my twitter lists has a British constitutional scholar trying to figure out what Parliament could do to bring her to heel (should they want to) in less than a week; established procedures probably take longer than that. If the EU accedes to a short extension, it might not come to that -- but as I write, they're still chewing over what they're going to offer.

As fiction, this would be hugely entertaining...

https://www.ft.com/content/c1bb68fa-4bed-11e9-bbc9-6917dce3dc62

390:

The status quo is to be having of the entirety of the biscuit.

That's what politics has been about since at least 2000 and arguably 1980, but without until very recently coming out and saying so. The status quo is not going to hold. It can't possibly. (There have been a lot of Water Empires, it's a type, but there's only ever going to be one Oil Empire and history shan't view it kindly.)

That's pretty darn terrifying if you're young, hale, blessed with good teeth, and economically comfortable. If you're old? If you're having to admit you're getting diminished of capacity? I would expect it's paralytic.

Which is a whole lot of where the authoritarian upswing comes from; I Won't Be Having That on the basis of the fantastical.

391:

What I've noticed is many of them only want to sell their house to people who will treat it as a finished monument to the seller's home ownership.

Hmm. We've been doing such, both selling and buying hice for a few decades(*) and have not encountered that. Maybe there was a bit of nostalgia, a bit of pride in what had been added to the house, but mostly it's "You bought it, it's yours to do with as you wish."

Maybe this relates to Brexit somehow. I'd have to think about that a bit.

(*) Mostly recently last Monday.

392:

I will note, pessimistically, that merely cancelling Article 50 won't fix the underlying problem in the UK — which is the degree to which the underpinnings of the nation have been eroded, fragmented, and just plain sold off to the highest bidder, leading to a huge build-up of deprivation and consequent rage and resentment.

If we cancel A50 there'll be a huge upswing in neo-nazi activity, including attacks. OK, the police can handle that (although one certain Theresa May slashed the ever-loving shit out of their budgets when she was Home Secretary, which maybe makes things a wee bit hard on her successors). But there'll also be a giant upswing in enrollment in populist right-wing movements: UKIP for one, but I also expect the Tory party would schism, and we might well end up with a "respectable" fascist mainstream party in England, like the French Front Nationale. Nor is Labour positioned to effectively take advantage of a Tory schism, or even to oppose the fash.

(Scotland, as usual, Is Different.)

393:

'No Deal' is and always has been May's objective.

"Henry VIII powers" are the powers of an absolute monarch who practiced god-king autocracy. May has carefully made those available to the government in an emergency.

May has to aware that cutting off the flow of trade will create the most severe emergency the UK has ever materially suffered. Preparations are rolling forward on that basis, we keep getting little bits and snippets.

May is a strong enforced-norm authoritarian.

May idolizes will as a virtue.

We know that May's government's austerity measures have an excess death toll in the vicinity of 100,000. We know with some confidence that this is deliberate, because it's taken a long time and a lot of people have done everything possible to convey that the policy has these results. Not changing the policy is a statement that these are the prefered results.

The money is a sideshow; yes, there's a lot of it, yes, turning a permanent security council seat into a tax haven would be just great from the viewpoint of the global tax evasion class.

The main show is a chance to make everything nice. Without any pesky human rights laws, without really any laws at all.

394:

Well, no, they don't. What they have is the backing of the Koch bros, and a number of other billionaires, and Murdoch and Fox... oh, and 95% of the GOP in the Senate and Congress are outright racists, who wanted Obama to have *no* legacy, which is as near as they could get to erasing him from history.

It would be easy to get legislation through... if they wanted to work with Democrats. They don't.

Oh, and according to something I read today, there are NO GOP supporters of abortion rights in Congress, and only two in the Senate.

395:

This is the best article I've seen on how the whole thing works. It's more centered in the U.S. than the U.K., but still certainly worth reading - it changed my thinking about the process substantially.

396:

"You bought it, it's yours to do with as you wish."

I'm 65 and feel that way. My father was that way. My mother not so much. My mother in law totally wanted someone to buy HER home and keep it the was it was. Some neighbors who recently sold and moved to a retirement community a mile away, the wife will not go by their gutted and remodeled house. They had really hoped the new buyers would keep it as it was. And a lot of my neighbors feel this way.

On which side of the big pond are you?

397:

Ok, as someone who's owned (or had mortgages on) a few houses, let me 'splain it to you: there's a *lot* of us out here who are not buying a "house", we're buying a HOME. Now, please add every single bit of meaning and implication on that that you can find, remember, or imagine.

When I got to Chicago for Windycon, I've gone and driving past the house that my late wife and I bought, the one where she dropped dead, the one I was forced to sell after being out of work for literally years, and the last day, as we were moving me out, I had a low-level nervous breakdown at losing it. I *literally* had to throw out a quarter of what we - my late wife, I, and our son - owned.

When I bought the undersized (but what I could afford in the DC metro area that was not an insane commute from work, I literally spent half my net salary on it, every damn month. As of paying off my recent ex, last year? I now *own* it. All I pay now are taxes and utility bills, which is really good, when I retire late this summer, and my income drops by half.

I am NOT losing this house, like I lost the one in Chicago, or the ones I had with two exes, and left to one ex, in one case, and sold in the other and split the proceeds in the other.

Do you *vaguely* begin to understand what being force to sell your HOME means to a lot of us?

398:

I suspect the difference is that you (and whitroth @ 360) are in the US, while I was thinking of the UK. I wonder if this is a result of the US's fairly recent origin as a constructed polity leading to some fairly deep differences in how the citizens of the two countries relate to their judicial apparatus.

399:

Folks... in the last half hour, the referendum petition has gone from 1.3M to 1.4M. I think it's picking up speed....

400:

whitroth @ 375-7
Yes Cabury was & is Camelot
As for "working stiffs" well, as usual Kipling had something to say about that

SS @ 383
But I wonder how much of that is bots, non-UK folks, etc.
Almost zero
You have to tick the boxes, give your email address & your UK postcode & THEN the vote still isn't counted until you tick the box on the confirmation email.
See also SFR @ 386

Charlie @ 391
Agree in part - thought you really think the tiny numbers of Neo-Nazis will be significant? They will end up in jail or restraining orders pretty quickly if they are that stupid - & they are that stupid.
The tory party isn't the only one that will split - you'll get the Corbynite/momentum almost-commie crowd, rejoicing in a no-deal-brexit & the rest including the Social Democrats, desperately trying to save something from the wreckage.

Graydon @ 392
'No Deal' is and always has been May's objective.
It might be now, but it wasn't when she started.
She has lost the plot utterly, though & is on full robo-automsatic - it's frightning to watch.

TOTALLY off-topic
If you want a pleasant diversion & if Charlie will permit it ( I'd have to send him a picture to publish ... unless there's a way I can send a pic to the web that isn't already on a web-page? )
There are two toads in "amplexus" in my greenhouse right now ....
Why they are thre & not in my pondlet ( which is moving with life but not as we know it Jim ) which has quite few frogs, ditto.
I assume the newts are "at it" as well, but they are hard to spot at this time of year.

401:

Another tangent ... something I haven't seen discussed.

Suppose for whatever insane reason May's Brexit plan WAS/IS accepted by Parliament, what would actually happen? How would it be implemented in the UK?

402:

I'm not talking about the nostalgia for the home. I'm talking about the anger at the new owners. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

I have some nostalgia for homes also.

From the time I was 2 until 20, I lived all but 9 months of that period in a home built by my father. And during those 9 months we lived in a very old 4 room box house owned by my mothers step-mother that we did a 2 week fast remodel on to make it a bit more modern.

And my home from the time of age 2 until about 12 or 13 was on land owned by my father's family since 1824. I have relatives who still own some of that land. Was back in that area for a funeral a few years ago and did a bit of a tour of the various houses I remembered belonging to relatives and those built or remodeled by my father as a second job.

Back to the topic. For the masses DT and Brexit is a hope to return to the life that was "wonderful"[1] back in the day. With a side order of holy crap, we didn't want THIS added on over the next few years.

[1] Well except for hunger, disease, car accidents that killed and maimed a lot more than now, the cold war, Viet Nam, and a few other things.

403:

"How long would it take to program a bot to do this?"

If it really is as simple as described by paws @ 348 - about 5 minutes. But I'd be pretty certain those are only surface precautions - they'll be mainly to take the "idiot load", weeding out the great majority of the people who have that idea, whose best shot is to do it by hand, and also legitimate signers trying again because they think it didn't work the first time etc. There has got to be some more detailed scrutiny going on behind the scenes; the site is an obvious magnet for such attacks, but it's been up for years without any obvious indication cropping up that they significantly succeed.

At least one unspeakable worm on twitter ("grassroots youth campaign for JRM as PM" and it doesn't seem to be a parody) has been trying to discredit it by posting a list of numbers of votes from several different non-UK countries. To which the counter-argument is that the numbers (mostly in the low hundreds) are entirely unexceptional given the likely numbers of UK citizens currently living in or visiting those countries; I agree, and would also add that even if they were all entirely spurious the percentages are still insignificant; either way it suggests the anti-bot protection is pretty d.

404:

Well past 1.5 million
MAP of signatures HERE for info.

405:

whitroth @ 354: True... but I haven't even seen her. Haven't seen the show for several years: first, it used to be on Sat nights, now I just found out it's Sunday, and I never new when new shows would be on....

And I haven't turned on the tv, literally, since the worst horror show ever on air: election night, Nov, 2016.

I haven't had a TV since 1996, but there are a few (very few) shows worth tracking down on the internet. So far I've managed to keep up to date with the one show that really matters.

406:

Well the historical precedent would be the partitioning of India in '47. SO everybody in the south whose a Remainer moves to Scotland, likewise all Leavers leave for the south. Life imitates art and the City of London becomes it's own micro-nation and joins the EU. England cedes a bit of Cumbria and Northumberland to balance the demographics out. Simplez!

407:

On which side of the big pond are you?

We're USians, in Texas for the past 20 years, VA suburbs of DC for the 25 before that. Upping sticks and moving to Panamá next month.

408:

I think the most interesting thing would be if this poll gets to a number which surpasses 1/2 of the possible voters in a referendum. Not just a majority of the last vote totals.

409:

And on the Other Paw? Of Way back then? Its not all that hard to start off the Internet poll thingies. It is quite hard to work out how many of those polled would actually be qualified - by British Citizenship? - to vote in yet another referendum in the unlikely event that one was to be agreed and "organized" by the UKs Parliament in the next few weeks. But? Way back Then at the time that it counted? How did the Entitled Middle Class folks Vote? And the Lower Orders? And would those Very uneducated Deprived folks of the lower orders Do As They Are Told if their betters were to shout at them very loudly in yet another referendum? If there were to be a Re-Run then I suspect that we would have yet another contest between the Middle Class Entitled Voters and the deprived lower class voters who have seen their industries vanish abroad and who aren't all that happy with the Ruling Class who allowed it to happen . Ah, well ..way back then.. https://twitter.com/YouGov/status/745178630297247745/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

410:

Thus reversing 1,000 years of history :-)

To David L: that would be a genuine miracle. No chance.

411:

I'm willing to accept it as mostly genuine. My reasoning is that the voting patterns are tracking the referrendum results reasonably closely.

There's a population density aspect for sure, but areas that were strongly remain in 2016 still are, and the leave areas still have a fairly low vote density.

If it is all faked then someone has made far more of an effort than usual.

412:

That tweet is awesome, until I realised that it wasn't trying to make a point about Northern Ireland. After that it just became confusing.

Even if the petition succeeds (and I think we can say it has, the odds of it having less than 100,000 valid signers seem very low right now), what then? Parliament promises to consider it, and even if they treat it as a matter of extreme urgency, even more important than any other Brexit-related matter, what?

Taking even five million signatures as an instruction to repeal Article 51 seems unwise, not least for the precedent that a few million signatures on a petition can overrule an official referendum. But taking it as a sign that a new referendum should be called is a bit late. They could possibly get an extension from the EU if they nailed down the question and timetable, but the problem remains: how do they communicate with the EU? That role is filled by someone who can't be trusted and is actively working to obtain a hard Brexit. The EU can't be seen to side with non-government rebels, so... what?

My rough stab is this:
- Parliament overrule the government and introduce the petition
- Parliament accepts the petition by voting for a referendum
- May says "I will not do that" (rather than delaying)
- Parliament declares no confidence in the government
- {formal procedure for a change, which IIRC takes days not hours}
- the new government decides on a referendum plan
- which they take to the EU with a request for an extension
- the EU agrees
- Friday the 29th of March comes to an end.

Seems... optimistic to me. There are multiple points where a single person (May, specifically) or a small group, could derail the process and run out the clock. They don't havce to stop it or prevent it, just delay it by a few hours here and there.

413:

Thus reversing 1,000 years of history :-)

If it worked as well as the Partition did that would be a minor miracle. The good news is that only one side of the UK split would have nuclear weapons, and it's not entirely clear that they would control the nukes they had. In many ways that would be the best outcome - Scotland gets possession, England gets the launch codes.

414:

No, Graydon is right. May always has wanted No Deal, though she might not have engaged what she is pleased to call her mind enough to realise it. Her red line of no ECHR or ECJ jurisdiction always did imply No Deal.

415:

Just received the email asking me to confirm my petition vote, which is about 6 hours after I signed it. Not that it matters; if it got to 20 million votes it would still be ignored & explained away by "bots". Lets hope those who sign aren't victimised in the future as a result.

Looking at the map I was interested to see low numbers in rural areas, so maybe they haven't seen the government's proposed WTO tariffs for agricultural products - cut by half or more, probably sufficient to kill off a lot of small/medium UK farms.

On the subject of UK laws, I was under the impression that EU laws (but not regulations and similar) had already been written into the current UK lawbook, with the intent of undoing/rewriting them later.

416:

Latest: the petition got close to 1.8 million. And May announced that she wouldn't consider it at all.

She's determined to get her deal through, or pivot to a crash-out brexit. She won't revoke A50 under any forseeable circumstances. The cabinet is panicking, per the news.

417:

I don't think anyone seriously expects the petition or Saturdays march to make a difference. As a thousand to one shot it is still worth a go though.

Payoff matrix says "sign".

418:

A few minutes ago Tusk announced that the 27 have reached a unanimous agreement on a response, and that he was off to see May.

419:

David L @ 369: Dunno bout there, but I've been called in Philly, Austin, TX, Chicago, IL, Washington, DC, and Montgomery Co, MD (DC 'burb).

The randomness here is interesting. My wife has been called 3 or 4 times and served all but one of them. Once for 2 YEARS on a federal grand jury[1]. Those typically meet once a month for 1 or 2 days.

Me, I've been called once. When I was doing the dad watching kids during the day and self employed. I was excused and allowed to no show.

[1] In the US if you get called to a federal grand jury get your affairs in order. It is very rare to get excused out of it. Basically is there a physical reason you can't show up for a day or two each month? No? Please raise your hand....

Steve Simmons @ 379: _Moz_ wrote w/r/t sortilege: In practice when the experiment has been performed people have overwhelmingly taken their responsibilities seriously. This is obvious when jury deliberations are made public, and remember that the weird shit you occasionally read about is exactly that: remarkable, unusual and weird.

An interesting idea, but there is already a number of significant weeding processes happening. In the area of the US where I live, you have to clear the following hurdles to make it onto a jury:

• Be a registered voter
• Pass the challenge by the judge that you're suitable (called voir dir, I think)
• Pass the challenge by the prosecuting attorney
• Pass the challenge by the defending attorney

At least in the cases where I served, more folks were rejected than were kept.

Overall, I'd guess the cumulative reject rate is at least 80%. So I don't think jury selection is a good example of the broader sortilege discussed.

Here in Wake County, North Carolina (where David L & I live) the jury system draws from Voter Rolls, Property Tax Records and DMV Driver's License/Vehicle License records. You have a greater chance of being called multiple times the longer you live at the same address.

Around here they use what's called a "fire-cracker" system. They have the court calendar planned out months in advance with an estimate of how many jurors are going to be needed for the scheduled cases. They plan for a maximum number with the understanding that changes in the court calendar will cause fewer jurors to be needed. You get a notice a month or more in advance with instructions to call a certain phone number the night before your reporting date. If you are instructed not to report when you call in or report and are not chosen, you are done and your name goes back into the pool on the bottom of the list. You won't hear from them again for several years.

If you do get picked for a jury, your obligation continues until the trial is over. If they don't get all the jurors they need seated on the first day, there's a new batch to select from the next morning. ... and on and on until all the required jurors + alternates are selected.

Voir Dire is the name for the entire process of questioning & qualifying jurors. The Judge may or may not excuse you. The DA & the Defense Attorney can challenge a juror for cause or use a peremptory challenge. There is no limit to the number of challenges for cause, but usually they only have a limited number of peremptory challenges.

IANAL, so all of the above is based on my observations from being called for Jury Duty four times in the last 45 years (living at the same address).
First time I called in the night before and was told I was not needed.
Second time I reported and sat in a jury waiting room until about lunch time when we were told we could go home.
Third time I got into the courtroom, took the oath, passed the Judge & DA's questioning before the Defense Attorney used a peremptory challenge.
Fourth time was another day sitting in the jury waiting room, but I didn't get to go home until court was done for the day.

I was also called once for jury duty in Federal Court. It was a civil case and I was actually chosen for the jury & sworn in. I believe I was chosen as an ideal juror for that case, because I had never heard of either of the two parties or what they were fighting about.

The judge then dismissed us to lunch with instruction to be back for the beginning of the trial that afternoon. When we arrived back in the afternoon, the judge announced the parties had settled and thanked us for our service.

420:

The petitions popularity may be down to many people thinking it is the least bad option.

No deal - Mad Max brexit. Default if nothing happens. Tory wingnut wing loves it. May is not averse to it. Everyone else thinks it is a disaster.

May's deal - Nobody likes. Her plan to get it passed by scaring people with Mad Max brexit.

New referendum - takes time we no longer have, might still end up with a leave vote and back to the same problem.

Customs union semi brexit. May won't do it. Would probably need a general election, a Labour government and time we no longer have. Tories are not going to risk that and bring their own government down.

Revoke article 50. Stay in EU. May won't do it. Leave major parties badly divided and a large segment of the population feeling betrayed and prey to far right. EU rightly pissed off with the UK. Possibly the least horrible option.

421:

Troutwaxer @ 340:

Have you considered hanging the lot of them as a warning to others? Maybe you should...

My personal opinion is that a lot of politicians in the U.S. require such a warning... 'nuf said, I think.

My personal opinion is that a substantial number of them should be USED to give such a warning, pour encourager les autres

422:

Now gone through 2 MegaPep's.

423:

It's tempting but the hard part always seems to be getting the hangings to stop.

424:

cdodgson @ 388: Well, time to amp up the craziness. May has decided (per FT reporting) that if her deal doesn't pass, No Deal is her preferred alternative ...

As fiction, this would be hugely entertaining...

https://www.ft.com/content/c1bb68fa-4bed-11e9-bbc9-6917dce3dc62

Unfortunately it's hidden behind a paywall.

425:

And the offer is in two parts:

extend until May 22 IF Parliament agrees to the existing withdrawal agreement next week; and

extend until April 12 unconditionally, but the Council expects the UK (Parliament, presumably) to indicate a way forward by that date.

So the crash-out is delayed by two weeks.

426:

Do you ever wonder if maybe the Conservative Party in the UK and the Republican Party in the US are having some kind of secret competition to see who can fuck up their countries more?

427:

So what is the most realistic "Positive" outcome, or the least bad one? A more gentle brexit? (I imagine the right wingers would still get a bit worked up there, but maybe it would die down relatively fast?)

428:

@ 273

That comic had an apotheosis when the Scottish Independence Referendum was a current thing, IIRC. One entire strip was done as Facebook pages: "Scotland has changed its relationship status from "In a relationship" to "It's complicated". And then crass Norway jumped in on Scotland's wall: "So, are you dating now?"

Yeah I know. Innocent times.

429:

Charlie @ 415
May is now a rabbit in the headlights of an approaching car
Our only hope is a vote in the House to take over the process
Revoking At 50 &/or getting an extension are essential ... this is getting very worrying, I must admit.
jesnail @ 419
I might quibble, but you appear to be very close to a good view of the horrible situation.

Michael Caine @ 424
Extend to 12th April is time enough to go for Ref2 isn't it?

Meanwhile - Jury Service & residence
NEVER been called - will be ineligible (75 y old) in 2 years ... my father was never called .... someone I used to know ( now dead ) was called 4 times ... Uh?
And, I do not remember living in any house other than this one & it's falling down ( London clay & fucking Waltham Forest Council ) now what do I do?

OFF TOPIC
The Fermi Paradox
Maybe we are, if not "it" close to it ... because to get here we had to have 3 essential things
1.Opposable thumbs - or equivalent, for tool-use
2. The modification of our larynxs to enable sophistocated communications ( Or its equivalent)
3. The Red Flower
?4? The ability to store communications outside ourseleves - consider how old "Cave Art" is - before the invention of writing, for instance?

ANY species to make it to register on "Fermi" has got to pass (at least) those three tests - oh & be a "social" species, as well ....

P.S. Now well past 2 million

430:

No, Nyarlathotep can't become PM. That would be too easy.

431:

Re: 'She won't revoke A50 under any forseeable circumstances. The cabinet is panicking, per the news.'

Okay - a sitting PM gets a free pass for one calendar year after facing & winning a non-confidence vote. However, time passes, circumstances change and sometimes faster than anticipated, faster that the current 'free-pass'.

The quick and fairly large pick-up on this petition does show that there is a segment that really does not want BrExit. I think that if this petition gets roughly the same percent of the popular vote as May's party got (which allowed it to legally ask the Queen to okay her forming the official gov't), then despite the different method that the populace is using to 'voice' its concerns (Internet poll vs. ballot box) this has to be taken seriously. Ignoring the will of such a large segment of the people by a 'democratically elected' leader historically leads to censure by trading partners (EU, US) and maybe even a slap on the wrist from the UN. How does May's current wilful refusal to listen to the electorate differ from all those nasty foreign tyrants Brits have poo-poo'ed over the past decades? (If someone could post and do a quick side-by-side comparison of speeches, decisions, actions May vs. deplorable/foreign bad guy/tyrant and get Brit eyes on it, it could help.)

As for persisting in the face of others' refusal to cooperate -- I thought that the UK had a sanity clause somewhere in its rule book re: leaders. C'mon - it's insane to persist when everyone around her esp. her colleagues say 'stop'. The not-of-sound-mind surely takes precedence over a non-confidence vote ... the Speaker of the HoC should know this.

432:

The year long immunity only applies to removal attempts within the Conservative party.

It doesn't apply to parliamentary confidence votes, but they are really hard to pull off as ruling parties tend to come together in the face of outside aggression even if they hate their leaders.

433:

May is, among other things, from the "taxation is theft" faction; it is better than the injured and unwell die than that taxes be raised. (And this is not rhetoric; there's a pile of corpses.)

As we depart the Holocene to greater and greater distances, every seawall, ditch, culvert, drain, settling basin, bridge pier, dock, quay, jetty, wharf, causeway, canal, sewer, gutter, downspout, and water main is the wrong size. (And the road camber is wrong and the bridge decks are the wrong height and there's a quantity of basement windows as shall found to be sub-optimal and the sump pump in like wise.)

These are really really basic things; this is not so much infrastructure as the stuff that has to exist to enable the possibility of infrastructure.

We're going to be replacing all of them twice in the next fifty years. (If we retain any civilization.)

To be, in that degree, in this time, of the party of "taxation is theft" is not so much to desire unicorns, as to declare yourself the enemy of facts. There is no material reality; there is only what you want, and make real through will.

(Except of course momentum really is conserved.)

434:

More realistically, I suspect if Arthur Pendragon* turned up with his Round Table in tow and could find someone to translate for him, he wouldn't be allowed to become PM, due to his arguably not being a British citizen and not speaking the language.

*And yes, I mean the legendary one, not the current one.

435:
You have to supply a name, active e-mail address and valid UK post code, and then confirm the vote by responding to an e-mail.

Nope, a country + a postcode.

Amazingly not all UK citizens live in the UK.

436:

momentum really is conserved

I see what you did there.

437:
that the Petitions site is in fact hosted from a data centre in Ireland.

$ host petition.parliament.uk
petition.parliament.uk has address 63.35.2.251
petition.parliament.uk has address 52.209.144.75
petition.parliament.uk mail is handled by 10 inbound-smtp.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com.

$ host 63.35.2.251
251.2.35.63.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer ec2-63-35-2-251.eu-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com.

$ whois 63.35.2.251
...
Organization: Amazon Data Services Ireland Limited (ADSIL-1)

438:

Re: 'May is, among other things, from the "taxation is theft" faction; it is better than the injured and unwell die than that taxes be raised.'

Didn't know that -- that is sick.

BTW, EU is extending the the Brexit deadline until May 22, pending approval from U.K. lawmakers. No idea whether they actually said 'lawmakers' or if that's just a phrase that the reporter chose. If the EU folks actually said 'lawmakers' then they also just reminded May that she does not possess sole authority over this process, they know it and they're watching her. Interesting.


To dpb, re: ' ... as ruling parties tend to come together in the face of outside aggression even if they hate their leaders.'

Right - just like a pack of barely socialized 6 year olds at the local playground. At this rate, the Speaker should consider hiring experienced kindergarten teachers to supervise the MPs - could prove more productive than the Parliamentary aides.

439:
MAP of signatures HERE for info.
The maps are irritatingly incomplete in that they only show the UK.
440:
Scotland gets possession, England gets the launch codes.
And the US keeps its 5-year option on removing them from service.
441:

If only that was reciprocal...

442:

Extend to 12th April is time enough to go for Ref2 isn't it?

My take -- and I'm on the wrong side of the pond, with the wrong set of government experience, so take it for what it's worth -- is that the EU has been as generous as they can be at this point, legally. If Parliament accepts the withdrawal agreement by March 29, then the UK is out (if they pass the enabling legislation by May 22 out under the WA terms, if not then under no deal). If Parliament doesn't accept the WA, then they get up until the next current legal deadline for maintaining their EU membership (Apr 11 is the last day for Parliament to pass enabling legislation for the EP elections) to choose a different path. On Apr 12 the EU will reconsider their position.

That the Council chose Apr 12 (enabling legislation for the EP elections) rather than May 22 (the actual elections) strikes me as a serious threat. I suspect some of the EU27 accepted that only with an understanding that if Parliament hasn't chosen in or out by that time, there will be no more extensions. That is, I think some members of the EU27 will block Ref2.

443:

"Is the UK political establishment capable of recognizing that it has a peer role in the EU" seems like a question EUCO's general duty requires them to ask.

This sounds like a carefully minimalistic way to ask that question.

444:

I think the maps shows who the petitioner is represented by; that is, the important thing is that you can see that Lucien Barrymore, Green Party Member, represents 4335 petitioners. Where the petitioner lives is very much secondary.

445:

Ah, yes, the Amazon AWS eu-west-1 cluster! I know it quite well. It's a set of five data centres spread around Dublin's N4 ring road. See: https://wikileaks.org/amazon-atlas/map/

$FIRM often launches clusters there because it's relatively inexpensive and has good connectivity to the rest of Europe. (It should be acknowledged that, given that Westminster decided to host the petitions site on AWS, they had no UK-based AWS datacentre options to choose among.)

446:

I think some members of the EU27 will block Ref2.

I think they already have. Discussion previously on this blog suggests that a referendum is a 6 month or longer process, and the EU hasn't even hinted that an extension that long is possible. Inside the UK, the hard Brexit fundamentalists haven't indicated that they would be willing to permit a referendum to take place.

I suspect that if another referendum is held there will be much greater turnout, and the campaign would start with a much higher Remain preference than we see recently. How that would pan out during another bout of furious lying I'm not sure.

447:

Dual keying might be better, similar to the US missile bases in Europe during the Cold War.

448:

"and the EU hasn't even hinted that an extension that long is possible."

It has. Tusk just explicitly confirmed that until April 12 all options are still on the table; he specifically included the referendum option. It looks like the centrists have won again (for now): all member governments could be convinced that No Deal is still the worst possible outcome.

449:

No, Nyarlathotep can't become PM. That would be too easy.

At this point I think a lot of people would be happy to see as Prime Minister someone with the leadership skills and political wisdom of Lord Buckethead. Who that might be I can't guess.

450:

And now there's a delay in hand (CNN coverage here), giving Theresa May until April 12th to finish stuffing Parliament's basement with gunpowder.

451:

Moz @ 445
Discussion previously on this blog suggests that a referendum is a 6 month or longer process
Cobblers
A general Election - a LOT more complicated - can be done & dusted in SIX WEEKS
A referendum would take no longer - ASSUMING the question(s) were agreed easily
Like:

"This referendum has one question & three possible answers, please indicate your order of preference:
1. Remain in the EU
2. Accept the deal offered by the EU & Mrs May & leave
3. Leave the Eu withut a deal."

There, that wasn't difficult, was it?

Kramer @ 447
Agreed
Almost all the EU 27 have come to the correct conclusion that "No deal would be utterly disastrous for Britain & pterry bloody bad for them ... let's avoid it if we can, huh?

Of course May & Corbyn will now demonstrate AGAIN their incompetence & stubbornness, byu fucking-up the extra fortnight we have been given
P.S. "Petition" now just shy of 2.5 million

452:

But it will be difficult.

In a general election you don't have to get agreement on the question beforehand.

In your proposal the leave vote would be potentially split between options 2 and 3. Even if 'Leave' as an umbrella grouping represented 65% of the public, 'Remain' could still end up winning and you can bet that this would cause weeks or months of argument about how the question should be worded, preferential voting options, multiple voting rounds etc.

453:

A general election can indeed be done in 6 weeks, which brings us to the 6th of may.

Which leaves the new EU-friendly government and robust Parliamentary majority just 18 days to either arrange for the elections to the European Parliament or arrange the deckchairs for optimum viewing of the iceberg.

Presuming the EP elections also takes six weeks to organize, the decision to do so must be made no later than April 14th, which is a sunday, so April 12th it is.

Next look at the "technical" extension EU have offered in case the May-EU deal does not pass Parliament: April 12th.

Funny coincidence that...

454:

Sorry Greg, caffeine not kicked in yet and I immediately see that you qualified it with "ASSUMING the question(s) were agreed easily.

455:

Cobblers

That's another one of those "there is no theoretical reason it can't be done"... just political ones.

I think you skimmed over a really important part of what I wrote:

Inside the UK, the hard Brexit fundamentalists haven't indicated that they would be willing to permit a referendum to take place.

Perhaps start with Theresa May: why would she now turn round and co-operate with a second referendum? Or how is it that she can't block it? She appears to have already decided to ignore the petition signed by nearly 10% of the people we already knew are opposed to Brexit.

456:

The brexit fundamentalists would be outvoted.
Petition is now past 2.75 million - will it reach 4 or 5 million by Monday, I wonder - this is a serious expression fo "popular will" - very difficult to ignore at thtis size ( I would have thought )

457:

#357 - And Mayhem isn't an external enemy of the Celtic nations?

Et seq - Actually, make that an enemy of the democratic process (for any values that mean that democracy is not always "What Mayhem says").

458:

They have been ignoring 48% of the people who voted since the referendum. Ignoring a few million people online is easy peasy.

First it is less than the number of the people who voted leave.

Then it is less than 50% of the population.

Then it isn't a 60% supermajority (weren't remoaners saying supermajorities were better?).

Then... etc.

459:

If May's deal is rejected then the 12th April deadline comes into force.

The EU has said that that deadline can be extended providing :

1. We come up with an actual workable plan to move things on: GE / referendum / serious proposal for Norway+.

2. Agree to take part in EU elections.

460:
I think the maps shows who the petitioner is represented by
Makes sense. And, stupidly, if you're British and live outside the UK then you're represented by nobody.

Anyway, there's a nice button to download a JSON dataset with the numbers in them, including the signatures from outside the UK. The biggest numbers are:

France 10563
Germany 4669
Spain 5957
United States 3984

(The petition has been signed by people in 198 countries and territories, including five people in the Vatican City and two in Palestine).

461:

You should note that these numbers no longer seem to be updating as of yesterday afternoon - the UK total is stuck at 1.2 million.

462:

You *do* need an active email address.

A confirmation email is sent after you submit your details, and you must click the link in that email to count as a signatory of the petition.

463:

Yeah, I know, I did that.

I was just correcting the claim that you need a UK postcode.

464:

I don't know what changes have been made in the background, but the numbers now seem to update at lengthy irregular intervals (assuming you're talking about the displayed count and not whatever is in the JSON dataset).

Latest total is over 2.89 million.

(If you have access to the Twitch streaming service, there is someone who has set up a steam watching the count page. Search on Twitch for "article 50".)

465:

I am talking about the JSON dataset. It's no longer updating values, except the headline number.

466:

That tells us quite a lot about how they have hacked around the overload problems - now I think of it, they are being very sensible, given their constraints :-)

I believe that it will have some impact if it reaches 5 million, and may even succeed if it reaches 10 million. The combination of a vote of no confidence and a Humble Petition to revoke article 50 is one of the few things that might persuade Her Majesty to step in - as in #175 ....

467:

Sadly it gives ammunition to the terrorists (yeah sure you may have three million signatures but only 1.2 million are from the UK foreign influence EU bots yadda yadda).

Also the lack of updates to the by-constituency split means people looking at the map are misled as to the scale of the response, and it's not as effective a tool to beat wavering MPs with in terms of their reelection chances.

468:

In another interesting development, Lord Adonis is planning to move for revocation in the Lords on Monday. I'm not familiar enough with the process to know how that pathway works. Is a motion in the Lords purely symbolic?

469:

I think that you will find the 1.2 million is an artifact of the way they have handled the overload. There may be a few bottish answers but, as someone said, probably not many.

470:

Yes, that's 100% obvious to me, you and any sane person who looks at the numbers. But it is excellent ammo for conspiracy theorists.

471:

I think that it's clear that if there was a second referendum, the question would be:

1. Accept the deal offered by the EU & Mrs May & leave
2. Leave the Eu withut a deal.

It would take an ENORMOUS effort to get "Remain in the EU" onto the ballot. TPTB really want the UK out. So what if it leads to deprivation among the proles. Said proles are stupid enough to vote against their own economic interests, and have lots of newspapers ready to tell them that any economic collapse that occurs was the fault of wreckers.

472:

The collapse would be due to wreckers.

The disagreement would be over who the wreckers are.

473:

Reply to self @ 455
Now over 3 million -so kilment @ 460, I suggest you refresh your browser, or something ....
@ 467
No it is anything but smybolic.
The idea of the Lords' as a guarantor of democracy is not, actually as utterly daft as it might appear........


Jreynolds @ 470
Yes, I think they will try that & might have got away with it a montha go - now, especially with "That petition" Adonis' move ... not nearly so likely
"Remain" has got to be an option, as does, actually "no deal"

474:

And this is the kind of conspiracy theorist I was refering to https://mobile.twitter.com/HughRBennett/status/1108682038184419328

475:

I said that you had to supply a valid UK postcode; I did not say that it had to be your postcode. (well, not deliberately anyway)

476:
I said that you had to supply a valid UK postcode
Yes, but you don't have to supply a valid UK postocde. You have to supply a postcode. It was perfectly happy with my postcode, 94500, which is not even the right format for a UK postcode, since I'm not in the UK.

Anyway, this is a ridiculously boring level of quibbling.

477:

I am sorry, but, Getting divorced from a narcissistic partner is usually seen as a win for the other party. Sure, there is trouble and financial loss, but, all this will be far less than the accumulated misery involved in keeping ones wedding vows. Just as long as one remembers to change the locks, the passwords, the phone numbers and emails, take different routes to work - because, as we all know, after the divorce, the stalking phase of the narcissist grief cycle will begin!

However, it is better to be stalked from the Outside!

Because I live inside the EU and I do believe that I deserve a minimally functioning government, I believe that revoking A.50 is the very worst outcome. This is letting the now slighted narcissist back in, thus confirming the narcissists beliefs "they really need me more than I need them", and then giving it all the access it needs to exact revenge, because there is no way that a narcissist will let an attempted divorce go unpunished:

Like the the EU parliament filling up with Farange-Types, UKIP'ers and Worse. All of them horribly energised by a fresh infusion of Stale Piss and Fresh Vinegar distilled from "The Betrayal of Brexit".

Then there are the Tory Brexiteers. Will that lot just fold their tents and go away? No, they will keep at it with even more efforts since they got away with it the first time. Not contended with only calling everyone on the EU-side for drunks, nazis and worse, they will get into positions within Brussels and set about sabotaging everything they can to spite The Germans, The French, fight Socialism and they will team up with the likes of Salvini and Orban with the sole purpose of making the EU as dysfunctional and crap for the 99% as Tory Britain.

I'd rather end the Brexit Shitshow at this point, on the happy notion that we won't have to for through all that again!

478:

1. You're not wrong.

2. Brexit can be expected to kill a lot of people. Being civilized obliges a sincere effort to avoid that outcome.

3. Brexit sets up a recipe for dissolving the possibility of government; the historical ancestry of the means starts with tobacco companies trying to avoid legal sanction and has been generalized into increasingly strong forms of tax avoidance. Getting to use somebody else's country as the lab for developing a corrective is preferable to doing it at home.

4. a general-case fix for 3. is really important. The ability to enact the public good rests on the ability to tax, and the civil-stress levels are headed places where there are few examples of retaining enough social cohesion to deliver public goods. (Alfred's Wessex is a disturbingly relevant example.)

5. There's been a custom of winking at criminality among the monied. Disposing of this custom could do a lot to improve matters. The EU is going to be in something like a position to insist.

479:

Greg Tingey wrote:

(quoting me) SS @ 383: But I wonder how much of that is bots, non-UK folks, etc.

Almost zero
You have to tick the boxes, give your email address & your UK postcode & THEN the vote still isn't counted until you tick the box on the confirmation email.
See also SFR @ 386

SFR@386 asks the right questions. If I were writing a bot and wanted to have verisimilitude for the data, I'd start generating phone numbers randomly using the UK format and doing whitepage lookups in hopes of getting names and addresses. Then feed those names and addresses to the petition data. Mind you, that's assuming there's something similar to a whitepage lookup in the UK; and assuming you can get a 'reasonable' chance of generating a valid phone number.

It's interesting to look at the map (see link on the petition page). It seems to match up loosely with the population distributions. So maybe the bulk of the 3,238,126 signatures (as of this minute) are valid. If so, that's about 5% of the UK population. But even if 90% bogus, we're still way, way over the 100,000 threshold.

480:

How about this modest proposal:

(1) The A50 declaration is revoked, so the United Kingdom remains in the EU.

(2) At the same time, legislation is introduced to remove England and Wales from the UK.

Brexit becomes a purely internal British affair (I guess "Wales and England exit" would be "weexit"?), and so control is truly "taken back". It's very close to independence for Scotland (OK, they inherit the pesky problem of NI, but at least NI stays in the EU so there is no hard border).

Not a realistic proposal politically -- the DUP would lose their sh*t, and the Tories are the "Conservative and Union" party after all . Still, it seems no worse than the other proposals on offer, and doesn't really depend on EU backing.

(I'm only a tiny bit serious, of course, and my apologies if this is an inappropriate time for levity, but it seems like the current state of Brexit requires one to either laugh or cry...)

481:

"Getting divorced from a narcissistic partner is usually seen as a win for the other party."

To continue the divorce metaphor, what about the kids, who are going to starve due to this "no alimony, no child support" divorce? There is an alternative, which is to get the bad partner into therapy/medications, or arrange/enforce a type of divorce which won't cause the kids to starve.

If the U.K. remains, I think the thing to do is have a "truth and reconciliation" type of committee, which would solicit testimony from people across the spectrum, particularly those like Greg who've been lied to by the pro-Brexit campaign, and to discover how this horrible idea became policy, and learn everything you can about the horrible people who pushed the idea. Nobody gets arrested, but everyone comes clean. Or else. And the U.K. does a real investigation of the Russian connection to all this, because that needs to happen...

At this point the U.K. is like the guy who painted himself blue, cut a pentagram into his chest, and stood on a street corner screaming at the aliens...

Someone needs a fresh start. A couple years of medication and LOTS of therapy.

482:

Graydon@432 wrote:

May is, among other things, from the "taxation is theft" faction; it is better than the injured and unwell die than that taxes be raised. (And this is not rhetoric; there's a pile of corpses.)
Sounds like she needs to read a history of the US from end of the Revolution through the first 10-20 years of the establishment of the US Constitution. A whole lot of such radical notions went right out the window once our elected representatives and the cabinet appointees actually had to run the country.

Obligatory entertainment reference: "Hamilton", song "Cabinet Battle #1".

483:

To everyone who things a bot can scam the system. Maybe.

But I'd hope the people who set this up at least track IP addresses and make sure they seem to mostly come from the areas that seem to be picked in the vote. I say mostly due to the fuzziness of geolocation of IP addresses.

And better yet if they deal with the uniqueness of things like this:
https://amiunique.org/

But we don't really know do we?

484:

You're doing that "facts are real" thing again.

"Peace, order, and good government" is mercilessly, painfully, brutally obviously MUCH BETTER than the alternative if, and only if, you have experience of powerlessness. The great weakness of anything hereditary or pseudo-hereditary is that it's run by the Fortunate Child[0]; never been hungry or cold, never had to worry about being hungry or cold, and quite likely their neuroanatomy makes compassion difficult and alien for them.

People from that background really do disdain facts; facts are excuses from insufficiently diligent minions. And if they have enough power, this view is experientially correct; if you act on that basis, the results consistently suggest that, yeah, just needed to make the minion afraid enough to be sufficiently diligent.

The thing someone like May would benefit from studying is an in-depth operations history of Hitler's War from the UK perspective. The fact-based types won that war. (And then got propagandized down the memory hole good and hard, because there's nothing the Fortunate Child finds more threatening than alternative social organizations.)

May wants No-Deal Hard Brexit. May wants to ethnically cleanse the UK. (May's policies have already made a large start there.) May wants the Henry VIII powers to use them to that end. May sees all of that as virtue, not necessity or least-bad-option or anything to which circumstances compel; May's going at this as the positive exercise of virtue. (So are the GOP confederate faction.)

Any analysis really needs to start there; there's a cohesive, comfortable philosophical basis for believing that they shouldn't pay taxes, that everyone should do what they say, and that they should get what they want, whatever that is. Inside that philosophical basis, what May is doing is as uncomplicatedly virtuous as you or I might find a cure for cancer.

[0] Georges V and VI and Elizabeth II have been at least medium-dutiful to the (perceived!) greater good; Edward VII and George IV were ... not. Recent long reigns that turn out OK are not an argument for letting the Fortunate Child run anything.

485:

As to the survey map, as a feature request it would be neat to be able to switch from an absolute count to a percentage of the registered/eligible/whatever voters in each district.

Or do all of the elections districts (or whatever they are called) have about the same number of people in them?

486:

fjansen @ 476
Like the the EU parliament filling up with Farange-Types, UKIP'ers and Worse They are already ther, or hadn't you noticed?
From Italy, Poland & Hungary principally, but they are there ...

487:

If the U.K. remains, I think the thing to do is have a "truth and reconciliation" type of committee, which would solicit testimony from people across the spectrum,

Yes, I think that could work, South Africa had far worse outrages and grievances inflicted on people. They seemed to get over them reasonably better than expected in the end.

That commission probably needs to have some draconian legal and investigative powers with resources to go with it, to compel the instigators to be honest.

488:

"Recent long reigns that turn out OK are not an argument for letting the Fortunate Child run anything."

And our experiences with so-called representative democracy ARE an argument that it is a much better system?

As was pointed out a while back, one can demolish the case for the UK becoming a republic with two words: President Blair.

489:

Most constituencies have similar numbers of voters, or there are very good reasons why they don't, like Eilainan Siar, which it takes 8 hours to get from one end of to the other by surface transport (when the ferries are running, not a given) or Orkney and Shetland which is even bigger!

490:

You may want to use a few more, like "Presidents Tory B Liar and Maybot and her fiat".

491:
As to the survey map, as a feature request it would be neat to be able to switch from an absolute count to a percentage of the registered/eligible/whatever voters in each district.

Try hitting the '% of constituents' button top right!

492:

I guess "Wales and England exit" would be "weexit"?

My 100% silly plan for Wales surviving Brexit:

1) Plant a really big hedge along the border. Anyone with some spare time this weekend can show up and pitch in.

2) Change the signs to something less revealing. “Llanymawddwy” becomes “Dinton,” that sort of thing.

3) Hardly anyone who voted for Brexit cares about Wales, anyway.

4) Should anyone ask, this isn’t Wales. No, we don’t know how to get there from here. Tourists in Cardiff will be assured that they’re still in Bristol, just turned around a bit.

5) Maps of the British Isles will label this region “Eastern Ireland.”

6a) Promise politicians of the Republic of Ireland that Eastern Ireland will never try to unify with them.
6b) Promise politicians of the Republic of Ireland that Eastern Ireland will unify with them any day now.
6c) Promise politicians of Northern Ireland that Eastern Ireland will never try to unify with the RoI.
6b) Promise politicians of Northern Ireland that Eastern Ireland will unify with the RoI any day now.
6e) Something about religion? That’s not a problem, is it?

7) Success metric: every member of UKIP forgets that Wales ever existed. A country of nothing but mountains, dragons, and an impossible language? People didn’t really think that was real, did they?

493:

1) They already have a wall of sorts, called "Offa's Dyke".

494:

Duh.

I hate user interfaces like this. Teeny tiny light blue text on a slightly darker background. Ugh.

My wife was responsible for airport displays for a while for an airline. (Not content, just the displays and getting the content to them.) It drove her nuts as I would send her pics of every odd/wrong/hard to read thing I saw when in an airport. :)

495:

assuming you can get a 'reasonable' chance of generating a valid phone number.

Firstly, the Parliamentary Petitions site doesn't require a phone number: it needs a name and post code. This is in principle cross-checkable against the electoral register (I doubt they're doing that for routine petitions, but it's available). The electoral register doesn't contain phone numbers, IIRC (don't yell at me, I last ticked the nothing-changed checkbox several months ago).

Secondly, the phone book … my current one is disturbingly slim; about a quarter the size it was a decade ago, and packed with ads to fill up the white space. Everyone has a mobile, but those aren't listed (numbers being assigned on a national per-network level), and many people no longer have a land line—or if they do, it's solely for broadband, or ex-directory due to spam calls.

(I have a land line. There is a phone plugged into it, along with a broadband router. But the phone is the dumbest-of-the-dumb wired device, and the ringer is turned off: it only gets turned on to see if there's dialtone, or in emergency. Also, the number has been ex-directory for well over a decade.)

Now, if you were going to fake out a parliamentary petition the best way would be to buy the public version of the electoral register (it's available for a fee) and create email addresses to order. But a lot of people opt out of the public register (me, for example) because advertisers buy it. And the system could be beefed up to be resistant to gaming it this way by getting new signups to register their email address, and confirm it by sending a verification code through the snail-mail postal system. If your email address is faked you'd get a notification and could raise a grievance: this would raise a flag that the system was being gamed, while creating a cache of confirmed identities for future petitions. (They needn't be personally identifiable if they're stored as some sort of one-way hash.)

496:

If you are serious about bots you need to audit. Name and postal code and a bit of work and ignoring privacy violations should get you an identifiable persons. How many you would need to do is a function of how many bots you can tolerate. Something like a sample of ten would get you down to the vicinity of no more than 30% are bots. By the time you get to 100 you are in the low single digits.

497:

It's the "representative" part that's the problem with "representative democracy". (That is, we don't get it. When we do get it, things go pretty well.)

Institutional capture is a tough problem, but it's not an insoluble problem. It is, from a particular general systemic angle, not really even difficult. All you have to do is remove the category of advantage. (That would be the utility of wealth and heredity.) That isn't especially difficult as a "this is what the system needs to look like" question.

The sort of demented optimist I most entirely am not would be looking at the necessary social convulsion to get through the early post-Holocene and going "what a splendid opportunity". I'm just an advocate of income and asset caps.

498:

Come to think of it, you don't have to violate privacy. Walk the post code and ask "are you Name?"

499:

Sounds like she needs to read a history of the US from

She'd give you the exact same answer that a US politician would give if asked to study Brexit in order to avoid falling for that kind of political pathology: "oh, but that couldn't happen here" (a variant on "not invented here").

American exceptionalism is a thing. Alas, you caught the infection from the British.

As for Graydon's point … I think he over-simplifies a little. May is part of a now-traditional view within the Conservative party which goes back to Margaret Thatcher, who came to power 40 years ago this summer, and swept away the post-war consensus on essentially Keynsian economics, and replaced it with the snake oil/voodoo of Monetarism. She ditched the Friedmanite dogma pretty quick, but discovered in the process that income tax cuts are popular, especially with the wealthy, who include media oligarchs, and the middle class voters.

Every bloody time Thatcher called a snap election in the 1980s, she preceeded it with an income tax cut—or made further tax cuts a pillar of her election manifesto and implemented them after victory. Meanwhile, VAT rose from about 5% (on a limited range of goods and services) to 17.5% on practically all the essentials of life except raw food ingredients (which may sound sensible, but bear in mind that cooking requires time which is a luxury the poor can't afford).

Meanwhile, Thatcher and her heirs distracted attention from the detrimental effects of her tax cuts by inflating the housing market, financializing everything they could lay her hands on, and generating a gigantic credit bubble. After 2010 this couldn't really go much further so Cameron and his cronies sold the public on the austerity scam and began cutting public spending on services that poor people (meaning: proles like us) need, gutting the social security system, strangling the health service, and so on.

The bill has come due: the popular rage that fuels the brexiters is the anger and despair of those who've been left behind. But May cannot, will not, countenance the possibility that her parties policies for almost half a century have turned the nation into a pre-revolutionary dumpster fire.

Corbyn, for all his incompetence (he only ran as leader as a protest candidate, to show that the left wing wasn't dead yet: nobody else could be bothered to seek the nomination so he stuck his hand up as a point of principle) wants to fix what's broken, and has a good apprehension about what it is. But his view is too parochial and low-level (I suspect he doesn't understand macroeconomics and the implications of fiscal policy) and he's trying desperately to hold a stricken party together across its various fault lines.

He's no more up to the job than Theresa May. In fact, most of our politicians are shit this century. Honourable exception for the Scottish Parliament, which rebooted Scottish politics with a clean sheet of paper and almost no legacy code in 2000, and seems to have broadly average-to-excellent political leaders all round, rather than dismal-to-barely-average (as is the case in Westminster). But Holyrood ain't calling the shots ...

500:

Yeah, but when I've been in jury selection, most of the rejections were for being not obviously manipulable. Express any strong opinion and you are out. The only real, arguably valid, constraint that I saw in operation is that you need to be a registered voter.

That said, I'd be willing to restrict the pool of candidates in any way that didn't explicitly select in favor of "enemies of humanity" and did include over 2/3 of the population. But the rule has to be in place well ahead of the selection happening.

The large pool of candidates is to avoid excessive pre-selection buying of votes. I'm not sure it would work, as slanted news seems to be a very cheap way to "buy votes", but it needs to be tried. The stickier problem is how to avoid candidates being corrupted while in office. That was why I was in favor of a generous retirement package with no other sources of income allowed. (Charlie didn't think double the median income was generous, and perhaps it wasn't. But I do think tying it to the median income is desirable for other reasons. So perhaps triple. But if the govt is doing it's job properly, the purchasing power of the median income should rise.)

Some folks don't seem to have noticed that the retirement package was a part of the entire arrangement, but there needs to be a firm break between the rule makers and the ability to influence them.

OTOH!! There's a lot to be said for a royal family that sees the land as their estate to be cultivated. But this has the problem that you need to exclude the short sighted, the ... well, lets just say the primogeniture is a totally bad idea. Allow anyone who is first through fourth cousin to the or a descendant of such to be a candidate, and a "council of elders" composed of all those who were previously candidates, but not selected, to be the voters. Then give the anointed monarch powers similar to those of the US president for life. With impeachment power to that same council of elders. It might work. That way the pool of candidates is small enough that they could be taught the art of governance while growing up, and large enough that anyone unsuitable could be discarded. (But what personality types would that "council of elders" find desirable?) This is vaguely modeled on the way the Anglo-Saxons used to select their king as I understand it. The understanding is, admittedly, probably wrong, but it isn't a close model, either.

501:

I object to your use of "nostalgia". That's for, oh, "I remember when Star Wars came out", not "we lived there, saw kids grow up, marriages and deaths there, etc." A home, as opposed to a house, is a repository of a life/lives. Having to leave it means, in a very real psychological way, cutting out part of your life.

502:

The only real, arguably valid, constraint that I saw in operation is that you need to be a registered voter.

That's a state by state thing.

As a side note, here in central NC there's a reasonably independent research group (mostly social issues) that operates a school for politicians after each election. Most local governments pay to send the winners to it. Things like city councils have authority to do this and NOT do this.

I've talked to someone who's been through it. Some of the first time winners are a bit surprised when they find out they can't do anything about some of the issues they campaigned on. :)

503:

So, did you miss the news stories last year, about how right-wing US billionaire(s) were funneling money to the Brexit campaign?

whitroth